I promised Beth of Too Fond on Twitter that I would write today about all the ways I modify 30 Day Shred to suit my 50 year old body. I wrote about my cautious and gradual history with strength training earlier this month: Readers’ Workouts — November 13.
I feel like I should start this off with a disclaimer. I’m a librarian. Not a trainer, physical therapist, or doctor. Don’t sue me. I think we all have to figure out how to work with our own bodies, but we help each other by sharing. I worked through lots of videos, read lots of books, and listened to what has worked and hasn’t for other athletes. I borrowed what worked for me and ignored what didn’t.
First off, I don’t jump. Jillian Michaels says this at the beginning of Level 1 of 30 Day Shred:
Those of you at home who are looking for the modified version of a jumping jack, look elsewhere… I’ve got 400 pound people that can do jumping jacks. So can you.
I talk back to Jillian (it’s pretty safe since she can’t hear me), telling her that I’ll do jumping jacks when I get an all-expense paid vacation to the Biggest Loser Ranch and a chance to win big money. Since I lost my weight, that’s not going to happen. I figure my arthritic knees have only a limited number of jumps left in them and I’m saving every last one for jumping off the back of the pick-up truck while doing yard work.
Jillian’s right, however, that the common modified jumping jack isn’t going to get my cardio going near enough for this workout, so I substitute dance moves for the jumping jack and other jumping movements in the 30 Day Shred workout.
Another advantage of dance moves is that they flow smoothly from one to another. Jillian is constantly saying “No resting” during this workout but, compared to a dance DVD, she stops all the time. It drives me nuts. So I keep things going by moving from one dance step to another.
Another issue for knees for many people is going to be all the squats and lunges in the 30 Day Shred. I really pay attention to keeping my knee angle at 90 degrees — the knee is over the heel not jutting forward over the toe.
The best advice I ever got for squats was from a physical therapist and should please all you bookish types: put a book under your toes to make sure that your weight is back in the heels. I don’t actually do that — just visualizing it is enough for me.
Lunges took longer for me to work out. I learned to do them last winter while working with the Slim in 6 video series. It turned out that doing lunges while holding on to the back of a chair was vital for me. I didn’t feel like I was losing my balance, but apparently I was wrenching my knee trying to keep my balance. I also started off doing lunges much slower than the people on the video. I did them as three separate moves — out, down, back. Otherwise, I’d find myself jutting my knee too far forward. It took several weeks before I could do them without the chair and as fast as the trainer.
The last item about knees is the quad stretch that Jillian does at the end of the cool-down. I learned from the Strong Knees DVD that I get a much better stretch without risking my knee when I do the quad stretch while lying on the floor on my side. Also, I emphasize moving my hips forward more than pulling my foot into my body.
I slightly modified the hip, knee, and neck circles that show up in the warm-ups of 30 Day Shred. For my joints, circles need to be done in both directions because they feel different. If you start circling while she’s still talking, you can do five slow circles one way and then five slow circles the other while the performers are doing their eight or so in one direction.
Beth was having troubles with her neck while doing 30 Day Shred. I haven’t had too much trouble in that area but I did have to make a small change to the hip lifts in Level 1. Jillian says to put your hands on the ground by your hips. I put my hands behind my head. Otherwise, I try to “borrow” the movement from my upper body and it hurts my neck and shoulder area, aggravating an old high school volleyball injury.
Has anyone else had neck problems with 30 Day Shred? What advice do you have for Beth?
How was your exercise last week? For the USians among you, did Thanksgiving throw you off track? What’s up for the coming week? Share on your blog and link your post below. Or tell your story in the comments. Be sure to visit the other participants for support and encouragement.
Edited to add: Linking this up to Empowered Healthy tips link-up at Efficient Body Diary.