Turn your walking routine into a complete workout with our 35-minute circuit.
November 10, 2008
1 of 10David Martinez
Add Power to Your Walk
The Game Plan: Do this workout two to three times per week, resting a day in between to let your muscles recover.
You'll Need: A walking area outdoors with staircases or benches along your path. A school track that also has bleachers is a great option.
Warm-Up: Walk for five to 10 minutes at an easy pace to prime your body for action.
Circuit: Do one to three sets of each of the following moves, interspersed between walking bouts of two to three minutes. Walk at a moderate pace; you should feel slightly breathless. During the lower body moves, especially the stair climbing, you'll be working even harder.
Cooldown: Walk slowly for five to 10 minutes.
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Single-Arm Shoulder Circle
Continue walking as you slowly move your right arm in large circles forward. Then repeat with the left arm. Do 10 smooth, easy circles on each side, then repeat, reversing direction.
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Stand still and open your arms out to the sides so you're in a T position, hands at shoulder level, palms facing down. Gently kick forward with your right leg, then swing it back so your thigh moves behind you. Avoid trying to stretch farther with each kick; stay within a comfortable range of motion. Return your right leg to the start position, then kick it toward the left across your body (right thigh will cross in front of the left). Next, let it swing sideways to the right. Squeeze your abs for balance. Perform 10 gentle kicks to the front, back, and sides with the right leg, then repeat with the left.
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Reduce your walking speed to half. Then take a giant step forward (three to four feet) with your right leg, landing softly on your right heel first, then putting the entire foot down. Slowly lower your hips into a lunge position, so your right thigh is close to parallel to the ground and your back heel is lifted. Make sure you’ve stepped far enough that your right knee does not go past your toes. Your body weight should be on the front heel and back toe.
Next, squeeze the buttock muscles of your right leg to rise. Step forward to bring your left leg to meet the right, and repeat. Swing your arms in opposition to each leg (so left arm is in front as your right leg steps forward). Do 10 slow lunges on each leg. Walk for two minutes, then do one more set of 10 slow lunges on each leg.
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Find a set of steps, then clasp your hands behind your back so your arms don't help you as you climb. Lean forward slightly with a straight back, and go up two steps at a time (skipping one in between) with your right leg. Step with the left, again skipping a step. Continue this lunge-like climb to the top, then walk down normally (without skipping any steps). Repeat for three minutes.
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Squat Back Extension
Squat by lowering your hips and pushing your buttocks behind you as you lean slightly forward at a diagonal. Try to keep your back straight throughout the move, and lower as far as possible without allowing your knees to go past your toes.
Squeeze your butt to stand straight, then extend your right leg behind you, lifting it until you feel your buttock muscles squeeze. Lower and repeat. Do 10 repetitions on each side, then walk for two minutes. Repeat another set of 10 repetitions on each leg.
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Find a nearby bench, and sit with your buttocks close to the edge. Place your feet flat on the ground in front of your body so your knees are bent 90 degrees. Put each hand by your side on the bench, with the heel of your hand cupping it, fingers pointing down. Lift your hips, and bring your torso forward so your body is in front of the bench. Bend your elbows about 45 degrees to lower your hips toward the ground. Contract the triceps to straighten your elbows as you slowly push up. Point the elbows back, not to the sides, throughout the move. Do eight to 10 repetitions. Make it harder: Bring your feet farther from your body, so there's less of a bend in your knees.
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Find soft grass or ground, and lie facedown, hands by your shoulders, palms flat on the ground. Push your body up in a diagonal line (arms and body straight, body weight balanced on your knees and hands). Bend your elbows slightly to lower an inch or two, and hold the position for 10 seconds; work your way up to 60 seconds as you gain strength. Keep your stomach muscles tightened throughout the exercise. Make it harder: Try it on your toes instead of your knees.
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Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, and place your hands behind your head, elbows pointing out to the sides. Lift your rib cage, and arch your back slightly. Tighten your abdominals, and curl your chest slightly forward so that your ribs move closer to your hips. Stretch back and repeat. Do 15 slow repetitions.
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Stand with your feet more than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, toes pointing forward. Raise arms to your sides at shoulder level, put hands in fists, and bend your elbows. Tighten your abs, and punch your right arm to the left so your rib cage twists; keep the abdominals tight as you return to the starting position. Avoid swinging your body throughout the move; keep your hips steady. Repeat on opposite side. Alternate punches for two minutes.