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Getting in shape

Exercises for a healthier body in 2015

Health and exercise are common subjects of New Year’s resolutions, but they can be hard to know where to begin.

The path to a healthier body requires routine exercise, whether that’s in a gym, at the park or in the home.

Bender’s Gym director of training Carmen Torres shared six exercises that can help work on the entire body without too much extra equipment. She suggests three sets of 12-15 reps each for these exercises as an initial evaluation. The number of reps or sets can be modified to make the exercise more or less intense.

1. Pushups- Target muscles: chest, front shoulder

Hands should be shoulder-width apart on the floor under your chest with your body flat. Pushups can be modified to lessen intensity by elevating your hands on stairs or even up a wall. Modified pushups from your knees can change the targeted muscles.

Becca Lambert demonstrates rows. | Joy Haynes
Becca Lambert demonstrates rows. | Joy Haynes

2. Rows- Target muscles: back, rear shoulder

Feet should be firmly planted shoulder-width apart with your chest hinged over your knees. The weight should be pulled straight upward with your elbow pulled in towards your body. The weight shown is a gallon jug of water, which weighs eight pounds. The gallon could be filled with sand or rocks to make the weight heavier or emptied to the desired lesser weight.

Justin Taylor demonstrates a skater. | Joy Haynes
Justin Taylor demonstrates a skater. | Joy Haynes
Justin Taylor demonstrates a skater. | Joy Haynes
Justin Taylor demonstrates a skater. | Joy Haynes

3. Skaters- Target muscles: inner thigh, core, cardiovascular system

Start with one foot planted and the other lifted with your chest hinged over your knees. Push off and jump to the other foot, landing with your knee bent without it extending past your toes. Keeping your core tight and hinged over your knees is the most important part of the exercise. To modify the exercise, you can step from one side to the other instead of jumping.

Matt Anderson demonstrates a lunge. | Joy Haynes
Matt Anderson demonstrates a lunge. | Joy Haynes

4. Lunges- Target muscles: legs, glutes

Step one leg out in front with your knees at a 90 degree angle over your toes. Keep your chest up with your core tight and switch to the other leg. The 90 degree angle keeps your knee supported and lessens your chance of injury.

Carmen Torres, Bender's director of training, demonstrates an overhead squat. | Joy Haynes
Carmen Torres, Bender’s director of training, demonstrates an overhead squat. | Joy Haynes

5. Overhead Squats- Target muscles: entire core, legs

Bend your knees with your backside out like you’re sitting in a chair. Keep your knees over your toes for support. Raising your arms above your head can intensify the move to work on your shoulders and balance.

Remick Burke demonstrates bear crawls. | Joy Haynes
Remick Burke demonstrates bear crawls. | Joy Haynes
Remick Burke demonstrates bear crawls. | Joy Haynes
Remick Burke demonstrates bear crawls. | Joy Haynes

6. Bear Crawls- Target muscles: allover body and cardiovascular system

Hands and feet should be spread out under you. Walk across the ground, trying to stay as low and flat as possible. Your pace can be slow or fast, depending on the strength or endurance workout you want.

All of these can be modified to fit individualized needs. The pace of each exercise and the entire workout will greatly change the intensity.

Torres said she specifically picked these exercises for the muscles they target and the cardio aspect.

“These moves will target all over the body and help tone or strengthen those areas,” Torres said. “The skaters and bear crawls add cardio that can help with endurance. This routine has some balance and agility aspects too. These exercises can be done at home and help anyone work on strength or endurance depending on what they are going for. You are definitely going to get what you put into it.”

For more information about Bender’s Gym or their personal trainers, visit their website at bendersgym.com.

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