Friday, January 16, 2009

New Year, New Moves

I think what I did to my thighs today is illegal in 20 states. Seriously. I’m only five hours out of my workout and my thighs are giving me the whole, “Are you freaking KIDDING me?” routine.

I’m pretty protective of my lower body because of all the arthritis and whatnot. I want to hang on to what knee and toe joints I have left for a few more years before becoming the Bionic Woman. So mostly I’ve done just cardio to strengthen my calves, hamstrings, glutes, etc.

However, a few months ago, I bought a used stepper. You know the ones they use in step aerobic classes? And I started using it to do calf raises. I hold a dumbbell in my hand and slowly do one leg at a time. I started at 8 pounds, 12 reps/2 sets and am now on 10 pounds, 15 reps/3 sets. I love the groove I’ve developed in my inner calf. It’s there somewhere under all these layers of clothes!

Then last week when my biceps tendonitis flared up in my right arm, I had to lay off the heavy upper body weights and modify my workout. In the back of my mind I thought maybe I would try a little lower body stuff to fill in for what I was going to lose for awhile in upper body exercise, but I wasn’t sure what to try.

I took care of the upper body first. I found some shoulder rehab exercises on YouTube and dug out one of my favorite strength training books, Strength Training for Women by Joan Pagano. I picked some modified upper body moves that will help get me back in lifting action pretty quickly – three shoulder, two biceps, one chest, and two triceps lifts. I miss the barbell, but it’s all for the greater good, I keep telling myself.

Nosing further through the book, I checked out the lower body section just for kicks. The knee extensions, ball bridge and inner-thigh lift looked like things I could do. Hmmm….. Flipping through the pages, out dropped a short article I’d torn out of a magazine months ago on how to “reduce my saddlebags.” (Question: Does anyone outside the desert southwest, South Dakota and Montana even know what saddlebags are anymore?) Anyway, using the book and the “saddlebag-reduction” leg rotation, I developed a 3 set routine. I bought ankle weights at WalMart and tried it all out this morning.

Sixty minutes. That’s how long it took me to get through my revamped rehab, and upper and lower body circuit. That was in addition to the the cardio warm-up and the abs workout afterwards, which also included a new move – side twists with a 5-pound weighted ball. I’m pretty sure my obliques will be bitching at me tomorrow, too.

Just when you think you’re in shape, another muscle comes around and yells, “Hey!! Guess what? I’m part of your body, too!!”

Ugh.

It’s a good pain, though. The kind that says, “Good job. You’ll appreciate this come tank-top weather.” For now, though, I’ll muscle through and keep stretching. I love stretching. Feels. Soooo. Good.

How do you mess…I mean MIX…things up? I’m always looking for knee-, shoulder-, toe-friendly moves. Got anything compelling I have to try?

3 comments:

  1. For shoulders, I love the upright row - doing that regularly gives me nice shoulder caps.

    A great leg exercise that is easy on the knees is to lie on your back with your heels on a stability ball. Lift your bottom off the floor and then pull the ball towards you with your heels. Then push it back out. This works your hamstrings and quads without all the pressure on the knees like a traditional squat. Plus you get balance work.
    Here is a link to a video:
    http://trainwithmeonline.com/exercise_13_Stability_Ball_Hamstring_Curls.html

    I like this site to get different ideas, too.

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  2. Thanks for the tip and the link, Lori! My hamstrings hurt just watching the video - lol. Looks like a great site, though. I'm heading there now to look at it in more depth.

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  3. I mix it up by going to the gym regularly for about two weeks, then taking three to ten years off.

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