Festive season winter workouts for men
It is true that men can be vainer than women worrying about their clothing, hair and physique especially on a night out on the town. Let’s face it, although it’s soon to be the season for eating, drinking and being merry it is still the season for making good impressions at the bar.
That being said, 1; you need to keep up your exercise regime and 2; the Friday night pre-outing, t-shirt workout holds vital importance. T-shirt specific muscles; biceps, triceps, chest and abs need to be freshly pumped up. The right exercises can increase your muscle size by 10%, tightening those T’s ready to impress.
So what exercises should you do to get pumped before you hit town? The Training Room specialists explain the best way to get your muscles looking their bulging best.
High reps, minimal rest and through training in a circuit are the best ways to pump blood into the muscles which is your ultimate goal. Make sure you pump all of your muscles together so that one area doesn’t deflate having only worked it at the beginning of the session. Leave the gym looking big everywhere!
Circuit training involves undergoing various exercises one after the other and resting for 1-2minutes at the end of the circuit, then repeating the whole thing again. Focussing on the biceps, triceps, chest and abs an example circuit would look like this;
Bicep curls – using a challenging weight, 50 single arm reps
Tricep dips – using your bodyweight off a gym step with lengthened legs, 40 tricep dips
Chest press – lie back on a bench and use a challenging weight without locking out the elbows, 25 barbell chest press
Plank – the body in full alignment engaging the core on your forearms and toes, hold this position for 1 minute
Repeat this circuit 4 times.
Five different ways to ramp up the press up (for a bigger chest!)
Your standard press up, on the hands and toes, can be modified to make it more challenging and to incorporate other muscle groups.
Challenge yourself with the following exercises;
Press up using a TRX
Place both feet into the TRX cable at the correct height to ensure that your body is in line when you are in a press up position. Carry out a normal press up, getting the chest as close to the floor as possible, whilst engaging the core muscles for stability. You are now working the core muscles more than you would in a regular press up.
Press up with a clap
In a normal press up position after your chest reaches the floor, push back up with power and add a clap before you go into the next rep. This increases the cardiovascular and power training element to the exercise.
Single arm press up
It’s all in the name, a regular press up using one arm instead of two. Place the other hand behind your back and engage your core muscles to ensure your hips do not move. The pressure of the body weight is then targeting one pectoral muscle at a time.
Press up with a stability ball
Place both feet on a stability ball and hands in press up position. Walk the hands forwards until your toes are holding the ball in place. If this is too difficult, start by leaving the shins on the ball and gradually walk the hands further until you can press up on the toes. Ensure the back does not arch by holding a pelvic tilt at all times.
Burpee with a press up and a barbell row
Use a challenging barbell that you would normally use for doing a bent over row. Start with the barbell on the floor standing closely to it. Burpee with both hands on the barbell, as the legs power out drop into a press up. As you jump the legs back in stay in a low, narrow squat position and row the barbell into the chest, placing the bar down to repeat the exercise again. This exercise works the chest (pectorals), shoulders (deltoids), hamstrings, quadriceps and top of the back (latissimus dorsi and the trapezius muscles).
Five tough bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere!
During the festive period it can be a challenge to get to the gym as often as you’d like. A short bodyweight workout that you can do in the comfort of your own home can conquer this barrier. 30 minutes is all you need to keep your fitness levels up and prevent an expanding waistline.
For the following exercises repeat them continuously for 30 seconds with a 30 second rest repeating each 5 times;
Press Up/Handstand press up - Regular press up on the hands and toes. A progression of this is to do a handstand against a wall and press up whilst upside down.
Squat tuck jump – Drop into a deep squat position getting the hips lower than the knees, use your quads to power up into a tuck jump bringing the knees into the chest.
Tricep dips – Using either a step or chair, sit on the edge placing your hands either side of you. Turn your hands so that your finger tips are facing forwards and ensure that you wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Move your body off the step/chair so that your total bodyweight is being supported by the arms with only your heels on the floor to stabilise your position. Bend through the elbow to at least 90 degrees, squeezing the elbows together. To make this exercise harder, lengthen out the legs so that they are practically straight.
Squat press up – Your starting position for this exercise is in a deep squat position, feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Hover your hands just above the shoulders ready to catch yourself. Slowly and in a controlled manner rock forwards until your hands reach the floor. Push through the arms bending through the elbow then use the arms as a spring to drive you back up to your starting position.
Plank/Superman – On the forearms and toes, drop the hips so that the body is totally inline. Pull up through the quads, squeeze the glutes, engage a strong pelvic tilt and relax the top of the back and shoulders. This is a full plank position. If this is too difficult, drop the knees to the floor whilst maintaining the rest of the position and push back up when you can. An advancement of this is the ‘superman’ lifting opposite arm and opposite leg and keeping them raised for at least 2 seconds, whilst making sure the body doesn’t rock from side to side, remaining inline.
So there you have it, you have no excuse to not exercise over the Christmas period. It will only take you 20-30minutes. Ensure that you warm up before you work out and have a cool down and stretch afterwards. And then you can have a fairly guilt free Christmas.
Shake up your abdominal workout – five exercises to get you from a 6 pack of flab to a wash board
Many of you who attend the gym continue to think that abdominal crunches are the best exercise for getting your dream 6 pack. Crunches can in fact fall under the heading of ‘worst abdominal exercises’ as the key to a good ab exercise is to lengthen the abs not ‘crunch’ them.
You need to carry out various exercises that target the specific areas of the abdominals; the transverse/rectus abdominis and the internal/external abdominal obliques. This will give you that toned, defined, athletic look.
There are countless suitable exercises you can do to lengthen the abs, flattening them for that wash board appearance. Weighted abdominal exercises will get you the results you want faster than using bodyweight alone.
Some effective abdominal exercises include;
Rollouts (using a stability ball or barbell)