I’ve started the new year totally disorganized and unfocused in most areas of my life (blogging and housework being the most visible), but I’ve kept the exercise habit up quite nicely. After 7 years, my need to exercise is almost like my need for air.
One day last week, I was feeling kind of bleh about my gym workout. It was one of those days in which I kept having to punt on my first-choice exercises, because someone else was using the station or area I needed. Or, as happened once on the lat pulldown station, they stole my grip! Seriously!
So I ended up doing almost all machine work. Machines get the job done, but to me, they’re dull as dirt when they comprise the bulk (ha! gym pun) of my workout. So I left the gym thinking I needed to come up with some better “Plan B” exercises. And boy, did I ever! In fact, some of these moves catapulted themselves right into the Plan A line-up!
What? Of course, I’m going to share. I want you to have F-U-N with functional fitness, too. The good news is that all of these can be done AT HOME without any equipment at all!
First up, the Dead Bug, so named because you start out in the position of a dead bug: flat on your back with all 4, 6, or 8 appendages in the air. I have actually done this one before without knowing what it was. It just seemed like a good way to stretch out at the time–you know, a couple or three reps at the end of the workout. Well, as it turns out, if you do 3 sets of 10 or so reps, it’s a VERY good core exercise. I think I felt every muscle in my entire body working, but especially my midsection.
It’s kind of like an upside down version of the bird dog. Very simple, very effective. Plus, I love ANY exercise that starts out by lying down.
As it turns out, the Dead Bug was just the appetizer…hmm, dead bugs and appetizer are not two words that should be used together, are they? But you know what I mean. My Eureka! moment came when I discovered Kai Wheeler’s amazing website that is chock-full of FUNctional exercises. No focuse on killer triceps or flat abs, although Lord knows she has both, but on training for a stronger foundation. That’s the way I learned to exercise from the trainers I worked with, and it’s how I work out now.
Under her gallery section, Kai has created short videos in which she explains the how and why of each move and then goes on to demonstrate. Also, she must have anticipated I would eventually show up, because she includes a section on what NOT to do and why. How awesome is that?!
Here’s a link to one of her videos, a no-equipment-needed home workout:
Since watching this video, I can’t seem to walk around my house normally. I’m either side-stepping or jump-squatting or air-punching–it’s so much fun!
From the other videos, I’ve also tried a few exercises that use the BOSU, but I haven’t been able to do more than a few reps of each. One involves side-stepping onto and over the ball side of the BOSU, and I’ll have to develop better balance for that. But practice makes improvement, right?
The other BOSU exercise I’m loving in small doses requires jump squatting onto and over the ball side of the BOSU. My heart rate gets up there pretty quickly on this one, not so much from exertion, but fear of catapulting myself into the attic. (As if I had that much leg strength.)
For now, I’m just doing these exercises sporadically at home. Besides the fact that I need to build some skillz with a few of them, my gym doesn’t have an open area for working out. Those of us who do body weight exercises have to hope there are two elliptical machines not in use so we can claim the space between for our mats/paraphernalia. That’s about a 4′ x 6′ area. Not a lot of room for jumping and hopping. Well, not for someone with a tendency toward clumsiness.
The next time my part of the gym feels too crowded, I’ll just mosey on home and jump and skip around my house. Heck, even when it’s not too crowded, I might split my workout into 2 parts–weights at the gym and then the fun stuff at home. This could work!
Have you found any new exercises lately?