Encyclopedia of Exercise

The Encyclopedia of Exercise includes descriptions and directions on how to perform the exercises described in the Symbol of Strength Life Workouts.

W.O.W. Workout Series #1

Alternating Bent Leg Knee Points: lie on your back with hands on your chest, and legs up in the air with knees flexed. Knees should be positioned just above your hips, not any closer. Starting with your right side, reach for your left knee with your right hand by concentrating on squeezing your abdominal muscles to lift your right shoulder and upper back off the ground as you reach. Return to starting position and do the same with the opposite side, reaching for your right knee with the left hand. If you cannot touch the knee with the hand, just point it at as you come up as high as you can.

Bicep Curl/Shoulder Press: using dumbbells of whatever weight you choose, start in a standing position with arms hanging straight down to your sides with palms facing forward. Perform a bicep curl by flexing your arms and raising weights up to about chest level. Keep elbows locked to your side while performing this movement. From this position, extend the weights up above your head so that the weights are now directly above your shoulders. This is the shoulder press part of the movement. From here slowly reverse the movement until the weights are back at the side of your body in the down position.

Ceiling Touches: starting on your back with legs flexed and feet on the ground, extend your arms straight up towards the ceiling with fingers pointed towards the ceiling. Try to focus on squeezing your abdominal muscles as you lift your shoulders and upper back off the ground. Arms and hands should stay in the same line they started in and go straight up towards the ceiling, as if you are trying to touch it. Lower back down with some semblance of control. A person in the next room should not be able to hear you come down!

Forward Lunge: from a standing position take an exaggerated step forward with the  foot you choose to be your lead foot. Focus on lowering the knee of the back leg towards the ground. Keep the upper body as straight as possible; no leaning forward! Lower your back leg until both legs appear to be flexed close to 90°. Make sure you are balanced, and then push back up to starting position with the legs side-by-side and standing upright.

Jump Rope: there are lots of styles, but basic jump rope technique is using 2 feet. An important learning queue with this is to not jump too high! Try to think of bouncing on the front of your feet.

Modified Chair Dips: start by sitting on the edge of the chair with hands on the chair on each side of the  body. Hands should be placed so that the heel of the hand is on the top or seat of the chair, and fingers are in the front of the seat.  Take two steps out with your feet so that your rear end is suspended in front of the chair. Lower your body down until your arms form 90° angles. Push backup to starting position trying to use as much arms as possible and as little of your legs as possible.

Modified Push-ups: starting position is hands on the ground directly below your shoulders with arms extended, middle of the body straight and off the ground, with knees on the ground and feet up. Your hands, shoulders, and knees should form a triangle. Both arms will flex as you lower your upper and middle body towards the ground. When your upper arm and lower arm form a 90° angle began pushing with the heels of your hand back up to starting position. Again, if you are unable to maintain balance on your way down to 90°, stop your dissension earlier and come back up.

Prisoner Squats: starting from a standing position with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, cross arms in front of the chest with hands on opposite shoulders. Flex legs and lower body towards the ground as if you are going to sit on a chair. The eventual goal is to go as low as having your upper legs being parallel with the floor. You must build up to this though. Therefore, only go down as far as you can while maintaining your balance and not leaning forward. From this position push with the heels of your feet and extend backup to starting position.

Single Leg Sit Downs: stand in front of the chair on one leg. Slowly lower yourself with that one leg until you are sitting on the chair. Using both feet, stand back up, then repeat with the other leg. 5 seconds is the approximate time you want to take as you lower down.

Side Plank Raises: laying on the ground on your side, place your support forearm between your body and the ground. Your free arm can come in front and help you balance if needed with your hand on the ground only. Your feet will be on the ground and stay sideways. Raise your hips off the ground so that the only thing that is touching is your forearm, your feet, and your offhand if needed. Hold this position for 2 seconds and then lower. Finish the allotted amount of repetitions for this side before switching to the other side. Again, a person in the next room should not hear you when you come back down.

Step Ups: using a stairway step or something solid of similar height, step up onto the step 1 foot at a time, and then step back down 1 foot at a time for either a set of repetitions or for a set amount of time.

W.O.W. Workout Series #2

Modified Triangle Push-ups –  this exercise uses the same body positioning as the modified push-up except for hand position. In this exercise your hands will be close together. Hands can either be next to each other (1-2 inches space), or you can form a triangle with your index fingers touching at the top, and your thumbs touching to form the bottom of the triangle. Again, only come down as much as you can without losing balance, then push back up to starting position. This movement puts more focus on the triceps.

Two o’clock or three o’clock lunges – imagine the starting position as the center of a clock face. Your first lunge should be done straight at 12 o’clock, then slightly angle yourself and do a lunge at one o’clock. Continue the angle change for two o’clock and or three o’clock depending on the workout. Once you get to the final position, do your lunges in reverse order until you are back to 12 o’clock. This is obviously for the right leg, and for the left leg start at 12 o’clock and go down to 10 o’clock or nine o’clock.

Planks – begin with whole body and stomach on the ground or what is also referred to as a prone position. Place both forearms on the ground below chest. Feet should be together with toes facing the ground. Push up using the forearms and toes, lifting the rest of the body off the ground. Try to hold your body position as flat as possible as if it were a plank or tabletop. You will have to tighten many muscles in your core to hold this position for between five and 10 seconds before lowering your body back down.

Double Step up – using a stairway, step up to the second step, and then come back down one step at a time to the starting position. Repeat for recommended repetition or time. With each set, change the foot you lead with for proper balance work.

Turning lunges – imagine you are standing on a clock face, begin by facing 12. With the right leg, pivot and step directly towards three o’clock. Perform lunge and return to 12 o’clock.  With the left leg , pivot and step directly towards nine o’clock. Perform lunge and return to 12 o’clock.

Tricep Kickbacks – with dumbbell in right hand bend over so your back is parallel with the ground. Use the left hand for stabilization by setting it on a bench or chair. Flex right arm to a 90 degree angle with the elbow even with the side of the body or ribs. Extend lower arm backwards until arm is completely straight. Turn the wrist while extending the arm back so that the Palm is facing the ceiling. At the extension point make sure you are contracting the tricep muscle (back of upper arm). Finish all repetitions with the right arm, and then move to the left arm.

Butterfly Crunches – start by lying on your back and raising your legs off the ground with knees bent. Put your feet together and spread knees apart. Your arms should be straight with hands together in prayer position lying on your stomach. Raise the arms and hands up while engaging your abdominal muscles and trying to reach for your heels. Your shoulders and upper back should come off the ground while trying to move your legs as little as possible. If you can’t touch your heels, just try to get as close as you can. Lower back down and repeat.

Mountain Climbers – get into a “track starting position” with both hands on the ground, one leg straight back with toe supporting, and the other leg flexed and forward with foot flat on the ground. Using arms for stability, push off forcefully with both legs and switch their positions in the air. Land in the “track starting position” with feet now switched. Repeat this movement fast and continuously while maintaining control for safety.

Reverse Lunge with Deltoid Raise – from a standing position, take a step back into a lunge. At the same time, raise your arms straight out to your sides with dumbbells. Your arms should form a T. position and hands should not go above the shoulder height. Pause for a second to make sure you are balanced, and then return to the standing start position. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Bicep Curls – with dumbbells in hands, let the arms hang straight down at your side with palms facing forward. Perform the curl by flexing the arm and bringing the weight up towards the chest. Keep the elbows tight to the side of the body and only move the lower arm. Lower back down to the starting position and repeat.

Reverse Crunches – lie on your back with your hands at your sides and legs straight out in front of you. Begin this movement by raising your legs up, flexing your legs, and bringing your knees toward your chest. Trying to raise your rear end off the ground and squeeze the lower abs tightly. Lower back down and straighten your legs back out to the starting position.

W.O.W. Workout Series # 3

Single Leg Squats –balance on one leg with arms hanging straight down on the sides of your body or out slightly to help with balance. Lower yourself down by flexing your leg. Only go a few inches down and then push back up. As the stabilizer muscles get stronger your balance will improve and you can go down farther. Finish doing all of the repetitions on one leg before moving on to the next.

Rotator Cuff Scarecrows – holding a light dumbbell in each hand, begin with your arms in a field-goal like position. Each arm would form a 90° angle with palms facing out and hands towards the ceiling. By keeping your upper arms in the same position, rotate your upper arm down so that palms are now facing the ground. Then rotate the arms back up to starting position. This is a small movement for your interior shoulder muscles. It is not supposed to be hard, just functional.

Alternating Plank Leg Lifts – from a plank or table top position, raise one foot off of the ground under control and then lower it back down. Repeat with the other foot. Continue alternating feet for the repetitions recommended.

Jump Squares or Jump Rope Squares – imagine standing on one corner of a square. Using a jump rope (not required), jump to each corner of the square. You will jump forward, to the right side, backwards, and then to the left side. With each set that you do forward, jump a square in reverse order.

Side Lunges – start in a standing position with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Take a wide lateral step with the right foot. Flex the right leg while lowering the upper body down and back as if sitting on a chair. The left leg will straighten. Try your hardest to keep the upper body vertical and not leaning forward. Push off of the right leg back to the starting position. Continue with the repetitions on the right leg until completed, and then switch to the left.

Modified Push Up Hold – same as a modified push-up, but when in the down position, hold that position for 5 seconds before pushing back up.

Alternating Elbow to Knee Crunch – lie on your back, put your hands behind your head and bring your legs up so your knees are above your hips. Next, contract your abdominal muscles and try to touch your left knee with your right elbow. Lower back down and take your left elbow to the right knee. Do not worry if you can’t touch the elbow to the knee to begin with. Just get as close as you can, and try not to move the legs.

Alternating Turning Dumbbell Punches – holding dumbbells in both hands, begin in a standing position with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and legs slightly flexed. Imagine doing cross punches to a heavy bag with the right arm first, and then the left arm. When performing your cross punch, don’t forget to use your legs and core to help you twist and turn to perform the punch. Arms should come straight across and turned so that the Palm is down at extension. This whole body movement should also increase your heart rate. Go at your own pace!

Prone Alternating Arm and Leg Lifts – start in a prone position or lying flat on the floor with your stomach down. Arms should be stretched above your head with palms towards the ground. Keeping your arms and legs straight, raise the left arm and right leg at the same time about 6 inches off the ground. Lower them back down and repeat with the right arm and left leg.

Jump Backs – this is a modified Burpee. From a standing position, crouch down and place hands on the floor next to or slightly in front of the feet. Push off with both feet and jump them backwards so that your body is in a push-up like position. Pushing up with both feet again, jump them to their starting position. Now pushing up with both legs, stand back up. Repeat for the amount of repetitions or time recommended. As you get stronger you will be able to jump farther back into the push-up position, but don’t worry about how far you get when you first start.

W.O.W. Workout Series #4

Prisoner  Squats with Dumbbells—same as the prisoner squats done before, except you hold dumbbells in each hand. Continue to cross your arms and have your hands up by your shoulders. You are simply adding more resistance to the exercise.

Dumbbell Turning Jabs – with dumbbells in your hands, perform crossing punches. Try to imagine you are hitting a heavy bag. Flex your legs slightly, and pivot and turn the entire body with each punch. Keep your hands up at chest level the entire time. Alternate punching with left and right hands until the set is completed.

Superman Holds—lie on the ground on your stomach.  Arms should be extended above your head on the ground. Keeping both arms and legs straight, raise them off the ground a few inches. You should feel tightness in your entire backside when you do this. Hold the position for a few seconds and then return to the ground.

Butterfly Crunches – start by lying on your back with legs off the ground and knees bent. Place the soles of your feet together, and spread your knees out to the side. Keep your legs in the air and still throughout the exercise. Lay your arms on your stomach with hands together in prayer position. Raising your shoulders and head off the ground, contract your abdominal muscles, and try to touch your heels with your fingertips. If you can’t touch them, come as close as you can and then return to the ground.

Mountain Climbers – begin by getting into a track starting position. Place both hands down on the ground with 1 foot forward and one foot extended back. While keeping your hands in place on the ground, jump with both  legs and switch their positions so that the feet land in the opposite spot they started in. For example, if your left foot was forward in the beginning and your right foot was back, after the jump the right foot should be forward and the left foot back. Continue jumping and switching it until the set is over.

Side lunges – start in a standing position with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Take a wide lateral step with the right foot. Flex the right leg while lowering the upper body down and back as if sitting on a chair. The left leg will straighten. Try your hardest to keep the upper body vertical and not leaning forward. Push off of the right leg back to the starting position. Continue with the repetitions on the right leg until completed, and then switch to the left.

Triangle Push ups (with or without stability ball) – this is just like the traditional push-up on the stability ball except for your hand position. Form a triangle by touching your index fingers together and your thumbs together. Or simply put your hands closer together. When lowering your upper body, your hands will be aimed more towards the center of your chest. These are harder than normal push-ups, and they work your triceps quite a bit. Enjoy!

Ceiling Touches with Stability Ball at 45° angle – lie on your back while holding a stability ball with your feet. Raise the ball off the ground with your legs at a 45° angle. Hold the ball in this position throughout the exercise. Raise your upper body off the ground and touch the ball with their hands. Lower back down to starting position and continue. Holding your legs in this position will get the lower abs burning as well as your quads.

Boxer Jump Rope – there are lots of styles, but basic jump rope technique is using 2 feet. An important learning queue with this is to not jump too high! Try to think of bouncing on the front of your feet.

Hammer Curls – this is to be performed much like the other bicep curl. The only thing different will be the hand position. Instead of the weight being held with your palms out, for this exercise turn your palms in towards your thighs. You will hold a dumbbell much like you would hold a hammer or a goblet. This slight change in position will help you work a different angle on your wrist, as well as, more of your  for arm muscles.

Overhead Triceps Extensions – with dumbbells in the hands, extend your arms straight up above your head. Bending at the elbow drop the weights down behind your head until your forearms are parallel with the ground. Extend back up to starting position. While doing this exercise, as you drop the weight back your palms should be facing each other, and as you go back up your palms should face the same direction as your eyes when at full extension. As if you were giving someone high-fives.

Alternating Opposing Side Crunches—start by lying on your back with your hands behind your head with legs flexed and raised off the ground. Contracting with the abdominals, touch your left knee with your right elbow and then return to the floor. Now try to touch your right knee with your left elbow. If you can’t quite touch just come as close as you can and go back down. Continue alternating sides until the set is complete.

Lateral Jumping Over the Rope – lay your jump rope down on the ground and straighten it. Start with both feet on one side of the rope and jump laterally or sideways to the other side of the  rope. Continue jumping back and forth for the allotted time.

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