Saturday, October 19, 2013

When You Can't Get To The Gym

I had 4 swims planned for this week.  Yesterday was #3.  So, I got up in the morning and got in the swim.  Hooray!  It's a pretty big deal when I get past 2.  When I get past 3 in one week you almost have to ask,  "Who are you and what have you done with Maria?".  Sadly, I am not going to get in my 4th swim which was planned for today.  I am pooped. 

Yesterday I had some strength training also planned.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to get it in after work, so I was going to do it during my lunch break.  I normally will run to the gym that is exactly one mile away, train for about 45 minutes, and then run back.  I was pretty swamped at work so I decided to stay at home and make due with what I had.  I worked out legs and a little bit of upper body on Wednesday so I decided to do upper body and some abs yesterday. 

When you train at home, you don't need one of those huge all-in-one gym sets.  I would suggest getting a pull-up bar (even if you can't do a pull-up.... yet!), some free weights ranging from 5 to 15 or 20 lbs, and a jump rope.  The free weights can add up so start with a couple sets of the lower weight and buy the heavier sets when you're ready to start doing heavier weight. 

Using the pull-up bar:
"As a compound body-weight exercise, pull-ups work everything from the back to the shoulders to the biceps and triceps, making them a versatile addition to any strength-training regimen... Both wide-grip and close-grip pull-ups further emphasize the target muscle of standard pull-ups, the latissimus dorsi, also known as laterals or lats, which run from the side of the torso to the spine. The wider your hand position, the greater the emphasis on your outer lats. Wide-grip pull-ups take some strain off of the shoulders, a secondary muscle group engaged by pull-ups. Close-grip pull-ups put their focus specifically on the lower lats, the lower back region just above the buttocks."

More details on pulls ups here and chin ups here.
So, if you were ever in doubt if you should try to do a pull up (of any variation) hopefully this will motivate you to try, try again.  If you're at home, grab a chair and position it under the bar.  When you need the extra help, put one foot on the chair to help lift you up.  An assisted pull up is better than no pull up. 

My work-out with the pull up bar:
5 wide grip, 10 pushups (major muscles - chest and tris, supportive muscles - biceps, quads, core.  Details here)
4 wide grip, 11 pushups
3 wide grip, 12 pushups
2 wide grip, 13 pushups
1 wide grip, 15 pushups
rest - 2 min.
5 chin ups, 10 dips (I didn't have a chair stable enough or at the right height.  So, I improvised and used the edge of my bathtub.  Pretty clever, huh? <wink>)
- continue same as above down to 1 chip up and 15 dips

After that I continued on to the free weights as follows:
superset 1: 3 X (8 bicep curls with 2-25lb weights, 12 hammer curls with 2-15lb weights)
superset 2: 3 X (15 bent over rows each side with 1-25lb weight, 12 bent over reverse fly with 2-8lb weights)
superset 3: 3 X (8 bent over tri-extension with 1-15lb weight, 15 helicopters (2 should presses each) with 2-8lb weights).  I made up the name helicopter, so you are probably scratching your head on that one.  I have no idea what they are called.  But, standing (or sitting), hold up two weights so that your biceps are parallel with the floor, forearms are in front of your face, elbows bent 90 degrees and your palms facing you.  Rotate your shoulders back to open your chest and squeeze your back muscles and move into a shoulder press.  When your bring your arms back down and elbows are back to should height, bring the elbows together to squeeze the chest and come back to starting position.  I hope that made sense!

I followed this up with abs:
3 X with 7.5 lbs (10 each toe alternating toe touches with bent knee (kind of like doing the bicycle, except instead of bring your elbow to your opposite knee, you reach up and touch the toe of the knee that is up), 10 reach ups, 10 Russian Twists - each side)

So, you may be asking why I mentioned getting a jump rope when I didn't use it.  I have before.  I just figured that since I swam earlier I was good on cardio.  Although, that's just a half excuse because getting my heart rate up before starting the strength and keeping it higher would have burned more calories.  What can I say, I just didn't feel like it.  In this case, do as I say, not as I do, mkay?  :)

Benefits of jumping rope:

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