30 minute TOTAL BODY TONER
Photography: Neil Francombe/Ultra-Fit Images
No longer getting the results you desire? Too much ‘you’ but not enough time? Personal trainer Caroline Sandry has a speedy circuit to help you fast forward your way to a better body…
Perhaps you have been exercising for a while, but are no longer seeing positive changes. Or maybe you have a good level of fitness, but are going through a busy period and do not have the time to get to the gym. There are times when you need to up the intensity and find new challenges, and so we have devised a time effective circuit that can be performed at home, and all you need is a step/stair or low bench and some dumbbells.
Back to basics
As readers of Ultra Fit, I am sure you already have a good knowledge of exercise and you understand about goals and programmes; but sometimes even the most dedicated exercisers get stuck in an exercise rut, and find their fitness and toning can plateau. Perhaps you have reached a point where you are comfortable with your routine and you regularly clock up your 10 miles of running each week, plus a quick weights session at the gym, but you are finding that your body is no longer responding in the same way and your shape and tone is not improving. Many new clients that approach me for personal training are already fit and have a good routine, but have found their weight loss has slowed or stopped, or they have found that they still have that excess stomach fat, or wobbly arms that they hate in spite of their continued efforts. One of the principles of fitness that should always be considered is ‘overload’ In order to elicit continued gains in CV fitness or muscle size , strength and endurance, the body must be subjected to greater stress than it is accustomed to. This can be achieved by manipulating one of the variables of your routine – including Volume (sets & reps) Speed Muscle action Rest interval Training frequency Plane of motion Exercise order Exercise selection Duration of session As this is aimed for those of you that are short on time, this routine varies planes of motion and muscle action. It is then down to you to change the exercise order, and for example increase your speed or decrease your rest intervals. This circuit is not for beginners, however is very adaptable. Begin with no weights (where there is an option) and progress to
light dumbbells – e.g. 2kg before working up to 4 or 5 kg dumbbells. Also, to add intensity, and to increase the cardio challenge, add in a 45 – 90 second skip session between each exercise with a short recovery. If you are already fit, and want to shape up quickly for an event, or the beach, then add in the skipping plus star jumps, squat thrusts and or running on the spot to really up the intensity. The exercises are all compound – they work more than one joint at a time, and some of them are working knee, hip, elbow and shoulder joint in one move, so take your time to get familiar with the movement and concentrate on form and technique. To begin with, perform one set of 10 – 12 reps of each exercise, and as you become fitter repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times. If you do choose to add in some CV work (skipping, jumping etc) then there may be additional benefits - as interval training boosts your post exercise calorie burn (EPOC) - so you will continue to burn more calories after your session than if you had completed a lower intensity session – so get that skipping rope out!
■ Stand in front of a step, feet hip width and parallel. ■ Step up with the right foot, and then step back to briefly touch foot back to start position ■ Repeat 10 – 15 on each leg. ■ To advance, hold light dumbbells in front of you with palms facing inwards and elbows bent, and ‘punch’ forward as you step up. Do not lock the arm.
■ Kneel with your back to your step, hands under your shoulders and shoulders away from your ears ■ Place one toe at a time up onto the step and draw your abdominals in tight as you lift your knees up, so that your body forms a straight line – like a plank! Your full bodyweight is supported on your hands and toes. ■ Keep your spine in a neutral position, your belly button drawn up and in and hold the position for 10 – 20 seconds. ■ To advance, lift one foot from the floor, maintaining neutral and keeping the hips straight and level.
■ Stand a stride’s length in front of your step, with a single weight held in both hands in front of you ■ Lunge forward placing right foot up onto the box, as you bend both knees to lower the hips. The front knee should be above the ankle in its end position. Lift the weight upwards as you lunge, ensuring you keep neutral spine. ■ Repeat 10 – 15 on each leg
■ Stand on the left side of your step on your right leg. Hold dumbbells by your side for extra resistance. ■ Bend your right leg and tap your left foot on the floor, and then straighten right leg back up. ■ If your step is fairly low, you may be able to perform for example 45 seconds of stepping on each side, and if your step is higher, you could perform 15 reps on each leg. ■ To increase the challenge, perform a biceps curl with each step up.
■ With your hands up on the step and under your shoulders - body weight supported on hands and toes ■ Slowly bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the step, maintaining neutral spine and keeping your abdominals drawn in. ■ Exhale to push body back up to start position ■ Repeat 10 – 12 times
■ Stand on your step facing away from the floor, feet hip width and parallel ■ Take a big step back with the right leg, bending both knees to lower hips towards the floor – front knee should be above the ankle in its end position ■ Step the right foot back up to start position ■ To intensify, hold dumbbells by your sides, and as you step back, lift the weights straight out in front of you to shoulder height, ensuring you maintain neutral spine. ■ Repeat 10 – 12 times on each leg
To summarize –
this routine is designed to be a short but challenging routine and unless you add in several CV intervals, should take no longer than 30 minutes. Beginners should take it slowly and work without dumbbells to begin with. Those fitter individuals should use weights, and add in some high intensity CV work such as skipping or running to create further challenge, and remember the principle of overload – gradually increase the demands you place on the body to keep seeing results.
REMEMBER TO ALWAYS WARM UP BEFORE, AND COOL DOWN AND STRETCH AFTER YOUR SESSION Coming up next issue – a fab Pilates ab routine to flatten and strengthen your midriff…