I have found a new work out love, so to speak.
I think since Reagan was Prez, I have hit the weight room at the local gym 3-4 days a week. Honestly, it was mostly upper body work. My legs got whatever benefit they could from moving weight around the gym. I usually waited for actual skiing to get my legs in shape for skiing. But that has changed.
After walking by the evening work out classes at my local Golds for years, I decided to try one. It is a Les Mills program called Body Pump. It literally kicked my ass. Now, I am totally hooked and am in the best shape of my life - at 58.
During the 60 minute class we hit every major muscle group for a total of 850 repetitions. Basically low weight with high repetitions done with perfect form, all done to carefully crafted music which provides the proper pace, which is "vigorous." People can adjust the intensity of the workout by weight selection. Our instructors drive us relentlessly. And are both skiers.
After a proper warm-up, we hit the legs. I have worked my way up to a 90 pound bar which I can do with correct form and pace, lowering thighs to parallel with each rep. Leg position changes during the squat session to hit quads, glutes, add/abdductors. Not just all up and down, but occlusion training with partial movements "in the basement." The movement is relentless for the entire song. No rests. And when it is over about five minutes later, I am breathless with legs on fire.
Then we move onto chest which involves bar and dumbbell work done prone on a raised platform on the floor. Series of push-ups are incorporated as well. Again, there is a focus on occlusion training with partial movements that force blood into the muscle. Again, I have figured out the weights I need to work to failure after about 5 minutes. It is hard to keep track of the minutes when pain becomes your measure.
We then move on to triceps which are hit a few different ways - with dips done off the elevated floor platform, triceps push-ups, weighted pushbacks, forehead crunches and whatever else the torturer-in-chief can conjure. Again, all done to a specific pace dictated by music, and done to failure, if done right.
On to back done with a weighted bar. Dead rows and bent over rows capped off by overhead presses to hit the lower lats.
I find the biceps routine particularly challenging. Full repetitions with partial occlusion work blended in. Again to failure. I usually keep a lighter bar handy if I have to bail out from my original weight.
Then it is back to legs again - this time, weighted lunges - with a squat appetizer. For added measure, we sometimes put the front leg on the raised platform to really accentuate the ROM. When I feel hot knives poking into my glutes on those final partial reps in the basement, I know that I am getting my money's worth.
Next, shoulders. We hit the front and upper chest with bar raises and then side delt work with light (I use 9lb) dumbbells. Overhead presses as well.
Finally, abs - planks, weighted crunches and other tortures than have names I can not remember. But my abs do.
After 6 months of three times per week, my level of fitness is dramatically better with increased strength and muscle definition. My cardiac health and endurance is very strong. And I am at about 12% body fat. Now, not all of that is from working out, I eat very well. Got to put good fuel in the tank.
On the off days, I do an hour long spinning class that is a total sweat-fest. But my go-to for the off days is another Les Mills program - Body Attack, which is a high intensity, high impact aerobics class (think rapid squats to burpees). Again an hour long endurance test. I love it, but it is hard on these old joints. The gym floor is a rigid wood surface. So I limit myself to doing that one time per week.
So I am hooked on these programs and can not wait to see how my level of fitness helps my skiing. Truth be told, ski fitness is why I stepped foot through the door .But now, it has become a major priority in my life, skiing or not.
Check it out. It is the best hour you will spend all day.