April 3 – Shoulders/Upper Back and Abs

I split my workout routine to cover my upper back/shoulder blade area and some abdominal/core work.

Group 1 – Repeat 3 times
Seated Row: 45 lbs for 12 reps – note: be sure to start the movement with your shoulder blades. You want a strong contraction as you near the end of the pull. Try to avoid leaning forward or back, keeping a straight back (but with a neutral curve in the lower back), with no rocking motion.
Face Pulls: 30 lbs for 12-15 reps – note: like above, you want the contraction in the shoulder blade area while making sure the arms and elbows don’t drop down.
Bicep Curls (bar): 20 lbs for 12 reps – note: remember you want a straight back (abs contracted), shoulders down, wrists straight, elbows in and not swinging with the motion.
Bent Row: 20 lbs for 15 reps on each side – note: keep the abs contracted to keep the back neutral and keep the focus on contracting the shoulder blade.
Reverse Flies: 8 lbs for 15 reps – note: the more forward you bend at the hips, the harder the movement becomes. The contraction, as you probably guess, should be focussed mainly in the shoulder blades.

Group 2 – Repeat 3 times
Heel Touch: 20 reps on each side – note: try to raise your chest high enough so your shoulder blades are off the ground. If you have neck/throat/chest discomfort doing this, you can rest the head back down on the ground.
Ab Wheel: 20 reps – note: I LOVE this exercise. It’s brutal on an arm day, though, so if you’re doing heavy arms, it may be best to postpone it. 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.
Medicine Ball Twists: 16 lbs for 20 reps on each side – note: it can be hard to keep yourself supported, with abs contracted, and continue breathing but try to push throug it. You want to be getting a full turn in the upper body, shoulders should be square to the walls on either side of you, and you want to bring the ball (or your hands if you’re doing it without weights/medicine ball) all the way to the ground, which if you’re fully turned, should be next to but slightly behind your hip.

March 26 – Full Body

Today’s workout consisted of both upper and lower exercises. I usually group my exercises in groups of 3-5 at a time, doing 2-3 groups a workout and repeating each group 3-4 times.

Group 1 – Repeat 3 times
Chest Press: 55 pounds for 15 reps
Up & Over (fast): 30 reps (one way is one rep) – note: fast here means no pausing and only one foot at a time on the bench, kind of like a hopping action.
Bosu lift – Burpee – Push-up: 12 reps – Lift the bosu, with the ball part facing the groun, up with straight arms over you head (avoid arching the back) and lower to the ground, keeping your grip on the bosu. Push your feet out like a normal burpee, and lower your chest down to do a push up over the bosu. Rise, hop your feet back in, and repeat. Be sure to contract your abs the whole time to avoid curving the lower back and to draw strength from your core.
Dips: 18 reps – Note: you should go to a 90 degree angle if you can and avoid letting your elbows point outwards (ideally you want them straight back but not to the point you lean forward with your chest).
Up & Over Squats (Bosu): 30 reps – note: same speed as above, but instead of on a bench, lay the bosu ball side up on the ground and squat at the end of each pass over the bosu.

Group 2 – Repeat 3 times (no pauses between repeats in this group)
V-up Roll-ups: 12 reps – note: be sure to contract your abs down into the ground when lifting up and avoid swinging your arms to momentum (harder than it sounds).
Sit-ups: 30 reps – note: as above, focus on lifting using the abs and avoid any swinging arm motions.
Leg Lowers: 10 reps – note: lower the legs as close to the ground as you can without allowing your lower back to lift off the ground (contracting your abs in will help with this).