As we are resting here in La Paz, we are utilizing the gym which is very close to where we are staying. Man doesn’t become strong by only pushing pedals! I used to be an assistant manager at 24 Hour Fitness and picked up quite a few things due to the quality trainers I had the pleasure of working with at the time – SHOUT OUT TO YOU MIKE and SUPER VAN [thanks for helping liberate my mattress and for letting me ride your ninja bike=]
As many of you probably work out in the gym, Id like to share a chest and tricep workout with you. Part of the utility of the work out is based on the lessons of a gentleman who spent time in prison due to his mafia dealings. He gave me a lot of sound advice on many things to include how to really get a solid workout in based upon the penal systems limitations. I have thought about this often since and based on the lives many of us live, so regimented and structured, we are i a prison without walls. I do not mean to launch into a social commentary, for this is not one. What I do want to share is what that gentleman and the personal trainers shared with me in one neat package. For the time I am here, I will be sharing my workouts with you. I have no delusions of grandeur and what you are doing may be adequate, may be light years ahead of what I have to offer, this is merely for those of you who want to try something different or maybe you want to make a whole new start… Enjoy!
There will be NO REST period between exercises. This is a continuous flow series and is part of the workout. You’re getting cardio, while strength training. This strength training is for building strength more so than sheer volume of muscle. If you want to build muscle, we have to do a different work out entirely! This will be a good start to give you strength from which you can really begin to body build.
NOTE: Everything that is done once you begin the first stretch, is done with a constant attention to your posture. YOUR ENTIRE POSTURE! No matter what exercise or stretch, you are focused and A W A R E. You are aware of your foot position, your back, hips, arms, chest, neck and head. You are always seeking the best posture available to you at the time of the exercise. If you are unable to hold a decent posture, move on, there is no point in reinforcing poor habits, it will get you nowhere but pain in the long run.
Today is Chest and Tri’s, music by Ozzy Osbourne. Stomach is done every time just as Arnold recommends=]
Arms swings – swing right arm having movement come from the waist. let the hand and arm be heavy. Start slowly, but not so slowly you are engaging the arm muscles. Again, movement is to be coming from waist/hip area. This may take some time, its OK, you have the rest of your life=] Do your right arm, then your left.
Hands behind back – Start with either arm, place arm above head, like raising your hand to answer a question, then allow the forearm to drop behind your neck. With your opposite hand, allow it to drop to side and reach behind and up your back to the other. Grasp your fingers and hold. BE GENTLE, this is a powerful stretch. If you cannot reach your hands together, hold a towel in the upper hand and with your bottom hand, hold it. As you loosen, you can creep your lower hand up the towel until one day you no longer need it.
Swim stretch – This is the one you see the swimmers doing before the race on TV or what have you. Cross one arm across your chest in front of you as best you can. At the same time, bring your opposite hand up in front of it in a bent angle, and hold your straightened arm across your chest, you should feel the stretch in the shoulder of the straight arm. DO NOT, place your holding arm on the elbow of your straightened arm, behind the elbow on the tricep as best you can. Can be a deep stretch so go easy!
Arms at wall – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, the stretching arm side will be touching the wall as best possible. The entire side, including the foot. Both feet are facing forward. The arm being stretched is back behind you along the wall at shoulder height. Keep your posture as perfect as you can. If this is difficult for you, come away from the wall just a little bit. Over time you will eventually be able to be flush with the wall.
Physio ball bench – The physio ball is the big ball, you will be using whatever dumbbells will allow you ten repetitions [thats what I go for]. Sit on the ball with the weights in your hands resting them on your thighs. As you roll onto your back, you will bring the weights up into the air above you in a chest press position. You will stop once you feel the ball under your upper back. Keep your knees as close together as possible. Your booty will be hanging in the air, keep a steady force on this area towards the ceiling. Feet as close together as possible as well.
When you bring the weights down, you can do one at a time or both. if you opt for one at a time, keep the other in the air. The one coming towards you will end up closer to the bottom of your chest than the top as this is better for your joint. Keep your posture. Thats part of the exercise, yes you are strengthening your chest, you are also building your core. Keep the focus!
Feel free to alternate between using both at the same time, one at a time, mix it up, right side, left side, both etc. Keep your workouts varied and interesting and you will not get bored, which is a big reason for failure in realization of goals.
Pull ups – Pu the weights down and go to a pull up bar, or a weight assited pull up machine. If you do not have a pll up machine and are unable to do a pull up, use a chair and get in position and the do a reverse up, gently letting yourself down. After a few months of this, you will be able to do pull ups.
If using a machine, start with the minimum assistance necessary for 8-10, the add more assistance, I use 10 pound increments until I can no longer do one with 60 pounds of help.
Dips – Many of you will have a machine if you are using a gym, if so, immediately switch the weight to again allow you to do 8-10 dips and then gradually increase the “help” until you can do no more.
If you do not have a machine, you will need to find two parallel bars, or, get two chairs, your hands will be on the one behind you and your heels will be on the one in front of you, legs straight. Dip down and push yourself up. You will feel this in the triceps no matter which way you do it.
Push ups – diamond push ups are your first push up. if this is difficult for you, do a regular push up. Do remember to try your very best to have your elbows facing back and not out to the sides! Do as many as you can and dont lie to yourself, thats silly. Eventually you will be able to do a lot, but only if you didn’t lie. Imagine if you were able to lie and rationalize to yourself as a child, you would probably have trouble walking if you ever learned at all. it’s no wonder evolution decided we would walk before we could talk lest we never learn the basics!
Cable side row – This will need a machine for the cable aspect. Adjust the cable to a height between your chest and waist. You will hold the handle with the opposite hand of the direction you are twisting. Example, if you are twisting to the right, the left hand will be in contact with the handle and the right will be folded over it.
Keep your arms straight and stand parallel to the cable pulley. Twist to the right or left depending on which way your starting, a full 180 degrees. You should feel this all over your stomach. As with all exercises, choose a weight that allows you to do 10 at least.
If you do not have a machine, lie on the ground on your side with your legs together and raised off the ground a few inches and loosely hold your hands behind your head and use your side muscles to raise your upper body. You probably wont go far, in your mind you are picturing touching your elbow to your feet, if you actually do this, you either did it wrong because my directions are abysmal or you are a ninja.
Cable samurai sword up – I have also heard this called the woodchop and some others. This is the same principle as the above exercise, except this time you are lowering the cable pulley to the lowest setting and swinging up, everything else is the same.
If you don’t have a machine, do bicycle legs. This is where you lie on your back and you “pedal” your legs while alternately touching your elbows to your knees.
Dual cable bottom to top – In this both of the cable pulleys will be at the lowest setting, the weight will be lower than you may initially think, it’s ok, it’s a powerful lift. Grasp both handles and in a sweeping motion, bring the handles up and in front of you. You should feel a powerful chest contraction. This can be done with dumbbells as well if you don’t have a machine.
Cable cross body – Keep the pulleys in the same position, just switch hands so that they are now crossed in front of you. Bring both hands up and to the side, you should look/feel like a Super Hero breaking out of something. This can be done with dumbbells as well if you don’t have a machine.
Decline press – The bench you are laying on will now have your legs higher than your head, hence, decline. Use either the bar or dumbbells. You will be pushing straight up, it may feel a bit odd. You should feel this more so in the top of the chest.
Push ups wrist – Place your hands in push up position, but now turn them over with the wrists on the ground and your fingers will be facing one another under your chest. This is a powerful push up, start with mats or padding under your wrists. Go slow, if need be start on your knees. With time it will become much easier.
Go back to Pull up Machine for a set!
Sevens curls – Use olympic bar or available bar/dumbbells, this isnt to work the muscle hard, just to provide a balance for the day in the arm, not a necessary thing, I do it cause I like what it does for me. You start by curling the bar to waist height seven times, then start at waist height and curl to chest seven times, then curl from wait to chest seven times.
Tri pull down rope – This is a machine exercise. Use the rope attachment, the “dangly” one with two ends. Use a weight you can comfortably control. You aren’t looking for a fast pace, your body should be still, use your triceps to move the rope, dont “throw yourself” into it.
Over head lifts for tri’s – Once again, sit on the big ball and have a dumbbell in either hand to start. As you held your arm for the hands behind back, or the second stretch, you will basically do the same for this. Use a light weight until you figure out your range. Start with your arm fully raised, legs and feet together, back straight. Bend at elbow bringing arm and hand holding dumbbell behind head and then raise back to fully extended position. Do this for 10 reps.
Bicycles forward and reverse – Lie on your back, as you pedal your feet, hands behind your head, you will touch your elbows to the knee closest to you. Do not pull on neck with hands behind head.
Crunches – Legs straight in the air, crunch your upper body as far as you can towards your knees. Do not pull on neck with hands behind head.
Flutter kicks – With body straight on bench or floor, have hands under “sit bones”, A.K.A. sacrum, legs straight, head slightly raised to give you view of your feet. Kick feet back and forth in an up and down motion until you feel naseous.
Take a quick break, and do it all over again. Continue doing so until you notice your posture and strength are no longer existent.