Many of us look forward to the weekend for several reasons, whether we have big plans or are just ready for some rest. If you’re like me, you have a hard time getting yourself to the gym on Saturday mornings when there are so many other things you’d rather be doing (like sleeping in).
When you finally do get up and around, there are a lot of workouts you can do right in your own home without any equipment other than your own body weight. These exercises are a great switch up from your regular gym routine and can benefit your body no matter how intense your normal workouts may be.
For this week’s Saturday Morning Drill, we’ve come up with several body weight and plyometric exercises that will get your blood pumping, sweat dripping and help strengthen your upper body and core. Among the many benefits of plyometric workouts are muscle development, speed, agility, endurance, coordination and fat loss. Let’s get started.
In order for the body to build muscle, it needs to be stressed. When done with the proper form, the body has no choice but to break down muscle tissue which will then result in muscle hypertrophy. If you’re looking to build muscle (or tone what you do have) but can’t afford the expenses that come along with it, we’ve put together a list of body weight exercises you can do at home with little or no cost at all.
Whether it’s the gym membership costs, the at-home gym equipment you can’t afford, or just the lack of time keeping you from the gym, these strength exercises will be sure help you get the job done right in your own home.
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Whenever I workout, especially after a hard workout, I always make sure to spend some time stretching. For me, stretching is like the dessert of my workout, it’s my favorite part. I love feeling my heart and breath slow down while I lean into a deep stretch. It helps me wind down both physically and mentally.
So, how important is it to stretch? Some benefits of stretching include decreasing pain and soreness after exercise, improves circulation, range of motion, and posture. It also decreases muscle tension and soreness.
If you lack time, you do not need to stretch after every workout. However, if you’ve just finished a hard workout or a new workout, make sure you allow time for it.
Before starting any kind of stretch make sure your body is warmed up. You will increase the risk of injury if you try to stretch “cold” muscles.
During your stretching it is important to keep a couple things in mind. Always stretch slowly (even if you’re in a hurry) and always stretch both sides of the body. Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds and make sure you are breathing! People tend to hold their breath while stretching and this could lead to injury, and also prevents the muscles from getting the oxygen they need. Never bounce or jerk while stretching and avoid over-stretching. Never push your stretch to the point you are feeling sharp pain or discomfort. (more…)
Most fitness experts will tell you that mixing up your workout can lift you out of a plateau and bring you closer to your desired results. Doing the same exercises day in and day out can not only lead to burn out or overuse injuries, it can slow your advancement towards becoming fitter, tougher and leaner. By changing your routine from time to time, your body will be challenged and become stronger as a result.
If you are one of the millions who practice yoga not so much for the repetitive routines some styles offer, but because you love to mix it up, stay fresh and keep it interesting, the following will show you what you can do to add a challenging variation to the classic sun salutation sequence.
In some traditional yoga styles you would normally be exhaling into chaturanga, inhaling into upward dog and then exhaling back into downward dog. This is the mid-section of a sun salute, also referred to as the vinyasa, and is great for developing total upper body strength and tone. However, mixing it up just a touch can be exactly the refreshing change you need to take your upper body strength to a new level.
The first split workout routine covered cardiovascular training and a chest, back, leg, and ab workout. Today’s focus is geared toward those who are struggling with the weights rather than the cardio.
As soon as you get to the gym go immediately into your upper body weight training routine (15-20 minutes), followed by cardio (30-60 minutes), and then to your lower body weight training routine (15-20 minutes).
I have put together an upper body and lower body workout for you below. Focus on moving from one exercise to another while trying to keep the heart rate up. I recommend performing two sets of 25 repetitions. Good luck!! (more…)
A reader writes…
I am 300 pounds and I am a paraplegic. I have use of my upper body only. What can I do to lose my weight? I already have changed the way I eat.
To answer such a sensitive question, I asked my friend and former colleague at eDiets.com, Susan Burke March, a certified nutritionist, to share her advice.
When you can’t walk, it surely makes weight loss more challenging. If you’re not expending calories in activity, it makes what you eat much more important. Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen–if you take the challenge to burn calories, even if you can’t walk. You say you have upper-body abilities, so you’re halfway there! I can envisage the New York City Marathon, where I volunteered for a number of years. The wheelchair athletes were truly inspiring–their upper-body strength was phenomenal, and they competed with as much enthusiasm and joy as the runners. I think you need a physical therapist to help you by showing you how to burn calories, even if you can’t walk. There are lots of ways to do it…there are many pieces of equipment you can purchase, and there are wheel-chair exercises for you to do–daily–to burn calories.
So, that’s your mission–to seek out and find the resources that will teach you to incorporate upper-body exercise into your daily routine–and that means daily. Burning calories daily, using upper-body movement will improve your circulation, strengthen your muscles, including your heart muscle, will improve your mood and sleep, and will allow you to move that scale and balance your life. I Googled “exercise equipment for paraplegics” and found this link: http://www.blvd.com/Exercise_Equipment/Accessories/.
If you’ve changed your diet–I applaud you…that is a great first step. Take this second step, and stay on the path toward improved health. Good Luck!
-Susan Burke March M.S., R.D., L.D., CDE
Author of the upcoming book, Naturally Thin — How a Dietitian Went From Overweight to in Control