18 January 2011
I’m not too sore today – yet. My belly is sore. I’m a little weak in the lats from the whopping 20 push-ups I did yesterday, most of which didn’t even go all the way to the floor. Oh, I shouldn’t be mean to myself. Square One is Square One. And it’s better than Square Nothing, or Square Negative One, or Square I-Give-Up.
Workout Number Two was 20 minutes on the elliptical – in a row! And I wasn’t even mad! – and some light lifting for triceps and chest.
I use the stability ball a lot when I’m lifting lighter weights. Sitting or leaning on the ball forces the core to activate, challenging the abdominal muscles and improving balance. I started with chest presses with 15-pound dumbbells followed immediately by seated overhead tricep extensions with one 15-pound dumbbells. 15 reps of one, 15 reps of the other, rest, and repeat.
Next, I did flyes (most people seem to spell it “fly,” but I learned it with the extra “e,” like Ye Olde Flye, so I spell it that way, so there) with 10-pound weights. I felt like a complete weakling, like someone any minute would come along and kick sand in my face. I am a big fan of lifting heavy. But I didn’t want to get so sore that I couldn’t pick up my child. Plus, this was the first return to weights in many, many months. Square One. You have to crawl before you walk. Maybe not literally in my kid’s case, but I’ll use the saying anyway.
I alternated 15 reps of flyes with 15 reps of pullovers with a 15-pound weight. Rest and repeat. Technically, pullovers are an upper back/back of the shoulder exercise; however, they light up the pectoral muscles, too, so I threw them in. I finished with tricep kickbacks on the ball with 10-pound weights, and they were too heavy, but the 5s were too light, and there weren’t any 8-pound weights in this room. So I did three sets of 10 reps each with the 10s.
I hate tricep exercises. Let me refine that statement – I hate exercises that you do one at a time. You feel like you’re doing twice the work. Of course, the trainer in me intones/lectures that by isolating each arm, you eliminate the compensation that naturally occurs when you use both at the same time, and you build a balanced body. Blah blah blah, the workout-er in me says, yeah, whatever, it’s still boring. This is when it’s really, really good to have a partner with you to make you do stuff that’s good for you. Otherwise you skip the things you don’t like, but that you really ought to do to have a well-rounded workout plan.
If you don’t have an accountability partner handy, then let my nagging voice echo in your brain. Do it. The more you kvetch about it and dwell on how much it stinks, the more you drag it out. Also, try not to leave your least favorite exercise for the end of your workout! Knock the ones you don’t like out of the way early, and wind up with something that you enjoy and that makes you feel strong and kick-ass.
Here are links to the exercises I did in this workout:
Chest press on the stability ball: http://www.strongshape.com/ball-chest-press.html
[NOTE: some folks show this exercise performed with the head and neck off of the ball, chin slightly tucked. That arrangement may fire some more abdominal muscles, as in a Pilates workout, but I prefer to take my neck out of the equation when I’m using weights. Personal preference, but those neck muscles are really tiny, and straining them can distract from the main point of the exercise. Plus, I find that when we try to do too many things at once, nothing gets done really well!]
Seated overhead tricep extension: http://www.weight-lifting-workout-routines.com/triceps-exercise.html#7
[NOTE: be careful careful careful with your elbows on this one. Keep them as close to your head as you can, and pointing straight ahead. If your elbows bow out, then you’re straining the joint. Get a lighter weight.]
Chest flyes on the stability ball: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/exercise/chest-exercises6.htm
[NOTE: don’t lock your arms when you do these. It helps me to envision squeezing my pectorals together to pull my arms back up. You don’t want to strain your elbows or shoulders.]
Pullover on the stability ball: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/exercise/back-strengthening-exercises9.htm
[NOTE: remember to keep your arms and elbows as close to your head as you can. Brush your ears with your arms as you do the movement.]
Tricep kickback on the stability ball: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/exercise/triceps-exercises6.htm
[NOTE: keep your belly tight and your back flat throughout this exercise. It may help to do a few facing the mirror, to make sure your shoulders are in a straight line, and then to do a few to the side to see that your back is flat.]