Wall Squats (also known as wall sits) are a great isometric exercise for the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and to a lesser extent the calves. This is an excellent lower body exercise that builds muscular endurance and can also burn a fair amount of calories once you’re able to reach a minute or so. Don’t be surprised if you can’t stay in position longer than 15 seconds at first. It’s harder than it looks.
Take a shoulder width stance and sit against the wall with your knees parallel and if possible, without the knees going past your toes. Align your knees with your feet so neither is moving inward or outward. Tense your core, place your hands to the side and remember to breathe. Start out with 3 sets for 15 seconds and rest 90 seconds between sets. Eventually, work up to 5 sets for 60 seconds (or more if you’re feeling strong) and rest 30 seconds between each set. Be careful when starting out. Your legs will feel like noodles after completing a set. With consistency, you’ll reach 60 seconds before you know it.
NOTE-It’s very important when finishing each set to not drop down to the floor. This can damage your knees. Stand up or push away from the wall when completing the set.
Jump rope is one of the best exercises to improve conditioning and lose weight fast. It’s incredibly effective for developing endurance, and burning calories. It’s much more efficient for increasing cardiovascular fitness, eliminating body fat, and changing body composition than almost all cardio related exercises. Certainly more so than running.
If you’re a beginner to jump rope, start with five minutes for each workout. Jumping five minutes at a time with no rest or warm-up is an injury waiting to happen. Intervals are a good option when starting a new cardio exercise and this also follows the HIIT principle of intensity followed by low intensity/rest.
Begin jumping only from the warm-up video above. Start with 30 seconds jumping and rest for 1 minute for 5 rounds. Do this 3x a week for 1 week. For the next week, jump 30 seconds with 45 seconds rest. The following week go to 30 seconds jumping and 30 seconds rest. Your cardio should be significantly improved.
Once you have your rhythm down, start the jump rope workout. Perform the same workout time and frequency as before. If 5 rounds are too challenging in the beginning, aim for 3 rounds. The eventual goal is for 10 rounds.
I use the Boxing iTimer app for my workouts, but there are dozens available that should work for you.
To get more details on learning to jump rope, click Jump rope tips
Jump rope can be very demanding, so take it slow at first. Have at least one day of rest between workouts. Be sure to stay hydrated. A minimum rule of thumb for hydration is to start with the following:
1/2 body weight + 32 oz.
Ex. 180 lbs x .50 = 90 + 32 oz = 122 oz daily.
HIIT Workout-Beginner to Advanced Endurance Athlete
*Start with 10 reps for each exercise with 60 seconds rest between each for 3 rounds. Once acclimated, rest 30 seconds between sets.
Be mindful of keeping your core tense, breathe on exertion, and stay hydrated. Again, 1/2 bodyweight (lbs) plus 32 oz.
This is a sample workout for a beginner endurance athlete such as a martial artist, runner, boxer, or anyone needing muscle endurance and strong cardiovascular fitness. Clearly, if you’ve been training for a while, you can reduce rest time, increase reps, weight, and/or number of rounds.
It’s always best to meet to get an assessment first to see what challenges you may have. This way I can create an individualized program for you.
Now, on to the workout.
1st Exercise – Dumbbell Upright Rows
Stand shoulder width and slowly pull the dumbbells to chin. Focus on lowering the weight even slower. Lifting the elbows too high will put too much strain on the wrists. Choose a weight that’s easy to handle because it will feel heavier as the rounds continue. Perform 10 reps.
2nd Exercise – Push-up/Dumbbell Bent Row
This is an outstanding but challenging exercise. Start in the push-up position with hands on the dumbbells. Go all the way down until your chest touches the floor. Push back up into starting position. Pull the dumbbell up as shown. Lower it and repeat the other side. That’s 1 rep. Perform 10 reps. If you can’t do 10, aim for 7 reps and then 8 the next time. Use a light weight in the beginning. This exercise will get your heart rate up in a hurry.
3rd Exercise – Squat/Press
There’s a reason why compound exercises are well respected. The more muscles you use in a movement, the greater amount of energy is expended. This means more calories are burned, strength is developed, and fitness is improved. Again, efficiency is best when training, as long as you’re safe.
Take a shoulder width stance, squat down, pick up the dumbbells, and as you’re standing, press the dumbbells overhead. Then, squat down and repeat the process. Remember to keep your core engaged on all of these exercises. Again, start with light dumbbells. Aim for 10 reps.
4th Exercise – Mountain Climbers
Remember these from gym class? Mountain climbers are effective regardless if it’s to warm up or elevate your heart rate.
Start in the push-up position, pull one knee toward your chest, lower, then repeat with other knee. Perform 10-15 reps.
Start with a moderate weight that’s somewhat challenging to complete 10 reps. This can be substituted for the Squat/Press if done with the HIIT workout above. If so, choose a lighter weight.
Hold the kettlebell close to your chest, stand slightly wider than shoulder width. Narrower focuses more on the quads, but puts more stress on the knees. Going wider engages more of your glutes and is safer.
Keep your knees straight and aligned with your feet throughout the movement. Try not to let your knees go past your feet. However, if you’re taller this will not be possible. As you descend, hinge your hips (as if sitting down in a chair) and go down so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push back up through your heels. Always use a mirror to check your form. Remember to keep your core engaged and exhale on exertion.
*Before starting any new workout, it’s a good idea to see a medical professional beforehand to get confirmation to train.
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For more details on scheduling, individual goals, and training, you can reach me on any of the floating icons on the right. For the 30 Day Challenge, text STOIC TO 41259.