Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Have Washcloth, Will Workout

  It is that time of the year again.  The last six weeks of the year just might be the most hectic of them all.  You are traveling and visiting with family, spending large amounts of money on vacations and presents, wrapping up end-of-the-year duties, and typically eating yourself comatose with comfort foods.  There is no doubt about, to survive and succeed during this busy time you have to prioritize and schedule most activities.  Sadly during this process one of the first things people throw out is working out.  No time for the gym and no time to cook homemade healthy meals.  If you slack in these two areas, however, you could set yourself back significantly.  And, it will surely take more than six weeks to undo the damage.  So with that in mind I wanted to make a post that lays out a simple and effective workout that can be implemented during this holiday season. 

As the name of this post implies all you need for this workout is some old wash clothes that you have around the house.  If for some reason you don't have any lying around you can purchase some for probably less than $2.00.  This workout uses just your bodyweight as the resistance so no equipment is needed.  The wash clothes are used to decrease friction between you and the ground allowing for various sliding movements.  Simply find an open area with a hard, slick surface such as wood or tile, and you are ready to go.  So let's get to it:

The first exercise is the sliding lunge.  It works the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and is also a great exercise that increases balance.  Focus on sliding smoothly, pushing through the heel of the front foot, keeping the front knee and shin over the front foot, and squeezing the muscles at the top of the movement.  Perform all repetitions on one leg, then switch legs and repeat.  Focus more on form and muscle activation instead of just grinding them out.  

Next is the Atomic Push Up.  This is a great exercise the works the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles.  Keep the elbow at about a 45 degree angle from the body,      
maintain tight abdominal muscles (Don't let your hips sag), and bring the knees all the way to the chest on each rep.  Again, focus on form and movement, not quick reps. If you cannot perform full range pushups then drop to you knees and perform the movement.  Full range of motion on your knees is better then partial range off your knees.

Moving on we have the Side/Lateral Squat.  This is essentially a standard squat on one leg while the other leg slides out to the side.  Your level of flexibility will dictate how far out to the side you slide so be careful and go slow.  You will feel a good stretch in the inner thigh.  Focus on keeping your toes pointed straight ahead and try to limit side to side movement of the working/squatting leg. Remember to work both sides.

The next exercise is the Mountain Climber.  This exercise works the chest, shoulders, core, quads, and lungs.  This is the only movement where you can just crank out as many reps as possible during a set.  It is typically used as a conditioning exercise and after an intense bout you will feel it throughout the whole body.  Keep the arms and core tight and pump the legs back and forth rhythmically.

Now let's hit the posterior side of the body.  This exercise is the Sliding Leg Curl.  It really isolates the hamstring muscles, but you also work in the glutes and lower back muscles.  Be warned, hamstring cramps are common with this exercise so stay in a modest rep range.  Start by lifting your hips off the ground and maintaining a straight and rigid body from head to toe.  Then slide your heels toward your butt.  If you cannot perform the movement then just hold the rigid, straight position for time.

This last exercise I like to call the MerMan.  I call it so because this is how I imagine a Merman would get around if you were stranded on dry land.  It is a tremendous core exercise and also hits the shoulder muscles nicely.  Be sure to keep a tight and rigid core throughout and be sure to go both forward and backward.  To prevent too much stress on the shoulders use small steps with the hands and do not reach too far forward.  If you have wrist pain/issues, this may not be the best exercise for you.

So there you have it.  Six great exercises that you can do at home before shopping, between meals, first thing in the morning, or even on a lunch break.  You can incorporate the exercises however you like but my recommendation would be to perform a timed circuit of all the exercises.  A good workout would be to perform each exercise for 40 seconds, rest 20 seconds, then move on to the next exercise.  I listed them is order of the best sequence to perform.  Depending on time and fitness level you can repeat the circuit 3 to 4 times.  That means you can get in a pretty intense workout in just 18-24 minutes.  Hope you enjoy and Happy Holidays.

  ,Amerson Fitness