Weights to tone and shape
Last week’s blog was all about getting out into the great outdoors and running and, if you felt the urge, to throw in some exercises and turn your run into a running circuit. Well, this week, there is far less gasping for breath as you sprint between trees and a lot more grunting as you lift weights to the point of exhaustion.
Before you set off on this weights session, make sure you are warm and stretched, which might mean jumping on the treadmill or the bike and getting your heart rate up and your muscles warm, but this group of exercises is all about form and making sure you are working the correct body parts.
An alternative for developing muscles
These exercises are all designed to tone, rather than increase muscle size, hence the higher number of reps. If you are looking to promote muscle growth, then lower the amount of repetitions but increase the weight you are lifting – you should be at the point of failure by the time you have reached the eighth rep in this scenario.
Getting ready for action
All you need for these exercises are a mat, a pair of dumbbells – weighted so that you can perform the exercise but by the time you get towards the end of a set, you are feeling the pain.
Work your way through the four exercises, and repeat the whole programme five times. The number of reps are listed at the end of each exercise description.
Low Surrender Squats
Start in a low squat position with dumbbell weights held at shoulders. Step your right foot back behind you, planting the ball of the foot on the floor as you gently lower your knee to the ground. Both knees should be at opposing 90-degree angles. Step your left foot back to meet the right so that you’re kneeling on the ground. Step your right foot forward so that you’re in the same position as before, just with the opposite foot in front. Bring your left foot forward (staying low), returning to your starting low squat position. Switch your lead foot each rep.
Do 12 reps (six on each side).
Works: Quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and glutes
Chest-Overhead Press Jacks
Start standing with your feet together and a single dumbbell held in both hands at your chest. As you jump your feet out wide, press the weight forward and chest height. Jump the feet back together and return the weight to starting position. Next time you jump the feet out wide, press the weight overhead. Jump feet back to starting position, lowering the weight. That’s 1 rep. This is a quick movement, but make sure you don’t end up flailing your arms around as your muscles get tired.
Do 20 reps.
Works: Triceps, biceps, deltoids, trapezius, pectorals, rhomboids, plus legs and core.
Row Plank Jumps
Start in a plank position holding dumbbells planted firmly on the ground beneath your shoulders. From this starting position, do a row on each side, first driving the right elbow up to the ceiling and then the left, lifting the dumbbell up close to the side of your body. Try to keep your hips level as you do this; don’t twist open towards the rowing side (having a wider stance with your feet will help accomplish this). After you’ve rowed each side, quickly jump your feet up outside your hands and then back to you plank position. That’s 1 rep.
Do 20 reps.
Works: Triceps, biceps, deltoids, abdominals.
Full Body Crunch
Start laying on your back with legs outstretched and hovering a couple inches off the ground. Holding a weight in your hands, arms should be outstretched overhead and hovering as well. From this starting position, crunch up, bringing your knees in towards your chest as you lift your shoulder blades off the ground and bring the weight up and over towards your shins. Extend back out, lowering to starting position. The goal is to never bring the legs and/or weight to rest on the ground when you extend back out.
Do 15 reps.
Works: Abdominals, Latissimus, hip flexors, triceps and biceps, quadriceps.
As always, if you need help with these or any other exercises, then talk to one of our friendly, knowledgeable gym staff who can be found in the Outlooks Gym.