By Allison Hoit
Who doesn’t enjoy going to a pumpkin patch and picking the perfect pumpkin each year? In this Trainer’s Corner, I’ll propose a use for pumpkins other than the traditional ones of decorating your house or making pumpkin pie.
Pumpkins serve as a great substitute for exercises that use a medicine ball or weighted object while adding seasonal flair to your workout. Whether you are training clients, teaching a group fitness class, or creating your own personal workout; celebrate fall and join in on this circuit series, pumpkin style.
First you need to select your pumpkins. Depending on your fitness level, determine which weight increment will allow you to complete a series fully but with exertion. I recommend choosing a small and medium or medium and large pumpkin combination so that once your workout can be completed with ease, you can progress to the heavier size. You will also need two pumpkins that are up to five pounds each and small enough to hold in each hand. You or your participants may determine the “pumpkin scale,” but here are some guidelines:
- Miniature = 1 to 5 pounds; you will need two of these pumpkins
- Small = Approximately 5 pounds; starting pumpkin size for beginners and children
- Medium = Approximately 10 pounds; this size is suitable for regular exercisers (150 minutes of moderate intensity per week from the PAG for Americans).
- Large = Approximately 15 pounds: This size is great for a challenging workout
Let’s Get Moving
This circuit is broken up into four segments. Perform each exercise in the segment for 30 seconds, moving continuously until you have completed the whole round. Rest for 30 seconds and then complete the same segment two more times resting for 30 seconds between rounds. Once you have completed the segment three times, rest for one minute and then move on to the next segment. There are four total segments with three exercises in each one. The total circuit will take about 30 minutes including the rest periods. This 30- minute circuit of all-out intensity will take very little time out of your day and allow your body to continue burning calories after the workout.
Each exercise is designed for a standing or seated position. Your starting position in standing will be with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. In a seated position you can be seated in a chair, on a weight bench, or in a locked wheelchair. Make sure to sit upright keeping your back straight with feet flat on the ground. Repeat each exercise for 30 seconds and move on to the next one only resting in between segments or rounds. Become familiar with the exercises before you begin so that you can move quickly throughout the workout.
Begin with a 5-minute warm-up of walking or pushing.