We all watch TV, right? They are everywhere! In the lines of the grocery store, above the gas pumps and even in the gym. But, for most of us, we get in our precious TV time at home while lounging on the couch. Let’s face it, we are never going to completely kick the TV habit, so why not make it work to our benefit? Here’s some tips to get you moving while you are boob-tubing.
The Routine That Makes You Appreciate Your Favorite Sitcom Even More:
You can use a character’s predictability to remind you to keep you moving—sort of like a college drinking game, but with squats instead of shots. Try this circuit workout from Mike Donavanik, a Los Angeles–based personal trainer and the creator of the Extreme Burn DVD series. Every time your favorite character says or does something specific, use that as a cue to do one exercise for one minute. Donavanik recommends alternating upper and lower body moves: Start with push-ups, then squats, then tricep dips, then lunges. Finish with crunches. Keep cycling through these five exercises for the entire 30-minute show. Want to make it a little more intense? Use commercial breaks as cues as well.
Strengthen Your Arms Without Ever Leaving the Couch:
Tricep dips tone the muscles on the backside of your upper arms, Donavanik says, and the only piece of equipment you need is a sturdy piece of furniture. Position your hands on the couch on either side of your hips, and scoot your bottom off the edge of your seat. Your legs should be bent, with your feet placed hip-width apart on the floor. Slowly bend your elbows and lower your upper body until your arms are at a 90-degree angle (keep your back close to the couch). Straighten your arms and return to the starting position. Don’t worry about counting; just do as many as you can, then rest. Repeat three to four times. While you should definitely feel the burn in this position, Donavanik says you can make this even more challenging by extending both legs straight in front of you or putting them up on a coffee table.
The Cardio Workout for When You Can’t Be Bothered to Get Up:
A portable pedal bike (which costs between $30 and $150) allows you to exercise in the comfort of your La-Z-Boy. These mini machines are much cheaper and take up less room than a stationary bike, treadmill or ski machine, but you have to be strategic to get your heart rate up. Skip steady-state cycling (easy enough to carry on a conversation without being breathless) and do intervals instead. Start with a five-minute warm-up at easy resistance. Adjust the knob until turning the pedals takes moderate effort. Then do one minute of fast, intense pedaling, then one minute of easy—and keep that up for the duration of the 30-minute program. You can also take an “active recovery” during commercials by easing up on the resistance.
The Moves to Do When You Can’t Take Your Eyes Off the Screen:
For these situations where you cannot miss a single minute of viewing time, Chicago-based personal trainer Traci D. Mitchell recommends wall squats, which she says strengthen the front and sides of the quads as well as the glutes. Keeping your upper back against a wall facing the television, take a big step forward. Sink down until you feel like you’re sitting in a straight-back chair, with both thighs parallel to the ground. Mitchell likes to do pyramids: hold the squat for 10 seconds, then rest for a minute or so; hold for 20 seconds, then rest again. Keep lengthening the intervals until you get to 40 seconds, then take it back down (squat for 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 10 seconds). To work the shoulders at the same time, Mitchell says to extend your arms and lift them to shoulder height with each squat. To further work the shoulders, you can hold small hand weights or something similar, like canned goods.
An Ab Workout You’ll Actually Finish (and Feel):
The first rule, Mitchell says, is to stay off the floor—that position makes it too tempting to grab a few cushions and stretch out. Instead of crunches, she recommends oblique twists that you can do while standing. Grab a heavy object, like a gallon of milk or water, and hold it with both hands. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, tighten your core and extend your arms in front of you. While keeping your hips stable, rotate your torso and arms to the left, then back to center. Rotate to the right, and back to center. Do three sets of 20 reps.