Saturday, May 23, 2009

You Look Like A Gorilla

This morning Drew and I met with Billy to do a workout in the park. Billy does a weekly class in the park, but this was a private class with just the two of us. It was nice that it wasn't the whole group, because it sounds like there is a fair amount of running in the regular group classes and with my heel I'm just not quite back up to speed yet. This was a good preview of what the class would be like, just not including the running. We did a ton of different exercises - mostly body weight stuff. I'll probably bore you with the details below, so consider yourself warned. Also, I tried to remember everything we did although this isn't necessarily the order in which we did the exercises.

I do know that we started out with some squats onto a park bench. We started doing regular squats with our knees slightly more than hip distance apart, but Billy then made us move our feet closer together. He said that he had just read an article about how doing squats this way and how it's more 'real'. If you think about it, when a basketball player squats in order to take a shot, he isn't standing with his feet wide, he's standing normally. It definitely made more sense once he explained it.

We then did some knee raises while leaning on the benches. We started off doing them slowly and concentrated on stretching our calves, but eventually Billy made us do them faster. We did sets of 15, 15 and 30 fast. Then we moved on and Billy put resistance bands around our ankles. I thought we were supposed to shuffle down the walkway, but apparently I was cheating by putting a bounce in my step. Billy ran after me and explained that I was only supposed to slowly step my way down the walkway. Turns out that's harder and not quite as fun. We did that there and back and then did lunges there and back.

This is the point where things get a little fuzzy in terms of the order in which we did the exercises so I'm just going to make it up a little bit from here on out. We jumped up onto the benches and did about 40 calf raises. I had the benefit of holding on to Billy's arm, otherwise I think I would have slipped off the bench in a couple cases. I think it actually helped me get a better stretch than Drew probably got. We then headed over to the railing, which I think was maybe about 2 1/2 feet high. We did push-ups against that. Regular push-ups, really wide-armed push-ups and then really narrow push-ups where we were supposed to keep our elbows in. They were really similar to the pilates push-ups that Nicole had me do yesterday. I have to say that it was right around this time that I realized that I was glad that I had gone swimming last night and didn't have to go tomorrow since I think my arms will be exhausted.

Then we laid down on our backs in the grass and did some shin and calf exercises. When I explain them, they sound extremely easy. However, after you've done, say 30 of them, your shins are burning! So, you lay down and pull your knees into your chest. Then you hold onto your knees or shins and point your toes and then flex your feet as far back as possible. I was shocked at how much harder it was than I was expecting.

From there we flipped over in the grass and went into a plank position. Then we had to crawl forward in that position towards Billy, who was maybe about 20 feet away. Once we had gotten there, we had to crawl backwards, all while maintaining the plank position. That wasn't so bad, but then he had us shuffle to the right, still holding plank. I found this to be almost impossible and ended up "walking like a gorilla on its knuckles" as Drew described it. I didn't hold the plank very well it seems. Then, to add to the fun, once we had gone about 15 feet to the side, we then held plank position and switched between our forearms and our hands. We did that 5 times, which I thought was maybe 2 times too many. And then to add to the fun, we had to repeat the shin/calf exercises 40 more times.

Then we headed back over to the park benches and Billy set up some of the big rubber bands that he had brought with him. He tied them to the back of the bench. We had to pull them towards us 30 times on the right, 30 times on the left, and 30 times using both arms in a bit of a squat position. When we were done with that, we had to see how many push-ups we could do in 30 seconds against the railing. I did 11 in my allotted 30 seconds, which I was happy with. Then, of course, we had to repeat that whole thing - the rubber bands and push-ups. I'm happy to report that I did 12 push-ups the second time around.

Then we did a tiny bit of cardio. We did 10 really short sprints - maybe about 20 feet long. Drew did comment that he thought it was barely enough time to get up to full speed and I sort-of agree. Although I think he might just be saying that because we were pretty neck and neck the whole time. After that we did the same distance, but instead of running we did 10 high knee raises. In fairness (and mostly because his legs are longer) Drew beat me at all of those. It wasn't even really a contest, I just happened to notice.

We moved back to the big rubber bands for some punching exercises. We had to punch 30 times with our right hand followed by 30 times with our left hand. The punching was definitely harder than the pulling and I was surprised when Drew quit with his left hand. I barely could finish, but I did.

After that, Billy set up an orange resistance band for me on the park bench. It had two handles. I was supposed to lift both handles all the way above my head 30 times. I managed to do it 15 times. It was really my left arm that slowed me down. It's just crazy to me when you realize that one arm is much stronger than the other. Or maybe it's really that my right arm just has more stamina than the left. Either way, I was glad that I didn't have to do what Drew did. He didn't get the "easy" orange bands, he had to stand on one of those giant rubber bands and pull it over his head. That seemed (and was) much harder than what I had to do.

The last exercise we did was something that I had been wanting to do since I started watching "The Biggest Loser." Billy looped the rubber bands together and he got in the back rubber band and Drew got into the forward rubber band. Drew then had to run and pull Billy while Billy was busy resisting and pulling Drew back. Drew did that twice before I got my turn. I thought that it would be impossible since I know that Billy has a big advantage in holding me back, but I managed to keep doing it. He really wanted us to just keep picking up our feet and keep swinging our arms the entire time. He explained that by doing that we covered about three times the distance that we actually went. Drew noticed that I seemed to have better form than he did. I was actually glad to hear that. I think it means that I'm starting to incorporate some of the strides lessons that I've learned at the Terrier runs.

So, that was the whole workout. We walked back to Drew's apartment. It was definitely a good workout. It was a lot different than the ones that I'm used to and I did feel like I had cheated a little bit because there wasn't any cardio involved, but that is clearly my own fault because of my heel. I know I'm getting better, but I still don't want to push things too fast again. I would definitely want to try out Billy's group class once I'm back in running shape, so that's something to look forward to.


  1. "walking like a gorilla on its knuckles"

    "Although I think he might just be saying that because we were pretty neck and neck the whole time."

    "He didn't get the "easy" orange bands, he had to stand on one of those giant rubber bands"


  2. I would definitely want to try out Billy's group class once I'm back in running shape, so that's something to look forward to.

    ****me too

  3. You did very well this day and I look forward to next time when we can build on these exercises. Drew told me about your running over the past week. It feels great when these little injuries start to go away.

    Your blog posts are really good, they are entertaining to read. Keep it up.