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Getting closer to upper body exercise and more, your thoughts?

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  • Getting closer to upper body exercise and more, your thoughts?

    First, my limitations: As a still overweight 63 year old with a bad knee, squats and sprints are out, at least until the weight drops a lot more. On top of that, as many of you know, I live with my parents while Dad is dying, so it's not like I can do what I want here as far as space. To top it off, I must be frugal.

    Here is where I'm going, so to speak. Oh, BTW, I checked out the local school playground, locked up tighter than Rapunzel's bedroom. The closest city park had one of those things with tubes and slides for kids, but no monkey bars, etc. Signs of the lawsuit/security times, I guess.

    I do have a mountain bike, which is kind of like having a Hummer in Mahattan. I find biking boring, mostly, and the butt pain is a negative. But can I use it for sprints? How best? Low range? High range? How long?

    I just responded to a Free posting on Craigslist for a bunch of old weights and a bar. Hey, I do know this would be good for me, but I'll have to see if they are available.

    I can see the Bulgarian Training Tube we've discussed being an important part of my regime. Not only for the slinging around, but as added weight for (next!):

    Bodyweights. If Art De Vry is a fan, they must be of value! I can vary the weights a lot for different needs, I can use the BTT tube for more weight, I can use them on the bike, if I get those free weights above I'm clever enough to add them in some way. My thread on bodyweights:

    Am I on a reasonable track?

    Oh, a sad tale! I've never been real athletic, but being slim for most of my adult life and in reasonable shape, I recall being able to lift myself, arms only, on ropes in the kid's school gym to the ceiling. I was maybe 33 and maybe 170 pounds.

    The other day I spotted a horizontal branch on one of the huge live oaks in the front yard a bit over head height. Woo hoo! I'll just grab that puppy and do a few lifts.......WRONG! It was all I could do to not drop! I'm realistic, I know I'm 30 years older and way out of shape, but man, what a proverbial wake up call!

  • #2

    "Am I on a reasonable Track?"

    Sounds like you are to me, OTB. At least from what I've gleaned off the MDA website. Sounds like the mind is right where it needs to be with regard to playing and working out, too.

    But, if you are looking for suggestions about sprinting on your bike (Not so sure how easy that's gonna be around Manhattan) but It's very doable. Running, Biking, Swimming - you can do sprints with just about anything! On Rainy days if you wanted to hit the gym there's the row machine, elliptical, etc.)

    The key to sprints (in whatever form they take) is just to go as fast and as hard as you can for 5-10-15-20 seconds or until you start to slow down naturally. Recover fully: Walk, pedal, swim, etc. slowly (or if you're on a row machine, stop) until you can breathe again and feel ready for a second round. Then take off and go as fast as possible, recover, take off, recover, etc. When Mark does his beach sprints he said he does this about 5 to 8 times. But remember it's different for everyone. . Everyone's starting from a different place. What works for you might not work for the next guy, ya know?

    About the pull-ups: They WILL come with time. It takes awhile to build up functional strength. A Primal way to work on your pull-ups may be to stand under the branch facing the tree. Wrap your arms around the branch (hug style). Swing your legs up and wrap around the branch (walk them up the trunk if that's easier) - anyway you can, wrap legs around the branch. Arms and legs encircling the branch, lower your upper body down and pull yourself up and start that way. . See if that helps at all. Then, before you know it, you'll be swinging from branch to branch.

    Hope this helps, Please lemme know. If it doesn't at least you may have some fun.

    Grok on!


    • #3

      I certainly appreciate your thoughts and encouragement, CW.

      The reference to Manhattan was for those poseurs that have a big 4WD in such places. My mountain bike, which has mileage in, like, you know, MOUNTAINS seems so silly in flat Florida. I've dipped the tires into the Gulf of Mexico so that I can say 12,000 feet, 0 feet, been there.

      That limb I mentioned is 30 feet from the trunk! I have long legs but not that long!

      Today I loaded up my pockets and fanny pack with lead weights, put the 2 lb ankle weights on my wrists, and did about an hour of pruning. Those on my wrist sure added to my work load, lifting arms and using the loppers. Then I put them on my ankles and did the small patch of lawn mowing, about fifteen minutes.

      I DID remove the weights before I jumped into the pool!

      Man, I definitely got a workout! I know it's laughable in intensity, but hey, I gotta start somewhere!


      • #4

        Push ups, chair-dips, Hindu squats, yoga, the list of exercises you can do without equipment (OK you need a chair for chair squats) is almost endless.

        There are so many variations of push ups they alone could whip you into shape. Diamond push ups (make a diamond shape with your hands, military push ups, isometric push ups, mountain climbers (regular push up then bring one knee in and keep alternating), decline push ups (feet up on a box or chair). Just hold plank position for as long as you can 9great ab exercise). Dive Bombers (start with butt up in the air and dive down like you are trying to squeeze under a fence) is another great exercise.

        Do as many push ups as you can in standard form then drop to your knees and keep going. You'll be surprised at how quickly you improve.

        As for adding weight to the exercises, my son took a backpack and threw a couple of high school year books into it and viola, added 15 lbs for his push ups and pull ups (you don't need to do this until you can easily max out either exercise). I thought that was pretty clever and a lot cheaper than buying a weighted vest. I wasn't too impressed when I tried it after he finished his workout one day and it was sopping wet with sweat. :-X


        • #5

          Dave, 'preciate your comments.

          As I mentioned, squats are out for me at least until a lot more weight loss.

          I've thought of home brew weight vests, too, but at this time of the year in FL, will not do! Besides, I want that back available for Vitamin D. I do have a day pack and a full fledged framed back pack (See: Living in Colorado!), so those options are there for cooler weather.

          Good advice, otherwise, thanks.


          • #6

            Gotcha, OTB! Well, it does sound like you're on the right track. Just keep up being clever and it will only get easier.

            Hang in there, no pun intended (Hahaha!!

            BTW, Where in Florida do you live? I'm up in St. Augustine.


            • #7

              I'm in Sarasota, TCW. If you've not picked it up, I moved back here, childhood home and all, almost two years ago to take care of my ancient parents as Dad was to die in short order. Now two years later, he is finally in hospice care.

              I'm not a Floridian at heart, I hate the humidity.

              This AM, after that "strenuous" work out yesterday, I can feel the good slightly worn out feeling in the muscle sets I used. Well, muscals (as Popeye pronounced them) get used to it! More to come.


              • #8

                Want a high-impact work-out with a low-impact on your body? Get thyself a medicine ball. There are all sorts of variations you can do with it: Floor slams, side wall-slams, over-head wall slams, reverse wall slams, scoop slams.

                You can slam it as hard as you want, but all of the impact is going into the ball and the floor (or wall) instead of your joints. If your knees are bugging you, then do most of the work with your torso and arms. If your shoulders are bugging you, then do most of the work with your legs. It is totally adaptable on a workout-by-workout basis.

                Google "medicine ball slams" and you'll mostly find videos of people working out with partners, but you can do tons of stuff by yourself. If you can't find anything appropriate, I just might have to film a med ball tutorial for you.


                • #9

                  If I can find a medicine ball locally at a decent price, I'll try this. I've looked on eBay and once the shipping is thrown in, it becomes expensive.


                  • #10

                    I found a 6 lb. medicine ball at Big 5 on sale for $9.99. Check Walmart and Target though as they are bound to be cheaper than most sporting goods stores.


                    • #11

                      Most sporting goods stores carry them up to 12 pounds. I bought my 12-pounder at Sports Authority for $30. (Iron Man brand.)

                      One more thing; there are two main kinds of medicine balls: Hard rubber that you can bounce, or sewn leather, which will not bounce and will probably rip apart within a year if you slam it with any regularity. You want a hard rubber ball that will bounce.

                      Considering your size, 12-pounds is probably a good beginning weight for you. 12-pounds is my max, because I only weight 125 pounds and the professional coaches I've run into on-line recommend you do not exceed 10% of your body weight if you're doing conditioning and/or explosive power workouts.


                      • #12

                        Thanks for the continued advice!

                        I discovered that all along I've have a "sprinting" opportunity, as they say, "hidden in plain sight."

                        One swimming pool, one set of fins......

                        Did my first "sprints", doesn't matter if I'm moving or against the wall. Oy vey, new muscles discovered! Didn't do but a few times. But it's a start.


                        • #13

                          You've got access to a pool? You lucky pup!

                          Fill up a couple of 1-gallon jugs with water, and you can do some very joint-friendly resistance exercises under water. Lat raises, pec flys, etc. Try to move the jugs through the water as fast as possible, and you'll see what I mean. Alternate that with your water sprints, and you've got yourself an interval routine.


                          • #14

                            Having a brain fart. What I meant to say was: EMPTY the water out of the jugs! Trying to keep them under water is half the exercise.


                            • #15

                              DM, you are a fount of excercise knowledge!

                              Definition Pool: A hole in the ground that you pour money and labor into.

                              The only time I'm glad to have the pool is after mowing the lawn or similar. Although, at 92 degrees it's not exactly refresing, but it helps.

                              OK, I also like it at night, drink and maybe a cigar on the deck, skinny dipping. I can take my beach chair and put it just so and I'm staring up at the palms and clouds and stars. Yeah, that's pretty nice.

                              OTOH, off to buy more chlorine tomorrow........