The Sydney Mardi Gras Festival will be upon us sooner than you think.

We all want to be in the best shape for the celebrations, especially after the Christmas and New Year holiday period. In fact, past surveys have found that Christmas weight gains takes three months to lose, so ensure you are exercising correctly and consistently to boost your confidence for the festivities in March!

As the major sponsor of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for 2014, Fitness First has developed an easy workout guide to help readers get fit in time to tackle one of the most important festivals for the community!

PROGRAM AIM

The aim of this workout is to target all the different muscle fibre types in the one workout. Popularised by well-known strength and conditioning coach Charles Poliquin, these workouts when executed correctly will ensure an increase in lean muscle mass and strength. These workouts are high in intensity and will take focus and determination to complete successfully, expect to have some soreness the days following these workouts. Attempt to focus intently on the contraction of the muscle you are working on to ensure maximum benefit and finally don’t save any energy for the ensuing sets. Instead go all out from set one and as required drop the load for subsequent sets. If you aren’t decreasing the loads from set 1 to 3 in your workout you may be starting with conservative loads, you should need to drop the weight if you are lifting at the right intensity from set 1.

 

PROGRAM TABLE – Upper Body

Exercise Name

Sets**

Repetitions

Rest

Tempo

A1. Dips*

3-4

5-7

10 seconds

4-0-1-0

A2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

3-4

10-12

10 seconds

3-0-1-0

A3. Decline Dumbbell Tricep Extension

3-4

22-25

180 seconds

2-0-1-0

B1. Underhand Grip Pull Up*

3-4

5-7

10 seconds

4-0-1-0

B2. Incline Bicep Curl

3-4

10-12

10 seconds

3-0-1-0

B3. Standing Ez Bar Reverse Curl

3-4

22-25

180 seconds

2-0-1-0

* Add load to these movements if necessary

PROGRAM TABLE – Lower Body

Exercise Name

Sets**

Repetitions

Rest

Tempo

A1. Back Squats

3-4

5-7

10 seconds

4-0-1-0

A2. Double Kettlebell Sissy Squats

3-4

10-12

10 seconds

3-0-1-0

A3. Leg Press

3-4

22-25

180 seconds

2-0-1-0

B1. Snatch Grip Deadlift

3-4

5-7

10 seconds

4-0-1-0

B2. Lying Hamstring Curl

3-4

10-12

10 seconds

3-0-1-0

B3. Kettlebell Swings

3-4

22-25

180 seconds

2-0-1-0

NOTE: For the first 2 weeks complete 3 sets and aim to increase the loads used on each subsequent workout. Look to add a fourth set from week 3.

EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS – Upper Body

DIPS

Start with your arms almost locked. Slowly lower your body, retracting your shoulder blades and leaning chest forward as you lower. Keep your elbows behind your body. The bottom of the movement occurs when the forearm and bicep touch. At this point drive yourself forcefully out of the bottom of the movement. Add additional load as required or use the assisted dip machine if needed.

SEMI SUPINATED SEATED DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS

Adjust a bench until it is almost vertical. Bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders with your palms on a 45 degree angle to your body. From this starting position forcefully drive the dumbbells overhead. Under control slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start position and repeat.

DECLINE DUMBBELL TRICEP EXTENSION

Place an adjustable bench in the deepest decline position possible. Take a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on the bench. With our arms extended over your body, begin the movement by bending at the elbows and taking the dumbbells to just outside your head. Once the dumbbells lightly touch your shoulders drive back up to the start position.

CHIN UP

Grab the chin up bar with your palms facing you. From a dead hang position initiate the movement by pulling your shoulders down towards the floor and lift yourself up by bringing your elbows towards your ribs until your chest reaches the bar. Under control return to the start position and start the next repetition from the dead hang position.

INCLINE BICEP CURL

Place an adjustable bench in the 30 degree incline position. Keeping your head and back flat on the bench allow your arms to hang to the side of the bench with your palms facing in. Begin the movement by flexing at the elbow and as you curl the dumbbell forcefully contract the bicep. Under control lower the dumbbell back to the start position. For added intensity hold the dumbbell right next to the side of the plate nearest to your thumb.

STANDING EZ BAR REVERSE CURL

Stand with your feet approximately hip width apart and hold an ez bar with an overhand grip in front of your body. From this starting position forcefully curl the bar until the forearms come in contact with the biceps. Slowly lower to the start position and repeat.

EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS – Lower Body

BACK SQUATS

Place the barbell on your shoulders and pull your hands in towards your body to create a platform for the bar to sit on. Tuck your elbows under the bar and stand with the feet in a slightly wider than shoulder width position with toes slightly turned out. Maintain a tall spine and initiate the movement by bending at the knees. As your body starts to descend simultaneously start to drop your hips down. Keep the knees over the toes and drop to a depth that is comfortable but ideally at least below 90 degrees at your hip joint (individual mobility will impact the depth you can achieve). At the bottom of the squat, maintain a tall spine, and drive forcefully through your heels to return to the start position.

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL SISSY SQUATS

This is a challenging variation on the squat and one which can really support full range of motion and good technique in the squat pattern. Clean 2 kettlebells into the ‘Rack Position’. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and squat down as low as you can, maintaining an upright torso at all times. Pause slightly at the bottom before forcefully standing back up. The sissy part of the squat refers to the elevation of the heels, to do this rest the heels on a riser, which places more emphasis on the quadriceps.

LEG PRESS

Position yourself in the leg press machine and ensure you leave your head back and maintain your back flat on the pad. Place your feet in the middle of the pad, approximately hip width apart and with your feet slightly turned out. Under control lower the weight through the fullest range of motion that is comfortable. Forcefully drive through your heels and extend both legs, maintaining a slight softness in the knees at the top of the movement to ensure tension remains on the quadriceps.

SNATCH GRIP DEADLIFT

Stand in front of a barbell with your feet approximately hip width apart. Begin with the bar roughly an inch from your shins and then bend your knees forward to touch the bar. Grab the bar with a snatch grip hand position (you may require wrist straps as grip strength in this extreme hand position may be the limiting factor). From here drop your hips towards the floor until your spine is in a neutral position. Push your feet into the floor hard and drive your hips forward to lift the bar and stand tall. Maintain a tall chest and ensure your upper back doesn’t round out.

LYING HAMSTRING CURL

Adjust the hamstring curl machine so the pad sits on the lower part of your achilles area and your knee sits off the bench and at the same time is in line with the axis of rotation on the machine. Keeping your toes in a neutral position, not turned out or in, and plantar flexing your ankles, pointing your toes, forcefully pull the pad to your bottom by flexing at the knee. With a slight pause at the top of the movement for control, slowly the lower the pad back to the start position.

KETTLEBELL SWINGS

Place the kettlebell just in front of your feet, with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Bend down by hinging at your hips and keeping your chest up and shoulders back. To initiate the first swing, rock back onto your heels and as the Kettlebell swings between your legs, forcefully drive the hips horizontally and ‘lock out’ at the top of the movement by squeezing your glutes.

A PDF of this program is available to download: 2014 Exercise Tips for Mardi Gras.

Michael Cunico speaks to Star Observer here.

Michael Cunico is the national personal training manager with Fitness First, an official Mardi Gras 2014 Partner. The Star Observer is a proud media partner for Mardi Gras 2014.

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