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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Photographer's 5 Minute Workout

Professional photographers can have some pretty grueling days, and wedding photographers have some of the longest days of any photographer. Early morning starts that run the whole day into the reception in the evening can have us working 12, 13, and 14 hour days, and even longer with few if any breaks. Trekking around heavy camera bags, additional lighting equipment, and hanging heavy cameras and lenses combos off of our necks and shoulders takes its toll. Obviously this is harder to do if you're not in good shape.

I'm as guilty as the next photog of not sticking to an exercise program. Ten years back, I used to hit the gym at least 4 days a week and often 7. I fed off of working out. I was a workout fanatic and nothing felt better than getting pumped at the gym. These days, I don't even know what the inside of my closest gym looks like.

My saving grace is a new look on what I need to do to stay in shape. Going to the gym is great, but it isn't neccessary. You can do everything you need to do to stay in shape, right in your own home, with no equipment at all.

Don't believe me?

The "old marine workout" followed this kind of idea. It consisted of a lot of push-ups, sit-ups (although now a days we do crunches), chin-ups, stretches, jumping jacks, and running. No equipment needed, and who isn't in better shape than a marine?

I've taken the "old marine workout" and refined it for me. I needed a workout that was quick, easy to do, easy to do pretty much anywhere, and one that worked. Actually, I think a lot of people would like this type of workout, not just us photographers.

Here's my Photographer's 5 Minute Daily Workout:

Set of Squats *
Set of Push-ups ****
Set of Crunches
Set of Arm Curls (or Chin-ups) **
Set of Wrist Curls ***
Set of Leg Raises
Repeat All

You should be able to get through all the sets at least twice in 5 minutes. Don't fret if you can't at first, just do what you can and extend the workout by a minute or two if you need to.

As you get progress, try and get through all the sets three times. Once you can do all the sets three times, increase the number of reps in each set by 50%. You'll likely be back to just doing all the sets twice.

I recommend starting with sets of 10, but if this is too much for you, reduce it to what you can do. As you progress, slowly increase the number of reps. If 10 reps is too easy to start with, go higher.

If you want faster results, do the routine twice a day. Even faster, do it 3 times a day.

* We're doing squats with only your body weight. Stand with legs shoulder width apart, feet angled slightly out, and staying stationary, bend your legs (squat) until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

** Arm curls are done with no weight. Pretend your holding a curling bar, and contract your arm muscles as you curl as if you're lifting a heavy weight. Careful though, you can actually strain too much doing this. Chin-ups are an even better option if you have a chin-up bar available. If you don't consider adding one. I like the removable doorway ones like this one.

*** Wrist curls are done with no weight. Holding your arms out at your sides, make a fist and curl your wrist up like your flexing your forearm.

**** For push-ups, you can add a set of push-up bars like these.

Shake it up if you'd like. Add a new exercise like jumping jacks. Throw in a half hour walk on top. Increase it to 10 Minutes. Go crazy and do 15.

But start today! You'll feel better. Your gear won't feel so heavy. Your back won't hurt so much when you get home, and your knees won't ache so much the next day.

That's it! Now you have no excuse (and neither do I since I've gone public :).

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