When building a house, one of the first and most important steps is building a strong and almost indestructible base. The foundation of the house needs to be strong, reliable and handle the load and structure of the rest of the house. Without a strong foundation the house would be sagging in some areas, breaking off in other areas or possibly crumpling under the heavy load of the house. Your body is your house and your legs are your foundation. Your legs are probably the most important and under-worked body part of your body which is unfortunate because the legs set up the rest of the body for a wonderfully powerful and strong foundation. I understand, nobody really likes to work legs. It is hard, very tiring, pretty exhausting and leads to people walking funny down stairs and getting in and out of chairs. Our legs need to be our foundation for our bodies and I would suggest starting with them first every time you train. I have been in this industry long enough to know how some of the workout schedules go, especially more so since moving out here to South Carolina. Let me break it down for you and see if you fall into this kind of split: Monday- Chest and triceps, Tuesday- Back and biceps, Wednesday- shoulders and abs, Thursday- legs? No I think going out sounds better, so Friday- legs? No, still hurting from going out on Thursday, I will get it next. The next week comes and they fall into the same rotation. The reasons why I don’t like this kind of program is because for any of you who know me, know I love full body workouts. You should workout your whole body every time and then take a day off to rest. We are not body builders so we do not need to isolate body parts on specific days. If you do full body workout then you will burn more calories, lower your body fat percentage, increase your metabolic rate and hopefully shred some fat and get stronger and leaner in the process. Maybe your workout routine is a little different and maybe some of you like to do a upper body lower body split which is fine. Just make sure when you lift your legs, you to start with a big compound lift like a squat or a deadlift.
How we start our fitness programs dictate how successful we are and what we want to get out of it. Start with your legs every time you workout. I always attack my legs on the days I work out. I go after them and make them pay the price because I know that it is good for me and know it will translate over to everything else I want to do. Our legs are our powerhouse and we need to work them as best as we can. Not only do I want strong legs for activities of daily life, like hiking, playing with my kids, carrying groceries, flying up the stairs and jumping around but I also want strong powerful legs because I know it is great for my golf game. I want to hit the ball longer and farther and one of the best ways to do that is to have strong powerful hips. After your warm up, pick a compound movement like front squat, deadlift, kettlebell swings or back squat and perform anywhere between 3 – 5 sets. Some of the rep ranges I have been playing around with lately is 5 sets of 5 reps. 5 x 5 is great for gaining pure strength which each set going a little bit heavier and I also like to do 3 sets of 8. Generally, I start with my main lift and perform just that until it is done and then I move on to some mini circuits where I incorporate an upper body lift and a lower body lift. It is also good to start with your legs because you are fresh and full of energy because we all know how hard it is to squat or deadlift well when you are tired or are running run low on energy.
Build your foundation and make it strong, tough and powerful. Start with your legs and and you will see great gains in your strength, your physique and your performance. Have a wonderful foundation building day.sq
A video to help pump us up and inspire us on the hardest day of the week, Wednesday hump day. You know I am always a fan of intensity and I believe intensity is the key ingredient missing from most peoples training. It is easy to go through the motions, work moderately hard and get a good workout in but it is a whole new ball game to work so hard you are you are curled up in the fetal position, huffing and puffing and sweating profusely. Some of the hardest working athletes are MMA fighters, no doubt hands done. They have to train at such an elite cardiovascular level it is impressive to see. In there training they have a well rounded approach of weight training, sparring, pad work and lots of grappling. I would put them in the category as one of the fittest athletes around. I believe an element missing from most of our day to day workouts is hitting and kicking. I believe we as humans are designed to fight, to strike whether it be in defense, for territory, or for survival. There is something to be said of the transfer of energy from your fist or foot to a heavy bag and/or pads. It is one of the greatest feelings around because it is great for aggression release and it just feels good. If you have never hit pads or a heavy bag, look into scheduling a session soon. You will not be disappointed and will definitely leave a better, more relaxed, inspired and energetic person. I have clients who train with me just to hit pads and absolutely love it and I bet most of you will too. Have a fantastic and aggression releasing day everyone.
Over the weekend I had read a couple of pages of Dan John’s new book Intervention and he talked about the significance of kettlebell swings. He said kettlebell swings are hands down, by far, one of the best lower body lifts. He once went a few weeks where he performed 250 kettlebell swings a day and got great results from it. Kettlebell swings are designed for explosive hip power. There should be minimal knee movement and maximal hip movement with no lower back pain. If there is back pain then hips are not being engaged enough. With that being said, I decided to try my hand at some swinging for yesterdays workout, with my goal being at least 100 swings a day for the whole week.
Here is yesterdays workout:
3 Rounds of:
20 Kettlebell Swings (35 lb)
10 TRX Rows
10 TRX Push Ups
5 1 Leg Pistol Squats
Mini Band Walks
3 Rounds of:
10 Second Sprint @ 12 mph with 15, 20, 20% incline
Inch Worm 20 yards
3 Turkish Get Ups on Each Side (35 lb kettlebell)
15 Kettlebell Swings (53 lb KB)
3 Rounds of:
5 Explosive Pull Ups
5 Explosive Push Ups
5 Kettlebell Swings (103 lbs)
5 Jumping Medicine Ball Slams (30 lbs)
I will keep you informed on how my week of kettlebell swings goes. I figure by the end of the week, I will either be a big fan or not so much. Either way, have a great swinging day.
My workout I performed yesterday which left me feeling energized, winded, sweaty and ready to tackle the day. Everything was done one right after the other and only resting for a minute or two before after each round.
3 Rounds of:
30 Second Run on the Treadmill @ 10% incline and 10 mph
10 Feet Elevated Spider Man Push ups
10 TRX Bodyweight rows
Rest 3 Minutes
3 Rounds of:
20 Second Sprint @ 11% and 11mph
10 Chin Ups
10 Dumbbell Curl Press (20, 25, 25 lbs)
3 Rounds of:
10 Second Sprint @ 12% and 12 mph
5 Box Jumps (36 in)
5 Ball Slams with 30 lb ball
Finished up with 3 Rounds of:
10 Ab Wheel Roll Outs
10 Side Plank Reaches on each side
Generally I love to put my clients through a tabata on Tuesdays but I figured why not on Thursdays. Tabata Thursdays does not have quite the same ring to it as tabata Tuesdays but regardless of the day, tabata’s are an extremely effective way to train. For those of you who are not familiar with tabata, tabata is a training protocol invented by a Japanese coach who was comparing the results between moderate intensity interval training and high intensity interval training. He concluded that the high intensity level improved his subjects aerobic system as well as their anaerobic systems and hence the tabata was born. A tabata is 20 seconds of hard, high intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest for a cycle of 8 rounds. The goal is to go as hard as you can for the 20 seconds and rest for the 10 with the possibility of maybe not being able to finish the whole 8 rounds.
Now there are several different options you can use when you are performing a tabata. You can do a 1 exercise tabata to where you do the whole tabata 8 times through with one exercise like jump rope, sprinting, push ups, squats etc… This one can be very painful and very exhausting, which is good because that is usually what we are after. Then there is a 2 exercise tabata in which you you perform 2 exercises in an alternating fashion such as: push ups and squats, TRX rows and ball slams, jump rope and kettlebell swings. You end up doing only each exercise 4 times as opposed to 8. From there, you can do 3, 4 and 8 exercise tabata’s depending on what you are feeling and what your mood is. A great aspect of tabata training is you can either make it a more cardio based, more strength based or a combination of both. You are only limited by your creativity here. Pretty much any exercise can be included in a tabata but remember we are looking for high intensity, high heart rate type exercises.
Tabata is a fantastic way to add some spice, spunk and intensity to your workouts. It is a great way to create a metabolic disturbance in your body, get your heart rate up high, burn body fat and lose weight. Sounds like a win win to me. Here is a video of a crossfit member showing us an 8 exercise tabata. If you are interested in getting a tabata app, pretty much all smart phones have a free one you can install. Also I just found out itunes now has tabata songs you can download as well just like the song in this video. Good luck to you and remember to train hard and train smart.
Working out gives us a freedom like no other. We are free to train however we want to train, wherever we want and however long we want. We are free to run for as long as we want to, free to go any path we choose, free to run fast or slow, free to run for a long time or a short stent. We are free to lift weights, free to do as many reps as you want, free to add more weight, free to do whatever exercises you want and free to move however you want. Free to exercise whatever body part you want, freedom to do whatever routine you want and free to exercise as hard or as easy as you want. We are free to exercise outside, inside, super intense, super light and easy or just moderate. Free to be goofy and play on the playground like a kid again, free to play on a swing set, free to play a pick up basketball game or a beach volleyball game. We are free to play any sport whether it be fun or serious, enjoy it and get fulfillment out of it because we able to move our bodies. It’s freedom to take an exercise class, to turn your mind off and to be told what to do. Training is the one of the greatest freedoms we encounter everyday and we should do our best to not take them for granted. Be grateful to have a body that works, that can train and is strong, mobile, flexible, agile and efficient. Relish in the fact that we are free to move your body however you shall please, whether it be a bike ride, a run, a weight lifting session, a yoga class or just a nice long walk. We must think of exercise as a priority and a necessity and not like a chore or something we have to do. Like one of my clients said today “we have to treat exercise like brushing your teeth, it is something that has to be done everyday.” We have the freedom to exercise and we have the freedom not to, but if you choose to not exercise just remember the alternative is always worse. Training is a freedom and it is also a victory. A victory over laziness, a victory over disease, a victory against gravity, a victory over obesity, heart disease and diabetes and a victory against aging. A victory of being better than you were yesterday and the next day and the next. Let us all keep working out because it is our freedom to and keep winning and being victorious in this wonderful game of life.
It’s Thursday, it is time to get in, get on it and get after it. Let’s get fired up and blow the next workout out of the water. Push harder than you have ever pushed before, lift heavier, jump higher, do more reps and push our bodies beyond the limit of what we ever thought capable of. Impossible does not exist. In order to get to the next level we have to do extra-ordinary things to get out of our comfort zone, push hard and achieve the results we want. We can not get what we want by doing the same things over and over again, that is called insanity. I believe in fitness and I also believe fitness should be fun, intense, hard, challenging, very taxing and randomly chaotic. No 2 of my workouts are EVER the same. Sure a lot of the basic same moves may be incorporated in a lot of my workouts but the rep numbers, the intensity, the weight and the variations are constantly changing. Some days I feel great and feel like running, jumping, hopping, throwing and slamming things to the ground until my heart feels like it it going to bust out of my chest and I am bent over grabbing my knees gasping for air. Other days I feel like concentrating strictly on body weight training with lots of push ups, pull ups, one leg squats, front, back and side lunges, step ups and core work such as planks and the ab wheel. Then there are other days where the lifter comes out and I just want to pick up heavy weights and push them, pull them, squat them and just carry them around. To me, lifting weight is the ultimate satisfaction. There is just something manly and very rewarding to knowing you just squatted 225 or 1 arm rowed 100lbs or even kettlebell swung the 106 pounder. Here is a little video of some people working hard, training intense and pushing themselves to the next level.
Let us all step up our game, raise the bar and start climbing the ladder to the next level of fitness.