Tag: weight training

Travel Fitness Log: Workout #7 (Chiangmai)

Travel Fitness Log: Workout #7 (Chiangmai)

It was in Chiangmai that I ventured into an actual gym for the first time since leaving London. By which I mean, a building whose sole purpose was fitness. Aka, not a crappy hotel ‘gym’, not a swimming pool, and not just a space in-between some trees to hang a TRX and do some ab exercises.

I stumbled across Miss Fitness Chiangmai on one of my aimless wanders around the town. I was craving a good workout- 16 hours on a train had left me in a bizarre state of lethargic restlessness. If I hadn’t been wearing completely inappropriate workout attire, I would have gone in there and then. Instead, flip-flopping home, I resolved try it out the following day.

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Why it’s actually okay to workout…just for the sake of it.

Why it’s actually okay to workout…just for the sake of it.

When you’re in the fitness industry, especially as a Personal Trainer, you get used to people asking you HOW you train. How many times a week do you workout. How long do you spend at the gym. Do you do the exercises that you’re now making your clients do. What weight do you use.

Something I don’t hear as often, but that does crop up every now and then, is the why. Why do I workout. What is it for. I’ve even heard;

“but you don’t want to lose weight. So why do need to workout?”

Which of course is ridiculous on so many levels. I’ve always been an active person, and when I started dancing less often, the gym seemed like a natural substitution. That’s why I got into it in the first place, along with my quest to get stronger.

Still, I got myself into a bit of a tizz the other week because it seemed like everyone I knew was training for something in particular. Some sort of race or obstacle course, a bodybuilding comp or powerlifting qualifiers. I started to wonder if I should be doing the same thing.

What’s the point in training if you’re not training for anything- right?

Well actually, wrong.

Why it’s actually okay to workout…just for the sake of it.

After a couple of stressful days, panicking over my laptop as I searched for an event that I actually wanted to do, I came to the sudden realisation that I was giving myself a whole load of bother over nothing.

Just because you’re not in training for something doesn’t mean that your workouts are pointless. I certainly wasn’t about to enter myself aimlessly into some sort of competition just because it might look good on my CV or make me more sellable as a PT.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m relatively new to the whole fitness world. I’m still finding my feet and figuring out what it is that I do and do not enjoy. I’ll go through phases where all I want to do is powerlifting… and then the next day train for hours on plyometrics and callisthenics. My goals range from deadlifts to handstands to learning to kick box. Sometimes I want bigger muscles. Sometimes I even wonder, if I trained cardio every day could I ever improve my stamina…

And sure, it might mean I’m not focusing enough on one particular element. Perhaps my own ‘programme’ isn’t adequately specific. But the important thing is that I go to the gym every day because I genuinely want to be there. And if I don’t? Well then, I won’t go. I’ll train what I want to train because it takes my fancy in that moment… not because it’s a stepping stone on the route to something else.

Perhaps in the future I’ll be training for something. Maybe there’ll be days where I don’t want to go to the gym but I force myself to anyway because I have a bigger picture in mind. But right now, I don’t know what that is so I’m just going to accept the fact that I often train for the sake of training. I enjoy it.

And you know what? that’s ok.

Why it’s actually okay to workout…just for the sake of it.

Resistance Band Variations for Cable-Pulley Exercises

Resistance Band Variations for Cable-Pulley Exercises

As a Personal Trainer, you learn to get inventive. Sometimes because clients can get bored easily and you need to spice things up. Sometimes because someone has an injury that you need to adapt for. Usually though, a PT’s skill at improvisation and invention comes from just not having the equipment necessary to perform a certain exercise.

That’s where cheap, portable equipment such as resistance bands come in really handy. If you know how to use them, you can replace- perhaps not all- but definitely a huge portion of common weight training exercises with a simple resistance band.

When I PT in a gym, I regularly use a cable pulley. They’re so versatile. The sheer number of exercises and exercise variations you can perform on cables is vast. They’re great for pushing the limits of advanced lifters – and they’re also brilliant for smaller exercises that help with things like technique and muscle imbalances. I was pretty stuck the first time I PT’d in a gym with no cable pulley. There were certain exercises that I really wanted to teach my clients and I just couldn’t think how to do so. It’s different to when you train clients outside. For outdoor training, I’ll plan an entirely different type of session around the equipment that I know that I have.

Anyway, I’ve had to cope a few times now without the cables. And I’ve learned more than a few brilliant Resistance Band variations for some of my go-to cable exercises.

These are some of my favourites.

 

Resistance Band Variations for Cable-Pulley Exercises

 

Face Pulls

Resistance Band Variations for Cable Exercises

Band Strength: Light-Medium

How: Tie the band to a sturdy pole just above head height. Take the bottom of the band with both hands and pull towards the bridge of the nose. Keep the back straight and bend the arms, keeping the elbows high.

Muscles: Deltoids, biceps, rhomboids, trapezius

Rear Delt Cross Overs

Band Strength: Light

How: Loop the band around a sturdy pole at chest height. Make sure each end crosses over. Take the ends of the band in each hand. Standing straight, open the arms (keeping the elbows straight) and pull the band back as far as you can, squeezing the shoulder blades together.

Muscles: Rear deltoids, rhomboids, trapezius

 

Tricep Extensions

Resistance Band Variations for Cable Exercises

Band Strength: Light

How: Tie the band to a high surface, letting it dangle down. Both hands should hold the bottom of the band. Start with the elbows bend and pull the band downwards, straightening the arms.

Muscle: Triceps

Seated Rows

Resistance Band Variations for Cable Exercises

Band Strength: Light-Medium

How: Loop the band around a sturdy pole, around chest height when standing. Sit on the floor and take one end of the band in each hand. Start with straight arms, reaching forwards then pull the band back, bending the arms and tucking the elbows in.

Muscles: Trapezius, Rhomboids, Biceps, Lats

Glute Kick Backs

Resistance Band Variations for Cable Exercises

Band Strength: Light-Medium

How: Tie one end of the band to a sturdy surface at floor level. Loop the other end of the band around the ankle. Standing on one supporting leg, raise the other leg in a diagonal-backward direction.

Muscles: Glutes and Hamstrings

Hamstring Curls

Resistance Band Variations for Cable Exercises

Band Strength: Light-Medium

How: Tie one end of the band to a sturdy surface at floor level. Kneeling one leg on a bench, loop the other end of the resistance band around the foot. Keeping the thigh as still as possible, squeeze the hamstring, bending the leg up towards the bum.

Muscle: Hamstrings

Woodchops

Resistance Band Variations for Cable Exercises

Band Strength: Light-Medium

How: The band should be looped around a sturdy pole and you should stand side on. Keeping the arms as straight as possible, use both hands to pull the band across the body.

Muscle: Obliques

 

For more resistance band exercises, check out my Summer Workouts post. Have you ever had to get inventive in the gym, or is there an exercise that you really want to know how to do without the equipment? Let me know in the comments- I do love a challenge!

Resistance Band Variations for Cable Exercises

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