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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Aerobic Isometrics podcast on Paleo Quick tip of the Day

One of the most productive and efficient ways to work out is using something called aerobic isometrics.  It actually sounds contradictory, for after all isn’t isometric exercise working against an immovable object for time?  And isn’t aerobics moving the body at a steady state for a longer period of time?

Yes and yes.  But they actually come together very well, and when done this way they are an incredibly good, and safe way to really get fit!  And a real fitness, that combines the cardio system and the strength building of the muscles together very effectively! 

Let’s try it first in the classic pull-up or chin-up.  Either use a low hanging bar or tree branch- (hey- you’re paleo, aren’t you caveman?)- or else place a stool that lets you extend your arms fully, while standing on your stool (or stump).  Anyway, the idea is that you support your weight on your legs, but then you put more and more weight on your hands and arms.  Slowly squat down, giving just enough help from your legs to go up and down in a chin-up.  Go very slowly- it helps to have a clock in front of you with a sweep second hand.  I like to go slowly up and down for a full minute- perhaps I wind up doing about 5 chins, maybe more.  Sometimes, I go so slowly that I only do 1. or two chins or pull-ups over the course of a minute, or sometimes a minute and a half.

If you think these are easy, because your legs are “helping”, they definitely are not!  You should only be helping with your legs enough to actually move slowly- no more.  Often, on the negative motion I will lift my knees off of the support, and do a slow negative chin.  It is quite taxing to do the exercise this way, and it really taxes and builds the entire back and biceps, along with the cardiovascular system!  You will only need to do 1 rep, trust me.

You can do the same thing with dips, helping with your legs on a dip rack.  Excellent exercise, in fact if you do these two exercises, dips and chins, you are getting your whole upper body worked very effectively indeed!  And it is very, very safe- if the exercise gets too hard, just put your feet down and help.  And so time efficient, it only takes a few minutes.

You can also do a pushup as an aerobic isometric: Get in the forward pushup plank position, and slowly lower yourself downwards.  You won’t be able to go upwards slowly enough, so just get to the top position after you hit bottom, and do another slow, slow negative.  Depending on how slow you make yourself go, you will only be able to do a few reps, but those reps will equal dozens done in standard fashion, both for muscle building and aerobically.

If you have a power rack, or “cage” as I do, left over from my misguided heavy weight lifting days, why then you are golden indeed my friend!  I have a whole routine that I do weekly using my rack, pushing against the steel pins of the rack, and letting my legs help me “just enough” to go up and down.  One is the military press for a minute, (very grueling).  I use a wooden dowel, that I press against the pin above my head, and slowly dip my legs down as I press really hard upwards against that down.  This one is great for both legs and shoulders!

One tip on that last- counter to how most do military or upright presses, you should not put your arms out to shoulder width and press directly upwards- no one naturally lifts this way, and it is hard on your precious shoulder joints.  Instead, grasp the dowel about 12-15 inches apart, above your head, as if you were lifting a baby overhead.  This is how we lift real loads above our heads in the natural world- the paleo world!

So try it out.  If you do have a access to a power rack, or perhaps a playground set of some sort, you can experiment with reverse curls into the pins, working legs and arms together.  And grip work using the immovable dowel is amazing as well- when is the last time working your grip made you breathless as well as muscularly tired?

I also like hack squats, leaning far back with both hands grasping the sides of the rack, and one-legged squats using the rack for support.  There’s lots you can do!  But to really get the Perfectly Paleo Workout, finish up with leg raises for your abs, raising your legs straight out in front to eye height, and then go to your gymnastic rings.  Pound out a few hundred pushups, in sets of 20, 15, and 10, interspersed with ring flies.  Trust me, it will feel great- you are oxygenating your whole body with blood, which is the last thing you might need after your Aerobic Isometrics to have a truly great workout! 

Check out this episode!