In this second of a two-part series on getting your body exercised with a small amount of equipment and the facilities available at Kahnawake’s outdoor fitness park, this week, we’ll tackle training your upper body with what’s available there and two sets of dumbbells, one heavier and another, lighter pair.
Last week, we gave our lower body a taste of what training outdoors is all about, and I’m sure that your legs are making you more than aware of that face at this point. The soreness in the legs is to be expected, but it will be gone with some light walking. Next week, I’ll be giving out some tried-and-true strategies for helping overcome those aches and pains as well.
This week, though, we’ll be using our dumbbells and the facilities to work our upper body. Let’s begin.
Pushing the pace
Using the push-up bars that are in the park, we can start with the best upper-body exercise you might ever see: push-ups. Doing push-ups can be tough, though, so they must be done according to your capacity. The closer your feet are to the bar, the easier the exercise. Do 10 to 15 push-ups. The best way to know if your rep rage is appropriate is to gauge the last three or four reps. If they become a little bit of a challenge to perform, it’s fine. If you can only do one or two, try and make it easier on yourself and bring your feet closer to the bar.
Now, the opposite
Staying on the bar, we’re going to do some pull-ups. Again, be careful to angle your body in way that makes it easier to pull your chest to the bar, keeping your spine nice and neutral. Do 10 to 15 reps and if the last three or four repetitions are a challenge, you’ve gotten to where you need to be. Do those two sets back-to-back three times, waiting about 15 second between each set and you’re good to go.
Get those dumbbells
Now, go pick up your dumbbells. Feel free to grab some water on your way over to them and set up in the shade for the next few sets. We’re going to do three sets; two standing and one lying down on the grass or the bench available for such purposes. We’re going to start with the first exercise designed to work the shoulders and triceps: over head presses.
From a proud standing position, or a seated and proud position if you are older and your back is an issue, as mine can be from time to time, hold your heavy dumbbells straight up over your head, touching them together to start. Then, lowering the elbows to 90 degrees slowly, we’ll stop right at 90 degrees and lift the weight back up. Do 10 to 15 repetitions and move on to the next exercise: bicep curls.
Holding our light dumbbells at our sides like we would a hammer, we’ll pin our elbows to our ribcage and lift the dumbbells to our shoulders and lower them back down, slowly. Do 10 to 20 repetitions and see how you feel because now, we’re getting down on the grass for tricep extensions. Popularly called skull-crushers, these terrifying-named lifts are just vividly named. Although it bears mentioning that we don’t want to actually hit ourselves in the head with them.
Lying with shoulder blades down on the ground, our dumbbells will be held over our heads – once more if we’re holding a hammer – and lower our dumbbells down by our ears, stopping when the arms reach a 90-degree angle, and pushing our arms back straight again.
In two weeks, we’ll discuss core training when outdoors
Do two to three circuits of the set and your upper body will feel tighter and more tired. Remember to replenish with protein afterwards and get enough water into you.
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Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase