Sometimes our schedules are tight and we find ourselves at the gym having to “squeeze in” a workout between appointments, at lunch or after a long day at work.
However, no matter how limited your “session” is, you should never forgo a warm-up and stretching at the end!!! A well balanced workout should always incorporate these two important components!
The warm up prepares the body for the challenges of the workout. It raises body temperature, warms up the muscles and tendons reducing risk of injury. The warm up should be at least 5 minutes long and can be some form of light cardio, or even moves that you will do later in the workout (but at a light intensity – i.e 1/3 walking lunges, squats, shoulder rotations, side steps, etc.), something to get the entire body moving at a light pace.
At the end of the session, it is equally important to stretch! Stretching should be 5-10 minutes long. As we “work” our muscles we “contract” them, so at the end we need to “elongate” them to prevent stiffness and injury. Hold static stretches of muscles worked for 20-30 seconds each.
Below is a sample “express” workout, that does not forgo these two important components:
- 5 minute warm up on a cardio machine or with moves that incorporate major muscles of the body.
- 20-minutes alternating weight training and cardio push ups (bench press, bench flies, chest press) for chest and triceps
- squats (leg presses, hack squats, donkey kicks) for glutes and quads
- back rows (reverse fly’s, reverse push ups) for back and triceps
- jumping jacks, (burpees, alternating jumping lunges, boxing like kicks) for total body cardio
- 5 minutes of stretching
And there you go – a 30-minute EXPRESS workout that may be short, but will not lack intensity if you choose the appropriate weights and work hard!