Monday, September 3, 2012

Workouts with Uncle Tim

I received that question in my inbox the other day.

"What does it feel like to pommel a horse?"

At first, I felt like responding with, "That's a little personal. Don't you think?" But I decided to take the more mature road and answer the question by creating a little workout to help us combat the calories from Labor Day barbecues.

If you've never done pommel horse (or parallel bars) before, this workout will give you an idea of what muscles are necessary for those events. If you are a former gymnast and want to get back in shape, try this workout. If you are a gymnastics coach, good luck! Little boys + Swiss balls = A recipe for disaster.

Let me warn you: Reading this tutorial will take some maturity on your part, as we will be talking about balls, and the ones in my gym just happen to be blue. But I have faith in you, dear reader.

Unfortunately, I do not have faith in your abilities to dress yourself, so here's a little help...

What to wear...


You can go the Mitch Gaylord circa 1986 route. By that, I mean shirtless...



If you're doing this workout at the local YMCA, you'll probably be very popular, especially if you have Mitch Gaylord's 1986 abs. But you'll probably be escorted off the premises, so you might want to go with a more conservative Mitch Gaylord Melt It Off! route.


Personally, I prefer the Richard Simmons Disco Sweat look. Trust me, you'll be the most popular guy in the gym if you can pull off this look.


For the women, I recommend the Jane Fonda Fat Burners look. If you don't have gold nylons, I'm sure that gold lame pants will work just fine.

Yes, you must wear gold.

As the Thomas Edison quote goes, working out is 1% perspiration and 99% fashion. Now that you are dressed for success, we can move onto...

The Equipment


Once I have children, I plan on filling my living room with pommel horses instead of furniture, and Krisztian Berki will be my children's au pair. (He doesn't know it yet.) I recognize, however, that most adults are not as crazy as I am, and thus, they probably do not have access to pommel horses on a daily basis. So, we'll just have to be more creative and use Swiss balls.

Not so much these.
These are Swedish, which is different from Swiss. Shocking, I know.

Nor these.
You can thank the Telegraph for this awkward shot of the Swiss gymnast Claudio Capelli.

But these.




The Workout


With one blue ball in hand, we can begin the workout. First, you'll want to start in a plank with your feet on the ball and your hands down on the ground.

Not so much this:


But this:

If you don't have a body like his by the end of this workout, you're doing it wrong.


Exercise 1: Thigh Touches

With your body in a plank position, you are ready to begin. Throughout the exercise, keep your back flat, squeeze your butt, and don't let your belly sag.
  1. Pick up your right hand, touch your right thigh, and place your hand on the ground.
  2. Pick up your left hand, touch your left thigh, and place your hand on the ground.
  3. Try to do 10 hand raises on each side.
  4. If that's too difficult for you, just hold a plank for 1 minute and then do 10 pushups at the very end.

Exercise 2: Ball Rolls

If you haven't broken your wrist or nose, you're ready for the next task!
  1. Still in the plank position with both hands flat on the ground, try to roll the ball to the right ever so slightly--just far enough that you can balance on your left foot.
  2. Then, roll the ball back to the middle so that both feet are resting on the ball.
  3. Next, roll the ball to your left ever so slightly--just far enough that you can balance on your right foot.
  4. Then, roll the ball back to the middle so that both feet are resting on the ball.
Again, throughout the exercise, keep your back flat, squeeze your butt, and don't let your belly sag.

Try to do 10 ball rolls to each side, and if that is too easy for you, do a push-up between each ball roll.


Exercise 3: Reverse Planks/Butt Touches


Okay, take a little breather. Grab a drink of water, take a shot of vodka, eat a few peanut butter M&Ms--Do whatever you have to do to forget the pain 'cause the next exercise ain't easy, but neither is pommel horse.

With your core burning, there's one more position that we have to hit: a reverse plank. Or, in pommel terms, a rear support.

Again, not so much this:

Apparently, the Green Goddess (aka Diana Moran) was a thing in the 80s in Great Britain.

But this:

I suck at drawing. Sorry.

In the reverse plank, we're going to do butt touches. It's not as salacious as it sounds.
  1. Keeping your butt up, lift your right hand and touch your right butt cheek. Set your hand down.
  2. Then, lift your left hand and touch your left butt cheek. Set your hand down.
  3. Continue alternating. Try to do 10 on each side.

Okay, this one's pretty hard. If you're struggling with it, just hold your feet up in front of you and hold for 1 minute.

You think this is hard? Try being waterboarded... That's hard!

(Ridicule is a great motivational technique.)

Exercise 4: Reverse Ball Rolls


If the last exercise was way too hard for you, you might want to skip over this one. But before you do, you should probably ask yourself, "What would Kohei Uchimura do?"

  1. Still in the rear support with both hands flat on the ground, try to roll the ball to the right ever so slightly--just far enough that you can balance on your left foot.
  2. Then, roll the ball back to the middle so that both feet are resting on the ball.
  3. Next, roll the ball to your left ever so slightly--just far enough that you can balance on your right foot.
  4. Then, roll the ball back to the middle so that both feet are resting on the ball.
Push your butt to the ceiling, and do 10 ball rolls to each side.

Exercise 5: Be Self-Congratulatory


When was the last time your worked so hard and contorted your body into such weird positions? Actually, don't answer that. Just give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

  1. Look in the mirror, flex, and say, "Marcel Nguyen wishes he looked this good." If you're a lady, you can replace Marcel Nguyen with Shawn Johnson.

Repeat!


That was one round. You have two more to go. Did you really think that you were going to get off that easy? If you stop now, you will never have abs like Team USA.

Or Team Germany.

Or Team Great Britain.... You get the point.

Oddly enough, this guy looks a lot like my dad.



I have about 4 more exercises that I do in my Swiss ball circuit, but we'll save those for another day. In the meantime, celebrate 'cause...

You just finished your first of (hopefully) many...

OMG! I wish that I had been an aerobics instructor in the 80s! That would have been gnarly, man!

5 comments:

  1. I just died doing one set of those. And I would consider myself in pretty good shape, seeing as I practice 5 days a week. How.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kohei Uchimura would probably eat some chocolate and take a nap.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So that's what that rubber ball that's been sitting around in my room forever was for...just kidding. Now it has an actual use?

    College gives me more free time than regular school, I guess enough of jogging around and more this, hmm?

    ReplyDelete
  4. OMG!

    Did the Telegraph seriously use that picture? Wow, couldn't they use a worse one? :(
    Jane Fonda's golden leo reminds me of Catalina Ponor, for some reason.
    Believe it or not, Jane Fonda's workout videos used to be a great source for aerobics exercises. I mean, whoever was coaching/teaching her, they were excellent, which resulted in really advanced videos for that time. (Gee, I just revealed my age...)

    Mitch Gaylord is rocking the infomercials these days.

    ...and Richard Simmons still in the closet, out of all people.

    I use the ball to workout a lot, especially for abs.
    I've tried to do that butt one, and it's REALLY hard.

    ReplyDelete
  5. New Diet Taps into Pioneering Plan to Help Dieters Lose 20 Pounds in Just 21 Days!

    ReplyDelete