Fitness Routines

Make Exercise A Habit: Try The 15-Minute Boot Camp Workout

Monday, December 18, 2006 - 4:03pm

By Tracey Mallet

What is a boot camp workout?

The focus of the “boot camp” workouts is to perform a fitness routine that benefits the entire body—both heart and muscles—by sequentially practicing one exercise after the other without resting in-between. These workouts are incredibly effective because they work many muscles groups simultaneously, which in turn elevates the heart rate and burns more calories and fat.

Because boot camp workouts are all the rage right now, I’ve created a “Super Body Boot Camp” that is a fun circuit-type exercise routine. It’s perfect for the busy professional or mom who finds it challenging to incorporate cardio and strength training into her schedule.

Now there’s no excuse! You can regularly practice cardio and strength training during a quick, effective circuit boot camp workout.

This boot camp workout consists of one mini-circuit that targets the entire body:

  • Repeat the following four exercises in a continuous circuit.
  • Perform the circuit three times.
  • The entire workout takes approximately 15 minutes from start to finish.

Remember: Consistency is the key to a tighter, toned body!

Strength-training exercises

Exercise #1: Flamingo with shoulder raise

  1. Stand on your left leg which is slightly bent, arms are by the side of body and right leg is bent in front of body.
  2. Exhale reaching the right leg behind you to hip height, at the same time arms extended forward to shoulder height. Inhale, bring right leg back to start position with the arms at the same time.

Reps: 10-15 on each leg
Weights: 3-5 pounds
Muscle Focus: Arms, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, glutes and abs for stabilization

Exercise #2: Plank to side plank star

  1. Hands are directly underneath shoulders, legs extended out in to plank position with right leg slightly lifted and abs are contracted.
  2. Turn to right side balancing on left arm with right arm extended over head and left lifted hips, knee and toes facing forward.

Reps: 8-10 on each side
Muscle Focus: Shoulders, upper back, abs, legs and glutes

Exercise #3: Plank to side lift with fly's

  1. Start with legs turned out at hips shoulder width apart and right heel off the floor, arms are at shoulder height slightly bent palms facing inwards in front of body.
  2. Squat in to a plies with knees over toes, extend knees and lift the right leg directly out to the side of body to hip height. Simultaneously arms go directly out to side of body.

Reps: 10-15 on each leg
Weights: 5-8 pounds
Muscle Focus: Quads, hamstrings, chest and shoulders

Cardio-interval exercise

Perform as many repetitions as possible for one minute, while maintaining the proper form.

Exercise #4: Shoot the hoop

  1. Stand tall knees slightly bent arms by side of body.
  2. Jump up reaching arms over head as if you were shooting a basket, lower and bend knees to touch the floor.

Muscle Focus: Quads, hamstrings, calves and abs

Modification: If you have bad knees or lower back, then just reach for the sky without leaving the floor.

Power Workout For Busy Executives

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 9:05am

By Adam Kessler, CSCS

Lately, many businesses are implementing wellness programs for their employees. This trend is beneficial for a variety of reasons, one of which is that by promoting a healthier lifestyle companies are creating happier and healthier employees. Unfortunately, due to their busy schedules, many of the executives who are implementing these wellness programs are not taking advantage of them.

One way busy executives can keep fit is by practicing a quick, power workout, which can take as little as 30 minutes. A well-rounded routing, it integrates both strength training exercises and a cardiovascular workout. Done three times a week, it will give you enough of a workout to develop your muscles, burn body fat, and strengthen your heart.

Part 1: Strength training

Start off your workout with a warm-up. Some of your options include: jogging in place for five minutes, taking a brisk walk, doing some jumping jacks, etc. After warming-up, you will perform six exercises in a circuit fashion. Do each exercise for 45 seconds, and then take a quick 15-second break before starting the next exercise. Complete each exercise in the following order:

  • Medicine ball squats. Hold a medicine ball in your hands, lengthening your arms down towards your thighs. Now, squat down and stand back up. As you stand, curl the medicine ball toward your chest, and then press it over your head. Standing straight, now bring the ball back down to your thighs. Repeat this motion, going as fast as you can and making each movement very crisp/in good form. (Targets areas: quadriceps, gluteus maximus, shoulders, and biceps)

  • Ball leg curls. Lie down and place your heels on the top of a stability ball. Once your heels are in place, lift your hips straight up into the air. It will be tough to stay balanced, but once you do dig your heels into the ball and contract your legs so that your heels will come back toward your rear. Stay balanced, keep your hips high, and repeat. (Targets areas: hamstrings, abdominals, and lower back)
  • Reverse abdominal crunch. Lie down in a crunch position with your legs in a 90 degree angle in the air. Squeeze a stability ball between your knees. Once the stability ball is secure, lift your hips in the air, and rotate your knees back like they are trying to touch your shoulders. Repeat. (Target area: abdominals)
  • Ball push-ups. Get in a push-up position with your legs on the stability ball and your hands on the ground. Then, do a push-up with your nose touching the ground. The closer the ball is towards your waist, the easier the exercise will be. The closer to your feet, the more difficult it will be. (Target areas: chest, shoulders, triceps, abdominals, and lower back)
  • Dumbbell bent over row. Grab two dumbbells and bend over at the waist so that your back is parallel to the ground. You can bend your knees slightly. Keep your back flat and tight (by sticking your chest out and shoulders back) throughout the entire movement. Pull the dumbbells straight up so that they are at the side of your ribs then lower them slowly. As you raise them up, squeeze your shoulder blades together. This movement is similar to starting a lawnmower. (Target areas: latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and biceps)
  • Shoulder raise. Sit down on a stability ball so that your legs are in a 90 degree angle and your back is nice and tight. Essentially, sit up straight. Take two dumbbells and let them hang by your sides. Now, raise the dumbbells laterally so that your arms are parallel to the floor. Then, keeping your arms at that height, brig your arms together in front of your face, they should be eye level. Return the back out, and then lower them down to your side. (Target area: shoulders)

Do this circuit twice. To modify the workout, you can increase the time you spend on each exercise, or you can decrease your rest time. Another option is to decrease the amount of time you spend on each exercise and your rest time, while simultaneously increasing the number of sets. It really just depends on how much time you have.

Part 2: Cardiovascular training

Once you’ve done the strength training circuit, your heart rate will be pumping. Now, we’re going to give the heart one final workout. Whatever activity you did to warm up, perform that for 13 minutes. This is amount of time is sufficient to put your heart through a cardiovascular workout.

It only takes 30 minutes to complete the workout

If you do the above workout, it will take you 30 minutes. All you need to do now is shower, change clothes, and get back to work. If you do the strength portion, it can’t be done again without a rest day in-between. To vary your workout, you can do two consecutive days, but on the second day just do the cardio portion. Once you do this workout, you will be all charged-up to close that next client or broker that next blockbuster deal.

Quick Fitness: 10-Minute Workout For Busy Moms

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 9:00am

By Tracey Mallet

For women with babies or small kids, finding time to exercise can be challenging. With the sleep-deprivation factor, minimal personal time, and the priority changes that babies and small children bring—are there any fitness options for busy moms? The fact is, the more you take of yourself, the better you will feel…and thus the stronger you will be both physically and emotionally to face the day with the “little ones,” as well as deal with all of life’s challenges.

Mini-circuit training routine

This short mini-circuit is the perfect daily routine to help you burn a few extra calories and tighten up some common problem areas (i.e. the hips, thighs, buns, upper body and abdomen). It moves from one exercise to the next without a break in-between each exercise. The goal with this type of routine is to keep your heart rate elevated, which helps burn more calories and tones the whole body.

The busy mom routine consists of 4 exercises

Your goal is to perform one set of 10-15 reps before moving on to the next exercise. After completing all four exercises once, repeat the circuit again two more times, totaling three circuits. This workout should approximately take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. To get started, march in place or go for a small walk with your little one around the park to ensure your body is warm before starting your circuit.

1.   Curtsy lunge with lateral lift stabilizes your standing posture

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees relaxed, and hands on the hips. Pull abs in, spine in a neutral position with the shoulders pulled down and chest lifted. Extending right leg out to the side, supporting leg is slightly bent with foot pointing forward.

  2. Step right leg diagonally behind the body, hips and torso stay facing forward, right heel is lifted. Both knees are bent in a lunge position; weight is centered over the supporting thigh.

  3. Extend both legs and swing right leg out to the side, balancing on the left leg. The moving leg should be slightly internally rotated at the hip causing you to lead the motion with the heel.

    Repeat this motion up to 15 times then proceed to the next leg.

Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.

Muscle focus: Targets glutes, quads, hamstrings and abs for standing stabilization

2.   Single leg lunge swings

  1. Feet together, knees relaxed, abs pulled in with shoulders relaxed and chest lifted.
  2. Take a large step forward with the right leg. Bend both knees, keep right knee inline with ankle and left knee pointing down to the floor. Hold the lunge, contracting the abs for balance, maintaining a neutral spine and push the swing forward with your arms and chest. Push off right front foot and thigh and bring feet back together, repeat alternating legs.

    Reps:3 sets of 10- 15 reps on each leg

    Muscle focus: Targets glutes, quads, hamstrings, chest, arms, shoulders and abs

3. Flamingo pick ups

  • Stand tall with your right leg extended behind the body, arms on hips.
  • Exhale as you contract your abs and hinge forward from the hips, maintaining pelvis square to the front. Simultaneously lift the back leg to a T-position body parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a count of 5, to make this exercise more challenging reach your left hand forward pretending to pick up something off the ground. Return back to T-position with both hands on hips. Contract the glutes and hamstrings; hinge the body back to start position.

Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg

Muscle Focus: Targets glutes, hamstrings and abs

Tip: Mentally focus on the core. Without this mind-body connection you will not be able to balance. Also, by contracting all the muscles in the supporting leg, you will create a more stable support to work from.

Modifications: Hold a chair or the wall for support if you have poor balance.

4.   Ab planks work the whole body

  • Place your hands on top of a step or climbing frame, placing you on an incline. Your hands should be directly underneath the shoulders. Move feet back and extend the body into a plank position, abs are contracted to keep torso supported.
  • Exhale; draw your right knee to chest without moving the upper body. Inhale swing the leg back maintaining the pelvis square to the floor, contracting the glutes and hamstrings.

Reps:3 setsof 10-15 reps on each leg.

Muscle focus: Works the whole body all at the same time! Targets chest, shoulders, arms, abs, glutes and hamstrings

Tip: While performing this exercise imagine you’re pushing away from the floor contacting your lats and upper back muscles which stabilize your shoulder girdle. Your core is tight without any movement as you move the leg.

Modifications: Lower supporting knee to the ground and gradually lift the knee off the floor as you get stronger. Eventually you can extend the body out in to full plank.