April 9 – Full Body

Still playing catch up with the work outs. Thanks for hanging with me while I sort things out.

This work out has 3 groups instead of the usual 2.

Group 1 – Repeat 3 times
Ab Wheel: 15 reps – note: remember to keep the abs contracted both while rolling out and rolling back in, to avoid your back dipping on the way out. Focus on using the abs as your sole or main source of rolling back in. Gradually, work on rolling a little further each time, keeping the hips low. I like to picture it as a plank position as my full extension goal.
Push Ups: 15 reps – note: be sure to contract your abs the whole time to avoid curving the lower back and to draw strength from your core. Remember you want to aim more for lowering your face/chest to the ground, not dipping your hips.
Box Push: 80 lbs for 2 full passes – note: contrary to the video, I like a lower surface. Keeping the hips/butt low (think of a squat in terms of angles) and using the legs to push hard. Distance can vary but I usually count a pass as 1-way for the full length of the gym.

Group 2 – Repeat 3 times
Pull Ups: 15 reps – note: try to control coming down, keeping the abs tight and not curving the lower back. You want to feel it in the shoulders/shoulder blades, so focus on the contraction there.
Jumping Lunges: 30 reps (15 each side) – note: as with regular lunges, try to keep your stance small enough that you can have a 90 degree angle in the back leg (not wider), keeping your abs tight and back in line with the thing of the back knee. You don’t want to be leaning forward and a pelvic tilt will help you balance. You do want to go all the way down into a full lunch position.
Dragonflies: 15 reps – note: you want to have control the whole time, keeping your back straight as you reach the lower parts of the movement. Go as low as you can before your back arches, using your contracted abs to keep everything stable. Do not swing or bend your legs to get up and don’t go past the chest. You want a straight motion.

Group 3 – Repeat 3 times
Scissors: 20 reps (10 each side) – note: unlike in the video, I do a 2 second pause between switching legs. Like in the dragonflies above, focus on the core and keeping the lower back flat. You can rest your head on the ground if neck discomfort is an issue.
Plank: 1 minute hold – note: contract through the abs, supporting the lower back. As mentioned in the video, you want to be straight, so don’t keep your butt up too high (that’s cheating!) and also don’t bring it down so low that your back is curving. I find most people tend toward the former (too high) and thus reduce the effect of this exercise.
Ins & Outs (wide arms): 20 reps – note: the version here is in the second part of the video (with arms extended). Normally I do this in more of a V-sit position, balancing on the butt, as opposed to the video where she is lying on her back. You will feel this in your legs but you should also

April 5 – Back

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. My computer died so access for posting was limited. I will be trying to catch up on the workouts that got missed, so here is the first of likely a few updates.

Group 1 – Repeat 3 times
Dumbell Push Press: 20 lbs (each hand) for 12 reps – note: focus on straight form,using the legs to provide some of the power, and keeping the core strong.
Jumping Pull-Up with Burpee: 12 reps – note: avoid swinging to get yourself up. The jump should be straight, and as minimal as you need to complete the pull up (if possible). Try to control coming down so you’re not just dropping down. You don’t have to go slow coming down, but you want to be controlling it. I try to aim for a steady 3-5 count when lowering myself down.
Rope Whip: 30 seconds – note: if for any reason you can’t do both ropes, grasp one rope length with both hands. You want to be sure to focus on contracting the abs, supporting the lower back (no hunching) and keep your breathing steady. Adjust the speed to your level, but the goal should be to get the waves to reach the end of the rope.

Group 2 – Repeat 3 times
Side Plank Twist (#12 in the video is the closest I could find for what I want): 8 lbs for 20 reps (10 each side) – note: the form from the shoulders down in the video is good, but the differences from the video are: you are on your palms and starting in a normal plank position with 1 dumbell between your hands, you alternate twists (reference #12 in the video for body form) while lifting the dumbell with a straight arm all the way to 180 degrees. Controlling it while you lower it to the ground, once you’re back in starting plank position, you take the weight with your other hand and repeat on that side. Key points to focus on: keeping the abs contracted, arms straight, and hips down. There is usually a tendency to shift or lift your hips when you rotate or switch arms. Try to keep control of your body to prevent this.
Lateral Raise: 8 lbs for 12 reps – note: keep the shoulders down and back as well as the abs contracted. Avoid swinging the arms and try to start from the sides along your thigh, not in front. Starting in front allows you more momentum which decreases the amount of work your shoulders are doing.
External Rotation: 2 lbs for 12 reps – note: you should feel this in the back around your shoulder blade. Start really light since even if you don’t feel it in the first couple, you will feel it by the end if you’re doing it correctly. The whole body should remain still with only the forearm turning. You want to keep the wrist straight and the elbow stationary.

March 29 – Back

I did an upper body workout targetting mostly the back and biceps.

Group 1 – Repeat 4 times
Lat Pull Up (counter-weight machine): 50 lbs at 8-10 reps – note: the machine subtracts the weight from your body weight, so the lower you go, the more weight you’re using. In my case this was 80 pounds (130-50 = 80).
Dips (counter-weight machine): 50 lbs at 15 reps
Medicine Ball Slams: 30 reps – note: start with a weight that you feel comfortable lifting over your head and make sure to continuously maintain ab contraction throughout the movement. I recommend folding a foam mat over to slam the ball into (much less noisy than the example video and can add a bit of a challenge in getting it to bounce back). This is great if you have frustration to work out!

Group 2 – Repeat 3 times
Bar Pull Up (palms up): 10-12 reps – note: be sure to contract and lift using your shoulders first, opening up the chest and keeping the belly down (no lifting with the stomach!). If you’re having difficulties, bring your feet a little closer to the bar.
Bicep Curl: 12.5 lbs at 10 reps – note: these use full to the side extension but don’t: swing your elbows back for momentum, raise/shrug your shoulders, or lean back as you lift them up. Try to keep the abs contracted and draw your movement from there.
Kettlebell One Arm Alternating Swing: 3kg at 30 reps – note: the goal is to keep your abs contracted, as well as pushing up through the heel while keeping your chest up (not parallel to the floor). Don’t swing the kettlebell much higher than shoulder height, but maintain control and bring it at least to your shoulders with arms straight.