Wednesday, April 02, 2008
To begin with, me and my legs have a strange relationship. They are capable of taking me on runs of any length no matter what level my training may indicate I'm capable of. I came off of recovery from asthmatic bronchitis and did a 10k with no training with a 9min/mi pace. Granted, I was sore for the next two days, but I did it. However, anything else and it's up in the air if I can or should do it. My kneecaps shifted outwards when I was in middle school and I still haven't straightened and strengthened them, although I'm working on it. The worst part is that I can't tell when they are reaching their failure point until after it's passed. In the words of ET: ouch. (Not immediate pain, but I have chronic tendonitis in my knees now...constant throbbing when I pass the failure point.)
So basically, my legs seem capable of doing a lot but definitely need a lot of work. Well, this is one of the reasons I have a trainer: to strengthen my legs and knees without killing my knees. I see my trainer twice a week, and generally one day is straight up Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) while the other is legs. This morning happened to be legs, and boy did he kill mine! So the following is the workout (in part) he ran me through. If you're comfortable with my instructions, feel free to try them. Just DON'T hurt yourself! Please! If you don't think you can do them, then don't. After all, I did all of these under the supervision of my trainer. (Instructions abbreviated to save some space, but it'll still be long. SparkMail me for clarification if you're interested.)
- Jumping rope: 5 minutes constant. Usually it's 10min with trick jumps for agility and coordination, but I just needed it to warm up today. And I hit my shins with the rope a lot when I mess up the trick jumps...
- Weird leg exercise I don't know the name for: from standing, reach down and put the tips of your fingers under your toes. It's okay if you have to bend your knees to do this, I did. Now raise up onto the balls of your feet without squishing your fingers so your heels are off the ground. This should hit your calf muscle a bit. Now drop your butt towards the ground without altering the rest of your pose, then bring back up. Do 20 if you can; first 10 carefully to get the move, second 10 for the burn. (This killed me real quick, prob cuz I've never done a similar movement.)
- Jumping Scissor Lunge: get down into the lunge position. Now jump up and switch foot positions in one motion, coming down into the lunge for the other leg. If you need to, land the jump and then drop into the lunge as two separate movements. Do 10 reps (that means each leg 10x, no cheating!).
- Jump up: get a box to jump onto. Mine was 2.5' high, I like these. Stand feet shoulder width apart, 6" to a foot in front of the box. Crouch your legs and jump up onto the box. Both feet leave the ground at the same time, both land on the box at the same time. Step down. For an increase in difficulty, increase your control of the jump instead of increasing the height. It is safer for your joints and body to land gently and silently, but this is harder to do. I call it Ninja landing (hey, don't knock it till ya try it!). Make sure you can control your jump at your current height, and lesser heights. Do 10 jumps.
- Walking Lunge into a knee: it's a walking lunge. But instead of bringing the rear leg up and forward directly, bring it quickly up as if you are kneeing an attacker. Now ease the leg you are kneeing with forward and lower yourself into the lunge for the other leg, and repeat. This is a way to combine my MT training with the leg workout. Plus, a regular walking lunge he'll give me 40lbs to carry while I do it...of course, this burned too... The only time both feet are on the ground is when the lunge is being executed. Do for a "comfortable" distance. One gym length for me.
- Walking Lunge into push kick: same deal as before except the motion continues. A push kick is where you bring your knee up to your chest, then forcefully shoot your foot straight out with your toe pointed. So you don't bring your knee up as forcefully as the previous exercise, but you do have the explosive energy in the second motion when you push your foot out. Now return your knee to your chest to end the kick motion, and lower foot forward into the lunge for the next leg, and repeat. The only time both feet are on the ground is when the lunge is being executed. These also work your balance.
- Jumping jacks: do as many as you can in 3 mins. I was supposed to do 300 but only managed 200. Poor me.
- Weight plate slide kicking: not actually kicking it, that would hurt. This is kind of like a pass in soccer where you use your instep. Use that visual and apply the following directions to that. Put the smooth side of a weight plate on the ground (25lbs for me) and on a surface you can actually slide the plate on. Place the instep of one foot against the side of the plate, and then shift your foot so only the instep of the ball of your foot is contacting the plate. Step out your other leg forward and plant it (most of your weight on that foot). Now "pull" your rear foot forward to push the weight plate forward along the floor. Here's where the kick comes in: put that extra oomf into it to push the weight ahead of you. The better you do this, the less kicks you have to do! Now catch up to the weight and repeat using your other foot.
There was a lot of Muay Thai practice mixed in here that I didn't mention and I can't recommend doing these moves without supervision. You can hurt yourself (which incorrect form can do) or someone else or you can get kicked out of your establishment because they think you're trying to start something... I do all this only with my trainer so the gym is okay with me, or I shadow box and practice my form in my apt. So there was more to what I did above, including shadow boxing with weights, but the above exercises are the only ones I feel comfortable recommending to others in general. Got a problem with that, join a Muay Thai school! ;-)