Running to weights: Help me with my special snowflake workout program?
September 15, 2016 4:14 AM   Subscribe

I’m a longtime triathlete who’s been asked to stop doing bouncy, ballistic-type activities for awhile, and no exercise on my back. I can ride a little and I can swim a little, but I can’t run, which is my primary passion. I figure I should probably start weightlifting more anyway, since I’m over 40 and need to worry about losing muscle mass.

Right now, I do about 45 minutes of yoga, 15 minutes of a static core sequence and 15 minutes of weights.

My static core sequence is 1 min each of “full wheel” bridge, plank, side plank, bird dog and 20 hip lifts on each side.

For weights, I only have two dumbbell handles and a pair of 5-lb plates, 4x 10-lb plates and 4x 15 plates. I use the 10x2 (20-lb) dumbbell for curls and a two-handed tricep extension. I use the 5x2 (10-lb) dumbbell for shoulder press. And I stack three of the 15 lb plates for squats, basically deadlifting the stack without a bar. 3 sets of 10 each. (15 for the tricep extension).

For weightlifters out there, what else can I do with my weight set? I'd prefer not to buy more stuff or spend a lot of time changing weights.

I need to build muscle and burn calories, but I’m dying to get back to running as well. What can I do that will help build muscle but also help my run skills? My arms are already getting more mass than I need. If the run ban goes on for much longer, I would probably branch out my exercise to rock climbing than bodybuilding, so suggestions in that direction would be great.

An added complication is my injury prevents me from doing much on my back, so no presses. Only standing up straight or face down exercises. I haven’t been doing sit-ups or push-ups because that’s too much ballistic movement.

It’s an odd request, but maybe I’ll get some interesting answers. Thanks!
posted by Borborygmus to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you're interested in developing strength, buy a copy of Starting Strength and read through it. You can make great gains with squat, press, and deadlift. For right now, I'd suggest doing (standing vertical/"shoulder") press, 5 sets of 5 reps, add a little weight each session. If you keep doing curls I will come to your house and slap the weights out of your hands. (Okay, not really, but I'll give you a lecture on functional movement patterns and stuff. Curls aren't going to develop anything that will get you back to running.)

Keep swimming. Keep riding. Get in the pool and do pool running. I know it sucks, but it works. Try the elliptical: keeps your legs used to moving without the impact. Go hiking: works your legs and your energy delivery systems, and it's nice to be outside.

(I absolutely trashed myself during my first Ironman and took 6 months off from triathlon to lift, and I fell in love with lifting. I like tris more so I went back, but I still spend time under the bar whenever it makes sense for my training. Memail me if you want much more discussion.)
posted by disconnect at 6:12 AM on September 15, 2016

Your weight set is so small I struggle to figure out what to do with it. As a person that focuses on strength training, messing around with a big full body lift like a squat or deadlift and the small amount of weight you have seems kind of silly.
You could do weighted lunges, step ups and one legged deadlift because they are still pretty effective with the small amount of weight you have.
Another way to use those plates is to tie them on to yourself for weighted chin ups.
Not sure of what core work you do but you may be able to tie the plates to your legs if you do Pilates style leg holds for core work. That's a little out of the box but if you are really looking for reasons to use those plates you can try it.

You could also use them as a less-safe kettlebell and do swings and one armed snatches if your back will allow.

If you want to start rock climbing, those plates will come in handy when you start to work on grip strength.
If you load up those dumbbells and take them for a long long farmers carry you'll build more grip strength and overall strength.

But if you really want to build strength you don't have enough equipment. It doesn't take much but you need a lot more weight and at least a barbell.

Have fun!
posted by littlewater at 7:40 AM on September 15, 2016

I'm a little confused. You say you can't do any exercises on your back. Does that mean while lying on your back? Or you can't do back exercises? It sounds like you are are doing "back exercises" with the bird dog, bridge, plank, and squats. I used to have back pain. I largely fixed it though squats, deadlifts, and starting strength as mentioned above. Can you do full range of motion squats with your heels on the ground without falling backwards? If you can't, start doing assisted squats while keeping your heels on the ground and using your hands to assist you by holding onto a door frame/door handle. That's how I started squatting and I got from needing assistance to do full range of motion squatting to being able to squat with 200 pounds on my shoulders.

If you want fully bodyweight exercises check out the reddit bodyweightfitness community's recommended routine. For legs though, even they recommend using barbells and squatting and deadlifting.

Another interesting mostly bodyweight exercise plan I recently found (on /r/bodyweightfitness) is the Marine Special Operations workout. There's an app for that! though you can also just download the pdf.
posted by GregorWill at 6:44 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

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