Missing the fitness room

Losing access to the fitness room is particularly annoying to me because I’ve just recently—starting about seven weeks ago—gotten my act together about lifting.

Like everyplace else, Winfield Village has closed down all the “non-essential” places people might congregate, including our fitness room.

“Notice: Closed until further notice”

Losing access to the fitness room is particularly annoying to me because I’ve just recently—starting about seven weeks ago—gotten my act together about lifting, and been getting to the fitness room at least three times a week.

Determined not to lose this momentum, I’m trying to cobble together an adequate workout routine that I can do with just equipment I own.

Great collection of dumbbells, no longer accessible because they’re in the fitness room

I had already been including quite a bit of bodyweight exercise, but since the dumbbells were right there, I’d often use them (for dumbbell rows and for goblet squats, in particular). I also used the 45 lb kettlebell in the fitness room all the time for my HIIT workouts.

The other thing that I’m really missing is the pull-up bar. To replace that, I’ve ordered a pair of gymnastic rings that should arrive Tuesday.

About all I’ve got that I own to replace the dumbbells and the kettlebell is a 15 lb kettlebell that I purchased so Jackie could join me in my workouts if she wanted.

My 15 lb kettlebell with its big brother

With the kettlebell (even in advance of the arrival of the rings) after about a week of social distancing, I’ve started to put together a routine that feels like I’m getting in a good workout.

For the core of the routine I’m doing hindu squats, hindu pushups, and goblet squats with the kettlebell. I’ve heard claims that just hindu squats and hindup pushups combine to form a pretty good, almost full-body workout. I’m adding in the goblet squats because the hindu squats seemed very focused on the anterior part of the legs, and I don’t want to lose the gains I’ve been making on the posterior parts.

My opportunities for “pulling” exercises are kind of limited until I get my gymnastic rings. I’m making do with the kettlebell to replace the dumbbells for rows. At 15 lbs, the kettlebell is kind of light for that, but on a temporary basis I can just do more of them. (The same logic applies to the hindu squats and the goblet squats: What I’m not getting in intensity I can largely replace with quantity.)

Once the rings get here I should be able to do hangs and inverted rows, and attempt to do pullups. That’ll cover my “pulling” exercises very well. I’ll also be able to attempt to do dips, which is another exercise that I haven’t found a good equipment-free bodyweight solution for.

One other piece of exercise equipment I have is a jump rope. I got it five years ago, after reading about how jumping rope is great training for running because it develops the springiness in your ankles and calves.

I haven’t made much use of my jump rope though. One year back in junior high or high school the phys ed class did one of its very few units that wasn’t focused around some team sport, and jumping rope was one included activity. I very much enjoyed the non-team aspect of it, put in the practice, and got quite good at jumping rope. Sadly, it turns out that you can’t let something like that go for 45 years and expect to just pick it back up again.

However, I figure this is a perfect circumstance for regaining my ability to jump rope. The weather is kinda crappy for running, but not so terrible that I can’t go outside at all. Yesterday I spent six minutes jumping rope, which was about as long as I wanted to spend outdoors in the cold, but also a good amount of practice for recovering the skill. I figure if I do the same every other day, by the time we start getting some nice weather I’ll be as good at jumping rope as I ever was.

I’ll use the jump rope for a HIIT workout. My HIIT workouts with the 45 lb kettlebell are off the table, and with just the 15 lb kettlebell I won’t be able to achieve the level of intensity I’m used to for my two-handed kettlebell swings. Besides the jump rope, I’m thinking I’ll do one-handed kettlebell swings with the 15 lb kettlebell. Less intensity, but the asymmetrical nature of the exercise will add a nice core workout aspect to the whole thing.

It’s come together pretty well, except that I’m not quite there with the hindu pushups yet. I need to develop both my strength and my flexibility, if I’m going to make those a key part of my workout routine. I’m close though. We’ll see.

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5 thoughts on “Missing the fitness room”

  1. Rows under counters/tables might be useful before your rings arrive:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYUxXMGVuuU

    Once you have the rings, for the dips, if you haven’t done them on rings before, be careful with your shoulders.
    You can offload weight using your legs and it can also be helpful to strengthen your ring support (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kONbxg4kzkE)

    I’ve experimented with bodyweight pretty extensively and might be able to help with other gaps in your routine. Hope this is helpful.

  2. Thanks!

    I’ve been doing bench dips up to now (in the fitness room), combined with an occasional mostly static hold with ordinary dip handles, so I’m sure the rings will be a huge stability challenge, and I’m sure keeping my feet on the ground and then taking the weight on the rings gradually will be the way to go.

    Still, I’m really looking forward to it—being able to put the rings and my jump rope in my backpack, and go anywhere and get in an awesome workout.

  3. Do you know about MovNat’s MAPS? It’s a free email they send out a couple of times per week with MovNat-style workouts. Many of them do not require any equipment, although somewhere to hang is critical (rings incoming!). You can sign up on their website (under Get Started). Anyway…I started reading your blog after finding you in a search for something about Katy Bowman. I can’t remember if you’ve ever talked about MovNat, but I find them to be a nice way to get in a workout after doing my Katy Bowman correctives.

  4. I’m a huge MovNat fan! I’m not sure I’m subscribed to that email list, although I do get some regular MovNat email.

    As far as I know, there’s no MovNat certified trainer in east-central Illinois, and I haven’t yet gotten it together to go farther afield (there are some near Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, but those places are all hours away for me), but I still try to make natural movement the center of my practice.

    (There is a Restorative Exercise Specialist in town, so that’s been great for getting a handle on the correctives.)

    Thanks for your comment!

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