Workout techniques to help you during the summer
July 15, 2008
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you are ready for a little midsummer strengthening, the following exercises will firm and tone the hips, thighs and buns. Do each move 12 to 15 times, two times a week. If you stick with it, fabulous, fit and firm glutes are just four to six weeks away.
DEAD LIFT OR GOOD MORNING
What you need: Two 5-pound weights.
What to remember: Breathe.
1. Start in a neutral position, holding the weights in front of you.
2. With knees slightly bent, bend forward, reaching down to mid-calf.
3. Bend the knees slightly and keep abdominals tight as you return to a standing position.
What you need: Resistance band shaped in a figure eight.
What to remember: Hold your abdominals in as you move.
1. Slip one foot, then the other in a rubber resistance band shaped in a figure eight. Start out on your knees and elbows with your body in a straight line. Make sure to hold your abdominals in.
2. While balancing on one knee, bend the other at a right angle and push your foot — sole side up — toward the ceiling. Return to original position.
What you need: A step 4 to 6 inches high and two 5-pound weights.
What to remember: Maintain good posture throughout exercise.
1. Stand with shoulders down, heart lifted upward and belly button drawn in. Hold a 5-pound weight in each hand. Step back with one leg while your front leg remains on the step.
2. The knee should make a right angle over your ankle — not over your toes. Return to the starting position using your front heel to push yourself up.
Want great abdominal muscles by September? Start now with some simple but effective exercises that tighten and strengthen muscles. Personal trainer Glory Thomas recommends doing these three exercises, which she demonstrates in the photos, in repetitions of 10 at least three times a week. Two of them involve a high-quality exercise ball, widely available for less than $20. The balls are at the top of a list of exercise essentials compiled by the American Council on Exercise.
CRUNCHES ON AN EXERCISE BALL
1. Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor and scoot forward as the ball rolls back slowly, until you are lying back with the ball in the small of your back, knees bent, thighs and torso parallel to the floor.
2. With one hand beneath your neck, contract your abdominal muscles and your pelvic floor
muscles. Exhale as you lift up your head and shoulders by 30 to 40 degrees off the ball, in a crunch.
3. Inhale as you relax and return to your starting position. Repeat crunch 10 times. (For better balance, spread your feet a little wider. To work harder, move your feet closer together.)
CRUNCHES WITH A BALL BETWEEN YOUR FEET
1. Lie on your back with knees bent, and exercise ball between your feet. Place hands behind your knees, grasp the ball with your feet and ankles and raise it up over your lower torso.
2. Put one hand behind your head and one on the lower abdomen to feel the contraction. Exhale as you slowly lift your head and shoulders up off the mat, using your abdominal muscles to execute the crunch. Slowly lower your head and shoulders as you inhale, maintaining control. Keep your back pulled down to the floor and the ball between your feet. Repeat the crunch 10 times.
FULL BODY SQUEEZE TICK-TOCK
1. Lie flat on your back with legs outstretched, then lift your knees to a bent position and grasp, with your hands, the backs of your legs, behind your knees. Slowly pull your torso up to about a 45-degree angle, making your belly concave. Imagine your belly button is being pushed back against your spine.
2. Stretch out both arms in front of you and hold center position for 15 seconds. Lie back slowly, then repeat 10 times.
UP IN ARMS
Strong, sleek arms and shoulders might be easier than you think. Sculpting your arms and shoulders requires little equipment, just inexpensive resistance tubing or light weights, even homemade ones. For instance, 1-gallon milk jugs filled with water weigh about 8 pounds. With all these exercises, switch to a lower weight if you cannot maintain good control at all times; change to a heavier one if the movements are too easy.
The idea: To work muscles in the front of the upper arms. Can be done seated or standing, with light weights or a resistance band.
1. Sit on the edge of a bench or chair, feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging at your sides, palms facing forward. Pick up a 3- to 5-pound weight in each hand and slowly begin raising the weights up to your shoulders.
2. As you raise the weights, rotate your wrists toward your body.
3. Continue raising your arms until they are fully contracted. Then, keeping your spine perfectly straight, lower the weights on each side, until your arms are again fully extended. Repeat slowly 10 to 12 times.
The idea: To work the three-headed muscle on the back of the upper arms. Can be done standing, sitting or lying back on a bench or the floor.
1. Use the same dumbbells (or ones that are slightly lighter) that you used for the biceps curl. Grab a weight in each hand and lie back on an exercise bench. Raise your arms over your head, holding the weights steady, palms facing each other. Do not rock or move your arms for balance.
2. Hold weights above your head for several seconds and slowly lower the weights down on either side of your head, rotating your wrists until they face down.
3. End the movement with elbows bent, dumbbells behind
the top of your head. Repeat 10 to 12 times, keeping the movement slow and controlled.
The idea: To work the side and rear shoulders. Can be done standing or seated, but standing offers the advantage of working overall core muscles as well as shoulders.
1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing each other. The weights should be next to your shoulders and your elbows below the weights.
2. Exhale and tighten abs as you slowly press dumbbells toward the ceiling, arms slightly bent. (Arms can be a little forward to prevent arching your back).
3. End the movement with arms straight overhead; pause slightly. Then, slowly lower weights straight back down to starting position in a fluid, controlled motion. Repeat 10 to 12 times for one set.