Are you a Pinterest-addict? I’ll admit that I’ve spent more than my fair share of Friday evenings Pinning workouts, recipes and home decor ideas! Today’s post is part of a ‘Pin It Party’, hosted by Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean. I’d love it if it you’d join in by first, pinning any of the images below that you’d like to keep for later reference then heading over to Lindsay’s site and checking out all the other great images my healthy living bloggers have created, just for the pinning!
Most weeks I create a dozen or more workouts. For my group training clients, my group fitness participants and of course, myself!
In addition to including strength and cardiovascular components, each workout typically includes the following five training elements; power training, speed and agility work, unilateral (or offset load) exercise, core work and flexibility training.
Although the relative importance of each element varies with the type of class I’m teaching and each client’s unique goals, if functional fitness is your goal (and it should be if you want to be able to keep doing the things you love for another 20 or more years…) including a few minutes of each in your workout is the best way to ensure a well-rounded fitness program.
1. Power training
Power is the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction in an explosive burst of movement. Not something that you’ll need to do often, but when it’s necessary (like getting out of the way of an oncoming car or dodging a flying object aimed at your head) you’ll be glad you spent a little time training for it. In addition to improving your reaction time, power training is also a great way to increase strength, burn a few extra calories and improve your cardiovascular function.
Try adding in one or two power moves after your warmup, but before the strength component of your workout. I like to alternate upper and lower body power moves from one workout to the next.
2. Speed and agility work
Unlike power training, speed and agility work focuses on rapid, unweighted movements, most often forward and backward or side to side. If you have small children, you’ll recognize the value of being able to rapidly change direction so as not to trip over the toys that inexplicably get left on the stairs.
Aim for short bursts of intense effort, choosing simple movements that don’t require much concentration. For example, fast feet or lateral hop squats on the Bosu balance trainer. Even more fun? Grab a skipping rope and re-connect with your inner child.
3. Unilateral or offset load exercises
Whenever you ask one side of your body to do something different from the other, you’re performing a unilateral or offset load exercise. Benefits include improved balance and kinesthetic awareness, reduced left-right side imbalances (we all have ‘dumb’ side…) and a little extra core training. Make sure to switch sides between sets so as not to exacerbate the difference between your strong and weak sides!
4. Core or abdominal work
I have yet to meet a client who doesn’t want to firm up their midsection. Although many of the strength exercises I prescribe are core-based (for example, the unilateral and offset moves described above), adding a few isolated abdominal exercises at the end of the workout is a great way to cool down and transition from the strength component of the workout to flexibility training. Here are a few of my favourite stability ball core moves.
5. Flexibility training
For many, stretching is the reward at the end of a challenging workout. Time to slow down, focus on lengthening the muscles and enjoy the feeling of a job well done. For best results, ease into each stretch, hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds, avoid bouncing, breath-holding and pain. Choose at least one stretch for each of the muscle groups you worked. Add a second stretch for joints that are particularly tight (chests, shoulders and hips are the ones I typically see needing attention).
What are your favourite training elements? Is there one that you always include in your workouts? One that you need to include more often? 😉