I really should’ve taken a picture of myself after the pool function this morning. It would fully illustrate the killer workout through which I suffered.
A pool function is an event at which trained Marines put Marine Corps applicants and candidates through their paces. They yell at us (I sometimes yell back, which you’re not supposed to do), harry us, generally abuse us, and ultimately enjoy our struggle. Pool functions vary in nature. This morning, it was a two and a half hour workout down at 31st Street Beach in 22* weather. Don’t worry – none of us were cold.
I learned a lot about where my strengths and weaknesses are. For example, I’m still not running as fast as I should (although, in fairness, I was running on wet, churned up sand this morning, rather than a nice flat surface. Seriously, they keep moving the bar on me.) But I killed all the ab exercises. Now that I’m feeling a deep muscle burn everywhere and my legs complain loudly at stairs, I’m going to recommend a few of my favorite exercises from this morning. (Running on sand is not one of them – I immediately rolled my right ankle badly since I was running in running shoes rather than boots, which means I had to sit out a few of the exercises, like the fireman’s carry, because I couldn’t do them. I’m only kind of sorry.)
1.) Push-ups 2.0: Rather than starting with your arms straight and lowering yourself to the floor, you start on the floor with your hands off the ground. You raise yourself up until your arms are straight, and then back down so you’re laying your belly. Then you lift your hands off the ground, so you’re really laying flat, and that’s one. We did the following: one minute on, ten seconds off for six minutes. (No, I can’t feel my arms)
2.) Backward lunges: Start with your feet shoulders’ width apart, hands on your hips. Then step back with one foot and bend until your knee touches the ground. Lift yourself back up, and step your feet together again. Then alternate feet.
3.) Flutter kicks: lay on your back, hands under your butt, straighten your legs, and raise your feet six inches into the air (always keeping your legs straight). Then raise one foot higher than the other, quickly, for 30 seconds.
4.) Sideways planks: It’s what you think it is. Lay on your side on one elbow. Then raise yourself up off the ground until your elbow and your feet are supporting your entire body.
5.) Squats: put your arms straight out in front of you and place your feet shoulders’ width apart. Then squat down until your knees reach a 90* angle. Actually, when we did our first set of these, I was squatting all the way down like we did in dance, but apparently a Marine Corps squat is only partway down. Trust me, either one is a good workout if you do enough.
We also did a number of crawling exercises through the sand, which is how I got so dirty. I was covered head to toe in sandy grit, and I got lots of funny looks on the bus from all the nicely groomed folks going to Saturday brunch. I dumped approximately 2 cups of sand out of my shoes when I got home. The reasons I like all of these exercises so much are that (1) you don’t need a gym, and (2) they’re all designed to use your own body weight to make you stronger. I’m pretty convinced that doing lat pull-downs on a machine is not as hard as doing pull-ups, so I like these bodyweight workouts.
What are your favorite exercises?