This is it! The final week of the 12 Week Home Exercise Program. That’s 4 workouts in 7 days (168 hours … 10,080 minutes). After completing your last 4 workouts, you can congratulate yourself on NOT being one of the 50% of people who drop out of an exercise program within the first 3 months. You are committed. You are strong willed. You are dedicated. You are confident. You are AWESOME!
By now, you’ve mastered an entire library of exercises (ie. 30 x strength exercises, 15 x functional exercises, 8 x flexibility exercises and various cardiovascular activities) and have challenged your body towards significant physical changes:
- Lost inches.
- Lost pounds.
- Improvements in your energy levels.
- Improvements in your posture.
- Decreased back or joint pain.
- And so much more!
But … the celebration doesn’t start quite yet. Remain consistent and don’t try to do too much. Stick to the plan and you’ll set the stage for healthy habits that will ensure a high quality of life for years to come!
This week you increase the volume of work to give your body that last final push (without pushing too hard or far). Still mix up the exercises and change the order of major muscle groups to keep things fresh for your muscles. You can also try adding more challenge (if you are ready for it) by increasing the weight, the number of sets or the number of repetitions for each exercise. Get the most out of each workout by challenging yourself with each opportunity. Just be sure to be safe and conscious of your limitations to avoid a costly injury or set back.
If you need to access previous workouts in this program, click the following links:
- Week One
- Week Two
- Week Three
- Week Four
- Week Five
- Week Six
- Week Seven
- Week Eight
- Week Nine
- Week Ten
- Week Eleven
12 Week Home Exercise Program – Week Twelve
The “12 Week Home Exercise Program” is designed using 2011 ACSM Exercise Guidelines and Recommendations. Below is the program to be completed within a 7 day time period (a total of 4 workout sessions). The workout sheet provided includes all of the exercises to be completed during the week. You have to option to choose which exercises you complete during each of the workout sessions (with the goal of completing everything on the checklist). The recommended workout session format for the week is:
- Session #1: Cardio (35 minutes), Strength (6 exercises including: legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms and core), Functional Training (4 exercises), and Flexibility (4 exercises)
- Session #2: Cardio (35 minutes), Strength (6 exercises including: legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms and core), Functional Training (4 exercises), and Flexibility (4 exercises)
- Session #3: Cardio (35 minutes), Strength (6 exercises including: legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms and core), Functional Training (4 exercises), and Flexibility (4 exercises)
- Session #4: Cardio (45 minutes) and Strength (6 exercises including: legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms and core), Functional Training (4 exercises), and Flexibility (4 exercises)
Workouts can be scheduled on the days (and times) of the week that are the most convenient and realistic. Be sure to include at least 36 hours in between each workout.
To download a PDF copy of this program, click here.
For information on the exercises included in this program (i.e. descriptions, images and/or video) click here.
Cardiovascular Training Recommendations
Cardiovascular exercise is any type of exercise that challenges the heart and lungs. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a total of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. Recommendations for cardiovascular exercise include:
- 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
- One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.
Throughout the “12 Week Home Exercise Program” you will gradually work towards the 150 minute per week goal. By week ten you are completing the full 150 minutes. You have the option to increase the number of cardio minutes if you choose (but do not overextend yourself to avoid possible overuse injury).
Strength Training Recommendations
This strength training program includes exercises that challenge each major muscle group (acting in opposing pairs). Schedule a minimum of 36 hours in between each workout (i.e. Monday, Wednesday and Friday) to allow for proper rest and recovery times. The strength training program is based on the following:
- Load: 60 to 70% of 1RM (one rep. maximum load)
- Repetitions: 10 to 15 repetitions
- Sets: 2 to 3 sets
- Rest: 2 to 3 minutes rest (in between sets)
- Speed: moderate contraction speeds (1-2-3 / 1-2-3)
- Frequency: 2 sessions (average of 60 minutes/session)
The exercises included in the strength training program are designed to accommodate an “at home” routine. The only equipment required for this program is resistance tubing for the strength exercises. For a set of resistance tubing (with handles) the cost is under $25.00.
Cool Down & Stretching Recommendations
The main purpose of cooling down is to bring breathing, body temperature and heart rate back to normal slowly. During the cool down routine you are allowing the blood to properly redistribute itself to the heart. This redistribution helps rid the muscles of lactic acid which can build up around the muscles during an aerobic workout.
If you stop exercising abruptly, blood can pool around the muscles of the legs causing insufficient blood flow and oxygen to the brain which can make you feel light-headed and dizzy. Dizziness, nausea and feeling worn out are common symptoms of an improper or no cool down period.
An effective cool down will also include your flexibility exercises. At the end of your workout your muscles will be warm for a deeper and more beneficial stretch.
The Next Step …
Take the time to celebrate your accomplishment! After 12 weeks on the program, you will have completed a total of (by doing the minimum requirement):
- 24 cardiovascular training sessions
- 36 strength training sessions
- 34 functional training sessions
- 34 neuromuscular training sessions
- 1,355 minutes of cardiovascular exercise
- 4,320 repetitions of strength exercises (216 strength exercises; minimum of 2 sets each; minimum of 10 repetitions/set)
Although the 12 Week Home Exercise Program may have been a challenge over the past three months, the greatest challenge is taking what you’ve learned and incorporating it into the days after you finish the program. Keep in mind that consistency is more important than intensity. You KNOW you can make time for physical activity and exercise in your life (you did it the last 12 weeks). You KNOW how you can benefit physically, mentally and emotionally from doing the work. The question now is … “Will I continue this journey in order to receive the ongoing benefits?”