It’s hard to believe I’ve been strength training for almost five years now. Time does fly.
I’ll always be grateful to myself for opening up to the idea of strength training and to the Universe for giving me the means and ability, because it totally changed my life:
1. I’m physically stronger, of course.
2. I’m mentally and emotionally stronger. Most days.
3. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my abilities, all positive.
4. I lost weight and have kept it off, give or take 3-5 pounds.
5. I lost inches even when I didn’t lose weight.
I’m sometimes asked if I get bored with strength training, doing the same exercises over and over. My answer is
almost always no, and here’s why:
Those are some of the workouts I’ve done just in the past year. I jot them down and stuff them in a pocket of my gym bag and then leave them there when I’m done. On days when I don’t feel like planning, I can just reach in and grab a workout. No thinking required. Other days I just make it up as I go along.
Another reason that I never get bored is that I’m always finding new exercises to add in. Here are a few that I’m putting into use this week:
Horizontal Jumping Jacks
Overview: In full plank position, hop your legs out to the sides and back. See video link below for demo:
I did this on Monday a.m. at the end of my push-up set. I was worried it might be a little rough on the wrists, but no problems with this one!
Dumbbell Skier Swing
Overview: I think of this exercise as a cross between a deadlift, a dumbbell swing, and a tricep kickback. Sort of. Video demo at this link will show you what I’m talking about it.
I’ve worked through a few sets of this at home, sans weights, and I think I’m going to like it!
Overview: Working one side of the body at a time. Instead of using both legs in a leg press, for example, you halve the weight and do the press with one leg. More info HERE and HERE.
Other than a random sets on the glute press machine, I haven’t done much in the way of unilateral training. I’m eager to see if I notice any strength gains or other benefits. If nothing else, I’m going to look soooo bad-ass, hard-core doing it.
I’ve got one more new exercise, and of course I can’t find a photo of it. Since I don’t know what it’s called, I have bestowed upon it the name of Plank Toe Touch Downs. Basically it starts with a plank with your feet on the ball, like so:
Now’s when you have to use your imagination. Once you’re in the plank position and have the ball under control, lift your right leg and lower it beside the ball until your toe touches the floor. Bring it back up to the ball and repeat the process with the left leg.
This is another exercise I added in on Monday morning, and it’s actually f-u-n. For me, it requires a LOT of concentration because everything is engaged while doing it, including my giggle reflex.
Break for gym funny: I was just finishing up my workout when a women near me asked what workout I was doing. I told her it was nothing specific, just my made-up workout, and she said, “Oh, I thought it might be Body-Something-I-Can’t-Remember. I saw the DVD and those kids do a bunch of crazy stuff like you do. I need to try some of those.”
I’m taking that as a compliment.
Keeping workouts fresh and mixing things up are good for the spirit AND for the body. Doing the same things for the same amount of time every day can lead to burnout, muscle fatigue (the bad kind that can cause lasting damage), and plateaus. Just as we need to change up our diets from time to time, we also need to shake up the workouts.
(Huh, I just thought of a catchy slogan: Shake Up to Shape Up!)
(Nah, it sounds like a cheesey infomercial.)
(On the other hand, I could make zillions of dollars from it. I’d have to give up pride, integrity, and a smidge of self-respect. Something to think about, anyway.)
How are you keeping your workouts fresh? Please tell me you have a new exercise for me to