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Fit for Life: Putting it all together

Over the past few years I’ve used this space to talk about individual workouts and now it’s time to put things together. Below is an effective program that works all muscles and the cardiovascular system. The program is a based on a seven-day rotation: day one (core and cardio); day two (core and legs/shoulders); day three (core and arms); day four (stairs); day five (core and cardio); days six and seven are days off.

October 31, 2008
By Aaron Brouwer

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aaronbrouwer

Over the past few years I’ve used this space to talk about individual workouts and now it’s time to put things together. Below is an effective program that works all muscles and the cardiovascular system. The program is a based on a seven-day rotation: day one (core and cardio); day two (core and legs/shoulders); day three (core and arms); day four (stairs); day five (core and cardio); days six and seven are days off. 

Make sure you do a proper warm up before you get into the program. Jump on a bicycle or elliptical for five minutes; go at a pace that gets your heart up – you want to go at a pace that gets your body warmed up and ready to do the work ahead. After a short warm up, stretch the muscles you are about to work. Grab the exercise bands and simulate each exercise you are going to do in the workout. Finish each workout with a short walk or some stretching so you can work out the lactic acid that has built up. This helps to reduce soreness the next day.

Cardio
Plan for 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic activity. These activities can include running (outside, track or treadmill), bicycle (road or stationary), elliptical or swimming.

Core
Do 15 of each of the following exercises: standard crunch; knee-up crunch; hop lifts; side plank dips; bridged leg lifts; heel touches; bicycle crunch;
half-up twist. For descriptions and videos of each exercise go to www.beginnertriathlete.com and search for the “Hard Core – Exercises to Strengthen Your Abs For Better Performance” by Justin Maguire. 

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Legs/shoulders
Do three sets of 10 of the following exercises: squats; barbell military press; calf raises; shoulder shrugs; lunges; incline bench press; dumbbell step-ups; barbell upright row. The first set should be done with the exercise bands to prepare your muscles to be pushed. The second set should be done using a weight with which you can complete all 10 reps but the last two reps are a bit of a struggle. The third set should be at a weight with which you know you may not be able to complete all 10 reps, as this will push your body. If you can easily complete all 10 reps in the third set then increase the weight in the next workout. Do not sacrifice proper technique for reps; if you can only complete six proper reps then that’s what you complete. Improper form will lead to injuries. 

To increase intensity for the legs/shoulders and arms workouts you can add a minute of cardio exercise between each set. Some good exercises to do between reps are step-ups, running stairs, elliptical, sit-ups, holding the bridge position or riding bicycle. Adding this one minute of exercise keeps your heart rate up. 

Arms
Do three sets of 10 of the following exercises: bench press; hammer curl; concentration curls; dumbbell kick backs; lateral flys; standing bicep curls; tricep extension; overhead press; upright row. Follow the example above for the intensity of the reps.

Stairs
Find a place where you can run up and down a few flights of stairs. A standard flight of stairs has between eight and 10 stairs. If you can find a place that has four to five flights that works best but you can still do this workout with just two flights. The program below lists the total number of flights you need to do for each set, so just figure out how many times you need to go up and down based on the number of flights at the location you have chosen. Take a two-minute break in between each set.
1. Two minutes of light jogging up and down the stairs.
2. Five minutes of stretching; focus on your legs.
3. Stairs with push ups. At each landing or every 8 to 10 steps, do 10 push-ups. Four flights total.
4. Stairs with squats. At each landing do 10 squats. You can alternate between single-leg squats and double- leg squats and you can use a weighted vest to make this more intense. Four flights total.
5. Stairs with weighted vests. Wear a vest of between 20 and 40 pounds and run up and down the stairs. Try to skip a step on the way up but hit every stair on the way down. Do 22 flights total and do it twice.
6.Sprint stairs. Run up and down as fast as you can without the weighted vest. You will feel like you can fly up those stairs after doing the previous exercise. Four flights total.
7.Two-legged stair hops. Jump up each stair, using a two-footed jump, all the way to the top. If you don’t have enough flights to go all the way up then walk or jog down to jump back up again. Do not jump down the stairs, as it’s not particularly save to do so. Six flights total.
8. Finisher. Run up and down the stairs as fast you can while wearing the weighted vest and carrying an extra weight  – hose, high-rise pack or foam bucket works great. Eight flights total.

Find a workout partner or get the guys on your shift to work out with you are accountable to someone. Remember: Your goal should be to be fit to save a life. If you have questions about this routine or would like complete exercise descriptions e-mail me at ff_brouwer@hotmail.com


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