Fit&Happier Workout of the Month defined: These are 30 minute general fitness workouts designed to offer a complete and balanced approach to strength and cardiovascular training in the most efficient way possible. Strength training workouts will each feature a different form of resistance, or load, so that you can choose the type of resistance based on equipment availability and your preference. These will offer full-body strength training and muscle toning with base exercises appropriate for beginners and progressions for those more experienced in strength training. Cardio workouts are designed to get the most calorie burn possible in the time allotted. Combo workouts combine strength and cardio training into one, efficient, full-body, calorie-burning workout. All workouts conclude with flexibility training as no workout is complete without it. Click on the exercises to link to step-by-step written and video instructions provided by ACE Fitness.
Body Weight Resistance Strength & Flexibility Training
Concept: Use your own body weight as resistance to strengthen, tone and stretch the major muscle groups of the body: upper arms, shoulders, core (back and abdominals), hips and legs. Base exercises are for those new to strength training. Progressions are offered for those with more experience with these exercises. Be sure you can perform the base exercise, and each subsequent progression, with excellent form for the maximum recommended repetition amount before progressing to the next level. I recommend using a cushioned, no-slip surface to perform this workout, such as an exercise mat or open area of wall-to-wall carpeting. Be sure to have enough unobstructed space around you to allow for full range of motion of arms and legs. Perform this workout 1-3 times per week, allowing at least 48 hours before repeating this workout.
Warm-Up: 2-5 minutes of high knee marching, swinging opposing arms to shoulder height as you lift knees to hip height or any other form of moderate cardio movement you choose. The goal is to raise your heart-rate slightly before working your muscles.
Strength Workout: Perform the following exercise circuit in succession with no rest between exercises
- Supermans: 10-20 repetitions. Works upper & lower back, shoulders, abs and glutes. Progression 1: Bird-dog (10-20 reps each side); Progression 2: Front Plank: hold position as long as possible, 10-60 seconds
- Side-Lying Leg Raises: 10-20 repetitions each side. Works glutes, outer & inner thighs. Progression 1: Perform Side-Lying Leg Raises, at top of movement, bend knee and bring foot to butt, straighten leg as you keep leg in raised position, then lower leg to floor. This entire movement represents one repetition. Perform 10-20 reps each side. Progression 2: Side Lunges: 10-20 reps each side
- Push-Ups on Knees: 10-20 repetitions. Works biceps, triceps, shoulders, upper back, chest & core. Progression 1: Straight Leg Push-Up: 10-20 reps; Progression 2: Push Up with Single Leg Raise: 10-20 reps each side
- Glute Bridges: 10-20 repetitions. Works hips, legs & core. Progression 1: Squats: 10-20 reps; Progression 2: Single-Leg Squats: 10-20 reps each side, more progressions provided for this exercise
- Ab Crunches: 10-30 repetitions. Strengthens & tones abdominal muscles. Progression 1: Vertical Toe Touches: 10-30 reps; Progression 2: V-Ups: 10-20 reps, more progressions provided with this exercise
- After performing each exercise once, rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat the circuit (supermans through ab crunches) for a second set of each exercise. After performing the circuit twice, perform the flexibility workout.
Flexibility Workout: Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and breathe deeply throughout the stretches.
- Standing Chest Stretch: exercise provides progression for deeper stretch
- Overhead Triceps Stretch: stretches arms & shoulders (stretch both sides)
- Standing Triangle Straddle Bends: stretches back, waist & outer thighs (stretch both sides)
- Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch: stretches hip flexors & quads (stretch both sides)
- Seated Toe Touches: stretches glutes, hamstrings, calves & shins
- Childs Pose: a relaxing stretch for your core to end your workout
Author’s Note: Always consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.
Check back for these upcoming Fit&Happier Workouts of the Month – February: Resistance Tube Strength Training; March: Free Weights Strength Training; April: Medicine Ball Strength Training; May: Stability Ball Strength Training; June: Balance & Strength Training; July: Functional Training (Strength); August: Interval Training (Cardio); September: Schoolyard Play Workout (Combo); October: Outdoor Cardio & Strength Combo; November: Timed Circuit (Combo); December: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training-Cardio)
Click on the link to view previous Activity-Specific Workouts of the Month: Hockey & Cross-Country Skiing, Snowboarding & Figure Skating, Golf & Softball, Distance Running, Racquet Sports, Swimming, Waterskiing & Surfing, Cycling, Rowing & Desk Jockeys, Track, Field & Court Sports, Throwing & Pitching, Dancing, Downhill Skiing