If you spend time wandering and wondering in the fitness center, pick up Marco Borges’ new book Power Moves.
Bring it to the gym. Use it at home. It’s a fantastic tool that can be used anywhere and by anyone who wants to take control of their health.
To Borges, an exercise physiologist, the only machine you really need for an effective workout is your own body.
Instead of focusing on specific muscles, Borges’ innovative program hinges on four joints — the shoulder, elbow, hip and knee. All the exercises in the book — the “power moves”— stem from the simple movements of these four joints.
Though Borges has made his name training professional athletes and celebrities, Power Moves is simple and accessible. Borges is convinced that once you get hooked on the four motions, you’ll become more conscious of what you’re eating and drinking.
“Your health is the one area — perhaps the only area — of your life in which you are almost completely in control of the results,” he wrote. “You are in the driver’s seat.”
His book, then, is a handy road map that shows readers how to combine resistance training with cardio and how to make better nutritional choices. He advocates yoga, adapting exercises to keep them interesting and fun, and staying consistent.
Borges’ breaks his strength-training programs into three main categories: “No Excuses,” “Maintain/Stay in the Game,” and “The Warrior Workout.”
The “No Excuses” program — 11 exercises using your own body weight — is designed for those who don’t know where to start, are short on time, frequently travel, don’t have access to equipment or have some other excuse. It can be adapted by adding a resistance band or adding hand weights.
For those who want to bump things up a notch, the Maintain/ Stay-in the-Game sequence adds toys: medicine balls, resistance bands, Swiss and Bosu balls and weights. It’s great for those who want to start losing weight, who exercise daily, who are comfortable around weights and machines and who have a little more time, Borges said.
Finally, athletes or those who consider working out a priority can try the two “Warrior Workouts.” The “Try This!” section includes four extra-challenging moves — including my favorite, “the medicine ball sit-up and stand,” that can be added to any sequence.
So far, my biggest problem has been finding time to try all the different exercises. But what I like most is that Borges’ philosophy makes sense. Strength training is not about trying to lose weight or building big muscles. It’s about harnessing the empowering value of exercise. His book is an excellent way to start.
(c) 2010, Chicago Tribune. —MCT