Feeling just a teensy bit guilty about polishing off all those delicious Easter eggs? Not to worry, Sam Cranny-Evans is back with more body sculpting advice. This week he explains how to you can get the perfect summer physique with our awesome beach body workout. Feel the burn…
Adonis, Hercules, that guy from Twilight: humans have always had an obsession with looks, but those athletic and muscular physiques are typical of Hollywood. But what about the average Joe, can you have this look? Of course you can, it just takes a little hard work and determination. What follows is a basic workout, designed for men and women; it will build lean muscle and sculpt your body into something Greek, something heroic; the kind of physique that turns heads everywhere.
Despite a virtual library of information to the contrary, many women will believe that this workout isn’t for them because they don’t want to build muscle. But ladies, before you dismiss this workout, here are a few facts:
1) Performing heavy, weight lifting exercises is not going to turn you into the Hulk.
2) Women have approximately 10% of the testosterone that a male does. Given that this is essential for building muscle, genetically, you will not end up looking like a man unless you take certain substances.
3) Muscle tissue is incredibly healthy; for every 500 grams of muscle you have, you will burn 9 calories a day at rest. For the same amount of fat you will burn 2 or 3. Muscle is where your body stores L-Glutamine, which is vital in fighting illness.
4) A good amount of muscle tissue will promote good posture and a sense of well being. So follow this routine, build some muscle and feel great!
How To Get Started
We will use two circuits from the following 4 per workout. Complete one set of 8-12 reps on each exercise then repeat three times over. In total you will complete 6 circuits, but don’t worry about performing the exercises in order. For example, with Circuit 1 you could do all three sets of squats and then move on to your leg extensions. The trick is to stay focused and constantly visualise yourself completing a good, positive set. Also, make sure that you use enough weight; you should barely be able to complete the last rep!
Barbell Squats (3 sets of 8-10) Place a weighted barbell across your shoulders (not on your neck). Keep your chest up, take a deep breath and squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Return to the standing position, breathing out as you do.
Stiff Leg Deadlifts (3 sets of 8-10) Take a barbell or dumbbells – palms facing you. Hold the weight to your legs, keep your chest up and legs stiff, slide the weight down to below your knees and slowly return to the top.
Reverse Lunges (3 sets of 8 on each leg) Holding a dumbbell in each hand, keep your chest up and take a long step backwards – lunge down until your outstretched knee is just off the floor. Return and repeat with the other leg.
Leg Extensions (3 sets of 10-12) Sit in a leg extension machine with your knee in line with the pivot (foot pad resting on your laces). Contract your legs and bring the pad up, pause and the top, and control the weight down to the bottom.
Incline Chest press (3 sets of 8-10) Use an inclined bench and dumbbells. Press the dumbbells forwards over your chest and slowly return until your arms form right angles. Push them back to the top.
Standing Shoulder Press (3 sets of 10-12) Stand with soft knees and a neutral spine. Begin with the loaded barbell underneath your chin. Push it up over your head, and stop short of locking your elbows.
Seated Row (3 sets of 8-10) Use a machine which supports your chest. Keep your chest up and brace your core. Take a firm hold of the cable attachment, pull it to your abdomen and squeeze your elbows back. Hold the weight for a second and return it, keeping your chest up the whole time.
Close Grip lat Pull Down/Chin ups (3 sets of 8-10 or 3 sets of 4-5) Perform chin ups if you can. If not, use a lat pull down machine with your palms close together, facing you. Keep your chest up, and pull the bar in a controlled fashion to your upper chest. Pull your elbows back as far as possible. Slowly return the weight.
Deadlifts (3 sets of 5) Place a loaded barbell on the floor, and stand with your toes underneath it. Squat down until you can reach the bar. Take a firm overhand grip, keeping your chest up and a neutral spine at all times. Stand up and straighten out in one smooth motion. Shave your legs with the bar on the way down. Repeat.
Kettlebell Swings (3 sets of 12) Keep your legs stiff and slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Hold the Kettlebell with both hands and push it off of your thigh to swing between your legs, bending from the waist as you do. Keep your knees straight and drive your hips forward, swinging the Kettlebell up to shoulder height. Allow momentum and your hips to repeat this process.
Lateral Lunges (3 sets of 8 on each leg) As with the reverse lunges, start with a dumbbell in each hand or a barbell across your shoulders. Keep your chest out and take a long step out to your right. Face the front and lunge as deep as you can. Return to the middle and step out to your left.
Flat Chest Press (3 sets of 8-10) Very similar to the incline press. Lie back on a flat bench press, un-rack the barbell and slowly lower it to just off of your chest. Immediately return the bar to the top and lock out your elbows. Repeat for the rest of the set.
Machine Shoulder Press (3 sets of 8-10) Adjust the seat on the machine shoulder press so that the handles are level with your ears. Take a relaxed grip on the handles, and keep your back against the bench. Extend the handles upwards and return under control. Complete the rest of the reps without allowing the weights to touch.
Single Arm Dumbbell Row (3 sets of 8-10) Start with your left hand and knee on a bench. Your right knee should be back and out to the side. Keep your chest parallel with the floor, your spine neutral and grasp a dumbbell with your arm straight. Remain in that position and pull the dumbbell up until your elbow passes your side.
Barbell Biceps Curl (3 sets of 10-12) Stand with soft knees and your chest up. Grasp a barbell with your palms facing away from you, keep your elbows by your sides and curl the bar upwards. Squeeze your biceps at the top and slowly return it to the bottom. Stay in control of the weight throughout.
Press ups (3 sets of 10-15) Either on your knees or with your legs straight out behind you, place your hands shoulder width apart on the floor. Keeping your spine neutral, slowly descend until your chest touches the floor. Return to the start.
Use these workouts three times a week, with a day’s rest in between each one and two days off at the end.
Two circuits focus on the lower body, and two focus on the upper body. For one week use circuits 1-2-3, whilst the following week try using circuits 2-3-4, and then mix them up. For example, you could try 3-4-1 or 4-3-2. Remember to make every single rep count, and work to the best of your ability.
For the best results, couple this workout with a healthy diet. Remember, you need at least 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight every day. Protein can be found in meats, fish, eggs, milk, and some cheeses. For the rest of your food, fill up on green and brightly coloured veg (not potatoes) and use sweet potatoes with cinnamon or mix rice and peas together. Cut out processed food and drinks, and try not to eat too much fruit. Follow this routine and a healthy eating plan for 8-12 weeks and you WILL see results.
Get ready for a summer with a stronger, leaner, healthier you!