4 Minute Mornings

Week #13 (Push Up Level 4)

Here is Week #13 – DAYS 1, 3 & 5.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

For this next progression, the Low Incline Push Up (Level 4)  your body is aligned as it was when you learned the Wall Press followed by the Incline Push Up (Level 1).

Remember that the level of intensity increases as the incline decreases.  Notice that Peter is in the Plank position with his hands on a low incline. Find a low bench, use a stair, coffee table, bed frame or other.  Just be sure to find a sturdy surface to work from.  Plan it out the night before so that you’re not scrambling in the morning. Peter’s chest lines up with his hands as before in all the progressions.

DAYS 1, 3 & 5 (week #13)

1. 50 High Knees (pumping arms or forearms parallel to the ground or holding chest)

2. 8 LOW Incline PUSH UP in Plank                                                                                             (Level 4 = hands on a low bench, stair, coffee table, bed frame)

3. Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 Rounds.

INSTRUCTIONS: Hinging from your toes, notice how the legs, hips, torso and head are static.  The only movement comes from the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints.  If you are unable to maintain this rigid form, then go back to the modified Push Up Levels 2 or  3. The difference with Level 4 Low Incline Push Up and Level 3, is that you are now in Plank Position hinging from the toes and I have raised your incline to off-set the intensity with the intention to maintain mechanical integrity.

MOST COMMON ERROR: Poking the head forward like a pigeon or collapsing at the lower back.  Imagine a plank of wood fixed to your back, originating from the back of the heels all the way to the back of the head.  Hinge forward as a solid unit.  I would rather see you do a quarter or half push up as a solid unit than bending the elbows all the way with poor technique.  Eventually, attempting to tap the chest to the bench NOT the nose.  If you aim with your nose you will likely poke the head forward like the pigeon.  Think of gently retracting your navel in the direction of your spine, just enough to gently engage your abdominals to support the natural curvature of the spine.  You are NOT trying to flatten your back against this imaginary plank of wood.  Take a good look at Peter’s back and you will notice the natural curves of the spine.

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DAYS 2, 4 & 6 = [50 High Knees + 20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise] x 4. For reference click on this link:  https://youasamachine.com/about-4-minute-mornings/week-3/videoweek3-day-7/

DAY 7 = [50 High Knees + 10 Half Squat] x 4. For reference click on this link:      https://youasamachine.com/about-4-minute-mornings/week-8/

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STRETCH YOUR BODY.

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It is not uncommon to want to skip ahead to get to the “juicier” exercises.  Have patience. The rewards are in the journey.  At anytime you can repeat the same week until you feel ready to move on to the next progression.  Not everyone will be ready to progress at the same rate.  Do not feel defeated should it take longer to move on to the next week.

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The following is an outline of the progressions for the Push Up:   1) Wall Press

2) Incline Push Up (Level 1 = hands on counter top or back of couch etc.)

3) Modified Low Incline Push Up (Level 2 = knees bent on floor with hands on bench, stair or coffee table etc.)

4) Modified Push Up (Level 3= knees bent on floor with hands on floor)

5) Low Incline Push Up (Level 4= hands on bench with body in Plank position)

6) Push Up (Level 5= FULL PUSH UP!  From Plank position) coming soon!

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 Self-discipline is born from being Consistent.

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Video.Wk #12 – DAYS 1 & 5

Here is week #12 – DAYS 1 & 5.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

This is the third progression for the Burpee.  The Burpee is a series of continuous movements. You have already learned the JUMP BACK into Plank. In this weeks progression you will add a MODIFIED PUSH UP into the mix. Continue alternating the leading leg for each step forward.

INSTRUCTIONS: From the PLANK position gently lower your knees to the floor. Bend the elbows lowering the chest in the direction of the floor.  Even if you only bend your elbows slightly, it is beneficial.  Gradually your strength will increase and so will the bend in your elbows.  I’d rather see you do very small elbow bends with strict form than lowering all the way to the floor with sloppy technique.  If you are unsure how to do a MODIFIED PUSH UP revisit: https://youasamachine.com/about-4-minute-mornings/week-9/

DAYS 1 & 5 (week #12)

1. 10 High Knees + Bend Down + Jump Back Into Plank + Lower Knees to Floor + MODIFIED PUSH UP + Raise Knees back to PLANK + Step Forward (one foot at a time) + Reach Up + Toe Raise.

2. Repeat Sequence 10 times to equal 10 Rounds.

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DAYS 2, 4 & 6 = [50 High Knees + 20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise] x 4.

DAYS 3 & 7 = [50 High Knees + 10 Half Squat] x4.

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STRETCH YOUR BODY

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Check back for the next progression.

Video.Wk# 11 – DAYS 1 & 5

Here is week #11 – DAYS 1 & 5.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

This is the second progression for the Burpee.  The Burpee is a series of continuous movements.  Here, I am introducing the JUMP BACK into Plank.  Everything else remains the same as in the first progression.  Alternate the leading leg for each step forward.

INSTRUCTIONS: From the Bend Down position, place both hands flat on the ground. Transfer your weight from your feet onto the hands enabling you to jump your feet back to the plank position.  The word ‘jump’ is almost is a misnomer because your aim is to be in control of your movement, it is more of a ‘lift and place’ your feet in the plank position. However, in the beginning as you are building the upper body strength to do this movement it may feel more like a jump.

TIP:  Try to keep your legs parallel to each other, toes and knees pointing forward.  When you bend down aim to maintain this parallel leg alignment.  If you are too inflexible to bring your hands flat on the ground then you should work on improving your flexibility before you do this progression.  Continue with the step back into plank (Level 1) if that is working for you.  After a few more weeks of repeating the first progression you should start seeing improvements.

DAYS 1 & 5 (week #11)

1. 10 High Knees + Bend Down + Jump Back Into Plank + Pause in Plank for a second + Step Forward (one foot at a time) + Reach Up + Toe Raise.

2. Repeat Sequence 10 times.

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DAYS 2, 4 & 6 = [50 High Knees + 20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise] x 4.

DAYS 3 & 7 = [50 High Knees + 10 Half Squat] x4.

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STRETCH YOUR BODY

Below is a video of three hip stretches described and demonstrated by two RMT of whom I have been lucky to be a client. Turn on your volume, Mark and Alison give a brief education on where these muscles are located on your skeleton and how to do them correctly.  Learn these stretches and spend a few minutes practicing them daily.

Stretching makes ALL the difference.

Video.Wk #10 – DAYS 1 & 5

Here is week #10 – DAYS 1 & 5.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

This is the first progression for the Burpee.  Up to this point we have established a solid foundation for all the parts that make up the Burpee minus the explosive jump at the end, but we’ll get to that down the road.

The Burpee is a series of continuous movements.  I have broken it down in this progression to allow you to focus on each part.  Each following progression will take you closer to the actual Burpee in its entirety.

I have also added 10 High Knees at the beginning of each baby Burpee to give you a bit of time between each one.

If you don’t spend enough time on stretching, stepping back and forward from the plank will shout out this fact.  Peter has limited range of movement in his ankle in the step back/forward due to an old soccer injury; as a result there is some compensation.

DAYS 1 & 5 (week #10)

1. 10 High Knees + Bend Down + Step Back (one foot at a time) Into Plank + Pause in Plank for a second + Step Forward (one foot at a time) + Reach up with Toe Raise.

2. Repeat sequence 10 times.

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DAYS 2, 4 & 6 = [50 High Knees + 20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise] x 4

DAYS 3 & 7 = [50 High Knees + 12 Modified Push Up (Level 3)] x4

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STRETCH YOUR BODY

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Repeated 10 times (depending on your speed) this baby Burpee progression takes less than two minutes!  But don’t feel as though you have to finish in under two minutes.  Go at your own pace.  Take four minutes if that feels right.  If doing just one baby Burpee feels like enough of a challenge then go with that and try to add on another each day of the week.

Leave me a comment on how you are fitting your 4 Minute Mornings into your life.
Have Fun!

Video.Wk#9 – DAYS 1 & 5

Here is week #9 – DAYS 1 & 5.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

The Modified Push Up is the the same as the Level 2 Incline Push Up minus the incline.

INSTRUCTIONS:  Start by lying face down (prone) on the floor.  Position the palm of the hands (fingers pointing forward) directly under the crease of the underarm, next to the chest. Elbows will point up towards the ceiling, causing the forearms and upper arms to pinch tightly to the upper body.

With the imaginary plank still affixed to the back, originating from the back of the knees to the back of the head, extend (straighten) the arms.  Careful NOT to lock out (hyperextend) the elbow at the top of the movement.  With control, return the body to the start position and repeat.  By now your technique should be spot on with the amount of practice you’ve had up to this point.  No pigeons in the house.

Better to do fewer repetitions with excellent form than to do many poorly.  Building on a solid foundation is the key.

DAYS 1 & 5 (week #9)

1. 50 High Knees (pumping arms, forearms parallel to ground or hold chest)

2. 12 Modified Push Up (Level 3) = from knees with hands on floor.

3. Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 Rounds.

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DAYS 2, 4 & 6 = [50 High Knees + 20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise] x 4.

DAYS 3 & 7 = [50 High Knees + 14 Half Squat] x 4.

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STRETCH YOUR BODY

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I swim in a 20 metre pool (25 metres is standard).  I listen to my body, so depending on how I’m feeling, I do six to eight lengths for each stroke; reviewing technique and refining. There is SO much to think about, let alone the breathing!  Here is a training tip that I apply to just about everything.  Let me know if it makes sense to you.

This is a metaphor:
First, imagine a clock with a second hand.  Each sixty seconds represents one repetition (of whatever: push up, squat, front crawl…).  Each second within the minute represents a refinement.  Quite impossible to think of everything all at once.  But you can train your mind to be active and refine a different part of your mechanics each second.  And when you get really good that’s when the nano corrections come into play.  Can’t get bored when you’re interested in what your doing.  You can well imagine I’ve got something to say on that topic too!

Thanks for all your positive comments!  Let me know how your 4 Minute Mornings are coming along.

Video.Wk#8 – DAYS 1 & 5

Here is week #8 – DAYS 1 & 5.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating the Half Squat.

The Half Squat is the same as the Chair Squat minus the chair.  Notice how Peter maintains a static spine throughout.  The joints that are involved: Hips, Knees, Ankles and Shoulders.

For those not quite ready to leave the chair behind, continue to use the chair but place less of your body weight onto the chair each time, eventually hovering over the chair instead of touching it at all.

INSTRUCTIONS:  Point your toes and knees forward, keep your legs parallel to each other.  Your torso remains static.  The only movement occurs at the hips, knees and ankle joints, as well as the shoulder joints as the arms raise forward to support balance.  You will notice that as your knees bend forward and your hips shift backwards, your torso naturally tips forward; hinging from the hip joints NOT rounding from your spine.  It is a very simple and clean movement.  Spend two days this week doing this progression to establish a solid foundation for this movement as we will be adding on. Focus on precision of movement as opposed to completion.
For the rest of the week be aware each and every time you sit in a chair and get up.  See if you can hover for one second before you make contact with the chair.  Allow your muscles to support you. When you get up, shift your weight slightly so that you are hovering again for one second before you get up.  Notice how your legs take on the workload as opposed to feeling it in your lower back.

DAYS 1 & 5 (Week #8)

1. 50 High Knees (pumping arms or forearms parallel to the ground or holding chest)

2. 14 Half Squat

3. Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 Rounds.

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DAYS 2, 4 & 6 = [50 High Knees + 20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise] x 4.

DAYS 3 & 7 = [50 High Knees + 10 Incline Push Up (Level 2) Lower surface] x 4.

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STRETCH YOUR BODY.

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Have fun with this one.  We’re really moving along now.  We’re more than half way to the big finale.  Leave me a comment on your progress.  Let me know how you are fitting your 4 Minute Mornings into your life.

Week #7 – DAYS 1 & 5

 

Here is week #7 – DAYS 1 & 5.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

This is the next progression for the Push Up series (Level 2).  Remember that the level of intensity increases as the incline decreases.  Notice that Peter is doing the Push Up from his knees to create a shorter lever/ pivot point and that his hands are on a bench, which is closer to the ground.  His chest lines up with hands as before in Level 1 and the Wall Press.  Find a low bench, use a stair, coffee table, bed frame or other.  Just be sure to find a sturdy surface to work from.  Plan it out the night before so that you’re not scrambling in the morning.

DAYS 1 & 5 (week #7)

1. 50 High Knees (pumping arms or forearms parallel to the ground or holding chest)

2. 14 Incline PUSH UP (Level 2 = hands on a low bench, stair, coffee table, bed frame)

3. Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 Rounds.

INSTRUCTIONS:  First, you may want to place a mat or folded towel under your knees. Whatever you use, be sure that it doesn’t slide around while you do this exercise; for safety to your joints and to maintain mechanical integrity.

Hinging from your knees, notice how the legs, hips, torso and head are static.  The only movement comes from the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints.  If you are unable to maintain this rigid form, then go back to Level 1 or the Wall Press.  The difference with Level 2 Incline Push Up and Level 1, is that you are now hinging from the knees and that your incline is getting closer to the ground.

MOST COMMON ERROR: Poking the head forward like a pigeon or collapsing at the lower back.  Imagine a plank of wood fixed to your back, originating from the back of the knees all the way to the back of the head.  Hinge forward as a solid unit.  I would rather see you do a quarter or half push up as a solid unit than bending the elbows all the way with poor technique.  Eventually, attempting to tap the chest to the bench NOT the nose.  If you aim with your nose you will likely poke the head forward like the pigeon.  Think of gently retracting your navel in the direction of your spine, just enough to gently engage your abdominals to support the natural curvature of the spine.  You are NOT trying to flatten your back against this imaginary plank of wood.  Take a good look at Peter’s back and you will notice the natural curves of the spine.

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DAYS 2, 4 & 6 = [50 High Knees + 20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise] x 4.

DAYS 3 & 7 = [50 High Knees + 10 Chair Squat] x 4.

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STRETCH YOUR BODY.

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It is not uncommon to want to skip ahead to get to the “juicier” exercises.  Have patience. The rewards are in the journey.  At anytime you can repeat the same week until you feel ready to move on to the next progression.  Not everyone will be ready to progress at the same rate.  Do not feel defeated should it take longer to move on to the next week.

Self-discipline is born from Consistency.

Video.Week #6 – DAYS 1&5

Here is Week #6.  The first progression for the Squat.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

The Chair Squat is a completely functional exercise.  You do it everyday.

INSTRUCTIONS:  Point your toes and knees forward, keep your legs parallel to each other.  Your torso remains static.  The only movement occurs at the hip, knee and ankle joints.  You will notice that as your knees bend forward and your hips shift backwards, your torso naturally tips forward; hinging from the hip joints NOT rounding from your spine.  It is a very simple and clean movement.  Spend two days this week doing this progression to establish a solid foundation for this movement as we will be adding on. Focus on precision of movement as opposed to completion.
For the rest of the week be aware each and every time you sit in a chair and get up.  Do you collapse into the chair, or do you use your muscles to support you? When you get up, do you twist sideways to help yourself gain momentum?  Think about how you move.

DAYS 1 & 5 (week #6)

1. 50 High Knees (pumping arms or forearms parallel to ground or hold chest)

2. 10 Chair Squat

3. Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 Rounds.

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DAYS 2, 4 & 6 = [50 High Knees + 20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise] x 4.

DAYS 3 & 7 = [50 High Knees + 10 Incline Push Up] x 4.

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STRETCH YOUR BODY

Be sure to do a standing quadricep stretch and calf stretch as well as the other stretches mentioned in the previous weeks.  Throughout your day you can do a stretch here and there; while waiting for your computer to turn on, pumping gas etc.

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If you’ve been following these progressions since Week #1, by now you should be feeling well versed in these exercises and a nice little daily body maintenance habit is forming.

Reminder:  These weekly progressions are just an outline.

At anytime you can repeat the same week until you feel ready to move on to the next progression.  Not everyone will be ready to progress at the same rate and you should not feel defeated if if takes you longer to move on to the next week.  Go at your own pace and be consistent.  This is your experiment.

video.Wk#5 – DAYS 1 & 5

Julia left this comment a while ago and I wanted to share it with you because it perfectly illustrates the power of being consistent in small increments.

“I love the blog. I’m so interested in it – and I’m going to try your workouts. I remember when I was a kid – my friend’s dad who was really in shape but worked at a desk all day long as an insurance broker – used to wake up and do his 10 minutes of army calisthenics – pushups, sit-ups, jumping jacks anything he could do in his small bedroom… and it worked great for him.”

There is no secret or gimmick to any of this.  It’s all within our power to be strong and fit, as nature intended.  It is digging up the self-discipline to be consistent with a daily maintenance program, which is the real challenge.  And anyone can do that.  Like anything, it just takes practice.

We know that waiting around for the perfect schedule to fit in an hour workout just isn’t working.

Here is Week #5 – DAYS 1 & 5.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

This is the next progression for the Push Up series.

I introduced the Wall Press last week.  From now on the Push Ups will be referred by level. The level of intensity increases as the incline decreases; in other words, the more parallel your torso comes to the ground the more difficult the exercise becomes.  As well, much later, the push up can become even more intensified by gradually raising the feet onto a surface higher off the ground creating a decline.

DAYS 1 & 5 (week #5)

1. 50 High Knees (pumping arms or forearms parallel to ground or holding chest)

2. 10 Incline Push Up (Level 1 = hands on back of couch or counter top height)

3.  Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 rounds.

The technique is exactly the same as in the Wall Press.  Hinging from the ankles, notice how the legs, hips, torso and head are static.  The only movement comes from the wrist, elbow, shoulder and ankle joints.  If you are unable to maintain this rigid form, then go back to the Wall Press or find a higher incline than the couch or counter.  The only difference with Level 1 Incline Push Up and the Wall Press, is that your incline is getting closer to the ground.  Be sure to find a sturdy surface to work from.  Plan it out the night before so that you’re not scrambling in the morning.

DAYS 2, 4 & 6 = [50 High Knees + 20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise] x 4.

DAYS 3 & 7 = [50 High Knees + 12 Wall Press] x 4.

Stretch your chest and triceps as in last weeks description.

If you are not already doing so, be sure to stretch out your lower back by lying on the floor and hugging both knees to the chest.  Try to round your lower back into the floor, curling your tail-bone towards the top of your head.

Also be sure to do a standing quadricep stretch and calf stretch.

I’ll work on putting together a little video of these stretches.

These weekly progressions are just an outline.
At anytime you can repeat the same week until you feel ready to move on to the next progression.  Not everyone will be ready to progress at the same rate and you should not feel defeated if if takes you longer to move on to the next week.  Go at your own pace and be consistent.

Self-discipline is born from Consistency.

video.Week#4-DAYS 1,3,5& 7

Here is Week #4 – DAYS 1, 3, 5 & 7

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

Introducing the WALL PRESS, which is the first progression for the Push Up.  In this upright position the exercise is the least weight bearing on joints and muscles, which allows us to focus on form in preparation for the next progression.

INSTRUCTIONS

Standing arm distance from the wall.  Keep body in a straight line, from the top of head to feet.  Hinge forward from the ankles.

Begin with arms parallel to the floor (between chest and shoulder height).  Finger tips will be touching the wall.  Tip forward from the ankles (NOT the waist).  First the wrist will flex as the palms of the hands become flat on the wall (fingers pointing upward), elbows will flex and point downward to the floor.  As the body nears the wall, the hands will now be in front of the shoulders.  Reverse the movement to return to starting position. Repeat.

DAYS 1, 3, 5 & 7 (week #4)

1.  50 High Knees (pumping arms or forearms parallel to ground or hold chest)

2.  12 WALL PRESS

3.  Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 Rounds.

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DAYS 2, 4 & 6 (week #4)
1.  50 High Knees (pumping arms or forearms parallel to ground or hold chest)

2.  20 Bend Down & Reach Up with Toe Raise

3.  Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 Rounds.

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Be sure to alternate workouts each day, to give the arms a chance to recover.

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Stretch Your Body:  With straight arms clasp your hands behind your hips, gently lift the arms away from the hips.  Feel the stretch across the chest and front of the arms. Tricep Stretch: Reach right arm straight up to ceiling.  Bend the elbow so the right hand lowers behind the head towards the upper back.  With the left hand hold the right elbow and gently pull the right elbow towards the head.  Feel the stretch along the back of the right upper arm.  Repeat on the left side.

Week #5 will show the next two progressions.