Hidden Training Opportunities

Most of us are strapped for time and have difficulty fitting training into our busy schedules.  Everyone’s heard the reminders to “take the stairs instead of the elevator” and “get up to stretch every hour or so,” but how can you maintain and even improve your fitness on a crazy day?  Here are a few tips I’ve either learned from others or come up with myself.

1. Make the most of your commute. It’s easy to work core and grip in the car.  You can do sets of isometric contractions for your abs and obliques, for example.  When driving, I like to crunch forward in my seat for 10 reps of five seconds each.  You can also alternate contractions of the left and right sides of your trunk in the same fashion.  This works your obliques and serratus muscles as well.  To work your grip, you can clench the wheel or use stress balls or hand grips.  As these get easy, you can work up to heavy grips like those featured here.  Most people can start with a 200 lb. gripper and work their way up.  I’ll typically do 3-4 sets of each exercise depending on the length of my drive.

2. Make the most of your chores. I’m cheap and stubborn.  I have a pretty big yard and a push mower.  On a hot day that can be a workout on its own.  If you have a smaller yard or want an extra challenge, try using a weighted vest and/or ankle weights to increase the difficulty.  This works especially well if you have hills to mow; try going up and down instead of across!   I guarantee you can change yard work from a tedious task to a serious workout with a little ingenuity!  One thing: you might want to wear a T-shirt beneath as well as over the vest and thick socks.  This will keep your skin from wearing out and your neighbors from gossiping about you more than they already do.

3. Do take that “stretch break.” If you work a desk job, you’ve got to get up and move during the day.  It’s as simple as that.  I have a relative who had to undergo physical therapy because his shoulder was acting up on him because of his job.  He is actually really fit too, so it goes to show you the value of this time-honored advice.  If you want to increase the intensity, which is always a good thing, drop down and knock out 20, 50, 100 push-ups at various times throughout the day.  You can add squats or even take stairs two at a time as you walk about the office.  Again, use your imagination and try not to look weird around your coworkers.  There’s a private lounge on my floor at school that’s usually unoccupied–perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or even some katas (forms).  Be on the lookout for good spots where you work; there’s no better way to de-stress.

Do you have any tips to add?  Share them here!

PS – For a tough bonus workout, click the picture at the top of this post.

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About moaimartialarts

Lucky enough to grow up with the martial arts, I have felt their positive influence throughout my life and am especially interested in sharing these experiences with others. I enjoy working with youth and adults to give back some of what I've received. If you would like to learn more about Uechi-Ryu/Shohei-Ryu Karate, or if you want to find people to train with, please contact me. I am the head karate instructor for the Meriden Martial Arts Club.
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4 Responses to Hidden Training Opportunities

  1. shoheiryuct says:

    I just mowed for the second time this year. The grass grows thick here due to our high water table. Bagging the grass and dumping it into the woods, while wearing the weights, definitely adds to the workout!

  2. Alan says:

    I like to go for a brisk walk around the block where my office is located. One loop around is 0.33 mile. A refreshing break, fresh air, and done quickly is less time than a trip to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee.

  3. J says:

    Good post. I too enjoy “workouts” that can be part of everyday activities. Got to split wood for the first time yesterday and it was awesome. When I was done I had a pile of split wood, I got to break stuff with a big axe, and my arms and back felt good too.

    You should post some ways you can turn your home into a gym without fancy equipment, ie: sledgehammer stuff.

  4. Bill says:

    I used to walk a lot at my old office job. Then I’d get that coffee anyway. The crash later was always a little harsh!

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