This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You, or: Attila's three most torturous moves


I don't call her Attila for nothing.

Three times a week (give or take), this pleasant, charming, fit young woman invades my house with a variety of weird things packed into a rolling scuba bag and proceeds to make me do exercises that are almost always guaranteed to make me cry.

Herein, the best of the bunch. You can do them with fitness balls and barbells if you have such things, or with a cat and some soup cans (if your cat is patient), or with nothing at all. Ready?

(Disclaimer: be sure to check with your inner Slacker before attempting any of the following exercises. Those with back, hip, lung, bicep, head, or fourth-toe problems should see a doctor before beginning this program. Offer subject to local and state taxes and licensing. Do not use while bathing. Never point at your own or another person's face.)

Exercise One: The Frog-Hop

Grab a ball. The ball we use is a seven-pound, sand-filled thing, but I suppose you could use any old ball (except maybe one of those super-bounce ones). Or you could use a shoe. Or your purse. Just make it something that you can toss that'll stay (mostly) where it lands.

Start at one end of the room. Assume the squat position.

Toss the ball forward a foot and a half or so. Easy, right?

Now hop, without coming out of the squat, so that your feet are just ahead of the ball. Reach back through your legs (don't break that squat!) and grab the ball/purse/shoe/patient cat you've just tossed. Toss it ahead of you again.

Hop forward. Grab ball. Toss. Hop. Grab. Toss. Hop. Grab.

About four reps into this, your butt will begin to burn. It will continue to burn for a couple days afterward as well. We (who's this "we"? I mean *I*) do six laps up and down the room with about eight hops per length.

Exercise Two: Ball *#$&* Passes

For this, Attila brings out my big fitness ball. I hate that thing.

Lie down on your back on a relatively padded surface. (We use a foam step, but you could double up a towel.) Place the Hated Fitness Ball between your ankles. Kinda big, ain't it?

Stretch your hands above your head.

Now bring your body up into a V-shape and pass the ball from your ankles to your hands. Make another V-shape and pass it back to your ankles. Repeat. Nineteen more times.

For this one, I do three sets of twenty, though by about the ninth rep on any given set, it looks more like I'm imitating a dying frog than a graceful Pilates babe.

Exercise Three: Combo Curl Thingies

Grab a pair of barbells or a couple of soup cans. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Curl your weights up, just like you're doing a regular barbell curl.

Now press straight up into a shoulder press.

Lather and rinse nineteen more times. Do three sets. Realize, about fifteen reps into your first set, that although this seems like a simple, easy exercise, it in fact shreds your shoulder muscles more efficiently than almost any other move.

For extra added frustration and whining, combine this move with a simple squat. Curl up as you squat down, then stand up as you do the shoulder press.

If you want to get *really* fancy, you can do it on one foot, or while standing on a balance board, or while surfing. I have tried none of those things, but they seem kinda cool-sounding in my uncaffeinated state.

Putting this all into context: it's rare that Attila makes me attempt all three of these moves in one session. Normally I do a heavy leg workout one day a week, and the rest of the week is combined core and upper body. Frog-hops fall into the "heavy leg workout" routine, and I might do either one or both of the other two on any core/uppers day.

Have fun with those, if you end up trying them. And pray Attila doesn't read this blog. She'd probably make up new stuff to punish me for giving away her secrets.

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