Happy Tuesday, friends! Anyone else feel like Tuesday is sort of the throw-away day of the week? Everyone hates Monday, then Tuesday is just…there, Wednesday is Hump Day, Thursday is the day before Friday (AKA half Friday) and then Friday is…Friday. Poor Tuesday.
Anyway, let’s celebrate the forgettable simpleton known as Tuesday and talk workouts. I did a little bit of strength work on my own at open gym on Sunday, and I felt like it was a good get in/get out.
You know I’m a fan of a good warm up, and I’m still working on piecing together some good warm up routines. I’ll share this one because it left me feeling pretty good for some heavy-ish squats:
- 500m row
- Shoulder dislocates with the PVC pipe (10 forward, 10 backward)
- Arm circles – 5 small, 5 medium, 5 large, forward & then backward (palms up)
- Shoulder swings (10 each side)
- Leg swings – side to side and backwards & forwards, 10 each side
- Wall stretch – hold each side approx. 30 seconds
- 10 air squats, then 10 with Sling Shot Hip Circle (P.S., this thing is AMAZING and you need it)
- Using the Sling Shot band, do 10 walking squats (small steps, really targets your hips & glutes) to each side
Repeat all stretches 2-3 times through, or until you feel loosey goosey.
After my warm up it was time for squats. I wanted to go fairly heavy but nothing that would leave me drained for the coming week, as we typically do back squats on Monday. But I was feeling pretty good and decided to go for a 60-70-80% complex. In case you’re unfamiliar with programs, the 60-70-80% means that particular percentage of your 1 rep max (RM). My 1RM for my back squat is 175 lbs, so I would calculate my percentages off of that number.
- 5 at 60%
- 5 at 70%
- 5 at 80%
I had only intended on doing 3 at 80%, but they felt light-ish and my legs felt good, so I went for the other 2 reps. I also wanted to front squat but wanted to go lighter with that, as front squats are harder for me and I wanted to work on maintaining proper form over big numbers.
- 5 at 50%
- 5 at 60%
- 5 at 70%
Again, these ended up feeling really good. My 1RM for my front squat is 155, and I felt pretty good after doing my 5 at 70%, so I decided to go a little wild and add on two more sets of 3 heavier singles. My 70% weight was about 108, so I threw on an additional 10 lbs and did two sets of 3 at 118. Again, not necessarily recommended if you’re following a strict program, but I felt confident and even the slightly heavier 118 didn’t seem too difficult.
I wanted to keep this workout simple, so I ended with some ab work. I followed the tabata method of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, for the following movements:
- Toe touches (lay on your back, put your legs straight up in the air, and reach your arms to your toes)
- Reverse crunches
- Side plank left side
- Side plank right side
- Flutter kicks
I went through that set four times, which ended up being about 10 minutes or so of core work. I was le tired. After that, I spent a good 20 minutes or so stretching and mobilizing – THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! I hear people complaining about how they’re sore/stiff/hurting every day, yet they come in late (and miss the class warm up) and then leave right after the workout. Of course you’re sore, you’re not doing your body any favors by skipping a warm up and cool down.
If you’re new to the concept of actually stretching after you workout, I recommend a few key things.
- One, make sure you have the time: throwing in some quick stretches at the end is better than nothing, but I would really encourage you to set aside AT LEAST 5-10 minutes dedicating to stretching and doing some mobilization work.
- Two, while learning some “specific” stretches is good, it’s ok to just with what feels good on your body. I know a lot of people want to stretch but they don’t really know what to do. I recommend lying down flat on your back and slowly just start moving your body until you find something that feels good. Sounds weird, but we are all at different levels of flexibility, and just learning where your body is tight and could use some extra work is only going to help you.
- Three, if you’re not doing any sort of cool down work now, literally anything you do is going to help your body. Even if you only start with one area, that is better than nothing. The more you do it, the comfortable you will become in how your body feels/acts/responds, and then you can start doing more. So, if everything else feels fine but your hips are KILLING YOU, just focus on your hips. That’s fine.
If you’re still unsure of what to do, and want to cover some commonly sore areas, I recommend the following:
- Hamstring stretches: Stand up straight, fold at the waist, try to touch your toes. Hold as far down as you can (somewhat) comfortably go for 10-20 seconds. You can also do this sitting down. If you want more, here is an excellent list of stretches for all levels/ages/people of earth.
- Hip stretches: Most people sit at a desk all day long. This is absolutely horrible for our bodies. Luckily for y’all, there are plenty of stretches we can do to help release the tension that builds up from sitting all day. I recommend starting with frog pose and pigeon pose; both are intense no matter what level of flexibility you are. Even if you’re the queen of flexibility, I can almost guarantee you will have room to improve with these.
- Shoulder stretches: A lot of people have really tight shoulders (particularly men). Here are three simple yet very effective stretches that will improve your shoulder mobility as well (as in, you’ll have a better front rack and overhead position).
- Lower back stretches: A lot of people also complain about back pain. Probably because they don’t stretch and (surprise) they sit all day. Check out these stretches to help alleviate your low back discomfort and improve your flexibility.
Notice a pattern here? I’ll give you a hint…most of them are yoga poses. Yoga is fantastic for improving flexibility and mobility, which is only going to help with weightlifting and Crossfit. I am someone who was blessed with relatively good natural mobility, but by incorporating a good warm up AND COOL DOWN (the capital letters really emphasize the importance of cooling down, don’t they?), I have seen a drastic improvement in all areas of my fitness. I know stretching isn’t necessarily fun or exciting, but give it 10 minutes after your workout, or go home and do it if you’re too embarrassed. If you are too embarrassed, come visit me at my gym where I look incredibly ridiculous 93% of the time and I will out-ridiculous you during my stretches. Pinky promise.