Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 9.4.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition
By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call
This workout is about three things: core, balance, and legs and in that order. Each exercise is going to be a full-body workout that challenges internal stability, strains lower body strength endurance, and inflicts dynamic movements on the abdominal muscles.
The W-T-R ratio in the circuit is going to be intense. There isn’t much room for rest in this WOD, because it’s that time of year to step things up a notch, competition is in the air.
There’s one thing below the surface of this entire WOD that I want you to be mindful of the entire time; oxygen. To successfully pull off the way this WOD is laid out, conserve energy and regulate your breathing. Pace yourself rather than strive to beat a timer. There’s no time to beat, the point is to keep moving and doing the exercises the entire work period without extra rest.
You’ll notice a fair amount of tension constantly on the shoulders along with the abdomen, which was done on purpose. If at any time you feel a pinch, or irregular strain in the neck area, or around the collar bone, take a minute to see if there is something about your stance, or the way your distributing weight across your body that could be causing harm. Shoot for at least 3 cycles of this WOD, but five would be truly Spartan like.
Let’s get the show on the road…
(1.5 Mins Work & 25 Seconds Rest x 2 per Cycle.)
Dumbbell Reverse Lunges – Carrying weight is an Achilles heel for a lot of obstacle course athletes. Because challenges like these are rarely designed with stabilized weight in mind.
It’s always off balance, off center, a shifting heavy bag of sand, or awkward rock.
Lunges themselves are great for internal balance training, but with the added bonus off offset extra weight, shoulder presses, and lunging backwards, they produce results fast. While the exercise is purely for stabilized strength endurance, and heavy weight isn’t advised, remember for the most part that it’s muscle memory and the central nervous system being focused on here.
While holding the dumbbell with one arm, choose a leg and step backwards into a reverse saggital lunge. Unlike the guy in the picture, you can increase the demand on your core by choosing the opposite leg from the arm holding weight on the other side of the body. Use your brain and conquer the stance each rep.
For even more difficulty, when in the standing position between lunges, turn the shoulder press motion into a hand off so that you’re continuously lunging and alternating the side of the body dealing with the dumbbell.
(1.5 Mins Work & 35 Seconds Rest x 2 per Cycle.)
Dumbbell Chop – Staying with the same themes of core dynamics and balance training, the dumbbell chop is an excellent choice to follow up the offset dumbbell reverse lunges.
We’re saving a full squat motion for the next exercise, so for these just concentrate on a slight bend at the knee.
This is about weight transfer, and prepares the body to move weight from high to low, and vice versa while in the race. It’s low impact on the shoulder joints, especially the rotator cuff, and doesn’t strain any of the smaller muscles within the hp complex.
As always, don’t let the weight guide you, control it every second of the way through the motion. The elbows should not be locked, and the hips should move fluidly, not mechanically. Close your eyes if you have to and feel the way the musculature manages the weight moving through planes of motion.
Finally, mentally keep the core engaged through the entire set, and don’t be afraid to go from one side to the other. Just make sure that if you do choose that route, you tread softly, and slowly, listening closely to your joints.
(Ideally 100 yards per set, or alternating sets of 20 seconds Work w/ 10 seconds of Rest x 5 per Cycle.)
Bear Crawls – There’s nothing like some Bear Crawls to condition for low to the ground obstacles. It’s strange that crawling is perhaps the first real exercise that most human’s learned and depended on as babies. How soon we forget.
There’s only two ways to drastically increase the metabolic demand of this exercise. One emulates being in the race, or going fast, and the other is simply strapping on a weighted vest. Hardcore Spartans put a free weight plate on their back and crawl as fast as they can without letting it slip off them. Other than that, one could incorporate other low to the ground movements like pushups into them.
The things to remember is that this exercise only works when it’s done for a longer period of time than five or ten seconds. Ideally these should be done across a football or soccer field. Make sure to pay close attention to the wrists and fingers, and keep the butt as low as possible while still maintaining some speed.
Believe it or not, this is an amazing workout for the abs. It’s like a moving plank, incorporating the use of the musculature (especially shoulders and quads) rather than putting them under stagnant tension.
(2 Mins Work & 45 seconds Rest x 2 per Cycle)
Dumbbell Golf Squats – Though it may look similar to the dumbbell chop, Golf squats are different. They transfer weight differently, and make use of a full squatting motion.
Basically we are going to take away some of the twisting motion and replace it with a deep squat, and instead of letting the dumbbell go all the way down, we must stop it mid air, and then raise it again.
This is going to demand a burst of power from not only the core, but the shoulders and forearms as well. Be careful not to let the momentum get the better of you on the upswing, because this can lead to a shoulder strain or injury.
Additionally, in your mind, try to separate the squat from the upper body movement. It’s too easy to connect the two and start propelling the dumbbell with the legs. Some people lower their arms and legs at the same time, but it’s more of a challenge for the nervous if you mix them up by raising the dumbbell as you squat, and lowering it while you stand.
It’s a full-body exercise that creates balance, keeps the core under tension, and trains the mind, everything a good Spartan needs.
(20 MC’s Per Burpee x 8 per Cycle.)
Burpee Mountain Climbers – This is more of a full-body cardio workout. By mixing mountain climbers with burpees, the heart rate sky rockets, the entire body engages, and the core is being abused on both ends.
Mountain climbers are amazing core workouts, and so are burpees. They keep things moving, and can be done anywhere with a few feet of space. The climbers simulate pushing a weight with the body, and the burpees are a power exercise that produces explosive force from head to toe.
The best approach is injecting a relatively small number of mountain climbers into the middle of a burpee. So after going into the plank position from standing, begin doing them for a good amount of time, or as prescribed, and then pop back up. Add pushups for extra workload, but remember that using both legs once is a single rep of mountain climbers, not one count per leg.
Bring the knees in high, keep the butt low, and relish in the tension that builds all over the body, especially in the arms, shoulders, and abs.
Great work, now don’t forget that active recovery leads to more progressive fitness!
These workouts make a workout buddy really useful, but if you have a hand held, a really great timer app called Gymboss can be your best friend. As always Spartans, you’re encouraged to share and comment on your experience with this WOD. Especially when it comes to ways you found these exercises useful in preparing for obstacles and races. The community would love to read what you have to say.
James Villepigue & Hobie Call