It's summer, the time we have all been trying to get in shape for. Now that summer is here, who wants to spend more time in the gym? Not me. And why should we? This is the PERFECT time to break up the routine a bit, take advantage of the outdoor weather, and stimulate new muscle growth and tone with a different type of workout.
Personally, in the summer I switch to body weight and plyometric workouts for strength training. The awesome part of these workouts, is that although they are excellent at toning and strengthening your muscles, is for the most part, no gym is needed. They can be done on simple pieces of equipment such as pull up and dip bars, stairs, or resistance bands, most of which are found in regular public parks, or can be easily acquired at home. If you’re like me, NOTHING beats breaking a sweat in the outdoors with the sun shining down…..just replenishes your soul.
What do you need?
Less than $70 to $225 in equipment, depending on your preference. That’s pretty short change for being able to work out in the beautiful outdoors.
1. Resistance bands – typically $30-40 for a decent set
2. Push up bars - $30
3. If you really want to get fancy, you can purchase your own “power tower” for around $150, which typically is a simple piece of equipment that has a pull up bar and leg raise bar and dip station.
So here’s my routine:
In the summer, I’m typically trying to stay a little leaner and am less focused on putting on size, so my workouts typically involve a good amount of cardio, and maintain a very brisk pace, with less than 30 seconds of rest between each exercise. This type of training, which is typically called “circuit training", keeps your heart rate up, and burns fat as well as keeps you toned.
Prior to each workout, I warm up with a 15-20 minute run, during which I try to cover at least 2 miles of distance, depending on pace, followed by a warmup of 2 sets each of the following exercises, each one minute long.
2. Jumping jacks
3. Squat jumps
for a total of 6 sets. You should be about 30 minutes in at this point.
*If you are near a beach, try sand running instead. A piece of advice, sand running KILLS your calves and abs, so ensure you plan ahead knowing that you will be very sore in those areas for 2-3 days after the workout.
1. Day 1 – Chest/Back
a. 3 sets of wide grip, 3 sets of close grip – this exercise is great at targeting your latissimus and serratus muscles, as well as biceps. If you cant do a full pull up, or have trouble doing more than a few, you can use resistance bands or a partner to help assist you in lifting your body weight. Don’t worry, before long, you will be stronger than you think.
a. Alternate each set with one set of push ups. 2 sets of close grip, 2 sets medium grip, 2 sets wide grip. I use a set of push up bars that allow a better range of motion, and help in isolating your chest and triceps.
2. Day 2 – Legs and Abs
For More advanced athletes:
Hanging leg raises
a. 3 sets of straight leg followed by 3 sets of bent leg raises. The key to doing this movement properly is ensuring that you have FULL flexion of your spine, meaning that the thigh portion of your leg must make contact with your chest. If that is not the case, you are not engaging your abs properly. When Im feeling particularly enthusiastic, I wear 10lb ankle weights for straight leg raises, and trust me, that’s all you need.
Hanging Sit Ups
a. You can also combine these exercises for a more thorough workout
b. Use a partner here for SURE, as not doing so can result in slippage and injury
For more intermediate and beginning athletes:
a. 5 sets of 40
Decline bar sit ups
a. 4 sets of 20
a. 4 sets of one minute each
Resistance band Squats
a. 6 sets of 10 total. First 3 sets using a wide leg stance, then 3 sets of ten using shoulder width stance. this is basically the same exercise as regular body weight squats, but using resistance bands to add extra resistance instead of weights. Ensure that you keep your chest forward that could compromise posture and cause injury resistance band lunges
b. 3 sets of 10, first one leg, then the other, for a total of 6 sets)
Day 3 - Shoulders and arms
Resistance band Military press 4 sets of 10
Resistance band lateral raises 4 sets of 10
Resistance Band Bicep Curl, 3 sets of 10
Resistance Band French Curl, 3 sets of 10
Resistance Band Concentration Curl, 2 sets 10 of each arm, 4 total
Resistance Band Tricep Kickbacks, 2 sets of 10, each arm, 4 total
This sequence I repeat twice each week, with one day off during the week, or mixing in some other activity such as cycling, swimming, or boxing into keep it interesting. This is just enough to get you a full body workout as well as some decent cardio In without having to spend a lot of time on either. After all, the goal is to enjoy the summer right?
In terms of my summer diet….very little changes. But I do take advantage of seasonal things such as the BBQ and salads that tend to be EVERYWHERE as well as fun to cook during this season. Its the perfect time to switch to a paleo type diet with the abundance of meat around.
Some simple changes that can make your summer a WHOLE lot healthier include:
1. Switching out regular hamburger meat for bison, ostrich, or turkey meat
2. Using mustard instead of ketchup as your main condiment
3. Swapping out mayonnaise for lighter options or miracle whip
4. Curbing the alcohol intake
5. Using balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil instead of salad dressing
These minor changes can keep your overall calorie count at less than 50% of what it was prior, enjoying almost the same amount of fulfillment in the process.
So get out there, grab a friend, have some fun, catch some rays, and enjoy your summer!
Dr. David A. Greuner MD, FACS, FICS is a contributor to Athleisure Mag and is the managing director and co-founder of NYC Surgical Associates. He is a double board certified surgeon (Minimally Invasive Surgeon and Cardiovascular Surgeon) with over 10 years of experience. Dr. Greuner is also an athlete and fitness expert .
PHOTO CREDITS | Sabina Plestilova