November 17, 2009

This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You, or: Attila's three most torturous moves

I don't call her Attila for nothing.

Three times a week (give or take), this pleasant, charming, fit young woman invades my house with a variety of weird things packed into a rolling scuba bag and proceeds to make me do exercises that are almost always guaranteed to make me cry.

Herein, the best of the bunch. You can do them with fitness balls and barbells if you have such things, or with a cat and some soup cans (if your cat is patient), or with nothing at all. Ready?

(Disclaimer: be sure to check with your inner Slacker before attempting any of the following exercises. Those with back, hip, lung, bicep, head, or fourth-toe problems should see a doctor before beginning this program. Offer subject to local and state taxes and licensing. Do not use while bathing. Never point at your own or another person's face.)

Exercise One: The Frog-Hop

Grab a ball. The ball we use is a seven-pound, sand-filled thing, but I suppose you could use any old ball (except maybe one of those super-bounce ones). Or you could use a shoe. Or your purse. Just make it something that you can toss that'll stay (mostly) where it lands.

Start at one end of the room. Assume the squat position.

Toss the ball forward a foot and a half or so. Easy, right?

Now hop, without coming out of the squat, so that your feet are just ahead of the ball. Reach back through your legs (don't break that squat!) and grab the ball/purse/shoe/patient cat you've just tossed. Toss it ahead of you again.

Hop forward. Grab ball. Toss. Hop. Grab. Toss. Hop. Grab.

About four reps into this, your butt will begin to burn. It will continue to burn for a couple days afterward as well. We (who's this "we"? I mean *I*) do six laps up and down the room with about eight hops per length.

Exercise Two: Ball *#$&* Passes

For this, Attila brings out my big fitness ball. I hate that thing.

Lie down on your back on a relatively padded surface. (We use a foam step, but you could double up a towel.) Place the Hated Fitness Ball between your ankles. Kinda big, ain't it?

Stretch your hands above your head.

Now bring your body up into a V-shape and pass the ball from your ankles to your hands. Make another V-shape and pass it back to your ankles. Repeat. Nineteen more times.

For this one, I do three sets of twenty, though by about the ninth rep on any given set, it looks more like I'm imitating a dying frog than a graceful Pilates babe.

Exercise Three: Combo Curl Thingies

Grab a pair of barbells or a couple of soup cans. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Curl your weights up, just like you're doing a regular barbell curl.

Now press straight up into a shoulder press.

Lather and rinse nineteen more times. Do three sets. Realize, about fifteen reps into your first set, that although this seems like a simple, easy exercise, it in fact shreds your shoulder muscles more efficiently than almost any other move.

For extra added frustration and whining, combine this move with a simple squat. Curl up as you squat down, then stand up as you do the shoulder press.

If you want to get *really* fancy, you can do it on one foot, or while standing on a balance board, or while surfing. I have tried none of those things, but they seem kinda cool-sounding in my uncaffeinated state.

Putting this all into context: it's rare that Attila makes me attempt all three of these moves in one session. Normally I do a heavy leg workout one day a week, and the rest of the week is combined core and upper body. Frog-hops fall into the "heavy leg workout" routine, and I might do either one or both of the other two on any core/uppers day.

Have fun with those, if you end up trying them. And pray Attila doesn't read this blog. She'd probably make up new stuff to punish me for giving away her secrets.


  1. Oh my gosh we do the ball pass thing at my gym as well...I too hate it.

  2. Quite funny! I'm still traumatized by the endless frog jumps we did in both gymnastics and cheerleading. Every once in a while, I get the bright idea to try them again and have yet to figure out how I used to tolerate so many. (Oh, hey, busted knees!)

  3. I'm looking for "fun" exercises I could do at home. I'm going to try those (in smaller doses). I think my kids will have fun with at least the frog jumps.

    Thanks for sharing the pain.

  4. I've done the last two. Those frog jumps sound painful; some how I picture myself tripping over my own feet and landing in a heap on the floor.

    And no way either one of my cats would put up with that nonsense. :)

  5. Those sound like fun...ish actually. I'm sure when I can't move afterwards I'll curse you with every inch of my being, but I think I'll try them in my workouts next week.
    The froggy bit scares me a bit though...
    I find the shigh exercises I do for training up muscles to (eventually) do backbends in bellydance to be painful enough the next day. These sound like more pain...but in a good way.

  6. I'm totally stealing, I mean borrowing the Combo Curl Thingies one. I love shedding my shoulders ha ha ha.

    Love the humor you throw into your posts. Nice touch.

  7. Ack!

    Forty-f#cking-eight Frog Jumps??!!

    I checked with my Inner Slacker and she said: what, are you nuts?

    (But thanks for the tips! I may try that V-pass ones as my abs have not been sufficiently tortured in a couple days).

  8. Those frog-squats are KILLAH, but Attila is being soft on you with the military press.

    Guido (and now I) made me do them while stepping up onto a step or platform, and balancing on one foot.

    Cannot do the V-crunches as it hurts my back. Things click that shouldn't.

  9. That picture is the perfect example: Exercise FAIL!

  10. I'd have checked out at "assume the squat position"....unless, of course, it was tastefully done.

    Attila indeed!

  11. Those combo curl thingies are KILLER - and yet they look so deceptively easy when my trainer demonstrates them for me. The frog jump thing makes my quads ache just reading about it!

    I love reading about Attila - more, please!

  12. OMG is that pic for real??!! crazy!

  13. Love the moves! The first one is new to me! I am gonna have to try that! Is the hop just like a squat form. Trying to figure that part out from your post! Those others, oh yes, know about those! Great stuff!

  14. The MidLifeMama's knees say there will be no frog jumps. But those combo curl things sound dandy.

  15. These sound like fun. I want my own Attila.


  16. The Squat-Curl-Shoulder Press is a great exercise. Make sure you keep your core tight while performing this exercise, you will feel it. Very nice with the three different suggestions.

  17. You know, Jo...My exercise ball and I were not on good terms to begin with, but since those V-Crunch thingies I've found our relationship has almost completely deflated.

    Thanks for the ouch.

  18. The frog hops sound interesting. Except for the hop part. Somehow, I sort of imagine landing and busting through the floor boards.

    OK, this is me. No hopping here. Not even skipping. I picked up a jump rope at the gym the other day and I found out that I can not even do ONE jump/skip kind of thingie. I just tangle in it.

    I might try the combo curl thing... carefully.


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