MORE TRAINER’S TIPS
Here are some top exercises to do at home that were recommended by trainers at the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a nonprofit organization that certifies personal trainers. Prevention.com surveyed over 3,000 ACE certified trainers by e-mail received 500-plus responses. Based on their responses, here are what personal trainers say are the top “at-home exercises that were most likely to give you the results you want–in the least amount of time.”
BEST AB WORKOUT : CRUNCHES ON AN EXERCISE BALL
This award-winning intense workout allows for a greater range of motion.
Balancing on the ball works the core stabilizer muscles in your back and your abdominal muscles. And since it takes less time to fatigue, there’s no need to do as many of these as you would with good, ol’ floor crunches.
“How To” guidelines: With the ball positioned to support your back, keep your feet flat on the floor. Then with your arms reaching out in front of you, curl up – slowly. Hold. Then lower.
Notes: For advanced workouts, place your hands behind your head. For
beginners, it may be easier to start with crunches on the floor.
BEST BUTT WORKOUT: LUNGES AND SQUATS
Trainers liked these for these exercises for multiple reasons. They can be varied. They can be done about anywhere. And they work your leg muscles plus your gluteal muscles.
Lunges help with posture and balance. And squats help strengthen the legs for everyday functions like rising from a seated position. Both are especially
necessary as we age, noted a couple of trainers.
“How To” guidelines for lunges: With your right foot about 2.5 feet in front of you, right knee slightly bent and directly over your ankle, drop your left knee to the floor. Your left heel should be off of the floor. Remain straight, no leaning forward. Hold. Then push yourself back up with your right foot. Repeat – only this time with your left leg in front.
Notes: For advanced workouts, begin by placing your feet together. Then step forward or backward into the lunge. Then push yourself back up to the starting position. For those with knee problems, you may want to do only partial squats or skip this exercise.
“How To” guidelines for squats: With your feet about shoulder width apart, stand with your back to a chair. Bend at your knees and hips. And lower your rear until it’s just about touching the chair, keeping your knees behind your toes. (Note: you should be able to see your toes when you bend if you look downward. If you only see your knees, you are bending too far forward.). Hold. Then slowly return to original position.
Notes: For advanced workouts, hold dumbbells at your sides. For those with
knee problems, stick with partial squats- – i.e. only lower yourself halfway to the chair.
BEST TOTAL BODY WORKOUT : SWIMMING
To target each muscle group, head to the pool. Swimming offers a low impact way to work both your upper and lower body while maintaining proper alignment. The back and abs get a great workout in the process, too.
Apart from the aerobic workout, water adds gentle resistance, challenging your muscles while resulting in fewer injuries.
EXTRA TIP: If you’re going to focus on swimming for your main exercises, augment them with weight bearing exercise like jogging, walking, weight lifting or tennis to help keep your bones strong.
BEST ARM EXERCISE: PUSHUPS
Best for toning and firming, pushups still rank tops among trainers. They target mainly the triceps in the back of your arms, developing nicer-looking arms, chest muscles, the abs and the back, strengthening and stabilizing you. Even women are noted for learning them and progressing fast.
“How To” guidelines for pushups: Lying face down on the floor, place your hands by your shoulders and band your knees. Press your palms against the floor and straighten your arms, keeping your head, neck, back and hips in line while you lift your body up from the floor. Just before locking elbows (i.e. DON’T lock them), hold. Then lower yourself – slowly. Just before touching the floor, push back up. Repeat.
Notes: For advanced workouts, do pushups on your toes instead of your knees. For beginners, try doing them against a wall or leaning on a trailing or table.
BEST SHORT-ON-TIME EXERCISE: WALKING STAIRS
Head for the stairs, is the best option for those with little or no time for workouts. Forgo elevators, escalators and asking someone else to go “up” or “down” for you. Just do it!
The advantages of walking stair steps include increasing your heart rate, improving your posture, strengthening your lower body, and helping with the prevention of osteoporosis since this is a weight-bearing exercise and thus build bone. Walking steps also improves stamina. Trainers calculate that you should burn about 45 calories walking up and down stairs during a 5-minute period.
BEST WORKOUT WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO: DANCING
The main reasons that trainers like dancing are that it’s fun and it’s a great way to incorporate exercise and quality time into everyday routines.
Tap you toes. Grab a partner. Do a solo. All burn calories and work a variety of muscle groups. So grab a radio, cassette player CD, MP3 player or start
whistling, humming or singing your favorite tune.
BEST EXERCISE FOR BETTER POSTURE: PINCHING YOUR SHOULDER BLADES
This exercise helps with those who slouch and hunch over computer or vehicle wheels all day. Pinching your shoulder blades helps work the trapezius and rhomboids, muscle groups that aid in your upright alignment, and helps keep the spine in its neutral, erect placement. It is also reported to open Up the chest area and prevent “rounded shoulders syndrome.”
BEST CALF EXERCISE: HEEL RAISES
Many trainers believe heel raises are great for shapely calves. The exercise
concentrates on the calves, is simple to learn and is noted to achieve results in a hurry.
“How To” guidelines for heel raises: With your feet nearly hip-width apart, stand. Rise up onto your toes. Hold. Then lower yourself back down slowly.
Note: For advanced workouts, try doing the exercise one leg at a time or try
holding dumbbells. For beginners, you may want to hold on to a chair or wall to balance yourself.
BEST EXERCISE FOR WALKERS: HAMSTRING STRETCHES
Since walking is a popular physical activity and exercise component, many
trainers believe hamstring stretches are vital. Tight hamstrings can lead to back pain and injuries. And being flexible improves your walking posture.
“How To” guidelines for hamstring stretches: Stand. Place your right heel about 8 inches in front of you, toes pointing upward. For support, place your hands on your left thigh. Then bend your left knee and lean forward from the hips, shifting your weight back. Stick your rear out until you feel the stretch in the back of your right leg (a half-seated position.) Keep your back straight. Hold. Repeat. Alternate and do two or three stretches with each leg.
BEST EXERCISE WHEN YOU’RE POOPED: STRETCHING
People like stretching because it helps them rest better and improves the blood flow without tiring the body out too much. Plus it gives people a little “spurt” of energy.
This is a great way to get healthier even for couch potatoes. Just reach over that ottoman and S-T-R-E-T-C-H—-!