I HAD to reblog – too good of a read. This is going to be a great series of posts by my girl Erika over at sweat&dirt – check out her blog for great tips on getting the most out of your training!
People do a lot of crazy things in gyms. Sometimes I almost (ALMOST) miss working out in commercial facilities and seeing the wild things people think are good ideas.
This is the first post in a series of installments I plan on writing (and am really excited about) on simple ways to have better and smarter workouts…which in turn will make you all around fierce at life.
I chose these three first because, as basic as they are, I believe they’re the most important and form a solid base for success, no matter what your goals are.
1) Follow A Program – There’s a big difference between training and just working out. When you’re training you are focused, have a plan, a set goal, serious determination and specifics to improve on each session. Walking into the gym, with no plan, tossing around a pair of 8lb dumb bells doing…
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Pre-season conditioning started today for HS Lax and therefore I’m back on my blogging wagon. As you can tell from my
lame terribly witty title, I’m putting a spin on ‘Are you smarter than 5th grader’ – and essentially creating another mildly entertaining way to feel inadequate. Just kidding 🙂
The following is day 1 of our conditioning program and all you need is a track, or soccer field, and a speed ladder (or random objects that you can line up and use as such). I didn’t hold back when I wrote up this one – but my team managed to get through it. Can you?
*Pick your favorites, or use these (15-20 yards each):
Knee to chest, OH Rev lunge, Fwd lunge + hamstring, Frankensteins, Lateral shuffle (both directions), fast feet halfway / butt kicks half way, high knees halfway/ butt kicks halfway, run, backpedal, run 75% both ways, sprint both ways
Using the track lines “fast feet”- 15 sec “soccer ball” taps, 15 sec front to back, 15 sec lateral hops (x3)
Speed ladder: single foot in + run to cone (~10-20 meters) w/ jog back (x3), double foot x3, lateral both directions x4 (2 each way)
“Lane drills”: ~20-30 meters
A: Run – backpedal x4
B: Lateral shuffle to cone & sprint back x4 (2 each direction)
Rest, water, etc.
1 Mile run – timed.
Cool down & stretch.
The entire thing took about 40 minutes – it was a way to get stretching, neural prep, agility and conditioning all in one workout PLUS test mile times. I don’t really like the mile as a gauge of fitness, but I wanted times to have an idea of what pace to program when we run 400m and 800m repeats later on. I also know I’ll see improvements in it without necessarily running it all the time, so that result is something more tangible for the athletes vs adding reps to their 4o0m workouts. (What’s all this nonsense? Check out my post about track repeats here )
On Thursday we hit the weights – and I’m going from a weight room with 1 squat rack to a weight room with 6 & bumper plates. Best news ever.
Great post on bridging the gap from rehab to sports performance & incorporating PAP into training.
For years there has been a gap between performance enhancement and injury management. Strength coaches fail to address rehabilitation and injury prevention during performance training whereas health care practitioners (ATs, PTs, OTs) fail to address performance training during injury management. There are some who continually seek to merge the two disciplines, by utilizing the unique training principles from each side. I am not saying ALL fail to bridge the gap, but it certainly is the majority. Health care practitioners could be a bit more boundaryless and integrate performance enhancement concepts and protocols in to injury management programming. One method we can use is Postactivation Potentiation or (PAP).
Brief Overview of Postactivation Potentiation:
Postactivation Potentiation was described by Robbins in 2005. According to Robbins, PAP is the enhanced and immediate muscle force output of explosive movements after a heavy resistance exercise is performed (1). Over the past few years it has gained popularity in…
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Hi guys! I promise to do a proper blog post soon, but in the meantime, I need your help!
I’m taking a general survey of as many people as possible to get an idea of their personal fitness preferences and suggestions of what they’d like to see in their particular gym/daily routines. I have the survey on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/sten023 – add me as a friend and take it on there!) OR copy/paste and answer the questions via comment on my blog OR you can email me the answers at email@example.com – I know you all are super busy, but this would help me out a lot 🙂
Also, if you could repost this on your blogs & share with your friends and encourage them to do the same, that’d be amazing. Thanks!
- How old are you?
- Male or female?
- Are you a full time student? If not, are you working full time?
- Do you currently exercise regularly? (> 2x a week)
- If yes, what do you do?
- If not, why not?
- For both: what motivated you to start, or what WOULD motivate you to start? (friends, certain classes being offered, a trainer, etc)
- Did you grow up playing sports?
- If yes, how many?
- Even if you don’t participate regularly, what is your favorite type of fitness activity? (running, playing basketball, swimming, etc)?
- Are you more likely to work out alone or with someone?
- Do you enjoy the gym atmosphere or would you prefer to be exercising outside?
- What are you more likely to spend money on (choose as many as you want):
- Nutrition assessment / consultation
- Personal training & program design
- Small group training (3-5 people per group)
- Classes (yoga, pilates, boot camps, conditioning)
- DVDs (p90x, etc)
- Other (please specify)
10. If you already belong to a gym, what services do you use the most (pool, juice bar, cardio, etc)?
11. What would you want to see offered that you aren’t getting currently?
I usually keep my blog posts pretty upbeat (albeit sprinkled with sarcasm) but today I feel the need to vent. This is directed at mainstream media for perpetuating the idea that sustainable weight loss can happen overnight and that SKINNY = healthy. Particularly now, with the end of the Olympics and everyone suddenly convinced they can be Greek gods in 2 weeks, I feel this is a great time to be blunt. So read on & consider this some “realistic motivation”.
First & foremost, shout out to Erika for posting this on facebook a few days ago – this is an article on “extreme conditioning” (like INSANITY, P90x, etc.) – it warrants a read for anyone looking to break into these types of programs, and provides a word of caution for the TOO MUCH TOO FAST mentality.
Along the same lines, people constantly ask me for advice on training or nutrition, and for good reason. Normally, if someone approaches me with a question, I’ll dedicate the time and effort to help them make sense of some of the really confusing concepts out there. I get that the fitness industry has become so muddled lately with the arrival of various forms of Crossfit, the ‘GET THIN QUICK’ schemes, and the Tracy Anderson’s of the world preaching their “women shouldn’t lift weights greater than 3lb” shenanigans. It is constantly evolving, sometimes for the good, mostly for the not-so-good, and it can be a very hard and daunting task to embark on a fitness/weight loss journey for the first time (or any time). What I don’t understand, however, is the reaction I get when people come to me for advice and leave utterly disappointed with what I have to say.
I get it. You think fitness professionals with our various certifications and degrees in college make us some kind of guru with a magic spell that can provide results. Trust me, if I had the secret to easy, fast and cheap weight loss, I wouldn’t be living in my aunt’s basement and applying for jobs every minute of every day. But whenever I’m asked “Hey, how can I lose some extra pounds?” or “Hey, what’s a super food I should eat every day that will make me leaner?” or “What’s the ONE exercise I should be doing to tone up (insert problem area here)?” everyone looks absolutely flabbergasted and downright disgusted when I tell them the truth. You want to lose some weight? You have to work at it hard and consistently. You want a “super” food? There is no such thing. Too much of a good thing is a tragedy. You want ONE exercise? Why limit yourself?
*End conversation & Insert awkward “this girl doesn’t know what she’s talking about face”*
For those of us that really make it a habit and a priority, and our results are obvious, don’t be shocked when I tell you the truth. Why am I stronger than I look? Because I lift heavy weights. Why am I able to sprint on a surgically repaired knee? Because I rehabbed hard and I sprint consistently. Why am I not overweight anymore? Because I stop eating when I’m full. There isn’t anything ground breaking here. There also isn’t anything glamorous. I have tough work outs when no one is looking. I spend more time doubled over trying to breathe than reading magazines at the gym. I try my best. People don’t see that part though. They only know I studied strength & conditioning and therefore probably achieved my goals by default. Let me tell you – it’d be pretty awesome if I got fit just by studying. But there’s a practical application side that needs to be recognized here.
Honestly – we all start somewhere. We all fail and start OVER somewhere. Myself included. Everyone always thinks “yeah, but this is your life’s ambition and you know what you’re doing so how hard can it really be for you?” and “YOU MUST HAVE A SECRET!!!”. Just because I know HOW to program doesn’t mean I always WANT to follow my own ambitious guidelines. Granted, I try to be a living example of what I constantly preach – but I could easily expend my energy searching for an ‘easy out’. I’ve just decided that it’s not my style – and it shouldn’t be yours either. I have had MULTIPLE set backs where I gained weight and had injuries. I’ve had days where my workouts thoroughly kick my butt, and I have days where I don’t feel like getting off the couch so I don’t. I even have days where I eat McDonalds TWICE in one day. My weight randomly fluctuates because I’m a female and that’s just how we roll. So really, I’m no different from anyone else trying to achieve consistency in their health. But mentally, I know it takes much more than mediocrity.
So, sorry to disappoint you, but if you want to results, you have to be willing to take the time to earn them. I am almost insulted by people that think they can take a shortcut to look like an Olympic athlete. Does that really make any sense? You know how hard they train and the type of motivation they have. If you were so genetically gifted and could look like them in half the time, don’t you think you’d be a medalist by now?
So the moral of the story: it took more than a day to put it on, it is going to take more than a day to come off. Simple as that.
My favorite week of the Olympics is almost over, so in its honor, I am providing a track workout.
This may come as a shock, but I run a lot. Not the traditional running (I have a horrible knee & and some ADD that only kicks in when workouts last longer than 60 minutes), but conditioning is still a major priority for me no matter what my other goals are. Most people like the simplicity of running – there isn’t someone over their shoulder judging their form, they can enjoy beautiful weather, and they don’t need kettlebells/sleds/ropes or other awesome metabolic conditioning tools. All it takes is some motivation, some sneakers, an ipod, and the open road. I think that’s awesome and I will never knock someone for trying (I’ll just beg that they lift weights once in awhile and show them a lot of pictures of sprinters….ahem…)
BUT for those that want a change of pace, or are looking to improve body composition/increase endurance, this type of workout is for you. The best part about it: you can tailor it to your level & modify it any way you’d like. For athletes looking to maintain sports shape during an off-season period, this is also a great option because you can stay game-ready while still giving your body a break from your sport. In my opinion, this is a moderate workout for field sports like soccer and lacrosse, and great base conditioning for court sports like basketball.
Before beginning, you may want to have an idea of your 1/2 mile time, and your fastest 400m (1 lap) time. This will help to gauge the intensity for repeat runs. For perspective, elite Olympic sprinters will finish a lap in < 50 seconds. Most of us will be in the 1:30-3:00 range. So, for example, if you’re at the 1:30 mark for your best lap, you’re going to want to start this workout at a slower pace (~2 minute laps).
Dynamics – pick any 3 mobility drills (inchworms, spidermans, hip flexor mobs, glute mobs, etc) and perform a circuit 2x
Line drills – A march, B march, A skips, B skips, Lateral shuffles, Frankensteins, Hurdlers, backpedal, butt kicks, high knees, easy sprint starts
Optional: Here is where you can include things like burpees, squat jumps, bounds, plyos or shuttle runs if necessary for your training. If you’re experienced with sprinting, you can do some short speed work here. 5x50m with walk back, for example.
Conditioning: 400m at designated pace for the day with same recovery. (1:1) so if you’re trying for 2 minute pace, then you get 2 minute rest. — Be cautious because 2 minutes might feel easy and you might hit the finish faster than expected. Really try to stride and pace yourself because you’re repeating the interval 5-7 times.
Ways to progress/modify: I do this workout 2x a week to start, keeping it constant (possibly adding a lap or 2 until I hit 7). Then I start changing up the interval times (faster pace (1:45) with same 2 minute rest, then faster pace (1:45) with same rest (1:45), etc until I get back to my fastest pace for repeats. Then I retest my fastest pace and see where I’m at.
I’m a fan of treating my running the way I treat reps in the weight room – I like counting them instead of just steadily staring at the clock. This approach works for me because I can periodize and see my progress, but it might take some getting used to for others. Either way, it is a great change of pace (literally ;), so give this a try and let me know your thoughts.
I rarely do this (Actually, I don’t think I’ve done it at all) but I thought it might be fun to post my week of workouts. I’ve talked about programming & cycling & given a little bit of insight into the madness that makes up a lot of my philosophy, but I feel like a week’s worth of workouts will do the talking for me. I am also trying to avoid indulging in the pre-Olympic blog posts, since Steph did a killer job and everything I say will just be redundant. So after you read this you can head on over there & check it out.
Currently, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, my goals are very conditioning based, with an emphasis on outdoor training. I’ve really just been in the mood to sprint, run, jump and sweat and I have lost a lot of motivation to lift super heavy (blasphemous, I know). I still weight train 2-3x a week, however, and by no means do I take it easy – I’m just not maxing out on any lifts currently. You’ll notice, however, that all the things I know and love (including Olympic lifts and the squat & deadlift variations) are all alive and well. So without further ado, here’s my week in review. (If this blogging thing doesn’t work out, I guess I’ll try poetry)
**Yes, that is a real combination of pictures from the park I took a few days ago – so you can understand why I’m extra motivated to be outside these days.
Dynamic warm up: walking lunges w/ glute stretch, reverse lunges with hamstring stretch, inchworms, spidermans, frankensteins, lateral lunge heel grabs, high knees, butt kicks, 10 yard sprints @ 50%, 75%, 100%, 100%
Squat jumps 3×8, Broad jumps x4, Lateral skater jumps 3×5 each way
50 yd sprints x 10 – all out effort, with a walk back to start as recovery
Full field sprints (~100 yds) – x5, with walk back
TRX OH Squat 3×8
Inverted rows 50 / Push ups 50
Total time: ~45 minutes
I used the little gym at the apartment, which was more than adequate when I got creative 😉 – thinking about doing a series of posts on that at a later time
Mobility: Glute mobs / Adductor mobs / Hip flexor stretch /Supine Hamstring kicks x3
3 pt extension/rotation / Spidermans / Yoga push ups x3
MB pullover sit up to stand (8lb med ball) 3×5 s/s Lateral cable squat 3×5 both sides
OH DB Kneel to stand hip drill 3×5 per side
Neutral grip chin ups 3×6
Split squat (front loaded) 3×8
Standing lat pulldown 3×8 s/s Alt shoulder press 3×8
Row machine 2×10
Total time: ~30 minutes
Back at the park
Same dynamic routine as Saturday – i really love it & it works for me, so I rarely change it
Shuttle runs (~25 yds) x3 per side, 6 total
Agility run (I used trees as markers and made a total of 6 cuts per rep) x4
Tree suicides (These would normally be called cone suicides but I use trees, haha). There are 4-5 trees, and it takes ~15-20 seconds, depending on distance. I used a 1:1 work rest ratio and went 6 times. By around rep 4, the sprints are slow and your glutes are burning.
Total time: ~25 minutes
Back at the gym – similar workout with a few differences
Glute mobs / Adductor mobs / Hip flexor stretch /Supine hamstring kicks
3 pt extension/rotation / Spidermans /Yoga push ups
MB sit up to stand 3×5
DB Power shrug 3×5
DB push press s/s Lat pullovers
DB deadlift s/s machine rows 3×8 / 8
Lateral cable squats s/s Skater jumps 3×5 per side (both)
Asym. rev lunge s/s DB rows (5 per side / 8 per side)
Glute ham raise 2×7
Chin ups AMAP + 3×8 ecc
Total time ~ 35 minutes
A few things that probably jump out: I never spend more than an hour doing anything, particularly because I rarely let myself rest during these workouts. It is simply not necessary / not part of my goal at this time. I also give myself days off between workouts, particularly after sprints because of my hamstrings. I’ve also noticed I have more energy and less soreness, which is fantastic. I know a lot of people subscribe to the school of thought where if you’re not sore, you’re not working hard enough, but that is simply not true. Sure, there will be soreness when you change the stimulus and sometimes a lack of soreness can be an indication of a plateau, but it is NOT the be -all-end-all of a good workout. I just go by what my body is telling me, and it seems to be doing well.
Hope this provided a little bit of insight. Anyone checking out the opening ceremonies tonight? We’ve got some former Hurricanes reppin the USA so I’m excited 🙂
The past few weeks I’ve been preparing to move/moving out of my apartment. For anyone that’s ever moved before – whether its big or small – you know that a mission this really is. BUT fortunately, despite my aching shoulders and poor attitude, it gave me the perfect idea for a blog post. Every box I lifted, every load I carried and every awkward trash bag I tossed made me thankful for the type of training I do on a regular basis. So here are my top 10 moving-related exercises that made this whole thing possible!
1. Deadlift – This pretty much goes without saying, but the number of boxes that were deadlifted and put on trucks, in cars, or in dumpsters this past week made me thankful for every variation of this exercise and the good technique that comes with it. If you don’t deadlift – start. Even if its not heavy, just having the proper technique saves your back a ton in the long run when you have to do something epic, like move your life
2. Cleans & Clean/Overhead Press combinations – Since I’m a staggering 5’3″, the amount of lifting overhead I do in real life is probably more than the average person. Reaching to put things on shelves, for instance, turns into a Herculean effort. Most of the time, the momentum from a good clean & press helps me get the job done – but only because my CNS is used to that movement pattern.
3. Front squats – I included this for a few reasons – mainly the stability gained from the front squat, but also because of the rack position. Being able to hold that position is vital to holding really awkward boxes/loads and putting them on shelves or in cars (aka: in front of you). Front loaded split squats would also be appropriate to include here.
4. Farmers walks – This is another no-brainer. Holding a lot of things in both hands and power walking to the nearest place to drop it has become an Olympic sport for me. I recently added it to my training but I tend to do this on a regular basis with groceries, books, or anything else. Very useful & also helps with your grip.
5. Asymmetrical ANYTHING*** – This is triple starred because OH MY GOD. Even the most innocent looking box will shift and cause complete mayhem (trust me), so being able to stabilize is the most important thing ever. Also, there are a lot of times where something will end up on your shoulder, and another thing in your hand, and you have to walk (and/or probably squat down and pick something else up, because…of course) and being able to balance it all makes you a Gladiator. Asymmetrically loaded step ups, lunges, split squats, farmers walks, etc – they are lifelines.
6. Lateral movement – Being able to stabilize in the frontal plane is also valuable because there are a lot of times, particularly when things get cluttered, that you have to side-step & shimmy around with huge boxes still in your hand. Lateral squats, lunges, step ups, etc – also helps to fight muscle imbalances.
7. Pulls/Presses – These are standard, but very useful, particularly compound movements like overhead presses, push ups, push presses, pull ups, inverted rows, etc. Just being able to activate all those muscles in synchronicity helps avoid a lot of problems & makes you mighty
8. Grip training – This is sort of a by-product of Olympic lifting & pull up variations that you might include in your training, but grip is super important when trying to move awkward things. Being able to carry things when there aren’t convenient little handles is a skill in and of itself, so give yourself a fighting chance and work your grip.
9. STAIRS – loaded, unloaded, walking, running, lateral, backward, whatever – You will encounter stairs. Lots of stairs.
10. Conditioning in general – This is kind of a cop out, but if you’re in generally good shape, you’re still going to be sore as hell after moving. Do yourself a favor and sprint a little.
Anyone have some exercises they would add to the list or fun moving stories for me? Comment!!
Shout out to my homegirl Steph at I Train therefore I eat for a “One lovely blog award”! 🙂
And to acknowledge her nomination, here are the rules:
1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you
2. Paste the award image anywhere on your blog
3. Share seven facts about yourself
4. Nominate other blogs you enjoy for this award
5. Post a comment on your nominees’ blogs to let them know of their nomination
2. I was born in Jensen Beach, FL – so I am a true Floridian! We moved up North when I was 5, but I visited family down here a lot and somehow wound up back in Florida for college. I want to stay for as long as possible because sunshine, beaches and palm trees are my jam.
3. I am awkwardly ambidextrous. I write with my right hand, but throw & do pretty much everything else with my left. My strong hand in lacrosse is my left, and I was a very left footed soccer player.
4. I will always believe that the 1999 women’s world cup team – Mia hamm, kristine lilly, julie, brandi, michelle…did something that will never, ever be duplicated. They were my heroes as a kid and gave me the confidence and mindset to pursue athletics, coaching and sports performance.
5. I tore my ACL – not once, but twice, in college – and even though it was one of the hardest things ever, I am glad I went through it. The mental toughness and the determination to rehab and come back stronger taught me a lot of things about myself. It is also proof that if you work hard enough, you can achieve whatever you want, no matter what anyone says. People are always shocked to find out how much I can lift and sprint despite the surgeries and bad ass scars.
6. I won two goldfish at a fair in 4th grade [Lucy and Ethel] & they lived to be 13 years old. I think that is some kind of unofficial record. It was a lowkey tragedy when they died.
7. One day, I will be going to the Olympics affiliated with SOME team – so look for me. 😉
Once upon a time, at the beginning of this year to be exact, I set out to accomplish the awesome task of completing 10 unassisted [neutral grip] chin ups. Why? Several reasons: including (but not limited to):
A) Chin ups/Pull ups are bad ass.
B) They help in more ways than I can count [grip strength, core activation, lats/biceps/forearms/etc., energy transfer…..]
C) 10 sounded way better than 7
Now, even though I dominated my first real unassisted chin up a few years ago, I had finally reached a point where I wasn’t improving. I could manage 4-5 with various weights attached to me, I could do assisted and eccentric til the cows came home (which, they never did, so I just kept going) and I could do way too many sets of 5-6 reps with ~1-2 minutes of rest in between, but never more than 7 at a time. Hmmm.
Then it dawned on me. If I wanted to get better at pull ups, I should probably do more pull ups.
I realized that even though chin ups were my goal, I was treating them as an accessory movement and programming them into my workouts 1-2 times per week, [3x if I was really pushing it]. I also took note of the total reps being completed each session and saw that they were all in the ~25-30 rep range. So by the end of each week, I was totaling MAYBE 75 pull ups a week if I was lucky. Granted, I was using different methods (weighted, eccentric, assisted, different rest intervals) but not in the same week. I would go all assisted one week (different reps/sets/rest intervals) then go to weighted, then to bodyweight, and then back to assisted. Each variation still felt challenging and I would make little advances, so I was convinced it was working, but then I would go to test my regular chin ups and be stuck in the same spot. I realized that despite my variations in intensity, I was completing the same number of reps per week and therefore not overloading the movement anymore. SO my evil genius mind got to working…
Practice makes perfect, so if you want to get better at something, practice THAT thing. I changed my programming to focus exclusively on this goal. I was tentative before to overdo it on chin ups because I didn’t want to have angry elbows, tight lats, and/or overtrain my back. But, by varying the intensity, I realized I could cram lots of pull ups/chin ups into one week of training with very little consequence. I also made sure to program some overhead/QL stretches for the tight lats, and included asymmetrical work to keep my upper body balanced.
Each week looked something like this [I am only including the chin ups and not all the other stuff]:
Day 1: Bodyweight pull ups (never to failure – just sets of 5-6 reps) totaling ~45 total for that session. I bumped that up to 50, then 55, then 60, then 65, etc. each time
Day 2: Weighted pull ups (sets of 3-4 reps) totaling ~30 reps, 35, 40, 45
Day 3: Assisted pull ups (sets of 8-10) totaling ~50, 55 (I didn’t go beyond 60 for these – you probably can, but I didn’t)
Day 4: Bodyweight pull ups again (usually if I did sets of 5 on day 1, I would shoot for sets of 6. Sometimes I had it, sometimes I didn’t. This was a chaos day – I would mix the sets to try to achieve 50 any way I could. It was a great challenge)
Each week I would have a total number of reps completed, and for 3 weeks I kept that number increasing, and then by week 4 I would do a mini-deload and go back to week 1 numbers.
Then one magic day, I walked into the gym, walked up to the bar, cranked out 10 in a row, did a little dance (in my head) and that was that.
And that is how my dream came true and I conquered the neutral grip chin up.