Summer Slim-Down workout plan: Week 7

Get fitter this summer with our eight-week plan. This week: Get better results with more-intense intervals

Summer Slim-Down workout plan: Week 7

Source: Web exclusive, July 2011

As you head into Week 7, you’ll notice that the interval-training cardio workouts are becoming slightly more vigorous. That’s because now your recovery intervals will last the same amount of time as your intensity intervals (i.e., one minute each).

These shorter recovery intervals allow you to squeeze in a few extra intensity intervals, which means you can challenge your body and drive up calorie burn without having to extend the length of your workouts.

In fact, a couple of this week’s cardio workouts are five minutes shorter than in previous weeks. The reason? The workouts are also slightly harder, so you accomplish more in the same amount of time or less. This is especially beneficial when your goal is to lose weight but you don’t have a full hour or more every day to exercise.

Adjust intervals as needed

If you find that the shorter, one-minute recovery intervals don’t allow you to get the rest time you need, increase your recovery intervals to 90 seconds each or go back to two-minute recovery intervals like you were doing last week.

Signs that you need a longer recovery include an inability to catch your breath and lower your heart rate before it’s time for the next intensity interval and/or a consistent lack of energy to exercise vigorously during intensity intervals.

Let’s get started: Week 7

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 (40 minutes):

Warm up for 3 minutes, then do a 30-minute cardio session:

‘ First 5 minutes: Exercise at an RPE of about 5 to 6.
‘ Next 20 minutes: Alternate between one minute at an RPE of 7 to 8 and one minute at an RPE of 5 to 6, in that order (10 cycles total).
‘ Next 5 minutes: Exercise at an RPE of 5 to 6
‘ Final 7 minutes: Cool down at an RPE of about 2 to 3. Stretch.

Workout for day 2 (60 minutes):

Cardio (45 minutes): After warming up for 3 to 5 minutes, exercise at an RPE of 5 to 7 for about 40 minutes. Cool down (RPE 2 to 4) for at least 2 minutes.

Strength (11-12 minutes):

Note: There are three changes to your routine this week:
1. You’ll be bumping up your sets from two to three for faster results.
2. If you’ve been doing plank on your knees, with legs bent, now’s the time to try doing it on your toes, legs straight.
3. Do eight to 12 reps of oblique curls on one side before switching to the other side (i.e., you will no longer be alternating curls from side to side with each rep).

Do three sets, eight to 12 reps, of the following exercise series with little or no rest between exercises. Begin with the chest presses + hip bridges and end with alternating oblique curls before doing your next set.

‘ Chest presses + hip bridges: Do both at the same time. Get into the hip bridge and hold hips up as you complete a set of chest presses (see Week 5 for exercise descriptions).

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

‘ Modified upright rows + plié squats: Do both at the same time. As you lower down into the squat, bend arms to do a modified upright row (see Week 5 for exercise descriptions).

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

‘ Plank (no weights): On forearms and toes with straight legs. 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.

‘ Oblique curls (no weights): With 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 same side for eight to 12 reps; switch sides.

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

Workout for day 3 (40 minutes):

Repeat Workout 1 from this week.

Workout for day 4 (at least 30 minutes):

Go for a brisk walk.

Workout for day 5 (60 minutes):

Repeat Workout 2 from this week.

Workout for day 6 (at least 30 minutes):

Do one cardio workout that’s different from what you’ve already done this week. For example, if you worked out on a treadmill and a stationary bike, hop on a different cardio machine, go hiking or try out a fitness class.

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

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