Want a great way to improve your fitness and tone your body at the same time?
After my last client for the day, I wanted to work out but didn’t feel like running. So before going home, I went for a walk along Emek Refaim street for a warm-up and then did a work out at the park of the train tracks using steps, a bench and the handrail (there was a low straight rail on the sidewalk that I used). I did compound exercises (exercises that use a few muscle groups at one time) and got my heart rate up by using the step. Do a heart rate exercise followed by a regular exercise (I did one set of everything, you can do more if you like). Also, do one side with a heart rate exercise in between going to the other side. All the exercises can be done at home and there are alternate exercises for injuries, to make the exercise easier or if you do not have the equipment. Keep your abs pulled in with every exercise and breath out as you exert yourself (against gravity). Here is what I did:
Heart rate exercises using the steps:
* Step ups – main muscles worked: quadriceps (front of thigh), hamstrings, (back of thigh) and gluteus maximus (butt). Step up onto the second step (right foot then left) then step back down (right foot then left). Do 10 repetitions (reps) starting with the right foot then 10 starting with the left (more if you can). Alternate exercises – bench, chair, stool, lunges, or alternate knee ups.
* Squat jumps – main muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles). Jump onto the second step (or first) and land in a squat position. Then either step or jump back down. 10-20 times. Alternate exercises – regular squats at a fast pace, knee ups, squats moving to the side or stepping forwards and back.
* Jump on and off the step – main muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Jump onto and of the second (or first) step. 10-20 times (more if you can). Alternate exercises – jump on the spot, standing heel raisers fast while pumping your arms up and down over your head, skipping.
* Grapevine (crossover) step ups with a leg lift – main muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, glutes, adductors (inner thigh), abductors (outer thigh) and calves. Face (right) side onto the steps. Step up the first step with your right foot, the next step with your left, and as you step onto the third step with your right foot kick out your left leg. Then go back down left, right, and then kick out your right leg as your left foot touches the ground. (You can go up more steps if you like) Repeat 10 times up and down then repeat facing the other way after a regular exercise (so your left foot goes up first). Alternate exercise – grapevine leg lift -step out with your right foot, bring your left foot behind or infront of your right and then step out again with your right foot while and leg lifts side to side on the floor.
* Alternating toe taps – main muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Jump alternating toe taps on the first step for 30 secs to a minute. Alternate exercises– can be done jumping on the floor or without jumping and quickly pushing your hands forwards and back opposite your chest.
Exercises using the handrail.
* supine (face up) rows -main muscles worked: Trapezius (upper back), latissimus dorsi (back), biceps (front of the arm). Start lying under the bar (rail) with your chest directly opposite and your hands in a wide grip. Pull yourself up to the rail in a diagonal straight line (bend your knees 90 degrees to make it easier. 10-20 (or more) reps. Alternative exercises – suspension trainer, dumbell/barbell row (bent over, back to the ceiling), pull ups, exercise band row, or pulling yourself to a locked door handle)
* Push ups -main muscles worked: Pectoralis major and minor (chest), anterior deltoid (front of shoulder), triceps (back of arms), serratus anterior (muscle under your armpits), core (stabilizing) muscles. Grab the bar at a wide grip with your hands underneath your shoulders and your body forming a straight diagonal line. Maintain your straight line as you bend your elbows to the sides and lower your chest to the bar and then push up again. 10-20 (or more) reps. Alternate exercises – push ups on a bench/chair/step or floor. The exercise will be easier if you are on your knees or higher up you are from the ground.
* Tricep push ups (same as push ups with more emphasis on the triceps). The only (major) difference here is that your hands start under your chest/stomach and as you lower yourself down your elbows stay close to your waist.
* Tricep dips -main muscles worked: Triceps, shoulders, chest and back. Hands on the railing behind your back with your feet our in front of you (reverse plank position). Keep your elbows close to your back and your butt drops close in line with the rail, the push back up. 10-20 reps. Alternate exercise – bench, step or floor). Bend your knees 90 degrees to make the exercise easier or if you are on the floor just lean back and return while sitting.
* Side plank dips – main muscles work – obliques (waist/side abdominal muscles), hips and lower back. Stand side on from the rail and hold onto the rial with your right hand (facing the right side with your arm straight) and extend your feet so you form a diagonal straight line. Move your hip towards the ground and back up. 10 to 20 each side. Alternate exercises – bench, step or floor. On your forearm instead of your hand. Lying on your side, bend your knees, keep them on the floor as you raise and lower your hip. Lying on your side lift both legs instead of moving your hip.
Using a bench Double crunch – rectus abdominis (6 pack or front abs), hip flexors, quads. Sit at the edge of the bench with your feet in the air and your knees bent. Do a double crunch by using your abs to curl both your chest and your thighs towards each other and then extend them both away from each other. 10-20 reps. Alternate exercises: step or floor. Use just your legs or on the floor just a crunch lying down with your knees bent.