Saturday, December 26, 2009

Making progress with the old man

My dad was never a big fan of my avid interest in physical fitness and physical activities. His attempts to turn me into a nerdy bookworm were only half successful. I did turn out to become a nerd, but he fortunately never succeeded in making me forgo all physical activity to study more. In fact, his constant badgering about me not studying enough probably caused me to rebel and become even more interested in physical fitness. But last night, he didn't poo-poo my fitness expertise like he usually does. Finally, after decades of criticizing me for wasting my time training too much, he finally listened to my advice about exercising.

What happened? Well, my dad retired. You have a lot of free time to fill when you go from college professor to retiree. He took up repairing the house, and like everything else he tackles, he took it up with single-minded vigor. But he neglected to consider that he doesn't have the body of a 20 year old any more, and years of professing while not exercising had taken quite a toll on his physical conditioning. He gave himself tendonitis from gripping and using his tools for too long without sufficient rest.

Then he starts exercising, doing mostly pushups and modified squats. That would be ok, except my dad ignored my advice on correcting his pushup form. He managed to overdo the pushups and strained his shoulder. I suspect (from my attempt to play PT) that he wasn't using his upper back and lats enough to stabilize his shoulders, so he overused his rotator cuff muscles to compensate (guessing he strained his supraspinatus? gotta ask my PT friends to be sure).

After two bouts with injuries, he finally listened to me as I instructed him to do band pull aparts and scapular wall slides to restore proper shoulder mobility and muscle activation patterns. I may try getting him to do a scapula push up and some lat pull down variation, but I don't want to push my luck quite yet. From past experience, my dad doesn't always take too well to having to listen to his son instead of barking out the orders. But I'm pleased I've made this much progress with him. Maybe in another few years, I'll also be able to correct his hip movement dysfunctions.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009/12/16: Back on the rings, medicine ball core work

Hopped back on the rings yesterday afternoon after a few weeks off. It's been a little cold, so hanging the rings outside hasn't been happening. At some point, my Floridian senses take over and tell me that freezing temperatures and stiff winds are not good for an outdoor rings workout.


  • wide supports: 3 x 15s

  • iso hold false grip pull ups: 2 rounds

  • archer dips: 2 x 4-6 reps







We also attracted some unwanted attention in the gym for this workout. Hanging the rings seems to always bring people over. Sometimes you meet interesting folks who are curious, and sometimes you run into the people that don't like you doing things that they're not used to seeing. Today was the latter. Fortunately, we weren't being unruly and I can't be kicked out of the campus gym for merely working out. Whew! Saved by the campus ID.

After the main rings workout, we did some core work on the medicine balls. I planned on doing Swiss ball step offs, but we ended up playing around with different medicine ball variations. That ended up being more fun than the step offs.



Monday, December 14, 2009

Freak warm December day = Outdoor Leg Workout

It had been unseasonable warm through November here in PA, then it turned cold. But we still had one last warm-ish day in December. We broke out the weight vests and took advantage of the cinder blocks and tires outside for an outdoor leg workout:


  • Lunges:

    • 20 x bodyweight

    • 20 x 20lb vest

    • 20 x vest+cinder block

    • 20 x vest+2 cinder blocks



  • Side lunges: 2 x 20 x vest

  • Tire Pushes: 2 rounds pushing 40 yds (or failure)





Our legs were pretty wobbly after the tire pushes. I don't know why I thought tire pushes as a finisher was a good idea. I had trouble walking for the next 20 minutes. Next time, I'll also keep in mind not to do this exercise after a rain. Slipping while pushing really sucks. You lose pushing power and the tire can come to a grinding halt. Then you have to expend extra effort to start the tire moving again.

I've been enjoying the outdoor workouts I've been doing from the summer and fall. Of course, it's getting quite a bit colder now, so we're moving indoors for our workouts soon. I'm already scheming on what fun exercises can be done inside.