In week one, the participants started on the machines to build some base strength and just get moving. After a month, they progressed to free weight exercises with dumbbells and the exercise balls. Working with dumbbells, they used more stabilizer muscles to do the movements, and also their core muscles more.
Last week, after two months of training, it was time for some new exercises. Called compound exercises, these exercises take two or three familiar exercises, and combine them into one movement.
Compound movements require even more core strength to keep the body stabilized. They also demand much more oxygen since more muscles are working at the same time. This is why you might not be breathing hard after a set of bicep curls, or shoulder presses, or even lunges. But if you combine the three into a walking lunge-curl-press, you’ll find yourself winded right away. Or, do a squat and shoulder-press together, and see how quickly you gas.
Take two dumbbells, and holding one in each hand, do a walking lunge forward until your front leg is bent 90° and your back knee is bent toward the floor with your heel up. Then, keeping your body posture straight, curl the dumbbells up with your biceps, and then turn them around as you shoulder-press them up over head until the sides are touching. Then, slowly lower them, and then un-curl them downward before taking another full walking lunge step. Use your stomach and side muscles to try and keep your upper body completely straight, resisting the side-to-side forces trying to pull you off balance.
Take two dumbbells, and holding one in each hand up on your shoulders, place your feet about shoulder width apart. Squat backward while keeping your knees from moving. (Most people make the mistake of letting their knees come forward during the squat which puts too much pressure on the knee joint.) A good way to practice this is simply sitting backward onto a chair and then getting back up. You also want to keep your upper body from bending forward, by keeping your back arched and looking upward. From the squat, use your hips and legs to get back up. You should feel it just as much in your butt and hamstrings as you do in your quads. On the way up, shoulder press the dumbbells overhead, rotating them until the sides are touching. Then lower them as you go back into the squat position.
LEVEL 3 WORKOUTS
Once you have the exercises down, use them as the basis of your workout. That’s what we did Friday night. They did four rounds of Walking Lunge-Curl-Press, combined with a couple exercises on the exercise ball.
We split the group in half, with one group doing the Walking L-C-P up and down the floor one time. Meanwhile, the other half was doing Ab Crunches on the Ball. Then they rotated.
For the second round, group one did another set of Walking L-C-P while group two did Pikes on the ball, where their hands were in a pushup position on the floor and their feet or shins were on the ball. Then, keeping their legs straight, they lifted their buns in the air.
Round three was a third set of Walking L-C-P and a new exercise on the ball where they held a smaller medicine ball and rotated from side to side. By now, things were getting harder.
In round four, both groups did a final set of Walking L-C-P. They also did a fourth exercise on the ball. With their feet or shins on the ball, they pulled their knees in and out while staying in that pushup position.
The whole workout took just under 30 minutes, and everyone was wiped out. They’d used a tremendous amount of energy because so many muscles were working at the same time. Their core was hammered because it had to work hard to maintain their posture.
Even though it was quite a strength workout, it also felt like a cardio workout, and they were all breathing pretty hard at the end of each round. Finally, a lot of calories will be burned long after the workout (called the after-burn effect).
The next workout could be structured a similar way, but using Thrusters and Pull-ups instead. There’s no limit to the amount of variety in workouts this way, and they’ll make you a lean machine, with tremendous endurance and a ripped body if you’re also watching what you eat.
THIS WEEK’S WINNERS
Things slowed down quite a bit weight loss wise this week. Quite a few people broke even or lost just a half a pound or so, but that’s to be expected in week nine. That’s why I like to shake things up and have them do different activities and change up their workouts.
First place went to Judy Rush, who lost 2.2% of her body weight and 3.4 lbs. Judy had to leave, so she’ll get her $20 gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance later, along with a free massage from Bridgett’s Therapeutic Massage.
Second place went to Jessica Fiscus, who lost 2.0% of her body weight and 3.8 lbs which was the most pounds lost this week. Third place went to Melissa Bradley, who lost 1.7% of her body weight and 3.4 lbs, for a clean sweep by the ladies!
Next week, we’ll talk about some of the other problems facing people struggling with weight loss. Right now, I’ve got to get to the gym!