Strongman

Prowler

Prowler

Structural balance should be a goal in everyone’s workout routine. With that in mind, I decided to add strongman training and yoga into my own fitness routines-I’ll get more into the yoga part in a later post. But, for those of you who don’t know what ‘strongman’ workouts are, allow me to explain.

The word, strongman, primarily took shape in the the 19th century as part of a circus act. Strongmen and/or strongwoman would perform incredible acts of power, strength and balance, which of course, would draw the attention of many spectators.

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Modern day strongman, is not much different, than those of the circus. However, it has been formalized as a style of training. Strongman training requires you to lift, push, carry, flip, or throw heavy things which are anaerobic in nature. Meaning you create tremendous exertion by generating a ton of force against the ground.

Some examples of strongman training include: sled pushing, farmer’s walks, tire flips and medicine ball throws. Most importantly, the strength gained in this type of training is easily transferred to everyday activities such as walking heavy loads of groceries home, or picking up heavy items off the ground. Strongman training=strength and functionality.

Next time you’re at the gym, try a strongman workout instead. A simple Google search will give you a myriad of strongman workouts. Or you can also add strongman components into your workout routine. Such as pairing weighted squats with farmer walks, or chest press with medicine-ball wall slams.

My new favorite conditioning workout is pushing the Prowler for 15 minutes 1-2 times/week. I’ll set my timer for 15 minutes in which I’ll push the Prowler (sled) as fast as I can using the low bars for about 20m, then I’ll switch to the high-bars and drive it back to my original spot. Repeat until the timer goes off. Breathers will be necessary but they should be short; just enough to calm your breath and keep going. In other words, rest enough time to get rid of the black spots in your vision. 🙂 Or if you prefer a formal style of training, then do an allotted amount of sets for 20-25m and rest 1-2 minutes in between sets. Try 6-8 sets x 20m then rest 1 minute, and repeat.

This style of training is not easy, but it’s certainly fun and challenging. For optimal fat loss, try a strongman workout twice a week on non-consecutive days. Break a sweat and reap the benefits of working hard!

Survival of the Fittest

Why you need to be strong:

This next post came about the second to last episode of Breaking Bad. If you haven’t caught up with the series, STOP and close this window because I’m going to retell a scene in an episode. 🙂

For those of you who watched it, let’s go back to the moment when Jesse tries to escape from the underground cell. He places a bucket on top of his jacket and carefully steps on it balancing off of it and leaps up in hopes to catch the metal bar so he can escape. Let’s stop there.

As I was staring at the screen in pure anguish, I thought, “What if a fat person were to be in a similar situation, would he/she be able to escape?” Hmm, probably not. Come to think of it, not even a skinny or an unfit person would make it out…

I know that it would be really, really unlikely anyone were to be in anything similar to that nerve-wreaking episode, but many things can go wrong, so why leave it to fate to determine if you have a chance of surviving or not!

If you’re one of these peeps that don’t think you’d make it in “Jesse scenario,” it’s time to do something about it!

Train for overall body composition. Do compound movements such as bench pressing, pull-ups, deadlifts and squats for optimal strength. These exercises do so much more than you’d think; they recruit a ton of more muscles aside from the targeted one.

Example, in a deadlift you primarily recruit your hamstrings and glutes, but you also get a great back workout as you use it to stabilize throughout the movement. Or in the case of the infamous squat, aside from targeting your quads and glutes, your abs are also engaged and working hard to keep your torso upright. Pull-ups not only strengthen your latissimi dorsi (yo’ lats), but they work your shoulders and biceps. And finally, bench pressing mainly targets your chest (pecs), but it also works your shoulders, biceps and triceps.

You see, incorporating these basic compound lifts into your routine, can only benefit you. So if you’re ever in a “Jesse scene,” you can easily balance on the empty bucket because your abs/core will be rockin’, then you can jump using your strong quads and hamstrings, grab the metal bars easily with your bare hands-as you will most likely develop calluses in your hands from lifting (don’t use gloves, it’s not a bad thing to have ‘em calluses) so hanging from the bar will be a piece o’ cake, and then squeeze your lats together to pull yourself upward and latch the gate open and set yourself FREE!!

So there you go, exercise just saved your life. 🙂

In all seriousness, consider mastering these basic compound movements. They will not only make stronger, but they’ll also give you the confidence to know that ‘when push comes to shove’ you’ll survive.

Moral of the story: If you’re anything but fit and healthy, don’t make meth.

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Favorite Leg/Glute Workout

Show me some leggies

It’s been some time now that I’ve been wanting to share some of my personal workout routines.

Let’s just say that, by far, this one has been my favorite. This workout is a variation from a leg/glute workout plan by trainer and Glute Guru,  Bret Contreras. I must warn you!, this workout is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge- get ready!

But, before I go onto the workout details, I feel a big need to explain in more detail why this program has been my favorite so far.

You see, my legs grow quickly. They get bulky really, really, fast..and not in the good way. But guess what doesn’t grow proportionately to my legs?? My butt.  My tushy,  derriere, booty, butaay, glutes, whatever you want to call it, does not grow no matter how hard I was hitting my compound leg movements. There lies my frustration. I can do a thousand lunges, squats, deadlifts and nothing, nada! You see for most, the great majority that is, doing compound movements such as the infamous full squat, produce great, wait, not great, FANTASTIC results in the tushy area. But NOT me…ahhh damn you genetics!!

Ok I have to say that alongside this great workout, sprinting and stair running has definitely changed the shape of my legs and butt. Ever seen a sprinter’s lower body? Makes me say wanna say (with my index finer held high, of course), “Yep, I’ll take 1 of those to go, please.”  Losing body fat will make that booty and legs pop on its own. But, it’s also a great idea to help shape them with a good workout plan.

The following is a variation of a program by Bret Contreras. I say variation because some of the exercises are out of sequence, didn’t use all of the exercises he uses/I added some, my reps/sets are different and I improvised using the machines that are in my gym.

Since I’ve been on this plan, I’ve noticed major results in my posterior-chain (erector spinae group, hamstrings and glutes). I suggest to take a before workout picture of a side butt shot, and then one right after you complete this workout. You are sure to see a good pump!

I’m also going to include the weights I use just to give you an idea. BUT, keep in mind that you must cater to your own needs. Your weights are going to be different than mine. For example, in Full Squats the heaviest I can safely and with proper form, perform is around 80#, which is not a lot, but it’s a lot for me. Remember is not about EGO. It’s about doing ’em right! So be SMART and challenge yourself!!

Oh, oh, oh…do some dynamic stretching beforehand! Stretch out those hamstrings and quads really well!

Without further ado:

A.) Full Squats: 6-8 reps x 5-6 sets  (75# and may drop 5-10# throughout) 30 sec rest

B.) Hex-Bar Deadlift (my very favorite contraption ever!!)  4-6 reps x 5-6 sets (150-160#) 30sec rest

C.) Dumbbell High Step-Ups (I use this one) 12-15 per leg x 4-5 sets (10-12#) 30-45sec rest

D.) Weighted Hip Thrusts: 12-15reps x 5-6 sets (30-35 #) 30 sec rest

E.) Cable Single Legged Kick-Backs: 12-15 reps per leg x 5-6 sets (30-40#) 30 sec rest

F.) Weighted 45° Back Extension: 10-12 reps x 4-5 sets (25# plate) 30 sec rest

G.) Weighted Hip Bridges 8-10 reps x 4 sets (40-45#) 30sec rest

F.) Hip Abduction “Bad Girl Machine”: 12-15 reps x 3 sets (50#) 30sec rest

Now that you’ve successfully completed this awesome workout, go dip your lower body into some iced water! just kiddin’.. No, but, seriously you should, if you’re brave enough, you’re gonna need it!

Ice bath or not, you should definitely foam roll soon after and about 4-5 hours after that. Foam roll, foam roll, foam roll.

p.s. Please don’t hate if you can’t sit on the toilet for the next 3 days