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Running with the Big Dog

Stay Fit with this 20-Minute Workout

Staying with a regular fitness program is the most important thing for good health

The Essential 20-Minute Workout

Whether you are exercising to get in shape or you train to stay in shape, it’s all about contracting your muscles so your body will add muscle. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn. The ideal fat-burning routine involves high-intensity exercise (80 percent of maximum) for 20 minutes at a time. Here are a few routines to get you started.

 Routine 1

 Squat: Start with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out only slightly. Take a deep breath and squat down. Pretend you are moving the hips backward to sit in a chair. Feel the body weight pressing down through both heels. Lower yourself to a knee bend where the thighs are parallel to the floor (at least 90 degrees). At the bottom, think “butt” and activate the gluteal muscles to help return to the start position while breathing out – this helps support the spine. Start with body weight only, performing 8 repetitions; progress to using a dowel or light bar across the chest. This can be progressed by holding dumbbells or a kettlebell in one hand or both hands. Aim to increase the weight you can lift for 8 reps.

 Pull-ups: Hang from a chin-up bar with an underhand grip, your hands spaced about shoulder-width apart and arms straight. Pull yourself up as you keep your elbows pointing down, and then slowly drop to the starting position. Make sure your chin goes above the bar on each repetition. If you can’t even do one, be persistent; eventually you will be able to. Try to build to 5 reps.

 Push-ups: Standard push-ups: Get in a push-up position with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Bend at the elbows while keeping your back straight, until your chin almost touches the floor, then push back up. Do 6 reps. Once you’ve got this down, progress to stability ball push-ups. This takes your push-ups to the next level – doing them with your feet on a stability ball. Keep your body straight; don’t let your hips sag or stick your butt up in the air. This has core-strengthening benefits and arm benefits. Do as many as you can with strict form.

 Routine 2

 Stability ball hammy: Perform this exercise with the soles of your feet on a stability ball and your back on the floor. Start with the whole back on the floor, knees slightly bent, with legs up on the ball. Push down through the feet into the ball, pushing the hips up at the same time. Lift hips until there is a straight line through the knee, hip and shoulder, keeping upper back and neck on the floor. Lower your hips to an inch off the ground, then repeat. Start with 8 reps with two feet on the ball and build to 15 reps as you get stronger.

 Overhead shoulder press: Begin to perform with a band with handles, progress to a pair of dumbbells, then progress to a kettlebell. When using the band, stand on the band with both feet with a handle in each hand. Stand with good posture, holding the handles at your side, palms facing sides, raise the arms to shoulder height, then raise the arms overhead. Keep the elbows stiff. The finish position is with the hands above the head, palms facing forward. Retain good posture, without using the trunk or rotating the body during the movement, and finish with shoulders wide and relaxed. Start with 8 reps, aiming to increase the weight lifted but continuing with 8 reps. If you are using the kettlebell, you can press one arm at a time and then switch sides.

 Mountain climbers: Kneel on all fours, your hands in line with but slightly wider than your shoulders. Straighten your left leg completely and lift your right knee toward your chest. You should be on the balls of your feet, positioned like a sprinter in the starting blocks. Now quickly switch leg positions as many times as you can for 30 to 45 seconds.

 Standing triceps extensions: Standing in good posture, do not arch the back. Hold one dumbbell in both hands behind the head. Raise the forearms and lock out the elbows. Lower the forearms. Start with 8 reps, aiming to increase the weight lifted but continuing with 8 reps.

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , | Leave a comment