Monday, December 6, 2010

Five Crazy Exercises, and 30 for 30

Holy dumpage of snow! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here, and I'm happy to report that I'm finally feeling it. The spirit of Christmas is upon me! (Insert upturned head and outstretched arms here.) Now, if I could just find the motivation to get my shopping done, all would be good in my world. I still have a few weeks for that, right? The list is made, the ideas are all written down, eh...I'm fine.

I'm fine, right?
Sigh. Well...I won't think about that right now. Instead, I'll take the time to share five crazy exercises.

When you do the same old exercises from week to week, even day to day, you head very quickly to that plateau where good results come few and far in between. And in my case, if I work the same workouts with my clients and in my classes, the boredom kicks in and I lose interested participants. So I'm always trying out new exercises. Lucky for you, I'm willing to share.

1) LEG EXTENSION CRUNCHES: Grab a medicine ball or a light hand weight, the lie flat on your back with your arms and legs stretched out. (Essentially, you're creating one long line with your body.) Hold the medicine ball in your hands, lifting your arms and legs about six inches off the ground. Press your lower back into the ground and tuck your chin into your chest. Crunch your abdominals, bending your right knee into your chest while simultaneously taking the medicine ball over it.That's one repetition. Return to start, then repeat by crunching the ball up and over your left knee to complete another. Alternate in this way until all repetitions are completed.

2) SINGLE-LEG BENT ROW: Using dumbbells that challenge your back muscles, grab one in each hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward about 45 degrees, then shift your weight onto your right leg while bending your left just slightly to lift it off the ground. Balance here, then begin to row the weights up using your back muscles. Complete all repetitions before dropping your left leg Switch legs during your second set. (So, not only are you working your back, your legs are also getting worked isometrically.)

3) BICEP CURLS WITH A BAND: Don't be shocked if you need a weight that's one step lighter than  normal! These bicep curls get harder with the addition of an exercise band. You'll want one with handles, also one that's long enough to use while standing. Grab your weights, grab the handles of the band, then step right on the middle of that band. Stand up so that the band is somewhat stretched, then curl like you would without it. This particular exercise really increase the intensity of the bicep curl because it essentially puts you on one end of a tug o' war with the band. Don't say I didn't warn ya!

4) SHOULDER PRESS WITH A BAND: Set yourself up exactly like you did for the bicep curls above, only pick a weight that'll work your shoulders. Probably something lighter. Instead of holding the weights in front of your thighs, bend your arms to 90 degrees and shift your hands out to  your sides a bit. Keeping that bend in your arms, push the weights up toward the ceiling until your  upper arm is parallel to the floor. Return to start and repeat accordingly. You'll feel it in your shoulders, also your chest and biceps. Too hard? Pick a lighter weight or easier band. Or drop the weights entirely.

5) BAND BRIDGES ON A BOSU: Gran an exercise band, then lie flat on your back with your feet on a BOSU. You'll want the BOSU about six inches from your rear...or somewhere in that vicinity. Whatever is comfortable, and you'll know. Place your band across your hip bones as if it were a seat belt. Hold it tight to the ground with your hands. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips up off the ground and into a bridge. And yes, you'll have to fight that band! It's what makes this exercise a bit more challenging...and what also gives your arms a slight isometric exercise. NO BOSU? Don't despair. Use a box, stool or step. Anything that gets your feet about a foot of the ground.

Trust me, there are real burners if you do 'em correctly! Remember that proper form is always a must, if your form is compromised, then you'll need to reconsider how much you're lifting. It's not about the number, it's about what your muscles are doing. And they ave to be doing it right.

But that's enough about that. Time to report on my fun weekend! Angie and I decided to celebrate our birthdays with a day in the big city. I just turned 30, she's next...and we've been friends for about 24 years (which has nothing to do with anything, but it's a cool fact nonetheless). So we created a list of 30 different things we wanted to do in Chicago:

...and we did all 30 of them with only a few audibles along the way, as noted. While we did (obviously) hit a few cupcake places along the way, some of our stops were fit-tastic. Take a look:

OK, so maybe Cloud Gate (15) doesn't have anything to do with fitness but we did have to walk a ton to get there. So that makes it count, at least in my book. And in case you're wondering: Daily Dose takeover at Apple (4), Whole Foods (5), Trader Joe's (17) and Lululemon (22).

Question: Have you ever been to Chicago? Tell me three things you'd put on your list. And if you've never been to the city, what's the one thing you'd do there if you got the chance?


Unknown said...

I want to hear about the expensive shoes!

Kim M. said...

You two are so cute! Looks like you had a ton of fun. :)

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