Fit for the First

Why wait until the start of the New Year? You can be fit in time for the first … and then, fulfill that annual resolution to get into shape. Personal trainers Mary Beth Silverio and Janet Hoffman of Squirrel Hill-based Silverio-Hoffman (silveriohoffman@aol.com) have come up with a plan that takes just a half-hour three days a week, no money down and can be done in the privacy of your own home.

The result? If you start today, a fitter you and one ready to run into the gym come January 1. Here’s their six-step plan:

Single Leg Split Squat ( 20 reps per leg /3 sets )

Muscles: Legs/Gluteus. Start with one foot on floor and the other resting on a chair. Concentrate on lowering the hips while keeping the front knee over the ankle and the back knee towards the floor. From this position, descend until the front thigh is para;;e; to the floor and the back knew is nearly touching the floor. Keep head/chest up. A broomstick can be held for increased stability.

Supine Bridge Over Ball with Straight Leg Raises ( 20 reps per leg/ 3 sets )

Muscle groups: Buttocks, lower back, hamstring calves. Lie on your back and place both heels over a chair. Contract your abdominals and glutes and slowly roll your spine off the floor while pressing your heels into a chair. Continue to press one heel into the chair while lifting the opposite leg towards the ceiling. During the lift, keep the knee in a locked position by contracting the quad muscle. Rise approximately two feet in the air and lower slowly without touching the chair.

Plank ( 60 seconds for 3 sets )

Muscle: Core ( abdominal, glutes and hips ). Lie face down on ground. Place your elbow and forearms underneath your chest. Prop yourself up and form a bridge using your toes and forearms. Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground. Hold this position focusing on tightening your abs until you can no longer maintain a flat bridge.

Pull-Ups ( 12-15 reps/3 sets )

Muscle group: Upper/mid back. Begin by lying on the floor underneath a broomstick across two chairs. Grasp the stick palms down a little wider than shoulder width. Keep body as straight as possible and pull your body so that the chest meets the stick. Lower yourself slowly to the floor.

Push-Up to Side Plank ( 12-15 reps/3 sets )

Muscle: chest, triceps, abs, hip and back. Begin by performing a standard push-up with your hands a little wider than shoulder length apart. At the top of the movement, lock one elbow and shift your body weight onto one hand and flip onto  your side while keeping your hips off the floor and your opposite arm reaching towards the ceiling. Move back into a push-up position before completing the next rep on the opposite side.

Triceps Dip ( 20 reps/3 sets )

Muscle: Triceps, shoulder. Position yourself on two chairs with both hands on the edge of one and your heels on the other. Lift and lower your body to the floor while keeping your spine close to the chair and your elbows close to your body.

That’s it. Follow these steps, which take a half-hour, for three days and fitness will be yours come New Year’s Day. A reminder from these personal trainer: always stretch before and after exercise … and consider a brief cardio workout like jumping jacks before you begin. Also, if it starts to hurt, stop. Also, consider this program with a friend. Teamwork also inspires and motivates.

The program can always be adjusted to allow more work or less … but as Mary Beth says “more is better”.

Good luck! We’ll see you in the gym ready to go come January 1.

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