Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Here is a total body exercise program that is easy to do and gives you lean toned muscles and cardio fitness. By working different muscle groups on 5 separate days you will give muscles time to recover between workouts and they will thrive on the variety. It is best not to do full body weight workout 2 days in a row add a cardio day in between. The strength training exercises are only suggestions; feel free to replace them with any exercise you like. However choose 2 exercises and stay within the same muscle groups prescribed for the day. Do each strength exercise 12-15 repetitions for 2 sets.
•This will be a combination cardio and strength day. Choose your favorite form of aerobic workout such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc.
•Perform this aerobic activity for 20-30 minutes (you will get faster results with 30 minutes).
•Start out at an easy pace to warm-up. Begin gradually increasing your intensity. You can do this by increasing the pace; adding more resistance; add some hills. Be careful though. Too much resistance can create problems for your knees and hips. Don’t do more than what feels right for you. You want a challenge but no pain.
•Aim for your maximum heart rate between 60-70%. You should be able to keep this up for 20-30 minutes.
•Always include a cool-down. Begin to slow your intensity and monitor your heart rate as it slows down.
•Complete your workout with some abs work, such as crunches, V-lift and reach, or a couple of Pilates exercises. Choose 2-3 different exercises and do 20 of each.
•This is a strength training day. When doing strength training always exercise your largest muscle groups first.
•You can use weight lifting equipment, resistance bands, dumbbells, or any other strength training device of your choice.
•For toning as well as strength you want to keep your weight low and your repetitions high. Remember to make it challenging.
•The old standards for lower body are squats, lunges, or leg lifts. You can make these as intense as you like. Try using dumbbells; ankle weights; or a resistance band around both legs.
•Exercise your chest. You can include chest fly, chest presses, or push-ups.
•The muscles in the arms are smaller and you can work those last. Try some bicep curls, use resistance bands or gym cables to do cable curls.
•Do two exercises for the triceps such as triceps extension or dumbbell kickbacks.
•Do some crunches on a stability ball if possible.
•Perform another cardio workout. In this workout you will do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Using a treadmill for example begin with a slow 3 minute warm-up.
•Gradually increase your speed until your maximum heart rate is around 70%. This will be your steady-state.
•Increase your incline and work hard for 1 minute. Lower the incline and go back to a steady-state speed for 2 minutes. (6 minutes cumulative total).
•Increase your speed and go as fast as you can, safely, for 1 minute. Lower your speed back to steady-state for 2 minutes. (9 minutes cumulative total).
•Do one more interval of incline and one interval of speed, returning to steady-state for 2 minutes after each interval. (15 minutes cumulative total).
•Remain in steady-state for 3 minutes then begin to slow your pace for a 2 minute cool-down. (20 minutes cumulative total).
•Finish up with some core work such as plank pose, criss-crosses, reverse crunches, or hip cross-overs. Choose 2-3 different exercises and do 20 of each.
•Today is more strength work.
•For the back try some dumbbell rows, or alternating rows, or some bent lateral raises.
•To workout your shoulders start with shoulder presses, and then consider front raises, or lateral raises.
•To workout your lower body try some hip raises, dumbbell deadlifts, or dumbbell step-ups. Using bands or gym cables you can do leg lifts to the side for inner and outer thighs.
•Do some crunches as time permits. These are best done on a stability ball if possible.
•Today you have several options
•One idea is to repeat Day 1, using a different form of equipment.
•Repeat Day 3 also using a different piece of equipment.
•Or you can repeat Day 3 and vary the type and time of your intervals.
•Skip the cardio altogether and try a yoga or Pilates class.
This is a straightforward total body exercise program that gives you room for options and will keep you toned, lean and strong.
Always check with a medical professional before starting any exercise routine. As always, be healthy, be happy.
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