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The get-back strategy

August 16, 2007
You're back from a brief (or, if you're lucky, long) vacation. The trainers and the gym shorts that you'd packed have remained that way. You never took them out for that beach jog you'd planned or for the hotel gym that you'd sworn you'd hit. What you did hit pretty regularly was the bar and the buffet. And now, you're making sure you don't step up on the weighing scale. And holding your breath that tiny bit when you slip your jeans on.

As we all know, denial doesn't get us anywhere. So the best thing to do after a vacation is to plot your strategy to get back on your workout regimen. How do you do that after a lazy 10 days on the beach? Slowly, don't rush things. First, give yourself a day or two to recover from the holiday. Don't plan to get back with a bang. Then, on the second or third day after the break, schedule a healthy cardio session. If you run, do so but at, say, 70 per cent of your normal intensity. Once that's out of the way, don't head straight for the iron. Do freehand basic exercises, instead. Like push-ups, chin-ups and freehand squats. Do them in sets, one after the other and then rest for a while and repeat the sequence twice or three times. If you like, add a bit more cardio training-perhaps a session on a stationary bike. That's all you need to do for the first day's workout.

On the second day, do your full cardio schedule. Add a bit of weights. Try doing a circuit (a series of different exercises done in sequence) for the upper or lower body. Mix in another dose of cardio and you're set. On the third day, you'll be raring to get back to your normal and, I certainly hope, gruelling workout session.

Exercise of the fortnight: It's called the Cuban Roll but has nothing to do with Coronas or Churchills (those you did on your break, remember?). This is a shoulder workout that strengthens your rotator cuff muscles that are worked when you laterally or externally rotate your upper arm. In a standing position, hold dumb-bells in each hand with shoulders rotated forward. Now, lift the dumb-bells by rotating your shoulders back while you squeeze your rear deltoid muscles. Lift the weights up so that the upper arm (shoulder to elbow joint) is parallel to the floor, while the lower arm (elbow to wrist) is perpendicular to the floor. That's one repetition. Do three sets of 10 reps each. Caution: it may seem easy but it isn't, so go for lightweights before you master the movement.

-Muscles Mani

Write to musclesmani@intoday.com

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