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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts


Posted: November 16, 2008

Last week I gave you two free weight routines that I called Level Two workouts. If you’ll recall, the main benefit with free weights is that all your stabilizer and core muscles are much more involved than when using machines (Level One). It also burns more calories.

So we want to keep increasing the work and help them burn more calories. This is possible, because after seven weeks, they’re getting stronger. The goal is to be as lean as we can be—as strong as we can be.

This week we asked the group to turn it up again. They had three weeks to get familiar with the other two routines, so now they’re ready to combine the two into one larger routine. Here are the exercises, and all you need are dumbbells (DB) and an exercise ball.

Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (Pushing Exercises):
· Chest Press on Ball
· Pec Fly’s on Ball
· Shoulder Press
· Overhead Tricep Press
· Tricep Kickbacks

Back & Biceps (Pulling Exercises):
· Pullovers on Ball
· Single Arm Rows
· Bicep Curls (together)
· Bicep Curls (one arm at a time)

Legs, Hips & Back (Lower Body Exercises):
· Body Squat
· Walking Lunge
· Bent Knee Deadlift

Abs & Core:
· Crunches on Ball
· Side Twists with Ball
· Crunches (bent knee, legs straight, crossing to either side, leg lifts)

It’s not just what exercises you do, though. How you lift makes a difference, too. The main concepts in our Level Three workouts are:

1. Do a comfortable 10-15 minute cardio warmup.
2. Exercise your entire body (Pushing, Pulling, Lower and Core) three days a week, typically Mon, Wed & Fri.
3. Once you start the workout, never take a break—keep moving.
4. Alternate between Pushing, Pulling, Lower and Core exercises to give one muscle group a rest, while working another.
5. Drink plenty of water before and during your workout.
6. Keep things interesting, by changing your routine often.

Here’s an example of how this routine could go. On Monday, after a 10 minute cardio workout, you start by doing a set of DB Chest Presses on the exercise ball. As soon as you’re done, do a set of Body Squats, alternating back and forth two or three times before getting a quick drink.

Then, you do a set of DB Pullovers on the exercise ball, alternating with Walking Lunges, for two or three more sets before taking another quick drink break. Next, do a set of DB Shoulder Presses, followed immediately by a set of DB Biceps Curls and a set of Triceps Overhead Presses. Alternate back and forth three times.

Finally, finish up with three sets of Ab Crunches and Side Twists back to back. See how it works? Next time, you might choose some different exercises, or do them in a different combination. It’s all about keeping the intensity high during the workout.

During the Friday night workout, I also showed them how to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio workouts. They started with a 5 minute warmup on either the bike, elliptical, or treadmill. On an “intensity scale” of 1-10, it should have felt like about a “5” or a “6.”

Then they increased the intensity by going faster, going uphill, or raising the resistance level to what felt like a “7.” After exactly a minute, they took it back down to around a “6.” After another minute to recover at that level, they took it up to what felt like an “8.” Then they took it back down to a “7.” They repeated that several times.

Finally, they did a couple one minute intervals at what felt like a “9.” This was tough, but it was only for a minute, followed by a minute at an easy pace. After 20 minutes, they took it down and coasted for a few minutes to cool off. Try it—it works.

With HIIT in your routine on cardio days, you’ll burn more calories in less time. You’ll also improve your ability to use and deliver oxygen quicker. It also gives you something to think about, which helps you pass the time.

Our winner this week was Heidi Walls, who lost 2.3% of her body weight and 3.2 lbs. Heidi is one of the smaller gals, and has to work extra hard to lose weight. The smaller you get, the harder it is. Heidi won a $20 Joe’s gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Melissa Bradley, who lost 2.0% of her body weight and 4.0 lbs. Melissa has impressed me because she’s had serious problems with her lower back that have kept her from working out before. This time she told me that there were some things she could do and some things she couldn’t, so she’d just do the things she could do twice as much!

Finally, third place was a two way tie between Margo Yeargin and Ellen Newlin, who both lost 1.7% of their body weight. Margo lost 3.0 lbs and Ellen lost 3.2 lbs, making the top four spots a clean sweep for women!