Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back to {Military} Basics

It’s no shocker that there are tons of exercises from which to choose when trying to build up strength. There are so many machines at the gym, dumbbells and kettle bells of various weights, resistance training options, and more. Where do you start? How do you know which is best?

Ever since my injury, I have had to face the fact that my muscle strength is, well, not good. In my 26 years of life, I have never put together a strength training regime. I always just kind of did random gym machines or followed what the class instructor told us to do. I’ll plan race training all day long, but I’m lost in trying to figure out the best way to tone and strengthen my muscles. Now knowing far more seriously how important it is to keep up with non-cardio exercises, I decided to just pick a starting place.

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Coming from a military family, I knew that the basic training physical fitness test consisted of push-ups, sit-ups, and a two mile run. So that is where I began – about two weeks ago I started incorporating push-ups and sit-ups into my daily routine. In just those two weeks alone, I have noticed a HUGE different in my core and arms. It is astounding how much stronger I feel in such a short time period. The military chose those workouts for a reason!

Now that I am cleared to use more legs more strenuously again (gradually of course), I have incorporated weighted squats into my daily workouts to help with glute strength; core/arms aren’t the only things that are important! Sprints/speed work will help with that as well when I am able to do so comfortably again. I love how these few exercises work so much of my body and make me feel like I am making progress! When I first started, doing 3 sets of 5 push-ups and 2 sets of 25 sit-ups was very difficult – definitely a wake up call. Now I am doing 3 sets of 15 push-ups and 3 sets of 30 sit-ups! I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in another two weeks!

If you are looking to gain more strength in your core/arms and you don’t know where to start, try doing some push-ups and sit-ups. They don’t take much time out of your day and they can be done pretty much anywhere!

Proper form is Key: Set your hands at (or slightly wider) than shoulder width with your hands even with your shoulders. Stay on your toes and engage that core!

And although I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, here is a video of me demonstrating form:

QOTD: Do you have a set strength training plan, or do you ever feel lost when trying to figure out which exercises are best?

28 comments

  1. It's great that you're seeing improvement! I've started trying to do chin-ups or pull-ups lately - much harder than I thought it would be, but maybe I'll see improvement soon, too.

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    1. Thanks! That is awesome you can do pull-ups. I wish I could do something like that!

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  2. Great post! I know EXACTLY how I you feel. I am completely lost when it comes to strength training. We do a fair amount of body-weight exercises in my Thai kickboxing class, so I'm totally fine when I have someone barking commands at me...but when I'm in the gym on my own, I have no freakin' clue what I'm doing. Haha. So I just have Todd tell me what machines to do and how many reps, and call it a day. LOL.

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    1. LOL exactly!! Glad someone is on the same page! :0)

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  3. HOLY PUSH UP BATMAN! Look at how strong you are!!! I can't do one military push up - I have to get on my knees - but I'm getting there! ... applause... so impressed!

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    1. Aw thank you Rebecca! You will get there for sure! If I can do it so can you!

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  4. I love that you are seeing improvements. Strength training can be really tough for a lot of people, not knowing what to do, how to do the exercises, how often, etc. I know I was super intimidated at first but now I feel a lot more comfortable--you know the whole, practice makes perfect--its really true when it comes to lifting!!. I teach my Group Power class and then I do a lot of free weight and body weight exercises too, I actually really love to strength train!!

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    1. It really is so intimidating, especially in a large gym setting. Now that I have started doing more and seeing improvements I am really enjoying it!

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  5. I've just recently started strength training more, and I too am shocked about how much stronger I already feel. It's kinda awesome! Why did it take us so long to figure this out?!

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    1. Great question, and I have no idea why! I hate learning lessons the hard way lol!

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  6. When I was injured recently, I added in a little more strength training and I felt great. Spinning was good too. Speedy recovery!

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    1. I've been cycling quite a bit too...it has really helped!

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  7. I'm starting to do more push ups but they still kick my behind. I can scale back sessions for PT but I'm still going for strength training.

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    1. Push-ups are tough! Even doing 15 some days feel harder to do than others!

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  8. Not a fan of push ups and sit ups, but I have been doing them lately and my little pooch in my mid section has definitely improved!

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    1. That's awesome! Sometimes our least favorite exercises can be the most effective lol!

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  9. I wish I strength trained more than I do. I know it does help with your running. -L

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    1. I have definitely learned that it is far more important than I ever though before!

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  10. I am so bad at being motivated to do strength workout, esepcially when there are so many things out there you can do. Push ups and sit ups sound reasonable enough to start with though. I'll have to try to work on doing more of those!

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    1. I know as runners it can be so tough to get motivated for strength training. Definitely a better option than injury though! Push-ups and sit-ups are a great starting place!

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  11. It's amazing how quickly you can see improvement when you start doing exercises like that! Great job! I'm motivated to close my office door and bang out a few push ups myself now. :)

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  12. Girl, look at you rocking those push-ups! I couldn't agree more. I used to do push-ups and sit-ups ALL the time as a college rower and was so much stronger then. I've started adding them back into my routine and see the difference!

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    1. Thanks Karla!! That is awesome that you are adding them back into your routine!

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  13. Awesome, girl!! I agree, pushups and situps are a great workout. You got me motivated to reincorporate those into my regime! Great job, keep up the awesome work!

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    1. Thank you Karen! Glad to hear I've got you motivated to start doing these exercises! :0)

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  14. I love you approach Lauren! You are right, we tend to complicate things. I don't have a set strength training plan. I think that's why I like Cross Fit - it's a set workout and different all the time. I need variety. Looking forward to see how you progress over the coming weeks!

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    1. Thanks!! Variety is great but can be so confusing at first! Starting with simple exercises and work my way up is less complex for me :0)

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