Category Archives: Workouts

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!

Advertisements

Saturday’s at the Turf & Track

I haven’t posted in a while. My blog is not a low priority, in fact, it’s been on my brain a good bit as I’m excited to reveal a new and improved site in the near future.  On the flip side, when I’m not training clients or training myself, I’ve been spending a good bit of my free time studying for my CSCS. By the time I’m finished reading, my mental energy has been spent and I’d rather get up and move than write.

Anyhow, that all said, I’ve been training as regular as I always have – minus a bit of the cardio.   My weekly training schedule is typically the following:

Monday – Strength, Power and METABOLIC day
Wednesday – Lower body STRENGTH
Thursday – Upper body STRENGTH
Saturday – Track Workout
Tuesday, Friday and Sunday – I freestyle with outdoor runs, recovery work or a rest day

I love to train with the iron – no doubt about it. However lately, I’ve been enjoying my Track Saturday’s the most. It takes me back to my roots of athletics, sports and training. I love going outdoors – no equipment, no walls and no crowds. It’s just free space, sunshine and athletic movement.

I’m really fortunate to have gone to a highschool that has a phenomenal facility. Among the great athletic programs Hereford High was known for, it’s weight training facilities also had a great reputation. That’s where I started lifting when I was 15 with Coach Turnbaugh, the highschool Varsity Football Coach. I still have my training folders from the good old days which show I followed a Mon / Tues, Thurs / Fri split with a track day on Wednesdays…  🙂

Ten years later, I’m so grateful to still have my highschool grounds for personal use.

I was really looking forward to my track day today. I put my earbuds in, turned on Wolfmother and started with a dynamic warmup on the center of the 50 yard line. I tend to freestyle my warm up, but always incorporate consistent activation, mobility and movement drills. Now that it’s a track day, I also dug into my library of movement prep from my days at the Parisi Speed School.

Today’s Dynamic Warm Up looked something like this:
On the ground – T-Spine mobility, Double leg hip bridges, Single leg hip bridges, Fire Hydrant Hip Circuit, Push Ups, Push Up Plus
On my feet – Prisoner squats, Good mornings, Jumping Jacks, Seal Jacks, Crossover Jacks (repeat x 2)
Movement Drills (20 yards up, 20 yards back) – Walking High Knee Hugs, Skips (for frequency), High Knees, Walking lunge, Reverse lunge with an overhead reach, Lateral shuffle, Side runs, Dynamic lateral lunge
Running Prep Drills – Arm mechanics, then a mechanical sprint drill: quick feet (5 yards) into high knees (10 yards) into a build up sprint (20 yards) x 3 rounds.

All was great…music, environment, sun, sweat, free space… my left quad however was feeling a bit off.. As I ran through my first 40 yards at a build up pace, it seized up on me. NOT TODAY I thought – I was so pumped to sprint! (Although, it’s never a good time 🙂 ) I stretched and tried again a few more times. Each time it got tighter and more painful – my body wasn’t having these sprints today. I was determined however to make the most out of my time and the gorgeous day… so I improvised, tried a few things and made due with what I could tolerate.. it still wound up being a great day of movement. Not full blown intensity but still good. My quad seemed to bug out with full force hip and knee flexion on the flat surface, but it was tolerant of hills. fortunately, I had those nearby too.. in fact, the hill at Hereford probably makes any athlete cringe at the memory of climbing it!

So the following was my workout today:

The Dip - well, most of it...

Phase 1: Hill sprints (aka, up the Dip ;)) 8 rounds (1 Round = roughly 30 second hustle to the top (I say hustle bc I couldn’t sprint) plus 2 min rest to get back down, recover my heart rate and stretch my quad)
Phase 2: Back up to the track – 8 rounds of 10 explosive burpees (push up included variation) Rest between rounds was self regulated – as much as needed but as little as needed.

Phase 3: Slowing things down a bit with two miles around the track (quad is tolerant so long as I don’t try to exert too much force on the flat surface)

Phase 4

Phase 4: (I still wasn’t ready to call it a day.. too nice out… so I incorporated “Four Corners” A, B, C, D – which included the 50 yard line, sideline, the endzone and the other sideline)
Round 1 – Point A to B jog, Point B to C side shuffle, Point C to D reverse run, Point D to A side shuffle
Round 2 – Point A to B High knees, Point B to C Side run, Point C to D High skips, Point D to A Side run
Round 3 –  Point A to B Walking lunge, Point B to C Lateral lunge, Point C to D Reverse lunge, Point D to A Lateral lunge
Round 4 – Jog Final Lap

Overall, still a great day despite a resistant left quad. I will post my “real” track workout in an upcoming post.. plus videos of the warm up drills AND the new and improved site should be up soon 😉

 

Strong Legs are Sexy Legs!

 

Alli McKee

Alli McKee

  

I love the feeling of the heavy bar on my back. The initial lift as I un-rack the weight and settle under the bar. Backing out of the squat rack and situating my stance. My entire body is comfortably under tension as I lower down and then drive through to the upright position while feeling everything work together.

Today was a lower body training day and I can feel myself regaining my strength back each week. Despite a herniated disk problem that limited me in the last show season, I feel my body is working very well for me this time around. My body fat is coming down at a great pace and my strength is going up each week – it’s a beautiful balance to have.  I just reached 135lbs again for four sets of eight on my back squats. Although I’d like to see my squat climb more, I’m happy to be doing more than my body weight – hell, I’m happy to be doing them at all 🙂

I have a very good feeling for this season. My mental and my physical state are in sync and it’s a lethal combination! I’m training and dieting like a winner and it’s so much fun right now. I am really enjoying the time spent on creating myself this time around. I love the release I get from training, the challenges I work through and the social aspect as I have been floating between my three gym locations. I’m blessed to work for such a phenomenal company, FX Studios which is partnered with Under Armour. The energy from my colleagues and the fitness enthusiasts around me are making this an incredible go-round.

I was at the Under Armour facility today for a lower body training day. Still the same pattern I mentioned in my previous post about the strength emphasis followed by diverting movements.

For those of you who like to follow the training or gather ideas for your own training, here is what today looked like:

A Dynamic WarmUp:
1. 5 minutes of jump rope
2. Hip Circuit:

  • Double leg hip bridges x 8
  • Single leg hip bridges x 8 per side
  • Fire Hydrants x 8 per side
  • Forward circles x 8 per side
  • Reverse circles x 8 per side
  • Superdog x 8 per side.

3. Bodyweight Super Leg Variation:

  • Bodyweight squats x 16
  • Bodyweight reverse lunges x 16 total (alternate legs)
  • Bodyweight split jumps x 16 total (alternate legs)
  • Bodyweight squat jumps x 8

4. Overhead Squat with a dowel rod x 8 reps
5. Front Squats with the naked barbell
6. Back Squats ( 2 sets of 8 ) with progressive weight building up to first working set.

Note: I always vary my warm up depending on the muscle emphasis for that day, but I also keep certain movements consistent for proper muscle activation, CNS activation, mobility and movement prep. Again, there are so many ways to structure warmups, have fun with them and pair your training knowledge with common sense. 🙂

The Strength Component:

Again a lot of this can be tailored to your abilities, likes / dislikes, needs, etc. but here is a glimpse of a lower body workout for me at the moment:

1a. Barbell Back Squat 4 x 8 – 12 reps
1b. Push ups (think of all the various versions to choose from) x 20 reps
1c. Core / Abdominal work

2a. Reverse Lunges (Barbell or Dumbbell) 3 x 12 per leg (NOT alternating!). (Note: for added challenge and range of motion, elevate your front foot on a weight plate)
2b. A pulling movement (ie: TRX rows, band rows) x 20 reps
2c. Core / Abdominal work

3a. Stability Ball Leg Curls (single leg if you’re able) 2 x 15 – 20 per side
3b. Core / Abdominal Work

Conditioning / Finisher:
The options here are endless as well as the structure of the intervals and intensity. Today I challenged myself to 75 flights of stairs. Another gym I have access to is only a 1/8 of a mile from the other. It’s in a building that is 25 stories high. I LOVE running the stairs. It’s task oriented and it’s hard as hell each time I get to the top. It takes me roughly 4 minutes to the top, 1 minutes to rest and 4 minutes back to the bottom.. repeat 3 rounds today for a total of roughly 27 minutes.

Again, lots of options from sprints, Airdyne bike intervals, etc. I have been having a blast mixing it up this season.

Stay tuned for more training suggestions to come!!

 Wishing you Health and Happiness,
Alli McKee

100 Rep Kettlebell Complex for Fat Loss

Ok, I’ve had my Ra-Ra moments, let’s get back to training 🙂

For the last few weeks, my training regimen has been demanding and fun! I wanted to jump-start my fat loss early this season and started with two-a-days right out of the gate. My training weeks have looked something like this:

Monday – a.m. cardio, p.m. lift (A day)
Tuesday – a.m. cardio, p.m. lift (B day)
Wednesday – a.m. cardio, p.m. lift (C day)
Thursday – p.m. cardio
Friday – a.m. cardio, p.m. lift (A day)
Saturday – lift (B day)
Sunday – rest
Monday – repeat week, beginning with C day

I imagine my workouts will change over the next few weeks but so far, the results have been very favorable. I have come down several percentages of body fat already.

My workouts have been structured to get a metabolic response. I still have a strength emphasis (ie: upper body push, upper body pull or lower body) but they are structured to be more total body taxing. I am also moving more quickly through the training session (although they still take me the better part of 50-80 minutes depending on the day).

My dominant muscle groups for the day (ie: pulling) still focus on 3-4 sets of each pulling exercise (ie: BB wide grip bent over row, DB bent over row, pull ups, lat pull down, etc.) They would be paired however with diverting exercises such as core work, lower body movement or the contrast of pushing…although nothing to exceed the challenge of the primary exercise… more for activity, recovery and the efficiency of the workout.

After the strength portion of the workout, I have been wrapping up with different metabolic finishers. I look forward to these the most in the training session. I love the “suffering” as I feel weary out but keep pushing to the finish 🙂

complex is a string of exercises back to back (using the same piece of equipment) without rest until fully finished. One of my favorite complexes at the moment is on my Pulling day. I do a 100 Rep KettleBell Complex x 3 Rounds. Here you go friends, give it a try!!

100 Rep KB Complex
Right side KB swing x 10 reps
Left side KB swing x 10 reps
Right side KB clean x 10 reps
Left side KB clean x 10 reps
Right side KB snatch x 10 reps
Left side KB snatch x 10 reps
Right side KB racked squat x 10 reps
Left side KB racked squat x 10 reps
Right side KB push press x 10 reps
Left side KB push press x 10 reps

I prefer to use a timer so I can keep track of the time it takes me to complete a full round and the time I take to recover. I have been completing the KB 100 Rep Complex in roughly 3 mintutes and rest about 2 minutes.

Perform 3 rounds and you should be feeling pretty smoked at the end of your session with a metabolism that is geared up for burning fat for many hours to come!!

(**weight choice** I’d select a weight you find challenging through the complex. Make sure you are not “arming” the kettlebell and actually using your body for the proper technique. Also be sure not to compromise your form by selecting a weight that is beyond your control)

Final Notes: The KB Complex, like any other complex, can be structured in so many different ways. Have fun making up your own versions. Try all left side, than all right side. Work the complex from the last exercise to the first. Change the exercises all together, change the piece of equipment. You see, the options are endless and up to your creativity.

Have fun! and send feedback!

Alli McKee

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 Bodybuilding.com 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!

Today’s Lower Body Training

I haven’t dished out a full training day in a while.. so here goes! The following workout was today’s lower body training session. Enjoy!

Dynamic Warm Up

Power Work (fast twitch muscle fibers)

  • A warm up set of lateral bounds x 12 reps  (control and stick the landing)
  • Lateral Step Up Jumps (Note: standing to the side of the bench, left foot rests on the bench, right foot on the ground. Explode up with left food (foot on bench), land with right foot on bench, starting foot on floor…repeat)
    5 sets x 12 jumps (6 per side). Rest 30 seconds between sets

Strength Work

1a. Single Leg Squat, 1 warm up set (body weight x 8 per leg) followed by 3 sets x 8-12 reps per leg (Note: weight used – 20lb weight vest for added challenge)
1b. Bulgarian Split Squat, 1 warm up set (20 lb DB in each hand) followed by 3 sets x 8 per leg (Note: weight used – 20lb weight vest plus 30lb DB in each hand for working sets)

2a. Hip Thrust 3 sets x 12 – 15 reps per leg (Note: Arms above head holding on to Perform Better Jungle Gym or TRX, one foot on the bench, the other leg / knee pulled in towards chest). For more on the Hip Thrust check out my colleague, friend and the father of the Hip Thrust, Mr. Bret Contreras.
2b. Backwards Sled Pull  3 sets x 50 yards  (Note: Go heavy enough that it’s a challenge but can move smoothly. ie: weight used – 200lbs on the sled)

3a. Super Dog  2 sets x 25 reps per leg (Note: See Super Dog post for this exercise. A different variation we used today: Flex knee 90 degrees so foot is dorsiflexed in the air. Lift foot to sky- this should target glutes a bit more.)
3b. Sled Push 3 sets x 50 yards (weight used 250lbs on the sled)

There you have it… today’s full lower body workout.. Exercises, Sets, Reps and even weights used!