Try Arnold Schwarzenegger's 5-Minute Workout Challenge
There is absolutely no shortage of training advice out there online, but there are worst people to get advice from than a seven-time Mr. Olympia winner and lifelong fitness fanatic. Arnold Schwarzenegger launched a daily newsletter in January to share the benefits of his insight and expertise from the last five or six decades of working out, and in a recent edition he outlined a simple but challenging routine comprising stretches and activation exercises designed to improve mobility and flexibility.
"You can do this anywhere, in less time than it takes to brew your coffee (so maybe do it while you’re waiting for that sweet caffeine in the morning) and you can make it a standalone routine or a pre-workout warmup," he wrote.
The first step is "the greatest stretch in the world," which is really a circuit of four stretches, starting with the high knee raise, which activates the glutes. Then step into the Spider-Man lunge and into the overhead reach, which introduces thoracic rotation, then end with the hip raise in the lunge position. Perform this sequence a total of six times on each side of the body.
Next is the cat cow stretch, so-named because, well, you will look like a cross between a cat and a cow while you're doing it. The goal of this back stretch is spinal protraction and retraction; on your hands and knees, round your back and try to get your shoulder blades as far apart as possible, then slowly arch your back, squeezing your shoulders as closely together as you can. Perform for 10 reps, and don't rush it. "The more and more you do this, your movement is going to get better and you're going to be more in touch with your spine," says Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel C.S.C.S.
The next move is more challenging: the 90/90 hip switch. This is great for targeting tight adductors and improving your hip flexion. Sit upright with your right leg in front of your body, bent 90 degrees at the knee, and your left leg out to the side, also bent at the knee. Then, while keeping your core engaged and your legs flat on the ground, rotate your hips so that your left leg is in front and your right is out to the side. Do 5 reps in each direction, and as Schwarzenegger advises, "don’t be afraid to use your hands, you don’t need to be hardcore like all the people you see online to loosen up those hips."
After that, stand up, and lower yourself into a 10-second squat hold position. Then finish the routine with a set of 5 to 10 bodyweight squats, depending on your ability.
"This should take about five minutes," says Schwarzenegger, "but you can fly through it faster to get your heart rate up or really slow down and enjoy the stretches. You can do as many rounds as you want."
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