Compound Exercises- Efficient & Effective

We’re back with another edition of Workout Wednesday!

Today, I want to discuss compound movements and the benefits of lifting heavy weights.

Compound movements work two or more major muscle groups at the same time, essentially meaning, getting more for your buck. Everyone wants their workout to be efficient and effective, so selecting moves to make optimal progress is vital.

Thanks to my friend Eva for the pics!

  1. Thrusters [quads & shoulders]- with the barbell (or dumbbells) in front, squat down and do an overhead press as you come back to standing
  1. Stiff-Leg Deadlifts [hamstrings & back]- with the barbell (or any piece of equipment really), thrust out your butt and hips and lower your upper body parallel to the ground, keeping a slight bend in your knees
  1. KB Swings [all over]- with the kettle bell, stand about shoulder-length about, bend your knees and snap up your hips to swing the kettle bell just above shoulder level
  1. Push-ups [chest, shoulders, triceps, core]- against the wall, on your knees, or in the full position, keep your neck stable as you lean down and bend your arms at a slight angle
  1. Box Jumps [quads, hamstrings, and glutes]- with added elevation or not, bend your knees and drive up and forward and as you land on the platform, squat down for a quiet and steady landing
  1. Hanging Leg Raises [all over core]- hanging from the bar or using the captain’s chair, bring your knees to your chest

In six moves, you get a solid total body workout. Try out these exercises completing 4 sets of 8 reps at a heavy, but manageable weight.

Finish with a round of HIIT cardio, such as jump roping- my current favorite- or sprints on the bike.

 

 

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go forth…and be sweaty

I talk an awful lot about strength training around here and while it is an integral part of any training routine, cardio is still important too.

For me, cardio is often a long run or session on the spin bike, but on days when I want something to top off my weight training, I’ll turn to quick cardio bursts.

You can perform the circuit below anywhere between 1 and 5 times, depending on your timeframe and how your body feels. This is also a great workout you can do outside, at home, on vacation, or wherever life takes you. All you’d need is a jump rope, but even that motion can be mimicked without.

Sweat fiercely.

Cardio without Machines

*I apologize in advance for the triple whammy of burpees.

weekend report

Greetings, Monday! I’m one tired girl, but it’s all thanks to a great weekend.

Things got started the right way after work on Friday with a margarita and some chips and salsa with some friends. After, I watched some Netflix and happily slumbered my way into Saturday morning.

I had a hankering for some bacon, so I delayed breakfast in favor of grocery shopping and it actually helped beat the crowd! Breakfast was all the more delicious. After some hydration, I headed to the gym and knocked out a killer workout that involved strength training and a HIIT-inspired run. I was a sweaty, but happy mess.

I got a lot of chores done, including meal prepping for Monday, which always feels satisfying.

That night, I headed to Hollywood Forever Cemetery to take in a viewing of The Wizard of Oz. With some wine, cheese and crackers, popcorn, and friends, it was a great night. And a beautiful one to sit under the stars.

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I actually thought this picture was a lot nicer when I snapped it, but I guess it gets the point across…

On Sunday, I was up bright and early for a day at Disneyland to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. There’s nothing quite like Disney that makes you both walk and eat a ton.

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It was a great day, into the night, but I was a tired girl by the end of it.

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Rain Drops, Leaves, and Tears

I don’t usually mind running in the rain, but yesterday it was cold and leaves were everywhere. I could easily envision myself slipping and falling to my death a badly injured ankle. Instead, I knew I had to take it inside to the treadmill.

You can see I handled this very well.

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Rather than straight up run, I decided to mix things up a bit, which resulted in a great workout! I started off with a mile run, alternating between a flat incline and a slight incline. A body strength circuit followed with squats, lunges, kickbacks, tricep dips, push ups, supermans, and hip raises. Another mile on the treadmill, this time focused on alternating speeds and another round of the body strength circuit. My third and last mile went back and forth between running on an incline and sprinting. By the end, I was exhausted, but completed one last circuit and ended with a few Yoga moves to cool down.

I came home to make another salad with a black bean burger on top.

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For dinner, I made a steak fajita stir fry that included bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and zucchini.

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On another dreary morning, I decided to make something a little fancy. I realized I haven’t eaten oatmeal in awhile, so I went with a fall angle with some apple cinnamon. First step, I chopped up an apple and tossed it in a bowl with cinnamon, vanilla, a pat of butter, and just a teaspoon of brown sugar.

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While my base ingredients for my oatmeal was simmering, I grilled the apples, which filled my kitchen with a wonderful smell!

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The oatmeal finished cooking, so I poured it into a bowl with a tablespoon of chopped walnuts and raisins and laid the apples on top.

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Once everything was stirred together, it was time to eat!

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Yes, thank you.

Traipsing About: Words and Workouts

I’ve been watching quite a bit of Gilmore Girls lately, thanks Netflix, and I’m really enjoying it. When it was on, I would watch an episode here or there, but it was never one of my core shows. The dialogue moves fast, but that’s one of the aspects I like about it. As a writer, I am trying to learn more about how dialogue flows and pertains to certain characters, so really, it’s a learning process when I watch…

One thing I’ve noticed is how frequently they use the word “traipsing.” This might seem like an odd stand-out, but the emphasis stems from the fact that I learned how to properly pronounce traipsing from the show. It’s difficult to convey to you my history of mispronouncing words, mostly because the element of humor and appreciation would be best viewed from hearing it. There was the “compromise” situation that started it all, pronounced by me, “com. promise.” Most recently, I learned that the word “acquiesce is not pronounced in the manner I always assumed (and to be honest, my pronunciation is far prettier). I tended to stretch out the word when apparently it’s just a jumble. I can’t even explain how I would say “traipsing,” but I’ve learned and now Gilmore Girls won’t let me forget it. Lesson learned!

Onto some exercise talk, which starts with the swim I did last Thursday where I last left you. My incorporation of sprints in my swim time is fun, necessary, and exhausting. It does make swimming, which has the tendency to be boring and repetitive lap after lap, move more quickly and adds another challenge. It wipes me out in a good way and I feel more satisfied when leaving.

The more I exercise and it has been an ingrained habit, the less effect exercise has on my body. In order to do real “damage,” and I mean that on a positive level, I need to keep upping the challenges and this becomes difficult. Sprints are one way I blast through a plateau. I add them in my swimming, running, biking, and jump roping and I’m planning on including them in my strength workouts for this month as well. I’ve mentioned quite a bit about Tabata intervals, which means you perform one move for twenty seconds, rest for ten seconds, over a course of four minutes. This is an effective workout and should be included with the more stable exercises, such as a longer, steadier run, swim, bike ride, etc. Having the body go from a resting state to a high intensity state has an awesome effect on your body and fitness level. I like to leave my workouts with a thick glaze of sweat coating my body, which has proved more difficult than it has in the past. Having to up the ante may seem like an annoying, difficult process, but I see it as an accomplishment and challenge to go even further.

On Friday, I headed to the gym to do a series of strength workouts. I started on the barbells doing a series of key moves like deadlifts, bench presses, squat presses, and leg presses. Since I was crunched for time, I moved onto a couple of kettlebell circuits that get in both strength and cardio exercises.

Before the fun adventures on Saturday night, I went out for a run. I started off feeling ambitious about the hills, but my body was tired and not on the same page, so I took a few of them at a slow run or even a fast walk. Hill runs are another element I want to include in my workout a few times a week. I’ll start at one and see how it goes and hopefully add more the better I get at it.

I do love working out and it is my biggest stress relievers, however, I have no shame in informing you that I planned my rest day last week to fall on my birthday. I was too busy celebrating with friends and family to fit in any time at the gym. The effects of a relaxing, fun rest day was just what I needed to rejuvenate and I headed into the gym on Monday raring to go! I got through a strength workout that incorporated some moves using medicine balls and the stability balls, including that burpee move I couldn’t get through last week. I followed up my strength workout with another swim and felt nice and tired, but energized on my way home.

I renovated my strength workouts a bit and on Tuesday, I tried out my new dumbbell routine using the stability ball. This helps my core while strengthening my muscles. I did a circuit that included shoulder presses, lying tricep extensions, shoulder flies, and bench presses. I was once again a bit overly ambitious and attempted to perform some plank rows with my feet on the stability ball. This will have to be an accomplishment I work towards and instead had no trouble balancing on the ground. After four sets of twelve, I moved on to do two kettlebell circuits that focused on strength and core work. To end, I tried to jump rope, but for some reason, I wasn’t in my groove and couldn’t keep a consistent pace.

I’m headed now to do a Yoga sequence before traipsing* out for a run. Here’s to hoping I don’t slip on any wet, gross leaves. You’ll hear about it if I do!

*I realize that traipsing means moving without care, but I couldn’t resist the pun!

Workout Renovations

Even though today was my rest day from the gym, I have a lot of exciting workout news to share. In order to blast through a plateau, I’ve updated my exercise plan. I have a lot of the same exercises that I’ve either added weight to or made it somehow more difficult.

This week’s schedule looks like this (thanks in large part to the rain).

Sunday:
Dumbbells/Body Strength Mash Up-
– Bench Presses
– Tricep Dips
– Tricep Extensions w/ Calf Raises
– Hip Lifts
– Bicep Curls
– Step Ups
– Front Raises
– Push Ups
– Single-Leg Rows
– Mountain Climbers
– Shoulder Presses w/ Squats
– Lunges
– Shrugs to Monkey Arms
– Deep Plie Squats
– Shoulder Flies

Core-
– Kneeling Kickbacks
– Mermaid Raises
– Crunches
– Bicycle Crunches
– Legs Up Crunches
– Russian Twists
– Sit Ups
– Alternating Ankle Grabs
– Plank (1 minute)
– Side Planks (30 seconds each side)
4 x 12
Cardio-
– Swim

Monday:

Strength/Core-
– Yoga

Cardio-
– Run

Tuesday:

Barbells-
– Snatch and Presses
– Bicep Curls
– Front Deadlifts
– High Pulls
– Front Rows
– Squat Presses
– Bench Presses
– Standing Tricep Extensions
– Front Shoulder Presses
– Front Raises
– Shoulder Raises
– Tricep Kickbacks
– Leg Presses

Core-
– Box Jumps
– Split Squats
– Squat/Elbow to Knee Twists
– Lunge Twists
– Burpees
– T Jacks
– V Push Ups
– Spiderman Climbers
– Hip Lift Calf Raises
– V Ups
– Plank (30 seconds)
– Side Plank (20 seconds each side)
4 x 10

Cardio-
– Jump Rope
– Jumping Jacks
– Bicycle Sprints
– Treadmill Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Wednesday:

REST

Thursday:

Medicine Ball/Ball-
Circuit 1
– Burpees to Throw
– Squat Swings
– Lunge Twists
– Single-Leg Deadlift Reaches
– Ball Twist Tosses

Circuit 2
– Mermaid Raises
– Hundreds
– Elevated Hip Lifts
– Russian Twists
– Ball Flies

Body Strength-
Circuit 3
– Lunge Knee Ups
– Jumping Jacks
– Squat Jumps
– Plank Jacks
– Box Jumps

Circuit 4
– Push Ups
– Mountain Climbers
– Dips
– Bicycle Crunches
– V Ups
3 x 15
Circuit 5
– Plank (1 minute, 30 seconds)
– Side Planks (1 minute each side)

Cardio-
– Swim

Friday:

Barbells-
Circuit 1
– Elevated Bench Presses
– Plie Squat Presses
– Side Deadlifts
– Leg Presses
– Cable Shoulder Presses
– Cable Shoulder Raises

Kettlebells-
Circuit 2
– Swings
– Deadlifts
– Tricep Pushbacks
– Snatch and Presses
– High Pulls
– Bent-Over Rows

Circuit 3
– Elbow to Knee Presses
– Split Squat Twists
– Side Leans w/ Squats
– Mermaid Raises
– Leg Lifts to Hundreds
– Legs Up Crunches

Body Strength-
Circuit 4
– Single-Leg Kickbacks
– Step Up Twists
– Walking Lunges
– V Push Ups
– Ankle Grabs
– Russian Twists
4 x 12

Cardio-
– Jump Rope
– Jumping Jacks
– Bicycle Sprints
– Treadmill Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Saturday:

Strength-
– Yoga

Cardio-
– Run

These workouts seem extensive, but remember, if you want to incorporate any of these into your routine, you can easily break up the segments. I prefer to do circuits because it makes everything flow faster and it doesn’t seem as tedious. Less rest in-between sets is also good to get the heart racing.

I Like To Move, Move- Updated Workouts!

Writing this out, I understand that these workouts might seem intense. Keep in mind, I dedicate/have a lot of time in order to workout and I always listen to my body’s signals. This month’s workouts are great because they can be broken up into segments that people can pick and choose to their liking. I always get excited about formulating new workout plans, and these have definitely kicked my butt in a good way!

Day One:
Strength (Using Barbells)
– Rows
– Bicep Curls
– Front Deadlifts
– Snatch and Presses
– Squat Presses
– Bench Presses
– Lying Tricep Extensions
– Front Shoulder Presses
– Shoulder Raises
– Leg Press

Body Strength
– Step Ups
– Lunges
– Deep Squats
– Dips
– V Push Ups
– Leg Lifts
– Single-Leg Hip Lifts
– Sit Ups

Cardio (HIIT)
– Jump Rope
– Treadmill Sprints
– Bike Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Day Two
Strength (Using Ball and Medicine Balls)
– Burpees to Throw Downs
– Wall Throws
– Lunge Twists
– Single-Leg Deadlifts
– Squat Swings
– Rollouts
– Elevated Hip Lifts
– Hundreds
– Russian Twists
– Mermaid Raises

Body Strength
– Box Jumps
– Dips
– Rope Swings
– Leg Swings
– Jump Rope

Cardio
– Swim or Elliptical depending on time

Day Three
Strength
– Yoga

Cardio
– Run

Day Four
Strength (using cables)
– Pull Downs
– Chops
– Rows
– Tricep Extensions
– Flies
– Leg Presses

Strength (using kettle bells)
– Swings
– Goblet Squats
– Alternating Knee to Elbow Shoulder Presses
– Single-Arm Snatches
– Front Rows
– Bench Presses (on ball)

Body Strength
– Box Jumps
– Push Ups
– Mountain Climbers
– Leg Lifts
– Backwards Lunges
– Split Squats to Standing Kickbacks

Cardio (HIIT)
– Jump Rope
– Treadmill Sprints
– Bike Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Day Five

REST

Day Six
Strength (using dumbbells)
– Bench Presses
– Flies
– Hammer Curls
– Front Raises
– One-Leg Rows
– Deadlifts
– Shrugs to Lunges
– Shoulder Presses
– Tricep Extensions with Calf Raises

Strength (using barbells)
– Plie Squat Presses
– Leg Presses
– Angled Bench Presses

Body Strength
– Hanging Leg Raises
– Box Jumps
– Split Squats
– Lunge Twists
– Push Ups
– Spiderman Climbers
– Mermaid Raises
– Alternating Ankle Grabs
– Single-Leg Hip Lifts
– Russian Twists

Day Seven
Strength
– Yoga

Cardio
– Run

For sets and reps, it depends on how I’m feeling that day and how much time I have to workout. Lately, I’ve been trying to push my workouts to the next level, so I’ve varied between 4 sets of 12, 5 sets of 10, and 3 sets of 15. The heaviness of weights also depends on the amount of reps per set.

On most days, I end my workouts with a series of planks- front planks, side planks, reverse planks, and also include shoulder stands and full bridges. I also try to walk as much as possible to fit in as much movement throughout the day.

Soon, I am going to start studying to become a personal trainer because I think I have a unique background and the drive to help a lot of people. For me, exercise is energizing, fun, and stress-relieving. I like testing my body and proving how strong I am. It doesn’t always have to be this intense, depending on your preference. Please feel free to use some of these moves and incorporate segments into your own workout.