I have once again hit a plateau with my personal exercise routine, which means that its time to take stock of what I’ve been doing and come up with a new and exciting workout.
The entire warmup takes place on the stationary bike and involves the following:
- 5 minutes vigorous cycling;
- 1 minute tricep stretches while cycling; and
- 1 minute shoulder stretches while cycling.
Flexibility happens on an exercise mat and you hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds:
- Hand stretch over head;
- Hand stretch over chest;
- One knee to chest stretches (targets glutes);
- Ankle on knee stretches (also targets glutes);
- Knee across the body stretches (also targets glutes);
- Seated foot over leg stretches;
- Seated floor hamstring stretches;
- Butterfly stretch;
- Shoulder stretch; and
- Upward-facing dog.
Circuit (Cardio and Strength)
When I talk about ‘circuit’ I mean a series of exercises performed rapidly in quick succession on an exercise mat. Some of them involve a kettlebell (16 to 20 kgs) and a weight bag (10 or 15 kgs):
- 100 steps knees-up running on the spot;
- 10 pushups;
- 10 kettlebell swings;
- 10 kettlebell throw and catches;
- 20 situps;
- 10 kettlebell or arm raises;
- 10 weight bag front lower squats; and
- 10 bending bridges.
I usually repeat this circuit four times. It leaves you feeling like you’ve gone for a long run, with the added benefit of significant strength training.
Then I like to move onto a few machines to do a little bit of dedicated arm strength training (although my arms are usually pretty dead after four times circuit training):
- Pull-ups on the pull-up bar (starting with 5 in a row, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1 – resulting in 15 in total); and
- Two sets axe chops on each side on the pull-down machine.
I like to finish off with five minutes on the orbital alternating between running and sprinting every 30 seconds and upping the resistance each minute.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I work out and about adjusting my workout to better achieve that. There was a time that I did exercise just to lose weight, but those days are long gone and now I believe in exercising for other reasons:
- Fitness – I lead and active lifestyle and do a lot of dancing, my workout needs to facilitate that;
- Good sleep – I sometimes struggle to sleep and being physically tired means sleep comes easier; and
- Stress management – human beings are built to put themselves under a certain amount of physical strain which helps them manage stress.
To these ends I intend to explore the following exercise routes:
- More kettlebells – kettlebells are great for dynamic and explosive exercises;
- Yoga – which is great for your mind as well as your body; and
- Zumba – because I’m a dancer and it seems like a natural fit.