Good afternoon, bloggies! (that’s blog+buddies, fyi.) I wonder if anyone reading has done the upper body workout I posted! You all know that Tuesday was my last leg routine of the year (still sore and still best friends with ginger tea, by the way). Well, this morning was my last 2010 upper body workout. Not total body, mind you, like the beginner workout I included a few days ago; nay, I only targeted my chest and triceps (my personal favorites). So why the switch from working my entire upper body to just a few muscle groups? Read onward, fit ones!
Okay, for the first two to four months of any beginner’s fitness journey, I suggest, along with Michael Prince (Texas’s best trainer, who has much more knowledge and experience than I), two routines two to four times a week. Quoting from my book:
Two to four months is generally how long it takes for one to move from beginner level to intermediate. Four months is enough time for your body to adapt before moving on to more advanced routines (p. 79).
As you could probably guess, training your whole upper body at once rather than dividing it up also saves time. This is especially important if you’ve never hit the weights before because, let’s face it, being in an unfamiliar environment doesn’t evoke the most pleasant of emotions at first; it can cause us to feel anxious, inhibited, and even resentful – not feelings we want to harbor if we intend to make gym attendance part of our lifestyle!
So, getting in and out of the gym is a major plus to most. It was to me when I started training seven years ago. Between the complexities of the cable system, monolithic machines being maneuvered by jocks and meatheads, and the cacophony of exertion-induced grunts, the weight room seemed more like a medieval dungeon fit for indecorous interrogation.
Having only two routines at the beginning, you’re sure to memorize them in no-time, and you’ll feel less intimidated each time you pick up the dumbbells. I quickly realized that there’s a significant measure of confidence that comes with sheer repetition…
As you master the movements and feel your muscles becoming more and more acclimated to the stress of resistance and yes, soreness, you’ll be ready to move on to intermediate routines that include dividing up the muscle groups. But more on that later! It’s time for a lower body workout! 🙂
Stay fit, stay faithful, ~<3 Di
Remember to warm up for 6-10 minutes. Perform 2-3 sets of each exercise. “*” means you should choose a weight appropriate for the given number of repetitions (reps).
- Leg extensions – 12-15 reps (*)
- Adjust machine for your height.
- Sit in machine, holding onto handles on either side of the seat to stabilize your body throughout the movement.
- Bend knees and place ankles behind leg extension pads.
- Inhale while raising legs until they are parallel to the floor or until legs are straight (knees do NOT lock)
- As you lower the weight, do not allow weight stack to touch. Focus on keeping the pressure on your quads (front thighs).
- Stationary lunge – 10- 12 reps (body weight only)
- Place hands on hips with feet shoulder-width apart.
- With lunging leg, step forward either onto the floor or an elevation 3-5 inches high.
- Your lunging leg distance should be far enough so that you make a 90 degree angle with your working knee.
- Keep upper body perpendicular to floor.
- To return to starting position, push off with your heel, bringing working leg back to starting position.
- Repeat reps on same leg.
- Switch legs and repeat.
- Lying hamstring curl – 10-12 reps (*)
- Adjust machine so that pad rests on the Achilles tendon, right above the heel as you lie face down.
- Inhale, curling legs toward your butt, contracting hamstrings (back thighs) completely.
- Exhale as you straighten legs downward. Do not extend legs full, keeping a slight bend in your knees.
- Standing calf raise – 15-20 reps (*)
- Maintain balance, i.e., hold onto something and place one foot on platform. Cross non-working leg behind the other.
- With working leg, keep the ball of your foot on the platform with your heel hanging off.
- Lower your heel toward the floor, stretching the calf with knees straight (knee is “locked out”).
- Reach a tip-toe position, rotating to the inner ball of the foot.
- Contract the calf muscle, hold for one second, and return to starting position.
- Complete reps and switch legs.