Notes. Two new steps this week in Squats and Bridges (see explanation below). My guess is that I will do more than the expected number of reps and sets. We shall see.
For each exercise, I’ll do a short set or two of the previous step (e.g. short bridge, wall push-up, etc.) as a warm-up before getting into my work sets.
Review. I managed to get my workout in on Wednesday this week. It was tough but it felt good.
As before, since Horizontal Pulls are the hardest thing for me right now, I started with them. It was fairly easy to figure out the order of exercises this week: I did fewer sets and they split up nicely.
- Horizontal Pulls: 22 — I did ok on these, though not great.
- Flat Knee Raises: 20 — Done well.
- Inc. Push-ups: 40 — Nice and slow, focusing on form and feeling the effort in the right muscle groups.
- Supported Squats: 20 — I did more than the planned reps because it felt good and strong.
- Straight Bridges: 15 — Again, I felt good so I did a few extra reps.
- Crow Stand: 40 — See below.
- Horizontal Pulls: 22 — These sucked. My form really suffered toward the end (say, the final 20 or so). I’m going to drop back to a lower number of reps next time and really focus on doing them right.
- Flat Knee Raises: 20 — I really felt it on this set. I guess that’s a good thing. =)
- Inc. Push-ups: 40 — Still my strongest exercise. The final two were tougher but I kept my form and speed consistent.
- Supported Squats: 20 — Woohoo! An extra set!
- Straight Bridges: 15 — Ditto!
Questions for The Peanut Gallery. I’m having a helluva time doing Crow Stands. I can get up into the position but I simply cannot seem to keep my balance. The best I’ve done so far is about 10-15 seconds of continuous stand.
I get back up until I complete my allotted time for this workout, but I can’t seem to do it for any appreciable length of time (let alone all in one go).
- Could this be because my arms and shoulders simply aren’t strong enough to stabilize my body?
- Does anyone have any tips, other than repeated practice and (hopefully) improved execution, to do better on these exercises?
New Exercises. Here are the videos and instructions for the new steps for this week.
Supported Squats. Stand up straight with the feet shoulder width apart, or slightly wider. Your arms should be out straight and angled down, holding onto a sturdy object higher than your thighs . A desk, robust basin or the back of a chair will do. This is the start position. Slowly lower yourself down by bending at the hips and the knees, keeping your back as straight as possible, until your hamstrings meet your calves and you cannot descend any further. This is the finish position. Pause for a moment, before pushing yourself up using mostly leg power. To take some of the pressure off your legs-particularly in the bottom position-pull yourself up slightly with your arms, by exerting downward force on the object you are holding. Try to keep the arms fairly straight. Your heels should remain flat on the floor throughout the exercise.
Some CC tips for proper squats:
- Full range of motion . . . means squatting down until your hamstrings are pressing on your calves and you cannot descend any further, before pushing up with thigh and knee power until your legs are fully straight. Anything less is not a full squat. [Note: I guess I have to readjust based on the fact that last week I went to 90 degrees and not all the way down. Oh well . . . .]
- Straighten your legs fully during squatting.
- Pause one second at the bottom . . . to eliminate dangerous bouncing.
- Don’t lift your heels off the ground when you squat . . . . Stretch your calves out until you can squat without assistance.
Straight Bridges. Sit on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you. Your knees should be straight, with your feet about shoulder width apart. Place your palms on the floor on either side of your hips, with your fingers pointing towards your toes. Sit up straight. Your body will now form a right angle, with your trunk perpendicular to your legs. This is the start position. Press down through the hands, tensing the arms as you simultaneously push your hips upwards until your legs and torso form a straight line. Draw the chin up and look towards the ceiling. At this point your bodyweight will be passing through your palms and heels. This is the finish position. Pause before reversing the motion and repeating as necessary. Exhale as you press yourself up, inhale as you go down.
Some CC tips for proper Bridging:
- The spine should be convex.
- The hips should be high off the floor.
- The arms and legs should be straight.
- Breathing should be smooth and deep.
If you want the more in-depth version of these and other tips from CC, buy the book. 😉
Work smart and work strong,
We will either find a way . . . or make one. – Hannibal