The “Tweener” Workout

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A nasty near-month of illness has momentarily derailed my training, which really sucks, because I’ve gotten so much sweet new equipment I’m dying to use. My health level right now is right around 90-95 percent, or so – it’s still difficult to breathe through my nose or get my heart rate up without coughing like a chain smoker.

I say all this not to complain, but to identify with the many I know are feeling the same way this time of year. When you’re trying to set resolutions and get off on the right foot, an illness severe enough to keep you out of the gym is frustrating. But, if you’re like me and in that in-between stage — not quite healthy enough to go all-out with your training, but not so sick that you can’t get something in — maybe you can use a “tweener” training day or two. That’s my goal here.

My most recent workout was this weekend, with a couple goals in mind: Clean up a few particular movements, get in a good sweat, activate a bunch of muscles and have some fun with my training partner (my wife, who has also been sick and wanted to get moving as well).


The Workout

With neither my strength nor endurance fully recovered yet, my focus was to activate my core and large muscle groups as effectively as I could. Since I wasn’t going particularly heavy or for high reps, my attention shifted to speed: I noticed that my layoff from cleans had caused me to essentially go through the pull in slow motion.

1hd1asCheck it out to the right: I make the mistake of starting the explosive movement from the ground, instead of right from the knee and at triple extension.

The fix: I lightened the weight to 95 and started off the ground, focused on the knee-to-shoulder pull and extending fully at the ankle, hips and elbow first via a progression of light deads and shrugs. Here’s how it looked:

@95 lbs: 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2.

During this time, my wife hit traditional deadlifts, @65, for 5×5. She did great at keeping the bar above her shoetops and not letting it drift out! That has been a major struggle for her in the past, so this is great progress.

The rest of the workout:

Buddy medicine ball crunches (15-lb. ball), 3×15 each

15803760_1172475856134824_748071758367555584_nWeighted planks (+15 pounds), 3 x 30 seconds

Weighted pushups (+15), 3 x 15. (She did 3 to failure, modified position)

Dips, no weight: 3 x 12.

TRX neutral grip rows, 3 x 12.

Stretching: Brettzel stretch, 3 x 10 seconds per side.

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