The Devil’s Ass Crack is Sitting on Wisconsin and There’s Nothing Wrong with Working Out Indoors

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Blog post title is inspired by this viral “It’s Hot As Hell” YouTube video

(you can find the link to the video at the end of the post)

All of my Apple devices say that it’s 89 degrees in the EC (Eau Claire, WI), but there is no way in hell it is 89 degrees.  I could cook an egg on the sidewalk and I nearly lost skin to the seat of my Volkswagen Jetta (TDI I might add).  Just for clarification, TDI means diesel:)  It’s got to be closer to 94-95 degrees at least.

In a nutshell, it is stupid hot in Wisconsin at the present moment.   It’s down right suffocating outside.

***  Please grant me this moment to bitch about the weather… I am well aware that it is hotter elsewhere.

I preach about how refreshing it is to get take your workouts outside, but not in this kind of heat and humidity.  You’ll bury yourself in the first ten minutes.  Plus, if you’re a sweater like I am, any movements that require grip become annoyingly unsafe.  When I say sweater, I mean wet.  Not damp or slight lower back sweat stain, I’m talking about ring out my t-shirt wet.  Squeaky sneakers wet.

Swinging a kettlebell with sweat sliding between the palms of your hands and a heavy cast iron cannonball is nerve-racking.  It’s not fun to re-grip at the apex of your swing.  Also, if the bell slips, it’s going to slip on the backswing, where gravity is re-introduced and the hands are taxed to maintain grip.  Smashing the bones in your feet would not be fun.  I’ve been swinging for a while, and I’ll still grind through a few extra swings with wet hands despite knowing better.  It’s not good practice, but I’ll commonly pull the plug on any ballistic kettlebell movements (snatches, cleans, swings, etc) when the sweat is really pouring out of me.

So, the game plan today is an indoor workout.  No question about it.

My sacrifice for training indoors is that my ceilings are not of the ideal height for a select few kettlebell exercises.  If I was working in max effort squat jumps (which I never do) or snatches (which I love to do but can’t), I would have to find alternatives or take my workout outside.  But not today.

Today is going to be totally improvised.

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  • Continuous movement for 15 Minutes
  • No rest between movements, reset back to squat jumps after finishing the Schwinn Airdyne ride.
  • Monitor heart rate for effort.
  • Monitor exercise technique for muscular fatigue/breaking of form.

*  I don’t claim to have invented this, and I don’t typically mix multiple movements together that take a great deal of thinking, but this seemed like a nice combination.  I wanted a total body movement combination, and this seems to serve that purpose.

First, I put this workout together using my same general template that I use for all of my program/workout design.  All movement patterns are represented in the workout, including a cardio effort with the 60 second Schwinn Airdyne ride (in honor of the Tour de France).  Nothing is maximal effort.  That would ruin the point of the workout.  Burning out in the first round does little for you.  By monitoring my heart rate, I can verify that I am in fact working as hard as I think I am.  It’s not a perfect gauge effort, it has it’s flaws, but it works extremely well for me and a lot of other people.

Second (and to my last point), I chose sub-maximal reps and sub-maximal loading on all exercises.  This decision was influenced by the duration of time that I targeted for the session (15 minutes).  Again, the point is to move a pace that allows for:

1)   Quality technique in each rep of every exercise.

2)   The accumulation of an afterburn-like effect that will lend itself to staying lean, maintaining strength, improving work capacity through various exercise variations and while leveraging my body’s reaction to the training stimulus (calories expended post-workout). 

Third, all movements are bodyweight based the entire way through.  I have fallen back in love with bodyweight training.  Bodyweight training goes wherever you go, has simple progressions and leverages the most effective movement patterns in a brutally effective manner.  Bodyweight training is the foundation of all other modes of training, so it’s probably best be capable of executing sound technique using just bodyweight against gravity’s pull.

Also, I enjoy having and building strength as much as the next person, but at the present time, the strength that I have developed and maintained through bodyweight based exercise progressions is more than enough to meet my daily needs.  If I ever want to develop higher levels of strength, I will have to move heavier loads and adjust other training variables.  Simple as that.

Fourth, the entire workout takes 15 minutes.  Now, I won’t con you (yes con you) into thinking that the whole ordeal takes 15 minutes only, because it doesn’t.  I typically spend 10-15 minutes before the actual effort driven portion of the training session hammering home joint mobility, soft tissue restrictions and activation of weaker muscles.  I also whip through a series of staple dynamic flexibility drills that prepare my body for what’s ahead.

You can argue that warming up doesn’t prevent injuries, but in reality, why risk it?  Do you really want to find out through experience?  It’s just not worth it.

Lastly, take a look at the final two bullet points above.  Here is a snapshot so that you don’t have to scroll up (the things I do for my readers):

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What’s going to burn out first?  Lungs or muscles.  It will vary from person to person depending on what your past training regimen was and current fitness status is.  In other words, will your cardio or your ability to successfully and repeatedly execute each rep of each exercise (muscular contraction) give way first?

For me, it’s a combination.  Muscles seem to go first, especially when I am toying around with higher volume training sessions.  Some of you may find that you haven’t open up your lungs aggressively for quite some time, so the feeling of not getting enough air may cause you to tap out first.  In this case, focus on relaxing your neck.  Push your oxygen through your neck and chest down to the lowest part of your stomach.

Breathe deep.

So there you have it, a simple yet effective training session for all the land to enjoy.  Feel free to substitute your favorite or most accessible cardio alternative for the Schwinn Airdyne sprint.  Some days, low impact/high reward conditioning tools are the ticket.  High impact all of the time may mean high risk for some of you who have not yet adapted.  Jumping rope would fit the bill nicely, so would a treadmill sprint set to an incline.  Your choice.

Cheers to training inside when it’s Image outside!

KG

(As promised:  “It’s Hot As Hell”)

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How to Warm Up Before a Home Workout (Video)

Quick Tips

Below is a sample of what a warm up looks like for me prior to a training session.

The only awkward moment comes when I attempt to stay on the rubber matting while performing forward, backward and side to side gorilla hops.  Hey, I’m human, shit happens.  This isn’t Hollywood produced, it’s real world home training.  Film it like it happens, right?

The important thing to remember is that you should always maximize the equipment, time and space that you have available to you.  You can always get way more accomplished with what you have than you originally thought.

I have really come to enjoy integrating animal style movements in the warm up, as it demands rhythm, stability and mobility to accomplish the moves.  Plus it isn’t boring, which is important for keeping your movement endeavors interesting and sustainable.

 

 

After you watched some of the video, it’s important to understand a couple of things:

1)  I only foam roll problem areas (trigger points, stiff muscles, overactive muscles)

2)  I only address mobility in areas that I lack it.

3)  The dynamic movement prep is mostly total body.

4)  Jumping rope serves to increase blood flow, core temperature and gets me sweating.

The point is that there is no time wasted and everything has a purpose.  My body is prepped for the transition into the physical demands of the workout.

My workout for this day was highly metabolic, which is how I have been training for quite some time now.  All workouts are designed mindfully and not intended to destroy my body, but rather build and condition it intelligently.  I completed all of the exercises below without rest between movements in a 15 minute timeframe (I was tight on time):

Metabolic Strength Training

 

 

I have used workouts like this successfully for over 5 years now.  The loads and exercises are appropriate for my skill and fitness level.  To be completely honest, the less complicated you make a session like this, the more fun you will have.  I rarely stray from the basic movement patterns: push ups, vertical pulling, squats, kb swings, etc.

I am after the training effect, not a circus-like performance.  The risk doesn’t always match the reward with complex movements.  It usually looks great on paper and sucks in practice.

For the time invested, I haven’t found any other style of training that keeps me lean and functional for the time invested.  The trade-off for time reduction is an increase in intensity.  This isn’t for beginner or the weak of heart.  You’ll be tired at the end.

It’s a great blend of work capacity and strength movements that demand full range of motion and attention to technique.  Of course, you can increase the difficulty of a workout like this or make it slightly easier if need be.  Progression is always the answer.

 

Cheers to making less excuses and  taking more action…

 

 

KG