Our specially designed Paleofit workouts are great ways to get a workout without the need for super fancy equipment. That being said, there may be a point at which you need to up your game. Today we talk about how to make that happen.
All the workouts that we program are effective and great in and of themselves. You will notice, however, that often in the “Harder” category, we have people grab ankle weights, dumbbells, or even children to make the workouts harder. In short, there really is no substitute for picking up heavy stuff. You should be doing it on a regular basis.
To reiterate, “heavy” is a relative term. What’s heavy for one person isn’t going to necessarily be the same for another. I have a client who doesn’t have grandkids yet, but her kids are old enough that she’s looking forward to having them, and she wants to be able to have fun with them without thinking that they’re heavy. She’s gonna make an awesome Grandma some day!
There are, of course, a few different ways that you can add organized weight to your workouts. We’ll talk about a few here.
The GOBLET SQUAT
We’ll be using a small medicine ball for our example, but you can use anything. Kettlebells & even kids are great for these!
Pick up the medicine ball, and hold it at the level of your collarbone, with elbows tucked underneath. Keeping the weight high calls on your back to be more active to support the weight. Tucking your elbows does two things. First, you’ll find there’s a sweet spot where your elbows, since they’re touching your ribcage, form a sort of racked position that should keep you from dropping the weight. Second, tucking your elbows tight keeps you from smashing your elbows into your knees when you get to the bottom of the squat. You know, since you squat so deep and all!
Remember to keep your chest nice and high, and don’t lean forward! Having the weight in front of you should actually help to keep your back more vertical, since it helps with counterbalance.
Honestly, kids can be great for this. Holding a 2 year-old in front of you while you squat not only adds some weight for your workout, while usually making the 2-year-old squeal a little in the process.
Lunges – HOLDING DUMBBELLS
Simply hold a dumbell, or any other weight, in each hand as you lunge. Watch out for excessive leaning forward, as the dumbbells can gain sometimes their own momentum!
Lunges – OVERHEAD
Lift your weight all the way overhead and with it held high, and NOT touching your head, perform your lunges. This is a GREAT way to ensure that your chest stays up and your don’t lean forward for the lunge. Any lean forward will quickly get magnified by holding the weight overhead! Also, you’ll find that you’ll be getting a quite good shoulder/arm workout as well! Double whammy!
We rarely program any presses, or shoulder to overhead movements, in your PaleoFit workouts, but you can change that with a set of dumbbells!
Pressing overhead is a simple way to get the shoulder and tricep engaged in a coordinated way, that builds you up for looking great this summer at the beach in your tank top! They can be used as a variation for push-ups.
Dumbbells are really great for this, but any weighted object that you feel you can comfortably control overhead with your hands will do. Starting at shoulder height, drive the weight overhead until you lock it in place with your elbow. Push your head forward so it feels a little like your doing a chicken thing with your head. When you finish, your ear should be in front of your arm. Pushing your head forward a little gives room for the shoulder, in addition to helping your balance.
Squeezing your abs, and especially your butt, provides a great support for the weight that you’re holding overhead. You should squeeze your butt especially if you feel overhead movements in your lower back.
We have some sort of push-up or chair dip quite often in the workouts. If you’ve been with us for a while, you’re hopefully feeling comfortable with them and will want to step up your game. A great way to do that is to add a little weight.
For dips, it’s quite easy to simply place a little weight on your lap, and go to town. Generally speaking, there isn’t a great risk of hyperextending the knees with this movement, however, if you are already super flexible, or are naturally hyperextended with your knees, be sensitive to how you’re feeling. You can always bed your knees slightly to take direct stress off the knees, as I have in the pic!
Ever have your kids try to climb on your back in the middle of a set of push-ups? Well, stop telling them to get off! There’s no more fun way to add weight to a push-up than to have a little one on your back! Having them sit lower towards your butt will make it easier for you, while having them closer to the shoulder will make it more challenging.
Also, kids are great coaches…they always want one more rep!
With these ways to add weight to our already sweet, sweaty workouts, you now have a few more tools in your arsenal of fitness. Head out and grab a set of dumbbells or load up an old backpack. Use these tools wisely, we want you to be the hottest thing on your block!