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Monkey Business

Today is June 1st, marking exactly 1 year of keto.

91lbs down. Gone from a size 26 to a size 10 (US sizing).

Which also makes today the first day of the rest of the many, many low-carb years to follow.

And as I celebrate my accomplishment, I'm also beginning my summer challenge.

Inspired by watching my eldest daughter's constant, and seemingly effortless, trips back and forth across the monkey bars at the park last month, I was a little envious. Sure I've lost a lot of weight, and I can run and jump and do a load of squats and push-ups. But what can I still not do, that I couldn't even do as a child? Swing with ease across the monkey bars. Even now I can't even get past the second rung, let alone go all the way across and back even once. After a lot of taunting from my husband (yes, again) I decided to approach this issue with the dogged determination I've faced everything with this past year. By September, I'm going to do it.

How on earth do you train to be a monkey? Women aren't known for their arm strength. I'd say I have more arm strength now. But it isn't enough. I researched training for pull-ups. You know, where you hike your entire body up with your arms until you get your head over the bar. You pretty much have to be Wonder Woman to do that. I figured exercises used to train for pull-ups would get me close to where I need to be to haul myself across the monkey-gauntlet. And you know that after I school the monkey bars, pull-ups are going to be next.

It's not surprising that there aren't any monkey bar training programs. I was a tall, heavy kid from the get-go. I never had a chance with the height and the chunky I kept despite playing sports. Thinner kids with more self-esteem and less food issues never had a problem with them. But there is a whole crowd of us chunky-monkeys who never were able to master them, not even a little.

In my research, I've discovered a few things. Pull-ups are primarily about the back (rows rows rows, people!), then biceps and forearms. But something that those manly trainers take for granted, I think, is hand-strength. I have very little. Something else to add to the regimen. And lastly, hang time. I found mention that the most basic beginner pull-up training exercise is to hang like a monkey, working to increase your hang time.

So after reading lots of articles and watching videos on pull-up training, here is my super secret, super specialized, space-monkey-bacon-science Monkey Bar Training Program. (Which I must add is in addition to my regular full body lifting routines twice a week. I'm just splitting the extra exercises up and tacking them onto the existing routines.)

3 sets of 12 of the following and increase weights (if applicable). For bodyweight exercizes, increase reps or duration.
Hang Time (started with 15 sec)

Horizontal Pull-ups
Hammer curls
Reverse preacher curls
Finger curls
Lateral raises
Reverse Fly
Lateral Row
Vertical Rows

I already do regular rows, bicep curls, push ups, pullovers, presses, and etc with my regular dumbbell routines.

In fact, I alternate 2 different circuits.

Bench Press
Chest Fly
Plie Squats with Bicep Curls
Pullovers (both dumbbells)
Stationary Lunges (12 each side)
Bent-over Rows
Stiff-Leg Deadlift and Front Raise
Single Arm Extensions (12 rep each arm)
Deadlift with Arnold Press
Bike Crunches (16 each side)
Chair Glute Bridge

Push-ups (15 per set, 4 sets)

Stiff-leg Deadlift and Reverse Fly
Single-arm and Leg Raise (aka Diagonal Get-up with weight, 12 each side)
Squats and Front Raise
Alternate Lunge and Row Kickback
Plie Squat Cross and Press
Walking Lunge and Torso Rotation
Crunches with Dumbbell Cross-Punch (4 sets)

It's likely that I'll add Hang Time daily, and tack most of the training to the end of the Thursday routine. I do think I'll do the Horizontal Pull-ups on Tuesdays as well. I'm about to move up to the last weight adjustment on my set. I'll have to order the new set pretty soon. I would have moved up last month, but I keep procrastinating on ordering them. So I'm taking my time. But I need to quit fooling around. Tsk tsk, Baconslave.

Cardio will remain the same. 1 hour tromps up and down the hills in my yard on M, W, F and 30 min romps after my circuits. (Rainy days are 45 min low-impact aerobics like Leslie Sansone 3-mile walks. Except of course I add all kinds of extra movements, replacing stationary walking intervals with walking ones or jogging, cuz that's the way I roll. I leave out the weights since I need to rest my muscles from strength training.) I think I may add a few sprints since I'll need to start conditioning my kiddos for soccer season later in the month.

 At any rate, here I go. Keep Calm and Monkey On.  ;-)

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