Body Resistance and Free-Weight Training: The Ideal Workout, Part II

In Part I of Body Resistance and Free-weight Training, I discussed the awesomeness of exercise equipment infomercials, our inability to resist purchasing said equipment, and our subsequent inability to put said equipment to continuous and persistent use due to a societal “quick fix” mentality. More importantly, I stated that anyone can get a good workout with results without pounding away in the gym for hours. This can be accomplished simply using one’s body and/or exercise equipment which can be employed anywhere, such as dumbbells or resistance bands.

The purpose of the second part of The Ideal Workout is to provide a better understanding of what body-weight resistance and free-weight training involves, dispense a sample exercise routine or two, and discuss the health benefits of this form of training.

Before taking a closer look at body-weight resistance training and what it entails, lets first discuss what body-weight resistance training is not. It is not the training of your body to resist exercise and fresh vegetables, it is not training to resist the overwhelming body of evidence that exercise is good for you, and it is not training yourself to resist reading the rest of this article. Thus, persist on my friends! Body-weight resistance training is using only your body’s weight to perform a wide assortment of exercises. Some examples of body-weight exercises include push-ups for the chest, dips for your triceps, pull-ups, chin-ups, and body rows for the back and biceps, lunges and squats for the quads and hamstrings, and planks for your core. All you need to perform these exercises is yourself, preferably in an awakened and inspired state, some gravity, and maybe a chair or bench. Pull-ups, chin-ups, and body rows will require something that you can hang from, which can easily be found in any park or playground. In fact, a playground setting is ideal for body-weight resistance training. You can perform any body-weight resistance exercise imaginable while taking your kids out to play. This can be a fun bonding experience with your child while you get a nice workout at the same time.

Burpees, squat jumps, and mountain climbers are a few other body-weight resistance exercises that are more intense and dynamic in movement. I would suggest visiting to view the correct form and application of these exercises.

Free weights such as dumbbells can be employed in your workout in order to add variety and more resistance. Dumbbell exercises include bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, front raises, and presses for the shoulders, bent-over rows for the back, presses for the chest, plus dumbbells can be used in all squatting and lunging exercises for added resistance. Resistance bands can be employed as an alternative to dumbbells in the majority of the above mentioned exercises. The bands are also easier to transport and carry if you plan on performing your workout outdoors.

Now that we have a nice sample size of exercises to choose from, lets put them together into a full body-weight resistance and free-weight training routine. For this particular routine all you will need is two dumbbells, a few working limbs, a large bottle of motivation, and about 30 to 40 minutes. Your goal is to choose a dumbbell weight that will allow you to perform at least 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise. Just be mindful that this is not a muscle bulk building routine. It is geared more towards weight loss, toning, and defining the muscles. Thus, without further delay, let the pain commence!! Just kidding.

Begin the routine with a set of mountain climbers, then immediately go into the plank position and perform a plank, preferably close to exhaustion. Next stand up, pick up your dumbbells, and perform in succession a set of standing shoulder presses and a set of bicep curls. Immediately get into a bent knee position leaning forward, as if you were skiing, and perform a set of rows followed by a set of tricep extensions. Next, put the dumbbells down and join them on the ground. Perform a set of push-ups followed immediately by another plank. Finish off the routine by performing a set of lounges while holding the dumbbells by your sides for added resistance followed immediately by a set of squat jumps. Take a break. Perform this routine two more times and your workout is complete.

The above routine will not only work your muscles but also your cardiovascular system due to its fast pace and quick flow from one exercise to the next. It aims to burn calories and raise your metabolism. And the routine can be performed anywhere.

For a more advanced muscle-building body-weight resistance and free-weight training routine, take a quick ride to your local park or playground, accompanied by a resistance band. The routine will consist of one set each of the following exercises: pull-ups, dips, body rows, push-ups, jump squats, planks, and bicep curls, lateral raises, and front raises with the resistance band. Again, shoot for at least 8 to 12 repetitions on each exercise. All of the exercises should be performed with no more than a 20-second break in between. Once you complete one cycle of the routine, take a 2 to 3 minute break and decide if your body can handle a second or a third cycle.

Your main goal when exercising should be efficient, high intensity training. There is really no reason to rest after performing ten bicep curls when your triceps are fresh and ready to go. After working the triceps, move on to your legs. Maintain good form throughout and feel your muscles working. As you move from exercise to exercise, you will realize that you’re starting to break a sweat too. Keep moving until you hit every body part before taking a break.

There are numerous benefits from this fast-paced resistance workout. First and foremost is the workout’s time convenience. If performed properly, a routine should take no longer then 30 to 40 minutes. With minimal rest time, it can even be cut down to 20 to 25 minutes. In that time span, you will hit all of your major muscle groups while working your cardiovascular system at the same time. The convenience is not only time-related but also stretches out to location. As stated before, this workout can be performed anywhere, from your living room, to your kitchen, to the local Laundromat while your clothes are drying, to a long checkout line at the supermarket. Ladies, feel free to carry a pair of dumbbells in your pocketbook, goodness knows it probably weighs 15 to 20lbs already. Guys, don’t be shy about walking around with a resistance band over your shoulders, it could make for a great accessory or fashion statement. And while I don’t really recommend for anyone to drop into a plank at Wal-Mart, I want everyone to realize that the gym is not the only place where legitimate exercise can be performed.

Further benefits include all of the amazing physical and mental health changes that regular exercise affords, mainly more energy, alertness, weight loss, higher self-esteem and better self-image, longevity, and prevention of minor and major illness. Body-weight resistance and free-weight training is geared towards shaping, toning, and weight loss. The more physically demanding routines which involve multiple sets of pull-ups and push-ups will also aid in muscle gain. The more resistance you provide, the more growth will occur. Resistance can also be enhanced by simply slowing down the movement of each repetition.

At the end of the day, the newest, coolest exercise equipment that contorts your body to provide maximum muscle contraction will have no impact unless you use it. Thus, instead of sending four convenient and easy payments of whatever to whoever, realize that it’s your health goals and motivation that will decide your fitness future, not some new spaceship abdominal contraption. Also, realize that you do not need to perform 40 minutes of cardio followed by 40 minutes of weight training five days a week in the gym to get a good workout and be healthy. The two can be combined into one workout through quick and efficient body-weight resistance and free-weight training that can be performed anywhere with minimal and affordable equipment. Yet, like most tasks that everyone performs on a daily basis, this type of training and the results will be based on the effort put forth. When the decision is made to exert a sustained and serious effort, magic happens.

Choosing Elementary School Photographers – Part I

If you look on the wall of any mother’s home you will find cherished memories framed for every year. No matter how silly the photo, school photographs are remembered for a lifetime. Like most things that have a deep rooted tradition, technology has made elementary school pictures much more exciting. Many schools go with the traditional school pose for their fall program. But did you know a lot of schools use spring pictures as a fundraiser and have fun doing it?

Things to Consider when Choosing an Elementary School Photographer

Before you can think about how school photography can be a great fundraiser, you first have to choose the right photographer. For school photographers in San Diego, most decisions are made by the administrative staff, while others are left to the PTO or PTA. However, with school staffs being spread so thin these days, many schools are leaving the decision to the PTO.

There are so many school photographers available today that the decision to choose a school photographer can be a difficult one. A school photographer in San Diego is going to have a different program than a local company in a small town.

Listen to word of mouth. Good school photographers will have people talking about them. They will also have a good selection of experienced, professional school photographers to run your school picture day. It is always good to take a look at the company’s website to see their overall philosophy.

Something else to consider when choosing a photographer is who is actually taking the school pictures. You might want to ask for sample pictures taken by the actual photographers who will be at your school picture day. Many schools ask to meet the photographers who will be working at their school, which isn’t a bad idea. You want a photographer who will allow the kids to relax, because when kids are relaxed they take better pictures. This in turn leads to parents who are satisfied with their school pictures.

Another consideration when selecting a photography company is how much work will be required of the school. Many companies provide all the staff needed for picture day and require no volunteers from the school. When a company takes most of the work off of the school they are well valued.

Other photographers prefer teacher and parent volunteer involvement on picture day. There is a rational explanation for this, that the parents and staff know the students better. However, if your photographer is experienced in taking elementary school pictures, the kids will warm up to them very quickly. Plus, parents are not experienced in running a school picture day, that should be the job of the school photographer.