It’s that time of year when the thought of doing one more “normal” workout at the gym makes me want to curl up on the couch, turn on Project Runway All Stars and eat nothing but Cheetos.
It’s not that I don’t want to work out, and it’s not that I loathe the gym. It’s just that, OMG, I can’t take another minute of my stagnant, predictable, nothing-ever-changes workout routine.
If you know what I’m talking about, then it’s time to make a change and breathe new life into your exercise program. Grab your kid’s skateboard (or your own), and skate your way through a tough full-body routine. The instability of the board’s wheels will engage your core and activate the stabilizing muscles of your shoulders, hips and ankles. You may be surprised how hard you’ll end up working, so move slowly, and adjust your range of motion to maintain control throughout each exercise.
The skateboard workout
Perform this routine as a circuit, completing each exercise for the suggested number of repetitions. Rest for 10 seconds between exercises as you move into the next position. At the end of the circuit, rest for two minutes, then repeat the circuit a second time through.
This workout can be performed on almost any surface, but keep in mind, the board will roll more easily on hard surfaces such as concrete and wood. To increase friction and slow the roll down, place the skateboard on a low-pile rug or yoga mat. Thick carpet will make it easier to control the skateboard’s rolling action, but the movements might be less smooth.
1. Unstable split squat
Place one foot on the skateboard, feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. With your weight in your heels, press your hips backward, and bend your knees, lowering your glutes toward the floor behind you as you keep your knees aligned with your toes. You may want to swing your arms forward to help with balance as you squat down. From the bottom of the squat, press through your heels, and return to standing. The goal is to keep the skateboard as steady and stable as possible. You don’t want it rolling around.
Perform 15 repetitions.
2. Unstable push-up
Place your palms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the skateboard, and step your feet behind you so your body forms a straight line from heels to head. Make sure your shoulders are over your palms. Keeping the board as steady as possible, bend your elbows, and lower your chest toward the board with your elbows angled out from your body at about 45 degrees. When you’ve lowered yourself as close to the board as you can, reverse the movement, press through your palms and return to the high plank position.
Perform 12 repetitions. If toe push-ups are too difficult, place your knees on the ground for a modified push-up.
3. Ab roll out
Kneel on the ground on your hands and knees, placing the skateboard between your palms, perpendicular to your body. Carefully move into a modified push-up position, grasping the outer edges of the board with both hands. Your hands should be under your shoulders so your body forms a straight line from head to knees. Tighten up your core, and very carefully begin rolling the board forward, extending your arms in front of you as far as you can. When you can’t go any farther, reverse the movement, and use your abs to help pull the board back to your body.
Perform as many repetitions as you can while maintaining good form. Don’t let your low back sag, and always maintain control of the forward and backward roll.
4. Reverse lunge
Stand tall with the board to the outside of one leg. Place the ball of the same side foot on the center of the board, your feet roughly hip-distance apart. Bend both knees, and use your foot to carefully roll the board behind you as you lower yourself into a lunge, making sure to keep your torso upright and centered between your legs. When both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, reverse the movement, push through your front heel and draw the board back toward you as you press to standing.
Perform 12 repetitions per leg.
5. Unstable renegade row
Set up in a high push-up position with the skateboard under and parallel to your body. Place one hand firmly in the center of the board, and grasp a dumbbell (if you have one) in your opposite hand. Tighten your core, and shift your weight slightly to the hand resting on top of the board. Lift the dumbbell from the floor, and bend your elbow back, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you draw the dumbbell up to your chest. Reverse the movement, and lower it again, stopping just before it touches the ground.
Perform 10 repetitions per side. If you don’t have a dumbbell, use a water bottle in its place. This exercise is surprisingly difficult because keeping the skateboard steady is a challenge. You may want to place the board on a mat or rug to reduce its motion. Feel free to lower your knees to the ground to make the exercise easier.