For the same reason that home exercise equipment doesn't work for a lot of folks, training at my own personal training studios doesn't work too well for me personally.
Oh, there's plenty of equipment to keep me interested, and with which I can get a great workout, but there are simply too many distractions about.
I really, really do need to get out of my 'work' environment to get an effective 'workout.'
In doing so, I encounter many of the same challenges a lot of you do when working out at large public facilities. Whether it's morning, noon, or night, it seems I'm always bumping into equipment contention.
So, as they say, let's make lemonade out of these lemons!
And the way we're going to do it is by using one of the oldest pieces of exercise equipment known to mankind ... the medicine ball. In fact, did you know that medicine (med) balls have been used in physical therapy since 1000 BC?! Sizes and shapes vary from 1 Kg to 11KG, but all medicine balls will be soft enough to bounce on a firm surface (like a wall or floor). Indeed, it's ability to absorb impact is what makes a ball a medicine ball.
What's even better is that while you'll frequently find the benches, the bars, and the pin select equipment in use at the club this time of the year, you will ALWAYS be able to find an unused med ball and a few square feet of open space.
What's more, most of the exercises you do with a med ball arecompound exercises that incorporate a LOT of major muscle groups and burn tons of calories!
A couple of tips before you get started:
Keep to the edges and the corners of the gym floor to avoid widely flung bars and cables;
Always start with the lightest weight ball available when learning a new med ball exercise;
Gradually use (over weeks and months) heavier and heavier balls as you develop competence and strength.
CHECK WITH YOUR TRAINER FIRST if you have injury or ailments, or are new to exercise in general
Here then, are a few simple med ball exercises. Use one or two of them to supplement your workout, or use all of them for a complete workout!
Walking diagonal lunges with a gentle hand to hand shot-put-like overhead toss (works the glutes, deltoids, and improves balance). Hold a med ball in one hand close to your ear as a shot putter would. Step forward into your lunge keeping the ball near your ear. Then, as you step up out of the lunge to a standing position push the med ball overhead with one hand like a shot putter might. Keep control of the ball as push it over hand over head to your other hand. Lower the ball to shoulder height near your other. Lunge with the other leg and again, pass overhead to the other hand as you recover. Pause between steps and keep your head up!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jr_1U660zc&fs=1&hl=en_US] Explosive seated overhead throw and catch against a flat wall(trains your lats and core). While sitting upright, and like an overhead two handed basketball pass, throw the ball into a wall and catch it on the rebound. NOTE: You might need to wander into a lesser used area of the facility ... perhaps even the basketball court or an unused racquetball court to find a non-mirrored wall and space enough to make this safe to other gym rats. You do not want to hit another gym member with a med ball! And you should not throw med balls against a mirror!
Sit-up and overhead throw to partner/trainer (abs, lats). Like the overhead throw, but this time start with the ball overhead as you lay flat on your back on the ground about 3 feet from your partner. Perform a situp with the ball overhead (a strong back is required!) and complete the exercise with an overhead throw to your trainer. While recovering from seated upright position back to lying prone, have your partner toss you the ball back. You can catch it anywhere, but is most effective if your partner throws to and you catch it over head. Repeat until fatigued.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bRZIwmzkb0&fs=1&hl=en_US] Explosive squat position basketball chest pass against a wall (gluts,delts, triceps). Begin facing a wall about 5 feet from it. Perform a basic squat with the ball grasped at chest height. As you recover from the squat position (and are raising up to a standing position) forcefully chest pass the med ball to the wall. Be sure your arms are fully extended when you release the ball. Catch and repeat until fatigued.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QfOu30TRhA&fs=1&hl=en_US] Russian Twist on the floor. An exercise specifically for yourabdominals, balance on your butt with feet and torso lifted off the floor to form a 'V' with your body. Suspend the med ball with two hands above your abdominals. Twist at the waist to your right while balancing on your butt to rotate the ball to above your right hip. Then twist in the other direction to move the ball in a twisting motion (abs, obliques) to atop of your left hip ... all the while keeping the ball suspended off of your body. Repeat until fatigued.
If you liked those, tune in next week for a few more advanced exercises and ... with some luck ... videos to go with them!
Or, if you're looking for the perfect gift of health this holiday season, ask me about our "Trainer in a Bag" equipment and training package!