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Creative Fitness Hacks That Make Exercising Much Easier

By HERWriter
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Using Both Old and New Fitness Hacks PS Productions/PhotoSpin

The word “hack” has historically had a negative connotation. Now it's everywhere preceded by the words "life," "mommy," "fitness," etc.

I was a tween and a teenager in the 80's. When I saw the 1983 movie "War Games" that was the first time I had heard about a hack. The brainy Matthew Broderick and his sidekick Ally Sheedy hack into a government website and almost start a nuclear war.

Fast forward many years later to my early 30’s and the hit TV show "Hack" was filmed in my hometown of Philadelphia. As a trainer, back then a fitness hack meant knowing the team that facilitated the on-set workouts of the show’s star, David Morse in his customized exercise trailer.

That was 2003 and I know by revealing that, I may be dating myself. I did, however, have a dating hack shortly thereafter, as one of my first stints with online dating.

Trust me, it is not what you think. With a few keystrokes, I took to the Internet, googling the name of my latest online suitor.

It turns out this particular Jersey Boy had Broderick behaviors that summoned the FBI to his house in his late teens. He was known for a week and two dates as “the hacker.” I always came up with a nickname to help keep the online game in line.

I usually do not bring up my dating history, so since I mentioned it, I am happy to report that it ended when I became happily married in my late 30’s to Scot with one “t” (that is how he signed his first email to me) in Arizona, not Jersey!

Now in 2014, according to Wikipedia, a hack typically “refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life.”

This generation of new parents are known for their repurposing tips and techniques. One of my favorites is using a pool noodle under my son’s Lightening McQueen sheets to keep him from falling out of his race car bed.

Another good one is using pacifiers as a wine stopper. Because, when they throw the binkie at you and scream, you inevitably need to open a bottle of wine (after their bedtime, of course).

Now, when it comes to fitness, it turns out, I’ve been hacking for years and did not even know it! I would grab a broom, place it on my shoulders and do side bends and twists for my obliques followed by a superset of squats. I would also do vacuum lunges.

Efficient workouts are another way to hack according to FitDay.com. “Try multi-joint or compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups at the same time. Replace isolated exercises, which only focus on one muscle group at a time, with movements like the squat or deadlift to burn more calories and increase your metabolic rate.”

Over the years, I have compiled some other hack-like moves to implement in your workout.

At the Airport Using your Laptop Bag

Laptop Leg Lift for the Quadriceps
Hold laptop bag so the bottom of it rests lightly on your foot, bend your knee, lifting leg up and contracting quadriceps.

Do 3 sets of 15 on each side.

Laptop Leg Extension for the Quadriceps
Hold laptop bag so the bottom of it rests lightly on your foot, bend your knee, lifting leg up. Hold this position as you extend your leg and contract the quadriceps.

Be careful not to lock out the knee. Do 3 sets of 15 on each side.

While Waiting Forever at the Doctor’s Office using your Purse

Purse Upright Row for the Deltoids
Hold handles in an overhand grip and row upwards, bringing your elbows to shoulder height.

Purse Curls for Biceps into Tricep Purse Pushback
Hold handle with palm facing out. Keeping abs in and knees slightly bent, bend your arm and bring your palms toward your shoulders in a bicep curl.

Unbend the arm back the starting position and then while keeping arm straight press arm back squeezing tricep.
Do 3 sets of 15 on each side.

Standing Purse Crunches
Place arms through the straps of your purse and hold purse tight toward chest. Bend knees slightly and crunch downward while tightening the abdominals.

While Cleaning the House, Using a Large Bottle of Laundry Detergent

Squat Press for Chest, Glutes, Quads and Hamstrings
Hold the bottle at the center of your chest with arms bent and elbows in and close to your hips. Sit back into a squat position like you’re going to sit down in a chair, while simultaneously pressing the bottle forward.

Slowly come back to starting position and repeat on the other side.

One Arm Row for Back
Hold bottle in hand and bring the leg of the weighted side back into a split stance. Lean forward in a flat back position. You can support your weight with the other hand leaning on chair or counter.

Keeping abs in, bend elbows to rib cage, contracting back and lower back down. Alternate by switching legs and moving weight to other side.

Hammer Curl for Bicep
Hold the bottle by the handle at your side, palms facing in. Bend arm bringing top of bottle towards shoulders. Repeat on the other side.

Kickback for Triceps
Hold the bottle in your hand and bring the leg of the weighted side back into a split stance. Lean forward in a flat back position. You can support your weight with the other hand leaning on chair or counter.

Keeping abs in, bend elbows to rib cage for starting position. Slowly straighten arm and bring back in to bent elbow position. Alternate sides by switching legs and moving weight.

“Life Hacking – Wikipedia.com.” Wikipedia. Web. 8 Dec. 2014.

“The 8 Best Fitness Hacks to Get the Most Out of Your Workout – FitDay.com.” Fit Day. Web. 8 Dec. 2014.

Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist and Publicist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.

Joanne's fitness plans, recipes and lifestyle advice are available globally on her website http://www.happiwoman.com/ She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and son, where she runs her fitness and publicity business, JSK PR, http://www.jskpr.com/

Reviewed December 8, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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