It's the holidays and it is easy to contemplate workouts, ponder what type of workout to do, or skip the workout altogether. I say, "Just move it! Do something vs. nothing, because doing nothing makes you feel bad. Keep it simple. If you want to challenge your muscles, you can use iron bands. If you want to train using your own body weight, then simply do the Fortunately 500 or Another 500 routine.
For the weight-lifting workout, I love using iron bands because they are easy to store, easy to pack and also offer a good amount of resistance coming in different tensions or resistance levels. Just start your routine off with some foam rolling to improve circulation, and then conquer three sets of each exercise group, for 12 repetitions each. For more stability training within the routine, throw in a foam pad, or simply perform the exercises without it. Companies such as Iron Company, Amazon, and Power Systems sell such equipment.
In a super-set fashion, you can hit all the main body parts, while sparing yourself time, and a trip to the gym:
Step onto the iron band and with the band in the center of your foot. Bring your feet to hip distance apart and your hands up to your chest, elbows tucked tight to your side body. Keep your arms in place for the entire set while you step out a foot with each leg, aligning your knees with your ankles and toes, increasing tension on the band. Step your feet back in to hip distance apart. Keep tension on the band for the whole set to challenge your gluteus muscles. Alternate between feet when stepping out and in.
Single leg squat on foam:
Stand on the foam pad with feet hip distance apart to start. Lift your right leg up and stabilize through your left foot. Once you find stability in the foot and ankle, perform a single leg squat touchdown reaching the opposite hand to the left foot. Ground through the left foot to bring yourself up to a standing one leg position. Repeat 12 times before switching legs.
Tie the Iron band around a sturdy post. Get inside the band and position your hands shoulder distance apart in preparation to do a chest press. Stagger your stance with your feet hip distance apart. Keep your hands below shoulder height in the starting position and with constant tension on the band, extend your arms forward in front of you, while keeping your core muscles engaged.
Stand with your feet hip distanced apart facing the sturdy post. Slightly bend your knees to keep your posture in a neutral position. Draw your elbow back to your side body, bringing your shoulder blades together in back, as though you are squeezing a pencil. Hold the squeeze for a count before returning your arms back to starting position. Keep tension on the band the entire set.
REPEAT 3 SETS, 12 REPS EACH EXERCISE, before proceeding to group 2!
Standing hip distance on top of the iron band directly under the center of both feet, bring your arms tight to yours sides and begin to curl. Exhale as you lift up, and inhale on the way down. As you lift, pin your arms tight to your sides until the set is complete.
Standing in a lunge position with your back foot planted securely on the ground; put the band under the middle of your front foot. Hinge through your hip to lean over the front leg and grab the iron band with the opposite hand, pinning that arm tightly to your side. Once your arm is secure against your side, perform the kickback, paying close attention to keeping your shoulder down while keeping your stance neutral. Switch sides.
Using the foam pad, position yourself onto your forearms and toes, with your forearms resting on the foam, offering both instability and support. Once your body is in alignment in plank, then alternate between the right and left arms to punch forward while maintaining a neutral spine. The closer together your feet are, the more challenging. Keep your hips squared to the ground and avoid side to side rotations during your punches.
Oblique rotations on foam:
Sitting on the foam pad, hold onto the iron band and pull apart the band to add tension to your shoulders, back and abdominals. Lean back 30 degrees, and either keep your feet on the ground or challenge yourself and bring your feet off the ground. Maintain a neutral spine and avoid dumping into your lower back. As if to be rowing a boat, bring your arms side to side working the obliques. Perform 12 reps each side.
REPEAT 3 SETS, 12 REPS EACH EXERCISE
Stretch after your program, using the foam roller along with static stretches that address the hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, piriformis, IT band, chest, back and shoulders.
Photo credit: Nancy Sharpe