You're not as fit as the Irish! Try an Irish Workout.

If you are looking for a way to upgrade your Irish spirit since last year’s festivities give the Irish Workout a try.  This interval training workout inspired by aspects of Irish culture will make a Guinness, shot of whiskey and corn beef sandwich well earned- or as I say –  create the caloric justification.

The National Survey of Lifestyles Attitudes and Nutrition revealed that since 2002, 40% of the Irish have been involved in regular physical exercise.  In fact, the ‘Get Ireland Active’ campaign recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week for adults, which is the same as America’s CDC.  But the Irish seem to be doing a better job meeting this goal than us Americans.  A 2012/2013 Health Survey for Northern Ireland showed that over 50% of adults meet this recommended level of activity, compared to only 20.6 % of Americans.

So how do the Irish stay active?  Several government programs have campaigned to promote biking and walking.  Their efforts have proved successful – increasing the number of children cycling to school from 13% to 33%.   Additionally, 10% of the Irish work directly  in agriculture and farming, compared to 2% in America.

So if you are looking to keep up with the Irish, give this workout a try.

The goal is to perform each of the various Irish inspired exercises for one minute.  After completing one round of all 8 exercises (@11-12 minutes with no rest), rest 1 -2 minutes by stretching and re-hydrating and then repeat.  This will give you a 25 workout.  Below you will also find the exercises listed and a few technical tips.

  1. Irish Jack- inspired by Traditional Irish dance, it builds coordination and gets the heart rate up.
  2. Jump Rope Jig- inspired by Traditional Irish dance,it builds coordination and gets the heart rate up.  Challenge yourself to keep the rope moving.  Increase your hand speed to get the rope going faster.
  3. Irish Kicks – inspired by Traditional Irish dance.  Keep your core tight, when performing these consecutive kicks.  They look similar to a ‘can-can’ kick.  The trick is keeping your momentum going so you can last for one minute.
  4. Irish Lumberjack – inspired by  lumberjacking/farming.  A great all-round exercise.  It focuses on core strength, balance and strength.  The trick is to tighten the glut on the leg that is lifted in order to maintain a strong and straight back.  Look out in front of you when rowing your weight (or kettle bell) towards the crease on your underarm.
  5. Farmer’s Carry – inspired by farming.  This is a classic functional strength exercise.  Take two objects of the same weight.  Keep moving, walking forward and back in any space you have available.  If you are doing this at home, try walking around your house quickly (not running) for one minute.  Make sure you have perfect posture and engage the muscles in your upper back.
  6. Potato Bag Toss – inspired by  farming. Using a bag of dirt or sand bag, squat, grab, lift and toss over one shoulder.  Turn around and repeat.  Make sure each time you go for the bag, you bend your knees with your weight in your heels.  Rotate naturally when you toss the bag over your shoulder.  Perform on the other side.
  7. Grab & Grip Squat – inspired by farming.  This is intended to be a basic squat motion combined with a dynamic grab.  It is a great way to strengthen your grip.  As you grab and lightly toss to your other side, use a snatch-like movement where the elbow draws up towards the ceiling.  Also, notice that the legs remain explosive.
  8. Irish Scissors – inspired by Traditional Irish dance.  This movement is fairly common in ballet as well.  This core and inner thigh intensive exercise requires a lot of core strength.  The faster you scissors your leg together the more challenging the exercise.


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