Embrace dead week with a final workout


Gillian Holte/Iowa State Daily

Cy was in attendance at Reggies Sleepout at Jack Trice Stadium on March 25. He posed for photos and made sure to check out all the forts that had been built.

Amanda Wymore

Working out can make or break your finals week. Your schedule may seem chaotic enough, and when you’re crunched for time, crunches are your last priority, but it’s detrimental to keep your body and brain healthy. Taking breaks is essential, so what better way to spend your break than to do a quick workout?

Warm up (15-20 minutes)

It is always important to warm up with some cardio before jumping into an intense workout. Instead of running in place, step onto an elliptical, treadmill or bike machine and begin your warm up this way. If you really feel you can’t get away from your textbooks, bring one with you and read while you run.

Think plank (2 minutes)

Planks are hard, but studying without breaks is harder. You can split this into several types of intervals depending on your skill level. Try eight 15-second planks, four 30-second planks or two one-minute planks. Keep your shoulders over your elbows, your back and legs straight, and keep your bottom in line with them. Let your mind wander.

Dead to the core

The Hundred is a machine-free Pilates move that hurts in the moment but works in the long run. To do this core move, sit tall on the ground with your knees bent by your chest and your hands at your sides, palms down. Then lie down with your knees bent. Exhale and raise your head and shoulders off the mat, making sure to curl your chin up to your chest. Vigorously pump your arms 6 inches up and down, reaching with your fingertips. Keep you abs engaged by keeping your lower back pressed in toward the floor and keep your lower abs pulled in toward your spine. Inhale for five pumps, then exhale for five pumps. Do 100 pumps or 10 full breaths. If it hurts, it’ll distract you from the pain of final group projects.

Bridge to summer fun

Do this two-part series: glute bridge and glute kickbacks.

Glute bridge: Lie down on your back with your feet flat and shoulder width apart. Putting the weight in your heels, push your bottom up. Squeeze your glutes at the top, pause for a second, then slowly bring your bottom back down to the ground. 

Glute kickbacks: Put your hands and knees on the ground in an initial pushup position. Bend your right knee so there is a 90-degree angle between your hamstrings and glutes. Push your leg out, squeezing your bottom at the top for a second, then return to the original leg. Repeat with your left leg.

For both exercises, do 15 reps. 

Push up your grades (two minutes)

Similarly with planks, break this up into different intervals depending on your skill level. Modify your position if the traditional pushup is too challenging by declining to your knees for more stability.


If we’re going to get through this semester, it’ll take a superhero. The Superman exercise is extremely useful for improving posture and overall back strength. Lie on your stomach. Fully extend your arms and legs to be one straight line on the ground. Simultaneously raise your arms, chest and legs off the ground to look like Superman while he’s flying. Hold the contraction for two seconds and return to the first position. Do 15 reps.

It may seem hard to take out an hour from your day when studying, but doing several five-minute workouts will add up quickly. Do some lunges for two minutes and jumping jacks after another hour of studying. Finish with some squats or a core workout. If you do 10 minutes of activity every hour for a full day of studying, you’ve already worked out for over an hour.