Training for hiking added a not-so-familiar element to my regular training. As in, it was time to suck it up and do the cardio training I never want to do. Mainly because I find it boring, but also, who has the time?
It’s getting hot in herre. It is important when the temperature rises to be aware of what your body can do and what it needs. Stay hydrated, keep cool and if heat changes how your body functions while working out keep it short of you can. Here is a quickie strength HIIT workout to knock out before you head to the beach and work on that towel napping technique.
Equipment: Set of dumbbells
Time: 30 sec. work / 10 sec. rest x 18 (3 times through the entire set)
Squat and Press
[For a video demo, check it out on Instagram!]
Squat and Press
Starting with the weights at shoulders, Sit hips back for a deep Squat making sure to keep the chest up. Return to standing and go directly into an Overhead Press.
Add some power! Start with weights at shoulders. Lower into a slight squat just enough to load the legs. From the slight Squat position, explode into an Overhead Press. Reload, Explode.
Hinging from the hips, send them back while keeping the back straight and shoulders packed. With the weights staying close to the shins and keeping the hinge, stop wherever flexibility allows or back and shoulders can maintain a neutral position. Hinge back up and squeeze the glutes at the top.
Add some more power! Like the Deadlift, hinge at the hips and swing the weights back through the upper thighs, making sure to not swing below the knees. Using the momentum, thrust forward with the hips to bring the weights up to about shoulder height. The power comes from the hips, so the weights should float in the arms.
Start in a plank position with a neutral spine (feet, hips and neck all in alignment), Row one weight to the armpit while squeezing the shoulder blade back. Return to the Plank position and Row on the other side.
Seeing a pattern yet? Last power move. Still holding onto the weights, jump one foot up to meet the weight. From this position, quickly jump the forward foot back while jumping the back foot forward. Alternate sides.
Nice and sweaty? Now grab some water, some sunscreen and hit the beach. Enjoy!
Are you ready for this jelly? I have tweaking my workouts to be more efficient lately, as I start to get into my final weeks of endurance training for STP and having only small windows of time to do it. This week’s 45-minute workout was too fun not to share. And by fun I mean getting to lie on the floor while drinking a smoothie and watching a few episodes of The X-Files after.
KETTLEBELL (~30 min.)
30 Snatches (each arm)
20 Deadlift + High Pull
10 KB Sumo Squat Jump
40 Cleans (each arm)
20 KB Glute Bridges + Pullovers
10 Plyo Push Up Switches on KB
50 Swings (each arm)
10 Half TGUs
CORE CIRCUIT (6 min.)
20s Holds, no rest inbetween x 3
SPRINT FINISHER (4 min.)
20s Hill Sprints / 20s recovery x 6
How did you do?
When I first was drafted to my team, I literally knew nothing about skating for speed or power. I was a true rookie, learning everything from page one. My captain said this was a gift. She said that I could learn good form first then skill would come with ease afterwards. Most veterans who didn’t learn this way ended up with bad habits and found it harder to fix form after doing it a certain way for many years. Bad habits are truly hard to break!
So after a week of working with a few clients, I noticed a particular form fix that I had to address with those who were both new and old to exercise. As easy as it sounds, it is not as easy as it looks. Today’s fix is focused on the lateral lunge.
There are tons of articles that go over proper squatting form (like this, this and this) and it is surprising how a basic strength move is so elusive to tame. But, as difficult as it can be to tame a wild pegasus, that beautiful beast will later help conquer a princess-hungry krakken. All mythical creatures aside, if you have learned from proper squatting technique that the squat comes from the hips and NOT the knees, then you will quickly learn that the lateral lunge uses the same principal.
To execute a lateral lunge in proper form, there are a few points on the body to pay attention to:
- First, the hips. Remember that like the squat, the hips initiate the movement, as if sitting back in a chair. Keeping the chest upright, hinge the hips back and keep the knee and ankle in alignment with weight in the heels. Be sure not to hunch those shoulders and arch that back just to get closer to the ground, only go as far as the lower body will support the weight and in time the lower the lunge will become.
- Secondly, keep in mind where the foot falls in the lunge position. The tendency is to step the foot out and leave it pointed in that direction. Instead, keep both feet pointed forward, in the same direction that the rest of the body is facing. This exercise is focused on the upper leg and not the lower, so leave the lateral movement focused there.
- Lastly, try not to lunge so far that the legs are overextended. We aren’t trying to do the splits or Van Damme it between two semi trucks. If it is too difficult to stand back up without having to hop out of the lunge or wiggle awkwardly back to the center (or end up failing to Van Damme and pulling a Channing Tatum), then adjust for a shorter distance so form (and groin muscle) doesn’t suffer.
Now that I’ve shared some of my favorite productivity tools to work(out) from home, I’ll share some of my favorite moves with them that can be done as a complete workout. These moves hit the major muscle groups and train movements that keep your body balanced and ready for action. Enjoy!
First Things First
Before even starting your workout, spend some time with the foam roller. Hit areas that feel tight—such as quads, glutes, calves, lower back and hamstrings—making sure to spend at least 30 seconds working on each area. Using only your bodyweight, roll gently back and forth along the muscle. Once you are done, go ahead a do a dynamic warmup (walkouts, squats, leg swings, etc.) to get those muscles ready to move.
Now, the Workout
Do the exercises in order, one after the other until you have completed the set. Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat the circuit 2 more times for a total of 3 sets.
1. Walkout to Push Up - Bodyweight
Stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart. Bending at the hips and keeping legs straight, plant each hand on the ground and begin to walk forward into a plank position. Upon arrival in a plank, execute a push up and walk back up to standing.
*If a push up cannot be done in proper form, come down to the knees for the push up or do a half push up.
2. Pistol Squat - Suspension Strap
I am slowly making my way to unassisted pistol squat territory. The only way I have made it this far is with lots of practice and the help of my suspension strap. With the strap attached securely to the door, walk back holding the straps until arms are fully extended but not locked. Balancing on one foot while activating every inch of your footbed, lower into a squat as if you were sitting back in a chair, going only as far as you feel comfortable while using the straps for minimal balance and assistance as the non-weight bearing leg extends straight out in front of the body. Return to standing.
Reps: 5 each leg
3. Pull Ups - Pull Up Bar
Oh, the elusive pull up. Good thing the pull up bar was made to practice in the comfort of home. I am not going to go over form here really, what matters is going slow and remembering to engage the core. Whether that is a traditional pull up, a neutral grip pull up, a chin up or assisted band pull up—go to the max that can be done in proper form.
*If doing a pull up in not in the toolbox yet, go to the suspension strap and start building that upper body strength with suspension strap pull ups instead. I've attached my suspension stap to my pull up bar so I can sit directly under it (please make sure the pull up bar is secure!). Sit directly under the straps with legs straightened or bent at the knee in front of the body. With shoulders and arms aligned, pull the body up until the handles meet the armpits and pause. Return to start and repeat.
Reps: Max in proper form (or 10 with suspension strap)
4. Swings - Dumbbell or Kettlebell
Grab the dumbbells or kettlebell with both hands and stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder length apart. Hinging from the hips, bring the DB/KB back towards the tailbone, then thrust hips forward to swing the DB/KB as high as the hips drive them. Remember, the arms aren’t doing the work, the hips are. Ever see swing dancers where the guy pulls the girl through his legs until she is in the air and back on her feet? All from the hips.
5. Knee Ups - Pull Up Bar
This move is pretty straight forward. It lovingly works on grip strength and exhaust the core in the same manner. Hanging from the bar, but not letting shoulders droop from bodyweight, bring knees up to the chest and pause. Lower back down and repeat.
Reps: 8 to 10
6. One-Leg Deadlift to Row - Dumbbells or Kettlebell
I like to build workouts that integrate a lot of balance training, and this exercise is one of my favorites. Doing the deadlift with one leg not only works on balance, but engages the core to hold the weight in hand and keeps one from tipping over. Glutes and hamstrings do the same by bringing the upper body back to standing. With one foot slightly off the ground and the other firmly planted, hinge at the hips, lowering the dumbbells down towards the shin. As the upper body lowers, the free leg raises behind to body until the spine and back leg make a straight line parallel to the ground. From here, pull the dumbbells up to the armpits for the row, lower back to the shins and reverse the movement. Repeat the same movement on the other leg and that is one rep.
7. Chest Press to Fallout - Suspension Strap
This one is a favorite for shoulder stability and working all the stabilizing muscles in several directions. I wish I had done more of these in my dodgeball days. The ol’ arm is still as creaky as a rusty door hinge. Stand facing away from the door with straps on the outside of the arms. Feet will be closer to the door so the body will be in a suspended prone position. Lower the body as arms expand into a chest press. Then, as the hands come back in front transition in the fallout position, raising the arms above the head and making the body a straight line. Return to start and that is one rep.
8. Snowboarder Jump - Bodyweight
I am pretty sure this is just called a 180º squat jump, but I guess this is what the kids are calling it these days. It is like when my junior roller derby girls starting saying “swag” all the time. (Shrug.) Start facing to your left in an squatted position. Loading your legs, jump while turning the body with the hips (hips, hips, hips), landing softly facing to the right, back in a squatted position. Jump back in the same direction to start, then repeat on the other side. That is one rep. My old speed coach used to drive this tip into our brains when we wanted to turn smoothly on skates. The hips are like the gas pedal and steering wheel of a car, the body can’t produce power and direction without them.
Reps: 1 minute
Cardio Blast: Jump Rope
Tacking on a metabolic finisher at the end of a strength set is a great way to burn calories and build endurance long after the workout is done. Take a quick trip outside to finish the workout with this 15 minute jump rope routine adapted from Real Simple and reward yourself with a nice cool down and stretch afterwards.
1. Basic Jump: 1 minute on; 1 minute rest
2. Alternating Leg Jump: 1 minute on; 1 minute rest
3. Basic Jump/Alternating Leg Jump Combo (8 Basic / 8 Alternating): 1 minute on; 1 minute rest
4. High Knees Jump: 1 minute on; 1 minute rest
5. Zig Zag Jump: 1 minute on; 1 minute rest
(Keeping feet close together, jump up and turn the hips to one side at the same time. On the next jump up, turn hips in the opposite direction and repeat.)
5. Endurance Jump (can switch between Basic and Alternating jumping): 5 minutes non-stop
Great job! How productive are we feeling now? No one can call you a slacker in pajamas after this one.