Photos by Matthew Pardue
In Louisville, a Workout that Hit Every Muscle

Learning new moves at Heuser Health

When working out on the road, I always look for something different and some new challenges, just for fun. With Chris Thompson at Heuser Health, I got something more. In keeping with Heuser’s philosophy, he led me through a complete, functional workout that went far beyond the basics, hitting muscles and angles often missed in a typical 45-minute routine. Here are a few highlights.

Think you’re flexible? Try this one. The idea is to touch the floor with one hand while holding a dumbbell vertically with the other. I started with a very light one. You can progress by getting closer to putting your palm on the floor. Grading on a curve, I’d give myself a gentleman’s ‘C’.

Another simple, but effective exercise new to me: place a standard 45-pound Olympic bar in a rotating holder – what’s called a landmine – and lift as high as you can. You can do a whole workout with this attachment. The rotating motion allows for squatting, pressing, and pulling.

Forget crunches, which can strain spinal discs and only reinforce bad sitting posture. This knee-to-chest version of the Swiss ball rollout is much better for core strength and stability. Start in a plank position – lower leg on the ball, legs extended, back horizontal. Try not to raise your hips as you draw your knees into your chest. Extend legs back to starting position and repeat.

Chris said sturdy chains are good for adding challenge to exercises with an ascending strength curve, meaning they get easier at the top range of motion, as joints are extended. This version of the lunge increased intensity, all right, with the side benefit of requiring me to hold my chest up.

This exercise couldn’t be simpler: throw a heavy-ish medicine ball behind you as hard as you can. But it’s certainly effective. By definition, it calls on all the strength you’ve got.

Sandbags are no gimmick. Because the sand shifts as you move, they challenge you to stabilize as well as lift. I’d guess this one weighed 40 pounds, and when Chris instructed me to jog with it, I thought I’d heard him wrong. I hadn’t.

Pulling myself up with a rope from a prone position on the floor has got to be one of the hardest exercises I’ve ever done. Summer camp was never like this.