Archive for January, 2016

r-JUMP-ROPE-WORKOUTS-403xFBcreditBy A.C. Shilton for Men’s Journal

Forget any association you had with jump ropes and gym class. The jump rope is a powerful workout tool. It builds cardio fitness, balance, agility and bone strength. It’s also one of the best go-anywhere fitness accessories, fitting easily into even a crammed carry-on.

“It requires a lot of coordination and really works your cardiovascular system,” says Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, the women’s 2014 CrossFit Games winner. She likes to train with double unders, a common CrossFit move that requires you to jump explosively and spin the rope faster to pass it beneath your feet twice. This works your muscles harder and pushes your cardiovascular system towards its upper limit.

To get the most from your workout, make sure your rope is the right size. CrossFit HQ trainer Dave Lipson says that when you hold the rope under one foot, the handles should just reach your armpits. To maximize results, practice good form. “Hold your hands at 10 and 2 o’clock and at waist height. Revolve the rope from the wrists, not the shoulders,” says Lipson.

And if you’re shooting for double unders, we recommend buying a speed rope with bearings. Speed ropes start around $20 and spin faster than inexpensive licorice and beaded ropes.

Now here are seven jump rope workouts — most of which can be completed in a half hour or less — that will have you burning calories and building strength.

High-Speed Circuit
Fitness competitor, former ballerina and coach Dom Spain teaches outdoor bootcamp classes in Miami. She calls jump rope workouts the “no excuses” workout because, “if I have clients that say they don’t have time or don’t have the money for a gym membership, they can always do this.”

This workout is designed to give you just enough rest to keep pushing through all of the exercises, but not enough to let things get easy. It can be done in 30 minutes and requires only a jump rope.

  • Warm up by doing 30 seconds of jumping rope, 30 seconds of air squats, then a 1 minute plank hold. Repeat four times.
  • 1 minute of jumping and 30 seconds of push-ups.
  • 1 minute of backward jumping and 30 seconds of tricep bench dips.
  • 1 minute of side to side jumping (imagine your feet are bound together, and jump rope while hopping from side to side) and 30 seconds of lunges.
  • 1 minute of skipping rope (one foot lands as the other takes off) and 30 seconds of jumping squats.
  • 1 minute of single leg jumping (30 seconds on one leg, then switch), and 30 seconds of mountain climbers.
  • 1 minute of alternating high knee jumps (like the skipping rope move, but pull your knees up as high as you can), and 30 seconds of flutter kicks.

Take one minute of rest, then repeat the entire circuit. Cool down and stretch after two rounds.

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It’s 2016. Are you ready? Do you have a plan? Do you know what you are going to do to achieve your fitness goals in the New Year?

Physical fitness is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, inspiring many people to enthusiastically join a gym. But simply saying you’re going to start exercising, however, will not do the trick, as evidenced by the fact that so many abandon their efforts before January is even over.

If you’re tired of wanting to change certain behaviors, such as getting physically fit, but not being able to follow through, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are some specific strategies you can follow for creating an effective fitness plan that you can stick with over the long haul. If you’re ready to finally achieve your goal of getting—and staying—fit and healthy, grab a pen or an electronic device so you can take a few notes as we go through these important points together.

1. ENJOYMENT

Write down five physical activities that you enjoy or could maybe envision enjoying, starting with the one you like the most.

2. PRACTICALITY

Make a short list of the fitness- or sports-related equipment available to you at home, work, gym or health club (if you belong to one) or in your neighborhood. Compare your list of resources with your list of enjoyable activities and connect potential matches. For example, if you own a bike, you enjoy biking and there is a biking trail in your neighborhood, that’s a great match. If you can’t find a connection between your two lists, think about what you would need to obtain to be able to proceed with activities you enjoy. For example, if you love swimming but don’t have immediate access to a pool, track down a local public or private pool you could use.

3. VISION

Identify three things that you would like to accomplish in terms of your physical fitness and write them down. This could include establishing a regular fitness routine, finishing a 1-mile walk or doing 5 push-ups. Perhaps you have health-related goals, such as lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels. Either way, be very specific as to the details of your goals, such as how much and by when you want to accomplish these things. Remember, your goals should make sense in terms of what activities you enjoy doing (list #1). If you don’t enjoy running, don’t set a goal of wanting to run a marathon because you probably won’t do it.

4. PLAN

All effective fitness plans must include activities to address the complete picture of physical fitness:

  • Cardiorespiratory Endurance
  • Muscular Strength/Endurance
  • Flexibility

To achieve the greatest health benefits, you have to address all three aspects of fitness. Don’t worry if this sounds daunting—the FITT formula can help. The following table includes established fitness industry guidelines for healthy adults who want to improve physical fitness. Feel free to modify each category according to your personal enjoyment, preferences and current level of physical fitness. If you’re new to exercise, you may have to start with fewer or shorter workouts and work up to a higher intensities, frequency or times.

FITT FORMULA

  Cardiorespiratory Muscular Flexibility
FREQUENCY 3–5 days per week 2–3 non-consecutive days per week 3 days per week (minimum)

5–7 days (ideal)

INTENSITY Target exercise zone Weight, sets and reps depending on current fitness status To the point of tension, NOT pain.
TIME 20–60 minutes Depends on number of sets and reps Hold stretches for 15–30 seconds, repeating each stretch 2–4 times
TYPE Examples: swimming, biking, indoor cycling, cardio kickboxing Examples:

calisthenics, free weights, resistance bands

(Note: Be sure to address all major muscle groups.)

Static stretching after workout

5. SCHEDULE

To adopt a long-term effective fitness plan, it is vital to make physical fitness a priority in your daily scheduling. If you leave it up to chance, it won’t happen. Depending on your personalized FITT formula, add each particular fitness component in your daily schedule, just as you would any other appointment, and be sure to block off enough time to accomplish the chosen activity. Be realistic; for example, don’t schedule a workout at 11 p.m. at night, when you know you will be tired. If you are currently not active at all, start with fewer days and shorter times, such as three days a week of 30 minutes of cardiorespiratory fitness and slowly build up your plan from there.

6. TOOLS

Research confirms that people are more successful with their personal fitness plans if they enlist the support of a workout partner or group, have access to music and record what they do (such as a free app or a traditional journal). Is there someone in your life who could be your workout buddy? Have you checked out some helpful fitness apps? Get set up with resources to track what you do on a daily basis. Make appointments with workout buddies and put them in your calendar.

7. PREPARATION

An important tip to remember: Setbacks are part of the process, but an effective fitness plan can help avoid many of them. What will you do when it rains and you planned to run outside? What will you do when your kid’s schedule changes and you can’t make it to your group fitness class at 5 p.m.? Plan ahead for obstacles and identify alternatives. Add these to your FITT formula by adding a row labeled “back-up plan.”

8. ACTION

Take action and follow through with the plan you set for yourself. Every day will be a new journey, but it is up to you to take action and follow through.

9. EVALUTION

It is vital to reevaluate your fitness plan on a regular basis and honestly reflect on the following questions:

  1. What did I do well?
  2. What did I do not so well?
  3. What are my barriers?
  4. What is not working that I need to change?
  5. How will I overcome my barriers?

Every successful exerciser has to plan, prioritize and take action each and every day. It is a fluid process that is extremely empowering, inspiring and enjoyable, IF you employ the strategies listed here to maximize effectiveness. Remember, start slowly and don’t get discouraged when you fail—simply move on and refocus on your detailed plan. And always keep in mind the many positive benefits of physical fitness, because it can truly change and save your life.

Dominique WakefieldDominique Wakefield ContributorDominique Wakefield is a passionate, energetic and innovative health and fitness expert, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NWI Certified Wellness Practitioner, ACSM credentialed EIM-1, presenter and writer. Currently, she is Director for University Health and Wellness and Faculty for Public Health, Nutrition & Wellness at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI. In October 2011, Dominique Wakefield was awarded ‘Top 11 Personal Trainers to Watch in the U.S.’ by Life Fitness and the American Council on Exercise. In addition to teaching at universities, she has worked as a Fitness & Programs Manager, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Wellness Coach at fitness centers, in the clinical wellness setting and in the corporate wellness setting since 2001. Dominique is a PhD candidate in Health through the University of Bath, England. Her studies and research center on physical activity, motivation for exercise and behavior change strategies. Visit dominiquewakefield.com to learn more!

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