Neighborhood Workout: The Travel Bugby Jen Sinkler
One of the reasons we often work in mini-circuits is that they’re easier to keep track of while you’re doing them. It’s simpler, logistically speaking: you (often) require access to less of a spread of equipment. Plus, when there are fewer exercises, you get finished sooner, at least with that part, which can be emotionally heartening. Don’t overlook heartening.
But…sometimes you want it in one fell swoop. All in a take. You want to know what’s coming, see what’s coming, add it to the list and just work through it all at once. Then be done with it.
A risk you run with an eight-exercise circuit is wandering: It can be tough to keep track of what exercise you’re on. It can help to, if you’re able, set up your stations in some manner of order (so that you may move clockwise throughout, for example).
Personally, I lost the plot this fine Wednesday. Took a quick timeout to tell Zoey not to bark at a neighbor dog (Zoey, why?) and never quite found my way back to order. This happened, at least a little bit, to a couple of us, but I was perfectly pleased doing extra side shuffles (Julie added some flair to these), extra deep step-ups (with an emphasis on the step down portion, as discussed in this week’s Try-This Tuesday), and I always forget how absolutely breathless the box dance step makes me. Bopping around. Wandering. Wondering.
With regard to the box dance step, light feet makes for heavy cardio. This was a magnificent day. God I love workout group.
For the deep step-ups, make sure you cement control over your entire range of motion, and stay within that range (whatever that is right now).
The sumo stiff-legged deadlift is a weird one you won’t see much of, but my goodness, the things it does to a person’s hamstrings, plus I enjoy the way you can — as you can with regular sumo deadlifts — play with the width and angle of your feet, see what happens in your bod, see what feels good and right to you on that day.
Seek work in your glutes and hamstrings, and I believe you will find it.
We tried a version of the kettlebell bench press that Travis brought in from Elsbeth Vaino (<3), a single-arm version where only your shoulder blades are propped up on the end of a bench, and you’re bridging to horizontal with your torso, feet firmly on the ground and buns squeezed firmly together to create a platform to push from (you totally bench with your butt, btw).
I’ve included a double press below, and one where your body is all the way on the bench, but feel free to swap it out for the shimmied-down version, single-arm version. Just make sure to add a second station. (Travis pointed out it’s much more challenging single armed, and it is, because you’re doing your best not to topple off the bench. Lastly, if you feel like upping the ante even further, try a bottoms-up version (just start light, bottoms-up moves like a much different animal).
Onto the workout! And, if you’d prefer less travel, feel free to split up this circuit into minis.
The Travel Bug
Suggested Work-to-Rest Ratio: 35:25
Suggested rounds: 4
1) Kettlebell Sumo Stiff-Legged Deadlift
2) Side Shuffle
3) Bodyweight Deep Step-Up (Left)
4) Bodyweight Deep Step-Up (Right
5) Double Kettlebell Bench Press
6) Seesaw Row
7) Knee-Toward-Elbow Plank
8) Box Dance Step
Kettlebell Sumo Stiff-Legged Deadlift
- Place a kettlebell on the floor between your feet and stand over it with a wide stance — feet about a shoulder and a half to two shoulder-widths apart, and turned out slightly. (A good width for you is when your shins are vertical when your hands are gripping the kettlebell.)
- Push your butt backward to hinge at the hips and slightly bend your knees until you grip the the kettlebell handle with both hands.
- Keep your back flat and push the floor away to stand up with the weight, keeping your upper arms close to your sides during the ascent.
- Stand tall with your shoulders back and your chest up at lockout. Return the kettlebell to its starting position between your feet on the ground and repeat.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width distance apart. Lower yourself into an athletic stance by pushing your hips back, while keeping your chest up and raising your slightly arms in front of you with elbows bent to about 90-degrees.
- From this position, initiate movement by leaning to one side without twisting your head or chest. As you lean, quickly side step in that same direction while keeping your toes pointed forward.
- Continue sidestepping, without letting your feet come together to touch.
- Travel the distance you prefer, then reverse directions.
Bodyweight Deep Step-Up
- Select a box height that you can comfortably step up onto. You’ll begin the exercise from the top of the box, at least at first, to work on a controlled descent.
- Using one foot to boost you atop the box, position your whole foot on the box, heel included. Shift your weight onto that foot almost entirely, and keep it that way throughout the lift. (This will help you resist the urge to push off with your back leg as much at the bottom, and will help you build more control through the full range of motion.)
- Grounding down through the foot to remain on the box, slowly lower your torso back and downward, reaching backward with the other foot and maintaining full control over the motion. When the ball of your back foot reaches the ground, keep descending into a deep-for-you lunge position.
- Reverse the movement, smoothly rise to a standing position again at the top of the box.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions before switching legs.
Double Kettlebell Floor Press
- To start, lie on the floor and roll to one side to spoon the kettlebell. Grab the bell first with the lower hand, and then roll onto your back with the weight just above you. (If the kettlebell is on your right side, you will grab it first with your right hand.).
- To grab the other kettlebell, roll to your other side while keeping the first kettlebell pinned to your chest. After grabbing the other kettlebell, you can then roll back to your back. (Alternatively, while seated between the kettlebells, you can heft the weights up onto your lap and then lie back while controlling the weights at your chest.)
- Position your upper arms on the floor and close to your body, bending at the elbows so the kettlebells are over your chest.
- Press the kettlebells straight up, keeping your elbows close to your body and not letting the weights stray outward.
- Lower your arms with control until the backs of your arms reach the floor, then repeat.
- To “ditch” the kettlebells, lower the weights until the backs of your arms are on the floor and then let the weights tip forward to the floor. This will protect your shoulders and elbows. Then simply sit up without the weights in your hands.
Kettlebell Seesaw Row
- Suitcase deadlift or otherwise pick up two kettelbells (or two dumbbells, or whatever).
- Hinge forward from the hips approximately 45 degrees while staying wide across the chest, letting the weights hang down toward the floor. Make sure you’re sitting back strong in your hips, glutes, and hamstrings, rather than depending on the strength endurance of your lower back. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your elbow no more than 30 degrees out from your body and your shoulders down and away from your ears, pull one kettlebell up toward your rib cage using the muscles of your upper back.
- As you return that weight to the start position, simultaneously row the other upward so that they pass in midair.
Bodyweight Knee-Toward-Elbow Plank
- Start in a straight-arm plank position with your body elevated between your hands and toes.
- While holding this position, lift one leg and draw the knee up and around toward the elbow on the same side.
- Lower your leg and return to the starting plank position. Repeat on the opposite side, bringing the opposite knee to elbow. Alternate legs to complete the set.
Box Dance Step
- Stand in front of a box, and rest one foot lightly on it. Lean slightly forward, but don’t put weight on the box.
- Quickly hop up and switch the positioning of your feet in midair. You should end up with the opposite foot on the box.
- As soon as you land, immediately jump and switch again.
- Keep alternating legs.