As part of my leg and back workout yesterday I started with a squat pyramid. This is basically when you increase the weight to a certain amount then decrease it back down to your starting weight. For example I started with 20kg then did 40kg, then 50kg, then went back to 40kg then 20kg. The idea is to do fewer reps on the higher weight and more on the lighter weight, however I did the same number of reps for each weight except the 50kg which I struggled with a bit.
I find that reducing the weight after going high allows you to do more sets, as you don’t give up when the weight gets too heavy. You are therefore working the muscles slightly harder.
My squat max is quite a lot less than its previously been due to having an irregular training pattern. It just shows that you’ve got to keep the work up regularly to maintain strength! I’m looking forward to having a more regular gym regime now I’m back home from my placement!
This months exercise is a weighted exercise you can do at home if you have dumb bells (or filled water bottles), or in the gym. I have posted it slightly early as this is for November but the next few weeks will be pretty busy for me. They can be carried out with just body weight also, having your hand on your hips whilst doing it this way will help with balance and posture.
I did my best to capture myself carrying out the move although maybe still not the best demonstration but you get the idea. With regards to my body, it’s not carrying as much muscle mass as I’d like at the moment. I know I’m carrying more fat in the stomach region but uni placement has taken over a bit and I am going to the gym a lot less. I am happy with the way my body is just now and that is the important thing.
Anyway back to the exercise. This exercise is great for mainly the quadriceps but also other leg muscles such as the glutes.
Hold dumb bells or a plate into your chest and stand with feet just outside your hips in set stance. Then bring one leg diagonally behind you like you are curtsying (well actually this is exactly what you are doing) and then bring back up to set stance. Repeat on the other leg.
Try and go for 10-12 reps on each leg for around 3 sets.
Have fun trying this exercise out!
A weighted exercise this month and one of my new faves to do at the gym!
I did try and get some footage of myself carrying out the exercise to demonstrate how it’s done but unfortunately the camera wasn’t at the best angle, and you couldn’t really see the upper half of my body which is kind of needed for this move. Note to self get better at camera angles!
Anyway this is a great move for an upper body workout to isolate the shoulders and the upper/middle back. Simply step back from the machine and grab hold of the end of the ropes (shown in the picture above). Set your feet around shoulder width apart and bend the legs slightly. Pull the rope back until almost at your face and your hands are almost at your shoulders then lengthen your arms and repeat.
The ropes can be pulled slightly higher above your head or at head level, it’s a matter of personal preference and what muscles you are aiming to work.
One thing I have discovered is that the gym I currently go to only has one set of ropes which can make carrying out this exercise difficult if I’ve planned it into my routine and someone else is using them. So a word of advice if you are in the same boat: Grab them when you can!
Another body weight exercise this month. I frequently incorporate this exercise into my HIIT workouts. It is now one of my fav HIIT exercises!
They work the legs especially the glutes like a normal squat (can you see the running theme of glute isolation exercises in my posts? Yes I admit it I love exercises that work the booty), but also get the heart racing as the jump adds cardio into the move.
The pictures above show how to carry out the move successfully. So you are aiming to crouch down into a squat position and get as low as you can (bum about knee level), then swing the arms back to power your jump, aiming to get the jump as high as you can! Ensure your heels are firmly planted into the ground to aid stability and help power that big jump.
I usually carry out squat jumps as part of a sequence of other moves and will do as many as I can in 30 seconds with a 10 second rest and then moving on to the next exercise for the same time period.
Enjoy trying out this exercise!
Also called glute kickbacks.
This month is a body weight exercise for a change. That means it can be performed anywhere with ample space, don’t want you kicking any ornaments over now!
A great move for the glutes.
Start by kneeling on the floor as shown in the picture above with your hands on the floor in front of you. Bring one leg up behind you with the knee bent to a 90 degree angle then bring back down to the starting position. Do multiple reps on one leg – 10 is ideal – then switch legs. I would suggest 3-4 reps until you feel the burn in the glutes.
It’s a perfect exercise to do at the gym as part of your leg workout or even as part of a home workout!
There are lots of different exercises you can do for the triceps especially if you compare with biceps, dips are just one of the exercises I like to do.
I carry them out by placing a 10kg plate on my lap whilst sitting on a step, then bring your bum off the step and forward of the step, support yourself by having your palms on the step behind you with your elbows facing back. Dip your bum until it’s almost at the floor and bring back up.
Repeat this for as many reps as you want, I’d say try 10-15 reps. I usually do 2/3 sets of 10-15 reps.
There are variations to this exercise too depending on how much you want to push yourself. You can just do it body weight without a plate, adding pulses makes it slightly harder.
Have fun trying this out!
This exercise is my fav at the moment. Basically like a regular deadlift but you just bring the barbell to the knees instead of all the way to the ground.
I usually use a 25kg barbell and do 3x 10reps. It works the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings as well as back and arm muscles.
To carry out the exercise successfully aim to bend from the hips keeping the legs straight and also your back as straight as you can.
I’m also so happy that I found a gym just five minutes away to go to whilst on my uni placement!
The seated leg press machine is great for strengthening those thighs! It works the quadriceps mainly but I definitely feel those glutes too. Some say that placing your feet higher up works the glutes more but I feel I do squats and lunges for the glutes. The lower you place your feet the more the quadriceps are being worked.
Make sure you push from your heels and they do not move from the platform.
My current leg press max is 120kg for 10 reps. I’ll admit I sometimes do push myself up with my lower back for the first rep which is not good form and risks injury so try not to do this like I do!
I’ve recently added a variation on the weighted crunch into the core part of my full body workout. The move is currently part of a workout class I go to regularly so thought why not add it into my own gym workout. Instead of holding the medicine ball or plate into my chest I keep my arms straight and hold the weight up.
The move involves lying in sit up position and lifting your head and shoulders off the ground whilst holding the plate and pulsing. I either carry it out with a 10kg plate or the heaviest medicine ball I can find so 8 or 9kg.
I like to mix up my core moves but this is definitely my fav at the moment. I also do classic weighted sit ups, russian twists with 8-10kg and body weight toe taps.
Surprisingly enough squats are my favourite exercise at the moment. My best at the moment is 60kg for 5 but my goal is to get on or heavier than body weight (just 2kg to go!).
I usually start with squats in my full body workouts so I have maximum energy to lift my heaviest. I’ll either warm up with a quick 3 minute jog or a set of 10 reps with just the bar.
My advice for squatting is to start off with the bar then add 10kgs, then lighter weights such as 2.5kg until you’ve reached your limit for 5 reps. With time and practise you’ll improve and manage to lift heavier. This applies to all weighted exercises really.