Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Strength Training-- P.O.W. Style!

P.O.W. stands for "Pushed Out of the Weight room" in this case. Up until about a month ago, I was able to use the local high school's (very small) weight room. And trust me, I was glad to have those free weights (and whatever machines worked) available. When I say small, that doesn't completely describe it. It has a 7' ceiling and no windows. 

The 8-man football team gave it most of its use in the last decade. I was driving, running or riding my bike there at least twice a week over the 20 weeks before Eugene. After the marathon, I eased back into it. But on the third visit, I was met with a lock that wouldn't turn. The school had re-keyed the weight room. groan (Yes. I had my own key.)...[That's a lot of emoticons for one paragraph]

What had been a community weight room was now closed and the secretary courteously informed me that the school could no longer keep the doors open to everyone 21 and over (insurance problems). What was I to do? (I live 30 miles from a real gym) I did the only thing I knew I could do. I decided to work out at home.

My hope is really to get a weight set at home (and a treadmill), but for now I will stick to the POW style workout system to try to stay in the best shape I can under the circumstances.

The POW system breaks down to some basic exercises that hit all major muscle groups. You can do them with or without added weight or resistance. I usually do them right after running and stretching so I don't get busy and forget to later.
Push-ups. I had been doing girl-style push-ups, but just recently switched to regular and try to crank out 20 in a row. These work out pectorals, lats, triceps and shoulders.
Lunges. I do these walking. I always feel it afterwards, more so if I put one of my kids on my shoulders. I do 20; if I put a kid on my shoulders I only do one set. If I do it with no weight, I do 2 sets. Guaranteed to create buns/hips of steel. Works glutes, quads
Squats. Same as lunges, except not walking.
Calf raisers. standing on a step with your heels off the edge, (or even on the floor), lift and lower your whole body up and down staying on your toes. Hold weight or put a kid on your shoulders for more weight. (notice a kid theme yet?)
Ab work. Sometimes I just do crunches/cross crunches lying on the floor. Sometimes I lay on the coffee table (use a towel under your back/buns) and hang my legs off the table. Then I hold the sides of the table (above my head) and lift my legs up and down slowly. Or I may twist while doing this and bend my knees to my chest.
Chair dips. Putting my hands on the seat of a chair to my sides, while sitting, 1 I lift myself off the chair and to the front. 2 I then lift below the chair and up again to seat level (repeat step 2 several times). I usually put my feet on another chair across from me while doing this, and keep my legs straight. Good for triceps, lats
Arm curls. For these, I use elastic bands made of surgical tubing. You can buy a cheap set at any fitness store, though. I much prefer free weights for these, but the tubing works pretty well. I fasten it to a heavy chair, hold on with each hand and curl my arms up. I do a few sets of 15-20. This is pretty much just for biceps, a little shoulder.
Shoulder/military press. Similar to arm curls, except that I hold the tubing in each hand and push up, over my head.  This works the shoulders, as the name implies.
This all takes about 10-15 minutes total, and (not including the abs and push ups) I do them after my more strenuous run days so I have time to recover for the next hard run.

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