Fitness Friday: A fun twist

I love the workout ideas ACE puts together.  The workout plan they published this week, Halloween Workout, has some great ideas to add some variety to your workout routine.  However, as I looked at the fun moves, I realized, I love them all, but I know my students and some of these moves may be a little intimidating or perhaps a little more than some individuals may be ready for.  So how can you modify these exercises for you?

Spider crawls – love the spider crawls, however, if you are not comfortable getting down on the floor on hands and feet, you can stay upright and complete a monster walk.  A Monster walk is a continuous low squat walking forward and then backward. You can increase the challenge by placing a resistance band around your ankles.


Deadbug – this is one of my favorite moves to do with a stability ball.  In the ACE article they have you hold the position like a plank.  A modification, for their movement could be to bend your knees and work up to legs extended.  I like to place a stability ball between my hands and feet and then extend opposing arm and leg groups, then bring them back to the ball and switch to the other group.

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Single Arm deadlift to overhead press – this is a great compound exercise that will work the hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae muscles with stabilization from the core in addition to bicep and shoulder work.  It’s important to maintain core stabilization for this exercise, especially during the deadlift portion.

Jack-knife and pushups on the Stability ball – I love using the stability ball for pushups because you can easily adjust how much challenge you want by walking out further so the ball is closer to your feet.  In addition, the core is required to stabilize more due to the instability of the ball.  Jack-knifes are fun, but also challenging.  While you work up to a full jack-knife, try a jack rabbit, which is drawing the knees to the chest with shins on the ball instead of the feet.

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Axe- chops – This is a great rotational exercise that uses the upper body, core and legs.  The key is to pivot on your feet to keep your knees safe.  If you are unsure about completing this exercise, begin by doing a standing torso twist.  Focus on moving from the core and you will find that you fatigue much faster in the core.


Skull Crushers – Great exercise for the triceps.  The key is to keep your arm in position and only bend at the elbow.  If you prefer not to lay down, you can complete the exercise using a resistance band or rope handle on a cable machine and complete a standing tricep extension – which requires greater core stabilization.

Suicides – I prefer to call them ladders so it is not so negative and implies progression versus exhaustion, but either way you look at it, they can be a great way to get in some cardio.  If you are like me, you may not have a large space in your house to complete these safely and with the weather turning cold, you may not want to go outside.  So my modification is to do ladders up the stairs.  Begin by taking the stairs one stair at a time, next round 2 stairs at a time, next round double leg hops,  last 2 rounds one leg hops.


While you get comfortable with the exercise, take it slow and complete low reps.  As you increase in your ability to do the exercises, add a few more reps or another set.   The most important thing with exercise is to complete it properly to get the greatest benefit.  Quality over quantity.

When completing any exercise on your own – pay attention to feedback from your body.  If it doesn’t feel right or you feel any pain, stop the exercise immediately.  Seek out a qualified fitness professional to watch your form and insure you are doing it safely and correctly.



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