It's no secret I want to help people find practical solutions for a healthy lifestyle in today’s more than busy life. And I’m so excited to partner up with Al Painter of INTEGRATE Performance Fitness to give you some basic workouts you can do in little time, with big results.
Wow, that makes me sound like a gimmicky gym commercial. So let me explain…
Al and I met online in a fitness forum where we were able to share ideas with other trainers and learn from each other. We realized that our philosophies were in line with each others. Build a solid foundation through your core for ultimate stabilization so you can move better. Work, work, and work your posterior chain because it helps you ride your bike smoother, and yes faster! Sidenote: we both like to ride bikes...especially if it's a mountain bike! East coast vs. west coast trails?? Vote for your favorites in the comments!
We also both have younger - ish children who we love dearly. But we know what it’s like to be attempting to get a workout in even though they’d rather use your foam rollers as bowling pins. If you’re working on balance exercises or training for an obstacle race, it’s actually worth trying some lunges or push ups while they play this game. Kidding, sort of. Don’t try this at home unless the kids make you, in which case we all know, the parents have no say.
Anyway, because we know life is busy and fitting in an effective workout can be tough, we want to help! We’re bringing you a series of workouts based on four exercises only. Please remember to warm up appropriately as well as warm down those muscles. Performed correctly, these exercises will require little time and equipment. We ask you to bring your commitment and focus…and have some fun! Two exercises each from two different trainers, with the same end goal in mind. You get the best of both worlds, trainers from each coast, and results! I've got home field advantage for the first post, but I'm passing to Al for a quick intro! The workout and details are below!
Like Karen, I’ve got wee humans at home that are always long on energy and short on tolerance for me resting. When I’m home, I’m also expected to double as a jungle gym so I need to be as consistent as possible with working out so I can keep up my fatherly fitness and moving play structure duties.
Between training people all week and taking care of business at home, my schedule is somewhere between jam packed and crunched on a regular basis. Due to that, exercising has to be simple, basic and hit as many muscles as possible.
One of my favorite ways is with exercise bands. If you want to hit every single muscle in your body at once, and you exercise at home, bands are a really good way to go.
The biggest reason being they can be set up in seconds, give you 100’s of exercise options and take just about zero space to store. If you’ve got kids at home, you know their stuff takes up just a little bit of room from time to time to the point where you almost can’t store an atom somewhere let alone exercise equipment.
PE For Parents Survival Side Note
Before you get too excited about the information I’m going to impart, I need to share one of the most valuable pieces of at home fitness advice you’ll ever get if you’ve got kids.
Since I magically find new workout partners every time I want to use my bands (they have no interest in them otherwise), and they haven’t mastered “hey bro, can we work in,” I always make sure I’ve got multiple sets to put up. Oh, and they all better be the same color too.
If they aren’t and I don’t have multiple sets, I’ll suffer a nasty parental performance review from my workout partners. Nothing as severe as “the shapes wrath” for cutting their sandwiches into the wrong geometry, but close.
For the record, my daughter likes squares and my son likes triangles. She eats the crust, he doesn’t. Your mileage may vary.
Our first 4-part workout for you uses only bodyweight for the first two exercises and a resistance band for the final two. These exercises will hit every muscle of your body, and get your heart rate up. I like to perform the bodyweight as a Super Set/Circuit and go immediately from one exercise to the next. If you need to, take a 30 second rest between exercises. I’d suggest a total of 4 rounds if time allows with a 1-2 minute rest between each round. As always, listen to your body. Challenge yourself but don’t push to the point of injury.
BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES TO BEGIN
#1 Hip Bridge
Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, relax your shoulders and upper body. Begin this exercise by squeezing your Glutes (butt muscles) to extend your hips straight up towards the ceiling. You want to draw a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for a hot second at the top and then release back to starting position. Repeat for a total set of 15-20 repetitions.
#2 Lateral Lunges
Start in your typical athletic position with knees and hips slightly bent, hip width apart, and head and chest up. Take a slow, lateral step to the right with your right leg. Keep your toes pointed forward. Sit back into your right hip and extend the left knee so left leg is straight. Maintain good posture through entire spine with head and chest up, feet parallel to each other.
Pause at the bottom and then extend through the right leg to return back to the starting position. Alternate legs and aim for 10-15 reps per side.
*Bonus tip for this exercise. While feet maintain parallel form, I find it helpful to step the working leg (the one stepping to the side) so toes are slightly in front of stationary leg. This allows the working hip to push back without driving the knee forward or losing control and externally rotating. Use a line for proper positioning if necessary.
RESISTANCE BANDS FOR THE WIN
Once the bands are set up, and I finally convince the kids the iPad I use for a timer is better served for exercise than train videos on YouTube, its go time!
My two favorite quick and easy band exercises are the step and press and step and pull. You’ll use every muscle in your body. Also, depending on how you play it, you can go for a heart rate cardio strength bout wrapping up in about 6:00 minutes or you can go with a strength endurance grinder session that only takes about 8:00 minutes.
The first sequence entails setting a timer for :20 of moving and :10 seconds of rest for a total of 12 sets for 6:00 minutes of moving. The second one is set up with a 3:00 of moving, 2:00 minutes of rest scheme done twice (3:00 on, 2:00 off, 3:00 on, done!).
The first one (:20/:10) you’ll move for the allotted time until the work period ends and the rest period begins. For the second one (3:00/2:00), you’ll do six reps of the step and push, then immediately go into six reps of the step and pull without a break in between for 3:00 minutes. Rest as necessary during the work period if you aren’t used to moving in this fashion.
#3 Exercise Band Step And Press
For the Step and Press, imagine pushing one of those revolving hotel lobby doors that weighs about a metric ton. To get it going, you step forward, drive your hands into the door, make it spin, then sprint out of the way into the lobby so it doesn’t take you out as it turns. Same idea with the step and press.
Except here, instead of taking your life into your hands, you simply step with an alternate pattern and press your arms in a pushup fashion away from the anchor of your bands then repeat. Done CORRECTLY, you should feel your abs and the glutes on the side of the foot you push off with. Check the video below to see what it looks like.
#4 Step And Pull
Here, instead of pushing the door, you step back and pull it to you. Start with your feet parallel and hands out in front of you. You step backwards and pull the bands into you keeping your elbows tucked into the ribs.
Keep most of the load on the front leg and you’ll get a nice glute activation. You should also try to smash a dime with your shoulder blades as you pull as well.
Make sure your chin stays right over your collarbone too to optimize core activation. The video below will show you how to do the exercise.
There you go. Four moves that hit every muscle in the body, feet to fingers allowing you to get quick a bit of movement in a short amount of time.
Will this sequence get you on the top step of the podium? Not likely. It does however give you some great exercise that is as convenient as it is effective to help you fit in fitness at home with an insane schedule!
We have lots more planned to share with you! Be sure to follow both @NE360Fitness and @doyouintegrate for updates on new workouts, parental posts, and fun motivation.
Al is the owner of INTEGRATE Performance Fitness located in Mountain View, California. Karen is the owner of your very own New England 360 Fitness located in Auburn, NH.