Thursday, August 13, 2009

Portable Workout I

I thought I'd share with you a workout that I do when I'm either short on time or away from the home gym. No equipment is necessary, however, if I'm at home, I do the sit-ups on the decline bench at the 1st or 2nd notch and a weight on my chest.

This is real simple stuff and, although I'm not yet a certified personal trainer (I'm working on it), I can truly say that it is an effective workout. The workout consists of 4 exercises done in a cycle with anywhere from 3 to 5 cycles in a session. This particular workout focuses on the abdominals. Often, what I do is 3 cycles of the 3 abs exercises and in between each exercise do 15-20 pushups so I end up with 9 sets of pushups.

The exercises are:

  1. Sit-ups. I do the standard old-school sit-ups and, as I said previously, with a decline bench and a weight on my chest if possible. I usually strive for 20 per set or cycle. Crunches can be subbed in as well.

  2. Plank. For those who don't know, a plank is done by lying face down and holding yourself up by the forearms/elbows and your toes. Your elbows should be shoulder width apart and slightly forward. Your body should form a straight line from heel to shoulder by way of the buttocks and abs. To complete the exercise, all you have to do is hold the position. Anywhere from 30-60 seconds and beyond is enough time for this exercise to be effective. You should focus on your abs and, as they say, squeeze your gut like you're getting ready to take a punch. You will feel the burn in your stomach and lower back.

  3. Leg lift. Lying on your back on a flat surface, lift your legs up straight and together about 6-8 inches. Once again, hold the position for 30-60 seconds with your head lifted as if going into a crunch. Once again, you will feel the burn in your stomach and lower back. Try lifting your legs to different heights for a different feel.

  4. Push-up. The travellin' man's standard. This is always a great exercise for the whole upper body. Don't cheat yourself by not lowering your body far enough. Your chest should be close to touching the floor at the lowest point. Anywhere from 15 to 30 push-ups per set is good.

There are many variations of the exercises you can incorporate. Try doing the plank with your feet raised on a chair, bench or bed. Try the plank with your hands on the ground in front of you and your body in a raised push-up position (remembering to keep your body in a straight line). Try doing the leg lift at different heights. Try the push-up with your feet raised.

Don't rest between exercises for the greatest benefit. This should only take you 15-20 minutes to complete and you'll be feeling pretty good about yourself.

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