Your Fitness Challenge
By Judi Ketteler
As an Oxygen reader, “quit” is not in your vocabulary. We know you love a challenge as much as you love well defined abs, so we came up with a fail-proof plan that makes it easy to reach all your health and fitness goals (and you’ll get closer to that six-pack as well). Whether you’ve been searching for the right approach to tackle that one specific task or are just looking for a fun way to mix up your spring fitness program, this is your ultimate plan for success.
Challenge One: Do 5 Chin-Ups, Unassisted
TIME FRAME: 8 weeks (with 3 strengthtraining sessions per week)
BENEFIT: Sculpts the muscles in your back and shoulders, improves your posture and helps reverse slouching caused by daily life.
YOUR PLAN: “You definitely need pure strength to be able to do chin-ups,” says Joan Pagano, a certified health and fitness instructor from New York and author of Strength Training for Women (DK Publishing, 2005). Try this approach for learning to chin using the Smith machine.
STEP ONE: Set the bar at a height that allows you to hang with your arms extended (using an underhand grip) and your glutes just a couple of centimetres off the floor. Starting with your feet fully extended, pull your legs toward your body until your feet are squarely planted on the floor.
Pull yourself up as high as you can, then slowly lower back down to the extended position. Repeat until you can perform three sets of 10 reps, resting about 45 seconds between sets. Once you can do three sets, give your muscles time to recover for several days before trying again.
STEP TWO: The next time you do this exercise, raise the bar another notch or two and begin with the hanging position again, this time with your feet planted more closely to the machine. Stick with it until you can perform three sets of as many reps as possible.
STEP THREE: Raise the bar again the next time you try this move, and repeat the process again and again until you can pull yourself all the way up.