31 day plank workout challenge

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When it comes to building a stronger core, planks are one of the best exercises you can do. Holding a plank can help strengthen the shoulders, back, chest, and core — all in one exercise! The best part is, planks can easily be modified to fit any level of strength.

Before you begin the challenge, start with a quick plank test to identify your starting point. Start by setting a timer and getting into the plank position. Time how long you can hold the exercise while keeping form and not having to drop down. That’s your base time! Each day, you will add the number of seconds listed on the infographic below to your starting time.

Ready to get started?

Plank:

  1. Start with your hands directly under your shoulders, as if you were about to go into a push-up position.
  2. Next, you want to make sure that your toes are pointed into the floor. Make sure you are not locking your knees. Try to squeeze your glutes (butt) here to help with stabilization.
  3. Next, position your head so that your neck is in a neutral position. You can do this by picking a spot on the floor just beyond your hands to stare at. This will then put your head in line with your back.
  4. Finally, hold the plank for your allotted time. Make sure to breathe throughout the exercise.

Modifications:

  • If you need to, you can drop down and do this exercise on your forearms.
  • If starting in a standard position is too challenging, drop your knees to start as if doing a modified push-up (in the up position).
  • If you need a step up, try a side plank. Just remember to stack your hips and prop up on one hand or elbow. Then, if you are brave, go one step further and lift one leg or arm for an even greater challenge.

 

31 day plank challenge | UPMC Health Plan

Don’t forget, proper form is the most important part of any exercise! For the perfect plank, make sure that you are not raising your butt into the air, sinking your lower back, dropping your head to your chest, or forgetting to breathe.

 

Information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It’s always best to check with your doctor before starting any new diet or fitness routine.

30 day kettlebell workout challenge

30 day kettlebell challenge | UPMC Health Plan

Kettlebell training can burn up to 20 calories per minute, making it a quick, effective way to attack both cardio and strength. You don’t need lots of space for this workout, making it a great workout for home or the gym!

This challenge will ease you in, introducing you to these basic kettlebell moves. As the month goes on, we’ll build on those sets, working up to a full circuit by the middle through the end of the challenge. Before you get started, get to know our four featured exercises:

Kettlebell swing

  1. Start with your feet about shoulder width apart. Your toes should be pointed out, your knees slightly bent with the kettlebell between your feet (on the floor). Bend at the hips to grab the kettlebell using two hands and an overhand grip.
  2. Swing the kettlebell by keeping the arch in your lower back and extending your hips to swing the weight. The kettlebell should swing by the transfer of momentum in your hips rather than your shoulders doing the work.

Kettlebell deadlift

  1. Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and toes pointed out.
  2. Squat down to pick up the kettlebell using an overhand grip. Keep your chest up and back straight.
  3. Stand up by driving through your heels while keeping the chest up and head forward. Make sure to squeeze your butt at the top and then return to the starting position by returning the kettlebell to the ground between your feet.

Kettlebell halo

  1. Start with your feet hip width apart and the kettlebell in both hands with an overhand grip.
  2. Exhale slowly and raise the kettlebell above your head. Make sure to keep your elbows bent.
  3. Circle the kettlebell around your head, keeping the elbows bent and a neutral wrist. Return to starting position after completing a round of repetitions.

Kettlebell walking lunge

  1. Start with both feet together. Hold the kettlebell close to your body at chest height, with an overhand grip on both sides of the top of the kettlebell.
  2. Lunge forward while maintaining your position: Keep holding the kettlebell close to your chest with your head up and eyes forward.
  3. Alternate sides by completing one repetition and then moving forward with the opposite leg. 

Are you up for the challenge? Let’s get started!

30 day kettlebell workout challenge | UPMC Health Plan

Always remember that proper form is the most important part of any exercise. Have fun, and good luck!

Fitting physical activity into your workday

Fitting physical activity into your workday | UPMC Health Plan

Did you know that the average American spends about eight hours and 54 minutes each day working? That’s right! About a third of our total time in a day is most likely spent sitting. Add in the average seven to eight hours per day that Americans sleep, and we have a recipe for a sedentary lifestyle and an increased risk of chronic disease.

It’s easy to understand how Americans are fitting less and less activity into their day. It can be a challenge, especially if you work in an office setting. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week for good health. The bottom line: Too much sitting and not enough moving can be bad for our health. So making movement a part of our daily routine — specifically during the workday — is a great place to start! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Get an idea of your sitting time.

Getting a baseline will help you know where to begin and let you see ways to decrease sitting time. There is a really helpful and informational tool offered by JustStand.org that can help you to calculate your sitting time and give you suggestions for reducing it. It also calculates your health risk based on your sitting time and can calculate calorie burn, too.

Brainstorm and start small.

Making this kind of change can be challenging, and it’s best to tackle in small chunks. The easiest way to get started is to brainstorm small ways to add additional steps into the workday and start trying them. Get started today with the tips below.

Commute to work:

  • Get off the bus a few stops earlier.
  • Park farther away from your workplace and walk.
  • Stand on the bus or trolley instead of sitting.

During work:

  • Have walking meetings.
  • Stand during meetings or while you are on the phone.
  • Move your trash bin away from your desk so you have walk to it each time.
  • Print to a printer on the other side of the floor.
  • Take the stairs up and down to meetings.
  • Get your coffee or use the restroom on another floor.

Lunch breaks:

  • Eat lunch away from your desk.
  • Use half of your lunch time to walk with a friend.
  • Walk to the company cafeteria rather than eating at your desk.

Break up sitting time.

Break up your sitting time by adding a calendar reminder to get up and walk once every 30 minutes. This can be as simple as taking a loop around your floor or down the hall, but those steps will start to add up before you know it. A little progress can help to motivate and prepare you for the next step.

Ten at a time.

Once you have started moving more, it’s time to step up your routine and try to get in 10 minutes at a time. This will have the greatest impact on your health and can count towards the recommended 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can do this by walking, taking the stairs, doing a short routine, or even marching and stepping in place. Here is a sample 10-minute workout:

Fitting physical activity into your workday - Desk Workout | UPMC Health Plan 

Have equipment on hand.

If you have an office or a way to book a conference room, keeping equipment on hand is an easy way to give yourself options. Try keeping a few small hand weights, resistance bands, and extra walking shoes in your desk drawer for when you have time to fit in a quick activity break.

Use technology.

There are plenty of online fitness classes that are free and readily available. Grab a friend and book a conference room over your lunch break and try something new.

Join a walking or running club.

Maybe your company has one. If they don’t, that shouldn’t be an excuse. If you’re interested in getting a group together to walk or run during lunch, send out an email or start asking friends to join you. You will be surprised how many people will jump on board.

Being physically active at work can help you not only feel better, but also be more productive. Studies show that breaking up your workday with physical activity can reduce stress, improve concentration, enhance creativity, and elevate mood. What will you do to get started? Share your ideas in the comments below!

 

References:

Bureau of Labor Statstics: http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/

J.C. Coulson, J. McKenna, M. Field, (2008), “Exercising at work and self‐reported work performance,” International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 1 Iss: 3, pp.176 – 197.

Hogan, L.; Mata, J; Carstensen, L. (2013), “Exercise holds immediate benefits for affect and cognition in younger and older adults.” Psychology and Aging, Vol 28(2), Jun 2013, 587-594.

31 day tabata workout challenge

31 day tabata workout challenge | UPMC Health Plan

Looking for a fun, challenging total body workout? Look no further than our four-week Tabata interval workout challenge. Tabata is a type of interval training that mixes high-intensity periods with shorter rest periods. It works like this:

  • You perform each exercise for 20 seconds and then have a 10-second break.
  • You repeat each exercise for eight rounds, or four minutes.
  • As the month goes on we will add more exercises, working up to a total body 32-minute workout!

In the first week of the challenge, we will preview each of the exercises to help ease you into this style of training. Once you hit week two, we’ll start adding exercises and doubling the time. Remember to take a 30-second to one-minute break between each exercise. If you need more time, take it and move on to the next exercise when you’re ready.

Tabata training is a more advanced style of training, but don’t let that discourage you. Feel free to modify these exercises to a more comfortable level for you. If you’re used to training at a higher level of intensity, feel free to really challenge yourself with this workout!

I also recommend downloading a “Tabata timer,” which can be found in most app stores on your smartphone or online.

31 day tabata workout challenge | UPMC Health Plan

Tabata exercises

  • High knees
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jump squats
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Mountain climbers
  • Plank jacks
  • Burpees

Modifications

  • Any of these exercises can be modified. Throughout the month, you can work up to the more advanced version as you get stronger. I recommend starting at a lower intensity and making sure you can properly do the exercise. Then add intensity from there.

Always remember that proper form is the most important part of any exercise. Good luck and remember to tag your friends to join in!

Four-week crunches or sit-ups challenge

Four Week Crunches or Sit Ups Challenge | UPMC Health Plan

Crunches (or sit-ups) are a great exercise for anyone! Best of all, you don’t have to lug around fancy equipment.

This four-week fitness challenge will help you build a strong core — which can improve things like posture, balance, and even low back pain. Better still, crunches and sit-ups can be done anywhere! As you get stronger you can move from crunches to sit-ups.

Four Week Crunches or Sit Ups Challenge | UPMC Health Plan

Check out our step-by-step guide for both exercises below!

Crunch:

  1. To start, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat or floor, hip distance apart.
  2. Place your hands (lightly) on either side of your head. I recommend your ears as a good landmark. It’s important not to grip or pull your head or neck.
  3. Next, it’s time to engage your core by making sure the small of your back is being pushed into the floor. Draw your belly button into your spine, tightening the abdominal muscles.
  4. Begin to roll your shoulders off the floor towards your knees. While doing this, check that you have a few inches of space between your chest and chin and that while the shoulders lift, your back stays flat on the mat or floor.
  5. Hold for a moment (or two) at the top, and then slowly come back down.
  6. Finally, remember to breathe throughout the exercise. In this exercise, you exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down (or at the bottom of the exercise). Think exhale as you exert.

Sit-up:

  1. To start, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with heels placed flat on the mat or floor.
  2. Place your hands on opposite shoulders (arms crossed across the chest) or behind or either side of your head. Note that it’s important not to grab or pull your head or neck.
  3. Next, it’s time to engage your core by making sure the small of your back is being pushed into the floor. Draw your belly button into your spine, tightening the abdominal muscles.
  4. Begin to slowly and gently lift your head and then your shoulder blades off the floor or mat. Next, pull up from the floor (keeping your core engaged) until you are at a ninety-degree angle and your elbows are on or past your knees.
  5. Hold this position for a second or two, and then slowly lower your torso back to starting position.
  6. Finally, remember to breathe throughout the exercise. In this exercise, you exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down (or at the bottom of the exercise). Think exhale as you exert.

Always remember to check with your doctor before starting a new physical activity program. While exercise is recommended for almost everybody, there are certain conditions that can be worsened by specific types of exercise.

In The Gym: Summer Six Pack

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With summer in full swing, it seems everyone’s talking about their summer six-pack. Spoiler alert: crunches and sit-ups are not the secret! Diet plays a huge role in carving out your perfect core, too. It’s important to eat a well-balanced diet and also swap your crunches and sit-ups for more complex moves. We’re going to show you a few of those today:

 


 

Weighted sit-up – Start by lying on the floor and holding a weighted plate (or dumbbell) to your chest. Next, bend the knees to about 90 degrees with feet flat on the floor. Finally, tuck your chin to your chest and sit up.

Plank – Start in the push-up position. Bend your elbows to lower yourself down to shift your weight to your forearms. Next, maintain a neutral spine, allowing your body to form a straight line. During this part, remember not to drop your hips or raise your butt. Brace your abs and hold the position until you feel too fatigued to continue.

Scissor crunch – Start by lying on your back, legs extended (toes pointed to celling) and fingertips behind your ears. With your knees soft you will lift one leg at a time, crunching until your elbow meets your knee. Be sure to get those shoulder blades off the mat with each repetition.

V-up – To start, lie on your back holding a medicine ball with both hands behind your head and legs extended. Next, raise your legs and the arms at the same time, trying to touch your toes with your fingertips. Your body should look like a V and then release back down.

Starfish crunch – Start by lying on the ground with arms and legs spread like a starfish. Next, using your core, start to pull your upper body and lower body in until you can reach your hands around your knees. Slowly return to starting position.

Lying leg lift – This exercise can be done on a bench or the floor. Start by lying on your back and placing your hands under your glutes with palms facing down. Keeping your legs straight, slowly raise your legs perpendicular to the floor. Hold this for a second or two and then release slowly to starting position.

December holiday fitness challenge

December Holiday Workout Challenge | UPMC Health Plan

Unpredictable winters in Pittsburgh sometimes prevent us from getting outside to walk, run, or participate in other outdoor exercises we enjoy. The holidays also make it challenging to get in even the quickest of workouts when your schedule is jam-packed. This month, we are making those indoor workouts less painful by adding in variety and using equipment that most gyms have.

Workouts consist of rowing, cycling, treadmill, and strength options. Each one is between 20 and 30 minutes in length with warm-up and cool down included. This month we haven’t included a calendar because the goal will be to complete two or three of the indoor cardio workouts and one of the strength workouts per week. Within these guidelines, any option you choose will give you a total of 150+ minutes of activity during each week of the holiday season.

Rowing

 Rowing works your core, upper body, and lower body as you move. It’s a low-impact exercise, so most people find it easy on their joints. And the best part is that it’s challenging for all fitness levels.

Row workout 1:

Warm up for five minutes. Then choose five of your favorite songs, each at least three minutes long but no longer than five minutes. Next, start rowing at a moderate intensity. During the chorus of each song, pick up the speed and head to a high-intensity pace. Once the chorus is over, return to moderate effort. Recover for 30 to 60 seconds between songs. Cool down for five minutes and stretch.

Row workout 2:

This workout is pyramid style. Each set has the same amount of recovery but varying work periods measured in meters. Warm up for five minutes, then start.

  • Interval 1: Sprint for 100 meters, rest for 30 seconds.
  • Interval 2: Sprint for 200 meters, rest for 30 seconds.
  • Interval 3: Sprint for 300 meters, rest for 30 seconds.
  • Interval 4: Sprint for 400 meters, rest for 30 seconds.
  • Interval 5: Sprint for 500 meters, 30 seconds.
  • Repeat backward, then cool down and stretch.

 

Cycling

 Indoor cycling can challenge your cardiovascular endurance as well as your mental strength. If you have time to go to a class, most of them incorporate steady riding with intervals and hill climbs to really focus on cardio and strength. But if you don’t have time to attend a whole class, try one of these workouts for a quick blast!

Cycle workout 1:

This workout is all about control through a longer set. Warm up and then head to a mid hill where your cadence is around 80 RPM at a moderate effort. Each set you will push your cadence to a hard effort (about a 6-9 on a scale of 1-10), then recover.

  • Interval 1: Hard effort for 60 seconds, recover for 30 seconds.
  • Interval 2: Hard effort for 90 seconds, recover for 45 seconds.
  • Interval 3: Hard effort for 2 minutes, recover for 1 minute.
  • Interval 4: Hard effort for 2:30, recover for 90 seconds.
  • Interval 5: Hard effort for 3 minutes, recover for 90 seconds.
  • Cool down and stretch.

Cycle workout 2:

This workout is heart-pounding and fun at the same time because it has three big hill climbs in it with each one getting a little longer in duration.

  • Warm up five to six minutes before beginning at an easy to moderate pace.
  • Hill 1: 1 minute on a flat road, 1 minute on a mid hill, 1 minute at the top of a hill, 1 minute of recovery.
  • Hill 2: 2 minutes on a flat road, 2 minutes on a mid hill, 2 minutes at the top of a hill, 2 minutes recovery.
  • Hill 3: 3 minutes on a flat road, 3 minutes on a mid hill, 3 minutes at the top of a hill, 3 minutes recovery.
  • Cool down and stretch after the last set.

 

Treadmill

Running may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a great way to vary indoor routines and get a quick and effective cardiovascular blast in.

Treadmill workout 1:

This workout is perfect for when you want to get into the gym and back out in 20 to 25 minutes. You can adjust based on whether you want to run or walk, and how challenging you want the workout to be.

Minutes MPH Incline
Warm up 3 1
3:00-3:30 3.5 3
3:30-4:30 3.5 5
4:30-5:00 4 7
5:00-6:00 5 1
6:00-8:00 4 4
8:00-8:30 4.5 6
8:30-11:00 5 7
11:00-12:00 3.5 1
12:00-13:30 5.5 2
13:30-14:00 5 7
14:00-16:00 4 1
16:00-17:00 5.5 3
Cool down 3 1

Treadmill workout 2:

This workout is for those of you looking for speed and a great challenge.

  • Warm up
  • 1-minute run at 70-85% max
  • 1- to 2-minute recovery
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Cool down and stretch

 

Total body strength exercises

Complete 10 repetitions of each set (or what you are able to) for a total body blast.

  • Sit-up
    1. To start, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with heels placed flat on the mat or ground.
    2. Next, place your hands on opposite shoulders (arms crossed across the chest) or behind or either side of your head. Note that it’s important not to grab or pull your neck or head.
    3. Time to engage your core by making sure the small of your back is being pushed into the floor. Draw your belly button into your spine, tightening the abdominal muscles.
    4. Begin to slowly and gently lift your head and then your shoulder blades off the floor or mat. Next pull up from the floor (keeping your core engaged) until you are at a 90-degree angle and your elbows are on or past the knees.
    5. Hold this position for a second or two, then slowly lower your torso back to starting position.
    6. Finally, remember to breathe throughout the exercise. Think exhale as you exert. In this exercise the exhale is on the way up and inhale on the way down or at the bottom of the exercise.
  • Squat
    1. To start, stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart.
    2. Your toes should be pointed slightly outward with your head forward, looking at a spot on the wall throughout the entire exercise.
    3. You want a strong base. This means your weight should be on your heels and not your toes. Give them a little wiggle just to make sure.
    4. Arms can be in several positions: out in front with palms face down and bent at the elbows, or behind your head being careful not to pull on the neck.
    5. Take a deep breath and flex your knees and hips to sit back in your hips. Visualize sitting back into an imaginary chair. As you progress through the movement, keep your head forward and back straight.
    6. Lower your squat so your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as close as possible depending on flexibility). Stop when your knees reach a 90-degree angle and avoid extending your knees past your ankles, which could cause injury.
    7. Finally, engage your core, exhale, and push through your heels to get back to the starting position. Make sure to focus on squeezing your glutes and driving your hips up.
  • Push-up
    1. Start on the floor and set your hands at a distance slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
    2. Feet should be about shoulder width apart. Depending upon your strength, you may choose a wider stance in your feet. The wider your stance, the more stable you will feel when starting out.
    3. You will want to think of your body as a straight line throughout the movement, so make sure your hips are not up in the air or sinking down.
    4. Position your head to be looking slightly forward in front of you. Always avoid looking straight down and never tuck your chin.
    5. To start the push-up you want to slowly lower your body until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle, keeping your elbows close to the body. Many people fan their arms and elbows out for the push-up and it can put stress on the shoulders, so try to avoid it.
    6. Pause for a moment and explode back to starting position.
  • Burpee:
    1. Start by standing with your feet hip width apart and your arms down by your side.
    2. Next, lower into a squat position, placing your hands flat on the floor in front of you.
    3. Then, kick your legs backward as if you were headed into a push-up position and lower your chest to the floor.
    4. Next, complete the push-up and then thrust both feet forward so you are back in the squat position.
    5. Finally, jump up and raise both hands over your head.
  • Jumping jacks:
    1. Start out standing with your feet together and your hands at your side.
    2. Next, jump your feet out to the side and raise your arms above your head.
    3. Finally, reverse that motion by jumping back to your starting position.
  • Planks:
    1. Start with your hands directly under your shoulders as if you were about to go into a push-up position.
    2. Next you want to make sure that your toes are pointed into the floor, making sure you are not locking your knees. Try to squeeze your glutes (butt) here to help with stabilization.
    3. Next, position your head so that your neck is in a neutral position. You can do this by picking a spot on the floor just beyond your hands to stare at. This will then put your head in line with your back.
    4. Finally, hold the plank for the allotted time making sure to breath throughout the exercise.
  • Lunges:
    1. Start with your chest lifted, chin up, abs contracted and feet parallel and hip-distance apart and knees soft.
    2. Next take one giant step forward and lower your body slowly, bending both knees, and creating two 90-degree angles, then return to standing.
    3. Repeat on the other side for one repetition.
  • Bicycle crunch:
    1. Start by lying on your back with your hands behind your head and legs raised and bent at 90 degrees.
    2. Next, alternate knee to elbow by bringing opposite knee to opposite elbow.
    3. Hold each rep for a count and then switch sides.
  • Bicep curl:
    1. To start this exercise, place two dumbbells in your hands, keeping your elbows close to your torso and palms up.
    2. Next start to curl the weights towards your biceps until the dumbbells are at shoulder level.
    3. Pause at the top and slowly release to starting position.
  • Overhead triceps extension:
    1. To start this exercise, stand with your feet hip distance apart holding one dumbbell with both hands, bending at the elbows behind your head.
    2. Next straiten your arms to lift the dumbbell into the air towards the celling keeping your elbows pointed forward, biceps stationary and only the forearms moving.
    3. Finally lower the dumbbell to starting position.
  • Dead lift:
    1. Start with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs.
    2. Next, bend at your hips to lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor.
    3. Remember to keep the weights close to your body.
    4. Finally, return to standing — that completes one repetition.
  • Hip bridge:
    1. For this exercise you will start on your back with your knees bent and feet hip width apart.
    2. Next you want to slowly bring your spine off the floor starting with your tailbone. As you start to head up, remember to tighten your glutes (butt) and hamstrings (back of the leg).
    3. The goal is for the body to have a long and slanted line from your shoulders to your knees.
    4. Hold this for a few seconds and then lower back to starting position, back flat on the floor.

Try a full-body TRX workout

TRX workout | UPMC Health Plan

Wednesday I wrote about my experience with the TRX Suspension Training System. In today’s episode of In the Gym, I’ll walk you through a sample full-body TRX workout.

For these exercises, you can start off by doing 30 seconds of each exercise and going right into the next. Once you get through the entire circuit, you can rest for 60 seconds as recovery. Depending on fitness level, start off with one set and then work your way up to three sets. Make sure that in all of these exercises, you are not allowing any slack on the straps.

  1. TRX squat – 30 seconds
  2. TRX step back lunge – 30 seconds on each leg
  3. TRX chest press – 30 seconds
  4. TRX triceps Press – 30 seconds
  5. TRX mid row – 30 seconds
  6. TRX bicep curls – 30 seconds
  7. TRX assisted sit-up – 30 seconds
  8. TRX plank – 30 seconds

60 seconds rest until the next set.

 

TRX Suspension Training 101

TRX Suspension Training 101 | UPMC Health Plan

There’s so much different fitness equipment out there that targets us on a daily basis to become more fit and get the body that we want. We are engaged through television and radio commercials, magazine advertisements, online advertisements, and even seeing the equipment in stores. I have been caught a few times by these advertisements and have a couple of pieces of equipment that I now utilize at home. The most recent equipment I purchased is the TRX Suspension Training kit. I’ve taken the TRX on different trips already; the most recent was my honeymoon to the Philippines.

What is TRX Suspension Training?

TRX stands for total body resistance exercise. In other words, you will be using your body weight as the resistance during an exercise. The TRX Suspension Training system was created by Navy SEALs. They needed a way stay in the best condition possible at all times in different types of environments that offered little space for an entire array of equipment.

Benefits:

  • Portable
  • Can be used by anybody at all levels of fitness
  • Resistance can be instantly modified by adjusting body position
  • Different muscles are activated at all times
  • Can be used outside
  • Does not take up a lot of space

Cons:

  • Must have a stable anchor point that will be able to hold your body weight along with additional stress from movement

Is TRX worth getting?

Personally, I love the TRX Suspension Training system. I found it very portable and easy to use everywhere we went for races, vacations, and even my honeymoon. The fact that with every single exercise you are performing on the TRX, multiple muscles are activated, is a great way to get a full body workout in a short time period. As you get fatigued during the exercise all you have to do is change your angle from the door. This decreases the resistance so you can continue to go through the entire time without stopping. Professional athletes have used this exercise equipment during their off-season training to improve overall performance. I was able to do a quick full body 20-minute workout on one of our vacations by using the door anchor accessory in our room. This allowed me to get a workout in and still enjoy our fun-filled activities for the day.

Want to try TRX for yourself, but aren’t sure where to start? Check out this episode of In the Gym, where we walk through a sample full body TRX workout!

30-day Tabata intervals challenge

30 day Tabata workout challenge | UPMC Health Plan

Welcome to July’s challenge, Tabata intervals! This month we are bringing you a total body torch through intervals called a Tabata workout. It works like this:

  • You perform each exercise for 20 seconds and then have a 10-second break.
  • You repeat each exercise for eight rounds, or four minutes.
  • As the month goes on we will add more exercises, working up to a total body 32-minute workout!

In week one, we will preview each of the exercises as you start to get used to this style of training. Then in week two we start adding in additional exercises. For example, in week one you have one exercise for four minutes total. In week two, you add an additional exercise for double the total time. Between each exercise type, take a 30-second to one-minute break. If you need more time, then take it and then move on to the next exercise.

It’s important to remember that this style of training is more advanced. But that doesn’t mean you can’t participate if you’re not in tip-top shape. All you need to do is modify to a level you are comfortable with. For those of you training at a higher level of intensity on a regular basis, feel free to push yourself on these and really challenge yourself when they get tough.

I also recommend downloading an easy timer. You can find “Tabata timers” in most app stores on your smartphones or online.

Here are the exercises:

High knees

Jumping jacks

 

Jump squats

Push-ups

Sit-ups

Mountain climbers

 

Plank jacks

Burpees

Modifications:

Any of these exercises can be modified. Throughout the month you can work up to the more advanced version as you get stronger. I recommend starting at a lower intensity and making sure you can properly do the exercise. Then add intensity from there.

Always remember that proper form is the most important part of any exercise. Good luck and remember to tag your friends to join in! After all, summer is in full swing and it’s beach-body season!

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