The dreaded hump day. It seems like the gym is always slower on Wednesday.
My daughter was up for at least two hours last night (we think she is teething, but we have thought that for weeks now), so I was feeling the pain of not wanting to get up to workout this morning. My motivation truly was that this was going to be the only time to myself all day, so I wanted to take advantage of it.
I ran through another circuit this morning. I had planned this one out the night before with my husband. I love to shoot ideas off of him because he has done a lot of work gathering exercises over the years from Men’s Health magazines.
I was serious when I said years. He has three binders full of workouts. You better believe I will be sharing some of these ideas with you. I wanted this workout to really focus on some specific areas: Legs (glutes, hamstrings, quads) and core.
Stopwatch doesn’t lie. It took me right at 28 minutes to cycle through this circuit 3 times. I will offer modifications for each exercise, mainly because I was tired today, so I needed to modify exercises for myself as I got further into the workout. Not much equipment today!
Warm up –
My warm up this morning was very similar to Monday, however, I did change up a few things knowing what muscle groups I was going to be working. I started my stopwatch when I started my warm up. I walked in place, gradually increasing the range of motion in my arms and legs, until I was jogging in place. I did this for about a minute. I finished off my warm up with some body weight hamstring curls and body weight squats.
Single leg butt lift – I used the rounded side of a Bosu for this exercise. Lying on your back, start with heel of one foot placed on top of the Bosu and the other leg raised in the air towards the ceiling. Hands are by your side. Press your body up through your heel, squeezing your glute at the top. Ideally, at the height of the movement, your body should be in a straight line from shoulders to knees. Do 10-12 each leg.
Modification- Instead of using a Bosu, use a medicine ball. If you don’t have either or you would like to use something more stable lay in front of your stairs and put one foot on the first step.
Tricep Push up with single arm row – Start in a pushup position (hands under shoulders), holding a weight in both hands. Do a complete push up keeping elbows close to body to engage the triceps. After the pushup (back in the plank position), lift your right elbow towards ceiling. Repeat with left arm. The push up and row on both sides is one rep. Complete 10.
Modification – I started to notice by the end of the second set that my back was starting to bow on the way up. Not good. I dropped to my knees on the pushups and broke up the exercise (pushups first, then back in a plank position the rows). For the third set, I used a lighter weight. If you already have a Bosu ball and you want a more advanced move, balance your feet on the Bosu while performing your pushups and rows.
Front lunge with twist and press – Start in a standing position, feet together, holding the medicine ball in both hands at chest level. Lunge forward with your right foot, making sure that your knee is at 90 degree angle with the floor. In this position, press the medicine ball out at chest level (straightening your arms) and twist to the right side. Return to starting position. From starting position, press medicine ball up towards ceiling. Repeat on the opposite side. Do 10 each side, alternating sides.
Modification – I used an 8 pound medicine ball for this and by rep 5, I could feel the fatigue in my arms on the upward press. You can sub a dumbbell for the medicine ball (hold each side of the dumbbell such that it is parallel with the floor). You can also break this exercise into two parts OR do this exercise WITHOUT a weight. What? Believe me; you can still feel the effects of this movement without weight.
High knees/Running in place –:30 each, so 1:00 of something to get that heart rate going.
Bicep curls – Good old fashioned, non-technical bicep curls. My heart rate was still up from the previous motion, so I didn’t want to do anything risky here. Standing, feet together, hold one dumbbell with each hand down the side of your body, palms facing each other. Raise dumbbells and slowly lower back after a short pause. No jerking. Control. 10-15 total.
Deadlift to upright row – So many people do deadlifts wrong (and they can cause serious back injury if not done right). For that reason, I’m going to explain the exercise and give some tips as well. Stand with feet hip width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of thighs, palms facing body. Hinge hips forward, lowering torso until it’s almost parallel with the ground. Squeezing glutes return to standing, lifting dumbbells to chest height while keeping elbows pointed to out to the side. Complete 10-12.
Tips – There should never be an arch in your back (if you start to notice your back rounding you probably have too much weight). When you are lowering your torso keep weights super close to your legs (so much so you almost skim them all the way down and back up). If you are doing this right you will really feel it in the back of your legs (think hamstrings). It won’t take much weight to feel sore.
Sprinter Sit up – For any readers who were once sprinters, do you remember the saying “feed the face”? Let’s do that while lying down. Start laying flat on your back, legs straight, and arms by your side with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. In a powerful quick motion, sit up, twist your upper body to the right and bring your right knee toward your left elbow. That’s 1. Do 20 each side. Think quick and powerful. Who knew that you could get out of breath doing sit ups?
I am so happy that I got up and pushed through this circuit this morning. I had lunch with a former coworker today at one of my favorite lunch spots uptown – Mortimers. Located in the Epicentre, this place has really nailed it when it comes to the lunch and happy hour work crowds. It is the perfect place to compromise for groups in which some people want something healthy and the others want to splurge. It is also super casual and relatively cheap!