Neighborhood Workout Group: The Halfsyby Jen Sinkler
Everyone had a weird Wednesday, was the verdict at workout group. It’s been a weird week, in total, and though I’m used to the idea now of their being no absolute truths or end points, sometimes the feeling of overwhelm creeps back in. The doubts, the sadness, the mountain of stress; the traumas, the chaos, the disorder of the world. I feel the pain and lack perspective on it.
And then I hear the drums. There are a few different drumlines that walk the streets of Philly, and from time to time, when the windows are open (or even when they’re not), the sound of them reaches me at my desk, and more often than not, I run out to meet them. Soak in the boom and the bass and the beat. I love drums so much that I joined a hand-drumming class when I still lived in the Twin Cities, and when I’m feeling especially adrift, I find my own rhythm again by setting it through sound.
In 2017, on a May trip with my mother, we visited Taos Pueblo in New Mexico and heard stories of healing from drummaker Autumn Deer. He says that you inherently know which sounds can heal you, that your cells sense what can make you well. I have picked up the drum I got from him so very often lately, and then I do know, or know again. At least some things.
I know that Franklin, the littlest, loveliest dog soul who used to keep me company while I worked, and still does, chewed up one end of the drumstick and that I was mad, and I know that after he died, I was glad. Little tiny toothprints, a get-well greeting from Frank, for always.
I know that it is OK, or it will be again, even when I don’t feel like it will be now. I know that in existing, in showing up fully, that I have value, even when I know I still have so many more lessons to learn.
I know that I listen, and I’ve learned that gentle is important to me, even within myself.
I know that sometimes, I deal with depression, and that I am more willing to believe the pain during those times, and I know those times, too, shall pass.
Perhaps an overly solemn transition, but I hope that you, too, know those things, and that the bit about this, too, passing can serve as a useful reminder during this week’s workout.
Instructions: Half as much rest, regardless of how long you work. Set your timer accordingly for each mini circuit (always with the rest at half the work time) and begin. Rest till recovered between the three circuits, and a little extra anytime you need to.
20:10 work-to-rest // 8 rounds // 3 stations (count each marching side as its own)
Kettlebell Two-Handed Swing
- Place a kettlebell on the floor just in front of you with both hands gripping the handle, butt high in the air and knees bent in an athletic stance.
- Hike the kettlebell back and up between your legs and push your butt back, slightly straightening your legs as you do this. Your forearms should make contact with your upper thighs.
- When the kettlebell reaches its farthest point back, quickly stand up, using the power of your hips, hamstrings, and glutes to “float” the kettlebell up to about shoulder height. Make sure to keep your shoulders pulled back and down, and don’t let the bell pull your chest forward.
- Reverse the movement by pulling the kettlebell down through the same arc, staying upright as long as possible before you push your hips backward and swing the kettlebell high between your legs. Keep your chest up the entire time — someone across the room should be able to read the writing on your shirt.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, using a powerful hip extension to generate upward momentum in the bell.
- When you’re ready to stop, pause at the bottom of the swing portion, gently parking the kettlebell on the floor in front of you.
Kettlebell Racked March (Left Leg)
Kettlebell Racked March (Right Leg)
- Clean a kettlebells to the racked position, thumb pointing against your body and weight resting on the back of your (straight-as-a-board) wrist. This is your starting position.
- Stiffening your core and glutes, press through the foot opposite of the side of the weight and bring the knee on the same side as the weight upward until that thigh is approximately parallel with to the ground. Reverse the movement under full control to come back to standing on both feet, then lift that same knee up again. Make sure you’re using muscle control over momentum, and remain as upright as possible — no tilting or leaning (adjust weight down if necessary — this is a tough one for the abs!).
- Complete the desired number of repetitions with one leg, then switch sides.
40:20 work-to-rest // 3 rounds // 3 stations (count each windmill side as its own station)
Bodyweight In-and-Out Squat (or, hold a weight goblet-style like in Tuesday’s email)
- Start standing tall, your feet together and arms relaxed at your sides.
- Quickly hop your feet out to whatever squat stance feels comfortable for you that day (could be wider, could be more narrow), while simultaneously lowering your hips and keeping the weight high at your chest.
- Immediately when you reach the bottom of a squat position, hop back to your starting position, bringing your arms down and your feet close together again. Make sure your knees remain tracking in line with your outside toes all the way down and all the way up.
- Repeat for desired repetitions.
Kettlebell Bottom-Loaded Windmill (Left): complete all reps on this side during this 40-second block
Kettlebell Bottom-Loaded Windmill (Right): next 40 seconds of work complete all reps on this side
- Start by deadlifting a single kettlebell with one hand so that it hangs down in front of you. Turn your palm so that it faces forward. The other hand will remain unloaded until you switch sides.
- Turn both feet so that they are pointing toward the hand holding the kettlebell. If the kettlebell is in your left hand, your right foot should be at about 30 degrees, while your left foot should be about 30 to 45 degrees, depending on comfort.
- Raise your unloaded arm to an overhead position. Look up at your empty hand. Keep looking at it throughout the entire working set.
- With the vast majority of your weight in your right leg (about 90 percent), push your hips back and away, tracking in line with your right foot. Keep your right leg and right arm straight, with your right hand pointed toward the sky.
- As you continue to hinge backward with your hips, keep your left (loaded) arm in close with the inside of your left leg, reaching toward the floor. Depending on your hip mobility, you may be able to descend only slightly; or, conversely, the kettlebell may touch the floor.
- Reverse the movement and return to an upright position. Repeat.
30:15 work-to-rest // 3 rounds // 2 stations
Kettlebell Seesaw Press
- Clean two kettlebells to a racked position, thumbs pointing against your body and weights resting on the back of your (straight-as-a-board) wrists.
- Brace your midsection, imaging your torso as a can of soda, pressurized in every direction, and maintain that throughout the lift, even as you breathe. Include the glutes in this stiffening.
- Begin by pressing the one kettlebell overhead without letting your elbow or ribs flare out, or allowing your hips drift forward.
- As you begin to pull the weight you’re holding aloft carefully back down to the racked position, simultaneously press the other kettlebell toward the sky.
- Keep alternating which arm is pressing up and which arm is pulling the weight back down. Alternate reps until completion.
Kettlebell Hop-Back Deadlift
- Stand tall with a kettlebell on the ground between the arches of your feet, a shade toward the back to engage more of your posterior chain muscles.
- Keeping your chest up, push your butt back, then bend your legs just until you can grip the kettlebell handle.
- Shift your weight into your hands until you’re in an ultra-stable position, then hop or step your feet back into a plank position.
- Immediately reverse the movement, hopping or stepping your feet up so that they’re again on either side of the kettlebell, your hands still on the handle.
- Holding the kettlebell and keeping your spine in neutral alignment, stand up with the the weight hanging down in front of you, upper back engaged to control the weight.
- Reverse the movement, lowering the kettlebells with control back to the ground between your feet. Repeat.
- Recommendation: If you’re working with anything less than a 24-kilogram kettlebell (53 pounds), place your hands on the floor on either side of the kettlebell to ensure stability.