Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Crochet Success and My Strength Training

I have successfully completed my first crocheted scarf!

Awkward self portrait

Thank you to everyone for your suggestions to watch YouTube videos, this is the best way to learn anything in our society these days. I found quite a few videos there that I watched numerous times until I got the hang of it. Also thank you Bobbi and Nicole for offering to help, I will be hitting you up with random crocheting questions as I attempt my next less basic scarf.

Months ago I had quite a few questions about my strength training routine that I meant to answer...but I never did. Because I have decided to focus the next few months on functional movement, I've decided that this is the perfect time to let you all have a little peak into my strength routines. 

Let me give you a bit of a background here...

I started weight training while I was in high school as part of my cross country/track training. Our coaches had us doing basic movements that I was just doing because I was told that I had to. I had no idea what the heck I was doing and spent a lot of time parading around the weight room trying to catch the eye of my boyfriend. It wasn't until I went to college that I decided to actually learn how to properly strength train so that my body would be able to reap the benefits. Over time I have progressed from basic movements to super sets and circuit training and try to make it to the gym 2-3 times per week. 

My strength training routine started at step 1 and has slowly increased in intensity over the years as I have learned more about my body and how it reacts to certain stimulus. All of our bodies are different, and while I don't mind sharing how I train myself with y'all...PLEASE DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ME AND LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR OWN BODY IS TELLING YOU.

These are the parameters I set for each strength/resistance session:

  • Each workout must be different from the one proceeding it. The body is extremely intelligent and adaptable to stimulus, in order to make consistent strength gains the stimulus needs to constantly be changing.
  • Wear a heart rate monitor. While this isn't necessary, I have been finding it very useful as of late. Strength training can also be another form of cardio if the muscles are engaged properly and can increase endurance. It can also be a great gauge as to if your session intensity needs to be adjusted.
  • All movements must engage the core. This gets tricky at times and requires me to concentrate a bit extra. The core is extremely important and useful in almost every movement, if engaged properly during activity there is no need to ever lay down on a mat and do crunches.
  • Always keep a neutral spine.
  • Proper form is more important then load. If you can lift x amount of weight in a movement but are neglecting the correct form and muscle movements, you have lost all benefit from that exercise and are increasing your chance of injury.
  • Do as many dynamic movements as possible. This requires a little extra thought and creativity, but the body rarely acts in single movements like a bicep curl or chest press. I like to think about the most common movements I make in my every day life and turn that into a more challenging exercise. Dynamic movements will also increase the heart rate and neurological stimulation. Basically, train movements not muscles.
  • Have fun. Pick exercises that you enjoy so that you are more likely to stick to a strength program. I have also found that when I am in the gym enjoying what I'm doing, it rubs off on the people around me.
  • Sweat like a mad woman. Yes that's right, it's hardcore and super hot for chicks to leave the gym all sweatnasty. I rock that look all the time.

So without further ado, this was the strength routine that I did last Friday.

1st Circuit

Hands on bosu and feet on stability ball. After each pushup, crunch knees into chest keeping the core tight.
Squats with front shoulder raise. 
10 lb weight.
Dead lifts. 
Down, hold in squat position while doing a tricep kickback into a bicep curl. 10 lb weights.

20 reps x 2 sets each exercise

2nd Circuit

Stability ball chest press. 
Clenching the bottom and keeping the spine in a neutral position. 10 lb weights.
Wide leg squats with medicine ball. 
At bottom of squat MB comes to right foot, at top of squat MB comes overhead to the left. Repeat on opposite side. 8 lb MB.
Lateral lunge with lateral shoulder raise. 
10 lb weight.
Stability ball tricep press. 
Clenching the bottom and keeping the same neutral spine as chest press.

20 reps x 2 sets each exercise

3rd Circuit

Turkish get ups. 
Only going half way up. 10 lb weight.
Medicine ball V-crunches.
MB going the opposite direction of the feet.
Bringing opposite knee to opposite elbow.

20 reps x 2 sets each exercise

Like I mentioned above, strength training can be a lot of fun and there really are no limits as to what you can do. Formulate a plan with movements that work best for your own body, and hit it! Be creative, have fun, and try something that scares you because you'll never get more out of it then you put in.

Happy sweating.


  1. i'm going to bookmark this post!!! maybe it'll inspire me to get my butt in gear and back on track with a strength routine. ps. wasn't i just like yesterday that you said you were going to finally learn to crochet?? you sure turned around a scarf quick woman!!!! and couldn't have chose a better color lol

  2. Wow your scarf looks amazing! Congrats on the crocheting!

  3. Love the self portrait and that you finished crocheting successfully! You can learn anything on You Tube. Our refrigerator broke and we fixed it by watching how to do it on You Tube....AMAZING.

    Thanks for the training info! Have you ever done Bikram Yoga (hot yoga)? It is a killer workout both physically and mentally. I think you might like it.

    Get Up & Go

  4. I love the color of your scarf! It's so perfect for fall!

    And THANK YOU for posting about your strength training!!! I really struggle with strength training but this post will definitely help a lot!

  5. Beautiful scarf!!

    I like the tips for strength training. I'll definitely give them a try!

  6. Shoot! Left you a long comment and then X'ed out because I forgot about the comment moderation and lost it. BOO!!

    OK-I'm very impressed with the scarf. I once crocheted a blanket, only I mistakenly started it the size of a king size bed comforter. I SWORE that if I EVER finished it, I would never pick up a crochet hook again....True to my word:)

    LOVE the strength training breakdown. Great tips here!! I'm working out with my PT/friend right now and he is ANALLY organized and researched and I must say I'm enjoying having no idea what I'm doing next but trusting that he's got a plan for me! A bit of profanity, a lot of muscle confusion, and a WHOLE lotta sweat:) I was thinking on Friday that I should have just invested in the "Contour ab belt sculpting system" You know that thing off the infomercial you strap on that tones you up while you lay on the couch....This and the "Shake weight".....Ha ha!

    Anyway thanks for sharing! I found this very informative. In fact, I'm bookmarking it:)

  7. Cute scarf!

    Thank you for this!!!! I am officially in marathon training starting TOMORROW. And that means it's time to hit the weights. Perfect timing!

  8. grr...okay why did it just delete my whole comment??!!! I am too lazy to write again:(:( be back later.

  9. Wow, this makes me feel so lazy but yet motivated to get my Jillian Michaels on...not the same thing but manageable for me right now. :)

  10. I love the color you chose for your scarf! It looks beautiful!

    I love strength training with my trainer because it's dynamic and he switches things up. It's awesome you are able to do that all on your own! I am just too lazy! :P

  11. Thanks so much for the workout! I'm excited to get to the gym and try it out!

  12. Love love love the scarf!! It came out beautiful!

    Your circuit is quite intense. You will be superwoman by next year :) I'm interested to see how (a much lighter version of your strength training) impacts me in a few months for my race since I've never been consistent with it. Hope youre back to running pain free again. :)

  13. That scarf looks great! I love the color!!!! I love getting different exercise ideas so thanks so much for sharing!

  14. Your scarf is so pretty! Nice work! :)