Basic Workouts Are Very Effective
By Liz Montes
There are some great workouts that you can do well on your own that will make you sweat and are just plain good. Sometimes it is the easiest workouts that are the most effective.
Here is a basic workout plan that is relatively easy to follow and will give you more bang for your buck than just working out with machines. It consists of only five exercises— but, if done well and in good form, the benefits are great. Don’t get me wrong; machines are good, but this is even better.
1. Deadlifts: Take a loaded barbell, grip it a little wider than shoulder-width, and slowly lower the bar to the floor. Your goal is not to touch the floor; going lower is not necessarily better. This movement will depend on your flexibility and your ability to keep your back straight as you lower the bar. Keep the bar very close to your body at all times. Maintain a slight arch in your back with your abs braced as you reach toward the floor. Squeeze your glutes as you thrust your hips forward back to a standing position.
2. Pushups: Get into a plank position on your hands and slowly lower your chest to the floor. Keep your shoulders back while you go down and do not try to reach the floor by straining your neck. To make this movement easier, begin on your knees. Pushups are one of the best and most effective exercises you could ever do.
3. Bent-Over Row: Again, grip a loaded barbell about shoulder-width apart. Holding the bar at arm’s length, bend forward at your hips (not lower back)—there is a difference. Lower your torso to approximately parallel to the floor. Your knees should be slightly bent and you should maintain the natural arch of your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar to your abs as you stand back up.
4. Military Press: Sitting on a bench, hold a barbell at shoulder height with your hands at a shoulder-width apart grip. Press the barbell overhead so that your arms extend and are next to your ears. The bar should be lifted directly over head. Do not jerk or pop the movement at eccentric or concentric contraction of the movement. Again, if you feel you cannot control it, it’s too heavy! Do not lose form for the sake of lifting a heavier weight.
5. Crunch: I am not a big crunch fan, but many people are and still feel very comfortable doing this exercise. Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor. Contract your abs; raise your head and shoulders without rounding them, while squeezing your ribcage toward your pelvis. Pause and squeeze, return to start after holding for 2-3 seconds, do not plop your body down, unwind the spine.
Do each exercise in a controlled and slow manner; pause at the eccentric phase of the exercise.
Do 10-12-15 repetitions or less based on the weight levels you are comfortable lifting and can do in proper form.
It’s important to vary your workouts often as the body does become quite good at adapting to new movements. Challenge yourself and take the time to learn these movements well before executing them. Do not start off too heavy, it is best to begin light and increase the load as you feel you can.
Happy Lifting and Happy Holidays!