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Short Sport Workouts
Q: With holidays right around the corner, I have very little time to fit in any workouts; what would you suggest to someone normally quite active who only had 3 blocks of 30 minutes and no access to a gym?
A: If you already have a very good base and are trying to maintain your current level of fitness, especially for sport, then try including the following three workouts during those weeks when you just can't queeze anything more into your schedule. Remember, you can always modify this workout to make it a little easier or harder, depending on your unique needs.
WORKOUTS ONE AND THREE
Circuit training (MF)
5 minutes warmup -- jump rope, jog, jumping jacks, dance -- something to increase your range of motion and prepare you for a short, intense interval workout.
20 minutes large muscle group strength endurance circuit -- alternate between a minute of cardio and a minute of strength, non-stop, but if you feel dizzy, slow down and get a sip of water. Remember, this assumes you have a base and want to get as much as possible into a short amount of time.
The cardio can be running in place, biking or treadmill (if you have access to such things), jogging around the house, stepping up and down on a step or bench, jumping rope, lifting your knees high, jumping jacks -- or a minute each of several different things, to really hit every muscle group. Keep it interesting and creative. Do a set of each of the following ten exercises (pictured in thumbnail sketches, below) for a minute, in the order set up below. They alternate between upper and lower, from largest muscle groups and hardest activities to smaller muscle groups (though all hit as many muscle groups at one time as possible!) Once you've done a set of strength, return to a set of cardio, and continue alternating back and forth until you've done a set for each. Finish with 5 minutes of gentle cardio or stretching to return heart rate to normal and recover.
Another good option for circuit training is to use an exercise video with proper instruction and music timed to give you the most from your effort. Karen Voight has several wonderful circuit training videos and DVDís that may be right for you.
Circuit Cardio & Strength
Interval cardio training (W)
See our previous article on interval training; again, warm-up for 5 minutes by doing a lower-intensity version of the activity you've chosen for intervals, whether hills, biking, running, stairs, etc. then spend 20 minutes doing intervals, and cool down with 5 minutes of gentle activity or stretching.
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