Workout of the week – the Monday night Body Weight Challenge

In our tiny unit (which we are happy in because it is only 400 metres from the beach) Monday night is ‘Body Weight Challenge’ night. What is this Body Weight Challenge you ask? It consists of myself and the boyfriend completing 5 sets each of 10 chin ups, 20 push ups and 5 single leg squats on each leg. We have a chin up bar installed in our hallway which makes the body weight challenge possible. This challenge takes us at most 30 minutes. I am not going to lie to you – it is hard!! Especially that last set of 10. But it is all worth it as this work out is great for functional body strength. I can just manage to complete all sets of 10 chin ups.

Whether you are new to fitness or a seasoned fitness nut, a simple body weight exercise protocol such as this can really assist with increasing functional strength. This is not just information I have obtained from my own personal experience. There are numerous studies in the scientific literature on the benefits of strength and resistance training in individual of all ages. The latest one I came across was entitled “There Are No Nonresponders to Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Older Men and Women” accepted in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (in press). This study conducted an analysis of 66 men and 44 women who participated in a 12 week resistance training program and of 41 men and 44 women who participated in a 24 week resistance training program. All participants were over the age of 65 years. This study found that ALL participants showed increases in lean body mass, muscle fibre size, muscle strength and physical function (1). ALL PARTICIPANTS. Isn’t that amazing? If only all experiments yielded such conclusive results (that is the scientist in me talking). While the authors can only speculate on the contributions made by musculoskeletal, neurological, or behavioral adaptation to the increases observed in this study, it is clear that strength training should be a part of your fitness regime.

I have decided to give a beginner and intermediate version of the body weight challenge so there is no excuse not to get started today! Please refer to the Disclaimer on the About me page before embarking on any exercise program.

Beginner body weight challenge:

4 sets of:

1 minute in the plank position

10 push ups

10 air squats

Intermediate body weight challenge:

5 sets of:

5 chin ups OR 2 minutes in the plank position

15 push ups

5 single leg squats each leg

Experienced body weight challenge:

10 chin ups

20 push ups

5 single leg squats each leg

1. Churchward-Venne, T., Tieland, M., Verdijk, L. B., Leenders, M., Dirks, M. L., de Groot, L. and van Loon, L. (2015). There are No Nonresponsders to Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Older Men and Women. J Am Med Dir Assoc. pii: S1525-8610(15)00072-9.

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