Old school is English slang used to describe some technique or style from the past. Underlying characteristics of old school carries the ambiance of classic value, aged wisdom or deep roots. Old school for our purpose is to describe effective traditional training. This type of training is still the fundamental building blocks to any good physical workout. The majority of these exercises need no more or less than your body weight.
First thing to understand is any and all exercise programs begins and ends with stretching. This includes warm up and cool down. This prevents injury and helps develop muscles by allowing the body to properly perform movements without pain or restrictions. A good stretch, as practiced 2000 years ago in Yoga’s sun salutations, can be done by standing tall, reaching above with arms fully extended, a forward bend, followed by cobra and my favorite downward facing dog. Other good awakenings of the muscles are spinal twist, hip flexor stretches, adductors (inner thigh), and self-myofascial release stretching.
Second thing to know is strength exercises are the fundamentals to any and all workouts and weight loss. Modern sports science tells us that body weight should be an initial source during exercise establishing proper usage of (P) agonist (prime movers), (A) antagonist (opposing muscles being stretched), and (S) synergistic muscles (smaller supporting muscles of the agonist muscle).
What does that mean? By utilizing variations of the push-up, you can develop the same muscles found in different inclines of the bench press including; chest (P), triceps (P) core(S), shoulders(S) and back (A). Modified: use knees.
Pull-ups are a classic that works more than the back (P), they also work latissimus dorsi (P), biceps (P), shoulders (S) and chest (A). Utilizing variations of the pull-up by hand placement you can target specific areas in the back similar to the pushup. Modified: use bands, machine and/or chair
Dive-bombers are a classic, more advanced pushup that engages the core (P) while working a variety of angles of the chest (P), shoulders (P) and triceps (P). You start in downward facing dog and imagine diving under a barbwire fence dropping your hips into an upward facing dog (knees do not touch the ground). Reverse the movement pushing back on the hand with elbows tucked aligned with the shoulders. Additional muscles engaged during dive-bombers are calves (P), hamstrings (P) and gluteus (S).
The core encompasses muscles surrounding the spine, probably the most essential muscle group in every day use. Sit-ups work the anterior muscles that create the flat stomach, oblique striations and the beautiful six-pack we all long for. Three of the best sit-ups are the bicycle, leg overs and Pilate’s sit-ups. Utilizing the stomach muscles, pull the belly button inward towards the spine. Note: Do not pull the head forward, do not use momentum to assist in the movement, and do allow each spine to sequentially rise off or onto the ground.
Opposite arm and leg extensions works the posterior muscles that tighten the gluteus muscles up through the lower back. For the superman move, lay in the prone position (on your belly) with arms extended in front of you and raise your arms and legs out towards the sky.
Last but not least, enjoy what you do. It is important that while staring at your reflection in the mirror or passing someone during your work out, that you smile. Exercise can be an addictive healthy way to stay in good health. A smile will help motivate your workout and remind you of the fact you are having fun. Yes, smiling is an old school tip that has been lost in translation, which can be once again an effective tool to create friendships, positive affirmation and synergistic energy.
Pick up next week’s issue for Part 2: Lower body.