Tuesday, February 23, 2010


This week the groups learned their second free weight routine. If you recall, free weights have several advantages over machines:

1. Since they aren’t guided, you have to use more stabilizer muscles when lifting free weights.
2. Since there are no pads to press against for support, you have to use your core more to keep your body in the right position.
3. Finally, there is no leverage advantage with dumbbells (DB) or barbells—you have to lift the entire weight yourself.

At first glance, these may seem like a negative, giving machines the edge. In reality, these are all good things. Using more muscles, using your core, and doing all the work mean it’s a more effective workout. That means you’ll burn more calories in the same amount of time, and also get a stronger, healthier body.

During the first four weeks, both groups used the machines to get things started. It let them build some base strength, and got them used to working out. For the last two weeks, they’ve been doing the first free weight routine.

But even with free weights, your body quickly adapts to a routine, with diminishing results. That’s why it’s important to change things up. It’s a simple matter to swap out the exercises they’ve been doing with others that still hit the same body parts, but are a little different.

Free Weight Routine #2

DB Pec Flys
Walking Lunges
DB Pullovers on Ball
DB Dead-Lifts
DB Arnold Press
DB Double Bicep Curl
DB Kick-Backs
Ab Routine #1-5:

Side Twists with Ball Obliques Crunches (bent knees)
Crunches (legs up in air)
Side Crunches (L knee bent)
Side Crunches (R knee bent)
Leg Lifts

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your routine:

1. Use proper form. If you don’t know how to do the exercise, find someone who does.
2. Do the movements slowly. This can help protect you from injury, and also makes it a more intense workout. I like to teach what I call the 1-2 rule: 1 second raising the weight, and 2 seconds lowering it.
3. Remember to keep breathing. Don’t hold your breath.
4. Shoot for a total of three sets of each exercise and 10-12 repetitions each set.
5. Try to keep moving. While traditional bodybuilders will rest 30 seconds, a minute, or even up to two minutes between sets, that isn’t as productive if your goal is toning, or losing weight.

Here’s how I teach them to do routine #2. Do the Pec Flys and then go right to the Walking Lunges. Once you’ve done them both, do them both again back to back, and then again for a third time.

Now, do the Pullovers and Dead-Lifts back to back without a break, and then repeat the combo twice. After that, do the Arnold Press, Double Biceps Curl, and Tricep Kick-Backs all back to back without a break, then repeat each of those twice more times.

Finally, do Ab Routine #1-5. You can do each ab exercise say 10, 15 or 20 times, and then move on to the next one. Then, you can go back and repeat them all two more times. Or, an alternative method would be to just do as many as you could of the first one, or say 50 reps, before moving on to the next one. Good luck.

Last week the two groups also got a new goal: to walk/run a 5 K in Charleston, IL on Saturday, March 27th. I like to have each group do a 5 K sometime before the end of the twelve weeks. They’ve had six weeks of workouts already, and now just a month left to prepare. Come out and join us.

One person that impressed me this week was Karen Brown. She’s lost 50 lbs, but hasn’t been able to run lately. Finally, she took matters into her own hands (or feet), walking 7 miles on Sat and Sun and then 6 miles on Mon through Friday. That was 44 miles total and enough to put her in the top five.

This week’s Friday night Biggest Loser was Shawn Bowers who lost 2.8% of his body weight and an amazing 7.9 lbs. He attributed it to his running schedule and racquetball. Second place went to Tina Cooper who lost 2.0% and 3.6 lbs.

Karen placed third by losing 1.9% and that 4.4 lbs. Sheri Tyler took fourth with a loss of 1.5% and 2.0 lbs, and Jessica Trover was fifth with a loss of 1.3% and 2.0 lbs. Halfway through the 12 weeks, we’ve only lost one person from the Friday night group!

We’ve not fared so well in the Saturday morning group. Only half of the 24 made this week’s weigh-in. While I’m pretty sure a few have quit, I know some of the others are still active—it’s just been a matter of convenience for them. Saturdays are tough sometimes.

The Biggest Loser from that group was Shelly Harper, who lost 2.0% of her body weight and 4.0 lbs. Melissa White placed second, losing 1.2% and 1.6 lbs. Dale Rasmussen and Danielle Keys tied for third, losing 1.1% and 2.8 lbs, and Brad Adams finished fifth, losing around 1.0% and 2.1 lbs.

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