Hi! I’m Dawn’s friend Alexa and I’m guest-posting while Dawn’s away! You’ve probably seen me on some of her other posts, usually involving me making some very decadent meal :)
Following my foot surgery last March, I decided to add more weight-lifting (once I had the green light to do so) so I could rebuild some muscle. As a former field hockey player and a sometimes runner (I injured myself before I could run my first half, but hopefully I’ll run the half in Pittsburgh this May!), leg exercises were always easy and fun for me. My legs felt strong and I always felt a sense of accomplishment after strength training that focused on my legs.
My arms, however….Well, I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but sometimes it’s hard to do something if you just constantly feel like you’re weak. Which I know that not weight-lifting isn’t going to help me get stronger, but it’s hard for me to be motivated sometimes! A swimmer/runner friend of mine, however, has fantastic, feminine arms. So when I decided to strength train more, I thought about getting my arms to look like hers and used that for motivation! After I told her that, she recommended this awesome app, Skimble. They have a website, but I’ve only ever used their app on my smartphone.
Skimble is amazing! They have featured exercises, workouts and programs. Exercises are just one particular activity, like mountain climbers or burpees. Workouts, which I use most, are a series of timed exercises. Programs are a series of workouts scheduled over multiple days/weeks. I haven’t done any programs because I think you need to pay for them.
Skimble has this great functionality where you can filter through exercises/workouts/programs based on your preferences. So say I’m at home (with limited equipment) and I want to do a 15 minute exercise that focuses on my chest and is moderate effort. I can put in those parameters (see the picture below), and up pops a set of workouts that meet those constraints! It’s fantastic!
You can also just browse through the workouts to find something that seems interesting. The workout will keep time for you, give you a countdown to the next exercise in the workouts, tell you what the next exercise is, etc. Sometimes, it even gives you encouragement in a very robotic tone, which usually makes me laugh and distracts me from how tired I am!
Before I start any workout, I usually scroll through to see what I’ll be doing and for how long. The great thing about Skimble is that you can click on an exercise, and there are pictures and/or a video to explain how to do it!
That has been so helpful to me so many times. For example, there’s one exercise in a favorite workout of mine that’s called “Shorty Push-ups.” At first I thought it was just a modified push-up. It turns out that the move starts in a modified push-up. You lower yourself down, and keeping your arms in the low position, you put your feet down and push your knees off the ground so you’re in the down position for a regular push-up. Then you put your knees back down on the ground and finish the modified push-up by straightening your arms. It really engages your core! And it’s an exercise I never would’ve known about had I not used Skimble!
The Skimble app also keeps track of your favorite workouts, allows you to connect with friends, and most of it is free! (I think you can pay for some programs or to have a more human voice tell you when you need to switch exercises, but I’ve only ever used the free app.) It has been great for me to continue with strength training with new exercises that keep my body guessing and my mind entertained!
Do you use any apps for strength training or fitness in general?
How do you find new exercises to keep your workouts interesting?