Medicine Ball Workouts for Pre-Season Parenting

Parenting is a physical job in the first few years, and it’s easy to let our bodies go.  The process can be gradual.  You sacrifice a little time here, then a little there.  Soon you don’t have any time allotted for you, and keeping in shape;  but now that the baby has arrived, it’s more important than ever.

While it’s certainly hard to find the all the time you need to do everything when you have a young child, a little pre-season planning can help ensure you will always have an arsenal of simple exercises, programs, and tools at hand to stay ready for those high energy sessions with the youngsters.

One of the simplest exercise goodies you can purchase is a nice heavy medicine ball.  Choose one which feels moderately heavy as you will be performing high repetitions with it.  I’m partial to the Everlast leather medicine balls, which are great for throwing with a partner.  These are also ideal for long warmups to get your blood flowing and tone your muscles.

The Everlast comes in 6, 9, and 12 pound sizes, and the smooth leather feels much nicer than the rubber exterior or basketball rubber of a Danskin or Valeo medicine ball.  However, you don’t want to slam the Everlast balls, not on the ground or against a wall.  They’ll split eventually.  I still have the evidence.

There are dozens of fantastic exercise tools, like Clubbells, which I talk a little bit about in “Serious Strength and Conditioning with Clubbells.”  These are very versatile and effective tools taking up minimal space.

However, for this article, I’m going to outline a nice medicine ball workout to warm up your body and condition it for hauling a baby or a young toddler all day.

Using a medicine ball with a weight you can feel, perform the following circuit for 3 or more rounds of 10-20 repetitions each.   Move slowly until you are warm:

-Woodchoppers:  Hold ball with both hands in front of you, legs in wide stance; raise ball as high as possible over head with straight arms; ‘chop’ down keeping arms straight and activating core from below your navel.  Let motion carry through your legs, and come back up with a straight back and arms.

-Snatch Squat:  With this exercise, hold the ball in both hands and start from a squat.  From the floor, snatch the ball overhead and drop into a full squat.  With the ball still locked out with straight arms, rise up.  Work at keeping your arms straight and your shoulders back.  Your back should be arched and not rounded.
(For proper snatch form, see the video below.)

-Juke Push Throw with Lunge:  Holding tightly to the ball with two hands, push it out in front of you as though you were going to throw it, but hold on to it.  The harder you ‘throw’ it out, the more muscle it takes to pull it back.  Repeat this process while dropping into a lung as you step to the right, center, and left.  Lunge to the front if you wish, alternating legs.

This is a great workout, and if you have a  partner, you can do:

Overhead and Push Throws:  Standing a few feet apart, alternate between throwing the ball from the straight arms overhead position, to the push throw coming from chest level.  You’d be surprised what a great workout this can be, especially if your partner has some strength behind their throw.

Check out the video below to see how to drop into a snatch squat properly.  Even though he’s lifting a 300 pound barbell, the concept is the same.

For some great deals on medicine balls, check out the links below.  You’ll never regret having a couple medicine balls in the house, they even get to be fun for the kids later on!

Just remember to prepare.  If the equipment is already there, jumping into an informal workout is easy.  You can even take a set of cables or the TRX trainer to the park with the kids.  Put the medicine ball in the backpack and burn some extra calories walking around.  Pull it out at the park while junior is rolling around in the grass;  but whatever you choose to do, get in the best shape you can before the baby, and never fail to stay healthy and strong.




Building Strength and Grip with a Homemade Macebell

Building muscle and strength are lifelong processes.  It’s a journey full of interesting history and constant exploration.  To keep your body progressing, you have to find creative ways to shock your muscles.  While one way of doing this is to increase your weight, your reps, your intensity, etc., another is to try new modes of exercise.  Enter the popularity of odd object lifting, where the center of mass is not in a cozy little balanced position throughout the lift.

I’ve implemented some everyday items to use in my odd object lifting routines, and each time I am stunned at how effective these items can be.  For example, using random boulders for lifting and throwing challenges multiple muscle groups, so do sand bags and kettle bells.  However, nothing could have prepared me for the challenge of the mace.

I had experimented with making home made clubs, a recipe including the following:

-Galvanized steel pipe and caps, 1 1/2″ around, 24″ long, and filled with 7/8″ gravel.

This tool was tough to work with, even at about 10 pounds, but I decided to make it more challenging by adding a five pound plate to one end.  Wow.  What I had actually made was closer to a mace bell,  and it was a wicked weight.

So after doing some research on macebells, I decided to make one.  Here’s what I did:

-5′ galvanized steel rod, 1″ around, capped off at one end.
-2 flanges, 1″
-1  1″ connector, threaded on both ends.

With this I was able to thread the flanges and connecting pipe together, and slip an olympic plate between the flanges.  To keep it from rattling, I cut some exercise mat foam and wrapped it in the gaps.

My first effort, with only a five pound weight at one end (plus the weight of the flanges and pipe,) was a monster.  I thought I was relatively strong, but this is an entirely different approach to resistance training.

To punish myself for my weakness, I added a 2.5 pound plate on top of the five, and I know I’ll be working with this weight for a couple of weeks before my muscles can adapt to the load.

Now whenever I see people swinging around a long stick with a weighted ball at one end, I just shake my head in wonder.  As with all great feats of strength, wielding a heavy macebell is definitely an impressive feat.

For more information on circular strength training using Clubbells, visit:  RMax

See the macebell in action:

Serious Strength and Conditioning with Clubbells

I had to post this video when I discovered it.  For anyone floundering with Clockwork Squats or needing to see the proper form for a two-handed Arm Cast, this video is for you.  The music rocks, too.  If you haven’t read about Clubbells yet, click here for a quick review: “Ancient Tools”

Learn something new to do with your Indian clubs or Clubbells.  Or get a quick review:

Continue Reading >>> Strength Training with The Ancient Macebell

No Time to Waste Exercises for Burning Fat

You don’t have time to waste reading this.  So I’ll try to be brief.  No superfluous words, no flowery wording.  oh hell, so much for that.  Here’s the quick version for those of you addicted to speed:

These are energy pumping, muscle building, fat burning workouts for the person with only minutes to play:
-Use any available materials anywhere you are.  Anywhere!
-Be creative!  Think like a kid!  Use the walls!  The stairs!  The  playground!
Do these exercises throughout the day and you will be shocked at how effective it is!

Ok, if you are still with me, my aim is to outline three workouts you can do quickly.  The first uses rocks, the second an office environment, the third can be done at the mall, downtown, or at a playground.  Think parkour.  Equipment is simple if you want bells and whistles.  So let’s go!

The Boulders:  Yes, boulders.  Boulder implies a large rock if you didn’t know.  It also implies a massive effort of strength is needed to move it.  Go out to the nearest rock pile; maybe this is at the beach, on a construction site, or right outside your door.  Pick out a couple of nice ones.  Choose sizes from small to the largest you can carry.  Put them in the back of your car or truck, or use them where they are if there is space.  Do the following for three laps each.  A lap in this case is a set distance, straight out and back again.  Make yours about 50 feet either direction.  Or double the laps.

 1.  Pick up light rock and lunge with rock overhead.
 2.  Pick up next heaviest rock, do the “clean and push throw.”  Clean the rock off the ground, or roll it into your lap if you have to.  Get it up to chest level and do a “push throw.”  Chase rock, repeat.

3.  From a side stance, like you’re almost straddling it, lift the weight of the rock and push up from a squat position, twisting your body in the direction of your side throw.  The power for this comes from punching out of  the squat and using this momentum through the side throw.

That’s it for that.  Have fun.  You will  find your quads, biceps, pecs, lats and other muscles involved in these exercises.  Oh yeah, you’ll burn fat.  Ok, no time to waste. Next:

Wall-Ups/Wall Balance Walks/Jump-roping:  Wall-ups are like muscle-ups, where a person does a power pull-up into a dip on rings or a pull-up bar, ending above the bar or handles with arms locked out.  The difference is you get to cheat.  Don’t start smiling until you try it though.  To do this any wall will do.
Jump up and grab the top of a wall, and with as little assistance from your feet against the wall as possible, pull yourself up and then push yourself to an arms locked out position on top of the wall.

Feel free to use feet and elbows, but go for a smooth motion from start to finish.  Three times, then do:

Next get yourself on the wall, or if you’re afraid of heights, find a short wall, and do:
Wall balance walks- On hands and feet,  move right hand/left foot, left hand/right foot as one, and walk the length of the wall like a tiger.

Do the wall-ups and wall balance walks for at least three rounds.

Real Cable Workout for the Office, and Why Armchairs are Your Friends: 

Ok, first buy some cables.  Don’t even hesitate.  Click on a link below and buy a set.  They are inexpensive and take up little space in a briefcase, suitcase, or backpackNot to mention they should pass through airport security.  Here’s a quickie fat burning workout to get the muscles pumped, but the choices are endless:

Do three rounds of the following, 12-20 repetitions each, no rest between exercises:

Cable push-ups:  Drape the cables behind your back and get your hands positioned on the floor holding the cables.  Execute a push-up.  If the resistance is too much,  adjust.  Knock out as many as you can, then go sit down in your armchair for the next exercise.

Arm Chair Dips:  Don’t have arm rests on your chair?  Just bring two chairs together, or extend your feet in front of you while positioning your palms on the edge of one chair.  Lower yourself down, push yourself up.  Then:

Boxing with Cables:  Put your hands in a boxing stance holding your cables.  Your cables are anchored  behind your back.  Now start shadow boxing until it hurts.

There.  Now doesn’t that feel better?  Increase the number of rounds until you can execute about a round a minute for seven minutes.  Check out the links below and choose your equipment.  You know you need it.  Now get to work!

**Want more great workouts to keep your body in tip-top shape? Check out this article:

<a href=”http://hubpages.com/hub/A-Great-Functional-and-Fight-Workout-To-Build-Whole-Body-Strength”></a>

TRX Force and TRX Professional

I can’t give enough love to the integrity of the TRX.  I’m partial to highly effective things that take up so little space.  Well, now the TRX guys have done it again and come up with a tough-looking TRX kit called the Force.  Same strength as the best TRX kits available before, same great exercises can be done on this, but it comes in earthy military beige that blends in with the surroundings, more anchoring options, and even better training videos.  Go to the link below to check it out:

http://www.fitnessanywhere.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=buy-trx&AFFIL=y5tybUv8

Read more:

How to Strengthen the Rotator Cuff