Move First, Think Later – 30 Minute Workouts

It’s funny how time slips away

I say that looking down the barrel into 2018 Q2. That makes it about a year I have been either planning a move, packing for a move, actually moving and/or unpacking from a move (sometimes all at the same time). I think I am at the end of that cycle (thanks to more than a little help from my friends). After getting out of the Convention Way gym, I was feeling pretty beat up both mentally and physically and needed a reset. Here is what needed to happen in this order:

  • Find an event/goal or two as an endpoint
  • Build the habit of getting to the gym
  • Determine what needs a little attention/foam rolling/general movement
  • Determine what is pathological and get to a clinician

Event/Goal
The two goals I chose are a mountain bike ride and a 10 K trail run. Because I haven’t really been running or biking, I created a few pre-event events to test gear, food, suffer-factor, etc. Please add your goals to the comments section.

I’ve found over the years, that events are more process-oriented, there is some investment via a little money for entry fees and a date but I know I am not going to win, as opposed to weight loss and/or body composition goals are more outcome-oriented and take me in a direction that is less than helpful. Your mileage may vary. IF you are local to Redwood City, I have found these events to be very walker friendly and low-key, a very good first goal. In particular, I bet this would be a great first event, just saying.

Building the Habit
I found a gym that was close to our apartment that had a good set of Kettlebells, dumbbells, a squat rack and a bent barbell. While I started these workouts in the old gym, I have since found a gym that is much better, slightly out of the way but worth the extra 10 minutes drive. My point here is don’t get tangled up in the gym experience, move first, think later. To help myself “move first,” I tried to make the experience as painless as possible, make it short and scripted so I came up with the following 30 minute workouts, 10 rounds on the 3:00 interval. You should strive to have about 1:30 to rest, and keep your heart rate to about 180 – age.

The Workouts
These workouts won’t give you huge gains, but they are perfect for building the physiological foundation you’ll need for harder workouts and for building consistency (i.e. they are perfect for maintaining fitness when traveling).

Warm-up
Most days, I use the same warm-up. What makes the warm-up effective is that I have a test, rotary stability test, that is a good indicator of how my weakest link is behaving (more more info and laughs than you will need on the RS test). If I don’t see an improvement in my test, I stop the timer and try to figure out what is going on. If you have pain that won’t change, or worsens, with movement, see a clinician. Most of the time, the warm-up is successful and I continue with the workout.

If you don’t have a test, I can help you figure that out, just make an appointment. If you are not close to either Reno or Redwood City, email me and let’s see if we can figure it out over the phone or FaceTime. Other people who have used these workouts, their test were, ability to sit in a shin box, ability to rest in hands and knees or quadruped position, toe touch, deep squat, etc.

Round 1:
Test: 3 x Test (Rotary Stability, see above)
Foam roll/Ball work and pain peanut

Round 2:
Test: 3 x Test
5 x 90/90 Supine breathing
3 x Segmental Rolls

Round 3:
Test: 3 x Test
Turkish Get-Up Progression 3 reps in each position
4 x Rock to plank to squat
5 x Side Apes or side crawl

* Notes on Warm-up

  • Focus on breath, all movements should be performed without the stability help created by holding your breath.
  • This warm-up is designed to be an assessment. It should give you some insight into what your body feels like, is there anything that will need extra attention today, should you push the weight/intensity, should you focus on recovery, etc?

Workout A
Rounds 4 -9:
4 x Kettlebell/Dumbbell/Barbell Front squats or Goblet squats
3 x Deadbug – as full extension as possible without holding breath
2 x 2 breath push-ups (2 breaths at top, on the way down, bottom, and the on the way up)

Workout B
Round 4 – 9:
5 x Sumo DL with Barbell or KB
3 x Prisoner Lunge (3 steps on each leg)
5 x Supine 90/90 hip extension (only go as far as you can without holding breath)

Workout C

Round 4 – 9:
10 x Russian Kettlebell Swing (RKBS)
5 x steps each hand/foot Forward/Backward Crawl
5 x Hollow Rock

Cool down
Round 10:
Continue your focus on breath…
2 x Test
10 x Hollow Rock to straddle
5 x Cat cow
5 x Knees down rocking
3 x Upper and lower body segmental rolls

Notes
Purpose (i.e. what are the adaptations I am seeking with these workouts):

  • Strengthen connective tissues (ligaments, tendons, etc.)
  • Start building an aerobic base (increase mitochondrial density, more on the importance of mitochondria later)
  • Review my technique in the basic lifts/exercises

When/How Should I Increase or Progress:

  • First complete the A, B and C workouts 4 times, 1 cycle. This might take you 1, 2 or even, three months.
  • It might take you a few workouts to get your right weight or distances. The measures will be staying below your target HR (180 – age) and resting at least 1 minute each round and resting about the same time each round. If your rest for round 4 is 1:30 and each round it is lower and you end up at resting 1:00 on round 8, reduce load/distance/reps.
  • There are some people who could keep doing this program for 6 months, just increasing weight, distance, and/or reps after completing after completing each cycle.
  • Change exercises but keep intention, see above suggestions.
  • I haven’t specified load because load isn’t important at this time. At the end of your sets you should feel like you could do a couple more.

Tools and Other Implementation Details:

  • I don’t wear headphones in the gym. I want to make myself as accessible to meet people. Your mileage may vary, but as many of you know, being at the gym and being “available” allows you to find workout partners which makes it easier to be consistent. If I haven’t made it clear, the goal of these workouts is consistency. I know that some of you would rather push a weighted sled for a mile rather than meet someone at the gym but there is growing amount of research that shows close friendships are a better indicator of longevity than exercise and even diet. I have found this to be especially true for men, in my experience, men age more gracefully with more friends.
  • I use the Gym Boss timer app to keep me on task, I don’t care which one you use, but use one.
  • I use a heart rate monitor every once in a while to make sure I am staying in the right zone, i.e. age – 180. Sometimes my HR gets as high as 145, but I just reduce the weight or reps until my HR gets into the right zone. Here are a couple I have either used or my athletes have used: Polar H7 with endomodo app, Polar FT 7, or Apple watch. I am also a huge fan of Lezyne products. While I haven’t used this watch, I covet it badly (I have their Super GPS for my bike and love it). I like having a GPS device and an HR monitor because it is helpful to know elevation gain, mileage and HR to pick the right event. For instance, I signed up for an event and that had either 1.2 miles uphill or .25 miles so I went to my local hill workout and now I know the suffer factor is 2 to 3 x my local hill for the 1.2.mile course.