It’s February, and we’re hoping most of you are still sticking to your resolutions. Fitness trainers and experts list a collective way of making sure your workout plans are being followed through 

THE UPPER BODY WORKOUT

By Pranav Saini

The trainer says: “Most people tend to focus on lower body strength to prevent the accumulation of fat around the hips and belly. It is important to equally focus on the upper body, so that one can perform everyday activities with ease, have a better range of motion and flexibility, increase muscle mass, lower the risk of diabetes, and have a healthy heart.”

Three workouts to strengthen the upper body: Chest Press, Overhead press or Shoulder press and Pull-ups.

Three points to keep in mind while working on your upper body:

  • Breathe constantly when lifting weights. Never, ever hold your breath. You may have to work to make this an automatic habit. Each inhale and exhale should be as deep and full as possible. 
  • Don’t sit down, doing nothing, during a workout. Keep blood from pooling in your legs by walking around if you need a rest between sets. If you’re doing upper body, walk while gently swinging your arms from the shoulder. Keeping the muscles that you’ve just worked in gentle motion helps get rid of lactic acid and other waste byproducts of muscle exertion.
  • The most important part of exercising or training for a sport is to always use proper form. Even if you were once taught the correct position for each exercise, you may have since strayed from using it. It’s worth paying a personal trainer to watch you go through your program at least once a year to be certain you’re still using the proper technique.

Must-have equipment: Saini suggests a Smith machine with pull-up bars and cable pulleys, an adjustable bench with a barbell, and sets of dumbbells and a stability ball, full-size resistance bands, and a yoga mat. 

Biggest misconception: “Focus on muscles you can see. To improve upper body strength, you have to have a balance between the muscles on the front and back of your body. You don’t always have to use a strength-training machine. Do as many reps as often as you can. You don’t need to do the maximum every time. A lot of times, athletes go into weight training and work out without supervision. That, unfortunately, is where most injuries occur.”

One-Week Workout Routine For An Intense Upper Body Workout

• Pull day: Barbell deadlift, Back: pull-ups or flat pulldowns, Back: T-bar rows or seated cable rows, Rear deltoids/traps: face pulls, Biceps: hammer curls supersets with dumbbell shrugs, Biceps: standing cable curls. 

• Push day: Chest: flat barbell bench press, Shoulders: seated dumbbell press, Chest: incline dumbbell bench press, Triceps/shoulders: tricep pushdowns supersets with lateral raises, Chest: cable crossovers. 

• Legs day: Barbell back squats, Hamstrings: Romanian dumbbell deadlifts, Legs: leg press, Hamstrings: lying leg curls, Calves: seated calf raises, Abs: decline crunches. 

• Pull day: Back: bent over barbell rows, Back: pull-ups, Back: one-arm rows, Lower back: hyperextensions supersets with machine preacher curls, Traps: barbell shrugs, Biceps: standing dumbbell curls.

• Push day: Shoulders: overhead press, Chest: dumbbell bench press, Chest/triceps: dips, Shoulders: single arm cable lateral raises, Chest: machine fly, Triceps: overhead extensions with rope. 

• Legs day: Legs: barbell front squats, Hamstrings: glute ham raises, Legs: walking dumbbell lunges, Quadriceps: seated leg extensions supersets with standing calf raises, Abs: hanging leg raises. 

LOWER BODY WORKOUT

By Prateek Kumar

Trainer says: “Working out on your lower body helps build the core — abdominal, obliques, and lower back. People often believe that working out on a specific part will help develop that part only. That is not the case when you train your lower body. You are forced to use a maximum number of auxiliary muscle groups like your core, your glutes, your back, calves and other parts too. Working out on the lower body helps in improving your hormonal functions. It helps in burning way more calories than one would during an upper-body workout session.”

Three workouts to strengthen the lower body: Bulgarian split squats, Rear deadlifts, Reverse lunges and forward lunges

Three points to keep in mind while working on your lower body

  • A holistic warm-up: Ensure that you rotate every joint from your neck to your ankle & walk backwards on a treadmill to strengthen your knees.
  • Get basic movement in your lower body, especially your hamstrings and glutes, with forward bends and toe touches.
  • Activate your glutes and core with hip thrusts and a couple of sets of planks.

Must-have equipment: Kumar suggests keeping kettlebells or dumbbells handy. He suggests that some innumerable techniques and exercises can help anyone with or without any equipment.

Biggest misconception: “One needs to lift heavy. One doesn’t need to go heavy for an effective workout. You have one hip and two knees, please preserve them. I also dislike the fact that people dedicate only one day to train a muscle group that comprises 2/3rds of their body.”

One-Week Workout Routine For An Intense Lower Body Workout

  Here is how I’d split two lower-body sessions in a week:

  • Workout A: Bulgarian split squats, RDLs, calf raises, shrugs, bodyweight leg extensions, planks
  • Workout B: Goblet squats, sumo deadlifts, seated calf raises, upright rows, Nordic curls/leg curls, knee tucks, Russian twists.

ALL ABOUT CORE

By Karan Kharas

Trainer says: “The core, as the name suggests, is situated in the middle of the body. One thing that sets the core apart from other body parts is that it has no bone support immediately behind most muscles that the core includes. The vertebrae and lower ribs are the only bones the core operates near. This makes the muscles of this area unique as the entire body stability is only achieved via a strong, able core. A strong core is also vital for optimal back health. A lack of core strength and tightness will compromise efficiency force transfer.”

Three exercises to strengthen core: Kharas suggest squats, deadlifts, and overhead press, alternated with pulldowns. However one can also achieve some progress at home using push-ups, inverted rows, and bodyweight squats or pistol squats as well. 

Three points to keep in mind while working on your core

  • Bending and straightening of the spine. A flexible spine will give you complete access to your core. This is why cats are so athletic.
  • The core also stabilises the body. The stabilising function of the core is best addressed with compound weight training movements such as deadlifts and squats. 
  • Balance. The core is extremely important when it comes to balance.

Must-have equipment: The fitness trainer suggests, “One of the simplest equipment you’ll need are a pull-up bar, an abdominal crunch board, and an ab wheel.”

Biggest misconception: Kharas says, “The biggest misconception is the fact that people think they need to train the core specifically. The core gets stronger with the rest of the body.”

Workout For An Intense Core Workout

Workout 1: Nordic curls alternated with ab wheel roll outs. Beginners should start on their knees with a limited range of motion. If you’re completely inexperienced, then start off with a simple plank hold. Hold each plank for around 40 seconds to a minute.

Workout 2: Hip thrusts alternated with leg raises. Do hanging leg raises with some weight between your legs if you already workout. Beginners can start on a crunch board, and slowly increase the incline.