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Category Archives: Exercises

The IHFA’s Official Five Minute Dynamic Warm Up for Physical Activity

As discussed in our blog Components of a Workout, we recommend completing a Dynamic Warm Up prior to structured exercise or before participating in other forms of physical activity. The IHFA’s Official Five Minute Dynamic Warm Up for Physical Activity includes completing 10 different calisthenic type exercises for 30 seconds each, working the major muscle groups of the body while preparing it for movement in multiple planes of motion. Let’s get started!

1) Jumping Jacks: Complete traditional Jumping Jacks. Your arms and legs both move through the frontal plane (also known as the coronal plane), an imaginary plane that divides the body into ventral and dorsal (front and back) sections.

Alternatives: A low-impact alternative to Jumping Jacks could include a) completing the Jacks (AKA Frontal Plane Arm Swings) followed by a set of Hip Abductions/Adductions for each leg independently or b) Lateral Step Jacks – complete a Jack (the arm movement) while taking a lateral step outward with one leg, alternating legs every other repetition.

2) Push Ups: Complete a traditional Push Up, or for alternatives you can modify your stance position using various progressions. See our blog Anyone Can Do A Push Up! for several suggestions for increasing or decreasing the difficulty of the Push Up exercise.

3) Body Weight Squats: Complete traditional body weight squats, or for an easier alternative simply sit into and out of a chair or from a bench to complete this portion of the Dynamic Warm Up.

4) Transverse Plane Arm Swings: Swing your arms along the transverse plane (also called the horizontal plane, axial plane, or transaxial plane), an imaginary plane that divides the body into superior and inferior (top and bottom) sections. As you swing back and behind you, rotate your palms so they face upward and the thumbs face backward; then rotate them the opposite direction as you swing your arms forward, criss-crossing your arms in front of you each repetition.

5) Body Weight 45 Degree Lunges: Step forward and outward 45 degrees in front of you, alternating legs each repetition.

Alternative: If lunges bother your knees or you find them too challenging, you can complete a 45 Degree Step Up instead, stepping up and laterally onto a bench in front of you, again alternating legs each repetition.

6) Sagittal Plane Arms Swings & Calf Raises: Swing your arms in the Sagittal plane, an imaginary line dividing the body into right and left halves. As your come forward and upward with your arms, alternate criss-crossing your arms while making a fist with the hand in front and stretching out the fingers of the hand in back at the top end of the swing. Also, add a calf raise at the end of the swing reaching as far toward the sky as possible.

7) Alternating Butt Kickers: Simply walk or run in place, kicking your butt with the back of your heels.

8) Push Up Plank Shoulder Touch: From a starting Push Up position, widen your foot stance to increase your base of support, and then touch your left shoulder with your right hand, alternating with a left hand touch to the right shoulder every other repetition. Just like the Push Up progressions, you can make this easier or more difficult depending on the height of the surface (i.e. counter top, bench, floor) where you place your hands. With this movement, aim to maintain your body position without moving through the legs, hips or torso as you touch your shoulders.

9) Alternating Knee Ups: From a standing position, lift one leg and pull and cradle the knee into your chest. Alternate legs every other repetition.

10) Shoulder Shrugs: Tense your shoulders up to your ears, hold for a split-second, then completely relax your arms down to your sides.

SEVEN MINUTE ABS! Abdominal Workout

The quickest way to a strong, tone torso and stomach since some tried it in 8 minutes.

1. Jonny Rocker’s – Sitting on the floor, legs straight out in front of you and your torso perpendicular to the floor and legs. Holding a medicine ball close to your body and in front of you (right against your belly button), rotate torso to the right, extend arms out as far as comfortable; then reverse movement and back to starting position. Repeat to the left side to complete one full repetition.

2. Ball Crunch – Complete a regular crunch on a stability ball. Don’t let the ball move, keep your heels directly below your knees and your lower back should stay on the ball throughout the entire movement. This is not a Sit Up!

3. Reverse Crunch – Lying on your back with hips and knees at 90 degrees. Without kicking or changing the angle of your knee joint, bring your hips toward your shoulders and butt off the ground, then back to starting position. Keep back flat on the floor at the start/end of the movement.

4. Dumbbell Side Bends – holding a single dumbbell at your side, opposite arm straight at other side. Lower the dumbbell down your side towards your knee (without bending forward) and then reverse direction as you reach to the opposite knee with the free hand. Complete all repetitions on one side; then repeat holding the dumbbell in the opposite hand. NOTE: if you’re doing this exercise holding a dumbbell in each hand you’re C-H-E-A-T-I-N-G!

5. Toe Touches – Lying on your back, feet up, legs mostly straight but knees slightly unlocked, holding a medicine ball with both hands. Without dropping your legs, bring the medicine ball as close to your toes as possible, then return back to starting position.

6. Bosu Plank. Just like a traditional plank exercise, except you place your feet on a Bosu for an extra challenge. During a plank exercise, your body stays in a static, non-moving position; your forearms are on the floor, upper arms perpendicular to your torso and your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles all form one straight line. Also, keep your head in a neutral position!

7. Russian Twist – Position yourself so that you start halfway between the start and end position for a traditional Sit Up, arms outstretched perpendicular to your torso holding a medicine ball. Rotate to the right as far as comfortable and back to starting position; then repeat to the left side and back again for one full repetition.

IHFA QUICK TIP – Anyone can do a Pushup!

Anyone can do a pushup! Try this progression:

1. Hands on wall
2. Hands on counter top
3. Hands on desk*
4. Hands on bench*
5. Hands on floor, knees on floor
6. Standard (military style) pushup
7. Standard pushup, feet on bench
8. Standard pushup, feet on stability ball

* For some, hands on desk or bench may be a harder progression than hands on floor, knees on floor; depending on 1) the strength of your supporting muscles such as the low back and other core muscles developed doing a pushup and 2) on body weight.

What are some of your current favorite lower body exercises?

Step Up – you can change the height in addition to the resistance for more intensity; add balance components through the use of medicine balls/sandbags/kettlebells and other upper body upward/outward/forward/rotational movements while balancing on one leg at the highest position.

Double Dynamic Lunge – a forward lunge followed by a back ward lunge without touching the foot down between the movements – after each rep, switch legs; or for an added challenge complete all reps on one side without touching your foot down while standing upright.

Barbell + Sandbag Squats – I like to add weighted sandbags to both sides of a standard barbell squat, it adds some variability and forces engagement of the core to prevent excessive shifting of the sandbags and maintain proper lifting technique.