Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Favorite Exercises

I had some extra time this morning, so I snuck in a bit of strength training. I always relish these impromptu training sessions because they give me an opportunity to use some of the equipment I can't bring into my twice-a-week Circuit Sculpt classes, which lets me do some of my favorite exercises. And,'s nice to get that third session in, too. While I get my fair share of cardio outside of class, I don't always get the extra strength training—which is fine in terms of a fitness regime, but I'm used to doing more.

It's funny, some people look at me now and appreciate my preggo body in action. Other people, I can tell they're wondering if what I'm doing is good for the baby. Rest assured, my intensity has changed. So,'s fine. But now, more than ever, people are approaching me with smiles and congrats and how-excitings. I found this cartoon on the Internet, and am now wondering what (if anything) is really behind all the well-wishing:

Anyways (she says with a smile). Back to my workout. It inspired the following, which is a total-body workout encompassing all of my favorite moves, some of which I cannot do right now. So you'll have to do them for me. See how I spin that? Enjoy.

A Total Body Workout
Do two sets of each exercise with weights (as needed) that are appropriate to your individual fitness. Aim for 12 to 15 repetitions, increasing weight not reps as the exercises get easier. Or, if you'd rather not lift heavier, add a third set (but do no more than three sets per exercise).

1) SQUATS ON A SQUAT MACHINE: Load 'er up! If you don't have access to a squat machine, do squats with a dumbbell in each hand (second in line to being my favorite).

2) SINGLE-LEG DEAD LIFTS: Focus on the right leg as you hinge forward, lifting the left leg up behind you. Make sure you keep a slight bend in the knee to protect your hamstrings.

3) SIDE-STEPS WITH A BAND: So in love with these, except for when the band rolls up your leg because of all that sweating you're doing. Start with it flat against your calf muscles for the best effect. Take steps sideways, leading one set with your right and another with your left. Channel your inner Sumo wrestler and take steps forward/backward, too.

4) LAT PULLS ON A CABLE MACHINE: Don't lean back too far on this one—it happens to be the number one mistake I see at the gym. Sit as upright as possible, and pull that bar IN FRONT of your chest, rather than behind it. You'll get the same effect without killing your rotator cuffs.

5) PUSHUPS: Yeah, I know. I'm crazy for liking them so. But...damn if they don't make me feel strong!

6) BICEP CURLS ON A CABLE MACHINE: I don't know why, but these fatigue my biceps every time. I think maybe it's because I find it easier to maintain proper form. Note: Doing each arm individually is a close second in terms of favorites.

7) REVERSE-GRIP TRICEPS ON A CABLE MACHINE: They make my triceps pop, and they'll make yours do the same if you stay consistent with them. Stand facing the cable machine with a bar attached to it, palms facing you. Pull your elbows down to your sides, then leave them there as you pull the bar down to your thighs.

8) PALMS-UP SHOULDER PRESSES: Whether I do these to the front or to the side, I really feel them. Pick a lighter weight and hold them at your side, flipping your palms so that they face out/up toward the ceiling. Raise your arms to the side while maintaining a slight bend at the elbow—but don't lift any higher than your shoulders. Lower and repeat. Same rules apply toward the front.

9) CROSS BODY CRUNCH ON A BOSU WITH A MED BALL: Opposite arm, opposite knee. Bring 'em together above your abdomen, holding a med ball on your shoulder the entire time to add resistance. Love these. Love them so much.

10) PLANKS: Obviously.

11) CALF PRESSES ON A CALF PRESS MACHINE: I sometimes have a hard time challenging my calf muscles, but when I can up the weight factor, I always feel the burn.

12) MORE PLANKS: They're just so good for you.

I could go on. And on and on, but the workout would get too long and obnoxious and tiring and...enough with the "and" usage.

Time to celebrate the husband's birthday. "How do I act now that I'm 32?" "How does a 32 year-old wear their hair?" "Do I look like I am 32?" I'd post a picture of him, but every time I try to take one, he does something outrageous just to ruin the picture. So alas, I haven't got a good one. My silly husband, happy birthday to you!
Question: What's your favorite workout?

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