According to the article in the Sept issue of Health magazine, “After a killer workout, hitting the gym again is probably the last thing on your mind. But… doing light exercise two days after a tough session is as effective as a massage for relieving aches.”
We all know that the soreness we feel is due to the tiny muscle tears that occur when we stress muscles to build muscle strength. Some light exercise a day or two after an intense one will increase your blood flow, promote healing and enable the muscles to move more easily.
The article calls out these mini workouts “to combat achiness”:
- Take a Walk – a 20 minute stroll at moderate pace around the neighborhood or on a treadmill.
- Hit the Pool – Swimming a few easy laps will warm up the body and boost circulation. And best of all – it’s super low impact so won’t jar your joints.
- Work Out Your Core – Balance, or core focused moves, like single leg squats or side planks improve blood flow, up overall fitness and still give whining muscles a break.
And when all else fails, I hear a day at the spa is a scientifically proven cure-all!
Fitbata!™ exercise is the latest in Small Group Training designed for all fitness levels. This 45 minute interval-format class has you performing simple moves, over short durations to achieve lasting results. This is a total body workout conducted twice a week that will cover Upper Body, Lower Body and Core. You’ll learn to follow the work-rest intervals and progress the moves at your rate over the 8 week session. Fitbata!™ is also the first FitnessEDGE class to provide additional email support with Menu Monday (Recipe/Ingredient of the Week), Hump Day Healthy Hints and Fit Friday Mini At-home Workouts.
Sign up now for 8 weeks on Tuesday & Thursday EVENINGS, 6PM – 6:45PM or 8 weeks on Tuesday & Thursday MORNINGS 6AM-6:45AM.
What? Work harder but shorter to burn fat? Haven’t we always been told we need to spend endless hours at moderate effort to burn the extra pounds? Well more recent studies show that shorter, higher intensity workouts (think HIITS) actually results in more fat burn overall than the moderate exertion in a longer cardio workout. If these shorter workouts can really deliver results it’s great news for everyone ‘cuz what’s the number one excuse why people don’t exercise? that’s right… time!
So what is it about this higher intensity format and why shouldn’t you just hide before someone tries to make you do it?
First word. EPOC . Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption. Translation – burn up to 5x more calories AFTER your workout. That’s right. EPOC increases your metabolism and burns calories (and hence fat) for up to 24 hours following your exercise. This effect is not seen with low-moderate intensity exercises. (see this reference).
Second word. Interval. Without getting all clinical and technical, it simply means seconds of exercise followed by seconds of rest. Each exercise/rest cycle is called an interval. Now combine some intervals back to back and you have a set. Pretty simple really.
Third word. Effort. The other part of the equation. (you thought I was going to say intensity, right? but I know that word scares you…) The idea is, during those seconds of exercise, you’re supposed to “give it all ya got”, then rest, and repeat. There are different timing cycles, with the best known being 20/10 for 8 rounds totaling 4 minutes or Tabata timing. The key is to maintain the 2:1 ratio of exercise to rest. So 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of recovery, or 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds of recovery, etc.
So what high-intensity exercise should you try? BuiltLean.com has a menu of example workouts here that provides one framework for you to follow. There are many others out there, so browse around. But, one that we especially like, and is the basis for our Fitbata class, is progressive or mixed-interval training. In this method, rather than repeating the same move in a 20/10 pattern, you follow a 40/20-30/15-20/10 interval, adding effort and movement each time yielding a hard, harder, hardest approach where you control the effort.
So the next time you head to the gym for your regular steady-state aerobic routine, think of me – Short, but intense 🙂
Less time. Concerted effort. Bigger results.
Something for everyone with FREE Cycle Clinic, FUDFighter and Total Fit Bootcamp! To sign up or learn more about each class jump to the Group Fitness page.
Whether you like it or not, the push-up is considered one of THE best exercises you should do. Why? Because a full plank push-up, executed with proper form, recruits more than 10 (see the list below) muscle groups! Compare that to the bi-(that’s two) cep curls you’ve been doing. Despite the well known benefits of the push-up, many people, and dare I say most women, struggle with this movement. My client observations, reading and CSI-like analysis have revealed two main culprits scaring us away from push-ups: weak core muscles and wrist issues. Let’s address the “core” of the matter first…
Knees vs. Plank
The typical regression offered by instructors, including myself, is to perform push ups from the knees when a plank push-up doesn’t appear to be doable. The idea being to develop the ability over time, progressing from knees to plank. Knee push-ups will certainly strengthen the PRIMARY muscles used in a push-up – the chest, arms and shoulders, but places far less demand on the many other synergistic or “helper” muscles involved in plank push-ups. (Think core here!) The solution then is to perform push-ups in a manner that mimics the plank form but with reduced load/stress. To accomplish that, I invite you to get up off your knees and try an INCLINE push-up instead.
A good starting point for incline push-ups is a sturdy kitchen table. Place the palm of your hands on the side of the table and slowly walk your feet back, creating about a 45 degree angle with your straight body and the floor. Execute your push-ups in this fashion, and as they get easier to do, progress your push-up to a 30 degree angle. The height of a kitchen chair seat or park bench will work just fine. Again, once you can execute full plank push-ups at this level, you’ll increase the difficulty again by moving to an adjustable height step bench or equivalent, progressing from perhaps 12 inches high or 8 inches, and ultimately down to the floor for a traditional push-up!
Okay, but what happens if you get to your favorite fitness class and there is no obvious or convenient substitute for your trusty table and chair? No worries. You can still call upon your knees to support you through the process, but rather than simply doing the push-ups from your knees, try the following trick which I learned last week in my continuing ed. training with Flow Fitness Training:
Assume the high plank, or “up” position. Lower yourself down in plank position. Now lower your knees to the floor and perform the “up” action from your knees. Resume the plank position, lower yourself down, bring the knees down, then push up from knees. Repeat. The push upwards is the more difficult part of the exercise, so you can use the knees to lighten the stress. The lowering action, with gravity, is a little easier, so you can challenge yourself with the full plank position.
The core is good; wrists are bad.
It’s no secret. The wrists bear the weight of the push-up exercise. For some, the number of push-ups executed is not limited by their core or arm strength, but instead is restricted by nagging joint pain or a prior wrist injury that flares with prolonged plank work. Unless restricted by doctor orders, you might try doing your push-ups by gripping some dumbbells and locking your wrists straight. Or eliminate the dumbbell and simply do fist push-ups. In both cases, wearing a wrist support is possible too. Low-plank holds (on your forearms) is a common regression for protecting wrists and the incline push-ups, as described above, serve to reduce the load on sensitive wrists while providing an opportunity to strengthen the muscles around the joint.
The Push-Up works what?
The primary muscles used in the push-up involve the Pectorals, Triceps and Deltoids, but many more muscles are activated as stabilizers. These include the Rhomboids, Erector Spinae, Rotator Cuff, Serratus Anterior, Rectus and Transverse Abdominus, Gluteus Maximus and Quadriceps.