Friday, December 05, 2014

My workout plan

If you're thinking of setting any New Year's goals as far as exercise goes, now may be the time to start instead of waiting until after the first of the year. Why? Because getting into good habits sooner rather than later is always best. I try to do mine year round, because it helps with activities I like to do, such as hiking, backpacking, and just about anything else, and I keep consistent on it because at my age, if I quit for even a week or two, it hurts too darn bad when I start up again. Just to help kick start you, here's more or less what I do on a weekly basis. For all my exercises, I rest 30-45 seconds in between sets.

Monday: Running 20-30 minutes. Ideally, it's 30 minutes, but realistically, I often can't get out the door early enough. Then I do my leg workout.

 I begin with 2 sets of 30 reps on the hip abductor machine. Here's what that looks like: Hip abductor exercises
Next I do 2 sets of 15 on the seated leg press machine
My next exercise is two sets of twenty Hip Swings. Here they are.
Next are lunges. I do mine with a twenty pound dumbbell in each hand, two sets of 15, alternating legs. Like this: clickety-click
I then do two sets of 20 calf raises, but I do them differently than most people do them. I raise up as high as I can go, and then just let my body weight (no extra weights) drop me down suddenly, instead of slowly. This actually helps to strengthen the achilles tendons.
Later on in the spring, I will add stair lifts onto a box or platform about 1 foot high, both front and lateral, so that I'm doing 30-35 to the front, then 30-35 with each leg to the right and left.

Tuesday: Running 20-30 minutes. Tuesday is chest and shoulder day, so here's what I do. First of all, this is a rotational thing. In other words, I go through each exercise once (except for the dips, but I could work those into the rotation as well if I wanted to), and then go through them a second time. On the pushups on one leg, the second time through, I raise the opposite leg off the floor, the same thing with the overhead shoulder press.

First I do a couple of sets of 15 dips. Dip exercises. I do mine by raising my legs to the front, so I'm bent at the waist. This helps build the core at the same time as working on chest and shoulders.

Pushups. I do pushups on one of those half exercise balls, called a Bosu Ball. As in the top image on this page: Bosu ball exercises. I do as many of these as I can until failure.

Second exercise is another one on the Bosu ball. With this exercise, I lift one leg as I do the push up. Again, doing the pushups until failure.

Next, I do decline pushups. Again, I do them until failure.

My next exercise is bench dips. A good video of how to do them, from beginner to more complicated is found here. I do 20 repetitions.

For shoulders, I do a variety of raises, with very light weights. My front raises  and side raises I do with an 8 lb. dumbbell in each hand and I do one set of 15. I also do overhead shoulder press standing on one foot as I do so, to increase core stability. I have a 12 lb. dumbbell in each hand for this. For both front and side raises, I raise the weight until it's completely vertical as taught by my physical therapist. I can't find any videos of exactly how I do it, but straight arm side raises and straight arm front raises can be found on this page. Just remember that I do them all the way up, until my arms are over head. For the side raises, I start with my hands down, palms facing forward, then move my arms in a wide arc from bottom (down near my hips) to top. If I can find a video, I'll add it later.

I will often do a set up pushups, then a set of side raises, then the one leg pushups, then another set of side raises, alternating shoulder and chest exercises. This seems to work well. I go through it until I've done two sets of every exercise.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: I begin with a 20-30 minute run. Thursday is back and arms day, really biceps and forearms because the triceps is worked on chest/shoulder day.

Here are my back exercises:

First, I lay on a mat on my abdomen and extend my arms out at the side like a bird, my fingertips angled at 45 degrees toward my feet. From there, I raise my arms up toward the ceiling, hands sideways with my thumbs pointed up, 20 reps. Next, I move my arms to the 90 degree position, repeating the exercise. Finally, I point my hands upward at 45 degrees, toward my head, then lift them again off the floor and back down, 20 reps. The idea is to look like you're making a snow angel, only on your stomach instead of your back, and to raise your arms up toward the ceiling and lower them back down.

My next exercise is similar to a swimmer doing the butterfly stroke. Still lying on my stomach, I reach up above my head until my hands touch, then swing my arms down toward my lower back, crossing them above my back, then back up to the above the head position. I do twenty of these.

Next I do pushups, but with the elbows out wide, hands turned in. This stretches the scapulae and increases range of motion. Twenty reps. I wish I had pictures of these exercises. If I find some I'll update it.

The next thing I do is seated rowing. I do two sets of 15 with 90 lbs.

Finally, I do two sets of lat pull downs with 70 lbs. With both the rowing and the lat pull-downs, the object is to engage the scapulae, so with the rowing, focus on bringing your shoulder blades back toward each other.

The only thing I do for my biceps is dumbbell alternate bicep curls. I do four sets of 22 (eleven per arm) with 25 lbs. My forearms are engaged in this exercise as well, and always remember that when you tighten your grip on the bar, and then do any exercise, your forearm flexors are strengthened.

Friday: Running 20-30 minutes. Friday is abs day and I basically follow Coach Nicole's ab workout. I have modified it though and have dropped the leg raise portion of it from my personal workout, and added planking, both facing the mat, and from both sides. I've also added an exercise call the prone extension.

Saturday: Right now, I'm doing nothing on Saturday. In the spring, I will be adding a long run, probably around 45 minutes.

Diet Considerations

One thing I've found is that maybe even more important than exercise in maintaining a healthy body weight/composition is diet. I personally have exercised at times to extremes, and still haven't been able to lose the extra fat around my mid-section. On the other hand, I've found when I eliminate or severely cut back unhealthy food and concentrate on eating stuff that's good for me, instead of just good, the fat begins to melt away. Too bad that celery doesn't taste like cheesecake or that cheesecake doesn't have the same number of calories as the equivalent in celery. That would make for an ideal world.

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