Workout Ideas from Marianne Kane

On Monday I promised some workout resources, and today I am here to deliver.  I have already mentioned Girls Gone Strong (please “like” them on Facebook).  The group is made up of Jen Comas Keck, who I linked to last week, Molly Galbraith, Neghar Fonooni, Allie McKee, Julia Ladewski, Marianne Kane and Nia Shanks.   I have written about Nia before (see Nia Shanks’ Beautiful Badass  ), but in case you are new to my blog, check her out below.)

Nia weighs 120 lbs and is working to deadlifting 3 times her bodyweight, which would be an amazing accomplishment.

Look at those biceps!

But today I am not here to talk about Nia, but rather about Marianne Kane.  I am going to  turn you onto an amazing resource for free workouts, that can be done at the gym, or with minimal equipment that can be done at home.  Marianne’s workouts are posted on her website,  Marianne loves kettlebells, and while some things really only work with kettlebells, in most cases you can substitute a dumbbell if you don’t have access to kettlebells.  Her workouts consist of both strength training and conditioning.  Conditioning as in HIIT (high-intensity interval training), the kind of cardio you should be doing.  She has a good inventory of different exercises and movements, but once you learn them, she uses them again & again.  She keeps it interesting by changing the format of the workouts, many of which I think are very creative.  This allows you to mix it up ~ you might be doing kettlebell swings in several workouts, but it won’t feel repetitious as the workout itself might be completely different from one you did the day before.

If you don’t know where to start, go through her “Top 10 Home Conditioning Workouts for 2011” (there are actually 11) (she also has a tab for beginners, if that describes you).  This is more than enough to keep you busy for a while.  One of my favorites, which didn’t even make her top 10, is a combination of strength and conditioning.  I have done this workout three times and each time it is no less brutal (no worries, there are ways to regress some of the exercises, which I will discuss below).  She calls this “Sweat Marks Rock! Butt and Leg Home Workout” (I have to admit, I love her “Running Sucks” T-shirt…apparently it is a Nike t-shirt, but seems to be completely sold out…there are obviously others like me!).  Here are a few tips to help make the strength piece easier:

  1. Kettlebell Goblet squats can be changed to bodyweight squats.  Increase the challenge as you feel ready by adding a kettlebell or a dumbbell.
  2. Single-leg bench hip thrusts (one of the BEST exercises you can do for your butt) can be started without your foot elevated (just put it flat on the floor, making sure to drive through your heel).  You can regress even more by starting with both feel on the floor.
  3. Reverse lunges from a deficit.  These are hard.  You can start with just a split squat if you want.  Then advance to a reverse lunge.  Then move to a reverse lunge off a low step (you can then add risers to the step and a kettlebell or dumbbell to continue to up the challenge).
  4. Single-leg deadlifts.  I love these ~ you should really feel this working that posterior chain ~ hamstrings and glutes.  You can do these without added weight to start ~ form is important with these.  You can also start with a two-legged version if you find the single leg version too tough.  If you are really struggling with balance, try this split-stance version from Ben Bruno (ignore the barbell and focus on his stance ~ the back foot is meant to help you balance while keeping the forward leg doing most of the work):

Then there is the conditioning piece.  This can be challenging even for those who are fairly fit.  However, as always, there are ways to modify this to make things easier.  First off, you can always change your work/rest intervals.  For this segment Marianne prescribes 30 seconds of work to 15 seconds of rest/recovery.  If that is just too hard, you can start with  30 seconds of work to 30 seconds of recovery.  Remember, the “intensity” in HIIT is relative to you.  Also consider removing some of the jumping, especially when first beginning.  Jumping is going to make you sore.  You do not want to be so sore the next day that you cannot move.  So when Marianne prescribes 2 sumo jumps plus a burpee, you can do two bodyweight squats plus a burpee…or you can do 3 or 4 bodyweight squats to one burpee…very easy to modify.  They dynamic squats can be adjusted in a similar manner.  You can start out with just regular bodyweight squats, then start alternating bodyweight squats with some jump squats.  Very easy to play around with.  Stand-knee-stand will be harder than it looks, especially since your lower body is going to start feeling like jello…so start off doing this without any additional resistance (i.e. just bodyweight).  The plank climbers are also really hard…do them slowly…pause after each one to make this less difficult.  Modify to your level ~ just make sure you are still pushing yourself.  Don’t modify to the point where you aren’t really working hard.  With HIIT you should be breathing hard.  You should want the set to end.  And speaking of the end…Marianne prescribes 3 sets of the conditioning.  Maybe at first you just do one set, or two sets.  You can also adjust how much of a break you get between sets.  I took a minute, but take what you need so you feel ready to start again.
And that’s it.  I have tried 3 of Marianne’s workouts and I love them.  Give one a try and tell me what you think!

About Lisa Van Dore

I have lived in Sherborn, Dover and most recently North Walpole, for a total of 15 years (and counting). Having recently been through the process of selling a home and buying (and renovating) a new one, I understand the conflicting emotions of excitement and anxiety inherent in the process, whether you are a seller or buyer, whether this is your first home purchase or your tenth. I have a BA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Indiana University. My early career found me working as a CPA, and later as the controller of Crate & Barrel. More recently I spent seven years running my own personal training business. I understand the hard work and dedication necessary to build a business and a reputation...most of my personal training clients came to me by referral and my first client was still with me when I decided to leave personal training. This speaks to the level of effort I put forth for my clients, week after week. On a more personal note, I raced triathlon for seven years and more recently completed my first half marathon. In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, Maine, hiking and, in the fall, following college teams are the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!).
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