Fit&Happier Workout of the Month defined: These are 30 minute general fitness workouts designed to offer a complete and balanced approach to strength and cardiovascular training in the most efficient way possible. Strength training workouts will each feature a different form of resistance, or load, so that you can choose the type of resistance based on equipment availability and your preference. These will offer full-body strength training and muscle toning with base exercises appropriate for beginners and progressions for those more experienced in strength training. Cardio workouts are designed to get the most calorie burn possible in the time allotted. Combo workouts combine strength and cardio training into one, efficient, full-body, calorie-burning workout. All workouts conclude with flexibility training as no workout is complete without it. Click on the exercises to link to step-by-step written and video instructions provided by ACE Fitness.
Resistance Tubes: When it comes to versatility, space efficiency and budget-friendliness there is no strength training product better than a set of resistance tubes. The average set, which can fit in a bread bag and weighs less than a pound, will contain a variety of resistance levels to mimic the external load of products such as a full set of dumbbells or medicine balls but for a fraction of the cost. In order to have the most versatility in strength training options, be sure to acquire a set that includes three to five resistance levels, a door anchor and an ankle cuff. Here is a link to an example of the set I use with my clients, which runs around $30 retail.
In order to avoid injury, be sure to triple check the security of the anchor points before beginning any exercise. Also, check the tubes for wear and tear each time you workout with them, especially as they age or if you use them often.
Resistance Tube Strength & Flexibility Training Workout
Concept: Use resistance tubes anchored at various points to strengthen, tone and stretch the major muscle groups of the body: upper arms, shoulders, core (back and abdominals), hips and legs. Use the lowest resistance tube in which you can perform at least 10 repetitions with good form but where you reach your maximum effort at or below the 16th repetition. If you can perform 16 or more repetitions with excellent form before reaching exhaustion, you should progress up a resistance level. If you lose form before the 10th repetition, you should go down a resistance level.
Maximum effort or muscle exhaustion means that you can’t perform another repetition of the exercise without losing form and/or engaging another muscle group. An example being, when performing biceps curls, the biceps are being targeted and the movement should be only elbow flexion and extension. As one reaches her maximum effort/point of exhaustion, the biceps may begin to feel strained or “burn” and/or the individual may begin to swing or sway at the hips or torso, engaging hip or abdominal muscles instead of the biceps muscles.
I recommend using a cushioned, no-slip surface to perform this workout, such as an exercise mat or open area of wall-to-wall carpeting. Be sure to have enough unobstructed space around you to allow for full range of motion of arms and legs. Perform this workout 1-3 times per week, allowing at least 48 hours before repeating this workout.
Warm-Up: 2-5 minutes of high knee marching, swinging opposing arms to shoulder height as you lift knees to hip height or any other form of moderate cardio movement you choose. The goal is to raise your heart-rate slightly before working your muscles.
Strength Workout: Perform the following exercise circuit in succession with no rest between exercises
- Squats: 10-16 repetitions. Works core, hips and legs. Attach handles to each end of tube. Stand on resistance tube with both feet so the tube is centered under you while each hand is grasping each handle. Position handles at height that allows for proper resistance in upward phase of squat.
- Lat Pull-Downs: 10-16 repetitions. Works back. Slide tube through loop of door anchor. Securely anchor in a doorway above your head. If necessary, for proper resistance during the pull-down phase, you can perform in kneeling position.
- Standing Rotation: 10-16 repetitions, each side. Works abs/core, especially obliques. Position door anchor to chest-height, hold both handles in one hand.
- Seated High Back Row: 10-16 repetitions. Works arms, back and shoulders. Position anchor in door frame or loop tube (without anchor) around leg of sturdy, heavy piece of furniture (such as dining room table) at chest height while seated on floor, facing anchor point.
- Standing Hip Adduction & Standing Hip Abduction: 10-16 repetitions of both exercise on both legs. Works inner & outer thighs, hip & glutes. Remove handles, place anchor low on door frame or remove anchor and loop tube around the leg of a sturdy, heavy piece of furniture (such as dresser or dining room table) at ankle height. Attach both ends of tube to ankle cuff. Secure ankle cuff on ankle, perform adduction exercise, reposition body to perform abduction exercise. Repeat on opposite leg.
- After performing each exercise once, rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat the circuit (squats through ab/adductions) for a second set of each exercise. After performing the circuit twice, perform the flexibility workout.
Flexibility Workout: Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and breathe deeply throughout the stretches.
- Quad/Hip Flexor Stretch: this stretch is done lying on side but progression in the link offers a deeper stretch by performing in standing position. Be sure to stretch both legs.
- Cat-Cow: stretches chest, abs, back & shoulders.
- Seated Straddle Stretch: Stretches inner thighs, hamstrings & glutes.
- Leg Cross-Over Stretch: stretches obliques, back & outer thighs. Stretch both sides.
- Childs Pose: a relaxing stretch for your core to end your workout
Author’s Note: Always consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.
Previous Fit&Happier Workouts of the Month – January: Body Weight Strength Training
Check back for these upcoming Fit&Happier Workouts of the Month – March: Free Weight Strength Training; April: Medicine Ball Strength Training; May: Stability Ball Strength Training; June: Balance & Strength Training; July: Functional Training (Strength); August: Interval Training (Cardio); September: Schoolyard Play Workout (Combo); October: Outdoor Cardio & Strength Combo; November: Timed Circuit (Combo); December: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training-Cardio)
Click on the link to view previous Activity-Specific Workouts of the Month: Hockey & Cross-Country Skiing, Snowboarding & Figure Skating, Golf & Softball, Distance Running, Racquet Sports, Swimming, Waterskiing & Surfing, Cycling, Rowing & Desk Jockeys, Track, Field & Court Sports, Throwing & Pitching, Dancing, Downhill Skiing