Monday, March 15, 2010

New Ideas, New Challenges -- and Fun

One of my favorite blogs, Mark's Daily Apple, had a great post last week about urban workouts. The idea was to use almost anything you can find outside in your workout.

In the video that Mark posted, which I've embeded below, the guy makes his way along the bottom of some stairs using his hands and feet. Then he does it with just his arms.

Now, my workout yesterday wasn't urban -- it was in a gym. But one of the great things about working out is to take pieces of things you see elsewhere and incorporate them, or something into your workouts.

So at the end of my intervals I decided to try something similar to what I'd seen in the video. The pulley machine has a long bar connecting one station to the next. So I grabbed one end and made my way to the other by going hand over hand.

The distance was short but after sprints, side shuffles and dumbbell swings, it was tough. And it worked my entire body.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Give It a Try

I love trying new things when it comes to fitness, as long as they make sense (squats on the Bosu ball? No thanks).

I'd wanted to try an Indo Board since I first saw one in a surf shop a while back. It's basically a board that balances on a roller. You stand on it and see if you can slide back and forth, squat and so forth. It works pretty much everything, especially your core.

So when I spotted one at my gym, I had to try it. I damn near busted my ass. But with a little advice from someone who knew how to use it (start on a surface like the mat where people stretch because the roller moves slower), I picked it up.

How is it? Fun, and it certainly does what it claims to do.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Age is Meaningless, Part 10

Jamie Moyer will confuse hitters with what SI describes as "his what-was-that? curveball, many of them off the plate but irresistible" this season.

He's 46.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This Guy is onto Something

I'm a big believer in making working out something closer to play whenever possible. A recent Men's Health article may have had the ultimate example of that.

Erwan Le Corre is a Frenchman who has set up a camp in Brazil dedicated to workouts that resemble play and emphasize moving as nature intended. In other words, they're fun, but damn hard.

Check out this video to get an idea of what he's preaching. The Men's Health story has some simple ways to incorporate his ideas into your workout.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Know What You Don't Know

I watched a guy in skintight shorts, the kind men should wear under shorts only, not as shorts, giving instructions tonight to a woman at the gym. Normally I wouldn't care what he or anyone else wore. But what he wore fit what he knew, which clearly wasn't much.

He was showing her the barbell squat and he couldn't have been more wrong.

First of all, he bent at the knees first, not the hip (think about sitting down in a chair).

Then he told her to only do a three-quarters squat, but his three-quarters squat was about a quarter squat.

Finally, he told her to never go all the way down to when your thighs are parallel to the ground because it's dangerous. Sure, it's dangerous if you do it incorrectly like he did, rounding your lower back.

If that all wasn't enough to tell me he didn't know what he was talking about, there was another indicator: His legs showed almost no sign he'd added any muscle to them. Someone who knows how to do squats wouldn't have chicken legs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alwyn Cosgrove is a Genius

I've mentioned the name Alwyn Cosgrove many times in this blog. He's a trainer I learned of during my time running the Men's Health Web site. And he's a genius.

I know this because I basically follow what he preaches, if not his direct workout plans, and it works. He bases his beliefs on a huge amount of data he collects on clients at his California gym.

His blog is always great reading even though it's often written for other trainers instead of those of us trying to get or stay in shape. But even in those posts, he has wisdom for the rest of us.

Today is a classic example. Give it a read.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Make Common Tasks a Workout

I helped a friend this weekend spread all the gravel that her lousy snowplow guy dug up when he plowed her driveway this winter. There was a big pile of it.

My job was to shovel it into a wheelbarrow and cart it to various places, dump it and then she'd spread it.

So here's how I thought about it. Each time I dug the shovel in I bent my knees to keep my back straight and then straightened my legs to raise the shovel. That's basically a quarter or half squat each time.

Then when I turned to dump the shovel into the wheelbarrow, I twisted to the side, which worked my core.

I also made sure to switch sides and shift my grip (changing which hand was at the top) to guard against imbalances.

Then when I lifted the back of the wheelbarrow, I made sure it was with my legs and I braced my core for stability.

When I dumped the wheelbarrow, I used my legs again, pushing upward, braced my core and lifted my arms, which basically was a full-body move.

Today as I surfed I could definitely feel what I'd done yesterday.

So I helped her and helped myself.