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How To Design Your Own Fitness Program

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How To Design Your Own Fitness Program

How to design your very own, personalized workout routine, without having to visit the gym…

The first thing to know is that any good functional exercise program includes a mixture of just 7 key movements. These are:

  • 1.Squat
  • 2.Lunge
  • 3.Bend
  • 4.Twist
  • 5.Push
  • 6.Pull
  • 7.Gait (walk/run)

Whether youre a parent, a laborer, a farmer, an athlete, or even a hunter, every activity you do during your day-to-day life can be defined by one of these movements.

Weight lifting can do wonders to increase muscle mass, but exercise is not just about being buff, its about adhering to an efficient regime focusing on both resistance and cardio vascular workouts.

A good exercise incorporates these 7 movements in a way that is appropriate for your strength, fitness, flexibility, coordination and stability capabilities.

Of course, tailor-making a good exercise program can become complicated, but once you begin to
understand the basis of each movement, it will become easier to plan efficient fitness routines.

Understanding the 7 basic moves:

squats How To Design Your Own Fitness Program

Squat Works your buttocks, legs (front and back) and your abs*.

How to: A squat is a sitting-down movement performed with the feet approximately shoulder-width apart, your back straight (on a 45 degree forward tilt) your torso elevated, and your gaze straight ahead.

During the movement your heels should stay on the floor, although its OK for your toes to turn out, and you should sit-down until your buttocks reach knee level. Using your heels to push, you then return to your upright position.

Resistance: You can use your body weight to start with, as you progress you can hold dumbbells by your sides or at shoulder level.

Lunge Works your buttocks (better than squats), legs, calves and abs*.

How to: A lunge is a step-and-drop movement. Start with feet together and take a large step forward. Lift your back heel, and keep your back straight as you lower your weight toward the floor. Stop just before your back knee hits the floor.

During the movement you should keep your torso up, and your eye gaze forward. In order to protect your knees, maintain your weight through the heel of your forward foot rather than your toe. Push yourself back to the start position, and repeat on the other leg.
Resistance: Body weight and dumbbells used in the same way as squats.

Bend Works your lower and upper back, shoulders, buttocks, hamstrings and abs*.

How to: A bend is a forward bending movement. Start with tall posture and your feet approx hip width apart. Bend your knees about 15 degrees, and then stick your buttocks out. Keeping your back straight, bend your torso forward until it reaches around 45 degrees. Once your fists reach knee level, drop your buttocks down an extra 2-3 inches (a mini squat). Stand back up in one smooth movement, driving your hips forward and your shoulders back.

Resistance: You can hold a barbell or an exercise ball in front of you. If you hold weights in front of you, they should stay very close to your thighs.

Twist Works your core and lower back, as well as your oblique (side tummy) muscles.

How to: The twist is a movement similar to the old dance. Loosely clasp your hands in front of you at chest height and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. With your navel drawn in, start to twist your torso. Your elbows should move side to side as you do this, but the movement is driven from the core. You can pivot on each foot as you move.

Resistance: You can utilize an exercise ball, gym cables, or an exercise band. Can can also hold a weighted object at chest height. Progress the movement by holding the weight further away from your body.

push ups How To Design Your Own Fitness Program

Push Works your chest muscles, tuck-shop arms, and shoulders.

How to: The idea here is to perform a correct push up. To do this you must maintain a straight spine with your head held level. The back of your head, your mid-back, and your tailbone should all be at one height. Keep your belly muscles drawn in to get a bonus core workout. Only go as far down as you can whilst maintaining this position.

Resistance: You can place weight on your back while performing push up, but you must be 100% confident that you can maintain the correct posture during the rep.

Pull Works your mid-upper back, the rear of your shoulders, and your biceps.

How to: If youre in the gym you can use cables, a lat pull-down or a seated row. These pieces of equipment make it pretty simple as all you have to do is sit, maintain good posture, and pull an amount that allows you to keep that posture.

Out of the gym your best choice is an exercise band. Fasten it in the middle to something between stomach to chest level. This leaves both ends free for you to grip. If its at chest height you can remain fully upright (easier version). Keep your shoulders relaxed and your posture tall. Leading with your elbows, pull the band towards your body. Continue until your elbows slide past your sides and your shoulder-blades squeeze together. If youve fastened the band lower, simply squat down and hold that position whilst performing the above-described pull. This is definitely the harder version but its a better workout!

Resistance: Cables, dumbbells, weighted objects from around the house, exercise band.

Gait A fully-body workout focusing on for cardio-vascular exercise, improved co-ordination and posture.

How to: To gait basically means to walk, but like push-ups, many people have no idea how to walk or run properly. While an in-depth description outlining a correct walking techniques requires a while post of its own, you can begin by using this handy tip.

Simply imagine a column running straight down the center of your body from the top of the head to the soles of your feet. When you walk or run, visualize either side of your body twisting evenly around that column. Keep your belly lightly drawn in, your shoulders relaxed, and your head high. Although this may sound simply, its a basic technique anyone can use to ensure youre on the right track.

Resistance: Not necessary, can contribute to poor posture and back/neck tension.

*Abs: By learning to activate your deep core muscles you can work your abdominal muscles with every exercise you do. Simply practice (on your back is best) drawing your navel toward your spine while keeping your upper body relaxed. You should feel a light tension between your navel and your groin this is your deep core muscle (transverse abdominus) activating. Practice holding for 10 seconds and releasing for 10 seconds, eventually working up to a full 2-minute hold. You should be able to breathe through this. Once you are adept on the floor, practice the same movement when performing each of the above exercises.

fitness routine How To Design Your Own Fitness Program

Formulate Your Own Exercise Program

The next step is to figure out a work routine that works best for you. The best way is to being where a good personal trainer would do, by considering many variables, the most important being:

  • Movement difficulty
  • Your own strengths and weaknesses
  • Sequencing of weights/cardio

The basic rule of thumb is to start with the exercise that is most difficult. In most cases this is the one that requires greater balance and co-ordination, and/or demands that you move in more than one direction simultaneously.

For example a twist force three movements; forwards (with your arms), side to side, and in rotation; a squat or bend however, only demands two; straight up and down.

You will also need to look at your own strengths and weaknesses. If youre a hockey or tennis player then a twisting movement may be relatively simple, but a basic squat or pull would demand more from your muscles. When choosing the sequence for your program you must place your own strengths/weaknesses over basic assumptions about the exercise difficulty.

The final point to be aware of is the importance of doing your weights before your cardio. This is crucial because weight training has a longer-lasting metabolic effect than cardio, so you want to get the most out of your weights before exhausting yourself aerobically.

Next, youll need to plan your weekly timetable. An ideal starting approach to exercise is 30 minutes, at least 3 times each week. You can split the 30 minutes into two if it helps.

For beginners, youll be looking to perform 3 sets of each exercise with approx 8-15 reps per set. If you can, try to complete one set of each exercise before taking a 2 min break, then repeating again twice.

Dont worry if you cant meet these guidelines right off the bat, find a routine and schedule that works best for you. The most important part is sticking to it so you can note your progression and adjust your routine accordingly.


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