Last week, we heard from Alice Gresham at Fitness Connection about how to get off your couch and run a 5K! This week she’s back to give us a few more workouts in preparation to run a 5K.
The Couch Ab Workout
Couch Knee Ups
Scoot up to the edge of the couch feet underneath you and knees close together. Lift one knee as high up as you can from a sitting position for a “knee up. Repeat 20 times (20 reps). Switch and repeat on the other knee 20 times. Rest only enough to take 3 deep breaths and then repeat for you second set of 20 reps on each knee. Three deep breaths. Last set of 20. Done!
Couch Leg Ups
Scoot up to edge of couch straighten your right leg laying the heel on the floor. Now lift your straightened leg up as high as you can, remembering to keep your back straight. You guessed it …25 reps.
Switch legs. 25 reps. Repeat for second and third sets. Whew! You might not think that lifting your knee up or leg up works the abs. Absolutely!
When you do leg raises or lifts, your entire abdominal wall isometrically contracts to stabilize your legs and protect your spine.
Translation, every time you sit or stand you use your ab muscles.
Couch Leg Raises
Scoot up to the edge of the couch again but this time you’re going to lean your upper body back toward the back of the couch while bending your legs and stabilizing yourself with your hands of both sides of you, while pressing down with your hands lift your legs, bent knees up, toes pointed toward the floor, let them tap the floor and back up. Repeat the lift and tap 25 times. Rest. Repeat. Rest. Repeat. You should be having a definite understanding right about now about where your abs are, lol. Nice work!
You know how normally we are stretched out on the couch on our backs watching those soap operas or favorite movie, this exercise is performed on your stomach so you just have to turn over face down, placing your fore arms under you with your palms facing up. Next with your face down, dig your toes into the couch and push yourself up onto your toes and your fore arms and begin counting slowly clicking off the seconds until you can’t hold yourself up any longer. 1,2,3, 4,….10……45……1 minute…..1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds….until you plop down at failure. Failure simply means you can’t hold it any longer. When you feel your muscles trembling don’t panic. That’s just your muscles telling you that you are using them in a way they don’t normally get used and they may not be all that happy about it. For however long you were able to plank, be happy because you will only get better, stronger the more you practice.
In order to develop moderate full body strength you should be able to hold your plank for a minimum of 2 minutes. If you weren’t able to make it to 2 minutes today, over the next couple of weeks practicing at least one plank daily, should get you to 2 minutes, then 2 and a half then 3. Planks are terrific for strengthening weak tummy muscles and back muscles if you want to alleviate occasional annoying back pain. They are the perfect full body exercise to help you rebuild core strength and muscle strength because believe it or not, you engage about 200 muscles to make this plank happen.
Remember that a strong core (abs) will equal a strong back that eventually will bother you less and less as you go about your everyday activities.
Water Jug Swings (aka Kettle-Bell Swings)
Now we’re gonna venture a little further from the couch to the kitchen to fetch a gallon water bottle for this next exercise.
Normally referred to as Kettle Bell Swings, it is a fantastic full body exercise that gives you a cardio workout as well as lower and upper body. Stand with your feet a little wider than your shoulders holding the gallon jug with both hands, arms straight so its hanging down in front of you. Now bend your knees and lean over toward the front so the jug is hanging in front of you. Start a gentle swinging motion back and forth and on the count of 3 as you swing the jug up in front
of you straighten your legs and at the end of the swing push your hips forward. The jug should be up in front of you now appearing to have been hoisted up by your arms but instead its propelled by the motion of your hips being thrust forward. Repeat by returning to the bent over position, arms swinging the gallon jug bag down sort of between your legs and back up in front of you to about chin level. Let the motion of your hips snapping forward bring your arms up. There you got it!! Repeat 13 more times. You know the drill…2 more sets my friend before you can flop back down on the couch.
Well ladies, that does it! I am so so proud of you. If you replaced that “I can’t do it” self-talk with “yes I can” just long enough to perform this easy Couch Workout then you NOW understand that your path to fitness starts wherever you are…hospital bed, couch, wheel chair or bedside.
Until we meet again, let me leave you with my favorite fitness quote.
“It’s really not that you can’t…
It’s that you won’t.”