Excuse #1: I don’t have a plan

“I don’t have a plan.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

You walk into the gym. What machines do you use? What exercises do you do? Reps? Sets? Weight? What about in your workout tomorrow?

I’m going to make it easy for you and outline exactly what you need to do in the gym. Your tasks:
1) Read this article
2) Print the workout PDF
3) Jot some notes on exercise form from my cues and included videos, or pull up this article on your phone at the gym
4) Get  your butt in the gym and work hard, for about an hour, at least 3 days a week or 4 days if you can include an extra credit cardio session.

I’ll walk you through it. 3 days of full body strength training. It’s a great start if your goal is to lose weight, get in shape, and build some muscle tone.  Here’s the plan:

Each day: 

Warm up: 5 minutes cardio, 5 minutes foam roll
Spend 10 minutes rotating through exercises A1, A2, and A3.
Spend 10 minutes rotating through exercises B1 and B2.
Spend 10 minutes rotating through exercises C1, C2, and C3.
Spend 5-10 minutes on exercise D.

Week 1-2: Choose weight for each exercise that’s “medium” difficulty.
Week 3-4: Choose weight for each exercise that’s challenging in the last 3 reps.
**Never choose heavier weight if you can’t perform the exercise with good form**

Do this routine for up to 8 weeks!

Warmup

Before you do anything in the gym, warm up! 5 minutes on a cardio machine of your choosing, going from light intensity to medium intensity. Some ideas:

  • Incline walk on a treadmill. Start at 3.0 mph with a 5.0 incline. Over the course of 5 minutes, increase speed to 3.5mph.
  • Stepmill (the one with a conveyor belt of steps). Start at an easy level (1 or 2). Over the course of 5 minutes increase up to a moderate level (3 to 5).

Then, foam roll your legs and upper back at a minimum. This should take less than 5 minutes.

  • Hamstrings (back of thighs)
    hamstrings_foam-roller
  • Quadriceps (front of thighs)
    bordon_quadriceps
  • IT Bands (Outside of thighs)
    itb-foam-roller
  • Adductors (Inside of thighs)
    stuartkari072314_3449_lowres
  • Calves (Back of lower legs)
  • Glutes (Booty)
    images
  • Upper Back
    woman-foam-rolling

Workout A

A1. Chest Supported DB (dumbbell) Row (10 reps)

  • Set an incline bench to a 30- to 45-degree angle from horizontal
  • Rest your chest on the bench with DBs in your hands.
  • Use a neutral grip, palms facing toward your body

A2. Incline DB Press (10 reps)

  • Done on same incline bench set up.
  • Shoulder blades are pulled back behind the body the entire movement.
  • Arms should be at a 45-degree angle to your body, so not flush at sides or straight out from shoulders.

A3. Hip Thrust (10-20 reps)

  • Position your back against a flat bench, with the bench hitting your back just below your shoulder blades
  • Feet are a little wider than your hips
  • Knees are in a line between your ankles and hips
  • Push through your heels and raise your hips up, squeeze booty at the top
  • Start with two legs, no weight, doing 10 rep sets. Increase reps up to 20. Once you can do 20 reps on two legs, try 10 reps using a single leg.
  • This is a long video, but it’s worth the watch.

B1. Leg Press (Machine) (10 reps)

  • Position your feet hip width apart, high enough on the pad so that when knees bend they don’t go past your toes.
  • As your knees bend, keep them in line with your middle toes. Don’t let knees cave in as they bend.
  • Push through your heels as you extend your legs.
  • Don’t lock out your knees

seated-leg-press

B2. Walking Lunges (20 steps total)

  • Hold dumbbells at your sides, starting with light weight(5lbs).
  • Take a big step forward, bend back knee and drive it toward the ground without touching the ground
  • Don’t let front knee go past front toes
  • Keep torso straight up
  • Keep heel of front foot down through lunge movement

C1. Plank (30 seconds to 1 minute)

  • Take deep breaths while holding
  • Don’t let hips dip (with lower back arched) or hips rise into the air
  • Contract the front abs, bringing the pelvis toward the lower ribs

C2. Dead bug twist (20 total or 10 each side)

  • Lower back stays flat to the ground the entire time with abs engaged (draw belly button toward spine)
  • Feet in air, knees bent at a 90-degree angle
  • Arms are straight up in air
  • Rotate torso slightly to one side and then the other
  • Once this gets easier, hold a weight in your hands

     

C3. Scaption (10 reps)

  • Only raise arms to same height as your shoulders (not above as shown in video).

D. Sprints (30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds rest)

  • Set treadmill speed at your sprint pace.
  • Sprint for 30 seconds, then jump off and rest for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.
  • Always start your sprints with a more conservative speed and increase speed on 2nd and 3rd sprints.

Workout B

A1. Seated Cable Row (10 reps)

  • Only arms and shoulders move, not torso.
  • Use an underhand grip with hands shoulder-width apart.

A2. Bench Pushups (6 to 12 reps)

  • This is a progression to pushups on the ground
  • Arms at a 45 degree angle to the body
  • Work up to 12 rep sets on the bench. Once those are easy, work up to 10 rep sets on the ground (flat), then 10 rep sets with your feet on the bench and hands on the ground.

A3. Sumo Squats (10 reps)

  • Wide stance, booty back, knees out
  • Push through heels coming up
  • Keep back straight

weighted-sumo-squat

B1. Kettlebell (KB) Deadlift (10 reps)

  • Keep heels in contact with ground and back straight

B2. Step Up (with DBs) (10R/L)

  • Start with no weight
  • Push through heel
  • Back straight, chest up
  • Do all the reps on one side, then all the reps on the other side

C1. Deadbug Progression (10R/L)

  • Low back flat against ground
  • Alternate right and left side reps

C2. Diagonal Curl Up (10R/L)

  • 10 reps on the left side then 10 reps on the right side

C3. DB Bicep Curl (10R/L)

  • Alternate arms: right arm curls, left arm curls, right arm curls, left arm curls….
  • Standing
  • Palm up
  • Move slow and controlled through entire rep

Alternating-bicep-curl-female

 

D. Jump Rope: alternate 1 minute jumping, 30 seconds rest

  • Keep your shoulders back, chest up
  • First minute: singles (one double-leg jump per rope turn)
  • Second minute: “+” shape. Hop forward-back, left-back, right-back, back-forward while jumping rope
  • Third minute: alternating single leg jump, one jump per rope turn.
  • 1-3 rounds of this!

Workout C

A1. Lat Pulldown (10)

  • Keep shoulders back and down the entire time
  • Overhand, shoulder-width grip or a little wider

lat-pulldown

A2. Cable Chest Press (10)

  • Don’t let elbows go behind your body

A3. Birddog (10 R/L)

  • Opposite arm and leg
  • Keep trunk, shoulders, hips stable
  • Hold each rep 5 seconds

B1. Goblet Squat (10)

  • Booty back
  • Back straight
  • Hold weight at your chest
  • Keep heels down and push through heels to come up

B2. Single Leg (SL) Deadlift (10 R/L)

  • Hold one weight (kettle bell or dumbbell) with two hands
  • Keep back straight
  • Slight bend in the knee
  • You should feel a nice stretch in your hamstring
  • Actively extend through back leg to counterbalance

Single-Leg-Deadlift-Kettlebell.jpg

C1. Cable Wood Chop Low to High (10R/L)

C2. Med Ball Crunch (10)

  • Hold ball overhead
  • Actively press lower back into ground
  • Raise ball to ceiling until shoulder blades come off the ground
  • Hold for one second before lowering

mb53_medicine_ball_workouts_crunch_medicine_ball2

C3. Cable Tricep Extension (10 R/L)

tricep-rope-extensions.jpg

D. Plyo Circuit:

20 Lateral Hops (pause and balance for a moment on each rep, start with narrow jumps, get wider)


10 Box Jumps (jump up, step down one foot at a time)
Unknown-1.jpeg
20 Up and Overs (start slow, get faster!)
lateral-jump-over
20 Skips (moving or in place)


 

Here’s a PDF you can print with all three workouts:

Full Body Beginner Workouts ABC


 

Extra credit cardio session:

Cardio Option A: 30 minutes of steady-state exercise

  • First 5 minutes: slowly warmup from light intensity to moderate intensity
  • 20 minutes at moderate intensity (an intensity where you are working but not working at an all-out or “sprint” level)
  • Last 5 minutes: cool down by decreasing your pace or resistance over 5 minutes

Cardio Option B: 30 minutes of Intervals

  • First 5 minutes: slowly warmup from light intensity to moderate intensity
  • 7 Intervals (21 minutes) of:
    • 1 minute at high intensity (sprint, max, push yourself, as hard as you can go for the minute)
    • 2 minute at low intensity (keep moving but let your body and breathing recover)
  • Last 4 minutes: cool down by decreasing your pace or resistance over 4 minutes

Ways to increase cardio intensity: 

  • Increase resistance
  • Increase incline on treadmill
  • Increase pace

**use hands to hold onto cardio equipment as little as possible

Easy Peasy!

Now print the PDF and get to the gym!

Let me know how it goes!

 

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Resistance Train for Bone Health

Let’s look at bones:

images.png

You know how all the commercials say that the calcium in milk helps build strong bones? Well, resistance training is another essential component.

What exactly is resistance training?

Defined by ominous Google, resistance training is any exercise in which muscles contract against external load. This load can be body weight, band resistance (with mini loops or resistance bands), or fixed weight (utilizing barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, machines, and weight plates).

There are two important things to know about the body:

  1. Bone is constantly being remodeled (formed) and resorbed (degraded). In adults, about 10% of bone is remodeled every year.
  2. The body likes to be as efficient as possible with muscle and bone. In order to avoid spending extra energy lifting heavier than necessary bone or muscle day to day, the body will decrease bone density or muscle mass if they are not regularly used.

How does resistance training stimulate bone growth?

The bones in our bodies have a threshold called minimal essential strain (MES). This is the amount of weight [load] a bone must experience for new bone growth to be stimulated and it is regulated by bone cells so that forces experienced on a regular basis don’t exceed it. The process of bone adaptation begins within the first few weeks after a stimulus above MES, but it is also a long term process; it requires six or more months and regular forces greater than MES to result in increased bone density. Activities that generate forces greater than MES include those that are weight bearing and high intensity (i.e. resistance training).

Why is stimulating bone growth important?

  1. Adequate bone strength and thickness are important for preventing injuries such as fractures and stress fractures.
  2. It is important to stimulate bone growth because through the majority of our adult lives our bone density is actually decreasing, especially in women. Mh6o0ppOur bone density peaks when we are between 25 and 40 years old and decreases from that point on. It is important that we get our peak as high as possible through our 20’s and 30’s, and it is essential for those over 40 to preserve as much bone density as they can. Regular resistance training by older adults has been shown to offset age-related declines in bone health.
  3. In those with osteoporosis or osteopenia (diseases where bone mineral density is reduced to critically low levels), resistance training can beneficially stimulate bone growth .

Or else…

Here’s two images depicting the prevalence of fractures from weak, osteoporotic bones that occur with age and gender.

osteoporosis_1

osteoporosis_2

How should one exercise to achieve increases in bone density?

There are a couple components to consider in order to best stimulate bone growth with your workouts:

  1. Specificity of Loading: Exercises must directly load a particular region of the skeleton to induce bone growth. For example, bodyweight squatting loads the pelvis and leg bones but not the arm bones or ribcage. Pushups load the arm bones but not the leg bones.
  2. Speed, Direction, and Variability of Loading: Loading of bone is only osteogenic (bone-growth inducing) if the weight is moved (it can’t just be held in place (static). Also, variety in exercises (changing exercises every 3-4 weeks) ensures that all bones receive stimulus.
  3. Proper Exercise Selection: Best exercises for inducing bone growth involve heavy loads, multiple joints, and forces directed through the spine and hips. Examples of these type of exercises are squat, lunge, deadlift, row, and press variations.
  4. Progressive Overload: Once a bone adapts to a given strain level, the MES (stimulus for bone to form) is higher. Overtime, the weights lifted or intensity of exercise must gradually increase in order to continue stimulating bone growth.

 

Baechile, T.R., Earle, R.W.. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Third Edition. NSCA, 2008.

Bilezikian, J.P., Raisz, L.G., Rodan, G.A.. Principles of Bone Biology, Second Edition. Volume 1. Academic Press, 2002.

McNeely, E.. Training to Improve Bone Density in Adults: A Review and Recommendations. U.S Sports Academy. July 9, 2010. 

Moreira, Linda Denise Fernandes, Oliveira, Mônica Longo de, Lirani-Galvão, Ana Paula, Marin-Mio, Rosângela Villa, Santos, Rodrigo Nolasco dos, & Lazaretti-Castro, Marise. (2014). Physical exercise and osteoporosis: effects of different types of exercises on bone and physical function of postmenopausal women. Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia58(5), 514-522. https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0004-2730000003374