Not every workout will go to plan

MMA Heavy BagI worked from home today and didn’t have access to the gym. So that meant mixing things up and improvising with what I have at home… which isn’t much!

The “plan” was to unhitch the heavy-bag and go through a series of lifting, pulling, pressing movements with it as many times as possible in 20 minutes. This particular routine is more about metabolic stimulation than it is strength and conditioning…

Anyway, after setting-up and trying a few of the movements, I knew I’d miscalculated. On the downside, the “plan” went out the window within seconds as I quickly realized there was no way on earth I could complete the sequence as written. On the plus side, it turned out to be a grueling workout!

First, there were some basic challenges:

  1. 70lbs of dead weight is like a 135lb barbell
  2. 70lbs of unevenly balanced dead weight is like a 160lb barbell the extra 25lb on one end.
  3. 70lbs of unevenly balanced dead weight 14″ across with no grips is like a 160lb barbell with the extra 25lb on one end covered in grease!

Taking that into consideration, I had to mix up the sequence and minimize the number of times I had to lift the bag off the floor and onto my shoulder. That left me with something like this:

  • 4 x deadlift
  • Pick-up to left shoulder, put down
  • Pick-up to right shoulder
  • Press overhead to opposite shoulder
  • Press overhead to opposite shoulder
  • 2 x squat (bag on one shoulder)
  • Duck head and roll bag to opposing shoulder
  • 2 x squat, bag to floor
  • 4 x Pendlay row

The hardest parts were the lack of purchase and uneven load. It basically made everything harder. Pressing the bag (holding it length-ways) was incredibly difficult as it took multiple attempts to get the balance right. And even then, corrections and near-drops were costly (in exertion) to pull it back. The bag was also dropped a few times, requiring me to pick-it up again in order to continue. Every pick-up is essentially a bear-hug followed by an ass-to-grass power clean to explode the bag up to the shoulder — there literally was no other way to do it! My long-standing injuries to the left arm/bicep as well as both achilles were also hugely pissed-off at the whole affair.

I managed just six rounds before dropping the bag on the (20 min) buzzer and running straight out the door for a 30 min jog. I must have looked a mess! Most people look like crap on the way back from a run, not when they are just leaving the house!

Still … I’m glad I did it; I could easily have done nothing. It was also a scary reminder of just how little “functional” strength/flexibility/power I have. I’m fine with a barbell or “in a straight line”, but this workout was VERY challenging to my body in all sorts of ways.

Closing thoughts: Not every workout will go to plan, and not every workout needs to be “perfect”. Yes, at some point progression/measurement is important, but more often than not, we just need to get-up and go workout! 

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