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! Continue reading
It’s been a slow recovery with my low back injury. But after some great progress, I decided it was time to make it back to Sonjia’s CrossFit class (after nearly 4 months). I almost didn’t want to write about this because what I actually did was VERY different than her prescribed workout (enter my pride). But since I LOVE this kind of full body, compound workout, I thought I would share it. The other really great lesson about today is the reminder that ALL exercise is scalable and can be modified for every individual. I loved being able to go through the class, modify the CrossFit routine for my situation, and feel proud about my progress. Continue reading
I love my full body, functional routines. I love my gadgets. I love training my heart and muscles at the same time with high reps of compound moves. I love doing pull ups and being strong enough to do a 2 minute plank. And I love how I’ve dropped a size and several inches around my waist & arse. 😉
I love them so much that I have neglected other types of exercise like straight strength training. And while I am strong, there’s a lot to be said about old school weight lifting (which I used to do about 10 years ago).
That’s how the Workout Swap began…. Continue reading
Chop, Twist, Curl, Press, Extension…. I do it all with my medicine ball. I typically mix it in with leg exercises to make it harder, more interesting, raise the intensity, and raise my hear trate. Since my medicine ball isn’t heavy (6 – 10 lbs), I typically do these for reps (20) or time (1 – 2 minutes).
For me, compound and functional exercises have produced defined muscles (without traditional “lifting”), a stronger core (without countless crunches), my endurance has improved, and I definitely fit into my clothes differently.
So I am a convert – I love my medicine ball.
- Walking lunge with chop (keep ball straight up, chop ball down on same side as the leading leg during lunge motion)
- Walking lunge with shoulder press
- Walking lunge with ball held straight up (keeps the posture upright – my weakness) (Can you tell I like my walking lunges?)
- Stationery lunge w 1, 2, 3 above 😉
- Stationary lunge (with rear leg on step) with shoulder press (the higher the step, the more isolated the front leg) – This is one of my new favorites
- Lateral lunge with chop (legs wider than shoulders, shift weight from center to right and extend arms & ball up to 1/2 OClock , shift weight and lunge to left while lowering medicine ball to 7/8 oclock) – note the lunge/lowering move is only on one side – whatever, tweet to me and I’ll try to explain LOL
- Lateral lunge with medicine ball reaching to 5 OClock (right side) and 7 OClock (left side) – note the lunge/lowering move is on both sides
- Rotating lunge with torso twist (On the right side, foot/lunge travels to 3 O’Clock and torso rotates in the same direction with the ball held straight in front of the body. The left side is the opposite with the foot, lunge, torso, arms going to 9 O’Clock.)
- Curtsey lunge with chop, chest press, or shoulder press (see 1 minute demo by Sonjia)
- Round the World Lunges – ball held with straight arms in front of torso (1st lunge forward, 2nd lunge to 3 O’Clock, 3rd lunge to 5 O’Clock, 4th lunge to 3 O’Clock… Repeat)
- Squat with shoulder press, curl, chest press or tricep press
- Squat with combos of above – curl, shoulder & tricep press (my personal fav – why not work out everything, eh?)
- Squat with one arm shoulder press
- Squat with big circles (holding the ball with 2 hands, straight arms, and making a big circle in front of you)
- Squat with figure 8’s (like above, but make a figure 8 motion with arms/ball)
- Wall ball (See 90 second demo with Sonjia)
- Roman twist
- Sit up with pull over and chest press
- Sit up holding medicine ball with arms near ears (no pull over)
- V- Up passing the ball between the legs and the hands
- Crunches… many, many, many…. with legs and arms/ball up straight towards the ceiling
- Push up with one or both hands on the ball 😉
Note: I’m not a pro…. talk to a trainer to make sure your form is good 😉
Did I mention I love my medicine ball? What have I left out?
Lunges are a great exercise, but sometimes I get bored. This lunge variation can be done with different upper body moves to raise the intensity and involve additional body parts. I did the curtsey lunge with the shoulder press today for my Special 300 Workout.
What do you think of the curtsey?
After working with my trainer for a while, I’m still amazed that she can create interesting, challenging, and fun workouts. I haven’t been sore in a while – I’m getting stronger in so many ways – but I must admit, this one got me.
This is a full body workout using functional & compound exercises. And between the moves and the reps, there is plenty of intensity to get the heart rate up. In the past I’ve declined starting at 21 reps – but I accepted the challenge, paced myself accordingly, and gave it my best. (PS I have reasons for my pacing – ever heard of syncope? That’s a topic for another post.)
I was slow – it took me 50 minutes – but I completed every repetition for every set for every exercise – so in my book – that’s great!
Seven Sets – Using the 21 – 18 – 15 – 12 – 9 – 6 – 3 Repetition Pattern
(For example, Set #1 has 21 reps of each exercise & Set #2 has 18 reps of each exercise)
- Kettlebell swings (I used a 15 lb KB)
- Walking lunges
- Assisted pull ups (with the band)
- Plank with oblique twist
- Wall ball (I used a 6 pound ball) (see Demo)
- Burpees with push up and step up (if you want this to be harder, you can do a box jump – if you want this to be easier, you can skip the step)
There are several cool things about these moves – they work multiple muscle groups that get your whole body, they engage the core (sans crunches), and they get your heartrate up. Another great thing about this workout is that it’s scalable – each move can be made easier or harder based on one’s strength and fitness.
Give it a try – let me know what you think!
For those that know me, you know that Sonjia (prounounced Sone-Yah – not Sone-Jye-Ah) has been a big part of incorporating exercise into a healthy lifestyle. I’ve had trainers before – blah blah blah. I’ve even gone through periods of fairly regular exercise.
But Sonjia is different. She has opened my world to big, functional, compound exercises that combine strength and cardio into challenging but doable workouts. These efficient circuits have produced results – my clothes fit differently, my endurance is better, and I am definitely stronger.
So here she is – in her video DEBUT – showing off one of our favorite exercises – the Wall Ball. Sometimes we do it for reps (about 20 per set), tabata (20 seconds hard, 10 seconds rest, repeat for 4 minutes), or time (1 or 2 minutes) as part of a larger circuit training.
In her words, “You’re going to LOVE this!” Note: That’s code for this is harder than it looks (which is good, because I need to be tricked into working hard).
Do you have any favorite “harder than they look” exercises?