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Sharp Health News

Basic training: build your own boot camp workout

Feb. 18, 2021

Woman exercising at home
While many of us have gotten used to at-home workouts during the pandemic, it's always fun to mix things up. Stay in shape with your own at-home boot camp-style workout — no fancy equipment required. The secret to this exercise routine is mixing calorie-burning cardio intervals with moves that build strength using the weight of your own body. Here's how.

The warm-up
Warm up by marching in place, walking on an inclined treadmill, swinging your arms in circles or whatever you want to do to raise your heart rate and get muscles warm.

The moves
Choose 8 to 10 strength training moves that work all of your major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Here are a few ideas:

Incline push-ups — for your arms, chest and shoulders
Using your kitchen counter or other flat surface, place your palms flat and your hands shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body without flaring the elbows. Push upward until your arms are fully extended. Repeat 12 to 20 times. Keep those core muscles engaged throughout each movement. Keep those core muscles engaged throughout each movement.

Lunges — for your hamstrings, quads and glutes
Standing up straight, step 1 foot forward until your front leg reaches a 90-degree angle. Your back knee should stay parallel to the ground, and your front knee shouldn't go beyond your toes. Return your front lunging leg to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times for each leg.

Bridge — for your abs, glutes and hips
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Contract your abs and glutes as you exhale and lift your hips off the floor. Inhale as you slowly lower down to the starting position. Repeat 12 to 20 times.

Squats — for your hips, thighs and glutes
Stand in front of a sturdy, armless chair. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms in front of you. Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself down until you're almost seated, taking care not to extend your knees beyond your toes. Slowly rise back to a standing position. If this move is too difficult, you can use your hands to push up from the chair for help. Repeat 10 times.

Note: the number of reps you do for any exercise should be based on your ability to do them without compromising your form.

The intervals
After every 2 strength-training moves, do 60 seconds of cardiovascular exercise. This could be anything that gets your heart pumping, such as jumping rope, dancing or jumping jacks.

The cool down
When you're done, do another 5 to 10 minutes of gentle motion to lower your heart rate.

The payoff
This type of workout can burn up to 600 calories an hour, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise. It also strengthens your muscles and improves your endurance. Plus, you'll have fun in the process.

"Focusing on multi-joint movements will both burn more calories and increase overall strength," says Ariel Showalter, an exercise specialist at the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Note: The amount of calories you burn will still depend on your weight and your exercise intensity level. The estimated burned calories cited here are based on a 150- to 160-pound person.

As with any fitness routine, check with your doctor before beginning if you are 35 or older, are obese, have heart disease or another chronic health condition, or have recently had surgery.

If you need help with your fitness goals, the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital is currently offering virtual group fitness classes and outdoor personal training sessions. For more information, call 619-522-3798.

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