Want sexy legs?
Wall sits are great for strengthening your quads and toning up your glutes and hamstrings. It's a simple yet effective workout and all you'll need is yourself, a wall and a timer.
Stand about 2 feet away from your wall and sit on an imaginary chair. Steadily adjust your position until your legs are at an 90º angle like so:
Make sure your weight is evenly distributed on your feet (not on your toes or the balls of your feet). Maintain your position for 45 seconds and continue with another leg workout. You can incorporate this as part of your leg workout in the Explode Program, in between sets.
When doing legs, I prefer to start with the Smith Machine Squats. This was what I did yesterday. (Started off with 10 mins warm-up on the cycling machine.)
Smith Machine Squats – 5 sets x 8 reps
There's a lot of argument about how doing squats with the Smith machine is bad for your knees as it restricts your body's natural groove and puts too much pressure on your joints and back, especially if the weight is too heavy, but I personally find this effective. If it's your first time doing this, never, ever try doing it yourself, you might injure yourself in the long run if you don't get your form right.
It's OK to get help from a personal trainer or somebody who has better knowledge about weight training. Otherwise, I suggest sticking to the basics and using only dumbbells - which is just as effective (some other examples below)!
With bar upper chest height, position bar on back of shoulders and grasp bar to sides. Place feet slightly forward. Disengage bar by rotating bar back.
Bend knees forward slightly while allowing hips to bend back behind, keeping back straight and knees pointed same direction as feet. Descend until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Extend knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat.
*Tip: Keep head facing forward or up, back straight and feet flat on floor; equal distribution of weight through forefoot and heel. Knees should point same direction as feet throughout movement.
Dumbbell Squat – 4 sets x 8 reps
This is also another one of my favorite workouts. If you want a nice, toned butt, do this workout right and you'll see results.
Stand with dumbbells grasped to sides. Bend knees forward slightly while allowing hips to bend back behind, keeping back straight and knees pointed same direction as feet. Descend until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Extend knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat.
Use the same tip for the Smith Machine Squats this workout.
Dumbbell Single Leg Split Squat – 3 sets x 8 reps
Stand with dumbbells grasped to sides facing away from bench. Extend leg back and place top of foot on bench. Squat down by flexing knee and hip of front leg until knee of rear leg is almost in contact with floor. Return to original standing position by extending hip and knee of forward leg. Repeat. Continue with opposite leg.
As I've mentioned before, DO look up the Exercise & Muscle Directory on ExRx.net. Its super useful, descriptive and easy to follow. I can't find any other example as easy and direct as this.
Sup guys, I'm up early for a morning work call. Feels good and refreshing to be fully awake at this hour and literally watch the sun come up. I could get used to this and it's probably the best time to hit the gym now, but the warm, soft bed beckons. Lazy Fay is calling me back to bed and Fit Fay wants to hit the mill. Decisions, decisions.
Perhaps I'll kill two birds with one stone and workout and THEN go back to bed. Here's The Quick 100 Workout, for you 'sorta' lazy bums. GET UP, and WORK OUT, NOW!
100 jumping jacks
70 leg lifts
60 jumping jacks
30 leg lifts
20 jumping jacks
RUN for 10 minutes
Your body will thank you.
Tired of sit-ups and crunches? Try out this ab workout. It looks easy but let's see if you can do 3 sets of 10 reps effortlessly. You may also want to incorporate this workout as part of your shoulders+abs routine if you're following the Explode Program.
We have finally reached Day 7, which completes 1 out of the 12 weeks of the Explode Program. Day 7 is another cardio day. I recommend doing 20-30 minutes of running, similar to Day 3. You may choose either one the cardio days to do something else other rather than running such as cycling, rowing, elliptical, skipping, swimming or attending a cardio workout class at your gym.
If you're not desperately catching your breath, you're not desperately trying hard to lose weight!
Hilary Swank looks outstanding in this photo. True strength.
Day 6 - Shoulders & Abs
1st Set: Dumbbell Alternating Front Raise – 4 sets x 8 reps
In a power squat position, grasp one dumbbell between your legs and raise your arm while pushing yourself up. Repeat with other arm.
*Tip: On your way up, keep your focus upwards instead of looking forward.
2nd Set: Dumbbell Alternating Front Raise (Without Power Squat) – 3 sets x 8 reps
Grasp dumbbells in both hands. Position dumbbells in front of upper legs with elbows straight or slightly bent.
Raise one dumbbell with elbows fixed in 10° to 30° angle throughout until upper arm above parallel to floor. Continue with alternate arm.
*Tip: Raise should be limited to height achieved just before tightness is felt in shoulder capsule. Alternatively, height just above horizontal may be considered adequate. Elbows may be kept straight or slightly bent throughout movement.
3rd Set: Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 3 sets x 8 reps
Grasp dumbbells in front of thighs with elbows slightly bent. Bend over with hips and knees bent slightly.
Raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height. Maintain elbows' height above or equal to wrists. Lower and repeat.
*Tip: Maintain slight bend through elbows (10° to 30° angle) throughout movement. Knees must be slightly bent. At top of movement, elbows (not necessarily dumbbells) should be directly lateral to shoulders since elbows are slightly bent forward.
4th Set: Dumbbell Seated Rear Lateral Raise – 3 sets x 8 reps
Sit at edge of bench with feet placed beyond knees. Bend over and rest torso on thighs. Grasp dumbbells with each hand under legs. Position elbows with slight bend with palms facing together behind ankles (as shown) or just to sides of ankles.
Raise upper arms to sides until elbows are shoulder height. Maintain upper arms perpendicular to torso and fixed elbow position (10° to 30° angle) throughout exercise. Maintain elbows height above wrists by raising "pinkie finger" side up. Lower and repeat.
5th Set: Dumbbell Shrug – 3 sets x 8 reps
Stand holding dumbbells to sides. Elevate shoulders as high as possible. Lower and repeat.
*Tip: Make sure you choose a dumbbell that is heavy enough that you can't do a bicep curl with.
* * * * *
For abs, do 5-8 sets of resistance exercises, preferably half on a machine and half on a mat, with about a 8-12 rep range per set.
Your abs work like any other muscle in your body and gain strength and mass only when stimulated with heavy resistance.
*Note: Doing 1000 crunches will not burn fat only on your abs - the body does not work that way and you cannot selectively burn fat. Cardio will do that for you, and ab exercises will build your core and have that 6 pack come out slowly.
Examples of some of my favorite abs exercises coming soon. I am working on my a video for it.
Day 4. So we've worked on strengthening our upper body mostly and now it's time to work on your LEGS.
DAY 4 – LEGS
1st Set: 45 Degree Leg Press – 5 sets x 8 reps
Sit on machine with back on padded support. Place feet on platform. Extend hips and knees. Release dock lever and grasp handles to sides.
Lower platform by flexing hips and knees until hips are completely flexed. Return by extending knees and hips. Repeat.
*Tip: Make sure your legs are at a 45 degree angle at the starting point. Do not allow heels to raise off of platform, pushing with both heel and forefoot. DO NOT lock your knees.
2nd Set: Seated hamstring curls – 3 sets x 8 reps
Sit on apparatus with back against padded back support. Push hand lever to lower leg pads. Place legs in between pads. Release hand lever gradually. Grasp handles to sides with each hand.
Pull lever to back of thighs by flexing knees. Return lever until knees are straight. Repeat.
*Tip: Avoid rushing on this set. Take your time to do each rep to fully benefit from it.
3rd Set: Dumbbell Lunge - 3 sets x 8 reps
Stand with dumbbells grasped to sides.
Lunge forward with first leg. Land on heel then forefoot. Lower body by flexing knee and hip of front leg until knee of rear leg is almost in contact with floor. Return to original standing position by forcibly extending hip and knee of forward leg. Repeat by alternating lunge with opposite leg.
*Tip: Keep your upper body upright during the lunge and avoid leaning forward. Remember to maintain your form throughout every rep.
4th Set: Hip Abduction - 3 sets x 8 reps
Sit in machine with legs outside of vertical center pads. If available, place heels on foot bars. Disengage and pull lever brace to position legs apart until slight stretch is felt. Engage lever into locked position. Lie back and grasp bars to sides.
Move legs together. Return and repeat.
*Tip: Want a sexy booty? This ought to be your favorite machine.
5th Set: Standing Calf Raise - AS MANY AS YOU CAN DO
Position toes and balls of feet on calf block with arches and heels extending off. Place hand on support for balance.
Raise heels by extending ankles as high as possible. Lower heels by bending ankles until calves are stretched. Repeat.
*Tip: Keep knees straight throughout exercise or bend knees slightly only during stretch.
* * * * *
I had just worked on my legs yesterday and I'm definitely feeling the soreness, especially on my calves. Yup, I can safely say that I had a great workout and it was well worth my time.
Day 5 is your rest day, finally. Give yourself a break and always eat consciously.
Day 6, on tomorrow's post.
On Day 3, it's time to give your muscles a little break and do cardio to burn off some fats. The best and most effective cardio workout is running. Not jogging, not walking at a fast pace. Running.
Run for 25 minutes, either outdoors or on the treadmill (speed should be between 7.5 or higher). Keep your heart rate up, try breathing deeply as you go and try not to slow down!
*Personal note: On my cardio day, sometimes I like to switch it up a bit by using the treadmill for 15 minutes, cycle for 10 minutes and row for another 10 minutes.
How are you feeling after Day 1? Your muscles should start to feel a little sore and achy. That’s a good feeling. That’s the kind of feeling you want to get a day after a workout. That’s when you can say you had a good workout.
Day 2. Today, we are going to work on another muscle group – back and biceps. Strengthening your back and having a good posture helps a lot in achieving sexy abs. Have you ever seen a hunchback with abs? Exactly. Now, before you start, remember to warm-up by running for at least 10 minutes on the treadmill. Let's begin.
DAY 2 – BACK / BICEPS
1st Set: Deadlifts - 5 sets x 8 reps
With feet flat beneath bar, squat down and grasp bar with shoulder width or slightly wider over hand or mixed grip. Use an alternate grip (knuckles facing forward for one hand and thumb facing out for the other) if you can't get a firm hold. The bar should begin from a position nearly touching your shins. Keep your hips down and get a firm, shoulder-width grip.
Lift bar by extending hips and knees to full extension. Pull shoulders back at top of lift if rounded. Return and repeat.
*Tip: Avoid locking your knees. Make sure your feet is flat on the ground and use the strength of your legs to push yourself up. Don't round your back, and keep your head in a neautral position with your eyes focused at a spot on the ground 3m in front of you.
2nd Set: Cable Pulldown - 5 sets x 8 reps
Grasp cable bar with wide grip. Sit with thighs under supports.
Pull down cable bar to upper chest. Return until arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.
*Tip: Remember to keep your back straight and keep your body in position. Try not to lean back as your pull the cable bar. Pull your elbows towards your back as far as possible and SLOWLY return the starting position. Most people make the mistake of going back to the starting position too fast and this makes the workout less effective. Range of motion will also be compromised if grip is too wide.
3rd Set: Seated Rows (alternating) 3 sets x 8 reps
Sit on seat and position chest against pad. Grasp lever handles with underhand grip.
Pull one lever back until elbow is behind back and shoulder is pulled back. Return until arm is extended and shoulder is stretched forward. Repeat with opposite arm alternating between sides.
*Tip: When choosing weights, make sure that you go with one that is not too light (that you can easily do more than 10 reps) or too heavy (that you can barely do 5).
4th Set: Weighted back extensions 3 sets x 8 reps
Position thighs prone on large pad and lower leg under padded brace. Hold weight to chest or behind neck.
Lower body by bending waist until fully flexed. Raise, or extend waist until torso is parallel to legs. Repeat.
*Tip: Adjust lower leg brace so pressure is evenly distributed on thigh pad. Another way to do this is by using a weight and holding it close to your chest.
5th Set: Dumbbell Curl - 3 sets x 8 reps
Position two dumbbells to sides, palms facing in, arms straight.
With elbows to sides, raise one dumbbell and rotate forearm until forearm is vertical and palm faces shoulder. Lower to original position and repeat with opposite arm. Continue to alternate between sides.
* * * * *
DAY 3, coming up on tomorrow’s next post.
Exrx.net has listed many more .gif clips like these and grouped them under different muscle groups you want to work out on. A very useful site that I often refer to and would highly recommend if you are unsure of how to use weights and/or machines.
Let’s start with DAY 1. I’ve put together 5 different sets that will work on your chest and triceps. Refer to the .gif clips to make sure your form is right when doing each set.
DAY 1 - CHEST / TRICEPS
1st Set: Incline dumbbell bench press - 4 sets x 8 reps
Sit down on incline bench with dumbbells resting on lower thigh. Kick weights to shoulders and lean back. Position dumbbells to sides of chest with upper arm under each dumbbell.
Press dumbbells up with elbows to sides until arms are extended. Lower weight to sides of upper chest until slight stretch is felt in chest or shoulder. Repeat.
*Tip: Push your elbows as far back as possible and slowly lift up.
2nd Set: Dip machine with wide grip - 3 sets x 8 reps
Step between wide dip bars with dip belt around waist. Kneel as close as possible to low pulley and attach cable to dip belt. Stand up and mount dip bar with oblique grip (bar diagonal under palm), arms straight with shoulders above hands. Keep hips and knees bent.
Lower body by bending arms allowing elbows to flare out to sides. When slight stretch is felt in chest or shoulders push body up until arms are straight and repeat.
*Tip: If you find difficulty in using your bodyweight, use the weight assistant dip machine to counterbalance your own bodyweight.
3rd Set: Cable pulldowns 3 sets x 8 reps
Face high pulley and grasp cable attachment with overhand narrow grip. Position elbows to side.
Extend arms down. Return until forearm is close to upper arm. Repeat.
*Tip: Keep your elbows in position and as close to the sides of your chest as possible. It should not move.
4th Set: Cable seated fly machine 3 sets x 8 reps
Sit in machine with back on pad. Grasp handles to both side shoulder height. Slightly bend elbows and internally rotate shoulders so elbows are back.
Push levers handles together. Return until chest muscles are stretched. Repeat.
*Tip: When pulling the handles in, make sure your elbows are slightly bent and stop at an inch gap where the handles meet. Slowly return to starting position without dropping the weight unless you have finished a rep.
5th Set: Decline Push-ups 3 sets x AS MANY AS YOU CAN DO
Kneel on floor with bench or elevation behind body. Position hands on floor slightly wider than shoulder width. Place feet on bench or elevation. Raise body body in plank position with body straight and arms extended.
Keeping body straight, lower upper body to floor by bending arms. To allow for full descent, pull head back slightly without arching back. Push body up until arms are extended. Repeat.
*Tip: It looks easy but you may find it hard at first. Do not allow yourself to believe that you will never be able to do it. Bend your elbows towards your back and try to go as far down as your can and slowly lift yourself up. Do as many as you can and focus on going lower each time.
Finishing: Run for 25 minutes.
* * * * *
DAY 2, coming up on tomorrow's next post.
As promised, I am going to share with you my first workout split program. It's called The Explode Program. This routine will last you for the next 12 weeks and will focus on total body strength while losing fat.
Get ready to have 4 days of intense lifting a week, with 3 days of cardio.
20 RULES OF THUMB before I give you the breakdown:
FOOD & REST
1. Eat a meal within 3 hours before your workout, with at least 15g of protein.
2. Eat a meal within 1.5 hours after your workout, with at least 20g of protein.
3. If you can't eat a meal until later, make sure to eat a protein bar or a protein shake within 45 minutes of your workout's end, and eat a full meal as soon as you can, no later than 3 hours later.
4. Of course get plenty of complex carbohydrates and veggies.
5. Never let yourself feel hungry, never be too full. Ideally you are eating 4 small-medium, balanced meals a day.
6. Schedule your meals and try to eat at the same time everyday.
7. Get 7-9 hours sleep a night now that you can.
8. Drink 2 liters of water a day. Don't be afraid of bloating!
9. Warm-up for 5 minutes of jogging on the treadmill before your workout.
10. Get loose with some dynamic plyometrics if you have to (i.e. push ups, shoulder rotations, hip twists, neck rotations, etc.) for a few minutes.
11. During your workout, aim for 1.5 - 2 minutes rest in between sets.
- Breath out during the exertion phase of the rep. Forcefully. Breathe in during the negative phase.
12. For any exercise that requires you to bend your knees, LOOK STRAIGHT or UP.
13. Stretch for 10 minutes at the end of every workout.
14. If you are going to combine cardio and strength training, always leave the cardio for AFTER the weights, and do it for at least 25 minutes without walking, no matter how slow you have to jog.
15. Don't be afraid to ask for a spot or some form tips from a personal trainer. Form is much more important than weight at this stage.
16. When I say 8 reps, I mean at a weight and intensity that you can barely do a 9th, and could definitely not do a 10th without totally screwing up the form.
17. There is a reason I have chosen an 8 rep range – for optimum for strength building and fat loss if done properly. You have to make sure that your intensity is up, you are choosing the right (heavy) weight, and your breathing is powerful.
18. Concentrate on using the muscle group you are working out on. Make every rep count and do not simply 'follow the motion'.
19. 14-16 sets per lifting session should burn you out and allow you to finish after about an hour. If your timing is slower, you are resting too long.
20. Drink at least a small glass of water for every 20 minutes you spend lifting.
Read, remember and apply.
We will now start with DAY 1, coming up on my next post...