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Midweek "Routine Booster"

Winter is here and many of those New Year’s resolutions have fitness routines in full swing. Having that routine is surely a good thing. It’s keeping you focused. It’s keeping you on track and chances are it’s working. Well, as often as we say “change is good”, we conversely say “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. So while your routine is working, maybe you can hang on to it, but tweak it enough to keep it from becoming stale. I am a big fan of having it all!

Your workout may be a good one. It may contain all the right things in all the right amounts. To top it off - if you are still doing it, chances are it’s comfortable, convenient and working. Giving it up in the interest of change may not be the answer right now. But in the interest of prevention - here’s a midweek ‘routine booster’ designed to give you the best of both worlds.

I have my clients swapping this in for one of their ‘full body’ workouts’ in the middle of the week. They get to keep all the stuff they love, all the stuff that works, but their routine gets a facelift before it gets stale. Their minds and bodies are responding to the change with new energy and physical results. It appears to be a terrific combination of staying on track and enjoying a fresh start. Give it a try. Chances are it will do the same for you. Here’s a sample format…

We begin as always with a 3-5 minute gentle warm-up of walking cycling or any low level cardiovascular activity. We move on to 30 seconds of push-ups (or chest exercise) and alternate with 30 seconds of squats (or other leg/quadriceps exercise). This 1st sequence is repeated a total of 3 times. Movement is at a somewhat brisk pace without sacrificing proper form and alignment.

Once this sequence has been alternated a 3rd time we move on to sequence #2 which is one arm rows (or any upper back exercise) and lunges (or leg curls or any leg exercise with hamstring involvement). Again each is performed for 30 seconds alternating between the two exercises. After repeating the sequence 3 times we move on to the 3rd sequence.

The 3rd sequence combines upper body and cardiovascular exercise. Each upper body exercise is performed for 30 seconds and alternated with cardio for 1 min. Exercises include shoulder press for 30 seconds, bike 1 minute – bicep curls 30 seconds, bike 1 minute – triceps extensions 30 seconds, bike 1 minute. As in the previous sequences we repeat the entire sequence 3 times. For those without a bike, any cardio will do from a treadmill, walking in place, jump rope, jumping jacks, knee lifts etc. (The bike worked great because we kept the dumbbells nearby and lifted them while still seated on the bike – then went right back to pedaling after each exercise.)

We round out the routine with 3 abdominal exercises (we vary them from workout to workout) and one set of lower back extensions. There were times that clients did cardio workouts separate from this routine and in that case we alternated shoulders, biceps and triceps with abdominal exercises instead of the cardio.

Cool-down is 3 minutes of gentle walking followed by full body stretches. The entire session including warm-up, cool-down and stretches is usually 30 minutes maximum.

Remember, all exercises may not be suitable for all participants. Observe all rules regarding safe and suitable intensity. Be sure to have your physician’s approval before beginning any exercise routine.

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LORI HODGKINSONSenior Correspondent

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