Bringing it inside, keeping it inside. (Living Room Gym WORKOUT! Les Mills BodyCombat!)

Hello! I’d originally planned to write about our upcoming total lunar eclipse, but I figured it would make more sense to offer that post closer to the event, as in, the night before. Look for that post on Tuesday night!

Today, I’ve got a workout post that’s long overdue. I’d intended to do this about a year ago. I believe that I did post some sort of living-room workout before that, but I can’t find it now! As I recall, the notion was “this is to give you an idea of it, but I’ll come back with a real living-room workout post soon.” By “real,” I was thinking “with five thousand pics.” So here, finally, is that workout post.

We have NutritionalDirect to thank for this, as they featured one of my garage gym posts on their site last week. It was the nudge that I needed. I was reminded that many of you are here because of the garage gym/fitness/martial arts aspect of my blog, and I apologize for my neglect in this vein, my friends. This post is for you, as well as for anyone else who may be interested.

I got right to it. I saw my post on NutritionalDirect on Monday, and on Wednesday, I set up my phone to record my Les Mills BodyCombat workout.

The thing I’m happiest to show with this post is the sort of workout that can be done in a small space. BodyCombat is a dynamic, varied, and fast-paced workout, and it requires no equipment other than a yoga mat (if you have a hard floor). I do the full one-hour version in this little space between furniture and the window wall – we’re talking a 9′ x 8′ space, roughly.* I do have to make modifications when advancing in any direction, but that’s totally inconsequential. Anything that involves advancing to cover space can be done just as effectively in place!

*Granted, I’m 5′, 4″. A taller person would have a harder time in this small space, to be sure.

Please pay no mind to the wild fluctuations in lighting throughout the hour. I do not have an actual camera or lights for filming, so I’m working with daylight and my overhead light. Light fades in and out. The lower I am to the floor, the darker it gets.

Let’s get into it!

shoots (MMA)

knee strikes

(between strikes)

side kick (Why do I never pivot my standing foot enough?!)

squats

running – high knees

some kind of plyo – I think this is just leaping up from a shoot

sprints – impossible to capture in a still from a video, but for what it’s worth!

jump kick in process – limited by space overhead (ceiling fan) and in front (wall), but still.

ginga (Capoeira)
Muay Thai

Muay Thai

Muay Thai

still Muay Thai, I think

elbow strike (Muay Thai)

[NOTE: my guard in all of the above Muay Thai pics is WRONG! I know better. It’s good to review my form like this every once in a while]

running man knees (lame-ass pic, I know, but that’s what was happening here.)

push kick (still Muay Thai!)

more running

push-ups
C-crunches

back lifts/raises/supermans/whatever they’re called

Jumping in to switch legs during the stretching

cool-down kata

quad stretch

OG readers, remember “walking-off” pics at the end of garage gym workout posts? This is the living-room version, I guess. I didn’t have far to walk!

If you’re interested in doing this Les Mills BodyCombat workout (this one was release #64) or any of the other hundreds offered by Les Mills, click here to explore Les Mills On Demand. Les Mills’ workouts are world-class. They are amazing. Every workout I do is on this app!

Happy new week to you, my friends!

Functional core-training for combat sports. (Garage gym post!)

PREFACE: Body Combat was canceled on Wednesday, so I thought I’d venture into the garage to do a core-strengthening workout and document it for this category on TALC.

I say “venture into” because it’s been a while since I’ve worked out in the garage. When summer started, I hung in with the heat for as long as I could, and then I tapped out and migrated most of our dumbbells into the house.

It was over 110 degrees on Wednesday at 5:00pm, and it was even hotter in the garage. I opened the garage door halfway and left the back door open. I had a big bottle of water with ice. Still, going out there and doing anything at all was foolish.

THE DISCLAIMER: These posts always come with disclaimers (I’m not a trainer, this post is not a tutorial, etc.), and those all stand for this one, as well, but here’s one really important one that I can’t stress enough: I was reckless in working out in the garage in extreme heat. DO NOT work out in the heat!! Unless you’re doing hot yoga, relegate your workouts to a comfortable, temperature-controlled environment… especially in the desert in the summer.

THE WORKOUT: The core is the body’s center. It covers a large area, pretty much the entire torso – front, back (especially lower back), and sides – as well as the upper legs, hips, and glutes. There are probably hundreds of exercises you can do to strengthen your core, and for myself, I like to change things up frequently.

I also tend to favor exercises that are functionally useful for combat sports, and Wednesday’s core-strengthening workout was no exception.

Here’s what I decided to do:

  • Dumbbell cross crunch
  • Dumbbell bench kick-outs
  • Triangle choke leg raise
  • Reverse lunge to knee strike
  • Crunch with medicine ball throw
  • Dumbbell V-up
  • Kick-throughs
  • Plank hold (2 minutes)

–I defaulted to 8 lb dumbbells for the three dumbbell exercises, because those are the only ones left in the garage besides our 30 lb set.

–The medicine ball I use is also 8 lbs.

–Because of the heat, I only did one set of each exercise (normally I’d do three or four).

That I did this workout in a veritable oven and lived to tell about it is something of a miracle, may I add. I’m not proud of it, either. I nearly met my death by garage cremation; it would’ve been a Darwin Award.

But I’ve got these pics snipped from the workout footage, as usual.

 

1). Dumbbell cross crunch:

 

Dumbbell cross crunch

Dumbbell cross crunch

 

[I’m crunching up and twisting to the left (while punching out diagonally with the right hand) and to the right (while punching out diagonally with the left hand), keeping my non-punching hand up to guard the side of my face. This exercise is great without dumbbells, too.]

My feet are hooked under the 30 lb dumbbells for stabilization. In training gyms, we partner up and hold each other’s feet. Heavy dumbbells are a good substitute.

This works your abs, obliques (sides of the torso), shoulders, and upper back.

 

2). Dumbbell bench kick-outs:

 

Dumbbell bench kick-outs (on MMA dummy)

Dumbbell bench kick-outs (on MMA dummy)

 

[It’s a weird angle, but you can see the red dumbbell between my feet. I’m gripping the handles on the sides of the bag and stabilizing myself with my elbows with my upper body elevated while repeatedly pressing my legs forward and back from a bent position, bringing my knees as close to my body as possible each time.]

Rather than dragging our bench into the camera’s field of vision, I used the MMA dummy. This increases difficulty because the bag is round and therefore unstable.

This works the entire core.

 

3). Triangle choke leg raise:

 

Triangle choke leg raise

Triangle choke leg raise

 

[Stabilizing myself with my arms, I’m keeping my hips up off the floor while quickly switching my feet behind the opposite knee, elevating my hips further while doing the switch and clamping down with the bent top leg. I’m basically alternating my legs while pulsing up with my elevated hips each time. That’s awkward to explain. You can get the idea from the pic.]

Your butt never touches the floor.

This works the entire core, particularly the lower abs, and I also feel this a little in my upper body as I engage my shoulders to keep my arms pressed to the ground.

 

4). Reverse lunge to knee strike:

(This is a two-part exercise.)

 

Reverse lunge to knee strike (lunge - part 1)

Reverse lunge to knee strike (lunge – part 1)

 

[Part 1. I’m taking a deep step back to sink into a lunge, and I’m keeping my lower body facing forward while twisting my upper body to the opposite corner with my arms up and my hands together.]

 

Reverse lunge to knee strike (knee - part 2)

Reverse lunge to knee strike (knee – part 2)

 

[Part 2. In one explosive movement, I’m pulling my arms down diagonally across my body while pulling my rear leg up into a knee strike, pushing my hips forward to drive my knee up high. My arms end up on the outside of my knee.]

This mainly works the quadriceps (front of the thighs), glutes (butt), hip flexors, and obliques.

 

5). Crunch with medicine ball throw:

(Another two-part exercise.)

 

Medicine ball crunch (bottom)

Medicine ball crunch (bottom)

 

[Part 1. Holding a medicine (weighted) ball back behind my head, I’m crunching up as I would doing a standard crunch.]

 

Medicine ball crunch (top)

Medicine ball crunch (top)

 

[Part 2. Getting to the top of the crunch, I’m thrusting my arms straight up to explosively push the ball into the air, then catching it before lowing myself back down to the starting position.]

Again, my feet are hooked under heavy dumbbells for stabilization.

This works the entire core, plus the shoulders.

 

6). Dumbbell V-up:

 

Dumbbell V-up

Dumbbell V-up

 

[Keeping my legs straight and together, I’m raising them at the same time that I’m crunching up my upper body, holding a dumbbell in each hand and stretching my arms up toward my toes before simultaneously lowering my upper and lower body back to the floor.

This primarily works the abs and lower abs, plus shoulders.

 

7). Kick-throughs:

 

Kick-throughs

Kick-throughs

 

[From beast position (all fours), I’m quickly kicking each leg out to the opposite side, keeping my same-side hand on the floor for upper-body stabilization (my left leg is kicking, so my left hand stays on the floor.]

In this dynamic exercise, opposite limbs are coordinated in the movements. The left leg and right arm are in the air while the right leg and left arm are planted on the floor.

This works the entire core, plus upper body.

 

8). 2-minute plank hold:

 

2-minute plank hold

2-minute plank hold

 

[I’m holding a basic plank position on my forearms and the balls of my feet.]

I would normally try to hold this position for 3 minutes, but there was no way that was going to happen in the inferno that was my garage that day.

This works the entire core, plus upper body. Personally, I feel this the most in my upper legs and lower back.

 

And I’m done.

 

Done. Walking back.

Done. Walking back.

 

I had symptoms of mild heat exhaustion by the time it was over… my heart was racing, I had a slight headache, and I was slightly dizzy. My bad decision to do this workout in extreme heat could have earned me a Darwin Award!

It was a good workout, though.