Category Archives: Videos

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. 😀


“True Victory Is Victory Over Oneself”

Who am I? I am a CHAMPION.

No body said the road to the stage was a pretty one. No body said it was easy. It’s down right hard. There are times when we need reminders to pick ourselves up, keep going and dig deeper.

I am early (very early) into the prep for The Arnold Classic Figure Competition in March 2011. Already, I have met mild mental interferences. People ask me, “why do you do this?!” I used to view it negatively, as though they didn’t understand. How could they not see the glory in setting a goal, working your butt off and seeing it through to the finish line despite adversity and challenges. Perhaps it was my fault for interpreting this the wrong way. Now I look at the question as an opportunity for a subtle reminder to myself as to why I do this.

I like to think I’m good at what I do. Through the journey of a goal, we meet challenge. It is especially at this time we must remember WHY we have set out on this journey.

I didn’t acknowledge until today, that the process from now until the Arnold intimidates me. I assumed I have done this before and I’ll do it again no problem. It’s a bigger stage and bigger competition. You may find I write more on this blog over the next 16 weeks on the topic of motivation. Perhaps I’m writing to myself…and hopefully, it impacts the reader too.

I realized today, that we need to treat each set back or mild mental interference as just that. An individual occasion. It’s not a representation of the journey and goal as a whole. It is not a time to let it fester or worse, give up. It is an opportunity to get through it and be stronger because of it. It is a time where we may have to let things ride it’s course. Do something to relax, reassess, re-motivate and understand that this tough moment to shall pass. Be it a song, a book, a speech, a picture or a person who motivates us – tap into that when you’re doubting your mental (or physical) ability.

With the Arnold Classic, I feel pressure, fear and challenge. Along with those emotions I feel excitement, drive, focus, compliance, pride and passion.

I admire the fight in a fighter. This weekend, friends of mine are fighting in Baltimore’s Shogun Fights. These guys train out of Ground Control and they have endured practice, strength and conditioning, injuries, dieting to make weight and above all – pressure to perform well. They have gone to great extremes to be prepared for Saturday and it’s highly impressive. They are ready. Good Luck Ryan Mackin and Binky!

An NFL football player must live to study plays, upcoming teams and direct opponents. they must train to stay healthy, perform optimally and maintain a level of excellence above the next guy gunning for his position. They must play despite injuries or personal problems. They are passionate professionals.

All athletes experience highs and lows. It is having the right attitude and showing up everyday.

I show up. I do my best for that day. I see my goal through and hope to advance each time around.

That is why I do this. Because I like the goal. I like the structure of training and I like the road of challenge – it’s not easy and it’s not always pretty – but it’s a hell of a good feeling when we get back up a little stronger and a little smarter than before.

I share with you a video that motivates me. To me, this video is powerful. Not just the great quotes, but the music itself. It fires me up! If you don’t care to watch the fight, don’t miss the messages – below are the quotes within.

“A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle” – Buddha

“Champions aren’t made in gyms, Champions are made from something they have deep inside them; A desire, A dream, A vision.” – Muhammad Ali

“Fall down 7 times, get up 8” – Japanese Proverb

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart”

“True strength is not always shown through Victory, stand up, try again and display strength of heart” – Rickson Gracie

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There is no courage unless you’re scared.”

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” – Henry Ford

“The joy of Victory is too short to live for that and nothing else”

“Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay it’s price”

“Don’t believe that winning is everything. It’s more important to stand for something. If you don’t stand for something, what do you win?”

“Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”

“True victory is victory over oneself.” 

Talking Cardio with Oxygen Magazine!

As I mentioned in my last post, The Recap, I had the pleasure of traveling up to Toronto, CA in July for a two-day photo shoot with Oxygen Magazine. It was a fantastic experience all around!

Check out the video below for a glimpse of Day One and a conversation I had with Editor-In-Chief of the Oxygen Specials and Executive Editor of Oxygen magazine, Diane Hart. This video clip highlights their Off-The-Couch special. Be sure to pick one up when it comes out on newsstands October 5, 2010!

A BIG thank you to all those involved at Oxygen Magazine!

Farmer’s Walk Complex for Conditioning

In the last post, “Training Day: High Rep Pulling”, I mentioned the Farmer’s Walk Complex as a metabolic finisher at the end of my training session. We have resorted to the Farmer’s Walk Complex to accompany some of my upper body workouts because of it’s friendly nature on my back. Not to mention it’s effectivness when it comes to a strength oriented, conditioning finisher.

The Farmer’s Walks have been a long time event in many of the Strongmen competitions. They usually entail a tremendous amount of weight and various distances traveled. For more about the traditional Farmer’s Walks, check out this post on titled, Farmer’s Walk by Corey St. Clair.

In today’s version, you’ll notice the weight is significantly lighter than a traditional Farmer’s Walk and a moderate rep range is completed for the exercises. The reason behind is that we’re not trying to gain strength from it, but rather complete a longer duration of activity. I chose a weight that is challenging, but also ensures I can get through the entire complex… several rounds over. 😉  This Farmer’s Walk Complex is completed for a metabolic response.  

As you will see in the video below, the end points are about 25 yards apart. I complete my exercises at one end, carry the dumbbells up and back (either in a shoulder or hip carry) for a total of 50 yards and continue all the way through the exercises before stopping.

The entire Farmer Walk Complex takes roughly 3 minutes to complete, rest for 1 minute and repeat 3-5 rounds.

You can get very creative with the Farmer’s Walk Complex. You may include any variation of exercise choices including all upper body movements, all lower body movements, unilateral movements, bilateral movements and so the list goes on. Your only limitation is your imagination. For more ideas on Farmer’s Walk Complexes, check out Nick’s blog post here and for the ins and outs as to why we use Farmer Walks and program design specifics, check out Nick’s Farmer’s Walks for Fat Loss article on T-Nation here.

Training Day: High Rep Pulling

Hello and Happy Friday! It’s been a very full week this week (as every week is a full week these days!), but as promised, here is last Friday’s exact High Rep Pulling Workout that corresponds with the Chin Up Drop Set post posted this past Monday 🙂

1a. TRX (Wide Elbow) Recline Pulls, 2 sets x 20 – 25
1b. Rear Dealt Flies, 2 sets x 12 – 15

2a. One Arm Row Trio, 1 set x 10 of each move (30 in total, per side) & 1 set x 8 of each move (24 in total, per side)

3a. CHIN UP DROP SET, x 2 rounds
3b. Medicine Ball Rainbow Lunge, 2 sets x 45 seconds each

4a. Cardio / Conditioning: Jump Rope, (4) 2 minute Rounds with 1 minute rest. (12 minutes total)

5a. Metabolic Finisher: Farmer Walk Complex x 3 Rounds

So there you have it! The training day details for my High Rep Pulling Day. Check back soon as I’ll be sure to post the Farmer Walk Complex. This is a great “total body” but upper body dominant finisher. As you know from my last show prep, we sync upper body lifting days with upper body conditioning and lower body lifting days with lower body conditioning. We’ve started to incorporate this Farmer Walk protocol as we’ve run into a few upper body conditioning limitations due to my back injury. This complex however proves to be safe and effective for me! Check back soon, after a few rounds, it’s killer!

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.
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!
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.
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.)
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.
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! 🙂
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!