WOW Wednesday, part 2!

IT’S WEDNESDAY! 

You know what that means!

Your Workout Of the Week is here!

lets go

Following last week’s workout with so many different pieces of equipment, I wanted to make this week’s workout equipment free.

And let me tell you, this workout came at the perfect time! My workouts on Monday and Tuesday were killers. Monday we worked on push presses, and Tuesday we worked on squats. Each workout started with 3 rounds of 5 sets of corresponding muscle activation exercises, followed by:

5 x 1 One Rep Max

and

10 x 10 at 50% of the 1RM

By one rep max (1RM), I mean at what heaviest weight I could move the bar one time. Due to a crowded gym, I didn’t have the comfort of a squat rack for the push press – my highest weight was 85 pounds. For the squats I attempted 175, but didn’t make it up. I hit 165 though, and that’s more than my body weight! I’m quite happy with that.

Even at 50% of those numbers (40 pounds and 80 pounds, respectively) 10 x 10 is no joke.

With my upper and lower body fatigued today, a body weight workout sounded just right. Which leads me to your workout this week!

10x each:

Squat

Curtsy Lunge (each side)

Side Lunge (each side)

*hip hinge, below

15x each:

Right Side Plank Dips

Plank PushUps

Left Side Plank Dips

*plank, below

20x each:

Burpees

Jumping Jacks

Skaters

*burpees, below

As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP) for 20 minutes

 

I underestimated this workout when I wrote it. Originally I was going to repeat the whole thing five times, but that sounded a bit ambitious simply because I was already tired. So I settled on the 20 minute AMRAP instead, and it was a great idea. Plus, twenty minutes is accessible to almost everyone. It might take some self-convincing, but carving twenty minutes out of your day is totally doable. (Well… thirty. Don’t forget a warmup and cool down!)

This workout is deceptively difficult. 

But….

You’ll feel so proud of yourself when it’s done.

small progress

Have I mentioned how much I hate burpees? To me, a set of 20 is just plain miserable! That part was definitely my most time consuming portion.  After I finished the second round, I thought I would run out of time before I got to them again – and it made me work harder, knowing my least favorite part was done with! But low and behold, I got to the group of 20s with plenty of time to spare. So back to burpees I went.

My 20 minute alarm went off right as I finished burpee number 18 of round three. Since I was so close to finishing, and I like things to be nice and even, I finished my last two burpees, and the 20 jumping jacks and skaters.

I feel like I do squats best with just a little bit of weight – it helps me stand nice and upright, and makes me keep my core nice and tight. So on the group of 10s I used a 20 pound barbell. But that’s what’s so nice about this workout – the modifications are almost endless. Keep scrolling for a list of ways to modify.

By the time I finished the third round I was exhausted! My heart rate was much higher than I was anticipating. Between the plank pushups and the burpees there are more arms involved than it appears.

I warmed up with a slow 10 minute walk on the treadmill, and a slow five minute cool down on the elliptical – plus some time stretching afterwards.

 

Notes about this workout:

1. Let’s talk about the hip hinge for just a minute. Proper hip hinge is the most important part of being able to perform many of these exercises correctly. As this article states, toddlers can perform this movement correctly – we unlearn how to do it as we grow and get lazy with our movement patterns. Learning to do it properly isn’t necessarily easy, but it is simple. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll be amazed at how often you’ll perform it in daily life. (The functional part of functional fitness – think, how you pick something up from the floor, or how you sit down into a chair.) So how to do it?

” …walk over to a wall. While you stand about three inches away from the wall, facing away, try to tap the wall with your butt. To do this, you have to stick your butt out and hinge at the hips. Once you’ve done this from three inches, step away from the wall another inch and repeat the same movement. Finally, step another inch forward and execute a full hip hinge.

You’ll feel a nice stretch in your hamstrings and your knees should only have a soft bend in them. Voila! Hip hinge complete. “

The cue that worked best for me while I was learning, was to have someone put a band around my hips. She stood behind me, pulling the band against my hips and towards herself. As I initiated my hip movement, she gently tugged on the band, allowing my hips to be pulled backwards. The hip hinge is key to successful squats and lunges (and lots of other movements!).

hip hinge

2. Now about those planks. The link provided above mentions common mistakes in planking. The key to a correct plank is a straight spine. Your neck, back, hips, and legs should maintain one straight line. Lifting your head, lifting your hips, or dropping your hips breaks this line and creates a faulty plank. If the time you spend in this position is too long to maintain proper form, take a short rest!! Poor form for the sake of time defeats the purpose of the exercise. 

plank

3. Burpees are one of the best total body exercises, and there are SO many ways to modify them. Modifications to burpees can include: A. Stepping burpees – You can begin by simply stepping your feet back one by one, and either holding a plank or completing a pushup, and stepping your feet back to the starting point, one by one. B. Plank, or half, burpees – Jumping your both feet back and holding a plank position before jumping both feet back to the start. C. Strict burpees – Jump both feet back, do a strict pushup, and return to the start position. D.CrossFit style” burpees – Jump both feet back, let your thighs and chest touch the floor, push yourself back up and into the start position.

burpee.png

 

Ways to modify:

You can switch around the amount of repetitions for each group. Someone who hasn’t done 100+ squats the day before may want to do the squats and lunges for their round of 20s instead of 10s.

If you have weights available, feel free to grab them! The squats and lunges can be done with either a barbell on your back OR by holding a kettlebell.

You can complete any variation of a squat that you like. Box squats are great for beginners or for anyone with poor balance or bad joints. Sumo squats are another great alternative.

Any kind of lunges can be completed – front, back, diagonal, side, and curtsy are all good options.

Plank side dips and plank pushups are both a bit more of an advanced movement. If these are comfortable for you – great! If they’re a little too difficult, no problem. Set a certain amount of time to hold a typical or side plank. I’d estimate that 15 seconds on each side, and 30 seconds in a regular plank would be about equal.

As the linked video shows, skaters are done by jumping from one side to the next. However they could be modified to step from one side to the other, taking the jumping component out.

 

Don’t let this list of modifications overwhelm you with options. I only want it to show that in this, or any other, workout – there are countless ways to make it work for YOU. Today, I made this workout work for me. You get that same freedom and opportunity.

If you have any questions or need any specific instructions for movements, exercises, or modifications for exercises, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know!

WOW Wednesdays!

Workout

Of the

Week

Wednesdays

Wednesdays are now officially your WOW Wednesdays! (Thanks to Boyfriend for that idea! And thanks to Boyfriend for the original workout that I adapted into this one!)

Each Wednesday I’ll post a new workout that I’ve done that week, and challenge you to try it! There will be descriptions for each exercise, and videos if I can find them.

I’ve done this workout twice so far- once last week, and again yesterday. Last week I used a 20 pound kettlebell and a 40 pound bar. I also had the Upright Rows at the set of 8 – but that was too much for me at 40 pounds. I modified it as I went last week, and stuck to that modification when I did it again this week. That workout is listed below, with the weights I used in parenthesis. You can click on each exercise for a demonstration of how to perform them.

14 Calorie Row (level 6)

12 Single Arm Kettlebell Swings (25#)

10 Medicine Ball Slams (20#)

Barbell Sumo Squats (40#)

Barbell Overhead Press (40#)

Barbell Upright Row (40#)

Complete two rounds, maximum effort, only resting during transition from one exercise to the next. Rest for two to five minutes, and repeat. Complete for time.

Don’t skip your warm up or cool down! At least five minutes. I typically do an incline walk on the treadmill, a slow row, or jump rope.  

 

Last week I completed the first two rounds in 8:15, and the second in 7:46.

I aimed to beat my time this week, but wasn’t sure if I would or not. Yesterday I was feeling pretty sluggish and didn’t have much energy. BUT – I knew it would be a fast workout, and the harder I pushed, the quicker I would be done!

My first two rounds I finished in 7:43. Faster, but just barely! (Just barely is good enough in my book.) I took two minutes to rest, and at that point thought best case scenario would have me maintaining the same pace. But again – I knew the harder I pushed the better I would feel.

The second two rounds I finished in….

7:23.

What?!

It’s not the most intense workout I’ve done. But seeing that time drop so substantially made me feel so great.

Hard work does pay off! Don’t let your mind trick your body otherwise.

 

Notes:

This workout does require a good bit of equipment. Some movements are adaptable for little to no equipment with a bit of ingenuity. If you need suggestions for modifications, leave me a comment! 

Medicine Ball Slams do not have to be performed by bringing the ball behind your head like the link shows. Doing so would be a great way to incorporate a bit more triceps, though. When I do them I lift the ball straight up, and slam it straight down. I aim for the ball to land between my toes – at the top of my feet, but not too far out in front. I catch the ball on the bounce, and immediately lift it back up and begin again.

For the barbell sequence, you can perform each exercise without putting the bar down. For the sumo squats, keep the bar across your back. Transitioning to the overhead press, lift the bar overhead and begin the press from about collar bone level. I did as many strict presses as I could – relying on just my arms and shoulders to lift. As I got a little more tired I allowed myself a small jump-up as I lifted.

The barbell upright rows were the hardest for me. I used the same 40 pound bar for all of these, and lifting that much here was a challenge (…which is why I only did four of them).

 

 

Today two of my coworkers and I completed CrossFit Open’s 18.2 workout. We did 18.1 last week – it was a killer, but it was so much fun!

18.2?

Ya’ll.

My legs are still a little shaky. (We skipped 18.2A, in case anyone is keeping track – we all agreed that it was a little too challenging for us.) I had a lofty goal of finishing around six minutes. When the first coworker finished just under eight minutes this morning, I knew six would be out of my reach when I did it this afternoon. And it was – I finished last out of us three, at 11:05.

But I know I pushed myself as hard as I could, and that’s what I care about. 

I’m not a CrossFit-er by any means. I’ve never gone to a CrossFit gym and I’m about 50/50 on what I like and dislike about it.

But I can say that the family CrossFit builds is pretty cool.

Having an opportunity for my coworkers and I to come together to do such hard workouts and cheer each other on is awesome team building. Plus, being asked what we’re doing gets to start conversations with other coworkers that we might otherwise miss out on.

It’s also a common interest with Boyfriend. Being able to talk to each other about our workouts, and challenge, encourage, and inspire each other to try something new and difficult helps our long distance seem a little less distant.

The videos of people all shapes and sizes, disabilities, ages, etc… pushing themselves to compete and complete these workouts is incredible. If you are needing some motivation to go workout, check out this video.

 

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These workouts are challenging, that’s certain. But it’s not impossible.

 

Challenge yourself! Make modifications if you need to. Just get it done!

Carving out a few minutes of your day to take care of yourself makes all the other stressful parts of life just a little bit more manageable – for me at least. And hopefully, for you too.

HAPPY EXERCISING! 

Of course, always talk to your doctor before starting a new workout regimen. If you know your body shouldn’t do something, listen to it. Push yourself, but only as far as you know is safe.