Summer Slim-Down workout plan: Week 5

Get fitter this summer with our eight-week plan. This week: Add a bonus workout

Summer Slim-Down workout plan: Week 5

Source: Web exclusive, July 2011

You’re one week closer to the finish line in the eight-week Summer Slim-Down program! This week, you have the option to add a bonus workout to your weekly routine. If time permits, you may choose to repeat any workout from Week 5.

If you choose to do the full-body strength routine as your bonus workout, be sure to give yourself a day’s rest between strength workouts. For example, if you do a full-body strength workout on Tuesday, avoid doing it as a bonus again on Wednesday. Schedule it for later in the week, such as on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. This gives your muscles a chance to recover.

Get results by mixing things up

If you’ve been doing the strength exercises as recommended since Week 1, you might have noticed they’re becoming more familiar and less challenging. One way to get faster results is to keep your body ‘guessing’ so it doesn’t get too used to doing the same exercises every time you work out.

This week, you’ll be combining some upper- and lower-body exercises so you do both moves at the same time, boosting intensity for more calorie burn.

You’ll also be replacing some of the previous strength exercises with new ones that work the same or similar muscles but in a different way.

Let’s get started: Week 5

The workouts in this eight-week program have been designed for healthy men and women who are at a beginner to intermediate fitness level. Please check with your doctor before beginning this program to ensure exercise is safe and appropriate for you at this time.

Workout for day 1 (45 minutes):

Repeat Week 4, Workout 1.

Workout for day 2 (60 minutes):

Cardio (40 minutes): After warming up for three to five minutes, exercise at an RPE of 5 to 7 for about 35 minutes. Cool down (RPE 2 to 4) for at least two minutes.

Strength (10 minutes): These are new strength exercises, or familiar ones paired together (upper- and lower-body moves done simultaneously).

Do two sets, eight to 12 reps, of the following exercises with little or no rest between exercises. Do the whole series once, beginning with the chest presses and ending with hip bridges, before doing your second set.

‘ Chest presses: Holding dumbbells, lie face up with arms extended over chest, palms facing forward. Slowly lower upper arms toward the floor, bending elbows to 90 degrees, until upper arms are parallel to the floor. Return to starting position.

‘ Stationary lunges + biceps curls (both arms together, not alternating).

‘ Modified upright rows: Holding dumbbells, stand with feet hip-width apart, arms extended, palms in front of thighs and facing body. Bend elbows, raising arms until hands/dumbbells are at chest height, elbows to sides. Lower arms.

‘ Plié squats (no weights): Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, feet pointing outward at about a 45-degree angle. Bend legs, lowering body toward floor. Return to starting position.

‘ Squats + side shoulder raises: Holding dumbbells alongside body, squat as you raise extended arms to sides until hands are in line with shoulders. Lower arms and return to standing.

‘ Plank (no weights): Hold for 20 to 30 seconds

‘ Triceps push-ups (no weights): Keep elbows pointing back and behind you.

‘ Alternating four-point kneel (no weights): Get on hands and knees. Keeping abs contracted, raise right arm and left leg off floor. Hold for three seconds and repeat other side. That’s one rep.

‘ Alternating oblique curls (no weights): Lying on back with knees bent and feet on floor, hands behind head and elbows to sides, contract abs and raise head and shoulders off floor, rotating torso to the left. Return to starting position; repeat on right. That’s one rep.

‘ Hip bridges (no weights): Lie face up with arms at sides, knees bent and feet on floor. Use backs of thighs and butt muscles to raise hips off floor. Hold for three seconds; release.

Flexibility (4 to 5 minutes): Stretch your arms, shoulders, chest, back, hips and legs, holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.

Workout for day 3 (45 minutes):

Repeat Workout 1 from this week. If you feel strong enough, try alternating one minute at an RPE of 7 to 8 and two minutes (instead of three minutes) at an RPE of 5 to 6.

Workout for day 4 (60 minutes):

Repeat Workout 2 from this week.

Workout for day 5 (at least 20 minutes):

Go for a brisk walk.

Bonus workout

If time permits, do one bonus workout, choosing from the routines you’ve already done in Week 5. Doing so helps you get faster results’and you’ll burn more overall calories this week.

Amanda Vogel is a certified fitness instructor with an MA in human kinetics.

Check back next week for week six of the workout plan.

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