Fitness

Don’t Like Push-Ups? Try This

When performing push-ups, exercise results are augmented for the amount of effort applied.  In other words, you get “more bang for your buck” because multiple muscle groups are being activated.  You can get toned and stronger (arms, shoulders, chest, back, legs and abs) sooner.

BUT push-ups are no fun and they are hard to do!!

Try this:  start with wall push-ups.  These will help build up your strength gradually, progressing to the traditional horizontal push-up. The benefits of Push-Ups are many:

  • Build strength and stamina
  • Help develop a fit upper body and core
  • Work multiple muscle groups
  • Burn calories / lose weight
  • Do them anywhere
  • Increase difficulty as strength increases
  • No equipment needed.

The muscles summoned and exercised are:

  • Chest, pectoralis major
  • Shoulder, deltoids
  • Upper arm (back of), triceps
  • Arms, biceps
  • Abs, rectus abdominis & obliques
  • Back, erector spinae
  • Legs (front of thighs), quadriceps.

To maximize results, use proper Wall Push-Up form:

wallpushup_blog  Wall Push-Up

  1. Face wall, standing an arm’s distance away.
  2. Place your palms flat on the wall, finger tips up. Hands should be at shoulder height and slightly wider than shoulder width distance apart.
  3. Lean in toward the wall, bending elbows.
  4. Keep heels on the floor and abs contracted.
  • Keep body straight like a plank (feet under hips).
  • Elbows up.
  • Do not let hips sag.
  1. Hold a few seconds.
  2. Then, push away bearing body weigh on arms, back to starting position.

While performing push-ups and increasing the number of reps, muscles will begin to fatigue.  To forestall this fatigue, breathe with control so that the muscles may receive adequate oxygen.  When doing a wall (or regular) push-up:

  • inhale as you bend your elbows
  • exhale as you straighten them.

To increase difficulty:

  • Place feet farther away from the wall, making the body more horizontal.
  • Keep your heels on the floor
  • Perform push-up from this vantage point.

Another variation is the Push-Up to Standing:

pushuptostanding_blog  Push-Up to Standing

  1. Inhale, lower body to push-up/plank position.  Elbows are next to the ribs
  2. Exhale, pushing arms to straight position.
  3. Inhale walking hands back to feet.
  4. Maintain forward bend position, hanging like a rag doll.
  5. Exhale, rolling spine up to standing position
  6. Inhale, repeat sequence back down to push-up position.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through7.
Fitness

The Benefits of Exercising on an Elliptical Trainer

Strengthen the Cardiovascular System, Get a Total Body Workout and Burn Lots of Calories.  These are the benefits of exercising on an Elliptical Trainer.

Exercising on an elliptical greatly reduces excessive pressure on the joints while providing for a beneficial cardiovascular workout. In addition to exercising the heart, the elliptical works the muscles in the lower body:

  • thigh muscles (quadricep & hamstring)
  • gluteal muscles (buttocks)
  • hip flexors (located at the front of the hips); help to bring the thigh toward the chest.

You can get a low or high intensity workout by adjusting the speed, resistance and stride length on the elliptical while decreasing the possibility of injuries along with exerting the leg muscles and heart.  Speed up your pulse and heart rate on the elliptical.  Going in reverse on the elliptical works well too. Stepping in a backward motion works the gluteals, calves and hamstrings, while stepping forward works the quadriceps.

It is important to change up your workout routine. Variety during exercise will:

  • keep your body from getting used to a single movement
  • promote the build up of muscle mass
  • continue the boost to metabolism.

By going “hands-free” (not using the railings on the elliptical trainer) you will improve your balance and posture.

Stand up straight when on the elliptical to lengthen the abs and engage the core. Keep the abs (abdominal muscles) tight.  Use the arm levers to work both the upper and lower body at the same time. Keep the shoulders back and head up. Look forward, not down at your feet, let the lower body support your weight. Do not lean on machine armrests during exercise (that will reduce the calorie burn).

Don’t forget about interval training (see the related blog on this website). To do intervals on the elliptical you may either:

  • maintain the resistance and increase pace (go fast for 1 minute then recover at a slower pace for 2 to 4 minutes)

OR

  • maintain your speed and increase the resistance (high resistance for 1 minute then recover for 2 to 4 minutes at a more comfortable resistance).

You can burn up to 400 calories in a 30 minute workout while exercising on the elliptical. It provides for a heart-healthy, aerobic exercise.  It is a good exercise option because it burns lots of calories in a short amount of time and is low impact.

As with any exercise, consult your physician before using elliptical equipment.

Fitness

Rapid Fat Burn with Circuit Training

What Is Circuit Training?

Circuit training is a programmed series of body conditioning exercises set on a specific course. Weight training and aerobics work well for this purpose. The time between exercises in the circuit is short; move rapidly the next exercise. After completion of the prescribed circuit, repeat it starting at the first exercise. Continue to repeat the circuit until the set amount of time is up.

Since each exercise station changes up the muscle group being worked, no rest is needed when moving between sets of exercises. The exercises are performed in rapid repetitions which raises heart rate. When the heart rate is boosted lots of calories are burned. When done with the session, calories will continue to be consumed for a few hours more.

You decide what exercises to include in the series. The course can be quite simple or complex, whatever suits your needs. A typical circuit should work each section of the body. An example circuit is described below.

#1. Run in place as quickly as possible. Pump arms while moving legs. Easier:  slow down or march in place. More difficult:  raise knees higher (to chest). Do this Warm-Up for 2 minutes only at the beginning of circuit session.

 RunInPlace

#2.  Bench Dip:  Keeping elbows close to sides, lower body almost to floor.  Then press upward until arms are straight.  Easier:  Knees bent and feet flat on the floor. More difficult:  Straighten legs; put feet on chair in front. Do 10 reps per set.

BenchDip

#3Crunch – Bent Knee:  Lay on back, knees bent, arms straight at sides. Keep head & neck in line with spine, tighten abs. Raise shoulders & upper back toward ceiling. Low / middle back & arms stay on floor. Do 15 reps per set.

CrunchBent Knee

#4.  Full Squat: Head is up; back is straight; feet are pointed slightly out. Squat until backs of thighs touch calves. (Easier: thighs parallel to floor). Keep abs tight; balance weight on heels. Adjust arm position for balance. Do 10 reps per set.

FullSquat

#5Wall Push Away:  Facing wall, place hands (fingers up) on wall about shoulder width apart. With body straight, elbows up and heels on floor, lean into wall. Hold position for 4 seconds, then push away using arms. Do 15 reps per set.

WallPush Away

#6Crunch Twist:  With legs bent, tighten abs & raise upper body and 1 leg. Twist to touch opposite elbow to raised knee. Alternate sides. Do 15 reps per set.

CrunchTwist

#7Lunge:  With feet hip width apart, step into a deep forward lunge. Front knee should be aligned with ankle; back knee pointing to the floor. Push back leg to straight keeping rear knee raised.  Hold this position for 7-10 seconds. Repeat with other leg.  Perform the lunge 10 times for each leg.

Lunge0001

#8Standing Bend:  Stand with feet together and reach overhead with palms touching. Bend body to one side as fa as possible. Repeat on other side. Do this Cool Down Stretch only at the end of circuit session.

StandingBend0001