Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Vary Your Workouts to Stay Motivated

Molly Masuoka from Yoga Centered

 A common snag with people who exercise consistently, especially during the first few months of a new year: You don’t look forward to doing the same exercises you did last year. Although squats, push-ups, lunges and pull-ups are the foundation for most, if not all exercises, they can get monotonous over time and your body could do the thing we don’t want it to do: plateau. If your body plateaus, it means it essentially gets used to the exercises and figures out a way to burn less calories efficiently. That means a less productive workout for you, which is never a good thing. Here are some challenging variations on common exercises that will take your workout from ordinary to extraordinary:

“Uchimata” Push-Up Variation: From a one-leg push-up position and squeezing the glute (buttock) of your support leg, slowly lower your body as one unit until your chest grazes the floor and pause for a count. From there, use your glute to slowly raise your lifted leg as high as you can without overly hyperextending your lower back. Then push back up to the starting position, switch sides and repeat for time. The one-leg lift really increases the demands on your core, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings; and since it shifts your weight forward onto your hands, it really challenges your shoulders, too.

Vertical Squat Jump: Stand in the start position for a body-weight squat, then squat down and jump up as high as possible.

Lunge Hops: Start in the bottom of a split-squat position (one leg in front, one in back). Your front thigh should be parallel to the floor, your torso upright and your abs braced. Jump up explosively and switch leg positions in the air. Your back leg becomes the front leg, and vice-versa. Absorb the landing with your muscles. Keep your abs braced and torso upright. Alternate sides without resting between sides. Repeat for 10 reps total.

Inverted Rows: Set a bar at hip height in the Smith machine or squat rack. Lie underneath the bar and grab it a few inches wider than shoulder-width apart. Row (pull) yourself up the top position with your upper back and lats. Keep the abs braced and body in a straight line from toes (knees) to shoulders. Slowly return to the start position. Repeat for 10 reps. (For beginner inverted rows – keep feet on the ground.)

Hope these twists on some original exercises get you excited and ready for a new, better you in 2011. After all, having an arsenal of exercises that you can do safely and effectively is the only true way to lose weight, gain strength and stay healthy in the long term. Now go out there and get started! Remember to talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, particularly if you have a health condition that could impact performance or safety.

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March 3, 2011 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , | Leave a comment