Happy Happy New Year to you! As promised, here is week 1 of the 6-week Post-Christmas-Hello-New-Year Workout Plan. The aim is not to lose 10 kilos or 2 dress sizes but to help you upgrade your workout routine and, most importantly, help form training and eating habits you can sustain long-term.
As you know I am all about technique and progress, so if any questions – find me on the gym floor, drop me a Facebook Message (scan the blue circle on my card with the Messenger App), Twitter or go old school and email 🙂
First of all, two rules:
- Strength training always comes first. Plan your strength training sessions as priority with cycling, running, Zumba around them. Muscle gives us definition, muscle gives us a firm, lean body and muscle is very hard to build! Don’t be scared to lift weights and working up to lifting them heavy.
- Do your strength exercises first, then your cardio.
- Choose weights well.The first week is based on 10 reps x 3 sets and rep 6 onwards is meant to be hard. Not being able to finish 10 reps each set is not an issue – build up to it, but if your rep 9 feels light, no sweat, no effort – it’s time to up the weight!
- Quality over quantity. Technique is extremely important. A plank with your bum in the air isn’t really a plank.
- You cannot out-train a bad diet. I’m speaking cliches but this one is very true:) and does not matter how often you train and how strong you are getting – if your diet is full of processed foods, sweets and junk food, your progress will be limited.
This plan is based on 2 sessions a week with the exercises below plus 2 active recovery days – jogging, cycling, 20-30mins cardio in the gym, various classes.
Week 1 is a simple, “Ease into it, I’m still full of Christmas pudding” workout but trust me, it gets harder 🙂
10 repetitions of each exercise, 3 sets. Keep rest to a minimum, 60 – 90 seconds but always enough to keep good form throughout.
Session 1 – set your weight, record what you’ve done
Session 2 – improve on session 1 and do 2 more reps or 10 seconds of each exercise
Nutrition: replace refined carbs (bread, pasta that sort of thing) with 2 fistfuls of veg in your lunch and dinner and eat them first.
Mobility and warm up (1 set * 10 reps)
Start with your feet approximately shoulder width apart, toes looking slightly outwards. Push your hips back and down, keep your chest up and arms stretched out in front of you. Squat down as far as is comfortable, aiming to get your hips below your knees. Getting even further down, to the point where your hamstrings touch your calves is the ultimate aim. Once you reach depth, push the ground away, drive your hips forward and stand up to return to the start position. See that your knees are not going in as you are going up.
Slam ball wall throw. (3 sets * 3 reps)
Find a sturdy wall (for PureGym Bermondsey members, the brick wall by the Power Plates) and a light medicine ball. We are working on waking up the nervous system so 4kg or even 2kg is plenty!
Hold the slam ball at chest height, feet just under shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight and elbows down. Throw the ball explosively against the wall, retrieve and throw again! Keep reps low as we want maximal effort each time. I must admit I got carried away whilst filming this 🙂
Lift! (3 sets * 10 reps)
Split squat with dumbbells.
Start with one leg in front of the other, feet comfortable part for balance and a pair of dumbbells lifted to shoulder height (or held by your sides if your arms are tired). Drop the rear knee until the shin is parallel to the ground. Push back up through the ground with both feet. That’s one rep.
Feet shoulder width apart, abs tight and squeeze your glutes (your butt cheeks) tight. Tense your legs, especially your inner thighs and quads (the big muscles on the front of the legs). This makes the exercise so much more effective and turns it into a whole body workout. Press one dumbbell up with purpose, pause, then pull it back down whilst pressing the other dumbbell up.
Dumbbell Hold (3 sets of 30sec hold / 30 sec rest)
Same set up as for the dumbbell press but this time press both dumbbells up and hold!
Cardio! (2 sets of 5mins of 1min easy pace / 30 sec sprint)
The rower is my go-to cardio machine as it’s the hardest one to do 🙂 but it delivers results so challenge yourself and get a really good workout in.
Rowing is quite technical and here are the main coaching points.
Keep your lower back neutral and upper back straight. Shoulders back and down, don’t hunch over. *PUSH* with your legs, then *PULL* with your arms. Pull the handle to your lower ribs.
Core! (3 sets of 30 sec hold / 30 sec rest)
Plank. You’ve all read my core training guide, right? 🙂 The plank is well described in there but to summarise, keep your butt down, squeeze your glutes and abs contracted tight. Don’t just hold it and rest! You’ll find this so much more effective than the usual way of holding a plank and much less boring.
We all know we should do it so go do it 🙂 Stretch your hip flexors and adductors as well as your upper back and chest.