Tag Archives: ab workouts

The Cycling + Strength Circuit Workout of Threes

What kind of workouts have you been getting into lately?

I’ve noticed that when I get crazy busy, I tend to stop getting as creative with my workouts. And since April was a hectic month for me, my workouts were not all that exciting. I had been going to some fun classes that were challenging me, but the first thing that goes when my schedule is packed is fitness studio visits. After all, not having to drive to studios saves time in my day! I was also traveling for half of the month, during which I snuck in quick morning workouts before full days. Oh, but I did go on an awesome hike during my quickie getaway to Idyllwild!

Wheel posing on the top of Idyllwild’s Suicide Rock

No matter how busy I am, I make it a priority to workout. I tell myself, no excuses! Truth be told, I have exercise ADHD, so my “boring” workout stretch is probably still more exciting than most. I have about a dozen workout DVDs I like, I use YouTube to find new workouts (Speaking of which, check out my post on 3 at-home kickboxing workouts to try!), take my dog for long walks around our neighborhood, favorite parks, and by the beach, and use my at-home workout equipment. I have a variety of dumbbells, resistance bands, recovery tools, and my favorite thing of all, my indoor bike trainer.

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Everything But the Legs: Working Out Around an Injury

First off, I just wanted to say that my thoughts are with everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy. It’s been hard to watch the chaotic weather hitting my home state of New Jersey, where my family & friends live, while I’m so far away from it all. Luckily, all of my loved ones are safe and doing fine – just without power and with some minor damage, including the gigantic tree at my grandma’s house that shines with Christmas lights every year that’s now on the ground blocking her driveway. Natural disasters always remind me of what’s most important in life — the people I love.

On a lighter note, let’s talk workouts. I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but I’ve been battling a calf injury for a couple of years now. I tore my calf muscle running, at first procrastinated getting help for it, then finally smartened up, rested it, and went through months of physical therapy, but it has never fully recovered. Earlier in the year, I was ecstatic when I realized that my calf hadn’t been hurting me. I continued to stretch and ice it, and wore a compression band when working out, but I thought that the injury was pretty much behind me. With the exception of running, which still agitated it, I was doing a lot of high intensity workouts without much soreness.

Fast forward to a few months ago, and I all of a sudden had a lot of pain in my foot on the same side. I went to my doctor, who barely looked at it and called it plantar fasciitis. I was unsatisfied with this lackluster diagnosis but gave it a couple of weeks to feel better. Instead of it feeling better, the pain continued, and my calf became sore as well. I knew I had to do something, so I went to a physical therapy & rehab center to see what they thought. They found that my calf, achilles, and foot all felt extremely tight, with a lot of scar tissue around my calf. The doctor believes that my foot has been compensating for my calf for so long, resulting in my foot tendons consistently overworking themselves. My calf is clearly still suffering, so now I’m back in physical therapy, hoping to nip this injury in the butt once and for all.

One of my faults is not being able to take it easy. Being active is a big part of my life, and I have a rough time with just sitting on my butt and not exercising. However, a major part of healthy living is listening to your body, and mine is telling me to chill out and let myself heal. I really want to get rid of this nagging injury, so when the physical therapist instructed me to not doing anything that puts a strain on my calf or foot for at least a week, I obliged. That means that a lot of my usual workouts are off the table for the time being – cycling; hiking; lunges, squats, and all of my usual leg exercises; mountain biking; and my barre workout & Jillian Michaels’ DVDs. I’m not going to lie, it’s annoying and frustrating. I have a feeling the therapist is going to further extend my leg exercise ban, but I just have to do all I can to get back to 100%. When there’s a will, there’s a way, and there are always ways to work around injuries and obstacles, right?

That’s where the workout below comes into play. Over the weekend, the most activity I did was take Harley for long walks, so by yesterday, I was craving a real workout. I came up with a list of 20 exercises I could do that require minimal or no leg work, and what I wound up with was a combo of strength and core moves that left me sweaty and fatigued! This workout is great if you want to rest sore legs and focus on arms and abs, or like me, if you’re banned by your physical therapist from working your legs:

This routine left my arms feeling sore and achy today, so now the question is, what kind of workout can I do today that involves both little leg and arm strength? 😉 I’m thinking a long walk with Harley, stretching, and light yoga will have to do the trick!

In case you are unfamiliar with some of the exercises noted above, here are some videos & explanations from around the web:

  • Bicep concentration curls
  • Planks 
  • Shoulder Press
  • Worms (aka squirms)
  • Standing oblique twists (I used a dumbbell instead of ball)
  • Front shoulder raises
  • Tricep extensions
  • Tricep dips
  • Seated oblique twists
  • Standing row 
  • Supermans (at 1:15)
  • Plank rows (at :35)
  • Quote of the day:  ”Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan