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Water Jar Shoulder Shrug Dec 7, 2010

Water Jar Shoulder Shrug

The neighborhood gym closed shop and I was looking for an alternative weight training workout to integrate into my routine. I have two 1.5 gallon water jars I fill up from the community faucet. That gave me an idea. Why not use these water jars as barbel substitutes? Given the ergononics, there are only so many ways I can do this. One ideal workout for it was the shoulder shrugs. Ever seen that werewolf guy in New Moon? He was buffed but what carried him across was not his biceps or pecs, but the not-so-conspicuous traps (musculus trapezius, the pyramid-like muscles that start from the upper middle part of the back and extend its way up along the neck.) That was the picture I visualized for this routine.

  1. Shrug 1 - gripping the jars with arms straight towards the ground, I exhale and lift the two jars along the front of my body until my hand is at jaw level with elbows pointing to my sides. I hold it here for a few seconds and gradually inhale as I bring the jars back to its starting position. I keep doing this until I'm a rep away from feeling nauseated (this is close to point of failure). This is always my stop point in all the routine.

    Tip: On the return, I do it very very slowly, making it a slo-mo decline. I will be making several breathing cycles until I return the jars back. I noticed that close to the resting point when the arms are only slightly bent, the burning happens - that's because this is the most neglected part of the muscles, with movement usually going faster as it reaches the resting position.
  2. Shrug 2 - I immediately follow-up with the less demanding normal shrugs - still gripping the jars with arms straight towards the ground, I exhale and lift my shoulders high. This lifts the jars to about 6 inches. I hold it there and slowly bring it back to resting position.

    Tip: When returned, it really doesn't stop and rest. I time it with another exhale and bring it back up as soon as its down. Breath is key. Always. I use the yogic Ujaii breathing - audible full breathing, bloating the lungs on the inhale and fully deflating the lungs on the exhale.
  3. Deadlift - I immediately follow-up by lifting the jars mid-point and inhale as I bend down my legs until my thighs are 45 degrees from my shins. With a deep inhale, I straigten my legs back into the starting position. The jars are always lifted to mid-point.
  4. Pranayama - I go to my yoga mat and do the alternating nostril pranayama with a vacuum on the exhale. I repeat this until I recover and repeat step 1 again until I finish 3 sets.
  5. Mentholated oil massage - I apply the oil to the affected muscle group (traps and delts) and massage it with lots of kneading.
  6. Meditation - I put my shirt on, wear the construction ear muffs and proceed to go into my meditation. The oil will initially have a burning effect but later will provide a cooling effect. The shirt is essential. There are many crowing roosters and motor bikes around. The ear muff lessens sound by as much as 80% - a big bonus when meditating.

Ending Thoughts
I don't normally document a workout, but I'd like to do this routine regularly. This is what I would call a perfect workout. It only takes about 30 minutes but integrates a lot of components into the routine - weight training, pranayama, massage and meditation. I'm energized and my demeanor and outlook for the day starts off positively. Maybe I should call it Shoulder Shrug Yoga.

--- TheLoneRider

Dec 7, 2010

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