Body Work with Dr Joanna McMillan Price

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Get with the strength: the upper body workout
As I said in January GI News, strength training with resistance exercise is arguably the best means we have of really changing the shape of our bodies and it keeps us looking younger by maintaining a strong posture and frame. You need an exercise band for the seated row. And remember, anything you do more than you are currently doing is a step in the right direction.

The upper body workout: Do 2 sets of 10 of each exercise with a rest in between and aim to complete the sequence 2 to 3 times a week (and not on consecutive days). Once you can do this easily add a second set with a brief rest between sets.

Standing tricep extensions – Works back of the upper arm (your ‘wing flaps’)
The back of the upper arms is a common problem area for women in particular—we tend to store body fat here and lack muscle tone. You will need a weight to provide resistance in this exercise. You can buy small hand-held weights at any good sports shop or department store. Alternatively, improvise from your kitchen cupboard: a bag of rice or an unopened can – anything around the 400 g (14 oz) mark.

Standing tricep extensions

Stand tall and hold the weight overhead with both hands (you can also alternate, so one at a time), with your arms straight. Make sure you are standing with good posture and eyes straight ahead, rather than looking up at the weight. Keeping your arms close to your ears, lower the weight behind your head. Keeping the upper arm still, lift the weight back to the top.

Seated row – Works back
Move to a seated position and wrap the band around your feet, holding each end in your hands. Sit up tall and with knees slightly bent use a rowing action to pull your hands in to the ribs and slowly release back to the start position.

Assisted push up – Works chest, shoulders and arms
Why do most people hate push-ups? The answer is easy—because they are hard! In fact, they are even harder if you are carrying too much body weight since you are effectively lifting your own body weight against gravity. Here is a modified version of the traditional push-up, which enables you to gain the benefits of the exercise but makes it easier for you to perform it correctly. You will need a low coffee table – alternatively, use the second or third bottom step of a set of stairs.

Assisted push up

Start in a kneeling position with your hands wider than your shoulders on the edge of the table/stair. Move your knees back until your body is a straight diagonal line from head to knee. Slowly lower your chest towards the edge of the table/stair while keeping your back flat and without letting your bottom stick up. At the bottom of the move, your elbows should be directly above your hands – adjust your hand position as appropriate before returning slowly to the starting position.

Dr Joanna McMillan Price is a registered nutritionist and accredited practising dietitian with a PhD from the University of Sydney. She is also a trained fitness leader and has taught group exercise classes for over 15 years. She has written and co-aauthored several books including The Low GI Diet Cookbook. For Joanna’s complete exercise program, check out a copy of The Low GI Diet available from good bookstores and online.