Fran: Don't let the sweet name fool you. Perhaps CrossFit’s most famous workout, Fran is a 21-15-9 rep scheme of thrusters (95 pounds for men, 65 for women) and pull-ups. For those keeping track at home, that’s 21 thrusters and 21 pull-ups, followed by 15 thrusters and 15 pull-ups, and so on. Elite CrossFitters can finish this monstrosity in less than three minutes, but don’t expect to break twice that during the first try.
The benefits of exercise have been known since antiquity. Dating back to 65 BCE, it was Marcus Cicero, Roman politician and lawyer, who stated: "It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor." Exercise was also seen to be valued later in history during the Early Middle Ages as a means of survival by the Germanic peoples of Northern Europe.
For this basic strength-training workout, you'll do 1 set of 15 reps of each of the nine exercises listed below, resting briefly between exercises as needed. The workout targets all the muscles in the body, including the chest, shoulders, arms, back, hips, glutes, and thighs. It's short and simple—a great way for beginners to get started with strength training.
“The best exercise you can do if you only have 30 seconds each day is to learn and practice diaphragmatic breathing,” explains Carla Chickedantz, a personal trainer with Crunch gyms. “Diaphragmatic breathing is the most basic, original strength building technique that each and every human uses to build core strength as a newborn baby. As adults, we lose this skill and rely on auxiliary muscles in the chest, shoulders, and neck for respiration. This causes all sorts of problems. During our workouts, we often focus on the front, back and sides of the core, and neglect the top and bottom. Yes, the core is like a canister with the diaphragm at the top and pelvic floor at the bottom.”
Upgrading physical fitness is a metabolically expensive process that requires sufficient time. After a "request" that adaptive changes be made, the human body needs recovery time to effect those changes, and for repair and replenishment. Exercising too often serves only to interrupt the recovery phase, further drain bodily resources, and hinders improved physical fitness. Exercising once every seven days is enough exercise to improve and maintain your level of fitness. More is not necessarily better when it comes to exercise... more is better when it comes to recovery. Think about it, since you don't know the precise moment recovery is completely finished, you will work out again either before recovery is done or after it is done. Common sense would dictate that it's better to wait until recovery is definitely finished before another intense workout is performed, which means you should be working out after you're done recovering. If you work out a few days before you should have, you will interfere with your recovery. If you work out a few days after you could have, you will not lose anything you've gained thus far.
The plank is a yoga position that is basically a push up at the top of the action; you're suspending your body in a straight line from your toes while holding your body at an incline with your arms pressing straight up from the ground. Better yet, you're squeezing your abdominal muscles while you're holding the position. This works the transverse abdominis, the deepest-lying of the abdominal muscles. Though not visible, strengthening it will enhance your core stability and posture, both of which add to the effect of an upright profile.
Exercising in early adulthood is your first step toward staving off osteoporosis, a major risk factor for fractures and frailty. “Your bone density at 30 determines your bone density later in life,” explains Balachandran, whose research focuses on improving physical function in older adults. Sprinting, dancing, and strength training in your teens and 20s stimulate bone growth so you have a larger store to draw from as you age.
Degenhardt B [Internet]. Once upon a time: the evolution of Pilates mat work. 2012 Nov 21 [cited 2015 Aug 30]. Available from: http://benjamindegenhardt.com/once-upon-a-time/. Pilates swiftly gained prominence with dancers and celebrities, which led to his notoriety as a New York City exercise personality. In 1932, Pilates taught Contrology exercises at the mythological Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival as he did every summer until 1951.42,43 Degenhardt B [Internet]. Once upon a time: the evolution of Pilates mat work. 2012 Nov 21 [cited 2015 Aug 30]. Available from: http://benjamindegenhardt.com/once-upon-a-time/.
Shapiro recommends elevated quadrupled shoulder adduction for a total body workout. “Start on the floor on all fours with your knees on the ground shoulder width apart and hands on the ground shoulder width apart. Make sure your knees are in line with your hips and wrists in-line with your shoulders. Tuck your toes towards your body and straighten out your back to have a neutral posture,” he explains. “Here’s the fun part: now lift your knees off the ground just two to four inches. You should feel your arms, shoulders, core, quads, and legs shaking.” And for the finale? Utilize the back—begin by pushing your upper back to the sky, separating your shoulder blades. Immediately push your chest down to pinch your shoulder blades together to target the upper back muscle groups that include the rhomboids and lower traps.
Regular aerobic exercise improves symptoms associated with a variety of central nervous system disorders and may be used as an adjunct therapy for these disorders. There is clear evidence of exercise treatment efficacy for major depressive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The American Academy of Neurology's clinical practice guideline for mild cognitive impairment indicates that clinicians should recommend regular exercise (two times per week) to individuals who have been diagnosed with this condition. Reviews of clinical evidence also support the use of exercise as an adjunct therapy for certain neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease. Regular exercise is also associated with a lower risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders. A large body of preclinical evidence and emerging clinical evidence supports the use of exercise therapy for treating and preventing the development of drug addictions. Regular exercise has also been proposed as an adjunct therapy for brain cancers.
We’ve gone on the record with our love of MMA conditioning exercises, and that’s why we bookmarked this video. Even the warm-up is jam-packed with explosive movements that’ll get your heart pumping (think high knees and walking front kicks). And once you move into the actual workout, you’re in for even more high-energy exercises, like hopping front kicks, that are sure to condition your body from head to toe.
Planks are a quadruple threat, and by holding one for just 30 seconds a day, you will instantly start seeing results on your abdominal muscles, arms, triceps, and core. Riggins suggests doing low and high planks for 30 seconds each. For the low plank, he says to “get up on your elbows and your feet like a push-up position. You can modify by getting on your knees and hold for 30 seconds.” For the high plank do the same but “hold your legs straight” for 30 seconds. If abs are your problem area, don’t miss our helpful article Can’t Get Cut Abs? A Celeb Trainer Explains Why!