(…can only make me stronger. Thanks Kanye). Here is my current love letter to lifting:
I’ve always, always been a fan of weights. I’ve loved weight workouts for far longer than I’ve loved running (mainly because they embarrassed me less–never left me red-faced and panting the way running does. That was long ago, though.). But I wanted to share what I’ve been doing during my strength workouts, since I don’t have any awesome tempo workouts or hill repeats to share with you right now. BOO.
Remember, I’ve been doing BodyPump for years, and am only taking a break because I need to focus on my leg rehab, and because I have some issues with putting a bar on my twisty back for squats and lunges. I highly recommend BodyPump for beginners, because it is fast, intense, and highly-motivational. Also, it’s fun. However, if you’re not a BodyPumper, and new to weights, here’s a great guide to how to do exercises, and what to call ’em.
For now, I am doing weights with some free weights that are stashed in the ladies’ locker room at the gym where I workout. I don’t do machines. I will one day venture into the real weight room, but I don’t feel like getting workout advice from, er, well-intentioned men, so I’m staying somewhat hidden for now.
I try to follow the order of the BodyPump tracks, just so I don’t forget anything. It’s ingrained in my head at this point. I do about a songs worth of each exercise, with very few breaks, a la Body Pump. Here’s a tip: everything in BP is done to an 8-count. Do BodyPump enough and you’ll get a feel for which songs work for which set of exercises. I don’t count reps usually, but I do a bunch. That’s another thing BP will train you to do: push through it. I also will up my weights and do fewer reps if I’m pressed for time. It’s also a good way to get muscle confusion going on.
1. Warmup: I do core work for this. Usually about 10 minutes (2 songs) of dumbbell side bends (8 pounds), woodcutters, weighted crunches, bicycles, bent-knee hip raises, reverse crunches, reverse crunches with twist, Russian twists (with 8 pounds of weight), oblique crunches, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting.
2. Calf Raises: They don’t do this in BodyPump and I wish they did. I do two sets of 48 with 20 pound dumbbells.
3. Squats: I do air squats and pistol squats, alternating till it burrrrrrrrns.
4. Chest: Pushups (usually 4 sets of 24) and Chest Press with 15 pound dumbbells.
5. Back, Hamstring, Glutes: Here’s where I wish I had a bar instead of dumbbells, but I use 20 pounds for dead rows and triple rows, and 15 for presses. I alternate between the 3 exercises for the length of a song.
6. Triceps: I’ll start with close-grip presses and skull crushers with 15 pounds. Then dips off the bench and kickbacks (8-10 pounds).
7. Biceps: Curls and more curls. I do fewer reps than in BP here. I start with 2 reps of 8 with 20 pound dumbbells, then I switch to 15 pounds and do them to failure. Success=failure. See why weights are great?
8. Lunges & Plyometrics: I’ll be honest, not doing a lot of these right now because I’m afraid I’ll hurt my leg worse. But I do a lot of static lunges with weight and jump squats normally. I want to do more plyometrics when I’m feeling better, because running is essentially jumping, just in forward motion. And, jumping is fun.
9. Shoulders: 10-pound dumbbells for forward raises, upright row, overhead presses, Arnold presses. If I haven’t hit 100 pushups yet I’ll do more here, too.
10. Abs: More of the above, with some planking and side planking thrown in.
After that, I do my rehab stuff for ITBand. I hope to demo some of the stuff for you on the blog, but I haven’t scheduled a time with my film crew (AKA my husband) yet. 😉
Oh, and you know what goes really well with all of this? My new 90’s playlist. It’s so awful, you’ll forget about how hard your muscles are crying:
Here Comes the Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze
Gonna Make You Sweat, C+C Music Factory
Jump, Kriss Kross
Say My Name, Destiny’s Child
Steal My Sunshine, Len (Is this about drugs? I don’t understand it.)
I Wish, Skee-Lo
Mama Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J
Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice
Body Rock, Moby
Pump Up the Jam, Technotronic
How Bizarre, OMC
I Want You, Savage Garden
Spice Up Your Life, Spice Girls
All 4 Love, Color Me Badd