With summer upon us and wanting to maximize our efforts in a shorter period of time, let’s discuss some tips and tricks to capitalize on your workout. First off, if you haven’t been exercising regularly then take caution when introducing higher intensity workouts. With higher intensity comes higher risk of possible injuries. As we increase speed, force and complexity of an exercise we also increase risk. If you have been exercising regularly and you are looking to up the intensity a bit here are some ideas.
1. Introduce compound movements that use multiple large muscle groups at the same time. Forget isolating one muscle with an exercise and instead complete a compound multi-joint exercise. For example, instead of a basic Biceps Curl, complete a Squat-Bicep Curl-Shoulder Press as one compound repetition. Selecting 4 – 6 exercises of this type can replace 12-14 other exercises you would normally perform when isolating muscle groups. This saves you time and increases the intensity greatly.
2. No rest for the wicked as they say. Build a circuit workout where to move from one exercise to next swiftly, limiting the amount of rest you take between each one. We often talk about resting 30-90 seconds between sets of the same exercise for one specific muscle group. Instead, pick two or three compound exercises that target different muscle groups and cycle through multiple sets with minimal rest. Caution: keep an eye on your breathing and heart rate and take adequate rest before moving to the next exercise. If this is a new style of workout for you then you may need 15-30 seconds or more before moving on. As you become more fit and more accustomed to this style of workout your need for rest will decrease.
3. Decrease the duration of your cardiovascular workouts as the compound exercise and circuit workouts build in a higher cardiovascular component. If you need to shave some time off of your weekly workout time, you may find this style of summer program can get you enough of a boost in your heart rate that you can lighten up the duration of or the total time you spend on your cardio workouts. Don’t give them up completely though, nothing beats a nice steady state elevated heart rate workout a couple times a week.
4. The compound exercises are some that you can fit into your day in bits and pieces if need be. Think of taking kids to the playground, while they run around, jump and play why spend your time on your phone or sipping coffee. Incorporate some pull ups, step ups, jump ups, push ups, leg lifts, squats, lunges and climbing into your supervising time. It may not have the same cardiovascular component as the circuit style workout, but you can certainly work on your compound movement strength training.
5. Take advantage of the resistance of water. If you will be spending time in the pool, lake, or river this summer add some exercises to your play time. There are a whole host of exercises that you can perform in the water that you may find difficult to complete when not in water. Water jogging is a great way to boost your cardio with little or no impact on joints. Add some arm and leg exercises and can bang out a full workout while keeping an eye on the kiddies (and stay warm in the water too).
Sarah Estabrooks, Kinesiologist
Sarah is a Kinesiologist and manages the Fitness Centre at the Human Performance Centre. You can contact her at 738-3554