Move of the Week: Plie Squat and Bicep Curl, Plus Upright Row

Hey, remember when I used to write Move of the Week posts?

Boy, I’ve been slacking on those.  I haven’t posted one since May!  If you are new to Fitness & Feta, or forget what my Move of the Week posts are like, click here and scroll through my library of exercises.  These posts are more of a step by step guide that focus on how to properly execute various fitness moves.  A “how to,” if you will.

This week I want to focus on a combo move I’ve been loving lately.

Plie Squat and Bicep Curl, plus Upright Row

Step 1

Start standing with your feet a little wider than hip width apart.  Your toes and knees should point out to the side.  Hold your dumbbells in front of you, palms front.

Step 2

Bend your knees so you are in a wide plie squat.  Pay extra attention to your knees here, they should be directly over your ankles — not over your toes.  As you bend into the squat, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders in a bicep curl.  Pause here, squeezing all muscles.

Step 3

Return to the starting position by straightening your legs and lowering the weights back down.  Here you’ve completed one rep of the plie squat + bicep curl.

Step 4

Add an extra element to this move and work your shoulders by adding an upright row.  After doing Steps 1 – 3, flip your palms so they are facing your body in front of your legs instead of facing out as shown above.  Squeezing your shoulders, lift your arms so your elbows point up to the sides.  Note when the dumbbells are raised, your wrists should be in front or just below of shoulders; elbows should be to sides, not too far forward.  To finish, lower the weights back down, flip your palms back so they are facing front again, and repeat the sequence.

I’m a huge fan of what I like to call “combo moves,” or compound exercises that work more than one muscle at the same time.  Especially upper body and lower body muscle groups together.  This combo is fun because the plie squat works your glutes, quads, and inner thighs at the same time you are doing a bicep curl to sculpt your arms.  That upright row at the end adds an extra bonus for your shoulders, specifically your lateral delts.

For a sample workout that incorporates this move, try the following workout (originally posted here):

Go ahead, give it a shot!  If you haven’t made your two health and fitness goals for the week (I mentioned this at the end of this morning’s post), perhaps trying this combo move (or the full workout) could be one of them?

What’s your favorite compound exercise?

Off to Two A Day!  🙂

Getting Creative with Chickpeas

Let’s talk food.

In recent months I’ve been kind of addicted to chickpeas.  They’re a great source of protein, they’re fat-free, and they are full of fiber too.  Plus, word on the street is that the beans chickpeas are made from can lower your risk of heart disease and may reduce your risk of colon cancer.  I love adding chickpeas to soups and all sorts of salads – regular salads, tuna salads, chicken salads, etc.  And don’t even get me started on hummus.

Lately I started wondering how else I could incorporate chickpeas into snacks and meals, and a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a recipe for chickpea burgers.  I decided that this would be a must try meal during vacation week (Tim and I cooked many meals in to save money).  My meat-loving, grill-obsessed boyfriend was skeptical to say the least.  But he willingly obliged and you know what?  We both agreed that chickpea burgers are really tasty, and now I want to eat them all the time.

Grilled Chickpea Burgers

Recipe inspired by Greatist.com

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks  (or 5 baby carrots, peeled and diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1.5 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, if you go with canned make sure to rinse first!
  • 1/2 cup of quick oats
  • Other spices/herbs that you feel like!  I used ground pepper, a pinch of salt, and basil

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the diced onion and sauté, stirring occasionally for five minutes until soft.  Remove from heat and place onions in a large bowl.
  3. In a food processor blend the carrot(s), garlic, parsley and other herbs, oats, and chickpeas until smooth.  Add the chickpea mixture to the bowl with the onions and mix to combine.
  4. Form the mixture into four patties about three inches across and a half-inch thick.
  5. Grill the patties for four to five minutes on each side.
  6. Feast!

 

Recipe Notes and Lessons Learned

  • If baking instead of grilling, you can spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray or brush with olive oil, then bake the patties at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
  • Make sure you actually have a food processor at your disposal before trying this recipe.  We bought and prepped all the ingredients before realizing that the house we were staying in down the Cape did not have a food processor.  We tried blending and failed because the mixture got stuck in the bottom.  We added 1 egg to try to liquify and it didn’t help (but didn’t hurt either!)  Finally, I ended up using an egg beater to grind up the mixture and then formed the patties by hand.  So if you are also sans food processor, that could work too!
  • For a fun burger topping, we used sautéed mushrooms.  Use a fun topping of your choice!
  • To cut on the processed carbs, try these as bunless, open-faced, or with a whole wheat bun.

I also put together a quick side salad to have along with these burgers.  Spinach with cherry tomatoes, avocado, and blueberries:

And Tim also grilled some eggplant that we brought along with us because it would have gone bad while we were away.

Final meal:

Was a delicious choice for the first dinner of vacation!  Even for the meat-lover. 😉

How do you guys like to get creative with chickpeas?  Any other ideas? 

Something Extra:  In honor of my return to Two A Day Tuesday tonight, let’s all make TWO health and fitness goals for the rest of the week today.  Two goals for Tuesday!  Mine are 1) Drink a ton of water this week, and 2) Try a new healthy recipe at some point.  Anyone want to share what theirs will be?!  Feel free to leave a comment here, tweet me @fitnessandfeta, or post on my Facebook page!