Monthly Archives: March 2011

Mountain Climbers: How To

For April, I am hosting the #ClimbAThon -performing enough mountain climbers throughout the month so that they equate to climbing a mountain.  For those who might be unfamiliar with the exercise, here’s how to do it:


Line up in a similar form to a pushup -arms straight, palms under your shoulders, body in a straight line from head to heel.Hop one foot forward. Hop up again, switching legs as you do.

Continue in this manner, counting each hop.  Check out the quick clip at ExR. ‘There are ways to make this move harder: move your foot out wider or cross your foot over to the other side.  Unfortunately there are very few ways to make this exercise easier.

April Challenge: Climb a Mountain

Mt. Tamalpais

Mt. Tamalpais

We all love challenges.

Challenges are the kick in the pants that keep us moving forward.  They change our routine, make us look at our lives a little differently.  When we get through them, we are often pleased that they have presented themselves.

We get stronger -mentally, emotionally, physically- through challenges.

With this in mind, I’d like to invite you to join me on a #ClimbAThon challenge in April.

One of the most hated bodyweight exercises around is the Mountain Climber -yet we can all do it.  Injuries rarely limit us as the movement can be altered to adjust to an injury or strength state.  Endurance grows with practice.  And THIS, my dear, is a challenge that lets you see your accomplishment in real terms.


  1. Determine to do a set (or 10) of Mountain Climbers every day.
  2. Count each single move as a 1 foot climbed up a mountain.
  3. Keep track of your “distance” for the month.
  4. Return here for weekly updates where you post your success.

Want to make this even more fun?  Pick a mountain – either a local mountain or one of the “famous” ones – and track your actual success up that mountain.  For example:

Mt. Tamalpais is visible from my yard -so it is quite easy to imagine myself climbing this.  At a height of 2571′ I would need to do 2571 Mountain Climbers in the month of April to reach the top and another 2571 to get back to sea level. That’s roughly 172 MCs a day – or 9 sets of 20. (each step counting as one).  While this sounds daunting, it’s actually quite do-able.

So my goal: do 9 sets of MC every day in April and virtually climb Mt. Tam.

If you’re interested, let us all know in the comments below.  You can play along on a daily basis by posting your updates on Twitter- use the hastag: #ClimbAThon.

Tomorrow: How to do a Mountain Climber, including some adaptations for the injured/weak and extra challenges for the super fit.

Random Items

#1. I spent the weekend along Monterey Bay with some girl friends.  My plans were to walk on the beach a lot.  My gimpy hip and the weather had other plans.  One very short walk was all I got.

#2. A trip to the ocean can still be appreciated even if you’re forced to stay inside all the time.  The waves created by the Super Moon were high and wild and thoroughly entertaining.

#3. We did not see the Super Full Moon because of the rain.  A good thing, perhaps, as one of the gals was threatening to moon the Moon.  Pale skin shining in the moon light might have been bit blinding.

#4. Today was another Physical Therapy appointment.  I did stretches for my hip and got some deep tissue work done.  For the most part, it felt wonderful.

#5. Sometime stretching can HURT.

#6. Everything is improved by doing bridges.  I need to 2 sets of 10 2-3 times a day now to help the muscles of the pelvic floor remember to work together.

#7. I am still walking like Festus.  Sorry if you don’t know who he is.  Maybe sorrier if you do.

#8. Pork rinds are fairly low in fat (who knew?) with only 5 gr. per servings -and 9 grams of protein.  They are also lower in sodium than most snacks (270 gr.)

#9. Over-eating for a limited period of time is not bad for you.  It lets your body remember what it feels like.  And it restores any depleted glucose stores in your muscles.

#10. You can safely live 3-4 days without news and not miss it.  I’m confident that if anything dramatic had happened, we would have learned about it on Twitter or Facebook without having to read a newspaper.

#11. I’ve never run a race, won a tennis tournament, golfed a hole in a one.  I have white water rafted big rapids, hit a tennis serve that could not have been touched by anyone (except maybe a world-class tennis player), walked 7.5 miles, hiked in mountains, gotten my feet wet in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and most of the Great Lakes.  It all counts for something.

#12. I have never eaten a pop-tart (in any variation) – and was over 50 before I ate a rice-crispy treat.  Neither appeal to me.  I’d rather have a donut or a cookie.  OR a steak.

#13. I’d love to see a game in every professional venue in the US for  baseball, football, basketball…and maybe a few random other ones.  (US Tennis Open?)  I know it’s unlikely this will ever happen.

#14. I’d love to hike the Grand Canyon.  But I can’t do it alone and haven’t found anyone to do it with.  I figure finding that person will be the sign to start seriously training for the day.

#15. I am a gizmo-junkie.

#16. I have never been able to hula-hoop.

#17. I love driving if there isn’t much traffic.  And I talk to the cars around me while I travel.  I also drive too fast.

#18. Wheat products give me heart burn.  I really should never eat them -but giving up stout and porters seems a cruel way to live.

#19. I have no muscle endurance at all at the moment.  Heaven help me.


Stability and Balance Workout

This workout is a great “at home” workout for anyone.   If you’re just getting into fitness, it will develop the support muscles that will make it easier to go further.  If you’ve been working for a while, this will still challenge you.

Do the first four moves for 30-60 seconds each, resting 30 seconds between each one, and repeat for 3 sets.  Then choose 4-6 of the remaining exercises to round out your circuit.  Do these one after another with minimum rest between.  Rest for 2-3 minutes and repeat one or two times.


  • Plank
  • Bridge
  • Incline Plank
  • Cobra


  • Mountain Climbers
  • Squats: wall squats, body weight squats
  • One foot balance-and foot push
  • Step-Up to balance
  • One leg squat
  • Ball chest pass
  • Ball throw down
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Side Shuffle
  • Walking lunges

Lunges/One Arm Press

Lunges are fabulous exercise because they work each side of the body differently, putting unilateral demands on the immediate muscles while challenging our balance/core/stabilization throughout.  When lunges themselves become passe – because they never become “easy”- why not add a bit more challenge but adding a one-armed press?

From a standing position, step the right foot forward.  While dropping into a standard lunge – right leg at a 90/90 at the hip and knee/ left leg at a 90 at the knee with the thigh and torso straight -press the right arm directly up over head.

Watch as your balance and stability really come into play to maintain a straight form.  Come back to standing upright, dropping the arm.  Switch to the other side.

This move uses your obliques, abs, legs, shoulders, arms – everything except perhaps the little muscles near you ears!


Outta My Head

Today I was in the middle of a workout – thinking all the things I’ve been thinking recently:

  • I don’t want to do floor exercises because I hate getting down on the ground.
  • why aren’t I breaking into a sweat?
  • Is my form still good?  Because if my form is failing, I should stop this exercise
  • Remember when I used to do this harder, longer, supersetted?
  • I wish I weren’t working out alone…
  • I need to get out of my head.

Yeah, that last one is the biggy.  I spend way to much of my workout time thinking about things not directly associated with working out.  I get bored, get distracted, get lost in my head.  I almost called a trainer friend to do some training with him just to get out of my head.

I forget how much of physical training is actually mental training -and that this mental training needs to be developed as much as the physical muscles do.  But how do you do this?

  1. Just like physically training, you have to start small, challenge myself bit by bit, and make sure I’m constantly changing things up.
  2. Forget where I WAS, respect where I AM, and know that I have the mental strength to grow.
  3. Then CHALLENGE MYSELF.  To do more, to go further, to do what I’m whining about inspite of how I feel.


March in like a Lionness

… Perhaps not really marching, but looking at the calendar, I couldn’t resist using the phrase.

I woke up this morning eager to be moving.  However, my achy hip is still limiting my ability to move much.  But this morning I had plan.  I headed to the gym about 8:15 am, walked past all the cardio machines (each one taken), headed downstairs to the locker room.  Once there, I stripped off my street clothes, down to the swim suit I had pulled on at home.  Then I padded my way to the pool.

The pool wasn’t quite as crowded as the cardio section upstairs.  I quietly eased myself down into the heated water (though not THAT heated) and started walking.  I kept on walking for the next 20 minutes. Something I have rarely been able to do since the middle of December.

I wouldn’t call it a highly aerobic workout.  Not that I could have moved any faster – when you’re neck deep in water the resistance is significant.  Not to mention that I was bouyant!  Most of the length, my toes were the only thing touching the bottom.

I will have to remember that this is a legitimate rehab option to keep in my bag of tricks.