Home Workout Programs
Currently, there is no singular program that fully acknowledges the common conditions of health conditions, injury, pain, lack of flexibility, loss of joint cartilage or debilitating inflammation, lack of energy, lack of motivation and restrictive extra weight. The typical route of unsustainable diets, gym memberships, expensive extreme workout DVDs and hyped plastic gadgets, ends in injury, frustration and ultimately gaining weight. Diet is the first area that needs to be addressed. It's going to be responsible for 60% of weight loss and contribute the majority of gained energy and motivation, to progress through the program. I have a separate page of practical recipes that are low in effort, cholesterol, fat, sugar and sodium.
Adopting a realistic, progressive exercise program is a critical to achieving long term success. Realistic means no marketing hype, results require work and time commitment. Realistic also means that the program can be completed inside our home with a minimal equipment budget. A program is a structure that enables us to simply follow a day by day plan and witness results as long as we commit. Progression makes program entry possible for all fitness levels. The human body is a highly adaptive organism. It requires exercise progression to prevent a plateau in results. Below, you will find a five phase program that is accessible to most people. Folks carrying a disability or injury should find some value here too. Program guides are most usable in paperback to speed exercise reference.
It's human nature to be drawn to advanced practices before mastering the fundamentals. In this case, mindset, pain relief, grip strength and wrist strength are fundamental. Phase three contains yoga for fat loss and flexibility. Phase four contains dumbbell programs for developing strength, stamina, stability and flexibility. These exercises actively and passively burn calories. Every pound of developed muscle will passively burn one pound of fat per year. Phase five is a bodyweight workout program that will be too painful for most, unless we progress through the previous phases. Bodyweight workouts stimulate a much broader range of muscle groups, delivering efficient and functional strength. However, those dumbbells won't go to waste. They will be used to advance our bodyweight workouts later on.
Entering a healthy diet and exercise program isn't that difficult. The biggest challenge is maintaining it over the long term, especially if we aren't witnessing spectacular short term results. There are essentially two extremes of mindset, victim and entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are goal oriented, self disciplined and mentally resilient. Executive toughness is a concise, actionable, execution guide that ultimately develops those traits. It utilizes a step by step process of defining a goal, building a concrete schedule, self evaluation and overcoming obstacles. Don't get hung up on terms like entrepreneur or executive. This guide is neither high brow or business specific. It's actually sports psychology with the sport removed to broaden the audience.
If our mood is low, even minor challenges can seem insurmountable. Water, fiber and vitamin deficiency is a
bigger mood determinant than overconsumption of fat and sugar. Dehydration affects mood and clarity of thought.
Our pee is clear if fully hydrated; the darker the color the worse the dehydration. Nobody feels like working
out if constipated. Synthetic antihistamines are known to negatively alter mood, sometimes to a fatal degree. Luffa
is a natural alternative. Alcohol is an addictive depressant that can manifest as anxiety; heavy drinkers refer
to it as 'the fear'. Drinking to kill 'the fear' can lead to a vicious cycle. Oral hygiene also delivers a
noticeable lift in mood. Tooth plaque bacteria excrete toxins into our saliva, which enters our system via the
gut. Flossing and tongue scraping keeps it at bay.
Phase 1: Pain Relief
Issues with immune system, mood, energy, flexibility, constipation, acid reflux, ulcers, sinus blockage, aches and pains, will inhibit the motivation to workout. There are several natural products available that successfully address these conditions. They are proven safe but rely on anecdotal evidence as efficacy. Several of my relatives are using aloe vera juice as a general health tonic. They consider it superior to Noni juice. Aloe vera treats all of the listed complaints but is particularly effective on constipation and stomach acid. Improving the guts efficiency helps to extract vital nutrients and excrete toxins. It will help compensate for a vitamin deficient diet but compliments a high veggie intake too. Take it like a shot of spirits, 20 minutes before meals for maximum absorption. Keep refrigerated once opened.
The crippling effect of chronic inflammation is a symptom of the human immune system attacking itself. Various compounds within LDL, usually referred to as bad cholesterol, provoke this response. People with high levels of bad cholesterol exhibit more pronounced inflammation in addition to heart disease, stroke and dementia. Cherry concentrate contains anthocyanins a pigment that reduces the presence of these compounds in the body and to a lesser extent, overall bad cholesterol levels. A quarter cup per day of almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts has been shown to cut bad cholesterol by up to 40% in high risk groups. Nuts are calorie dense, measure them out rather than grazing through a large bag. It's also a natural source of melatonin, which can address insomnia and anxiety.
When we get into our mid thirties to early
forties the cartilage in our knee joints begins to degrade, suddenly returning from that squat under the cupboard isn't
so easy and things only go downhill unless we address it. Most guys go into denial mode and let the condition
decline into arthritis. All that's required is two capsules of Tripleflex and a cod liver oil capsule. Take them in the morning on an empty stomach, which helps absorption. The
ingredients aren't harsh on the stomach lining. Trippleflex builds up new cartilage in our joints and cod liver oil
lubricates them. You should begin to feel the benefit within three weeks. One of my knees still clicks but the
crunching has gone, as has stiffness and pain.
Phase 2: Grip & Wrist Strength
Grip strength training, followed up with wrist strength training, is a great way to get back into exercise. All of the subsequent strength training is functional but none more so than grip strength. It factors into most exercise form and stamina, sport performance, ability to open jars, carry stuff and even socialize. There is nothing worse than a limp handshake. Conversely, sometimes guys will try to assert themselves by painfully squeezing another guy's fingers during a handshake. Possessing a bone crushing grip enables us to discreetly retort.
Grip training is very accessible. It doesn't require warm ups, changing into sweats or showering afterwards. It can even be performed in front of the T.V. The Ivanko Super Gripper may not be pretty but it's the best grip trainer on the market. The springs are replaceable and adjustable, which translates to long term economy and ease of storage. The simple two piece design means there are no hinges, pins or screws to fail. The large frame provides a handle spread of 3" to 3.5", accommodating large and small hands.
The large die cast metal frame also supports negatives. This is a method of breaking through plateaus by advancing to the next pull weight, closing the gripper with both hands and slowly releasing with one hand. The frame can be grasped with the other hand during individual finger training, thumb training and extensor training. Other designs require collars to adjust spread and handle extensions for negatives. The Ivanko's typical 10 lb spring weight increment is half that of other models. Admittedly, the fixed grippers' knurled handles offer more grip for bare hands. Various tapes and wraps address this.
The Ivanko Super Gripper may not be as portable as a single fixed weight gripper but is more compact overall, considering it requires 8 fixed grippers to equal its range of spring weight. The Super Gripper can be set as low as 8 lbs with 1 spring installed and as high 345 lbs with 2 springs installed. Advance to the next spring rate after developing the strength to complete twice per week, 3 sets of 15 repetitions per hand. John Szimanski compiled a chart that identifies the closest increment setting. Scan the chart for the current spring position, read the poundage, then scan the scan the entire chart for the next highest poundage. Set the gripper to this spring position. The data is sorted by spring position.
The hands and wrist are points of contact in most exercises and activities. They are often the limiting factor. The inside of the forearm contains the flexor muscles responsible for bending the wrist. The outside forearm contains the extensor muscles responsible for straightening the wrist. The hands and wrists contain no muscle; it's all located in the middle and rear of the forearm. Strengthening both flexors and extensors is necessary, as they will be required for effective weight loss Yoga, weight lifting and bodyweight exercises.
Wrist curls exercise the flexor muscles. Reverse wrist curls (pictured above) and zottman curls
exercise the extensors. Dumbbells prevent the dominant arm's muscles from compensating for the other arm.
This assists the non-dominant arms strength development. Performing an exercise set one arm at a time helps
focus on form and keeps the heart rate up. Reduce muscle fatigue by alternating sets between flexors,
extensors, right arm and left arm. Adjust the weight to enable a routine of 3 sets of 15 repetitions
of each curl, three times a week. I perform 35 toe touches and torso twists to warm up my back
before working with any weights, even performing wrist curls.
Phase 3: Weight Loss Yoga
Gym membership isn't practical for most guys with an average schedule or body shape. The machines used in gyms are suited to body builders that want to focus on developing particular muscles. They can use significant amounts of resistance with relatively low risk of injury. Using machines to develop functional strength will require several hours per day because of the narrow focus of each exercise. Factor in the hierarchical atmosphere, the travel time and it's easy to understand why the gym doesn't work for most people. It's a great business model, gyms can overbook long term memberships because a third of their clients never show up.
A starting weight of 400 lbs to 650 lbs isn't unusual these days. This precludes the traditional bodyweight exercises of push ups, pull ups, sit ups, lunges and squats. Average weight, flexibility and muscle tone levels are not sufficient to complete these exercises. The joints and spine will take the brunt of the punishment, causing pain and injury. I don't recommend running or jogging, even for lightweights because of the impact on the joints. If you must run for sport or work, try to do the majority of training on soft grass rather than pavement.
Specialised yoga training is the perfect gateway to exercise for folks raised on a western diet.
Mention yoga and most guys will visualise incense candles, leotards and meditation. Undeniably, that material is
available but weight loss yoga focuses entirely on the physical aspect. The positions focus on upper body strength and place very little pressure
on the hips, knees or ankles. Back pain suffers will benefit from the flexibility and core strength
provided by the six week program. Core muscles function as a corset supporting the spine, relieving pressure from
its disks. Enhanced overall flexibility helps prevent spinal elements over flexing. I recommend some wrist
strengthening exercise, a few weeks before starting the program. Weak wrists can prematurely force us out of the
Phase 4: Dumbbell Workouts
Dumbbells are broken down into three categories, fixed weight, standard adjustable and exotic adjustable. I find the compactness and value of standard adjustable dumbbells to be the most practical for home use. Standard adjustable bars have three styles of locking collar, spring clip, compression ring and spindle lock. Spindle lock is the most secure, the nut and bolt system eliminates catastrophic collar slippage. The trick to a solid spindle lock is to turn the innermost plate in the opposite direction to the spindle. Gold's Gym's 'Sure-Lock' is a good 14" x 1" solid steel, spindle lock dumbbell bar. It weighs 5 lbs with collars attached. Each dumbbell will hold 6 mid-size plates. A set of four (1" x 5 lb) cast iron plates and eight (1" x 10 lb) plates is a very practical set up. All plates can be neatly stored on the two dumbbells. Extreme weight is only required for power lifting.
Solid rubber horse stall mats are the most practical flooring protection. They are twice as durable and a third of the cost of dedicated gym flooring. Yoga mats and exercise mats are not designed to protect flooring from heavy equipment. Tractor Supply offers a 48" x 72" x 0.75" stall mat that will serve as gym flooring, exercise mat and yoga mat. It weighs 100 lbs, hence a local pick up is required. Mats that have been stored indoors may exhibit a strong odour. They need to be hosed down, scrubbed with liquid dish soap and left outside for 1 week. However, after this treatment, they are ideal for garage, basement or bedroom workout stations. It is possible to use home furniture for dumbbell exercises but it's going to generate wear and tear. The Adidas dumbbell bench is compact, economical and rated for a 300 lb user plus additional 300 lbs of weight. It has no moving parts and is extremely stable. It is fully compatible with the rubber stall mat. Max dims are 44" x 19" x 17". It's portable enough to may be stored against a wall.
Resistance training with weights will convert any padding into muscle that passively burns calories. It's well suited to heavier folks than bodyweight workouts because the weight can be adjusted to prevent overloading joints. Once the heaviness is addressed and supportive strength developed, bodyweight workouts should be incorporated into the program. The great dumbbell DVD is a bare bones reference guide to proper dumbbell form. It's not a workout DVD per se because it doesn't have a warm up or cool down section. However it does have 3 beginner level dumbbell workouts. The Yoga DVD above has warm up and cool down routines if required.
Most of us have no interest in developing are own exercise programs. Hedrick's dumbbell training guide provides
15 programs ranging from basic muscle building to more focused plans. The latter programs are categorised by
sport, which may deter some people. In reality they are just focused on the legs, arms or core muscles. It's
suitable for both beginners and athletes. The book is highly organised with detailed step by step pictures of
its 78 dumbbell exercises, sorted by focus on the upper body, lower body, core or total body.
Phase 5: Bodyweight Workouts
'You Are Your Own Gym' (YAYOG) certainly isn't perfect. It omits critical warm up and cool down routines to market a shorter time commitment. It lacks a program suitable for folks carrying a lot of weight. The exercise programs omit exercise page numbers. The nutrition advice is focused solely on a Paleolithic diet. The editing, grammar and spelling could be improved. Usage of 'Bible' in the sub-title can offend some folks.
However, the core of the book is excellent. It has 3 key components, written and photographic exercise instructions, HIIT exercise timers and 4 progressive exercise programs. Each exercise is rated 1-4 with modifiers to expand progression. Exercises are categorized as either PUSH, PULL, LEGS or CORE. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a simple mechanism that introduces brief periods of intense exercise, balanced with brief rest periods and less intense exercise. HIIT's effectiveness in cardiovascular development and weight loss deliver a significantly reduced workout time compared to the long slog of medium intensity exercise like jogging or aerobics. Several electronic timers and apps are available from Gymboss and YAYOG to manage the HIIT timing.
Each 10 week exercise program can be completed indoors, at home, using minimal equipment, requiring a time commitment that most people can support on a long term basis. There are heavily marketed alternative programs but burn out and injury are a major risk factor. Lauren leverages his experience training special operations troops to master the delicate balance between physical stimulation and muscle recovery time. Functional strength requires muscle development. Muscle mass is developed by tearing the tissue through exercise. The body responds by repairing the damage and adding a little extra tissue for good measure. Periodization acknowledges that recovery time is critical to long term sustainment. The author achieves 'Periodization' through adjusting workouts by muscle group, duration, intensity and frequency. The outcome is a realistically workable solution for the typical modern lifestyle.
Practical resistance training promotes strength, fitness, metabolism and bone density.
Bodyweight workouts are more effective than dumbbells, bench and exercise machines because they invoke a large
number of stabilizing muscles. It's a common misconception that bodyweight exercises don't provide progression.
Below you will find 14 progressive variations of inverted rows, a convenient alternative to pull ups. Exercise 14 is pictured above.
'Let me ins' straddle an open door, gripping the handles, pulling the body in.
01. Let Me Ins; legs slightly bent
Questions & Feedback.
Well, that's about it guys. I hope you found this guide useful. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact me through the welcome page.
Ian ST John.
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