Back in the day – before adjusting to my new empty nest and my low back injury – I was becoming pretty darn strong! I was working out with Sonjia regularly and doing a variety of full body, compound, high rep workouts. I LOVED getting stronger! I LOVED being able to work out longer at higher heart rates! She tricked me one time and had me do Cindy’s (5 assisted pull ups, 10 pushups, 15 bodyweight squats for 20 minutes). I remember the first time it was HARD! I had to take several breaks and my muscles were tired! Little did I know that it was a benchmark routine – one that let’s us gauge our progress over time. And yes, within a month my Cindy improved! I can’t do pull ups at home (sigh), but I finally figured out how to do a Cindy at our local playground and it was a great 20 minute workout!
I haven’t done those Cindy’s since Fall for a lot of reasons (mainly because they are HARD and I never volunteer for HARD). But Cindy has been roaming around in my brain for a while. At the gym I’d feel pretty self conscious hogging the pull up machine for 20 minutes 😀 And at the local playground, I can’t really do enough pull ups on my own to do it well.
Then I had an idea: how about using the parallel bars and subbing inverted rows for the pull ups?
So I enlisted my 4 year old nephew as a counter, and we skipped off to the school. (Note: He’s a GREAT counter – he’s always a few numbers ahead of my actual reps.) He twirled around and showed me his tricks, while I did the routine:
- 5 inverted rows
- 10 push ups
- 15 bodyweight squats
I intended on repeating them for 10 minutes, but I felt so good that time that I kept going.
Result? I lost count – ha! But I’m pretty sure I got about 15 in (I rested VERY little). I did squeeze in modified pushups (on knees) and modified inverted rows (legs bent) in three of the middle sets to give my muscles a rest while still moving.
I LOVE combining these exercises – big muscle groups, full body, core, endurance, sweat. I actually think that every routine should include these fundamental moves.
AND they can be modified – for someone starting out, one can start with a modified inverted row (legs bent) and a modified pushup (from knees). For someone that is new to these kinds of moves, maybe start with 3-5 rounds total (let your body be your guide). But I guarantee if someone does this a couple times a week, they will get stronger!
Why I loved this? I was PERFECT sore. I got my heart rate up in 20 minutes. The fresh air was lovely. And I discovered my new workout partner and rediscovered tag, slides, and giggling 😀
What kind of workout can you do in 20 minutes?
Note: I’m not a fitness professional – just an enthusiast – talk to a pro, listen to your body, and use caution with any new exercise program.