Casey and I have continued to check off the boxes on our workout chart posted on the office wall. Last week he designed a new workout, with various strength exercises found online and in Brendan Brazier’s latest book, Thrive Fitness. It is long and tough, but extremely effective.
And if I’ve learned anything from weight lifting in the past, it’s that you have to really push yourself to the point of weakness to get good results. The key to most of these exercises is choosing a heavy enough weight. Most women have a tendency to underestimate how much they can do. Don’t be afraid to pick up something that sounds really heavy! This workout leaves me shaking and exhausted – just as it should.
With the right equipment, these are all exercises that you can do at home. A little investment in a home gym can go a LONG way when you don’t feel like driving to the fitness center, or you only have 30 minutes to squeeze something in. Here is our workout, from start to finish! (All of my weights and reps are included so that you have a basis for how much weight each exercise may require. The entire circuit is worked through two times.)
1. Chin-ups – nothing new here, just like the original. (I do the first set of 6 with Casey holding my feet (to help me!), and the second set until I burn out.)
2. Deadlifts – start bent over with a flat back, and keep the bar as close to you as possible while you lift up and bring the bar to waist height. (I do 2 sets of 90 lbs. total, including the 10 lb bar.)
3. Calf Raises – these are easy to do on any staircase or step. Put your foot on the edge of the step so that your heel can sink below, and raise up to your toes – up and down. (I do 2 sets of 25 reps on each foot.)
4. Shoulder Press – this is one of those “choose a heavier weight” exercises. I chose 20 lb weights, and will probably bump it up to 25 lbs next week. Start with your arms bent at shoulder height, and press up above your head. Slowly lower back to your shoulders and repeat. (I do 2 sets of 8 reps with 40 lbs total.)
5. Bench Squats – hold your weights at your side and slowly lower down onto a chair or bench. When your butt his the chair, use your quad muscles to spring back up to a standing position quickly. (I do 2 sets of 8 reps with 40 lbs total.)
6. Cleans – start with bar at waist height and use your back and leg muscles to swing the bar up to your shoulders out in front of you. This one is very hard, especially if you haven’t done it before. (I do 2 sets of 8 reps with 50 lbs total.)
7. March – start in crunch position on an exercise ball. Using your core muscles to carefully balance, twist and bring your elbow up to your opposite knee, working those important oblique muscles. (I do 2 sets of 25 reps on each side.)
8. Pushups – again, nothing groundbreaking here. Pushups are one of the most effective exercises you can do for a total body workout, and they don’t cost a penny – all you need is YOU! (I do 2 sets of 15 reps.)
9. Jackknife – start on the floor with your legs and arms slightly elevated. Use your core muscles to bring your arms and legs together over your head. These are particularly difficult when your dog wants to snuggle every time you lay down on the floor. (I do 2 sets of 25 reps, and these make me want to puke.)
10. Squat w/ Lat Raise – start with weights by your side and squat down as deep as you can go. As you come up from your squat, lift your arms out to the sides until they reach a parallel level with the floor. (I do 2 sets of 8 reps with two 12 lb weights – 24 lbs total.)
11. Footlift – this one was taken directly out of Thrive Fitness. Attach a weight to your foot using a bungee cord or other ripe. Perch your foot on the edge of a chair or bench, and loop the cord with the weight over your shoe. Bend foot down towards the floor and back up to the ceiling, lifting the weight up as you go. (I do 2 sets of 25 reps on each foot with an 8 lb weight.)
12. Hamstring Curls – start with feet up on an exercise ball, body as flat as possible. Bend knees to bring ball towards the body, and then roll back out to a flat plank. (I do 2 sets of 25 reps.)
13. Side Crunch with Leg Lift – Casey says that this one feels very 1980’s Jazzercise. :) Lay on your side with one arm stretched out and the other behind your head. Contract your oblique muscles to lift top leg and bend towards it with your torso. (I do 2 sets of 25 reps on each side.)
14. Bent-over Rows – start bent-over with bar lifting slightly off of the floor. Without moving your back, pull bar up to your chest using your back and bicep muscles. (I do 2 sets of 50 lbs total.)
15. Opposite Leg/Arm Lift – lay on the floor with arms and legs stretched out. Lift up opposite arm and leg, and then switch to lift the other arm and leg. This move feels really funny at first – like rubbing your stomach and patting your head. (I do 2 sets of 25 reps on each side.)
WHEW – you are done! In total, this workout takes us about an hour, and we do it every other day. I know an hour seems long on paper, but think about all the other things you (me included!) are willing to waste an hour on each day – Facebook, American Idol, etc…
Running, or another type of cardio, is essential for burning fat and helping with weight loss. But muscle tone and definition will not develop without weight lifting, and the harder you push yourself, the faster and more pronounced your results will be – and the more likely you will be to keep working out consistently because of those results.