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Weeks 13 through 16

Weeks 13-16

The Shape of Your Life: Weeks 13 through 16     Photo: Outside Magazine

You elevated your general fitness during the first three installments of the five-part Shape of Your Life program—now you're ready to tap your real athletic potential. For starters, ramp up your power by adding three Olympic-style lifts (see sidebar) to your ongoing Tuesday and Thursday strength routine. For each of the lifts, start with dumbbells equaling 10 percent of your body weight in week 13, and then increase every few weeks thereafter. After a ten-minute warm-up, do three sets of six reps as fast as you can while executing good form. In week 16, you'll link cleans and squat-presses into one exercise (the clean and jerk) by ending the clean with a catch—turn your elbows down and your palms up, dip under the weight, and "catch" the dumbbells in the start position of the squat press—and then finishing the rep with the dumbbells overhead. Also, complete each power session with the half-dozen functional-strength exercises (see sidebar exercises in "Core Values") pulled from the previous months' routines.

Functional Exercises Group One: Wide-grip chin-ups, dumbbell lunges and dumbbell pullovers.
Functional Exercises Group Two: With swiss ball: oblique crunches and one-legged push-ups.

As for endurance work, continue heart-rate zone training three days per week, with Mondays and Wednesdays slated for Zone-2 workouts (see "The Zones") and Fridays reserved for intervals. Remember, if your motivation for endurance work is starting to wane, shake things up by mixing in a new sport. If you've been, say, running exclusively, try cycling or swimming this month, etc. You'll also add a speed component to the end of each session. After warming up on Mondays and Fridays, try the plyometric workout (see "Upward Bound," previous page) before each run, swim, or cycle, to increase your quickness; on Wednesdays, incorporate the Zone-4 sprint intervals described in "Hot-Wire Your Speed" into your endurance work. And of course, after difficult endurance and plyometric routines, you'll need a proper cool-down, which is where your yoga routine from last month fits in. Starting again with Sun Salutations, end each session with the yoga routine from the third installment.

Next: Improve your balance and agility in part five of our Shape of Your Life fitness plan.

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