Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Legs & Lungs Workout in the Gym (2)

When the weather is cold and miserable you may not feel like heading to the gym, but if you could get in and out in the shortest time possible, hit all your major muscle groups, and get out of your comfort zone so the trip was worth it, you'd go wouldn't you?  Well I'm hoping you would anyway! 

That's where my 'Legs & Lungs' workouts come in.  My first one utilised both the kettlebell (you'll need instruction if  you haven't used them before) and the rower.  Click on the link  http://mw-pt.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/quick-legs-lungs-workout-in-gym.html  to view this one.

This workout, again utilises just two exercises, one is a Farmers Walk and the other is 20 - 45 second sprint intervals on the treadmill.  Let's explain them both in a little more detail.

The Farmers Walk is a very simple yet challenging exercise.  It consists of you carrying a heavy weight in the form of dumbbells or kettlebells for a set distance.  Traditionally the weight you were carrying would be equal to your weight, but if you have never done this exercise before, I'd go with a light to moderate weight.  And as we are doing multiple sets I'd definitely pace myself!

This is not your typical gym exercise, and apart from me and sometimes my clients I very rarely see it used sadly. You'll use numerous muscles during the Farmers Walk, namely your shoulders, traps and lats in your upper body.  Quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves in your lower body, as well as your core muscles.  By using the Farmers Walk you'll also improve your strength especially in your forearms and grip, just in time for lugging around numerous heavy bags of Christmas shopping!

How to Farmers Walk
  • Deadlift the dumbbells or kettlebells from the floor or off the weights rack safely.
  • Hold the weights at arms length by your sides.
  • Stand up nice and tall.  Make sure your not hunched up around your shoulders, pull your shoulder blades back and down.  Brace your abdominals, chest slightly elevated and off you go. 
  • If you can walk for a set distance around the perimeter of your gym for example while counting out the paces with a warm up weight this will give you an idea of your distance for the proper workout.  To give you an idea I do 4 circuits of 35 paces with the 20kg weights (which is around 16kg short of my weight).
Complement the Farmers Walk with sprint intervals on the treadmill.  Now anyone that knows me knows I'm not really a fan of long slow distances on the treadmill (unless marathon training for example).  For that metabolic after burn conditioning effect and shear accomplishment, short sharpe bursts is what is needed.  I've suggested 20 - 45 seconds as a guide.  You'll know your limitations and fitness levels.  All I ask is that you are out of your comfort zone, you should be breathing a little harder during these bursts.  You can try using an RPE scale here, this is you rating your effort of work.  If 1 out of 10 is a walk in the park, dead easy and 10 out of 10 is your maximum effort and can't give anymore.  You'd be looking around 7 and a half to 8 and a half to 9 out of 10 for an advanced user.  Experiment and adjust your speed to get you around these numbers during these intervals. 

So for this workout your aiming for 5 circuits of each alternating exercise.  You may want to time yourself for this workout and try to better it on your next visit.  You can also progress your weights with the Farmers Walk and speeds on the Treadmill to increase intensity and keep motivated and challenged!

Of course goes without saying, but before you begin do a minimum of 5 minutes warm up and mobility, then finish with some static stretches on the muscles you've used.

Give it a go and let me know your results :)
Till next time, all the best


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