Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Work it Out Wednesday - Tabata Legs

This is something I've never really done before. I mean, I've talked about my workouts here and there, listed out the weight workout and miles run. But I've never really dedicated an entire post to a specific workout and the reasoning behind that workout. I thought I might start doing a Work it Out Wednesday when I come up with a new workout for myself.

I am NOT a certified personal trainer or group instructor. I read a lot, I've done endless hours of DVD workouts, I gather inspiration, and I try to learn from all of it. I don't put together workouts for others, just for myself. But I thought I might share this one and my reasons for it.

Right now my only cardio option is really being allowed to run. I'm not supposed to be doing weights because heavy lifting causes micro tears that, if were too bad and in or near a joint, could bleed out, causing permanent joint damage due to the Xarelto.

I've been trying to come up with workouts that I could do that would still engage muscles though. I don't want to be a cardio queen and lose all of my muscle mass. I've worked way too hard for that over the years.

I used to really love doing HIIT workouts, especially plyo for the legs. Yes, it's cardio, but it does engage your muscles in a unique way. (lots of paraphrasing here) According to the research I've read, plyo exercises can help increase both speed and power, which leads to muscular strength gains as you have to engage those muscle in order to acquire the speed, power, endurance.

Essentially plyo exercises require the muscles to rapidly stretch and shorten and this helps increase power, which can also help decrease the the force of impact on joints (I need that) as your muscles strengthen.

No, it's not quite the same as weight lifting and building up mass, but it'll have to do for now. And perhaps the plyo exercises can help my running as well.

I have a few Cathe DVDs for HIIT workouts. Some use the step, others just the floor. I don't really feel comfortable using the step right now for fear of fall on my face. I figured, exercises that I could do and control the depth of movement or intensity (lowering the impact) would be ideal, especially since I get fatigued and winded quickly.

This workout was inspired by this HIIT Your Legs Workout by SkinnyMs. I definitely need to be hitting my legs big time right about now! The original workout called for 5 moves done for 20 seconds each for a 5 minute workout.

I thought I would turn it into a tabata style workout (8 moves done for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest). Tabata is tough, but it goes by quickly. You don't have a lot of time to think about the torture you're inflicting upon yourself.


Video Examples:
4 Squat Flip
Reverse Lunge with a Front Kick
Squat Jacks
Burpees (with our without pushups)
Forward Backwards Bounds 
Squat jumps 

I plan on changing this up and doing Alternating Split Jumps in lieu of the lunge with front kicks and adding in Up Down Planks after the Squat Jumps as a variation.

I like the alternating lunges and the forward backwards bounds moves for stability. Burpees are a great all around move that really rev up the heart rate too. I might be the only person on earth who likes burpees.

Another great thing about this workout is that you don't need any weights to get a good burn in the legs and rear. If you wanted, however, you could easily add in light weights for the lunges with kicks or the squat flips.

Do you like putting together your own workouts? Where do you find inspiration?