Switching Up Your Typical Routine
Issue 22: It’s good to have some go-to moves… but also a few unexpected ones.
I do a lot of the same exercises in my strength workouts. Presses, rows, squats, deadlifts, and lunges always make an appearance, with slight variations and a play on tempo for each. These do, after all, hit the major movement patterns and follow the guidelines of “functional training.” A hot word in fitness, that just means mimicking movements we do in everyday life. (Tbh, we move in a lot of different ways so there are a lot of ways to functionally train.) But when I’m planning workouts for myself and others, I often choose one push exercise (like overhead presses or squats) and one pull exercise (like deadlifts or reverse flies) for a superset, in which I alternate between those two moves for three rounds. In other words, I follow a pretty straightforward structure for the majority of my weight training.
At least once a week, though, I try to get more creative either by mixing up the equipment I use or doing more 2-in-1 exercises, like dumbbell renegade rows or kettlebell cleans to lateral lunges. This week, I incorporated some gliders into a little full-body mash-up, with some bodyweight and single dumbbell work too. Now, I’m not one to think that being sore is the only sign of a good workout but I’m also one to enjoy a morning when you try to move your abs, arms, or legs and they’re like ‘nah, we’re good here.’ That’s precisely how I felt after this week’s glider session, an unexpected consequence of simply incorporating a couple of new moves into my workout.
Tried-and-true methods to strength training certainly work and it’s easy to see progress when you repeat the same exercises for a few weeks, building up in weight or reps. But there’s also lots of beauty in mixing things up, incorporating exercises you haven’t tried before, or trying completely new methods of movement. So, I’m just here to offer a little reminder to go after something new this week. Maybe that’s trying out a fitness app you’ve been eyeing, switching your dumbbells for gliders, or swapping a run for a bike ride or a dance party. You’ll test your strength, stability, and endurance in new ways and likely add a little excitement to your routine, too.
When you try something new that you love, report back!
A few other people’s words about wellness I’ve read (and loved) recently:
I’ve heard of lots of people picking up roller skating these days, so I loved reading Nick Paumgarten’s “The Great New York City Roller Skating Boom” in The New Yorker. He talks about growing up skating around the city, mostly on the Upper East Side, and how his parents even skated to work. I’d love to see more people using that as a form of commuting as the city opens back up. And who knows, maybe I’ll invest in a new pair of old ‘80s skates for my next fitness adventure.
“What Does ‘Tough Compassion’ Look Like in Real Life?” in Greater Good Magazine talks about the idea of compassion being more complex than simply showing sympathy and kindness to other people. Tough compassion means also standing up to those who put other people down or are unaccepting of different practices that help society as a whole. Based on Buddha traditions, it means “to step in and, in a good way, guide the person to a different form of behavior or out.” This idea of tough compassion is an interesting way to think about how we’re spreading good vibes and supporting others—and how it goes beyond listening and into acting.
Outside’s “Emily Ford Hiked 1,200 Miles in the Dead of Winter” is a great read about how nature helps one woman (and I’d argue most people) reconnect to herself. In March, Ford became the first woman to complete Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail, making her way through knee-deep snow for most of her trek. It’s quite an impressive feat, especially considering she’s only the second documented person to complete the trail during the winter months and the 78th person to make the journey in any season.
The latest updates on the fitness industry:
Today, Adidas reveals a new 3D printed running shoe, the 4DFWD, which I think is so cool. (Also, the shoe is comfy and super lightweight.) It features a 4D, lattice construction at the midsole, meant to compress forward as you land and take off. Check out more details on Adidas.com.
Peloton announced some new updates at their “homecoming” event, including scoring workouts based on heart rate, more scenic runs and rides, upgraded fitness programs (think strength and running), plus a pause button for those using the equipment. Read the details on Self.com.
Here’s one form cue that always resonates with clients…
These words tend to work for individuals I train as an ah-ha moment for feeling stronger in a move or activating the right muscles. I’ve been doing lots of squat jumps lately in my own workouts and my clients’ and one thing I always keep in mind for me and others is landing more softly. Lots of times, people land with straight legs, taking a little pause before lowering into the squat again, rather than absorbing the landing and lowering right back into the next rep. The next time you do a set, try to keep the movement more fluid, more controlled, and aim to land super quiet on your feet.
One move to add to your exercise routine…
Plank with glider arm pushes. Tbh, I don’t know the best name for this exercise but it’s a real challenge, and one that’ll likely leave your abs and upper body sore the next day. Start in a plank position, with each hand on a glider and feet slightly wider than hip-width apart for added stability. Without dropping the hips down or to the side, drive one arm straight out in front of you, bending the opposite elbow straight back (like a tricep push-up). Go as far as you can without breaking strong plank form. Then, press through the bent arm and drag the glider back so your wrist is under your shoulder. Repeat on the other side and continue alternating. This move is a tough one, so if you need to, drop the knees to the floor and perform as a modified plank, making sure you squeeze your butt and keep your torso in one line from shoulders to hips as you go.
For a full workout, try…
These glider exercises on Self.com, because I’m just all about that gear this week. (Btw, you can totally sub in hand towels or paper plates for the actual glider!) Each of these moves offers a serious core stability challenge. If you do all of them, you’ll spend a lot of time in plank position, so choose the five that intrigue you most, go for 40 seconds for each move, resting for 20 between exercises. Repeat for 3 rounds, resting for 60 seconds between rounds. Promise you’ll feel the abs light up!
The gear I’m loving to get me out the door…
I’ve written about Tracksmith and all the cool initiatives they have for the running community before, and now I’ve finally tested some of their gear. I have two pieces I love so far (still testing some others!). First, the Session Speed Short that basically feels like you’re not wearing pants when running and who doesn’t love that! And the second, the Twilight Crop Top, which is silky soft and the perfect length between not showing off the stomach, but also not hanging down over the hips as you’re trying to catch speed. All of their gear also has a varsity team look that makes me feel quite cool when I’m out on the road, like I’m a college track star. I’ll channel those vibes any day.
Thanks for reading! If you want this in your inbox every Wednesday at noon(ish):
And tell your friends, by sharing The Final Rep or this post: