Shape Up: Exercises to keep you fit

The chin-up is an excellent strength-training exercise.

The chin-up is an excellent strength-training exercise.

OF all the questions that get thrown my way, by far the most commonly asked is what I do personally to keep fit. 

In short, my fitness routine generally follows a theme of cardio, strength and a good amount of stretching. But as for my exact weekly exercise routine, it really depends on what is happening with my body on any given day.

If I’m feeling a little under the weather then generally I don’t inflict a heavy workout on myself, but instead I opt for a gentle yoga session. And when I have little niggles or minor injuries I adjust according to them. 

Over the past few months I have been battling a dodgy calf and ankle, so running hasn’t been an option. Instead, I have been getting right into yoga and also some strength training. 

To keep my cardio fitness up, I’ve been trying to do a little boxing and other forms of cardio that don’t impact on my injuries.

And on the days that I’m 100 per cent healthy and injury free, my favourite way to keep fit is to try lots of different exercise techniques that challenge my body through strength, agility, speed, cardio and flexibility. Here are some of my favourite exercises that I think tick all the boxes. 

Be mindful that I wouldn’t prescribe this workout for anyone with injuries or health problems; this one is purely for when you have a clean bill of health and the all-clear from your doc. 

If you don’t, then it’s best to seek advice from a fitness professional that can guide you safely through an exercise routine.

MY FAVOURITE EIGHT

1. Warm up by skipping rope or running for 3-5 minutes

2. Squat jumps – are just like a regular squat, but you explode off the ground on the way up and jump into the air, making sure that you land softly with knees bent to absorb the impact. Do as many as you can in a row.

3. Push ups – as many as you can without a pause.

4. Laying Superman – lying on your stomach, lift your head and shoulders off the ground and also squeeze your bottom muscles and lift your legs off the ground too (while keeping them straight). Hold your arms and legs raised for as long as you can.

5. Chin-ups – find something to hang off (Safely! Use the monkey bars in a playground, or use a chin-up bar) and pull your body weight up so that your chin is above the bar. Do as many reps as you can.

6. High low plank – holding plank position on elbows and toes, push yourself up to your hands (high plank) keeping hands stacked under your shoulders, and then lower back down to elbows (low plank). Repeat this process for as many reps as you can.

7. Tuck jumps – jump into the air while pulling your knees up towards your chest. Do as many of these as you can without stopping.

8. 50m sprints with a short recovery in between – try to do enough of these to get you puffing and feeling fatigued in your muscles.

And once this is complete, be sure to stretch your muscles thoroughly. Enjoy! 

Amy Holmes is a personal trainer and owner of Shape Health and Fitness. For more healthy lifestyle advice,  email info@shapefitnessvic.com.au or visit www.shapehealthandfitness.com.au 

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