A video was recently leaked showing President Obama mid-workout. POTUS hefted dumbbells and churned the elliptical pedals – and made a few basic exercise mistakes in the process. There’s nothing wrong with the multi-joint strength circuit and cardio mash-up, but we’d like to point out a few easy fixes to help get him better results, faster. Because nobody has time to waste in the gym. Especially the leader of the free world.
While we applaud your efforts to better your physical fitness, we felt it necessary to say…you’re doing it wrong. Here are a few tips for your next workout:
1) Stop jerking the weights!
We know you’re probably on a time crunch, but slow down and really engage your muscles during those presses, raises, and flys. Busting out reps as fast as you can allows momentum to take over, and you won’t get as much muscle-sculpting benefit. You’ll never have better arms than Michelle lifting like that.
2) Use your full range of motion.
Take a look at yourself during those seated shoulder presses. See how your range narrows to just a few inches up and down by the third rep? For every rep, go all the way up and come all the way down so your elbows are at 90-degree angles. You’ll see stronger shoulders sooner. (Oh, and stand up, sir. You’ll engage more core muscles – bonus toning.) Same idea for those lunges. Get low, get low, get low.
3) Don’t be afraid to go heavy.
Sure, higher reps with lighter weights can get you results. But the only way you’ll see a difference with those 10-pounders you used for lunges and step-ups is if you’re knocking out triple-digits. We’re not saying go Arnold with it. Pick a weight that allows you to just make it through 10 to 12 reps – say, 25s or 30s, to start? – and you’ll see better definition, even while wearing that Nike jumpsuit.
4) Get off the elliptical.
Because that same-speed, same-effort cardio routine isn’t doing you any favors. But also because it’s an elliptical machine. You’ll burn more calories and improve your aerobic capacity faster if you jump on the treadmill and go for intervals. Here’s an easy, effective plan that trumps 30 mindless minutes churning pedals: Warm up with a 3-minute jog. For the next 10 minutes, alternate sprinting all-out for 20 seconds, and taking a 40-second break (just jump to the rails so you don’t have to adjust the machine speed). Cool down with a 2-minute jog. If that feels easy, switch to 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. Bonus if you can get someone to race next to you to make you push harder. (Biden?)
5) Try something new.
Sir, we felt tired watching you work out. And the yawning and plodding made it look about as fun as a Rand Paul filibuster. Maybe you could enlist the Secret Service for a group class? Try some Olympic weight lifting? Your wife seems pretty into the Hula-hoop. Kidding, don’t do that. But find something a man would do that’s enjoyable as that. This is your time! Make it something you actually look forward to. And feel free to make it look athletic at any point.
Obama’s Workout, Modified
With modifications for men looking to get fitter than POTUS.
Lunge with a curl to press
-Drop all the way down on your lunges. Go heavy on the weights.
-Keep the weight challenging, but not super heavy – it’s easy to injury smaller shoulder muscles on a raise. Slowly raise and lower, so you don’t let momentum take over.
Weighted step-ups with knee drive
-Go heavy on the weights. Drive your knee up aggressively to engage your abs.
Seated shoulder press
-Stand up. Tighten your core. Use your full range of motion to press the weights up, and lower to the goal-post position.
-Hinge forward at a 45-degree angle. Raise the weights slowly with elbows slightly bent, pretending that you’re clenching a pencil between your shoulder blades to pull them back and together.
-Walk on by. Get on the treadmill, and put in some intervals. Or better yet, go to a track, and try 100- or 200-meter sprint repeats, with a 200-meter walk to recover. Who wants to be inside a grim gym in the summer anyway?