To state the obvious, we are different from others physiologically. Also, we become different versions of ourselves from time to time.
For our workouts to be most effective, it is important that we assess our needs and pay attention to changes in our bodies as our circumstances change. For example:
- I am a senior
- Arthritis is an issue, in my legs, back and hips
- A rotator cuff sprain is healing and I am ready for heavier weights
- Walking long distances can be painful for me
- Resistance training provides most of my cardio, since this creates heavier breathing
- Abdominal work is a priority
- I like to complete my workouts before breakfast
I have set up workouts of about 30 minutes. Before I begin, I like to go outside and walk briskly, though briefly. This is for fresh air more than for cardio. In inclement weather, I will get on my treadmill.
My two workouts are done on alternate days. Workout A emphasizes neck, calves and heavy abdominal work. Workout B engages back, chest and arms.
My workouts may not apply to the needs or preferences of others, but the point is that we can design programs that are specific to ourselves. “Cookie – cutter” routines may serve as worthwhile introductions to exercise, but they are soon in need of “tweaking”.
We may have lagging body parts and lapses of energy. We may be recovering from injuries or generally unhappy about the shape we are in. But – if we care about our bodies – we can at least exercise the parts that still function. This does not require much time or money. It is not difficult to lift something or to move our feet. No great skill is necessary. So…let’s get with it. For those new to exercise, a doctor’s visit is always appropriate.
WORKOUT A, 15 SETS – NECK, CALVES, ABDOMINALS
Neck stretches, 2 sets of 2 minutes each. Our necks are often ignored in workout routines, yet these muscles may loosen and sag with age.
With neck and lower lip raised and eyes pointing upward, move your neck from side to side and up and down. Do this by simulating swallowing. This is illustrated by the woman below. Yes, it will make us look weird, but it is a great exercise
Calf raises – 2 sets of 100 reps. Calf muscles are not easy to develop and it is said that calf growth is 90% genetic. Still, they can be firmed up by heel raises. I do these with my hands on a wall, standing back about 3 feet. See illustration by the woman below.
Side bends – 2 sets per side of 30 reps. These are for the external obliques, sometimes called the “love handles”. This is shown by the man below, though he is using a heavier weight than I use.
Exercise ball rotations – 1 set of 50 reps. I lie down and hold an exercise ball with both hands. With outstretched arms, I move the ball from one side to the other for 50 reps.
Crunches, 2 sets of 100 reps. I use the device shown below to protect my neck. This is not a sit – up. My upper back and shoulders are raised as I lie down and do the crunches quickly. Arnold Schwarzenegger says we should do 200 crunches every day.
The basic crunch is demonstrated below.
Planks, 2 sets of 60 seconds. The plank is shown below. This is a great isometric exercise. 60 seconds is not long, but after 200 crunches, I may be a bit tired.
V-ups, 2 sets of 30 reps. See below. This is a tough exercise to end my abdominal workout.
WORKOUT B, 13 SETS – BACK, CHEST, ARMS
Resistance cord rows – 1 set of 50 reps. I like to begin with this exercise, since it serves as a good warm-up. I use a door anchor, placed at the top of the door. See below.
One arm rows – 2 sets (15 reps per side). This is a very basic back developer. I like to use as heavy a weight as I can manage. See below.
Push-ups – 2 sets of 20. This is a very basic floor exercise, great for chest and triceps.
Bullworker chest compression – 2 sets of 10 reps, with isometric holds at the end. This is a great pectoral developer, as the chest muscles are squeezed together under resistance. The isometric holds add further benefit to the chest. The Bullworker Steel Bow is being shown below.
My practice has been to “super set” the push-ups with the chest compressions, instead of doing the 2 sets separately. (Push-ups are done, then followed immediately with the chest compressions. Then the sequence is repeated)
Dumbbell curls – 2 sets of 12 reps per arm. I like to use dumbbells as heavy as I can. This provides a great biceps “pump”.
Triceps extensions with one dumbbell, using both arms – 2 sets of 20 reps. See illustration below.
As with the chest movements, I like to super set biceps and triceps by curling with each arm and then going directly to the triceps extensions. Then repeating the sequence.
If my upper body workout (workout B) seems quicker or easier, it isn’t. The weights are heavier, so more rest time is needed. Also, fewer illustrations are required, since basic push-ups and curls are very well known.
As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. For more information on affiliate relationships, see my upper menu, “Affiliate Disclosure”. Here are a few relevant items from Amazon. Scroll around from the links to see other options:
- Very light dumbbells
- Adjustable dumbbells
- Resistance cords – complete set
- Crunch roller – to protect neck when doing crunches
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Bullworker products offer us the option of using isotonic and isometric movements in our workouts. These items are of high quality.
Here are other popular items for those who are health-minded:
- FitTrack – including the Dara Scale, which monitors 17 body metrics
- Fitbit – popular trackers
- Flat Tummy – supplements and accessories, especially for women
- Garmin – watches, map and other accessories
- Goli – apple cider vinegar gummies for weight control
As stated previously, my purpose in posting this article is to emphasize the importance of designing our own workout routines.
Group routines may work okay for beginners, but we may develop unevenly and our needs will ultimately change. My workouts shown here will most likely need revamping in a month or two. If we don’t make changes, we are apt to reach plateaus in our results.
Posting my workouts is not intended to suggest that these may apply to anyone else, but to show that we can all establish programs to fit our changing needs. The descriptions and illustrations are for those who might want to consider any or all of these movements. (They work for me).
In my opinion, success in fitness or bodybuilding lies almost entirely in the realm of motivation. With that in mind, here is one more quotation:
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be well and stay safe!