Category Archives: Bodyweight Training

Saturday’s at the Turf & Track, Vol 2

“The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.” – Mia Hamm

I thought about this quote on Saturday a few times when I was bent over, at the point of exhaustion, during my sprint workout. No one was out there with me, just myself and the drive to push beyond comfortable limits.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my “Saturday’s at the Turf and Track”. I posted a track workout I did however it wasn’t my standard session due to some discomfort with my left quad. Going into my most recent session, I was extra aware to avoid a similar occurrence because I really look forward to these track days – just me and the open field – I absolutely love it.

Saturday's delightful view...

This past Saturday was a success on all fronts. The weather was great, the field was all mine, my body and mind were in sync with the demands and I ran the hell out of myself. I actually felt like my whole body got worked to the max and not a weight involved. In fact, my abs are always sore after my track workout and not a single, isolated ab exercise will be found on this day. Sure we can finesse the technique and mechanics of our sprints, but in my opinion, these are one of the most elementary and best exercises for a sharp physique and overall athletics.

My current, traditional sprint workout from Carter is as follows:

Dynamic Warm up:

  • 1 lap (casual) around the track (400m)
  • Ground mobility work and muscle activation
  • Stationary movement drills on my feet
  • Linear and lateral movement drills
  • Build up sprints

Phase 1: Acceleration Runs
(Note: I do a gradual build up throughout the runs, hitting top speed at 40 yards and maintain through target distance. So if it’s a 60 yard run, top speed is the last 20 yards. I did not time my rests, rather I just walked back and rested as needed between runs).

  • 50 yard x 3
  • 60 yard x 3
  • 70 yard x 2
  • 80 yard x 2
  • 90 yard x 2
  • 100 yard x 1

Recovery was approx 5-10 minutes, hydrate, etc. (I walked from the track to my next location for phase 2 which took about 8 minutes, perfect!)

Phase 2: Hill Sprints
(Note: Full out effort here)

  • 5 sprints – 30 seconds each to the top of the hill.
  • 2 minutes to walk down the hill, recover and reset between sprints.

Recovery was approx 5-10 minutes again, hydrate, etc. (I walked back up to the track for phase 3 – about 8 minutes again)

Phase 3: 400m (1 time around the track)
This took me 1:24 minutes to run the 400. A few weeks ago it took me 1:25 minutes. I’m not sure if it’s good that I was consistent or not so good that I didn’t beat my time but a second 🙂 I’m not even sure how to compare it to others. Either way, it was my best effort as I was starting to feel quite gassed from the acceleration runs and the hills prior to the 400m.

Phase 4: 1 mile run around the track
This was a casual run to chill out, enjoy the pace and wind down. I still kept track of my time though – 8:30 minutes.

Phase 5: Walk it out, stretch, hydrate, home, eat, nap.

 

As for current training, I have just wrapped up my eighth week of training (two 4 week blocks) with Carter. Sometimes people ask me what I’m training for now and I simply tell them, “to get better every day.” We are taking a deload week this week (week nine) and I will begin a new four-week block on Monday. In the next post, I’ll share a little detail on my deload, a few training videos and upcoming plans!

All SHOW and GO!

Ahhh, you all know I love a good strength and conditioning challenge. I haven’t shared a lot of my personal training videos lately and that is simply because I keep some of Carter‘s program design private as it is his intellectual property. The following however is a new favorite of mine and one I must share!

We are in the home stretch of my figure prep for the Arnold Classic and I am proud to say that I still have as much hustle in my training sessions as I do the stage physique. I am also very pleased to report that my back has been pain-free (knock on wood) since I started this prep. I no longer consider myself an injured athlete with a fear of flaring up my low back. Though I am still cautious, I am confident in my health and movement.

Right now, Carter has me on a two-a-day schedule that is heavy with cardio or as he prefers to call it, Energy Expenditure Work :-). I am also strength training four days a week with two push / pull days, a quad dominant leg day and a hip dominant leg day. At the end of each strength training session, I have the beloved CONDITIONING!

As you know, I love to push my limits when it comes to conditioning and cross the finish line with the hardest effort available despite fatigue setting in. The following is my current conditioning segment on Friday’s push / pull training session. I have recorded the entire circuit from start to finish so you can see I do indeed practice what I preach. You can also see how hard we train and I still have the GO behind the SHOW

Push / Pull Conditioning Circuit
Reps and Regulations:

  • Explosive Burpee into Pull Up x AMRAP
  • Vertical Thrust x 8 – 10 reps
  • Jump Rope x 15 seconds
  • Complete 5 ROUND in as little time as possible

The other beautiful component of this circuit is the self-regulation. The objective is to take as minimal rest as needed, however, you may take as much rest as you need to complete the circuit. The burpee / pull ups are AMRAP (as many reps as possible) so that is relative to your abilities and the weight of the vertical thrust can be  selected based on your strength abilities. Even further, this circuit can be measured and progressed simply by cutting down your rest time and or adding weight. It’s all about relative intensity baby!!

Have at it and enjoy!

Video filmed at Under Armour’s Combine Training Center (UACTC) and a special thanks to Mike Whitman. 😀

Chin Up Drop Set

The chin up and pull up, much like the push up, are some of the best exercises you can do for pure relative body strength. These require little equipment, minimal technique and get you the most bang for your buck in terms of strength, muscle recruitment and development. Plus, who doesn’t like to feel strong ripping through several repetitions of chin ups and push ups. 🙂

Some of us are limited in repetitions when it comes to traditional chin ups and or pull ups due to relative body strength (how strong you are relative to how much you weigh). The Chin Up Drop Set is a great way to increase your reps in a set by reducing the difficulty of the chin up as you fatigue.

I use the Perform Better Superbands for assistance in my Chin Up Drop Set. In case you don’t know where to find Superbands, you can click on the image below to shop for these exact Superbands. These are a fantastic tool for those who need assistance building up to bodyweight chin ups as well.

I am back on a daily undulated training program for my upcoming Figure Competition. Check back later this week as I show you exactly how we incorporated the Chin Up Drop Set into my high rep, Pulling training day!

The SUPERDOG Exercise

Today I share with you a great posterior chain activation method and exercise. It was developed by my wonderful guy Nick Tumminello.

Nick is known among his colleagues, clients and fitness peers as a very innovative guy when it comes to training. He not only comes up with fun, challenging and effective programs but he also has a knack for safe training methods and developing new protocols for improved versions of commonly known exercises. Over the past two years, I have learned so much from training together.
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One of Nick’s most recognized creations is the Superdog. You may have heard of this exercise before, and if not, you’ll be glad you did today!
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WHAT is the Superdog and WHY is it so great!?

The Superdog is a combination of the superman and bird dog exercise. The Superdog however, offers the same posterior-chain work as the superman and bird dog, but without the risk of putting your lower back into hyperextension.
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WHEN is a great time to incorporate the Superdog? 

We use the Superdog for two different occasions, both exceptional for training.

1. Warm up / movement prep. This is a fantastic glute activation drill and will challenge even the strongest male and female athletes. We often think “no problem” to complete the heel/leg lift until we take the low back out of the equation. This drill really clues you in to whether or not your low back or glutes are doing the lifting. (There are also progressions and regressions for this exercise if one needs to start small and build up).

2. Within the program. We have been using this exercise on lower body training days to accompany a quad dominant exercise. Because I am limited on some exercises due to the nature of my low back injury, this has become a great tool to target the glutes and hamstrings while keeping the low back safe. Again, there are several ways to progress this exercise (ie: mechanics or add a small ankle weight.)
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How to perform the Superdog:

  • Get down on all fours (a soft surface is recommended). Hands directly under your shoulders, knees under your hips.
  • Slide your hips back, so your left heel touches your left glute (you will also be resting on your forearms at this point).
  • Extend your right leg behind you, keeping your leg aligned with your body and your toe dorsiflexed.
  • Without deviating from this position, lift your right leg up as high you can off the floor. Keep your right leg as straight as possible. (For a bit more intensity, perform without touching your toe to the floor until your set is complete.)
  • Do all your reps with that side, and then switch.

 

 

Incorporating into the Superdog into your program:

Warm up / Movement prep: I would suggest about 8-12 reps per leg.

For active rest or as part of your superset / tri-set / etc. I would recommend 20-25 repetitions per leg.

Example: Reverse Lunges 15- 20 per leg paired with Superdog 20-25 per leg.
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The following is a YouTube clip of Nick talking about (and demonstrating) his Superdog exercise. Here he incorporates the arms too which is the original version. The above Superdog I have shown you is a modified version that we use for training.

Be sure to give this a try…it may surprise even the fittest of you how challenging it is! I highly recommend you start incorporating this into your warm up on your lower body training day. Not only is it good practice, but by activating your glutes you will significantly increase the engagement of your glute’s role in the squats, lunges, etc. Your backside (and your significant other) will thank you! 🙂
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Check back soon, I will provide you with a more recent version of the Superdog to put less emphasis on the hamstrings and even more emphasis on the glutes!

New Core Exercise: Forward Abs Plank Meets Mountain Climber!

The jury is out on what core / abdominal exercises are safe and effective. I personally keep to a select handful when it comes to my training as well as my clients training.

My thought process is this: 1. Is it covering one of the three areas of core training (rotation, stability, strength) 2. Is it safe on the lumbar spine? 3. Which is greater – the risk or benefit of the drill?

A few months ago, Nick introduced me to a core exercise. I took it one step further with a different piece of equipment and it has since become one of my favorite new core exercises. I use this regularly in session and with clients. I call this “Forward Abs Plank Meets Mountain Climber.”

This exercise is great for shoulder stability, core strength and core stability. It minimizes unsafe movements commonly seen in many abdominal routines PLUS it offers the “burn” everyone likes to feel as reps increase.  

The following pictures are to demo the exercise:

 How To:
 – I recommend using a Dynamax Ball. This allows for a bit more  control and therefore, better execution of the drill (rather than using a traditional Medicine Ball which will roll around more). I also like the Dynamax Ball because it puts your torso at a slightly higher angle.

 – Try 20 to 30 repetitions per set.
 – Alternate legs / knee drive.
 – Drive your knee straight forward as high as possible. (Do not touch front foot to the floor). Be sure to maintain proper plank form (back / hips in neutral). Pause for a 2 second hold with each knee drive, then switch.

**An alternative way to do this exercise is to bring your knee to the outside of your elbow. AKA: Lateral Knee Drive. This will engage your obliques more.

Same applications apply 🙂

Good luck! Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Happy Training 🙂