Breaking A Sweat: Endurance Exercises

endurance-exercisesThere are plenty of ways to research various methods of exercise. Whether it is online, from books or from your fit friend. The majority of information you will find will be based around exercises to do in a gym environment with lots of fancy equipment, or you may get some information about weird and wonderful ways to move your body around at home to improve fitness.

I always tell clients that any exercise I ask them to complete should have a direct relation to a movement they will complete on an almost daily basis during their daily tasks. Gym machines and basic exercises do not necessarily match everyday movements that we make. For example – the plank is a great core strengthening exercise, but think about how often we would actually need to be able to hold a position like that for a set period of time in real life.

I believe in keeping exercise simple, fun and with an obvious meaning behind each movement. Have a look at a little something I put together that I am calling, “The Survivors Workout” that will help improve your stamina by including endurance exercises into your daily routine.

Exercise 1: Chopping wood for the fire – With your feet at hip width apart hold a bottle of water around the neck. Lift the bottle above your head so your body is tall and straight. After holding for a second you are going to drive the bottle down towards the ground as if you are swinging an axe to cut some wood.

Bend your legs as you swing the bottle but keep your torso straight by holding in your core muscles. Don’t let the bottle hit the ground before swinging it back up above your head to begin the movement again.

Do this for thirty seconds and repeat three times (rest for 15 seconds between sets). You are aiming to build up to where you can do this for one minute for the three sets.

Exercise 2: Stacking the wood – Our bottle of water starts on the floor in front of our right foot. Feet are hip width apart.

Squat down and with a slight torso rotation towards the right side; place both hands around the center of the bottle. Pushing into the heels, return to standing position while straightening out the torso.

The bottle should now be held at chest height with arms bent and in tight to our body. Squat down again, this time with a slight rotation to the left side so the bottle can be placed in front of our left foot.

This is one repetition (i.e. the bottle has been on the floor in front of both feet). Set a time limit of one minute and see how many full repetitions you can do. Try to do at least two more repetitions each session.

Exercise 3: The alarm is raised – This is one of my personal favorite exercises to really get the heart rate going.

The aim is to go from a laying position to a standing position and back again in the shortest space of time. Start by laying flat on the floor with arms by your side and palms down. Lift your upper body from the waist into a sitting position before bending legs and standing up.

Ensure you fully stand up so your back is straight, shoulders are back and chest is pushed out.

Now squat down into a seated position before returning to the floor to lie down. See how many of these you can do in thirty seconds.Build up until you can do these continuously for one minute.

If you really want to challenge yourself, do the whole thing without using your hands to help you stand up or sit down!

These exercises can be completed on their own or back-to-back to form an entire workout. Think of them as a mini Circuit Training plan you can do in your home!  If doing them all together, use the following structure:

1 – Cutting the wood
2 – Stacking the wood
3 – The alarm is raised

Rest for one minute then repeat the entire workout three times.

With a basic warm up and cool down either side of the workout, it should take around thirty minutes to complete. A short but highly effective work out!

(See our article on Convict Conditioning for more ideas.  Premium Members can access the September 2014 Issue of the Independence Report for a detailed workout using Convict Conditioning exercises)


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