Welcome to the busiest time of year for the iPhone’s “Notes” app: resolution season, baby.
It’s an exciting time of year, but it’s shaded with sadness, too. For too many of us, the words we write down this week — goals, exhortations, plans of attack — will be an afterthought by Presidents’ Day.
To make sure that your early-year edge doesn’t fade into oblivion, we’ve assembled 10 fitness editorials from the last year that will help you set relatively achievable goals and then give you the knowledge you need to actually meet them. From kettlebell primers to jump-rope workouts to a regimen that will up your pull-up count (without you having to do a single pull-up), you should find this quite a bit more practical and useful than, say, “lose 20 lbs. by summer.”
Sample all of these throughout the year; getting in shape requires routine, yes, but not the same routine over and over again for 12 months. It’s important to keep things fresh and difficult, and make lifestyle resolutions for the next decade, not just get-ready-for-that-wedding goals for the next year.
Best of luck, and don’t worry. Once you tire of these, we’ll have plenty more fitness tips and tricks in the pipeline. Happy sweating.
The Aging Man’s Guide to Getting Jacked
It’s not often that you hear about 40-and-uppers starting a strength-training program for the first time. Still, the weight room is less agist that most older men may think; it’s never too late to get yoked, the process just demands a different approach, one that takes into account dropping testosterone levels and locked-up lower backs.
“Elongating” Your Body Is the Most Important Exercise You Probably Aren’t Doing
Speaking of low back pain: it’s about time all of us, regardless of age, gave our backs, spines and necks a break. The best defense against a sedentary lifestyle, “tech neck” and general poor posture is to increase the range of motion of muscle fibers throughout the body. You can’t actually “lengthen” your muscles (that’s pseudo-science propagated by the likes of Goop or the TB12 method), but you can exercise and stretch them in such a way that protects your body from injury or chronic pain.
How to Become a Morning Workout Person, in 9 Easy Steps
It sounds awful, and for a minute or two after that alarm blares, it truly is. But morning workouts catalyze your calorie-burning engines for the day ahead, release endorphins that brighten your mood, manage impulse control and free up your evenings. We managed to make the switch, and so can you. Here’s our best advice for how to actually get out of bed.
This Is the Perfect 30-Minute Jump-Rope Workout
Jumping rope isn’t just for middle school gym class. According to former professional boxer Michael Oladije, Jr., it’s “the most convenient, efficient and effective exercise in the game.” He devised us a delightfully straightforward 30-minute workout that will jazz up your weekly workout routine, and dished on the most common mistakes he sees from beginners.
How to Not Get Injured While Training for a Marathon
Not every runner makes it to the starting line of their marathon, let alone the finish. Over half of first-time marathoners are forced to drop out before their race due to the insane, unnatural grind of logging nearly 100 miles a week for months. And that, well, freaking sucks. Make sure to consult this guide (with tips and tricks from ultrarunners, trainers and nutritionists) before you start training for your big 26.2 this year.
Why Yoga Might Be the Ultimate Insomnia Cure
Almost every exercise discussed here is moot if you’re not getting enough sleep. We wrote last year about the chronic sleep loss issue in the NBA, and the dramatic lengths players will go to make sure they get a healthy seven hours. You should be approaching your sleep with the vigor of a professional athlete. And if you’ve been struggling to drift away … yoga could be the answer.
Consider This 6-Move, Hemsworth-Approved Workout the Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebells
Big year for the big Aussie. Hemsworth launched his fitness training app Centr back in the spring, and it’s proved a goldmine of digestible content. One of the best is this kettlebell primer, which takes all of 20 minutes to complete and manages to target muscles you’ve bored into hibernation with refreshingly difficult reps.
How to Do a Perfect Plank, the Ultimate Belly-Buster
The kingpin of isometric training. Planks target the entire body, are good habit-forming (they demand perfect form and steady breathing), and are entirely bespoke. There’s a different type of plank for every day of the month. When mastered, they’ll also do way more for your abs than endless rounds of crunches.
Why You Should Be Taking a Daily Constitutional
The average American walks miles below the recommend number of 10,000 steps a day. Taking an afternoon amble is a efficient, effortless way to jack those numbers up, while ramping up productivity, easing stress and maximizing the amount of dogs you’ll see throughout the day. We love our constitutionals, and now can’t imagine a workday without one.
How to Increase Your Pull-Up Count Without Actually Having to Do Pull-Ups
Pull-ups suck. So we asked Chris Hemsworth’s buddy Torre Washington for a workout that would A) directly strengthen the muscles needed to knock out pull-ups, while B) saving us from having to do traditional pull-ups. Prepare to learn what “scapular contractions” are, and knock your lats, delts and company into fighting shape ahead of your eventual battle with the bar.
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