Reading up a Sweat: the #ebook #workout

Rumor has it that a lot of people have downloaded a huge collection of e-books they haven’t read yet.

Rumor also has it that quite few people struggle to find time or motivation to work out.  So here’s the way to get caught up on your reading and your exercise. At the same time.


Equipment: Dumbbells and e-reader. Your living room floor and a coffee table.

If you have an e-reader on your laptop, it will stand up by itself and be easier to look at during standing exercises, but a small e-reader or tablet will be more comfortable to handle for the side-lying leg work. For best results, plan to do this workout on alternate days three times a week. If you’re not sure how to do something correctly, err on the side of safety and caution. It’s hard to read if you’re on painkillers.

A reminder on good form: One rep of an exercise should take four to six seconds. The slower you go the harder you’ll work, and you’ll also read more since the workout will take longer. Rather than count reps—since you are focusing on a book— work to what’s called “voluntary fatigue.” If you feel as though you could go on forever, either it’s a really good book or the weight is too light.

Put the e-reader on the coffee table and enlarge the fonts. Read while you warm up with a set of squats and a set of back and front lunges, moving your arms through a reach-and-pull range of motion. You’ll have micro-pauses to turn pages, but you’ll get used to this and it won’t break your rhythm. It will simply add an isometric hold to the exercise.

Using a dumbbell, do two sets of bent-over rows, one long lever and one short lever (Arm straighter or at a sharper angle, changing which muscle group in your back is emphasized.) It’s especially easy to read during this exercise, since you have to look down anyway—and you have one hand free for page turning if you have good core strength and don’t need to lean on that arm.

Next, put the e-reader on the floor for a couple of sets of pushups. Don’t drip sweat on it, though.

Put the e-reader back on the table for shoulder work, either overhead presses or lateral raises, or one set of each. It can stay on the table for your biceps curls, triceps “skull crushers” or kickbacks, and forearm curls. You might add some wrist curls to keep up your strength for the occasional hardcover.

For some challenging leg and gluteal work that makes it easy to read, try “superman squats.” Stand on one leg in a position like superman flying, or like the yoga Warrior Three pose. With your weight in the heel of your standing leg, your lifted leg straight out behind you and your arms out in front, do shallow squats that keep your knee back over your midfoot. You may need to put a hand on the table for balance. That’s better than falling over. For a second set, try crossover squats with one foot crossed behind you. Bend to a ninety-degree angle in the front leg. The superman squats will emphasize glutes, while the crossover squats will make your quads work harder.

Next: Lie on your side with your e-reader propped up with one hand, and cross your top leg over, foot in front of the bottom leg’s knee. Use that top leg to press your hip off the floor. Your inner thigh will be lifting your hips and the bottom leg. Then straighten the top leg and bend the bottom one, and press the side of that bottom leg into the floor to make your hip lift up. Your hip and outer thigh muscles will be lifting the lower body’s weight now. Roll over, taking the e-reader with you, for one set of each on the other side. (If these versions of side-lying leg work are confusing, just do the more traditional inner and outer thigh leg lifts.)

Put the e-reader on the floor for planks and one-legged hip-twist planks with the free knee tucked in front, then lie face down to work your back. Lift your head and shoulders, arms in front or to the side. Hold while you read at least half a page, and take a short rest, and repeat to voluntary fatigue.

Hold the e-reader while you do sets of calf raises and heel-walks to work the back and front of the lower leg.

It will be harder to keep reading while you stretch every muscle you worked, but don’t skip your stretches. They will help you relax so you can unwind later and read that book in bed.


 Amber Foxx is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, a professor of Health and Exercise Science, and the author of one of those free stories lurking in the treasure chest of your e-reader. She has been doing variations on the e-book workout for several years. The protagonist of her mystery series is a fitness professional.

If you’re not sure how to do an exercise or need some new ideas:

Explore if you start to run out workout reading. Browse by genre for authors whose work is available on Nook, Kobo etc.


One thought on “Reading up a Sweat: the #ebook #workout

  1. Pingback: #Read the #Free Books! | Indies Who Publish Everywhere

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