Thursday, May 3, 2007

Get Strong & Sexy!

Fit Flash: Wantto work those muscles more? Go for it! Webbe suggests adding in a pump class here or there.
You're finally up to speed with your cardio workouts and stretch exercises. So how come your arms, legs and abs are still wanting in the definition department? It's because you haven't treated them to muscle training yet! Edited by Katrina Lawrence

You know it by now: Weights are an essential part of a get-fit or shape-up workout gramme. It's actually not about getting an Arnie-bod. The just-right number and intensity will increase your muscle mass, which in turn will ignite your metabolism so that your body can start blitzing its fat sources faster (meaning you can chomp a couple more nachos without worrying). "Too many women focus on cardio-only exercising," says exercise scientist Lincoln Webbe, "but they don't appreciate how resistance work can get them their desired benefits sooner." Weight work is also an ideal way to "carve up" the body, adding some sexy definition.

Webbe devised a special resistance workout with the goal of all-over conditioning in mind. In a month, you should be seeing results. This series of muscle moves is designed to be undertaken as a circuit (and in this specific order). Fewer rest periods between exercises also keeps your heart pumping, which is vital at the beginning of a new fitness programme. Do have a rest of about 20 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

Each exercise is done for 40 seconds. Begin with the minimum amount of repetitions as listed with each move. Gradually, the more you can do within the time frame, the better. Speed is really a great way to intensify your workout. There are also other ways. For instance, hand weights are really worth investing in - start out with 2kg to 3kg dumbbells. Another way to intensify your resistance workout is to increase the number of circuits.

For the more advanced, start out with two circuits; beginners should stick to one. By the third week, you should all be attempting an extra circuit - and by the fourth week, aim to be breezing through three circuits, at east.

Before you start, "make sure you keep your abdominal muscles pulled in when you do all of these exercises; it helps to stabilise you," says Webbe. By sucking in your tummy, you will also be promoting core strength, better posture and great back health.

1. Step-ups
Stand in front of a step or a stable box. With your right foot, step up on the step, then bring your left foot up so that you're standing on the middle of the step. Reverse the movement, taking your right foot down first, followed by your left. Repeat, this time stepping up first with your left foot. Minimum: 15 steps per leg. Make it harder: Quicken pace; use hand weights; take higher steps.

2. Straddle Step
Stand with legs on either side of your step or box. Step up with right foot, then bring left foot up to stand directly on top. Reverse down, taking your right foot down, then the left. Next, repeat – but starting with the left foot. Minimum: 30 straddles (15 starting with the right side, 15 with the left). Make it harder: Increase repetitions; hold hand weights; make step higher.
3.Bicep curl: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding your hand weights with arms down by your side and palms facing forwards. Keeping your arms steady from the elbows to the shoulder, curl your weights up to your chest, then slowly lower weights back to the starting position. Minimum: 15. Make it harder: Increase the number you do; increase weights.
4.Upright row: Stand with legs Shoulder-width apart; holding hand weights in front of you with arms straight down, and your palms facing towards you. Pull your hands up to your chest, keeping them close to you and pointing elbows upwards. Return to the starting position. Minimum: 10 to 15. Make it harder: Increase the number of repetitions; increase weights.

5.Shoulder press: Stand squarely with your feet hip-width apart. Hold hand weights up at shoulder height, with your palms facing forward and your elbows tucked by your side. Steadily straighten both your arms, then return to starting position. Minimum: 10 to 15. Make it harder: Increase the number you do; increase weights.

6.Single arm row: step left leg forward into a lunge position and bend forward slightly at the waist; place your left hand on your left thigh for support. With a weight in your right hand, bring that arm up from a hanging-down position, keeping elbow close to the body and pointing upwards. Return to starting position. Repeat with your left arm. Minimum: 20. Make it harder: Increase repetitions; increase the weights.

7.Kneeling push-ups: Kneel down and place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart and directly under your shoulders, with your fingers facing forwards. Keeping your back in a completely straight line, bend at the elbows to lower yourself as far to the floor as you can go. Minimum: 10 to 15. Make it harder: Increase the number of repetitions.
8.Ab crunches: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and small of your back pushed into the ground. Resting your hands on your thighs, use your stomach muscles to curl yourself up. Keep eyes on ceiling and don't strain your neck. Resume starling position. Minimum: 10 to 15. Make it harder: Increase repetitions.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Having A Ball !

Originally used by physiotherapists to help those with orthopaedic or neurological problem, the exercise ball proved to be particularly benefitcial in increasing a user's reactions and reflexes, as well as helping to correct muscle imbalances where one side of the body is stronger than the other.

Available in many sizes ranging from 35 to 55cm in diameter, exercise balls should be selected based on your size. If the ball is too small for you, the exercise will not be done correctly. Befour you begin any exercise, warm up by doing a five to 10 minute routine of low impact aerobic exercises (such as brisk walking, cycling or low impact rope skipping) and a light stretching routine after your exercise. Here are some great exercises to do with an exercise ball. GO HAVE A BALL!

Difficulty : Advanced
Benefit : Strengthens shoulders and abdomen.
  1. Place knees on the ball, with your toes and legs straight. Place your palms straight on the floor.
  2. Use your leg to roll the ball forward. Then turn to the starting position.
  3. Repeat 10-12 times.

Difficulty : Novice
Benefit : Strengthens and stretches your legs and quadriceps (front of the thighs). Strengthens and stabilises your torso.

  1. Lie on the mat with your palms flat on the floor beside you. Place your legs on the ball.
  2. Use the inside of your ankles and grasp the ball firmly. Ensure that your knees are above your hips.
  3. Raise your ankles and lift the ball. Lower it, and repeat. Do this 10-12 times.