Help Me Put Exercise In My Exercise So I Can Workout While I Workout
October 20, 2013 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Thanks to following the advice from some previous AskMeFi threads, I have finally gotten back into a regular workout routine. I am still working to find a set of exercises I can alternate between that make the best use of the time I have and that I do not dread doing. I've found that I really appreciate exercises that work multiple parts of the body simultaneously (I think it keeps me from focusing on how unpleasant the strain on any one body part is), especially ones that work my core without having to do situps. For example, squats combined with overhead press. Googling hasn't been that fruitful. What are some other exercises or combination of exercises that I can use to maximize my workout? I do not have a gym membership, but I have a good set of free weights and resistance bands at my disposal.
posted by C'est la D.C. to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked at the Crossfit main page WOD (workout of the day)? Many of those exercises can be done without equipment.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:41 AM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

For instance, here is today's
SUNDAY 131020


Four rounds for time of:
22 Burpee pull-ups
185 pound Back squat, 22 reps
Run 200 meters with a 45 pound plate overhead

If you don't have a pull-up bar you could just do burpees or add in a push-up. You can find something heavy (sandbag?) for the squats and run, etc. I think there is somewhere in the crossfit site where people list adaptations they've made for when they don't have a piece of equipment.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:45 AM on October 20, 2013

It sounds like you're looking for two (or more?) compound exercises to superset, that is, alternate between without much rest. I find it's best to mentally place exercises into groups: upper body, lower body, push, pull. For instance:

- Dumbbell romanian deadlift, overhead press (lower body pull, upper body push)
- Dumbbell squat, chin-up (lower body push, upper body pull)
- Dumbbell snatches, push-ups (lower body pull, an upper body push)

As long as at least one of the upper/lower or push/pull axes are not identical, it makes for a good pairing. For instance, pull-ups and dips are a great pair desite both being upper body. However, putting two pushes or pulls together doesn't really work well. (Of course, if the exercise or weight isn't challenging, it's possible to mix them anyway. That's why air lunges and air squats go fine together.)

My first-string "grab bag" of good multi-joint exercises includes dips, pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, lunges, box jumps, sprints, power cleans, power snatches, Turkish get-ups (not suitable for speed workouts), burpees, and push-ups.
posted by daveliepmann at 9:17 AM on October 20, 2013

If you are having success with barbell movements, you might want to google "barbell complex". It's a quasi-cardio means of combining compound barbell movements into chains.

It sounds like you are interested in lifting, but I'm not sure what types of things you dread and why. Everyone has stuff they hate, lets see what yours is and work around it.
posted by butterstick at 9:50 AM on October 20, 2013

I can't do traditional lifts right now (stress fracture), so this might not be super helpful, but I do abs between sets when using dumbbells instead of resting. I've found that I really only need to be resting my arms briefly, and (supposedly) doing abs before you do stuff makes your core be maintained throughout your workout. It's not exactly a combination exercise, but it makes my workout go a lot faster and I feel like I'm doing more. (I don't get on the floor and do situps, but they are kinda sit ups just on the bench.)

Also, planks work just about everything if you do them correctly, but again they aren't traditional "lift X amount of weight."
posted by obviousresistance at 10:28 AM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Check out I get a daily email with a 12 - 20 minute workout. Handy for ideas to incorporate into my workout or to do at home when I don't get to the gym. Or to just read and think about what I could be doing that day but am not.
posted by ms_rasclark at 2:31 PM on October 20, 2013

You should go to youtube and search "hamster kia applause" and watch the first video that pops up. I'm serious that commercial is not only funny, but strangely enough it actually motivates you to work out. I never thought a car commercial would be the thing to do it for me, but it totally does.
posted by manderin at 5:51 PM on October 20, 2013

The Stronglifts program is quick, simple and uses only complex lifts and pulls. It's also free.
posted by way_out_west at 7:50 PM on October 20, 2013

Hmm... if you like thrusters (squat + overhead press), you'll probably love olympic lifting (cleans, cleans+jerk, snatch). They're extremely complex & technical movements, though, so you should probably get qualified training on them before mixing them in your workout---otherwise there's a REALLY high chance of injury.

Also, kettlebells.

But really, squats, deadlifts, those kind of big lifts work a lot. I'd say don't just do combination things like thrusters, because then your squat will always be limited by how much you can press, etc. Also, spotters are a must for heavy weights.

Finally, you might look into plyo/power kinds of movements---box jumps, and the like.
posted by paultopia at 8:51 PM on October 21, 2013

Seconding kettlebells, burpees, and plyometrics. You sound a lot like me: I like my workouts to be short, intense, and as efficient as possible. I actually dread the 30 minutes of cardio followed by 30 minutes of lifting that I used to do at the gym.

Have you looked into HIIT-type workouts? I wouldn't recommend them if you're not already fairly fit and able to complete the motions with proper form; however, they're great if you're trying to take your fitness to the next level without spending all your time in the gym. I'm a big fan of Zuzka Light's HIIT videos (I actually subscribe to her website, but she's got a ton of older videos free on youtube) and You Are Your Own Gym. I find that these workouts utilize compound motions like the ones you described.

Divebomber pushups, planks/side planks, and handstands (against the wall if you're new to them) all work your core much better than situps.
posted by therumsgone at 6:14 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

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