IT'S the oldest excuse in the book: "I don't have time to work out."
People often think that if they want to get serious about getting in shape, they need to spend hours a day at the gym. But in reality, it's easy to find all sorts of ways to stay fit - and you don't even need a gym membership! One of the best ways to get an intense, full-body workout is with interval training. All you need is 30 minutes to perform a great cardiovascular and strengthening workout. And better yet, you can perform the workout at home without any expensive equipment.
Begin with a cardiovascular warm-up. You can jog on the spot, skip rope, or step up and down onto a bench or stairs.
After five minutes, you're ready for your first strengthening exercise. Be sure to use a comfortable, but challenging, weight to get the most out of the strengthening exercises and contact your doctor before starting an exercise program.
After you finish your first strengthening exercise, do a 30second cardiovascular exercise.
Keep alternating until you get through all of the strengthening exercises.
To ensure you get an effective cardiovascular workout it is essential to keep your heart rate elevated to 60-80 per cent of your maximum heart rate.
This means you have to keep moving during the workout so try to limit the breaks. Your maximum heart rate can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220.
- Alternating lunges
Place your feet together with your toes pointed straight ahead and your hands at your sides. Take an exaggerated step forward with your right leg.
Bend your right knee slowly, lowering your body close to the floor. Keep your right knee directly over your right foot and your back straight. It's important that your right knee does not extend forward over your right foot. When your rear knee is about two inches above the floor, hold for one second and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise with your left leg. You should feel your gluteus and thigh muscles, not your knees, ankles or back. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions per leg.
- Dumbbell hamstring deadlifts
This exercise is effective at isolating the hamstrings, gluteus and spinal erectors. Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your back straight, slowly bend forward at the waist and lower the dumbbells down to your knees until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings.
Reverse the procedure to return slowly to the starting position.
Most of the effort should be felt in your hamstrings. Perform two sets of eight repetitions.
- Two-arm dumbbell rows
Holding one dumbbell in each hand, stand in a bentover position with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and back flat. Using a rowing motion, squeeze your shoulders together and pull the dumbbells up to your hips, squeezing your middle and upper back muscles. Slowly return to the starting position.
Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.
- Dumbbell presses with a stability ball
The stability ball is a great addition to your workout because as you perform your strengthening exercises, the trunk musculature is working to balance and stabilize your body. To begin this exercise, lie flat with your back on a stability ball with your knees bent at right angles and your feet flat on the floor. Start by holding one dumbbell in each hand with the dumbbells positioned beside your shoulders and slightly above your body. Press the dumbbells up above your chest until your arms are almost straight, bringing them together at the top. Slowly return to the starting position. Perform two sets of eight repetitions.
- Bent over dumbbell raises Holding one dumbbell in each hand, stand in a bentover position with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and back flat. Start by holding the dumbbells in front of your knees. Stay in the bent-over position and raise the dumbbells outside your body to shoulder level, keeping the same bend in your arms throughout the motion. This is an effective shoulder exercise that isolates the rear deltoids and can improve posture. Perform two sets of 15 repetitions.
- Alternate crunches on a stability ball
Start this exercise by sitting upright on a stability ball and move your hips forward, gradually lying back onto the ball.
Place your hands across your chest. Once in this position concentrate on raising your chest and shoulders up to a 45degree angle, alternating side to side. Be sure to squeeze your abdominals when at the top of the movement and remember you can increase the difficulty by putting your feet closer together. Perform two sets of 12 repetitions per side.
- Info: www.karpfitness.com