Shake up your exercise routine for a fresh start

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If you are worrying where to start with your training plan, keep getting injured or have hit a plateau then now is the time to change.

If you are already doing some sort of training, then the first thing to do is to look at what you have been doing?

Get on your bike to stay healthy

Get on your bike to stay healthy

Are you doing repetitive exercise? Are you working to your full capacity?

It may just be time to look at your training differently.

So asking your coach at the gym to put together a new programme for you to follow is a good place to start.

Or if you work out on your own, then add some variation to what you are doing.

For example, studies show that adding in shorter, higher- intensity workouts will increase your metabolism.

If I’m planning a month at Bootcamp, I make sure that we start at an easy pace and build up the intensity towards the end of the month.

Adding in short weight training sessions or using kettlebells keeps your workouts interesting and fun.

If you run on a regular basis then try swapping a running session for the bike or go swimming.

Adding sessions of sprints will also help your performance and endurance.

This is easy to do wherever you run. Just sprint between lampposts or trees. If you don’t have a timer, choose longer or shorter sprint distances each time you do it, again to add variation.

If you haven’t done any training for a long time or you keep getting injured then it might be time to look at your core strength.

Now this is a term you have probably heard used a lot,

but what does it actually mean?

The core in simple terms is like a room, the ceiling being your diaphragm, the side walls the obliques and the floor your pelvic floor muscles.

Add in the front wall that’s the rectus abdominus (six pack) and the back walls (multifidus) and other accessory back muscles. That just leaves the paint on the walls and that is your transverse abdominus (corset muscles) that wrap around you.

It is very important to get your core working efficiently as you will find you have less pressure in your back resulting in a large decrease in lower back pain and meaning that you can do exercise with less risk of injury.

The diaphragm is not really thought of as a core muscle but it is just as important as all of the muscles for stability and, more importantly, for breathing capacity.

It holds onto stress and can be very tight, resulting in shallow breathing, anxiety and weakness.

Learning how to use your diaphragm correctly can massively help your training as you will feel less restricted in your breathing and be able to breathe more efficiently through your workout.

Breathing correctly from your ribcage is the correct way to activate your core. This type of breathing technique is used in hypopresive exercise along with work on postural correction.

The pelvic floor muscles are the most important part of the core as they are the part that holds everything up.

They tend to be mostly thought of by women, but men should also work to tone this area as like any floor in any room, they will become weak under pressure, sag and spill their contents from the weakest spot.

In women this can be embarrassing leaks and for men it will mean hernias in the groin, abdominals or discs of the lower back.

This is why specific core work, which helps to add tone to areas of weakness and lose tone from areas where there has been too much pressure, is an essential starting point.

If you would like any more information on the hypopresive method e-mail nikki@challenge-fitness.com. I am running the next workshop on Thursday, April 24.

Visit fab-body-fitness.co.uk/warriors/ for kettlebell workouts.

Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps in Fareham where she trains groups.

Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and a UK Hypo-presive Method Trainer.

She helps people master a fitness technique that targets the core.

Visit fab-body-fitness.co.uk. Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifit mum1