“Body for Life for Women,” written by Dr. Pamela Peeke, was published in 2005. The book includes cardio, weight training, abdominal and stretching exercises. Dr. Peeke’s program lays out alternating days of cardio with upper body and lower body/abdominal training. You will need a flat bench that can convert to an incline bench, dumbbells, a step, a mat and an exercise ball to work the program.
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The exercise plan in “Body for Life for Women” is based on a 12-week cycle. The first day of week one begins with cardio followed by upper body on Tuesday, cardio, lower body and abs, cardio then upper body on Saturday. Week two begins with lower body and abs on Monday followed by cardio, upper body, cardio, lower body and abs on Friday; finish the week with cardio on Saturday. The remaining 10 weeks continue with this alternating pattern.
Include 30 minutes of cardio three to five days a week; choose an activity that you enjoy, such as walking outside or on the treadmill, kickboxing or biking. Vary the type of aerobic exercise you do to prevent a training plateau. Warm up with a low-intensity, 10-minute cardio bout and a quick stretch before every aerobic workout. Work at the highest level of intensity comfortable for you. Continue to increase the intensity as your fitness level improves.
Upper Body Exercises
Complete two exercises per muscle group -- chest, back, shoulders, triceps and biceps. Do three sets per exercise, increasing your weight and decreasing the number of repetitions. For your first set, perform 12 to 20 reps. Do 12 to 15 reps for your second set and complete eight to 10 reps for your third set. Rest one minute between each set and rest two minutes before you work on the next muscle group.
Dr. Peeke recommends working your pec muscles with dumbbell chest presses, incline dumbbell chest presses, flat dumbbell flies, and pushups on your knees or toes. Engage your shoulder muscles with seated dumbbell presses, front raises, dumbbell lateral raises and prone flies. For your back, do one-arm dumbbell rows, one-arm cable rows and dumbbell pullovers. Build your triceps muscles with bench dips, lying dumbbell extensions, triceps kickbacks and standing dumbbell extensions. Finally, do exercises for your biceps, including hammer curls, alternating dumbbell curls and bilateral dumbbell curls.
Lower Body and Abdominal Exercises
Complete three sets of each lower body exercise. Use the same repetition scheme as for upper body exercises. Do dumbbell squats, plie dumbbell squats, dumbbell lunges or stationary lunges, dead lifts, standing one-leg calf raise and angled calf raises. Train your abdominal muscles after you are done with your leg exercises. Pick one exercise for your “six pack” muscle and one exercise for your obliques, the muscles that run diagonally at the sides of your trunk -- floor crunches, reverse crunches, ball crunches, twist crunches and hip thrusts.
Flexibility training improves the range of motion of your joints and muscles. Complete three reps of each stretch, holding the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. The book includes a spinal stretch, the cat tilt, a hamstring stretch, a hip flexor stretch, the running stretch and a triangle pose.