Pushing the limits
Sometimes you just want to go to the gym and work yourself until you drop. You know the feeling. It might have been a hard day at work, you might have been stuck in traffic for hours, you have a feeling of pent up tension or you feel drained, exhausted and totally out of sorts – whatever it is, you just want to leave it all on the treadmill, the weight deck or the gym mat.
What you are looking for is that adrenalin rush and that feel good factor that sweeps all the negative emotions right away. Strange as it may sound, sometimes, working until you drop is the only way to reinvigorate yourself.
So here are some high octane exercises or sets that you can do, which will leave you feeling exhausted, drained but ultimately satisfied and much better within yourself.
This set of exercises can be used on any cardio machines – bikes, steppers, cross-trainers and treadmills. My preference is to use the treadmill because, as you finish, your legs are trembling but you can look with satisfaction at the distance you have travelled and the calories you have burnt.
Warm-up: 10 minutes at a steady pace, still easy enough that you could talk naturally while running.
Phase 1: For five minutes increase the speed so that you are working at 75 per cent of your maximum – at this pace you should be able to talk but only in short sentences.
Phase 2: Ramp the speed up to about 90 per cent of your max. Run at this pace for 45 seconds, before dropping it back to a gentle jog. Recover for 30 seconds, then repeat a further 5 times.
Recovery: Jog at gentle pace for two minutes.
Phase 3: Ramp the speed back up to 75 per cent of your maximum. Now increase the incline by 1 per cent every 30 seconds. Do this until the incline is at 8. Now decrease it by 1 percent every 30 seconds until you are back to level. Jog gently for one minute to recover.
Phase 4: Ramp the speed up to 75 per cent of your max. Every 15 seconds increase the speed until you are running flat out. Run at your fastest speed for as long as you can, then drop the speed right down to almost a walk. Recover for one minute. Repeat this sequence a further four times.
Phase 5: Jog gently but every 15 seconds increase the incline until it is at 10. Now increase the speed every 15 seconds until you are running as fast as you can on a 10 per cent incline. Keep this going until you can go no further. Drop the incline and speed back to a flat, slow jog. Recover for five minutes.
Leaving it all on the gym floor
Do the following sequence of circuits on a mat. The only piece of equipment you will need is a set of dumbbells.
Push-ups, burpees, squats, bi-cep curls with dumbbell, jack-knife sit-ups, mountain climber, push-ups with clap, sprinting on spot, russian sit-ups, overhead press with dumbbell, jumping lunges, back raisers. (Ask a personal trainer or gym instructor for advice on performing each of these exercises.)
Do the entire sequence without a break, doing 10 seconds on each exercise. Take a one minute break. Now repeat for 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 seconds. Again, take just a minutes break between each complete set. Do a very gentle jogging cool down.