The Work-Out Guide

WARNING


In this section of the site is an online work-out programme including videos of exercises and stretched. Many of you will already be working out and exercising so you won't need all of what follows. If that is the case, use the Article Index on the right to go straight to The Workouts or Workout à la Carte.

However, for the benefit of those people who are starting to work out, here are some basic principles, and a guide for using this section and these exercises.

The very first thing that we need to say, in BIG, UNDERLINED, BOLD CAPITALS is this:-

YOU ARE NOT WORKING UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A TRAINER, YOU ARE YOUR OWN TRAINER.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY.
SGSC CANNOT TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ACCIDENT, INJURY OR ANY MISHAP OF ANY KIND THAT MAY BEFALL YOU EITHER WHILE DOING THESE EXERCISES OR AFTER EXERCISING, PERHAPS AS A RESULT OF DOING TOO MUCH TOO QUICKLY.


ADVICE


If you are starting to exercise after a long period of no exercise there are several rules to follow:-

1. Start at a low level, and build up gradually.

2. Don't expect results too quickly. After years of 'neglect' you will need a certain amount of time working out before you feel the benefit; however within 8 weeks you should begin to see results. And as long as you're doing it, there will be an immediate mental and emotional benefit from knowing that you are doing something yourself for your own health and fitness. No one can do this for you. They can help, but ultimately only you can put in the work required; equally no one can take the credit for it either and the feeling you get from committing to the training  - and commitment is needed - is an immediate benefit.

3. Expect to be more tired initially. Resting after exercise is an important component of an exercise routine. We aim for you to build yourselves up by you pushing yourselves a little way beyond your current capacity, and the rest your body requires after each session in order to re-build itself is an important part of the whole process.

4. Very important!. When you train yourself you must work on all parts of your body. There is a tendency to work only, or largely, on the areas of your body that are already strong and therefore easier to work on and get results on. Unfortunately, an unwanted result of this will be a more pronounced, relative weakness in the underworked areas making them more prone to injury. The saying "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link" is extremely applicable in this case.

5. It is very important that at every point you avoid using weights that are too heavy. There is a tendency to use the heaviest weight you can manage in order to impress yourself or your friends. Don't do it, it won't help. Push yourself slightly beyond what is comfortable, but not overly. Better to work with a lighter weight with which you can perform the exercise correctly and which will develop the correct muscles rather than a heavier weight which you can only manage by jerking your body to help you lift it. This won't do you any good, and may do harm. Move on to heavier weights as your strength increases.


Now that that's out of the way, we can begin.

 


 

HAVE YOU READ THE WARNING AND ADVICE ON PAGE 1?

First Principles

 

These exercise routines are designed to improve fitness and conditioning by working on three areas (as should be the routines that you create yourself if you are working à la carte):-

1. Cardiovascular capacity and Stamina.

This is the rate at which you can work-out, and the length of time for which you can keep at it. Improving in this area will not only increase your physical capacity, but there is a good argument that having more physical stamina helps with the mental stamina as well. Improvements in this area are achieved by cardiovascular exercise, such as running, but also by exercising on tired muscles.

2. Muscular Strength and Muscle Tone.

Fairly self-explanatory, but it needs to be said that whereas at a younger age this kind of work is for perhaps vanity, beyond the age of 50 it is more about extending the life of the physical capabilities which at a younger age you take for granted, as well as preventing the loss of strength through muscular degradation that we are programmed to think of as inevitable and unalterable as we get older.

3. Joint and Muscle Flexibility.

Also self-explanatory, and all the above applies.

 

 


 

HAVE YOU READ THE WARNING AND ADVICE ON PAGE 1?

Some Basic Elements

All of the exercise descriptions refer to a Neutral Spine position, a Butterfly shoulder blade position and Engaging the Core Muscles. Below are descriptions of what these terms mean.

Neutral Spine

 



 

Neutral spine is the natural position of the spine when all 3 curves of the spine -- cervical (neck), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) -- are present and in good alignment. This is the strongest position for the spine when we are standing or sitting, and the one that we are made to move from. In layman's terms the spine should feel straight, not arched or bent. The bottom is tucked in, the belly button is drawn mid-way back towards the spine and the shoulder blades are held back, pulled slightly down and drawn towards each other (This last is referred to as Butterfly, see below). The chin is also slightly tucked in.

This position applies when standing upright for an exercise, when bent forwards from the hips (as in the Bent Over Row ) and even when prone (for instance for a Push Up). This Neutral Spine Position should be maintained throughout each exercise.

Butterfly

The Neutral Spine incorporates a shoulder blade position that we call Butterfly. This is where the shoulder blades are pulled slightly back, down and towards each other. They should be held in this position for the duration of the exercise.

The Butterfly helps to stabilise the scapulae while performing certain exercises and helps prevent recruitment of other muscles, specifically the upper traps. It creates a solid foundation for all your presses and in chest movements; it will help to decrease front deltoid involvement and will improve overall posture. If you tend to slouch, your rhomboids are a bit dormant and can't keep your shoulders back in their proper position. By using and practising the Butterfly position your posture will improve and, in turn, all your exercises.


Core Strength/ Core Muscles

The Core Muscles are the muscles around the torso, front and back, and around the body. They consist of the Pelvic Floor muscles and the Transverse Abdominals, the body's natural weight belt. The Core Muscles are necessary to support the spine, and our posture, and are thereby essential in helping us to stand up, walk, etc. Furthermore, they are useful in helping to keep internal organs in their proper place (where they are best able to function well) such that a good core is beneficial to digestion, for example. 

It's worth noting that the true core muscles are not the ones that are easily seen. The core muscles lie in sheets beneath those more-obvious muscles. Whether you're running, lifting weights or picking up your toddler, these 'core' muscles help keep your body stable and balanced.

When the exercise text instructs you to engage the core, you pull the belly buttonmid-way back towards the spine, tense the abdominal muscles, clench the buttocks as you would do when stopping yourself from going to the toilet.



These three elements will help to prevent injury, make the exercises more functional and as you get used to holding them will give you a better posture in general.

 


 

HAVE YOU READ THE WARNING AND ADVICE ON PAGE 1?

Establish your Aims and Objectives


The first thing to establish is what you are trying to achieve in working out. Obviously, better general conditioning is one aim.

But are you looking for improved general conditioning for an improved quality of life?

Are you looking for an improved performance in your sports, and to avoid injury, as Wayne Watson says in his interview?

Are you, perhaps, wanting to train for a particularly demanding event, a triathlon for instance, or for a new sport?

Or a combination of these?

It will help you if you decide what the intention of training is in order to focus your training more effectively, even if at first you work on fitness in a more general way.

 

Determine your fitness level


In order to start training at the correct level, you need to establish the fitness level you are starting with.

 

For a comprehensive self-assessment, click here for the Fitness Self Assessment. Otherwise, be sensible about how you start exercising. If you haven't exercised for a long time, you'll get stiff muscles the day after you exercise so don't overdo it. Do fewer repetitions of each exercise to start with and build up gradually. You'll probably be tired after exercising so make sure you get rest. Rest after exercising is an important element of the whole. And above all, continuity and regularity are vital. IT WILL TAKE TIME. So be patient, exercise the number of times per week you can do regularly - even if it's once a week - and be prepared to stick at it. Don't exercise 4 times in the first week and give up because you can't keep it up.
 
Now you are ready to start exercising.

 


 

HAVE YOU READ THE WARNING AND ADVICE ON PAGE 1?

The Workouts

Set Programmes

 


General Conditioning Work-out 1


Upper-body Strengthening Work-out 1


Lower-body Strengthening Work-out 1

 

CardioVascular Work-out 1

 


 

HAVE YOU READ THE WARNING AND ADVICE ON PAGE 1?

À la Carte Menu

Create your own workout, using this template:-


1. Warm up / Raise heart rate

The first thing you need to do in a work-out is to raise your heart rate. This is so that that blood flow to your muscles is increased prior to needing it during the work-out. You can do this by a gentle run, running on the spot, cycling on an exercise bike, skipping, walking or running up and down stairs. It should last 3-5 minutes, should not in itself be too much exertion, and by the end of it you should literally feel 'warmed-up'.

2. Choose your exercises

The exercises are divided into Lower Body exercises, Upper Body exercises, and Core Strength exercises. Many of the exercises in the first two categories use your core strength to keep yourself steady during the exercise so we recommend that the core exercises themselves are done last in order that that you don't have a weak core when doing the leg and upper body work.

 

Choose 2 or 3 exercises from each of columns 1 and 2 and as many exercises from column 3 as you like.

When selecting from columns 1 and 2, make sure you have exercises for

1. the front of the leg and the rear of the leg, 

2. the front of the body and the rear of the body,

3. the shoulders

 

Another way to look at it is, for each part of the body, choose a "push" exercise and a "pull" exercise.

 

Make sure you vary your choices each work-out and work all sections of your body over 2 or 3 work-outs. Don't concentrate overly on the same area of your body, with the following exceptions:-

 

Work harder on weaker areas

 

Concentrate on specific areas for specific sports/events/activities and for rehabilitation of injuries.



 

3. Add some Cardio-vascular exercise

 

Run for between 10 and 15 minutes

4. More Exercises after Cardio will increase stamina by exercising on tired muscles. When you exercise on tired muscles, take care not to overdo it and injure yourself

Choose 1 Leg exercise, 1 Upper Body, and 2 Core Strength

5. Warm down and stretch

 

    Stretches page - click on the link for a page of stretches.