2

votes

Can you help me pick one good exercise?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 22, 2012 at 3:45 AM

So I am nearing the start of another round of chemo (monday). I get chemo once every three weeks and for the first two weeks after chemo, I am weak, tired, sick and I sleep a lot. It's been 12 weeks and I see my arms and legs getting flabby :-(

I am looking for one good exercise for upper body (maybe chest presses?) and one for lower body that I can do to preserve some muscle. I have a pair of 10 lb dumbells. I am thinking that one set of three will take all the strength I have during those initial two weeks, so that is why I am just looking for one. Thank you for any suggestions.

Af3e3615beba642bcafd0f21d64d74f7

on June 23, 2012
at 08:19 AM

Body By Science style training with a kettlebell.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 10:23 PM

Thanks Mike T. This is my last round of chemo before I start 5 weeks of chemoradiation. Usually after the chemo I am in bed, dead for a week, but by week three I feel back to normal. Also, the steroids make me nuts. I get put of bed shaking and need to run up and down the stairs 5 times. I was hoping to channel some of this. Can't wait to get off the drugs.

631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

(1277)

on June 22, 2012
at 06:30 PM

I just wanted to add to this. We think of stress as "boy, does my job suck" or even, "how am I ever going to make it through this" and those are real stresses. But the chemo itself is a very real stress and the exact reason the suggestion of squat or deadlift are silly. Both the squat and the dead are going to require recover - i.e. THEY ARE STRESSORS!!!!! That isn't what she needs now. One of the most difficult things in recovering from chemo is getting the body to function properly again. Why not teach it to move properly (TGU) at the same time?

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 22, 2012
at 05:14 PM

I almost typed the same thing. Then I read jesuisjuba's response. I wouldn't recommend squats, deadlifts, or any of the major exercises while on chemo... just get active with low impact stuff. I would be concerned with the lightheadedness and weakness you get from chemo affecting your balance.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:30 PM

If you can only do 2 exercises...squat and deadlift.

631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

(1277)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:53 PM

In fact, heart surgery is so complicated I can't even spell it.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:03 PM

+1 This doesn't answer her question, but I agree with this. Especially useful since you have been through something similar.

631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

(1277)

on June 22, 2012
at 02:01 PM

Heart surgury is technical. A TGU is getting up off the ground. Sure she could and probably should get instruction but I'm betting with a little youtube time and some hard work she could figure it out on her own. As for your point on swings, I couldn't disagree more with either point you made. First, I think you would be hardpressed to find a movement that is more beneficial and less "taxing" on the body than a properly executed hardstyle swing. Second, a swing done "at a much slower pace" isn't a swing at all. It is a front raise which has virtually no benefit.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on June 22, 2012
at 01:20 PM

Kettlebell swings are great but very taxing on the body. She can do swings with her dumb bells at a much slower pace and still benefit.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on June 22, 2012
at 01:17 PM

TGU's are really technical. I took classes and it took many of us a long time to get. I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner or really for anyone without instruction.

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 01:11 PM

My grandfather is on chemo and craving carbs too. You could minimize the cravings with large amounts of coconut oil that turn into ketones. And with electrolytes you can take mineral supplements. Magnesium and multiminerals. I like like Source Naturals "life minerals". You don't need to be accepted into a clinical trial to eat ketogenic though. But you can find clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov - hope it helps. Also look at the research on turmeric and cancer. And again I am here for you if there is anyway I can help you.

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 01:09 PM

My grandfather is on chemo and craving carbs too. You could minimize the cravings with large amounts of coconut oil that turn into ketones. And with electrolytes you can take mineral supplements. Magnesium and multiminerals. I like like Source Naturals "life minerals". You don't need to be accepted into a clinical trial to eat ketogenic though. But you can find clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov - hope it helps. And again I am here for you if there is anyway I can help. I am here for you.

631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

(1277)

on June 22, 2012
at 01:04 PM

I have absolutely no idea what this is and I have trained with Kettlebells for a very long time.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:46 AM

Huh, after reading the time magazine article on ketogenic diet, maybe I could rethink this. I am curious about the clinicl trial.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:43 AM

TY Mike T thats a great link. Boy I do miss going to the gym,

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:37 AM

TY. I've always been interested in kettle bells. Seems like a good alternative to Fred weights.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:36 AM

Looks like a good book. I am reading so many books-sometimes a book a day when I am bored bit too tired to move. This will be next on my list, thank you.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:34 AM

I don't think I could comply with a ketogenic diet. As it is, with all the steroids and medicines, I am craving weird things and hungrier than I should be. Cisplatin suppossedly messes with your electrolytes and does this.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:21 AM

Just don't push yourself too hard. Listen to your body. Good luck.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:21 AM

Also, you might alternate days. I.e., one day squat/bench and the other day squat/bent over row, so that you're also working your back and not just your chest: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/BackGeneral/DBBentOverRow.html

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:18 AM

Yes, you can. Probably start without dumbbells. If you can do more than 10-12 reps without dumbbells and are feeling good, then you could do the next set with the dumbbells. Here are instructions for dumbbell squat: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/DBSquat.html

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 04:14 AM

Also have you read the book AntiCancer By Dr David Servan-Schreiber? http://goo.gl/EiN8C

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 04:07 AM

Yes side planks are considerably harder because they put more of your body weight on fewer muscles and focus on your obliques (side muscles). See if you can do a regular plank for 60 seconds. If so, lift one leg up in the air for 60 seconds. Then switch legs.

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 04:05 AM

Have you looked into ketogenic diet for cancer? Keto diets are generally 20g carbs a day or so. Nobel laureate Otto Heinrich Warburg postulated that cancer lives on carbs and die when they consume ketones (from your favorite coconut oil). This is called the "Warburg Effect" Time Magazine Article http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1662484,00.html Scholarly publications on ketogenic diet and cancer http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=cancer%20ketogenic%20diet

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:03 AM

Cool. I am excited to get some muscle tone back. I'm 35 and it is so scary getting flabby.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:02 AM

Thank you ThinnerStrength. I think I was picturing a side plank which looks harder. This looks doable

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 03:58 AM

http://exercise.about.com/od/abs/ss/abexercises_10.htm

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 03:58 AM

I'd be happy to help you however I can. My email is dan at workaholicworkouts.com

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:56 AM

Thank you. Would I squat with the dumbbells?

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:56 AM

I have never done planks, but I will google them now. Thanks

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13 Answers

8
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on June 22, 2012
at 02:36 PM

No, I can't pick one good exercise given your question. I did the three-week cycle of chemo, so I think I know how you feel. Right now is not the time to worry about getting flabby or trying to fix it. Your goal right now is to give your body everything it needs to deal with the chemo and heal. What you need is rest and nutrients (whenever you're not nauseous). You don't need any more stress, life is stressful enough right now. Exercise of any kind will be adding more stress because your body will have to heal up from the exercise (that's how you get stronger). If you're feeling good enough (I know I didn't), a nice long walk to relax and get moving is probably ideal. Don't do anything that adds stress to yourself right now. Your only goal is to get better. Once you're done with chemo, that's the time to slowly start ramping up the exercise to rebuild your body.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:03 PM

+1 This doesn't answer her question, but I agree with this. Especially useful since you have been through something similar.

631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

(1277)

on June 22, 2012
at 06:30 PM

I just wanted to add to this. We think of stress as "boy, does my job suck" or even, "how am I ever going to make it through this" and those are real stresses. But the chemo itself is a very real stress and the exact reason the suggestion of squat or deadlift are silly. Both the squat and the dead are going to require recover - i.e. THEY ARE STRESSORS!!!!! That isn't what she needs now. One of the most difficult things in recovering from chemo is getting the body to function properly again. Why not teach it to move properly (TGU) at the same time?

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 10:23 PM

Thanks Mike T. This is my last round of chemo before I start 5 weeks of chemoradiation. Usually after the chemo I am in bed, dead for a week, but by week three I feel back to normal. Also, the steroids make me nuts. I get put of bed shaking and need to run up and down the stairs 5 times. I was hoping to channel some of this. Can't wait to get off the drugs.

1
Fd1c5e35538fbe2ea5eccb8acd7ae546

(496)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:13 PM

I would try Pilates since it will keep your core strong but it is not too intense

1
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on June 22, 2012
at 02:50 PM

I don't know where you live, or if you have access to a pool, but what about swimming? It's soothing, easy on the joints and such but you'll still get a workout. I would recommend a pull buoy to work on upper strength, kickboard to work on lower, and then paddle about for general.

I raced for years and that's my "chill out" spot - I'll pop into a pool for an hour or two and stretch out in the water doing odds and ends. It's peaceful, you can shut the world out for awhile, and just be.

Other ideas: Hatha yoga is great as is pilates. If you have the funds a few private sessions so you can work one-on-one to get comfie. It's all low impact but good for the brain, good for the bod. Anything body weight. Bench presses are fantastic. If you have the 10# DB's you could do goblet squats and reverse lunges - slow and steady but are excellent for legs and butt. Here, this is pretty good and includes videos for "how to" for various DB workouts. Good luck!

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 22, 2012
at 05:14 PM

I almost typed the same thing. Then I read jesuisjuba's response. I wouldn't recommend squats, deadlifts, or any of the major exercises while on chemo... just get active with low impact stuff. I would be concerned with the lightheadedness and weakness you get from chemo affecting your balance.

1
Af3e3615beba642bcafd0f21d64d74f7

on June 22, 2012
at 04:46 AM

kettlebell slow motion resistance training.

631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

(1277)

on June 22, 2012
at 01:04 PM

I have absolutely no idea what this is and I have trained with Kettlebells for a very long time.

Af3e3615beba642bcafd0f21d64d74f7

on June 23, 2012
at 08:19 AM

Body By Science style training with a kettlebell.

1
68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:26 AM

I know this doesn't address the specific question, but once you build up a little more endurance, I'd recommend looking into a Kettle Bell and doing a set of swings.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:37 AM

TY. I've always been interested in kettle bells. Seems like a good alternative to Fred weights.

1
35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:55 AM

Often enough I hear someone mention the back squat as the one toning and strength building exercise that one should do if one were to do only one exercise. Having done back squats for six years now I can testify to their effectiveness as a full body exercise. And, even though back squats don't work your arms there is a way in which the muscle growth stimulation helps to tone your arms.

People frequently raise the concern that back squats are unsafe if done improperly. True. But, with a pair of 10 pound dumbbells you're not likely to injure yourself.

I would suggest starting with bodyweight only squats. If you do enough of those you'll feel sore. Then you can move up to the dumb bells.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:03 AM

Cool. I am excited to get some muscle tone back. I'm 35 and it is so scary getting flabby.

1
43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 03:54 AM

If your goal is just to maintain, how about doing planks? It activates a whole chain of mainly upper body muscles as opposed to just focusing on one.

Weighed squats/dead lifts are good for lower body.

If you want to do bench press, have three points of connection on the bench, the back of your head, your shoulders (T-spine) and this is a game changer, lift your butt off the bench so you are barely barely grazing the bench with your butt cheek. Also keep two feet planted on the ground shoulder width or wider apart.

By lifting up your butt off the bench it changes the center of gravity and when you do a bench press you will activate more muscles from your thighs to arms than any other strength workout I know.

Your body is your gym with pushups, planks and squats you have whole body covered.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:56 AM

I have never done planks, but I will google them now. Thanks

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 04:07 AM

Yes side planks are considerably harder because they put more of your body weight on fewer muscles and focus on your obliques (side muscles). See if you can do a regular plank for 60 seconds. If so, lift one leg up in the air for 60 seconds. Then switch legs.

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 01:09 PM

My grandfather is on chemo and craving carbs too. You could minimize the cravings with large amounts of coconut oil that turn into ketones. And with electrolytes you can take mineral supplements. Magnesium and multiminerals. I like like Source Naturals "life minerals". You don't need to be accepted into a clinical trial to eat ketogenic though. But you can find clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov - hope it helps. And again I am here for you if there is anyway I can help. I am here for you.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:34 AM

I don't think I could comply with a ketogenic diet. As it is, with all the steroids and medicines, I am craving weird things and hungrier than I should be. Cisplatin suppossedly messes with your electrolytes and does this.

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 04:14 AM

Also have you read the book AntiCancer By Dr David Servan-Schreiber? http://goo.gl/EiN8C

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 04:05 AM

Have you looked into ketogenic diet for cancer? Keto diets are generally 20g carbs a day or so. Nobel laureate Otto Heinrich Warburg postulated that cancer lives on carbs and die when they consume ketones (from your favorite coconut oil). This is called the "Warburg Effect" Time Magazine Article http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1662484,00.html Scholarly publications on ketogenic diet and cancer http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=cancer%20ketogenic%20diet

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:46 AM

Huh, after reading the time magazine article on ketogenic diet, maybe I could rethink this. I am curious about the clinicl trial.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:02 AM

Thank you ThinnerStrength. I think I was picturing a side plank which looks harder. This looks doable

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 03:58 AM

I'd be happy to help you however I can. My email is dan at workaholicworkouts.com

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:36 AM

Looks like a good book. I am reading so many books-sometimes a book a day when I am bored bit too tired to move. This will be next on my list, thank you.

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 03:58 AM

http://exercise.about.com/od/abs/ss/abexercises_10.htm

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on June 22, 2012
at 01:11 PM

My grandfather is on chemo and craving carbs too. You could minimize the cravings with large amounts of coconut oil that turn into ketones. And with electrolytes you can take mineral supplements. Magnesium and multiminerals. I like like Source Naturals "life minerals". You don't need to be accepted into a clinical trial to eat ketogenic though. But you can find clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov - hope it helps. Also look at the research on turmeric and cancer. And again I am here for you if there is anyway I can help you.

1
Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Bench and squat would be the 2 I would pick. Both can be done with dumbbells. Good luck with your chemo. But I wonder if it's better to let your body rest/recover/heal and worry about the flab after you've kicked cancer to the curb. I am not a doctor though.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:21 AM

Just don't push yourself too hard. Listen to your body. Good luck.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:18 AM

Yes, you can. Probably start without dumbbells. If you can do more than 10-12 reps without dumbbells and are feeling good, then you could do the next set with the dumbbells. Here are instructions for dumbbell squat: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/DBSquat.html

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:43 AM

TY Mike T thats a great link. Boy I do miss going to the gym,

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:21 AM

Also, you might alternate days. I.e., one day squat/bench and the other day squat/bent over row, so that you're also working your back and not just your chest: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/BackGeneral/DBBentOverRow.html

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:56 AM

Thank you. Would I squat with the dumbbells?

0
05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on June 22, 2012
at 08:54 PM

walk. get some good minimalist shoes and walk, uphill is good. you can add a weighted vest with 10% of your bodyweight. don't overdo it, just do it. :)

if you want to add weights to each hand and walk, that's fine too but you must keep proper posture, locomotion, and breathing coordination, otherwise it's not helpful.

0
F5be4be097edc85690c12d67ee1a27c0

on June 22, 2012
at 05:54 PM

SQUATS! Nuff said.

0
F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 22, 2012
at 04:51 PM

I agree with "miked" on this, but if you're determined to use those dumbbells, email me at "sam@aworldlymonk.com" and I'll send you a video showing how to perform one exercise that combines a squat, bicep curl, and overhead press.

0
631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

on June 22, 2012
at 01:10 PM

Workout 1:

10 - 15 Kettlebell swings on the minute for 10 - 20 minutes. (Set a timer for 1 minute. Start timer and complete 10 - 15 swings. Rest remainder of the minute. When timer beeps, repeat)

Workout 2:

Turkish Get Ups (TGUs) 10 each side.

As you recover you can build off of these workouts to add goblet squats, presses, and pullups. But these two are all you need to get started.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on June 22, 2012
at 01:17 PM

TGU's are really technical. I took classes and it took many of us a long time to get. I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner or really for anyone without instruction.

631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

(1277)

on June 22, 2012
at 02:01 PM

Heart surgury is technical. A TGU is getting up off the ground. Sure she could and probably should get instruction but I'm betting with a little youtube time and some hard work she could figure it out on her own. As for your point on swings, I couldn't disagree more with either point you made. First, I think you would be hardpressed to find a movement that is more beneficial and less "taxing" on the body than a properly executed hardstyle swing. Second, a swing done "at a much slower pace" isn't a swing at all. It is a front raise which has virtually no benefit.

631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

(1277)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:53 PM

In fact, heart surgery is so complicated I can't even spell it.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on June 22, 2012
at 01:20 PM

Kettlebell swings are great but very taxing on the body. She can do swings with her dumb bells at a much slower pace and still benefit.

0
Medium avatar

(3213)

on June 22, 2012
at 06:04 AM

Body weight exercises are the most complete, i would recommend positive incline pushups, as many repetitions as you can muster with good form, for lower body; forward lunges, as many as you feel comfortable with. Do this three times a week. My hat's off to you, keep moving forward!

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