I’ve been having what may be the greatest week ever, and I’m loving my 12+ hour days out of the house. I’m taking advantage of that 4 hour break I have between classes, and completed an upper body workout on Monday, played racquetball on Tuesday, and completed a lower body workout on Wednesday. Wednesday was even more awesome because Maria met me at Adelphi and worked out with me. Doesn’t that make her awesome? You betcha.
While I was waiting for Maria to arrive, I hung out in the sun and used The Stick on my quads, calves, and hamstrings, and felt pretty good. Once we were inside, I used the lacrosse ball on my hips/hammies and calves, and also ironed out some knots in my upper back. My good ol’ hammies have been feeling rather tight recently, so I decided to beat them up a little bit before I got to the workout, and it worked out very well. I thought of one of the first videos I saw from Kelly Starrett, a DPT from San Francisco who runs the super-duper website Workout Mobility Of The Day. My friend Matt Caines introduced me to the site back in December, and Kelly updates with a 4-8 minute video on a daily basis. In 10 minutes a day, you can improve your mobility and movement quality, and since you’re reading this while sitting in a chair, you probably need some help with that. As you’ll see in the video below, Kelly uses a lacrosse ball to loosen up the dense tissue high up the hamstring, rocking back and forth on a lacrosse ball and searching for trigger points. It’s not going to be comfortable, but it works really well, so suck it up. Self Myofacial Release is one of the most important things that you’re probably not doing. Check out this quick example from the video below:
While I used the lax ball, Maria was busy rollin’ around on the foam roller, doing some T-spine mobilizations and getting ready to get awesome. I’ve been experimenting with different mobility warm ups, and we both ended up doing some form of a tri-planar squat matrix, along with other drills to open up the hips, T-spine, ankles, and shoulders. Yesterday was my day for a lower body workout, and Maria was crushing a full body workout. Let me detail the workouts that we followed:
Maria uses faces pulls and a half kneeling cable chop as a ‘transition’ pairing between her ‘warm up’ and ‘work sets’. After that:
- Dumbbell Split Squat, 5×6 per leg
- Assisted Chin Up, 5x I’m not really sure
- Half Kneeling Overhead Press, 5×10
After this group of exercises, she commented that she felt like she was doing more work with her arms than she was doing with her legs. She typically uses this group of exercises after she deadlifts, so it felt easier than normal. She also went kind of light, which would make the split squats feel easier. After casually alternating between those 3 exercises, she picked up the pace and moved quickly through this circuit:
- TRX Curtsy Lunge, 3×6 per leg
- TRX Single Arm Row, 3×8 per arm
- Reverse Crunch, 3×10-15
- TRX Anterior Reach, 3×6
The reaches are kind of tricky, and I’m going to search for a better teaching tool for the single leg deadlift. The curtsy lunges were one of those TRX exercises that I thought was a little lame until I tried it and felt a wicked stretch in my glutes. I like using it for that reason, and she likes it for the same reason. Yay! (There was supposed to be a 4th circuit, but I decided to cut it short so we could push the Prowler.) Before we get to that though, here’s my workout:
- Romanian Deadlift, 6×6
- Lateral Swissball Rollout, 6×4 per side
- Clean Grip Reverse Lunge, 2×10, 2×8, 1×7
- Single Leg Body Saw, 5×8 per leg
- Front Squat, 3×10, with 135…messing around while she finished her last circuit.
I wanted to RDL so I could stretch out my hamstrings, and practice sitting my hips back as far as possible. It felt great, and because I’ve been using my trap bar for a while, I definitely felt it in my hamstrings. The lateral roll-outs were something that I wanted to experiment with, and it was basically a roll-out with rotated hips. I’m not sure if I like it, or if it’s even a good idea, so I’m going to check with some people I follow before I recommend trying it.
I can body saw on both feet all day, but the single leg version sucked. A simple idea is that you should do more of the stuff that you suck at, so you suck at it less. It makes perfect sense! Raising one foot adds an anti-rotation aspect to an anti-extension exercise, and it instantly changed how you need to stabilize. I’d recommend trying to raise an arm or a leg while performing planks, and you’ll see the increase in difficulty. Just don’t raise both arms or legs, because you’ll just fall on your face.
After we both finished our workouts, it was time to use the Prowler. Before I purchased it, I asked one of the Assistant Directors of Adelphi Campus Recreation if it was okay to push the Prowler on our indoor track. The surface is rubber, and the UHMW on the Prowler slid beautifully. I didn’t want to schlep weights across the building, so we only used 90lb plates on the sled. Maria marched using the vertical push handles, and I started with sprints using the same grip. After I started to slow down, I switched to a bear crawl and maintained the pace. I’m not quite sure why, but to end I decided to march the entire track, which lead to the biggest calve pump and highest heart rate ever. I love the Prowler. Here’s a video of Maria taking one pass while marching, and then me bear crawlin. I only wanted to go one way, but she waved me back so I had to return. You could see my last few steps slow down, which is where I started to hate life.
After the Prowler was returned to my trunk, we split a Turkey BLT wrap with honey mustard at the University Center, and I had some whey protein. Adding to her awesomeness, Maria said “I can’t feel my legs…can we do this next week.”
Yes, we can.
If you’re wondering why I took all that time to tell you about an awesome workout I had with my girlfriend, I’ll explain. Plenty of people go to the gym, and they love the routines that they follow. Plenty of those people also think that men and women should train differently, and that girls should do lots of cardio and guys only pick things up and pick them down. Not exactly true folks. There’s plenty of space for everyone to use, and weights that both men and women can find challenging and heavy. As for the Prowler, a simple change in technique allowed us both to use one piece of equipment without changing it. I’m aware that very few of you have an actual sled you can use with your significant other. So what?
Maybe you can try alternating body weight exercises, which challenges relative strength instead of maximal strength. This way, everyone gets an appropriate workout, you don’t need to change any equipment, and everyone gets his or her ass kicked. It’s perfect! If you’re creative, everyone will be challenged appropriately while working with a partner or group of people; you just need to right progressions and regressions to get you there.
Until next time, remember that this kind of partner workout is lame: