A lot of us enjoy working out in the privacy of our own homes or alone at the gym without a partner. However, there are some potential pitfalls facing the “lone” exerciser. For one, we’re more likely to be consistent about an exercise routine when we’re accountable to a partner or have committed to a class at a particular time. Secondly, there may be insecurity or concern as to whether or not we are performing an exercise with proper form when we have no one working out with or training us either individually or in a group exercise setting. Thirdly, it’s easy to get stuck in a comfortable rut with our routines if we’re not getting exposed to anything new. Often, we’ll find that our bodies begin to plateau and our minds atrophy as we lack new and stimulating challenges in our workouts.
When we’re going it alone, it takes a concerted effort to push ourselves for the sake of personal growth. It’s easy to become stagnate in any area that requires discipline; body, mind or spirit so here’s a little nudge just for you! The Bible says, “No discipline is pleasant while it’s happening - it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who have been trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.”
With that in mind, here are three well-known exercises with some fun and challenging variations.
MIX IT UP FOR INTEREST
Instead of simply repeating each exercise with standard single repetitions try to create a pattern to make it interesting such as 8 reps slow, 8 fast, 8 pulsing, 8 slow, 8 fast and repeat.
DIAGONAL OR STANDARD LUNGES – ADD A BICEPS CURL
Get into a standard lunge position, bring one foot forward bending at the knee creating a 90 degree angle. Protect the knee by keeping it behind the toe. Extend the back leg out and come up on that toe. Chest and head stay high and abs are contracted supporting the low back.
To create the diagonal lunge, get into the same position and cross the back leg to the side of the front leg instead of directly behind it. IMPORTANT – Knees and toes need to be going the same direction. Upper body stays forward with a slight twist at the waist. Add a biceps curl on the motion up from the lunge. Remember to keep the elbows close to your sides as your curling to isolate the biceps properly.
Watch the Lunges Video Clip
CHEST FLIES IN A BRIDGE POSITION
Lie back on a step, Bosu or stability ball allowing your head, neck and upper back to be supported with your feet flat on the floor. Create a bridge with the lower torso by lifting the rear and contracting the abdominals, low back and quadriceps.
Position the weights over the center of the chest muscles and fly out to the side to about 90 degrees taking care not to extend past the shoulder. Think of a golf ball between your pectoral muscles and as you bring the weights together overhead, contract them together so that you squeeze that ball at the top of the motion. Don’t forget to keep the lower body contracted throughout the set and breathe out at the top of the fly.
Watch the Flies video clip
OBLIQUE ABS WITH WEIGHT
Get into a seated V-position by extending your legs straight out in front of you with a slight bend at the knee and lean back by hinging at the waist. If you’re up for the challenge, hold a light hand weight or small medicine ball close to your upper body to create more resistance. If you’re not ready to add weight, just hold your hands out in front of you. The further you lean back, the more difficult the exercise will be so choose the position that works for your fitness level without straining your low back.
Holding the weight out in front of you, slightly twist at the waste and reach toward your hip contracting your oblique (side) abdominals. Come back to center and repeat this motion on the other side. Your lower abs will also be working during this exercise as they contract to hold you up and keep you stable in the V-Position.
Watch the Abs video clip
To look great, feel greater and be your greatest will require some effort, perhaps a change of routine or a step outside your regular comfort zone, but with such a powerful and enticing promise from God of a “peaceful harvest of right living” I hope you’re motivated to try!
To view additional clips of this workout or to purchase Tonya’s new fitness DVD, “Step Pump/Body-Mind-Spirit-Fit” visit www.TonyaLarson.net
Tonya Larson is an AFAA Certified Group Exercise and Step Instructor. She is also certified in Prenatal Postnatal Fitness and Bosu. She earned a BA in Theater from the University of Texas at Austin and graduated from Victory Bible Institute’s School of Worship and Biblical Studies in Tulsa, OK. She recently released her first fitness DVD, “Step Pump” and also continues to teach group exercise classes at In Shape in Hanford, CA and the Lemoore Naval Air Station Fitness Center in Lemoore. Tonya is proud to support her husband Josh who is currently serving as an FA-18 Pilot in the U.S. Navy. They have two beautiful boys; Aero and Jace.