We've all seen those infomercials that say 10 minutes a day is all it takes to get fab abs. Well 10 minutes a day is enough for somethings, but it aint going to get you fab abs. More Importantly, which six pack would you really rather have, Abs that require more maintainance than Joan Rivers face, or the one from the Micro-brewery across town? If you're like me, the beer wins every time. So, if not abs, what is it we're really trying to get out of exercise? Strength, plain and simple. IF they are still kicking, look at your father and grandfather, what could they use more; the areobic capacity to run a 5k, or the stength and flexibilty to do squats and push-ups?
The first routine I wrote was to do pushups, situps, and deep knee bends , twice a week. Mastering your own bodyweight is the safest form of strength training. You can build a reasonable amount of muscle and metobolic conditioning using just body weight. Most guys however get really bored, really quickly, doing calesthenics. This is why barbells in one form or another have been around for so long. There is something about lifting weights that just appeals to most guys. At a bare minimum you will need a bar, about two hundred pounds of weights that fit on the bar, a sledge hammer, and an old tire to make use of the advice in the remainder of this series. These can be picked up dirt cheap at yard sales, flea markets, and used sporting good stores. I routinely see full Olympic sets on sale for $99. Dumbells such as the bowflex select tech 1090's or PowerBlock's are also a good option if you are willing and able to spend the money. A nice thing to have is some type of stand or rack to hold the bar while you change weights and to allow for heavier squating and pressing. The stand is not required for this series, just nice to have. A bench you can use with the stands is also a nicety. You don't have to do bench press', but for those of you out there who are stuggeling with push ups, moving to bench press' where you can use a lighter weight and work up may be a reasonalbe approach. Also, at a certain point doing 10-15 bench press' may be more appealing than doing 30 to 50 push ups. Again, the bench and stand are not required.
The first implement of destruction we are going to use other than our body is the venerable sledge hammer. Do your pushups, situps, and deep knee bends. Then, go outside, get an old tire, one that has been deflated and taken off the wheel, and for one minute swing (get a timer if needed) the hammer from the same shoulder and pound the tire. Rest 30 secondes, change shoulders and swing the hammer for another minute. Rest for one minute. Now grab your hammer like a shovel, the heavy part being the blade, and leading with your right hand closest to the weight, "shovel" for one minute, rest 30 seconds and repeat with the left hand closest to the weight. Hit the showers and grab a proten shake, you've earned it.
What to do if you don't have a sledge hammer, or room to use one. For the time being a single 15 lb dumbell can be a substitute for the hammer. Using both hands do a wood chop motion. and Dumbell swings for the shovel.