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April 9, 2015

Fitness Made Fun: Shoulder & Back Workout | {Megan}

April 9, 2015

As a distance runner in college, I never had the opportunity to lift weights. Our workouts consisted of running, stretching, circuits, and abdominal workouts. We were told that if we lifted weights we would gain muscle (aka weight) that would slow us down. I was totally fine with that because we were already working so hard at running. After I graduated college and hung up my running spikes, I decided I wanted to go in a different direction with my workouts and to be honest, I was a little burnt out when it came to running. I decided I wanted to pick up lifting instead of cardio every day. The only knowledge I had to go off of was what I'd learned from high school lifting, which wasn't much besides the basics. It's almost been two years since I switched up my workout routine, and in that time I've learned a few things when it comes to lifting. I am in no way an expert or a personal trainer, but I've started to find what works best for my body and what types of exercises I enjoy the most. I try to get to the gym 4-5 days a week and I always lift on those days. If I get to the gym 5 days a week, I split my week up like this:

• Day 1 – Legs
• Day 2 - Shoulders & back
• Day 3 – Biceps & triceps
• Day 4 – Legs
• Day 5 - Chest & back

If I only get to the gym 4 days a week, I only do one leg day. I also don't try to lift 5 days in a row. My schedule isn't always the same every week, but I try to fit in a couple of rest days where I can between my lifting days.

I normally workout by myself, but the other day I was lucky enough to have my little sister, Shelbie, accompany me to the gym! I love days that I get to have a workout buddy. She came to visit me on shoulder & back day. Here is what we did at the gym:

Warm up: Shelbie and I both warmed up on the treadmill for 10 minutes. If I don't warm up on the treadmill, I use the stationary bikes.

Lift: After we got a little sweat going, we started lifting. Here's what we did:

1. Seated dumbbell shoulder press – we did three sets of ten reps or 3x10

2. Dumbbell front/side raise combo – 3x10 (see below)

3. Reverse-grip bent-over barbell row – 3x10 (see below). Note: with this lift we did 10 reps with our hands far apart and then 10 reps with our hands 10-12 inches apart and repeated that 3 times.

4. Wide-grip lat pull-down on cable machine – 3x10

5. Bent over dumbbell flys – 3x10 (see below)

6. Modified barbell shoulder press – 3x10 (see below)

Circuit: I always like to end my workouts with something that will get my heart rate up, and often like to mix things up. I will either make up a circuit, do an Insanity video workout, or intervals on the treadmill, bike, or stair climber. This time Shelbie and I made up a circuit with four different exercises. For this circuit, we did each exercise for 30 seconds, one after the other, took a 1-minute break, and then repeated the circuit 3 times. The great thing about making up a circuit is that you can modify it to your own fitness level. Here is what we did:

1. Burpees for 30 seconds (see below). Note: you can also add in a push-up when you are down in plank position.

2. Side steps for 30 seconds (see below)

3. Squat jumps for 30 seconds (see below)

4. Lunge jumps for 30 seconds (see below)

Here are some other exercises you could do in a circuit: jump rope, kettle bell swings, ski jumps, high knees, sprinting in place, box jumps, frog jumps, jumping jacks, and toe taps. The list really is endless!

Stretch: Stretching after a workout is a great way to cool down and increase your flexibility.

Again, I'm no expert but here are some additional tips that I've found helpful when it comes to trying to be healthy and fit, found through online articles, following athletes and fitness models through social media, and personal experiences:

• Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated!
• Rest days are just as important as the days you exercise. Rest days are when your muscles repair themselves, which allows them to grow!
• Abdominal exercises won't get you abs—a healthy diet will.
• There is no one-size-fits-all, right way to exercise. Try out different things and find something you enjoy doing!

What is your favorite way to stay active?

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