11 Best Exercises to get Toned Arms – umm…no

This article is supposed to show you on how to get strong and toned arms. The title says these are the 11 best exercises and then when you click it says 11 best that don’t require a gym.

The first exercise is a “roll the ball” push up which apparently is some sort of plyo push up. My guess is that the majority of the people reading this can’t even do a good push up, much less need anything more advanced. (This requires a medicine ball of sorts which can be found at…a gym!)

The second one is called “Pilates boxing”, but I think that is just a fancy term for shadow boxing. I like to think of this is “how to look silly in your living room”.

The third movement is some sort of body contorting move. Looks like it is fairly complicated and I am sure the two pictures do it justice. And I am sure some older lady will pull an oblique doing it. (Another photo where a weight is included – I thought a gym was not required?!)

Hip Heist Push Up – uhhh…what? Look! It’s Jillian Michael’s doing something unnecessarily complicated! Again, just do push ups and do them right. Or throw your back out trying to do this one.

Biceps and arm circles – another exercise that would be more beneficial with weights. If you have all of this at your house, great. If you do, I assume you don’t need this silly article.

Tricep swing, that as pictured, will actually work your lats, not your triceps. What happened to good old skull crushers? If you are going to add weight (in which this article indicated you wouldn’t) you might as well go a bit heavier…

Kickbacks. I can’t complain about these. Not only will you need weights, but you better find a beach.

Kettlebell plank of sorts. First, the article wants you to modify the side plank so you can add weight. Why not just do a side plank from your feet? If you have that mastered, then add weight.

The ninth exercise looks to be a complicated jumping lunge with a twist at the top. Again, looks to be something that should be progressed to so someone doesn’t throw out their back. Med ball needed.

Another ab exercise in an article to help your arms. Women can’t workout without working out their abs. This is what I am learning. Of course, I always like to say “you won’t find your abs in the gym. You’ll find them in the kitchen.”

More lunges – see the ninth exercise. And more curls – see the fifth exercise. But it’s different here. They promise.

So, what I learned:

Most of these movements require weights or some other item typically found in a gym….in an article describing how to get toned arms outside of the gym. Of course, these are in no way the best exercise for toned arms. The best involve lifting heavy loads, but girls don’t want to hear that, right? They hear “heavy” and they think they will immediately look like Arnold Schwarzenegger from the mid-80’s.

Did anyone else notice that very few of the girls ACTUALLY HAD TONED ARMS in those pictures?? Most were just plain skinny with little to no definition of any kind. Is that “toned”? I would say that it isn’t. Toned should have some muscle definition. I don’t think toned has to look like this (Miranda on the left – not saying she doesn’t look good, she looks great! Just an example). While that is definitely toned, toned should at least look like this.

THIS is NOT healthy and it is NOT toned.

I’m such a sucker for listicles….

Box Review: CrossFit Amplify

20150611_085524_resizedAs I posted yesterday, Chicago gave me the opportunity to visit two different CrossFit boxes. The second of those two boxes was CrossFit Amplify.

My initial thought as I walked into Amplify was how big it was. The second thing that caught my attention, but I don’t recall how it caught my attention (if someone told me or I read it somewhere) was that they had an athlete compete at the Central Regional and finish 12th! That is amazing. Making it to Regionals is amazing and finishing that high is tremendous. Something Amplify should promote the heck out of.

Tons of room - including a nice area covered in turf.

Tons of room – including a nice area covered in turf.

Anyway, the first thing that sticks out in my mind from Amplify is that the warmup was tough and that we did partner carries…someone had to carry me, sweat and all. Poor guy.

During the CrossFit class Amplify also had a boot camp class running at the exact same time. The space was big enough that the CrossFit class of about seven individuals didn’t run into the boot camp class that had at least 10 of their own. This was at 9:30am – the perfect time for a boot camp class full of stay-at-home moms.

The warmup was two minutes of rowing, then a variety of drills like high knees and butt kicks and ended with two rounds of eight lunges and six burpees.

The fun part to begin class were heavy sled drags. We paired up and each team had to pull the sled 30 times in 10 minutes. After the sled pulls we did six evil wheels every two minutes for a total of five rounds. Then the WOD was, with a partner: 60 burpee box jump overs (switch every 6 reps), 12 partner carries (about 100 feet) and 120 HRPU (switch every 10 reps). The pushups were surprisingly difficult after the evil wheels and burpees.

Once again, I was a soaking mess in the midwest.

20150611_085520_resizedEveryone was super nice, especially my partner for carrying me. Even after class a few folks from the boot camp class introduced themselves to me. The only downer was that I couldn’t get a t-shirt – they were out.

The space itself is amazing and if you live in the area I would highly recommend joining. I am guessing they have a ton of different class times and different class types. Would be a lot of fun.

Box Review: Endorphin

OK – so this isn’t a review of a CrossFit “box”, but I have a category that I use for reviews like this, so I am going with it.

This past weekend a friend of mine celebrated his 40th birthday by inviting folks to come workout with him at one of his favorite places to workout. Endorphin is a “cycle/row” facility. It is NOT CrossFit. Let me preface the rest of this blog entry by saying I LOVE CrossFit (if this site isn’t evidence enough). I haven’t done any sort of group, instructor led class other than CrossFit for at least two or two and a half years. Prior to that I did do some boot camp classes at 24 Hour Fitness. I love lifting heavy. I love Olympic lifting. I love CrossFit. With that being said, take that into consideration for my review of Endorphin.

Endorphin is selling sweat. Long, sweaty classes. I think they have three or five locations around the Denver metro area and the one I went to was on Broadway and Yale. The space wasn’t all that big. They had about 20 stationary bikes and 20 Concept 2 rowers and there wasn’t much room for anything else. The rowers were close enough that when we got off the rowers to do pushups there wasn’t enough room between the rowers for two people to do pushups, barely enough room for one person to do them. And the bikes were so tightly packed that while I was warming up on my bike I started to do some arm swings and could touch the bikes behind me. It was cramped. And it was full. Half of the class started on the bikes while the other half started on the rowers. About 40 people in a small space and when we swapped bikes/rowers it was a traffic jam.

When I was talking to my friend last week prior to the class he stated that there were some “beasts” that would be attending. He said this because I said I was hoping to compete in some form with folks in the class to see where my CrossFit training stacked up against a group like this. Before the class started I didn’t see any beasts. Lots of skinny people. Very little muscle definition in any of them. What you would expect to see in a class that stresses long aerobic activity with little to no resistance training.

The class was 15 minutes on the bike (think cycle classes) with a brief transition to the rowers for about 15 minutes – times 2. So the class was just over an hour and it was basically constant aerobic movement. Here are my observations: Continue reading

Turkey Challenge – my performance review

Last Friday I wrote my predictions and strategies for the MBS Turkey Challenge. This was my first two-day competition and it was a bunch of fun. And once again I completely and totally overestimated my abilities…

10min AMRAP:
30 Snatch (75)
30 Snatch (95)
30 Snatch (125)
Max reps Snatch (145)

Last week I figured I would get done with the 75# snatches in about 90 seconds, done with the round of 95# around the three minute mark and giving my best to 145# after about six minutes. I cannot emphasize this enough – I was wrong. So wrong. Like I suddenly thought I was Rich Froning or something. My goal was 125 total reps and I only got 81.

I am not exactly sure on my times, but I did go 15-15 on the 75# snatches. I did follow my strategy here as I stopped after 15 snatches even though I could have continued. The bar started empty and I had to take the 15# plates off to put on 25# plates so the transition took a bit longer, but I think I was starting my round of 30 snatches at 95# around the two minute mark. As I started in at 95# I got through nine reps and my grip was suddenly failing. It was hurting. I kept mixing in hook grip and I had to control the bar down to my waist before letting go. That little bit of extra effort cost me my grip a bit, too. I am not sure when I moved on to 125#, but when I did I knew it would be hard to get to 145#. I was gassed. I always forget to calculate in how much work I have already done leading up to sections of workouts when I look forward. At this point the 60 snatches prior to 125 made 125 feel a lot heavier. I pushed for the last few reps to get to 81 and when I was done I was happy with that score. Continue reading

MBS Turkey Challenge

Time to put my thoughts and strategy on paper for the Turkey Challenge at MBS this weekend. I typically do this and hysterically overestimate my abilities. Let’s do that. I want to look back at this on Monday and wonder what the hell I was thinking…

10min AMRAP:
30 Snatch (75)
30 Snatch (95)
30 Snatch (125)
Max reps Snatch (145)

I think I can do 15 snatches unbroken at 75# really easily. I also think I can do all 15 in less than 30 seconds. I am going to attempt to do 15 in about 20 seconds, rest and then do the final 15 in about 1 minute. If I allow myself 30 seconds to transition weights (should be plenty of time) I will be on to the round of 95# after 90 seconds. At 95# I will drop back to 10 reps every 30 seconds, which means I will be transitioning to 125 at about the 3 minute mark. Add 30 seconds for transition and I am on 125# at 3:30. I will be a bit winded by now so I will shoot for 5 reps every 20 seconds at 125#. If I keep that pace I will be done with 125# at about the 5:30 mark, add 30 seconds for transition to 145# and I have 4 minutes to get as many reps as possible at 145.

At 145# with 4 minutes I should be able to get at least 30 reps. So my goal will be 125 reps.

Obstacle course Continue reading