Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Dips…

December 3, 2007

Ever since I had my first shoulder surgery on my right shoulder two years ago (the day before Thanksgiving), I haven’t been able to do much in the way of working out. My second shoulder surgery followed exactly one year later (also the day before Thanksgiving), this time on my left shoulder. And so it’s now been one full year since my last operation.

Not working out sucks. I used to have a chest and shoulders to brag about. Until recently I was almost reduced to man boobs. But without a gym membership, I didn’t think I could really regain my physique.

About two months ago, though, I started to push-ups. It was horrible. I was winded after ten. Now I’m pumping out 40 before I’m winded. At the beginning, I couldn’t do a diamond push-up any more. Now I can do them easily once again. My chest is actually in better shape now than when I was actively working out. My shoulders have regained their definition, and my arms are becoming more shapely as well. All from push-ups!?!

The thing I thought I’d never do again, however, were dips. It seemed like so much stress on my shoulders. I had tried them a few months back, but I was tentative. After a couple of months of push-ups, though, I finally did some dips today. Twenty of them, in fact (two sets of 10, let’s be honest).

Now, if I can only start adding abdominal work to my daily routine… Hmm…

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Steering Wheel Isometrics

November 16, 2007

Say what??? Let me do a little explaining…

I’ve been doing a lot of pushups lately, mostly because I no longer have a gym membership (by the way, I’m able to do 40 slow pushups now in one set) . So I’m looking for ways to be able to get/stay in shape with basic exercises and don’t want to adorn my household (who am I kidding? small bedroom) with a home gym or lots of dumbbells. Also, I can’t rely on all the good home fitness videos because I don’t have a TV. And besides, all the videos I do have are VHS, not DVD, so I can’t use them on my computer (looks like I’ll be doing some digital conversion-ing soon).

Anyway, while in traffic the other day, I was tugging on my steering wheel and noticed that my chest was completely flexed (oh, and massive!) So I started playing around and came up with a few exercises that will help with basic strength training on those long car commutes, or when you’re just stuck at a red light.

Maybe you haven’t heard of isometrics before. In fitness, isometrics are nothing more than static exercises where you flex a muscle, hold it in the contracted position for a few seconds, and then release. Pretty simple. Think of those morning stretches when you wake up and you stretch and your body goes rigid. Or how you clench your butt cheeks when trying to hold back #2. Those are basically isometric exercises. With isometrics, you can use your body’s own resistance, but you can also employ stationary objects in your exercises. Enter the steering wheel!

I managed to get a full upper-body workout using nothing more than my steering wheel while driving.  Here are some of the exercises and the muscle groups they worked I was able to do, all static (no movement) exercises, of course:

  • Lower, Middle, Upper Rows (Lats, Traps, Rhomboids)
  • Lateral “Raises” from upper, middle and lower parts of the wheel and sometimes crossing arm over arm (Anterior, Middle, Posterior Deltoids)
  • Presses into the wheel (Chest and Triceps)
  • Flyes from the outside middle of the wheel squeezing inward (Chest)
  • Curls from the lower area of the wheel (Biceps)
  • Press-downs from the upper area of the wheel (Triceps)
  • Twists while using the wheel for resistance (Obliques)

I was worried at first that I might break off my wheel which could obviously lead to catastrophic events.  But come on, I’m not He-Man…  But I thought even if I did manage to break off my steering wheel, I would be He-Man. And I’d have total bragging rights, assuming I lived to tell about it!I did scour the ‘net to see if I could find some other sites describing this stuff.  I did uncover some interesting sites, mostly on posture, abs and back, but not much on strength training.  There is even one lady trying to sell pilates for your daily commute, entitled “Carlates.”  Now that thar’s funny.

In no particular order, here are some of the websites I saw about car exercising…

http://www.ehow.com/how_17780_exercise-car.html
http://www.carlates.com/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/14/AR2006081400879.html
http://fitsugar.com/145293
http://ezinearticles.com/?Get-Fit-While-Driving-Your-Car&id=333149
http://www.canadianliving.com/life/travel/car_stress_busters.php

Let me know if this stuff works for you!