Q: I want to work out, but have no idea what to do, I’m between programs or haven’t decided what I really need to work on. The internet has filled my head with conflicting info and lists of 1,203 different exercises that I now feel compelled to work on RIGHT NOW! What to do?!?
A Short Answer: Do some kettlebell (or even just bodyweight) get-ups!! After a bad run-in with the “cold from hell” which some have theorized was “the flu” my first workout after recovering, was single get ups – beginning with 50 bodyweight get ups done throughout the day, then adding in a couple of reasonably light kettlebell get ups with pauses, and a few kettlebell “bottoms up” thrown in there for variety. The key to this is of course impeccable form, and taking the time to make sure each get-up done is given full attention… every time I do this sort of thing, I learn something.
Long Answer: Right now it’s very trendy to bash mult-tasking, but I don’t bash multi-tasking in all cases… if you can do it and do it well, then why not. Granted, the example below is more in the category of “very useful active rest” or “leveraging my time.” I inherited a “special” habit from my Dad… and that’s creating stacks of things, usually books, notes, lists, etc. I can remember as a kid carefully navigating the temporary obstacle course of books and papers which would appear in his home office if Dad was working on a particularly engrossing project. Guess what? I do it too, and will say, “Uh oh it’s gotten all ‘term-papery’ around here” So last night I wanted to work on very strict form dead hang pull ups, which is a great opportunity for a workout that involves tidying up (putting books back in their category, evaluating to-do lists and adding items to the project management software when necessary, and generally just putting things away).
The following is an example of how to leverage boring chores into active rest:
I set one of my interval timer apps to chime on the minute every minute for 100 minutes. On the minute, every minute, I would perform ONE very strict, chest or neck to the bar dead hang pull up, starting and ending with a motionless hang. Each rep was without any form of cheat like “legs raising up” towards the top of the pull etc. I also made sure to engage everything (abs, glutes, etc) on each rep as well. During the remainder of the minute I would complete, or partially complete a small “tidying” task… so after 100 minutes, I’ve done 100 very very good pull ups, everything is tidy, and my project management tasks have been updated and assigned for timed completion next week.
There’s also a self-timed “dishes” workout if you must know… involves a near-max set of something and then the washing/drying of 2-3 dish items, or folding 1-2 laundry items. Similarly a timer can also be set for 2 minutes or more… though if I am going for longer rest periods, I just let them happen as they do, and stick to whatever “# of sets” goal happens. For something extremely maximal (for me at the time) like progressions towards human flag, I’ll have a goal of 10 sets of 1/1 each side throughout the evening with however much rest I’ll need. Similar treatment is for heavy weighted pull ups, or anything you may currently find extremely challenging. This method will also cut down on potential frustration and annoyance.
Basically, the above examples are just specific implementations of the “GTG” concept of “grease the groove” which is essentially performing the exercise throughout the day, low reps, but impeccable form. The carryover of this kind of practice is just incredible. It’s also a little addictive 🙂