Keeping Workouts Fresh

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:

workout lists

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!

Unilateral Training
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 consider try?



14 thoughts on “Keeping Workouts Fresh

  1. That toe touch on the ball is going to be in my later workouts with the Fit Female program. I don’t know if I look forward to that LOL!

    I am liking my new workouts a lot. The russian twist is new for me. Plus doing inch worms as my warmup (hard!!)

  2. Oh, I have to start adding weight/strength training. I’ve got the cardio going, but you’re inpsiring me with some of these exercises.
    Love your story about the gym. I do thinnk it was a compliment. Funny how oblivious people can be though.

  3. I love the idea of having workout “sheets” in your bag like that! I do the same, only I just have two different kinds. I think I will switch it up more!

  4. That is a great idea! We don’t go to the gym but I like the idea of maybe writing down our workouts and putting them in a jar and pulling them out to keep us guessing.

    I don’t know if you do at home workouts or not but get Supreme 90 Day. It’s 10 workouts for about $13 and kicks your boo-tay!

  5. I’m so lucky that I work out with my mom and trainer twice a week and my mom treats! It is a luxury I would not otherwise afford myself. Before we added the second day, I did my strength training in a group class at the gym which is how I prefer it for the motivation and camaraderie.

  6. Ah, Cammy, you know my answer to this & just wrote about it too! I have another post this week coming talking more about my love of weights & mixing it up! I always have people tell me it is boring too & I have to chat with them & explain that there are so many exercises & ways to do things! :-) My prob is I know so many things that in a workout, I don’t want to stop cause I want to do another one! :-)

    I LOVE WEIGHTS & yes, how it makes me feel & strong too! :-)

    I am going to try those touch downs! THX!

    Yes, I have done unilateral training – eye opening! ;-)

  7. You are much more imaginative than me! I kind of like things the same and do do the same exercises over and over. I do change my routine occasionally. Especially if someone is using MY machine LOL. And sometimes I try to do the free weights version of the exercise instead of using the machine.

  8. I have really been thinking of starting some kind of strength training after losing most of my weight. Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit and am stuck on the cardio-running, walking-for now. I know, I have been told to start the strength training. You just may have inspired me to start.

  9. Thank you for sharing all of your ideas! I think it’s great that you have so many different routines to chose from.

    I am just figuring out a weight resistance routine with Jody’s help and I feel fantastic!

  10. You are so clever. I LOVE the idea of the notes in the gym bag! Genius!!! I like to take muscle classes at the Y. I take different instructors each week and they change things up so it usually feels new each class.

  11. I miss the benefits of being physically fit. My work load gave me almost no time to perform exercises. I am inspired with your progress though, and hope to bring that amazing and confident feeling back.

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