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Get Fit the Army Way-Muscular Exercises
Muscular type exercises come in many shapes and colors. Most of the exercises are body weight exercises. You can also do exercises with weights in a gym, but this article is for body weight exercises. In a previous article I wrote about body weight exercises and covered the push-up, sit-up, and pull-up as some basic exercises. In this hub I will go into further detail by muscle group.
Wide Arm Push-UpClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Chest, Shoulder, and Triceps muscles
The push-up is the number one exercise for this muscle group. The standard push up consists of holding your hands slightly more than shoulder width apart. In this article I am going to discuss variations of the push-up to change the focus muscles. The first one is the wide-arm push up.
The wide arm push up is simply where the hands are held further away from the body than the standard push-up.
In the picture you see the start position for the wide arm push-up. The thing to remember with all push-up variations is form. Your form is—your body holds a straight line. It is not always parallel to the ground, and you move your body as a single unit. Moving your body as a single unit simply means you are not moving like a worm. Keep your body straight as you lower and raise your body.
The close-hand push-up is the exact opposite of the wide-arm push-up. In the close hand push-up your hands are roughly six inches apart
The Close Hand Push-upClick thumbnail to view full-size
Once more when you conduct the push-ups you must maintain your form. Another key element in correct push-up form is to lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. If you do not keep proper form you are just wasting your time as the muscles won’t get the proper stretch during conditioning that is necessary.
The elevated push-up can be performed in any hand or arm position. The only difference is that the feet of the exerciser are elevated roughly in line with the shoulders. A correct repetition is where the body is lowered so the upper arms are parallel with the ground.
The Elevated Push-upClick thumbnail to view full-size
One more arm and shoulder exercise is the military press. The military press starts out with your feet shoulder width apart and arms raised so your upper arms are parallel to the ground, and your palms are facing up. The movements are simply to raise your arms so they reach toward the sky, once you bring them back to the start position that is one repetition. I like to do about 100 of these as that offers the greatest muscular burn.
The Abdominal Muscles
The abdominal muscles are a complex group of muscles. They consist of mainly the rectus abdominis muscles—the front, and the inner and outer oblique group—the sides. There are more than just these two but for training purposes these are the two we will discuss. The front muscles are the muscles targeted during sit-ups and crunches. For proper sit-up form please reference the above linked article.
The sit-up has its standard form but there are also variations that can be done as well. The twisting sit-up is just like a normal sit-up but instead of coming straight up you twist instead. For example: if you come up and twist, your right elbow will touch your left knee and vice versa. This is a great way to include your obliques.
Another variation of the sit-up is the elevated sit-up. With the elevated sit-up your feet are now at a 90 degree angle to your upper body.
With this particular variation you raise your upper body so your elbows come past your knees, when you go back down to the start position that is one repetition. This variation puts more strain on your abdominal muscles and provides more resistance.
Crunch VariationsClick thumbnail to view full-size
The crunch is the most popular abdominal exercise after the sit-up. The crunch can be done several ways. You can do a crunch by having your legs straight out, your knees flexed at a 90 degree angle, your lower legs parallel to the ground, and your legs perpendicular to the ground.
The most important part of performing the crunch is to use a controlled movement. When you raise your shoulder blades off the ground you want to squeeze your abs and count to two, then relax and go back down. My favorite crunch routine involves all the previously mentioned variations of the crunch at once. I do ten of each variation twice then alternate one leg at a 90 then the other. That is a total of 100.
Some other abdominal exercises are the bicycle, the flutter kick, the leg lifts and leg raises, and the frog kick. I will cover each one of these in greater detail in my hub exercises for a chiseled six-pack.
The Lower Body
Working out the legs without going to a gym or running is difficult but it can be done. The best exercise for the legs actually only involves the thighs, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus. That is the lunge. The lunge is performed by placing your hands on top of your head—this is the start position. Next step forward with one leg and bend your other leg so your knee almost touches the ground. You do not want your knee to touch the ground because you could cause injury to yourself. Next, stand up and bring your trailing leg forward and repeat the process.
A simple variation to this exercise is to perform all the steps while standing still. Everything in this variation is the same except you are not moving forward.
One more exercise for your lower body is the knee bender. The knee bender is like the forward lunge but you don’t utilize as many muscles in the knee bender. The start position is done with your hands on your hips, and your feet shoulder width apart. Step one is done by reaching down and touching your ankles while keeping your back straight. Step two is returning to the starting position, which is one repetition.
I have attempted to be specific in this article but all exercises that can be done have not be discussed in this article. There are many different types of exercises that can be done all of which could be referred to as different names.
References: Army FM 21-20
Copyright 2009 by Wesley Cox