Ok, not the most creative workout title, but we’ll talk about arms and abs in a second. First I need to tell you about my injury because that’s just what runners talk about when they find themselves in the predicament I’m in.
On Tuesday I may have been a liiiiiittle too ambitious with my treadmill sprints.
(Don’t worry, it’s not plantar fasciitis – thank goodness.)
For the past couple of months I’ve been loving the satisfying feeling of finishing short but very intense HIIT sprint sessions like this one a couple of times per week. I’ve watched myself get faster and fitter, and the productivity nerd in me adores the time efficiency aspect. Tuesday didn’t start off any differently than any other day, and physically, I felt the same as I usually do as I walked into the gym. But a few intervals into my run, things started to feel a little strange.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I did whatever it was that’s caused me to walk with a slight limp for the last couple of days, and it was in the middle of a walking interval, not a sprint, that I noticed it. At the time I thought I might have managed to pull a groin muscle. (Side note: Why is groin such a funny, awkward and gross sounding word? Grrrroiiiiiiiiin.) So, in my endorphin-high state of bliss disrupted by moderate soreness (not the good kind), I made what felt like the smart athlete choice to stop running and finish my sprints in a lower-impact way: on the bike.
In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the most intelligent decision either. After foam rolling I walked out of the gym and over to my car. As I did, I noticed that my entire left leg was way more sore than pre-bike, especially around my knee. That day turned into a work from home day punctuated by regular application of homeopathic pain cream and a large amount of Saje Pain Release. Further self-examination in the form of poking and prodding almost every inch of my leg later that day confirmed that thankfully, there’s nothing sore about my knee – it was just pain that radiates downward from that lovely groin muscle (there’s that word again) when I walk.
Needless to say, the rest of this week has been made up of very low impact workouts and rest rather than more HIIT intervals and plyo circuits. Although frustrating and annoying, sometimes injuries pose a unique challenge because they force us to get creative and mix things up. That’s how today’s workout was born.
Work It Out
Every so often, the mood strikes me to completely blitz my arms from all angles. This countdown-style circuit is pretty much guaranteed to leave your arms feeling like Jell-O, but also hits the core nicely too. All you need is a mat and a pair of dumbells, but for an extra challenge you might want to have a couple of sets to switch over to depending on the move (and your level of ambition!)
The Abs ‘n Arms Combo Workout
Start by doing 15 reps of each move below, one immediately after the next. Take 30-60s rest at the end, then cycle through again doing 15 reps of each, then 13, 12, etc all the way down to 1. Once you’ve done 1 of each move, get into low plank and hold the position with your best form for as long as you can to finish. Exercise descriptions are below.
Traveling push-ups – Regular push-ups, only with each rep, you’ll move a couple inches to the right or left (depending on how much space you have.)
Weighted jacknife – Lie on your back with arms extended above your head, holding a single dumbell. Keeping them straight, raise your arms and legs off the ground to meet above your torso. Lower back down and repeat.
Renegade rows – Get into high plank with hands supported on dumbell handles. Keeping hips square to the ground, alternate rowing the dumbells to your rib cage, then back to the ground.
Squat to curl and press – Hold a dumbell in each hand and lower into a squat. As you stand, curl the dumbells to your shoulders, then press them overhead. Lower the dumbells back to your sides. That’s 1 rep. (Give heavier weights a try for this one!)
Balancing triceps extension – Stand on one foot with hands holding dumbells, pointing straight up to the ceiling. Perform overhead triceps extensions, keeping your core engaged to stay balanced. (Do the set of 15 reps balancing on your right foot, then do the 14 reps on your left, alternating every round.)
Rotating high plank with oblique crunch – Get into high plank, then rotate to face your right, lifting your right hand up to the ceiling so that your body forms a sideways T shape. Crunch your right elbow to right knee, return to the T shape, then return to high plank. That’s 1 rep. Repeat on the other side.
Mountain climbers (8) + push-up – Do 8 mountain climbers, then 1 push-up. That’s 1 rep.
Lying leg raises with hip lift – Lie on your back with hands under your hips. Raise your feet up to the ceiling, keeping legs straight and lifting your hips an inch or two off the ground at the top of the move. Slowly lower and repeat.
Turn It Up
Last week I gave you a little Betty Who to listen to, and because I’m obsessed with her music these days, I’m gonna give you another song from her album Take Me When You Go. This one’s called All Of You, and there’s a good chance you’ve probably heard it on the radio. There are lots of remixes floating around on Youtube and Spotify, but the original is pretty great as well. And for the record, I’m not suggesting it’s a good idea to rob gas stations as they do in the video – I just really like the song. 😉
Have A Read
- Workouts top trainers do when they only have 15 minutes – via Greatist
- 5 ways to stay lean and strong without spending hours in the gym – via Mind Body Green
- 5 ways for beginner triathletes to get faster – via Training Peaks
Over to you! Before you go, tell me…
- Do you have any fun plans for the long weekend?
- To my fellow runners: If/when you get lower body injuries, what kinds of workouts do you switch to while recovering? Or, do you rest entirely?