After high school, I realized how sedentary my lifestyle had become so I started to work out. I was frustrated with being so skinny! I had a confidence issue and I felt so uncomfortable working out in front of everyone at the gym. But after consistently going, I learned that people who were serious about working out generally don’t judge at all. In reality, they’re so thumbs-up about it all. I didn’t think people could be any more supportive!
Healthy and fit people come in all shapes and sizes. It’s primarily about how you feel
EXERCISE #1: PLANK
Repetitions: Until Failure
Muscle Group: Core/Abs
Description of Exercise: The plank is my favorite core exercise because it helps really strengthen your core. Your core is not just your abs. Think of it as the entire bottom half of the torso down to groin, inside and out. That’s a lot of muscles! The core is essential to proper posture, body function, and movement. It’s generally the most neglected muscle group or the most improperly exercised group. This exercise requires you to hold your core as still as a board/plank! it is like a tradition push up position with the legs extended, face looking downward, and a neutral spine. However, instead of being on the hands, bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Arms should directly below the shoulders. Pull in and tighten your core so that your hips don’t droop or your butt sticks up too high. Try to get to at least one minute. If you can go further, go until you can’t go anymore (failure). Make sure to maintain proper breathing!
Here is a video of Scott Herman demonstrating how to do a proper plank–Look at the key points: his back in a neutral position, his hips not too high or low, his core pulled in tightly, and his arms at a 90 degree angle directly under his shoulder.
Variation (Increased Difficulty): Plank on Exercise Ball. Now, rest your arms (bent at 90 degrees) on an exercise ball. When you feel like you can’t hold the plank anymore, challenge yourself even more by bringing the knees to your chest. Don’t let your core fall!
EXERCISE #2: OVERHEAD SQUAT
Muscle Group: legs legs legs legs and butt!
Description of Exercise: Legs are shoulder width apart or slightly wider. The starting position of your knees should be a slight bend so that you can put all of your weight on your HEELS. VERY KEY POINT! Hands can be on the head or arms are extended over the head. Lower your body slowly until your thighs are parallel to the ground and then power through the upward push by pushing your weight through your heels. When you lower your body think of two mechanisms: (1) bending the knee and (2) sticking out your butt like you are sitting in a chair. When you bend your knees, BE CAREFUL not to let them stick out further than your toes. Also, through the entire movement, your knees are directly in line with your feet (straight line up and down). They should not go outward or inward during the exercise. DANGER! When you are lowering yourself, stick your butt out like you are sitting on a chair. It will properly use your butt muscles when you push upward.
Here is a video of Greg Ballantyne doing a proper squat. You’ll get to see it from the frontal view and the lateral/side view. Notice how his knees do NOT go past his toes and that his knees never go toward the middle of the body.
Variation (Increased Difficulty): Single Leg Box Squat. Try the same exercise but on one leg. The other leg should be sticking out in front of you.
Exercise #3: Push-Up
Muscle Group: Chest, Triceps, Deltoids
Description: Fully extend your body, arms straight down slightly wider than shoulder width, and your core as tight as it was in the PLANK exercise. A lot of people lead with their hips or lead with their upper body. Your entire body is a flat, unmoving board/plank throughout the exercise. Think of it as one entire piece. The only parts that move are your arms and chest. Lower your body until you are close to the ground and slowly lift it back to the starting position. Remember not to lock your elbows at anytime!
Here is a video of Scott Herman showing you how to do a push up:
Variation (Increased Difficulty): BoSU Push-Up. Same concept. This time, instead of doing a push up on the floor, do it on a BoSU ball. Try doing 10 on the flat side, then immediately do 10 on the ball side. (BoSU = Both Sides Up)