4 minute mornings

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.

——————————————————————————————————-

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.

——————————————————————————————————-

STRETCH YOUR BODY.

——————————————————————————————————-

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.

——————————————————————————————————-

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.

——————————————————————————————————-

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.

—————————————————————————————————–
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.

—————————————————————————————————
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.

—————————————————————————————————

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

—————————————————————————————————

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.

video/Week#3-DAYS 3 & 6

Here is the video for Week #3 – DAYS 3 & 6.

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

Introducing slightly bigger hops.  Similar to Day 2, only this time the toe will no longer make contact with the floor.  Make your toe come 1 to 6 inches from the floor.  Even if your toe still touches the floor, at least make it a light touch.  If this is too difficult, then stick with the Ground Toe Taps from Day 2.

Days 3 & 6 (week #3)

1.  50 Step Height Toe Taps/ or half-way up High Knees

2.   20 Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise

3.   Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 rounds total.

Note: If you’re not ready to do 4 rounds of this, then do what feels right.  Make your own modifications.  For example you might try to do the first round as Peter does it, then for the second round you might do the Ground Toe Taps from Day 2 (week#3).  For round 3 you might go back to Marching on the Spot from Day 1 (week#3) and finally for round 4 you might try to do the Step Height Toe Taps from the first round.
For comfort, ladies may want to wear a sports bra for the hopping exercises.
Alternately, just hold on to Thelma and Louise and get it done!
Let me know what your 4 Minute Morning variation looks like.
See  you tomorrow for the last progression, DAY 7: High Knees.


video/Week#3-DAYS 2 & 5

Here is Week #3 – DAYS 2 & 5

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

Today is the first day of gentle bouncing from one foot to the other.  Already, I can hear some of you saying, “nope – this isn’t for me”.  Which is completely fine; stick with Marching On The Spot until you are ready to give it a try.  For the others, resist the urge to skip ahead.  I know some of you want to get to the tougher exercises, but believe me your body will thank you if you take it one day at a time.  This is an exercise in patience for the Ego too.  We are doing these exercises in bare feet, but, of course wear running shoes if you have a pre-existing condition which requires you to do so during exercise.

Days 2 & 5 (week #3)

  1.   50 Ground Toe Taps

Introducing some small hops.  Alternating hops. Put all your weight onto your left foot.  Right leg bends slightly at the knee, which lifts the right heel off the floor, leaving the right toe lightly touching the floor.  Now hop and switch sides so that all your weight is now on the right leg.  Your left leg should naturally bend slightly causing the left heel to come off the floor, leaving the left toe lightly touching the floor.  Repeat 50 times.

  1.   20 Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise
  2.   Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 rounds total.

NOTE: If doing one round feels challenging enough then stick with one round until you feel comfortable adding the second round and so on.  An example modification would be to do the first round of Ground Toe Taps; the second round Marching on the Spot; third round Ground Toe Taps; fourth round Marching on the Spot.  You decide.  Play around with some variations and see what works best.  Listen to your body.

For comfort, ladies may want to wear a sports bra for the hopping exercises.  Alternately, just hold on to Thelma and Louise and get it done!

Let me know what your 4 Minute Morning variation looks like.
See  you tomorrow for the next progression.

video/Week#3-DAYS 1 & 4

Here is week #3 – DAYS 1 & 4

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

Week #3

Carry on repeating Weeks #1 or #2 if you do not feel ready to move on to Week #3.

Week #3 is for those who have done last weeks’ prep exercises.

By now you should feel quite familiar with Marching On The Spot and getting your knees up high.

This week we will be progressing to High Knees.

To begin this progression you need to start with gentle bouncing from one foot to the other.  Already, I can hear some of you saying, “nope – this isn’t for me”.  Which is completely fine; stick with Marching On The Spot until you are ready to give it a try.  For the others, resist the urge to skip ahead.  I know some of you want to get to the tougher exercises, but believe me your body will thank you if you take it one day at a time.  This is an exercise in patience for the Ego too.  We are doing these exercises in bare feet, but, of course wear running shoes if you have a pre-existing condition which requires you to do so during exercise.

Reminder:  Be mindful of your feet and arches.  The following exercises will be more taxing and it is easy to lose focus and just want to get to the end.  Try to be present and mindful of each repetition.

NOTE: If doing one round feels challenging enough then stick with one round until you feel comfortable adding the second round and so on.  Listen to your body. 

Days 1 & 4 (week #3)

  1.  50 Marching On The Spot.                                                                                           Place your arms tight by your sides.  Now bend at the elbow creating a 90-degree angle. (Arms point forward). Your forearms are now parallel to the ground.  Keep your forearms still with palms downward).  Each time you March a knee up, make your knee touch your hand.  Do NOT lower your hand to contact your knee.  Bring your knee UP to touch the hand.
  2.   20 Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise
  3.   Repeat circuit 4 times to equal 4 rounds total.
Note: The effect of keeping the forearms still as opposed to pumping the arms makes the exercise slightly more challenging.  The pumping action of the arms actually helps to move the legs.  Notice if you can feel the difference.  Also, each time you lift your knee up you are strengthening your abdominals.

video/Week#2- DAYS 4-7

 

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

This video is for DAYS 4-7 and is the same from DAYS 1, 2 & 3.  The only difference is that you will be adding 2-3 repetitions each day for the Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise until you get to 2o repetitions by Day 7.

Alternately, you can continue with Days 1, 2 & 3, which is as follows:

  1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high).
  2. 10 Bend Down & Reach Ups
  3. Repeat circuit four times, to equal 4 rounds.
If you choose to add 2-3 repetitions of Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise each day then that progression looks like this:

Day 4
1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high & pumping arms).
2. 12 Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise
3. Repeat circuit four times, to equal 4 rounds.

Day 5
1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high & pumping arms).
2. 15 Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise
3. Repeat circuit four times, to equal 4 rounds.

Day 6
1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high & pumping arms).
2. 18 Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise
3. Repeat circuit four times, to equal 4 rounds.

Day 7
1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high & pumping arms).
2. 20 Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise
3. Repeat circuit four times, to equal 4 rounds.

For whatever reason, if you’re not ready to add on then stay with what is working or go back to the beginning.  Listen to your body.

Check back for Week #3.

video/Week #2-DAYS 1, 2 & 3

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

By the way, it’s ok to repeat Week #1 as often as you like. Our main focus is to develop the self-discipline to be consistent.  So often people tell me that they are so caught up in their lives that they just can’t fit in their usual one or two hour workout.  And so they end up going without any exercise until their schedule clears up.

As the Dude would say: “This will not stand”.

Days 1-2 & 3 (of week #2) are the same as Day 7 (from week #1). The only difference is that you will do a toe raise when you reach up to the ceiling.  We are doing these exercises in bare feet, but, of course wear running shoes if you have a pre-existing condition which requires you to do so during exercise.

Days 1 – 2 & 3 (week #2)

1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high & pumping arms).
2. 10 Bend Down & Reach Ups with Toe Raise
3. Repeat circuit four times, to equal 4 rounds.

The effect of the toe raise, is to gradually strengthen the arches of the feet and develop balance. Notice what happens when you rise up onto your toes. What happens to your arches? What happens to your balance? Do you lean more onto one side than the other? What do you have to do to remain centred?  Do your ankles roll out?
So often the feet are forgotten when we exercise the body. The foot, being the foundation of our body, directly impacts the rest of our body’s alignment.

Whether you are just beginning to contemplate my 4 Minute Mornings or are a seasoned athlete, stand in front of the mirror and take a look at your feet and arches.
While exercising or just walking around, I would like you to bring some awareness to your feet.  Better yet, have someone video your feet as you rise up onto your toes and lower back down.  Watch the mechanics of your feet.

The link below is a two-minute video clip featuring Jesse Enright, from Smart Yoga, describing the three arches of the foot. Yes, there are three arches!

http://www.myyogaonline.com/search?q=jessie+enright

Click the video for: Smart Yoga For The Foot.


video/ Week #1 – DAYS 5, 6 & 7

Here is week #1 – DAYS 5, 6 & 7

My nephew Peter is demonstrating.

Days 5, 6 & 7 (~4 Minutes each)

  1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high).
  2. 10 Bend Down & Reach Ups
  3. Repeat circuit four times, to equal 4 rounds.

Depending on your speed/pace, this circuit (repeated 4 times) should take about 4 minutes.

Note: If you’re not ready to move on to four rounds then repeat Day 4 and add on when you are ready.