You have got to be freakin' kidding me.
This week's edition of Things I Wish I Hadn't Done comes courtesy of static poses and itty-bitty muscle work. It's sponsored by the letters O and U and C and H, and co-sponsored by my very sore obliques and shoulder muscles.
Have you ever thought, as you're swinging weights around dangerously close to your head, the ceiling fan, and other people, that your muscles just aren't getting enough of itsy-teeny movements and static strength-building?
Well, neither have I. Unfortunately for all of us, Attila thinks about these things, and once in a while she brings in a set or three of exercises that make me fully aware of how taxing little movements or just staying still can be. Wanna hear about it? Great! Grab some cheezy puffs and read on, being thankful all the time that You Are Not Me.
Torturous Move The First: What the Hell are Rhomboids, anyhow?
Rhomboids are those muscles that run from your spine to your shoulder blade on either side of your back. I'm sure they're important for something, but I can't remember what at the moment. If you want to make yours sore, do this:
Grab one of those big rubber bands that trainers use. Hold it behind your back at butt-level and pull outwards with both arms more-or-less straight. Repeat. Endlessly.
This is one of those moves that seems easy-peasy at first but gets progressively harder. About halfway through the second set, I begin to whine. Midway through the third set, I add grousing to my whining. If I'm made to do a fourth set, the intensity and volume of my whining reaches a point that I am doing aerobic exercise along with my WTHRhomboids Reps.
Torturous Move The Second: Remember Yoga Class?
The Plank: Beloved of yoga instructors and trainers, reviled by those actually made to stay in that position for more than a few seconds at a stretch. This one works your shoulders, chest, and core.
Assume the pushup position with your elbows bent, your chest a few inches off the floor, and your hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
Now stay there. For forty-five seconds to a minute. Sweat and shake and puff and blow beginning about fifteen seconds in.
Because I'm working on looking less anatomically impossible (in other words, I can almost see my neck again, rising out of my shoulder muscles) and because I have a bum shoulder, Attila lets me do these with my forearms on the floor. It really makes no difference to me; planks suck rocks no matter how you do them.
For extra added fun, make sure you have a cat who wants to sleep in the small of your back, or a dog who wants to lick your face as you're doing this one!
And Finally, The Side Plank!
This is great for your obliques, your thighs, your core, and your sense of persecution.
Lie on your side with your hip/waist/chest up off the floor, your weight supported by the side of your foot and your arm, and raise the arm that's not supporting your weight straight up in the air. Or, alternatively, you can let it lie on your side. Or you can grab hopelessly at thin air as your trainer hops around, just out of your reach, and giggles. Hold this position for about a million years, then switch to the other side.
See? Easy. Until the next morning, when you have to get out of bed. I'll be honest, and without hyperbole for just a second: of all the sessions I dread, I dread Itty-Bitty Muscle sessions the most. They're the most useful for me, as I have to be extremely functional in terms of core strength, balance, and stability, but they're also the most grueling. I'd rather duck-walk for a half mile or do good-mornings all darn day than have one session of planks and band work.
But hey, everybody's different. You go 'head and plank all you want; I'll just be sitting here in the corner in my red-hot iron shoes.