Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Workout tips

The Couch Potato Workout

Too exhausted or busy to squeeze in the gym? Ditch your DVR and try these six simple moves between commercial breaks.

By Sarah Robertson, Prevention

Every hour-long TV show has about six commercial breaks that last 3 minutes each, so you can get a decent total body workout while you watch—no gym necessary.

This workout is great for beginners, but it's also good for exercisers of every level, since extra bouts of activity throughout the day help to keep your metabolism revved, says Prevention's fitness advisor Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., of Quincy, Mass.

Do 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, followed by the aerobic component, until the show starts.

Bonus: Exercising during breaks cuts down on snacking, so you'll slim down even more.

1. Couch Push-Ups

These modified pushups sculpt your triceps and chest.

Facing a couch, kneel on the floor about 2 feet away from it. Cross your ankles, and place your hands shoulder-width apart on a cushion edge. Slowly bend your arms, and lower your upper body until your chest touches the couch. Hold, then press up again.

Cardio finish: Do jumping jacks.

2. Side Crunches

These work your oblique muscles for a trimmer tummy.

Lie on the couch on your left side with your legs together and your knees bent. Place your right hand behind your head with your elbow pointing toward the ceiling. Wrap your left arm across your waist. Contracting the oblique muscles along your right side, lift your shoulder off the couch, bringing your rib cage toward your hip. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat, then switch sides. (If your couch is too soft, you may need to do this exercise on the floor.)

Cardio finish: Do crossover punches. While standing, twist from your waist, and alternate punching your fists diagonally across your body.

3. Armchair Stands

This variation on squats tones your butt and thighs.

Sit on the edge of a chair or couch with your feet shoulder-width apart. Without using your arms, press into the floor with your feet, and stand, tightening your butt muscles as you rise. Keep your abdominals tight and your back straight. Hold, then slowly lower yourself. Before you touch the chair, stand up again.

Cardio finish: Walk or jog up and down stairs.

4. Armchair Dips

These moves are the ultimate arm flab fighter.

Sitting on the edge of a chair (or couch), place your hands on the edge on either side of you. Move your feet out so that your butt is off the chair, and your knees are bent at 90-degree angles. Bending your elbows so they point behind you, lower yourself as far as comfortable. Hold, then slowly press up again.

Cardio finish: Circle your fists in the air, as though you're boxing a punching bag.

5. Leg-Up Couch Crunches

Watch your form on these for maximum flat-belly benefits.

Lie on your back on a couch with your knees bent, your feet up on one end, and your hands behind your head. Pressing your lower back into the couch, slowly lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the couch. Hold, then slowly lower. (If your couch is too soft, you may need to do this exercise on the floor.)

Cardio finish: Do knee lifts. While standing, alternate bringing your right elbow down to meet your left knee, and vice versa.

6. Scissors

These will help your legs look amazing in skinny jeans.

Lie on your back on a couch (you may need to angle yourself for more room) with your hands (palms down) under your butt and your legs straight up in the air. Keeping your knees slightly bent and your feet flexed, slowly spread your legs as far apart as comfortable. Hold, then slowly bring your legs together, resisting as you press them in.

Cardio finish: Do side slides, stepping your right foot out to the side, then sliding your left foot to meet it. Repeat in the opposite direction, doing this as quickly as you can.

Burn Calories All Day Long—13 Mini Moves to Try Anywhere

Provided by Prevention