Workout Wednesday really snuck up on me this week. With President’s Day on Monday and, wait for it, another 5 inches of snow, I’m all mixed up with my days.
Regardless my calendar says it’s Wednesday so we should probably talk about working out.
When I got injured last year, I had a lot of time to think about the things I wanted to focus on throughout the rehab process. Obviously my ultimate goal was to be able to run again sometime in the near, but farther than I expected future, without any pain. Heck, maybe I could even be healthy enough to run the Champaign half marathon in April like I do every year with various members of my family.
I also wanted to get back to lifting weights. It’s something I haven’t made enough time for when training for a race and something that was a contributing factor to the aforementioned injury. But beyond that whole getting stronger and preventing injury stuff, I really just wanted to get shoulders like this girl I saw on the treadmill one day at my gym.
Pretty sure my exact words to Matt were,
“Hey, what do I have to do to get arms like that girl.”
And once he got back up off the floor from laughing, we started adding some basic upper-body exercises to my weightlifting rotation.
The exercises I am showing today are meant to be done as super sets, meaning that you choose a lower weight but don’t rest very long between sets. Your goal is to get a good burn and fatigue based on continuous reps versus a higher weight.
1) Bicep curls
Start with one set of 8-10 reps with at least 20 pounds. I typically use 10 or 15 pound free weights for this but several big burly men were hogging the 15’s on this particular morning so I used a straight bar instead. Also, please don’t mind my random location in the gym. Another guy was hogging the entire free weight area for 30 minutes while he considered deadlifting what was obviously too much weight for him. Instead he just stood over the bar grunting and never lifting it at all. Did I mention this went on for at least 30 minutes?
2) Lateral Raises
Immediately following your first set of bicep curls, pick up two 5 pound or higher weight plates (or dumbbells) and do 10 reps of lateral raises. I like to call these my anti-Oprah arms. Remember the episode where she showed us all her wings? Burned. Into. My. Brain.
3) Tricep Curls.
Bending your knees slightly, do 10 reps of tricep curls with at least a 10 pound weight. If I’m not doing super sets, I prefer to use 15’s for this exercise but the goal is to keep your form correct. Try not to arch your back (like I am) and avoid sticking out your tongue (like I am).
Once you’ve completed all three exercises, repeat the sequence three times.
4) Assisted Chin-Ups
I used to love this weightlifting class called Train Like Jane where we had to do chin-ups without anything under our knees for one minute straight. It was hard. I kind of miss it. In fact I should get back there for a class here soon. But for those days when you are at the gym and doing super sets, having a little assistance is awesome. Make sure you set your weight so you are still doing the work though. I usually put about 70 pounds of help on there. Everyone is different though so try a few reps and then adjust accordingly. 3 sets of 10.
By the time you finish this circuit your muscles may feel like they are about to rip through your skin. Good! That means you did it correctly. I typically incorporate this into my bike days as my running and yoga days have some strength built in them as it is.
Have a great workout!