As promised here are some descriptions for the exercises given in part 1 of Make The Rest of Your Life – The Best of Your Life’

Here are the exercises again with a brief description:

Legs: How to Do Squats

This exercise is similar to the Goblet Squat to hit your thigh muscles. You can perform this movement without any weight until you can build up your strength.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your toes pointing forwards. This is your starting position.
  • Keep your body straight, with your shoulders back. Make sure your lower back stays flat.
  • Now squatdown until your thighs are parallel with the floor
  • Never let your knees go over your toes
  • Return to the starting position.
  • You can keep your arms straight out in front of you until you improve your strength and balance.

Beginners Note: If you have not done squats before, do not go down too far. Keep focused on your form and balance until you are used to the movement. Over the next few weeks your strength and balance will increase, and you will be able to get your thighs parallel with the floor as your flexibility and strength improve.

Increase the Intensity: Try doing the squat with a dumbbell in each hand, keeping them down by your sides. If you don’t have dumbbells try a 6 litre water bottle to increase the intensity.

 

Chest/Shoulders/Triceps: How to Do Press Ups 1

Place your hands directly under your shoulders with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your body in a straight line for the whole movement. This is essential. Keep your neck in line with your shoulders. Fingers should be pointing forward. As you lower, keep your elbows close to your body. DO NOT let your bum sag or stick up.

If you cannot perform a steady movement you can make it easier by widening the distance between your feet for better stability. If it’s still too difficult, you can do the movement on your knees until you can build up some strength in your chest, shoulders and arms. Please remember to keep your body in a straight line for the whole movement.

 

Back: How to Do Rows

I think the simplest way to show you this exercise is with this great simple video to help you know how to do a bodyweight row’.

‘How to Do a Body Weight Row’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYUxXMGVuuU

I also like to use a towel to do my rows, which you can see in this short video: ‘The Towel Suspended Row’ which is awesome for your back, forearms and grip strength: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC79F_8Eyik

You can use the upright on your stairs, or even a tree to hold your towel. One piece of equipment I do recommend investing in is the chin up / pull up bar.

 

Abs: How to Do Leg Raises

Leg raises are great for strengthening your lower abdominals and hip flexors. If you do these every week you will strengthen your lower back and therefore reduce the risk of injuries.

  • Lie flat on the floor with your arms out to your side, with your palms facing down.
  • Your head, legs and bum must be in contact with the floor.
  • Tighten your abs.
  • Slowly lift your legs to a 90-degree angle. Keep your legs straight and do not bend your knees.
  • Pause for a second then slowly lower your legs.
  • Repeat.

 

Legs: How to Do Lunges

The lunge is a great lower body exercise which improves balance, increases muscle tissue, shapes the lower legs, gives more flexibility in the hips and strengthens your core.

  • With your hands on your hips, pull your shoulders back and stand tall
  • Keep your chin up. It is a good idea to choose a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down.
  • Step forwards with your right leg and slowly lower the body until the front knee is 90 degrees to the floor
  • The back knee should not touch the floor
  • Push yourself back up to the starting position
  • Repeat with the left leg

 

Chest/Shoulders/Triceps: How to Do Press Ups 2

Perform the movement just like ‘Press Ups 1’ above, but this time change your hand position to hit your triceps more. Turn your hands in, so your fingers are pointing at each other.

 

Back: Rows

See above for this exercise.

 

Abs & Legs: How to Do Leg Scissors

Leg Scissors are also great for strengthening your abdominals but hit the side area more than the leg raises. Another benefit is that they also work the thigh muscles.

  • Lie flat on the floor with your arms out to your side, with your palms facing down.
  • Your head, legs and bum must be in contact with the floor.
  • Tighten your abs.
  • Slowly lift your legs to a 45-degree angle, then cross your left leg under your right leg, and then over the top, like in a scissor motion. I like to vary the speed, sometimes quick scissor motions, sometimes slow.
  • Keep your legs straight and do not bend your knees.

Variation: You can perform the movement where your legs move up and down, between say, 30 degrees and 50 degrees, like a flipper movement.

 

Legs: How to Do Goblet Squats

Goblet Squats hit your quadriceps, or your thigh muscles. You can perform this movement without any weight until you can build up your strength.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your toes pointing out at 45-degrees. This is your starting position.
  • Now squatdown until the backs of your legs touch your calves, then return to the starting position.
  • You can keep your arms straight out in front of you until you improve your strength and balance.

Increase the Intensity: I use a dumbbell or a 6 litre water bottle to increase the intensity.

 

Chest/Shoulders/Triceps: How to Do Press Ups 3

Perform the movement just like ‘Press Ups 1’ above, but this time change your hand position again to hit your chest more. Turn your hands in, so your fingers are pointing at each other. You might struggle with this exercise at first as it is tough. But if you persevere over the next few weeks and try to build up your rep count you will see a very rewarding improvement in your chest strength and appearance.

 

Increase the Intensity: If you can do these press-ups easily, increase the intensity by elevating your legs on a stable platform. The higher the platform the more intensity on your chest, shoulders and core. Also increase the reps, and sets you perform. And also slow down the negative part of the exercise to decrease momentum and increase the pump.

 

Back: Rows

See above

 

Abs: How to Do Crunches

  • Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Bend your knees at a 90 degree angle.
  • Now place your fingers tips on either side of your head keeping your elbows in. DO NOT lock your fingers behind your head.
  • While pushing the small of your back into the floor to better isolate your abdominal muscles, begin to roll your shoulders off the floor.
  • Continue to push down as hard as you can with your lower back as you contract your abdominals and exhale. Your shoulders should come off the floor only about four inches, and your lower back should stay on the floor. At the top of the movement, tighten your abs and hold the contraction for a second.
  • Then come down slowly to the starting position as you inhale.
  • Repeat for the required reps.
  • If these are too difficult, stick to the leg raises and scissors for a few weeks until you build up some strength.
  • Keep a slow, controlled movement throughout the whole exercise. Don’t use momentum.

 

Don’t Over Do Your First Few Weeks Exercising

Please remember to not overdo your exercises in your first few weeks. Too many beginners try too hard and get too excited with their new exercises program. Try your best to go steady in the beginning, especially if you are an absolute beginner, or haven’t worked out in years.

You don’t want to be so sore your joints and muscles are locked up in pain. This might lead to you becoming frustrated and discouraged. A healthy muscle pain is good, but not so you can’t walk or perform your daily tasks without pain. Your workouts should start out smooth and easy.

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