Tag Archive | "women"

chest-press-with-resistance-band

Chest press with resistance band

How to

1. Attach the centre of the band to a stationary object and hold one end in each hand

2. Stand with your back to the attachment, elbows bent and shoulders abducted to 90 degrees (upper arm level with shoulder) so that your hands are next to your chest.

3. Push forwards and straighten your arms out in front of you.

4. Slowly return to the starting position.


Why use resistance bands?

They are super affordable and the ideal fitness multi-tasker. Just choose the right band based on your weight – it’s all written on either the packaging, online or ask in store. As you get stronger you’ll need to lower the assistance to account for your new strength.

For example, a robust general tension band combined with a heavy band offers roughly the same amount of resistance as a power band, but the combination gives you three different levels of assistance (one with the heavy band, one with robust, and one with both bands). Colours denote the different band strengths and vary between brands.

 

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Running tips for women

Ace your next race with these top tips

Going for a run is probably one of the most popular ways to get your workout on, whether it’s hitting the roads or jumping on a treadmill when the weather’s gross outside. If you sometimes find running a little tedious, why not challenge yourself to go faster or further?

Here are our top tips to smash your run.

To the gym

Weight training could make you a better runner. A Norwegian study found that resistance training three times a week for eight weeks significantly improved running efficiency and endurance in well-trained, long-distance runners.

Uphill battle

Want to conquer the hills? To race uphill, run with a short stride while pushing off the balls of your feet and pumping your arms. Then relax your arms and use a longer stride to go downhill.

Ready, set, splash!

Getting wet could make you a better runner. Swimming increases your upper body strength, making your runs more efficient, while aqua jogging mimics your usual movement sans impact – reducing the risk of injury.

Bright idea

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‘Watch your stance when running,’ tips Fitness First trainer Andy Hall. ‘Leaping forward and striding too far will drain your energy fast. Instead, make sure you stand tall and lean slightly forward, so when you feel like you’re going to fall, you step forward just enough to catch yourself. This should be the length of your stride.’

Take five

Listen to your body! If you’re feeling under the weather or if your body is sore and ready for a rest, take a recovery day. Only you know if those aches and pains are from a good run or the sign you need to rest.

Sand storm

Here’s a good excuse to book a beach getaway – running on sand can improve your speed and muscle tone. A study from St Luke’s University Clinic in Belgium found that pounding the sand requires 1.6 times more energy than running on pavements as your body has to work harder to deal with the soft, unstable surface. That adds up to more defined muscles and a swifter run when you get back to solid ground. Neat!

Drink up

Hydration is key for runners, but plain old water is best if you’re only doing short runs. Upgrade to a sports drink if you’re running for longer than an hour to help shuttle glucose to your muscles and combat fatigue.

Play it safe Protect yourself – the great outdoors brings potential hazards:

Navigate new destinations Make use of online running forums and social media groups to discover popular routes. Clearly defined, well-lit roads are a must when running in the dark, and remember there’s safety in numbers. Recruit a running buddy or join a club to improve your technique with like-minded enthusiasts – it’s way more fun than going solo!

Ditch your headphones An uplifting playlist can send motivation soaring, but when you’re running outside you need to be aware of your surroundings so you can rely on your senses when you need them. Save the tunes for your indoor workout and shift your attention to your breathing and form – or if you feel you really can’t run without music just keep the volume low.

Check the forecast We all know the British weather is unpredictable. It’s worth checking the forecast before you lace up so you don’t get caught in heavy rain that could hamper your performance and increase your risk of injury.

Read the article –

Running tips for women

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brooke-stacey_at-the-beach_lspace_behind-the-seams_pool_bikini

Being Brooke Stacey Parker – Fitness Model

Brooke Stacey is a Fitness Model currently living in Austin, Texas.  Growing up in and around Austin, Texas, her entire life, Brooke has always had a passion for sports and the outdoors starting at a young age.

It wasn’t until the last seven years that, with a commitment to change, she was able to re-prioritize and redefine what health and fitness meant in her life.

Through consistent weight training, clean eating and a variety of cardio she was able to transform her physique and life. These physical, mental and emotional changes were amazing and helped her transform her life in many ways…most profoundly in her ability to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle.

On self-love

Self-love is so HUGE! It can start at a young age and grow with you or it could have never been established and you have to find it and create it. At the end of the day we all want to be loved and feel good about ourselves. It is so easy to compare our weaknesses to someone else’s strengths and feel bad about our self.

The key to self-love in my opinion is to maximise our own potential by strengthening our weaknesses, and embracing, sharing and nourishing our strengths.

When you realise and own that there is only one you and no one can replace that, you can also delight in the gifts you are given to share with the world. When you love yourself, it is a positive cyclical reaction and will be seen in everything you do and will be felt by everyone you touch.

On body love

Body love can be so tough for women. Our bodies go through so much in our lifetime between puberty to childbearing years to post-menopausal years. It is so important to put your health first throughout your life, to embrace and pull through all of these challenging times in our lives.

When you take control over your health, you feel better about yourself physically as well as mentally and spiritually. When you feel good about yourself, and have a positive body image of yourself you can perform all tasks with greater ability.

I think it is important to control the controllables and maximise your own potential to be the best you. After you do that, you can’t help but love all of the gifts and differences we all have and share at the same time.

 

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base-body-babes-glutes-main

Why you should train your glutes?

Covet strong glutes? We asked the Base Body Babes to share their advice when it comes to training your glutes.

We love having and creating well balanced, beautifully proportioned and functional bodies. Our programs are specifically designed to ensure the body is structurally balanced and moving correctly, with a focus on posture and creating feminine proportions. Generally speaking, women are lower body dominant (whereas men are upper body dominant), so when we design our programs we place a greater focus on the lower body movements to create or maintain these feminine proportions. In our experience, women love having a shapely booty and toned, lean legs.

As the glutes are the biggest muscle in the body, it’s important to specifically work and build muscle in this area: not only because we like the look of a well developed, perky behind, but because the glutes are important to the overall function of the body.

From a functional strength standpoint, it’s quite common for people to have lazy or underactive glutes. This can lead to lower back pain and injuries, as the glutes are primarily responsible for day-to-day tasks such as bending over and picking things up. If the glutes aren’t strong, more stress is placed on the lower back unnecessarily. In most instances, if someone suffers from lower back pain, strengthening the glutes is a great place to start.

It’s no secret that squats are the first exercise that people turn to when they want to build a booty. Although squats are our favourite movement and our programs are based around them, there is certainly more to booty gains than just the squat rack. Too many times we see women squatting without knowing how to correctly activate their glute muscles; without proper technique and activation, results cannot be achieved.

Getting the most out of your booty

1. Technique is everything. Correct technique is vital to keeping you free from injury, to allow you to lift the correct weight and to ensure you are working the exact muscles that you are targeting. If your body starts to fatigue and your technique breaks down, it’s time to stop the set. Many people like to train until failure and take the body beyond what it is capable of, but this only increases the risk of injury. Always remember: safety first!

2. Progression is key. The body must continuously be challenged in order for it to change and develop; if you keep doing what the body can already do, the body doesn’t need to adapt! Every week, aim to increase the amount of weight you are lifting by about two to four per cent.

Challenge your body for best results!

 

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Time Saver Workout: Mini Spartan Madness

WORKOUT BY: Luis Buron, Spartan SGX Coach

 In this workout we’re simulating a Reebok Spartan Race. The mix of running in place and stepups imitate running and climbing uneven terrain and the moves mimic Spartan Race obstacles (as noted in parentheses). The workout finishes with Spartan signature penalty, burpees, and we go for 2 min. because an unpredictable challenge that you weren’t planning for is what we’re all about.
 1 minute: Run in Place
  • 30 seconds: Dead Hang (Rope Climb)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Box Jump (Wall Climb)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: High Pushup Hold (Z Wall)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 second: Body Row (Inverted Wall)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Hollow Hold (Slip Wall)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: KB Deadlift (Bucket Carry)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Jumping Pullup (Hercules Hoist)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Kettlebell Swing (Atlas Carry)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Active Hang (Multi Rig)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Lunge (Sandbag Carry)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Bear Crawl (Barb Wire Crawl)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Broad Jump (Fire Jump)
  • 2 minutes: Burpee

Source: Time Saver Workout: Mini Spartan Maddness

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strengthandtone

How to fast-track fat loss

Want to know the key to fat loss? Master trainer Daniel Tramontana shares his tips for guaranteed fat loss.

To fast-track coveted progress such as greater fat loss, Tramontana says you need to get back to basics. Cardio is not ‘hardio’

With a combination of higher intensity interval training (HIIT), low-intensity steady state (LISS) training, body weight training sessions and a nutritious diet, Tramontana ensures his clients are given the best formula for their body.

“My cardiovascular programming is based around a 75/25 split of LISS and HIIT. So based on the available amount of time for a client to add in cardio on top of resistance training would determine the amount of each they conducted,” he says.


Here’s what your cardio program could look like:

2 hours per week for cardio training = 30 minutes of HIIT over two to three days 90 minutes of LISS over one to two sessions.

Be wary, if HIIT was all you did, you may encounter the downside of too much stress on your body, which can ironically turn HIIT into a fat retention tactic.

So what about weight training?

“For  fast track fat loss, I structure everything around two to three full body weight training sessions – two sessions based on linear periodisation macro cycle of 16-to-24 week programming, altered every four to six weeks,” he explains.

Translation? A program that begins by incorporating high-volume and low intensity weight training, and progressively moves into phases when the volume decreases and intensity increases.  Tramontana is a strong advocate for women to hit up the weights rack, “I find a lot of women are lifting nowhere near their capacity. Don’t be shy to lift heavy weights and test your ability regularly.”

The importance of rest

All this talk of intensity may have you thinking full pelt should be the only gear you work in, but without adequate recovery, you may be undermining your fat loss chances at the dumbbells. Both injury and overt fatigue can see you performing at less than 100 per cent over multiple sessions.

“Recovery begins with the post-workout meal. I advise at least 25 to 50 per cent of overall carbohydrates be included in this meal – either using complex carbohydrate sources or a combination of simple and complex carbs,” says Tramontana. “I also recommend at least one body therapy session per week.”

Think physiotherapy, massage, sauna, steam, floating, dry needling, sleep in, meditation, yoga, grounding – or something as simple as reading a book.

How to fuel your body with the right food

For Tramontana, eating for fat loss should focus on controlling hunger, which translates to better portion control and craving management.

“I ask that protein be included in every meal upon waking, generally an even or slightly escalating amount each meal depending again on habits and hunger patterns,” he says.

“For fat loss, I personally urge the exclusion of high-energy carbs even post workout – with the exception of competitors in the later stage of preparation.”

Supplementation may also give you an edge in the health and results stakes. Depending on your goals and needs, Tramontana advises the use of creatine, glutamine, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, fish oils, whey protein, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and a good-quality greens supplement to aid recovery, general wellbeing and lean muscle growth.

 

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Are you addicted to exercise?

Exercise is great for the mind, body and soul, right? But what happens when it starts to take over your life?

PT Marisa Branscombe ponders the dangerous effects of too much exercise

Exercise is generally accepted as a positive behaviour associated with enhanced physical and psychological wellbeing. But is it possible to do too much exercise? So much that it takes over your life?

This may sound strange, but lately I’ve come across several women who seem to be controlled by eating and exercise. I have to admit, for a few years I was in that headspace too and every now and then I have to keep myself in check. There really is a fine line between exercising enough and becoming obsessed about it. Read on to find out how exercise addiction may be affecting you or someone you know.

Exercise addiction: positive vs. negative

“Addiction occurs when adaptive changes in the brain cause symptoms of tolerance, sensitisation, dependence and withdrawal,” (Leuenberger, 2006).

Positive Addiction, written by William Glaser (1976), first addressed positive and negative addiction to exercise. He refers to positive addiction as “involving a love of the activity that is characterised by controllability, an ability to integrate exercise into everyday activities, and an ability to miss exercisesessions when it is necessary”. People with a positive dependence schedule exercise carefully around other aspects of their life, so their exercise schedule is not detrimental to their wellbeing in these areas. They feel increased feelings of control, competence, physical and psychological wellbeing. Negative addiction to exercise, on the other hand, “involves a compulsive desire or need to exercise that overrides a person’s considerations about their health, relationships and career”. When these people have to miss an exercise session they experience feelings of loss, guilt, physical and psychological discomfort. Large amounts of time are dedicated to training, leading to many ‘negative addicts’ giving up other important aspects of their life.

Health risks of too much exercise

Exercise, like anything, can be carried too far. Overexercising stresses the body to the point of weakening the immune system, making people more prone to illness. Pushing yourself beyond your limits can lead to sore muscles, loss of appetite, headaches and trouble sleeping. More serious effects include joint pain and injuries, anaemia, weakening of the bones and the hormonal cycle shutting down (Cline, 2007).

Yes, exercise is good for you, but when it reaches the point of excess it can indeed make you sick. A study of Harvard Alumni by Stanford University’s Ralph Paffenbarger found death rates were lower for men who were involved in regular physical activity. But then death rates began to go up in those who burnt more than 3000 calories per week. His 10-year study also found that mood disturbances such as tension, depression, anger, confusion and anxiety were found to rise significantly as training loads increased.

Dr Kenneth Cooper, author of Aerobics, believes excessive exercise also produces unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals that cause harm to the body. These have been linked to health problems such as premature ageing, heart disease and cancer.

Why the addiction?

Psychological and physiological factors

There is still a great debate happening on the ‘why’ of exercise addiction. Some believe it’s associated with certain personality traits, including obsessive compulsive disorder, high-pain tolerance, high self-imposed expectations and narcissism.

Others propose it may be a result of low self-esteem, where exercise is used to improve this, or that endorphins released in the body during exercise, lead to a psychological state called ‘runners high’, which creates a relaxed state of being that people thrive to achieve over and over again. Some also say there are physiological causes, where the exerciser relies on exercise to increase their arousal to an optimal level.
Participants in sports that focus on body size and shape, such as dance, figure skating, ballet, gymnastics, distance running, body building, wrestling and boxing may be at higher risk.

Are you at risk?

Does all of this sound a little too familiar? Or perhaps alarm bells are ringing around one of your friends or family members? Well here are some of the typical symptoms of someone who is letting exercise take over their life:

  • Withdrawal

They will experience anxiety, fatigue and other similar symptoms if they don’t exercise. Or will have to exercise to relieve these.

  • Intention effects

The amount of exercise or length of exercise sessions is longer than originally intended.

  • Loss of control

A persistent desire to train or make unsuccessful attempts to reduce the amount of exercise they do.

  • Time

Large amounts of time are spent exercising and conflict with other areas of their life.

  • Continuance

Will continue to exercise even with persistent physical or psychological issues that are made worse from exercising, such as a recurring injury.

Other warnings signs are a fixation on weight loss, whereby they will talk about exercising to burn off a meal or treat. Compulsive exercisers will also try to lose weight in order to improve their exercise performance.  They often exercise alone and avoid interaction and exercise assessments, and will usually have a rigid routine.

However, as Amy Gleason, senior nutritionist from the McLean Hospital in the United States says, “unhealthy uses of exercise are not necessarily obvious. Exercisers won’t complain or bring their potential problems to anyone’s attention. Asking why a person is training or what their goals are is a great way to find out more.”

If you still feel like you can’t break the chains of obsessive exercise, consider talking to an expert, who can help you let go of it gradually.  A great book to check out is Appearance Obsession: Learning to Love the way you look, by Joni E. Johnston. This contains quizzes than can help you assess whether your exercise habit is becoming an unhealthy one. It also offers helpful suggestions, in addition to the ones I have given you.

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muscle-gain-training

How to increase muscle gain

To increase lean muscle mass, progressive overload is essential – here’s how to build up your gains. Angelique Tagaroulias writes.

Progressive overload not only does it stimulate muscle hypertrophy by forcing the muscle to adapt to increased loads, it also aids in the development of stronger and denser bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage.

“Progression is forcing a muscle to adapt to a tension that is more than it has experienced before. When a muscle is stressed, there’s an increase in blood flow to the region being exercised, stimulating more responsive nerve connections between the brain and muscle,” says personal trainer and owner of Fully Loaded Fitness, Ethan Hyde.
Hyde.

“I’m a firm believer in keeping things interesting. Your body gets used to what you do, as does your mind. Changing things frequently allows your body to work harder and not get used to it, and also allows your mind to stay entertained and not get complacent.”

Hyde says adding lean muscle mass requires increasing volume, frequency and resistance, and decreasing rest periods:

» Volume: increase the number of sets/reps per workout or over the course of a week.

» Frequency: train a body part more often.

» Resistance: increase weight on a weekly basis or as often as you can while keeping good form.

» Rest periods: you might be resting for 60 seconds but if you drop that to 30 seconds, this requires your body to become more metabolically efficient with anaerobic exercise.

Note: if you’re starting out, try manipulating just one of the variables at a time; if you’re more advanced, you can try more than one.

“Save a couple for when adaptation occurs. You can then bring out shorter rest periods or increase the volume to get the body growing again,” explains Hyde.

Frequency and rest periods are good variables to start with. “By increasing frequency, you increase your total volume across the week. This will focus on the major (weekly) goal, while manipulating rest periods will focus on the minor (daily) goal. Keep rest periods on larger lifts the same but shorten rest periods on isolation work – large compound movements require more energy thus demand more rest.”

As a general rule, more reps equals less rest and less reps equals longer rest.

While some trainers advise to alter programming every four weeks to allow your body to adapt, others will recommend changing it every week – or at least aiming for a slight strength progression on a weekly basis. Hyde believes one to two weeks is best depending on the program: it keeps your muscles guessing and your mind stimulated, while still allowing time for muscles to adapt.

“Everyone should be using a periodised program that allows constant change. And following a prescribed program forces you to change when you’re meant to – not just when you’re bored or feel like it,” says Hyde.

“I like to change my program often to avoid plateauing. If you plateau for two weeks then change it for another month and plateau again, you end up spending a lot of time not growing muscle.”

Source

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09_equinox_whipped_-_s1b1

HIIT: the most efficient way to exercise?

What do you get if you mix giant ropes, friendly competition and a heart-pumping workout? Answer: Whipped!

It’s easy to get bored of treadmills, cross-trainers and slogging it out on your own in the gym. So a class that mixes effective results, competition and a fresh element is a welcome relief to an already busy day. Using battle ropes, that are more tug of war than skip in the park, Whipped!, is an exciting new circuit class at high-end London gym Equinox, bringing together the best elements of high intensity circuits, ramping up your cardio capacity while blasting fat (yey!) and using a great range of equipment.

 

The background

The HIIT class is designed to get your heart rate soaring to burn fat while sculpting you from head to toe in the most time-efficient way. Our instructor Rory explained that, unlike steady state workouts, intense bursts of exercise help put your fat loss in the fast lane. Sounds good, right? So if you want to change your body for the better, the Whipped! class is the perfect place to start.

You work to your body’s maximum capacity in 30 seconds, doing as many reps, using good form, as you can and then have a quick rest. The circuit is cleverly designed so you work a different muscle group with each exercise, and simultaneously push your fitness to its limit.

The class

Rory led a dynamic warm-up involving a quick jog around the room, followed by exercises like high knees and jumping jacks.

We were then paired up and allocated a fitness station. As usual in circuits, each pair circled the room in a clockwise direction, performing high-octane exercises at each station for 30 seconds before moving to the next exercise. By the end of the class, we’d visited each station four times.

My partner and I began in plank position on our forearms, pushing up onto our hands. The aim was to do these plank transfers as many times as possible within 30 seconds.

Next, we moved to the battle ropes, which posed the biggest challenge of all the exercises. Holding a rope in each hand, we slammed them to the ground, making small rippling waves, and swung them from side to side.

This was followed by a whole host of exhausting moves, from V-sits holding a 3kg dumbbell to barbell rows while wobbling on a BOSU ball. The class ended with another speedy jog around the room, followed by a series of stretches to ease our shaking muscles.

Louise’s verdict

If you’re bored of the same old workouts, this class is brilliant. Yes, it’s punishing, but the fact that the HIIT exercises are short and sharp is a big draw. Our trainer was a great motivator and helped spur us on – even when our arms felt like they were about to fall off! There’s no denying the class is challenging but it’s also fun and there’s no risk of getting bored. We’ll be back!

AT A GLANCE

What’s the concept? A high-intensity 45-minute circuit using battle ropes, the ViPR, BOSU balls and hand weights.

How much is it? The class is only open to members of Equinox. Monthly membership is £180.

Where can I get more info? Visit equinox.com/clubs/Kensington.

Difficulty? Whipped! is aimed at all fitness levels, but steel your nerves for a tough session!

Link to article:

HIIT: the most efficient way to exercise?

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1109-woman-plank

8 Minutes to a Gorgeous Upper Body

The key to rocking shoulder-baring sweaters and blouses this season is pairing them with a strong, toned upper body.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to speed hours in the gym to achieve an eye-catching upper body.

What you need is a challenging workout—one that cranks up the intensity on your muscles and eliminates every last ounce of flab. Enter Tabata training, also known as the four-minute fat-burning workout.

There’s a reason this type of high-intensity interval training is the go-to when you want to shed pounds and tone up fast—it works.

 GETTING STARTED

A Tabata workout (not including warm up and cool down) involves performing 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of active recovery. You repeat this cycle eight times, for a total of four minutes of very short, intense bursts of exercise.

In this particular workout, you’ll complete two Tabatas, for a total of eight minutes of high-intensity intervals.

Exercise 1

woman lifting weights

Dumbbell Row—As many as you can in 20 seconds.

Stand with your feet slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart and bend forward at the hips, keeping your back parallel to the floor and head up. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders. Pull the weights up and back toward your hips, concentrating on pulling with your back muscles, until your elbows are slightly above the level of your back. Pause, then lower the weights. Repeat for reps.

Active rest: Jump on a treadmill or walk in place for 10 seconds.

Exercise 2

Overhead shoulder press—As many as you can in 20 seconds.

Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart, head straight, and your eyes focused forward. Grasp a pair of dumbbells using an overhand (palms down) grip and raise them to just above shoulder height. This is your starting position. Keeping your shoulders back, press your arms up overhead. Pause for a moment at the top, then return to start. Repeat for reps.

Active rest: Jump on a treadmill or walk in place for 10 seconds.

Repeat sequence for a total of four minutes.

 *Warm up for five minutes on the treadmill beforehand.

ROUND 2

Works: Triceps, chest, core, shoulders*

Exercise 1

Reebok Introduces First-Ever World Burpee Day

Pike walk—As many as you can in 20 seconds.

Stand with your feet together, arms at your side. Bend at the hips and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Walk your hands forward until you are in a plank position. Keeping your hands firmly planted in place, walk your feet up until they’re as close to your hands as possible. Repeat.

Active rest: Jump on a treadmill or walk in place for 10 seconds.

Exercise 2

Dip—As many as you can in 20 seconds.

Place your hands on the edge of a bench with your thumbs facing each other, and extend your legs in front of you, resting your feet on floor in front of you. Bend your elbows and lower your butt, stopping when your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Extend your elbows to come up. Repeat for reps.

Tip: To increase the intensity, use a bench or chair to elevate your feet. You can also place a weight on top your thighs.

Active Rest: Jump on a treadmill or walk in place for 10 seconds.

Repeat sequence for a total of fout minutes.

*Cool down for five minutes on the treadmill afterward.

Although eight minutes may not seem like a lot, you’ll certainly feel the burn. This form of training can be used for virtually any and every exercise. Apply this training protocol to your regular workouts every once in a while to shake things up and break through dreaded plateaus.

View this article: 8 Minutes to a Gorgeous Upper Body

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