By: Bob Perry, The Trucker Trainer™
In professional truck driving time equals money, and you have to make time to manage your health so you can continue to make money. Every day I work with drivers who are on the edge of meeting the regulations necessary to pass their upcoming DOT exams with their current health levels. Today you’ll learn about a time-efficient routine that will burn fat, improve your cardiovascular system and prepare you for that DOT exam. The benefits in strengthening your heart are numerous: improved circulation, higher energy levels, better performance, more endurance, improved sleep and lower blood pressure.
No matter what your personal health goal is, full-body workout routines will get you in shape. Full-body workouts are effective because you are utilizing your whole body while increasing your heart rate and enhancing fat loss. With that said, be aware of your current health conditions and limitations. Full-body routines will get your motor running quickly. Pace yourself in the beginning and build up as your endurance increases.
Moving to intense full-body workouts means you need to schedule your workout for only two to three times a week. But remember, the workout is only 30 percent of your results. The remaining 70 percent comes from what you put in your tank.
NOW LET’S GET YOUR MOTOR GOING!
First, warm up your shoulders by moving your arms in a circular motion without weights and take a few brisk laps around your rig. For your workout, you’ll pick one exercise per body part. Beginners will want to stay with one set and once you can complete 15 reps then you can add another set. Eventually you’ll build up to two or three sets at 12-15 reps. During each of these exercises, move from one to another without stopping. I’m going to give you a few options to pick from depending if you have access to a flat bench, are using your bunk or are standing up. Always remember to stop and rest if you feel faint.
Use hand weights, dumbbells, water bottles, even a can of beans.
1. Dumbbell chest presses
Lying in your bunk or on any flat surface, bench press the dumbbell straight up but do not lock your arms. If you’re using your bunk, I recommend picking up a foam wedge to place under your back to allow you to give the full stretch in your chest. If you do not have access to either, then do push-offs from your fender. Complete 10-12 reps.
2. Dumbbell squats
If you don’t have any hip or knee issues, stand up with dumbbells hanging at your side. Squat down as if you were going to sit down in a chair, keeping your back straight. You may need to put your dumbbells down, turn around, hold onto the edge of your bunk and squat down using your bunk as support until your legs are strong enough. Complete 10-12 reps.
3. Shoulder presses
Sit up on the side of your bunk or bench with your feet on the ground. Sit up straight, keeping your abdominal muscles tight. Hold your dumbbells shoulder height, turned horizontal, and press straight up without locking your elbows. Complete 10-12 reps.
4. Hamstring stretches
Stand up and hold your dumbbells in front of you. Bend over slowly, allowing dumbbells to hang, keeping your legs straight but not locked out. Bend over as far as you can until you feel the stretch. Hold, take a deep breath and exhale while allowing yourself to naturally go lower to the ground. Over time you will be able to touch your dumbbells to the floor.
5. Dumbbell tricep extensions
Lying flat or standing up, press your dumbbells up and turn your hands so you are holding the dumbbells in a hammer position. Bend your arms at the elbow and lower them back toward your shoulders and then back up. Complete 10-12 reps.
6. Take a lap around your rig or refer back to No. 2.
7. Bicep curls
Seated on the edge of your bunk or standing up, keep your elbows close to your side with your dumbbells turned horizontal and your palms up. Curl the dumbbells up, then lower them without locking out and repeat. Complete 10-12 reps.
8. Take a lap around your rig or refer back to No. 2.
9. Side lateral raises
Keep your dumbbells turned horizontal. Hold your arms out to your side with your elbows slightly bent. Lower the dumbbells to your side, then back up to shoulder height. Complete 10-12 reps.
Performing these exercises one after another without stopping will provide cardio training at the same time. Doing each exercise at 12 reps is one set. Your goal is to work up to three sets at 15 reps apiece. At that point you can increase your reps on each exercise, moving from 12 to 15 to 20. Always work out at a comfortable pace, increasing only as your body allows you.
Make sure as soon as you are finished to get some fuel in you. Protein is your best option. The worst thing you can do is go without eating after a workout. Proteins are a key part of your nutritional requirements and have a number of health benefits.