Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 12.12.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

By James Villepigue, CSCS

This WOD goes out to all the Spartans out there that for whatever reason, find themselves forced to train in the gym.

Additionally, for those who are a member at a gym that doesn’t have an indoor or outdoor track. I understand what it means to depend on the treadmill for cardio. This WOD is about turning a typical treadmill and a set of dumbbells into a metabolic extravaganza. Here is what one circuit looks like:

1)  Interval Dumbbell Farmer Walks: 2 Cycles

2)  Dumbbell Burpees x 12

(1 Minute Rest)

3)  Sprint Intervals: 2 Cycles

4)Dumbbell Clean & Presses x12

(1 Minute Rest)

5)  Single Arm Farmer Walk Intervals: 2 Cycles 1Per Arm

6)  Alternating Dumbbell Lunges x 20

(1 Minute Rest)

This is going to be fast paced, and will only require enough room around the treadmill to be able to get down into the burpees and lunges. The intervals will go quickly, and so will the sets of exercises, but physiologically you’ll be asking a truck load from your body and central nervous system.

There will some other time for chit chat, but not when you tackle this. The rest periods will seem to fly by. Control your breathing, pace yourself, and treat this WOD like it’s the last one you’ll do as final prep for a hardcore race.

We’ll be challenging your muscular endurance, cardiovascular stamina, mental strength, and fitness level big time. Shoot for three sets as is, without adding any extra rest. It may take a little time to get used to the controls on your treadmill, but once you’ve got it down the transitions between types of intervals should only take seconds to get going.

Grab your dumbbells and get ready…

Interval Dumbbell Farmer Walks: 2 Cycles

What you need to do is set the downtime interval to 1 minute, and the uptime interval to 3 minutes. Both together are considered one cycle for this exercise, so four minutes total per cycle.

The pace for both should be about 3.0-3.3. Then set the uptime elevation to a pretty high level. Go as high as you’re comfortable, but take this as an opportunity to prep for steep hills.

Grab your dumbbells, and these should be a moderate weight for both men and women, or between 25-40lbs. Hop on, start it up, and get ready for the hill. Once it hits, dig deep, revel in the strain in your shoulders and forearms, and resist the urge to lurch forward. Stand up tall, control your breathing, and focus. Stand up straight and go with it.

 

Dumbbell Burpees x 12 :

As soon as you’ve completed the third minute of uptime and it drops back down, stop the tread mill and get ready to do some dumbbell assisted burpees.

 

These are great full-body exercises that keep your heart rate up, muscles pumping, and endorphins flowing. When you drop down, try to make it more of a deadlift pose into the plank than a bending over.

 

While on the ground, as usual, feel free to add pushups, rows, or whatever you like to increase the difficulty. Also, when you come up from them, keep the deadlift posture in mind to get the hamstrings into the muscular chorus.

 

Sprint Intervals: 2 Cycles

For these intervals you’re going to be forced to draw on reserves. Adapt and overcome! Again, set the down time to 1 minute, and the sprints to 3 minutes.

Now, I don’t want you to be that person who everyone can hear almost breaking the treadmill around the entire gym. Set it at a bit more than a moderate pace that 9 out of ten people would call a full on run.

You can add elevation if you like, but I wouldn’t recommend anything more than slight. The importance is to sustain two bursts of energy that push you beyond your energy threshold.

 

Dumbbell Clean & Presses x12:

These are going to be rough. Suck it up, and do them with good form, you’re almost half way done!

Bring them from hanging in front of your knees, slightly in front of the hips, up to your shoulders as you squat down keeping your back straight, and then thrust up to the sky! Like the man in the picture, add that little extra push by going up onto to the tips of your toes without losing balance.

 

Single Arm Farmer Walk Intervals: 2 Cycles 1Per Arm

What makes these a challenge is walking with weight on only one side of the body, while going up and down in the intervals. It’s something that poses different physiological force manipulation obstacles that we don’t normally face.

Keep the same settings as the first set of farmer’s walks, but slow things down a bit. It’s too easy to strain something if you’re in too big of a hurry. You’re going to do two cycles, so switch the weight accordingly so that both sides of your brain and body have to grapple with it.

Alternating Dumbbell Lunges x 20: Once you’re done with those, I want you to do 20 lunges and try to mix up the plane of motion between frontal, lateral, and transverse.

Additionally, stick with only one dumbbell instead of picking up the other.

The lunges will be a bit more challenging with weight on one side of the body. Switch the weight back and forth, and pose as much of a challenge to your internal balance and stabilization mechanisms as possible. Feel free to do presses as you go into the lunges as well for increased demand.

Keep Going!

James Villepigue CSCS

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Spartan WOD for Wednesday 11.28.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

~By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call

For this week’s WOD, it’s time to really turn it up a notch, and push the body through any mental comfort zones. To win and to overcome, one must be able to demonstrate they’re more than they seem to be, while seeming to be more than they really are.

The workout below is about two things; challenging the central nervous system with complex movements, and weight distributions it isn’t used to. We’re going to be pushing maximum oxygen uptake and cardiovascular endurance. Obstacle Course cravers are about progressive fitness, and this set of exercises delivers just that. Intense variation isn’t only about going from one traditional exercise to the next, it’s also about compounding exercises to incorporate the use of the entire musculature at once.

You’ll be performing a vast array of exercises, but they can be broken down into four. There’s nothing wrong with mixing four traditional exercises together and molding one that’s unique and extra challenging. When off the course and training, we get to make the rules, and define our grit.

Ideally, for a hardcore session, 5 circuit sets should be done with the exercises back-to -back and minimal rest. For those that love structure, a breakdown on a good use of rest is supplied at the end of the workout. Each set should be at least 12 reps of continuous motion. Rest in between exercises rather than between reps.

I could list the muscles this workout puts under strength building strain, or I could just sum it up in three words: all of them.

Let’s Get Into This…

Before tackling this circuit, make sure you have a bench press and some room close by with dumbbells ready so there are no interruptions. On average three to five revolutions should take no more than forty minutes, but internally strive for the best time possible. This workout is an obstacle course for the body itself.

Here’s Your Movements List…

1-  Front Barbell Squats-First things first; form. Make sure that the weight is directed straight down the kinetic chain into the heels.

Leaning forward, even slightly, with a weighted barbell in front of the body is disastrous for the lower back. The weight should be moderate; for men 95-115lbs and women 30-60lbs. It’s wise to use Olympic size barbells, typically found on the bench press. Additionally, doing them while standing over the bench itself isn’t a bad idea. This way you can go down to a sitting position, and then stand back up. It reduces risk and typically allows for more reps, but don’t lock the knees. Make sure to keep the back straight and head up, and let the barbell rest comfortably on the shoulders across the neck line.

While most people think this is primarily a leg workout, it’s not. Actually, because the weight is where it is, the core is heavily engaged to steady the body in space, especially when coming back up. Remember to breathe with each rep and keep your eyes pointed straight ahead.

2-  One-Legged Dumbbell Step-up – These weights should be moderate, because after you’ve stepped onto the elevated surface, you’re going to perform a hammer bicep curl and shoulder press.

To drastically increase the difficulty, and force the central nervous system to become truly occupied, do them with only one weight at a time. Furthermore, make sure that the leg you choose to step up with is the opposite one from the arm holding the dumbbell. This way, it causes the internal balance and stabilization mechanisms to join the party, especially while the curl and press motions are occurring.

Sometimes during training, people forget that there are far more muscles in the body than the major muscle groups, and the ones that can be seen. An exercise like this instigates neural signals to muscles of all sizes throughout the body, from the joint capsules and tendons, to ligaments and supportive muscles.

3-  Dumbbell Burpees w/ Lunge – Directly after the step-ups, you’re going to keep the tension on the legs and abdomen going. The more of the overall exercise that can be fit into one continuous and fluid movement, the better the results will be. This means good form and determined motions are a must.

If the weights are on the lighter side, then you can add some pushups, and dumbbell back rows to the burpees. Afterwards, before going into the lunges, they could also be used for any number of upper body exercises like curls or presses as well.

Additionally, to make the alternating lunges more difficult, only bring one dumbbell up from the burpee. Doing lunges with weight on only one side of the body is going to increase the metabolic demand. Our thinking muscle is arguably the most important tool at our disposal on the obstacle course; train it.

With this exercise heavy weight can be safely used. You’ll have to cut out some of the extra exercises though. However, with the heavier weights a half-squat can be executed when coming up from the burpee, and it makes the lunges far more intense on the glutes. Remember, form is always, and in all ways, more important and beneficial than weight alone.  

4-  Barbell Bicep Curl to Squat – This exercise is a combination of barbell bicep curls and front squats. Try as hard as possible to make it one fluid movement as well, from the moment the bicep curl begins to the moment you come back up from the squat. In a way, when done correctly, it feels like a type of inverted snatch.

Beware of swaying. Use the lower back as little as possible during the curl. Rather than simply going along with gravity, do everything on purpose. Imagine how effective it would be if you could do it in slow motion. For most people one rep of this compound exercise takes about 2-4 seconds. What if you could stretch it to 10-15 without ceasing movement? This cannot be stressed enough: heaving weight pales in comparison to the deliberate manipulation of stress and proper form.

Active Recovery is Better Than Rest

Going from these intense and taxing exercises to standing or sitting still isn’t a good idea, and it’s counterproductive. Instead, keep an eye on the clock and follow the prescribed active recovery times below. In between rounds, do these exercises that keep the heart pumping, but give the muscles some time to refill their glycogen stores.

Active Recovery Exercises

1st Round - Go up to a wall and do some bouncing pushups. This isn’t going to require much effort from your recovering body, but the activity will keep your muscles warm and prepared for the next bout of exercise.

2nd Round - Because of the type of muscle tissue in the abdomen, it can be used and abused more than almost any other muscle group. Perform a plank during this recovery phase to really engage the abdominal muscles and core.

3rd Round - Take a minute to stretch any muscles that are tightening up or knotting. Some good preventative stretching ideas for these exercises would be the thighs, hips, and chest.

4th Round - Rehydrate, but don’t drink too much and then do some torso twists to loosen up the abs. Some jumping is a great idea to keep those muscles warm while maintaining your elevated endorphin levels for the last set.

If you make it through the 5th round, congratulations! Remember not to sit down or rest just yet. Your heart will benefit with a short cool down. Go for a short walk and cool it off.

Active Recovery Times at the End of Each Round

1st Round – 2.5 Minutes
2nd Round – 1.5 Minutes
3rd Round – 1 Minute
4th Round – 45 Seconds

Pre and Post Workout Recommendations

This workout is geared towards strength endurance over brute force. Therefore, a meal consisting of clean complex carbs (fruits, vegetables, berries, etc.) protein, and fat should be eaten about an hour before hand. The portions should be roughly 60% carbs – 20% fat – 20% protein.

After the workout a blended shake with close to the same portions of carbs, protein, and fat should be consumed within 30 minutes for best results. Also, keep in mind that the metabolism is going to go into overdrive for hours after this routine, so adequate amounts of calories are needed, especially protein saving fats; mono and polyunsaturated are best.

As always, if at any point during the circuit, you feel dizzy, nauseous or you cannot catch your breath, please be smart and stop! Take the time to assess your condition.

If you haven’t already, get yourself a timer. Here is a great GymBoss App that I found:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gymboss-2-interval-timer/id500887448?mt=8

Check out the brand new BodyBuilding.com obstacle race training section that I just put together with the support of my awesome team at Gaspari Nutrition. Spartan Race is now being recognized as the most competitive and rugged obstacle race in the world. Please check out the new BB.com section, “Like” and share it with your friends and loved ones!

Keep Going!

James Villepigue & Hobie Call

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Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 11.6.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

~By James Villepique CSCS

You’ve decimated one half of a 4 week progressive fitness orientated and periodized training program. It’s time to add some heat, ask for extra endurance, and communicate to the body that a new adaptation is required. This week’s WOD is adding in time constraints, oh yeah, we went there. Here is what things looked like last week:

Week 2 Periodized WOD

-  Jog 1 Half Mile

Lower Body Agility Exercise x 7

1 min rest

-  Jog 1 Quarter Mile

Alternating Split Squats w/ Jump x 12

1 min rest

-  Jog 1 Half Mile

2 Pushups + Burpees to Tuck Jumps x 15

1 min rest

-  Jog 1 Quarter Mile

Full-Body Agility Square x 8

1 Min Rest

Changes

-1 min rest
+1/2 Mile
+7 Reps to Agility Drills
+30 Pushups

Last week we spoke about implementing visualization techniques to enhance and elevate performance, especially when things get rough and the mind begs us to call it quits. As you’ll see, we’ve added another half mile to the WOD, and added a time constraint of 8-12 minutes on it.

In America at this point, an 8-12 minute mile is asking a lot, but not when it comes to Spartans. Stretch well, prepare, bring your mind to the field, and make pacing a priority. Here is what this week’s WOD looks like, including the overall changes to the program so far:

Week 3 Periodized WOD

-  Jog 1 Half Mile (4-6Min Time)

Lower Body Agility Exercise x 12

50 Sec Rest

-  Jog 1 Half Mile

Alternating Split Squats w/ Jump x 15

1 Min Rest

-  Jog 1 Half Mile (4-6Min Time)

2 Pushups + Burpees to Tuck Jumps x 15

50 Sec Rest

-  Jog 1 Quarter Mile

Full-Body Agility Square x 10

1 Min Rest

Change

- 20 Seconds Rest
+1/2 Mile
+ 10 Reps to Agility Drills
Added Time Constraints to 1 Mile
-1min 20sec Rest
+1 Mile
+17 Reps to Agility Drills
+30 Pushups
+Time Constraints to 1 Mile

Overall Changes

-1min 20sec Rest
+1 Mile
+17 Reps to Agility Drills
+30 Pushups
+Time Constraints to 1 Mile

Ideally the jogging should begin to feel like a cool down period between energy expensive exercises. That last quarter mile should be producing a slight adrenaline burst, and the minor decrease in rest should have left its mark.

Next week the rest periods will change again, and there will be more periodization for the final stretch.

I’ll briefly go over the different stations of the circuit again, but by now you should know them pretty well.

Prepare Yourself…

Jogging

Along with soreness in the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calf, joggers can begin to feel soreness in their ankles, especially around the Achilles tendon. If you begin to feel this, then rest and recuperate. Talk to your doctor if the soreness worsens, you see swelling, or it lasts for more than four days.

Adequate recovery, tying your shoelaces tight enough, and wearing appropriate footwear can all help guard against this. Make sure to stretch, breathe correctly and deliberately, and get sufficient micro and macro nutrients before/after.

Lower Body Agility Drills

As you get used to these, again, pay attention to your ankles. The jogging, shuffling, and scooting really puts the pressure on the joint capsules, and they should give you an appreciation for them!

It’s easy to forget about them in the modern American lifestyle, but in these WODs and on the obstacle course, they are absolutely crucial.

If someone suffers an ankle injury in post apocalyptic movies, what does the audience do? They sigh, because that person is a goner! Focus on what you’re doing, and avoid injury.

Alternating Split Squats with Jump

Why is jumping in general such a huge calorie burner? Jump roping burns around 700 calories an hour, and that’s more than half a pound of fat. You’re engaging your calves, shoulders, quads, arms, and all else, and then pitting them against gravity.

This exercise should give you more of an appreciation for balance training. Each time you awkwardly lean to the side, lose your footing, or come down in a dangerous fashion, imagine doing so while the clock is ticking during a race.

Pushup Burpees to Tuck Jump

Why does every military make its soldiers do tons of burpees, why are they in obstacle courses, and why do athletes get extremely used to them? What is so special about the burpee?

Well, for starters you enter into different planes of motion, have to coordinate the upper and lower body, and when you add in jumps and pushups, they become a full-body workout that expends energy and kick starts the metabolism. If you do them quickly enough, they’re probably one of the most difficult kinds of cardio ever.

Full-Body Agility Drills

How about the wrists? Excessive jogging can bring your ankles to life in ways that aren’t so pleasurable. Well, as you get used to the bear-crawl like movements, don’t take your wrists for granted.

Be precise in your movements, and because they won’t be timed, there is absolutely no reason to be quick about it. Take your time, and act deliberately, focusing and paying close attention to what kind of language your wrist and hand joints are speaking.

 

Keep Going!

James Villepigue

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Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 10.23.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

by James Villepique CSCS

 

The WOD you have before you is the first of a set of four. The circuit you’ll perform this week is going to be scaled up over a month’s time; meaning added intensity, metabolic demand, and challenge. It’s focused on periodized endurance and agility training from head to toe.

We’re conditioning you for Armageddon basically. This is how you would train as a Spartan leading up to a major battle in the old days. You’re going to be able to look back at the end of the month and marvel at the sheer amount of hardcore obstacle training exercise you pulled off.

If you accept this regimen, stick to the way it intensifies, and time it to end just before a Spartan race, well, you’ll step up to the start line like a madhouse of confidence.

We’ve provided the layout of the circuit, and for this week you’ll do it three times. There are no resting periods other than those listed. In the following weeks certain things like the length/speed of running, the numbers of reps, and rest periods will change and increase your workload.

Keep your pace, keep tabs on energy expenditure, and keep your wits when the body entices you to devour adrenaline bursts in a single short lived burst of speed.

Strap in…

 

-  Jog 1 quarter mile

Lower Body Agility Exercise x 5

1 min rest

-  Jog 1 quarter mile

Alternating Split Squats w/ Jump x 10

1 min rest

-  Jog 1 quarter mile

Burpees to Tuck Jumps x 12

1 min rest

-  Jog 1 quarter mile

Full-body agility square x 5

2 min rest

 

Lower Body Agility Exercise – This is a classic agility exercise, and the reason why it’s survived so long and is used in most major sports to this day is because it works!

You can eye ball this, but it’s more effective to set up a square with objects you can see and aim at. Furthermore, it’s more effective to be able to see where you’re going to stop and immediately change direction.

Picture it like a big rectangle on the field. The two shorter lengths should be at least 10 feet apart, and the long ones double that.

You won’t change the direction you’re facing, just the plane of motion you’re in. So keep facing forward. Start by shuffling with quick steps forward as fast as you can, head left and do a side shuffle alternating the front and back feet, shuffle backwards, then side shuffle back. That’s one; do that five times without stopping!

 

Alternating Split Squats w/ Jump – This is a fully body balance and agility exercise that will be a bear to get through after running; that’s the point.

Use mental focus, the core, and your arms to keep your internal equilibrium centered. While you’re jumping into the air and switching which legs you come down on, rely on the mind muscle connection to guide you.

Try not to let your knees touch the ground, keep the weight in front in the heel, and absorb the downward force. Form is obviously a big deal, so during this first week take them a little easy, especially if they’re new.

The jump should be straight up, and there should be sufficient room between your feet while you’re on the ground. Rather than sinking into the lunge position, pausing, and then going back up, try to think of your body as a ball and take that pause away.

 

Burpees to Tucks Jumps – Again it’s best if in the initial phase you concentrate on taking this full-body complex movement slowly so that you can perform it deliberately.

Make the burpees controlled and then do a squat afterwards to prepare for a proper tuck jump. This means that you aim to keep your head up and jump high enough to bring your knees into the chest.

Come back down, connect with the ground, and then go immediately back into another burpee. There really should be no pauses anywhere; not at the bottom of the burpees, or when you come back down from the tucks.

Don’t get ahead of yourself; it’s easy to tweak something here. Watch your wrists, employ the core in every movement, and pace yourself. Go for as much height as possible, and generate as much power as possible to really kick start your muscular endurance.

 

Full-body Agility Square – Instead of being solely on your feet for this drill, you’ll be on your hands and toes. Why does everyone do bear crawls only going forward?

Just take it easy, bear crawl forward, then to one side paying special attention to your wrist joints and keeping your butt low, then crawl backwards, then to the other side.

This is an amazing exercise but for some mysterious reason people avoid it. Like nothing ever happens in life which could require us to crawl in other directions besides forward? Maybe it’s rare in the real world, but not on the course. There are plenty of opportunities when being able to do this really quickly and successfully can earn a Spartan an edge.

Imagine how many muscles go into these complex movements, and how much more brain work is involved. Start slow, because speeding this exercise up in weeks to come could be a possibility. The lower to the ground you are and the more controlled, the more trained your muscles have become, to say nothing of your central nervous system efficiency.  

Keep Going!

James Villepigue

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Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 10.16.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

By James Villepigue, CSCS

This WOD goes out to all the Spartans out there that for whatever reason, find themselves forced to train in the gym.

Additionally, for those who are a member at a gym that doesn’t have an indoor or outdoor track. I understand what it means to depend on the treadmill for cardio. This WOD is about turning a typical treadmill and a set of dumbbells into a metabolic extravaganza. Here is what one circuit looks like:

1)  Interval Dumbbell Farmer Walks: 2 Cycles

2)  Dumbbell Burpees x 12

(1 Minute Rest)

3)  Sprint Intervals: 2 Cycles

4)Dumbbell Clean & Presses x12

(1 Minute Rest)

5)  Single Arm Farmer Walk Intervals: 2 Cycles 1Per Arm

6)  Alternating Dumbbell Lunges x 20

(1 Minute Rest)

This is going to be fast paced, and will only require enough room around the treadmill to be able to get down into the burpees and lunges. The intervals will go quickly, and so will the sets of exercises, but physiologically you’ll be asking a truck load from your body and central nervous system.

There will some other time for chit chat, but not when you tackle this. The rest periods will seem to fly by. Control your breathing, pace yourself, and treat this WOD like it’s the last one you’ll do as final prep for a hardcore race.

We’ll be challenging your muscular endurance, cardiovascular stamina, mental strength, and fitness level big time. Shoot for three sets as is, without adding any extra rest. It may take a little time to get used to the controls on your treadmill, but once you’ve got it down the transitions between types of intervals should only take seconds to get going.

Grab your dumbbells and get ready…

Interval Dumbbell Farmer Walks: 2 Cycles

What you need to do is set the downtime interval to 1 minute, and the uptime interval to 3 minutes. Both together are considered one cycle for this exercise, so four minutes total per cycle.

The pace for both should be about 3.0-3.3. Then set the uptime elevation to a pretty high level. Go as high as you’re comfortable, but take this as an opportunity to prep for steep hills.

Grab your dumbbells, and these should be a moderate weight for both men and women, or between 25-40lbs. Hop on, start it up, and get ready for the hill. Once it hits, dig deep, revel in the strain in your shoulders and forearms, and resist the urge to lurch forward. Stand up tall, control your breathing, and focus. Stand up straight and go with it.

 

Dumbbell Burpees x 12 :

As soon as you’ve completed the third minute of uptime and it drops back down, stop the tread mill and get ready to do some dumbbell assisted burpees.

 

These are great full-body exercises that keep your heart rate up, muscles pumping, and endorphins flowing. When you drop down, try to make it more of a deadlift pose into the plank than a bending over.

 

While on the ground, as usual, feel free to add pushups, rows, or whatever you like to increase the difficulty. Also, when you come up from them, keep the deadlift posture in mind to get the hamstrings into the muscular chorus.

 

Sprint Intervals: 2 Cycles

For these intervals you’re going to be forced to draw on reserves. Adapt and overcome! Again, set the down time to 1 minute, and the sprints to 3 minutes.

Now, I don’t want you to be that person who everyone can hear almost breaking the treadmill around the entire gym. Set it at a bit more than a moderate pace that 9 out of ten people would call a full on run.

You can add elevation if you like, but I wouldn’t recommend anything more than slight. The importance is to sustain two bursts of energy that push you beyond your energy threshold.

 

Dumbbell Clean & Presses x12:

These are going to be rough. Suck it up, and do them with good form, you’re almost half way done!

Bring them from hanging in front of your knees, slightly in front of the hips, up to your shoulders as you squat down keeping your back straight, and then thrust up to the sky! Like the man in the picture, add that little extra push by going up onto to the tips of your toes without losing balance.

 

Single Arm Farmer Walk Intervals: 2 Cycles 1Per Arm

What makes these a challenge is walking with weight on only one side of the body, while going up and down in the intervals. It’s something that poses different physiological force manipulation obstacles that we don’t normally face.

Keep the same settings as the first set of farmer’s walks, but slow things down a bit. It’s too easy to strain something if you’re in too big of a hurry. You’re going to do two cycles, so switch the weight accordingly so that both sides of your brain and body have to grapple with it.

Alternating Dumbbell Lunges x 20: Once you’re done with those, I want you to do 20 lunges and try to mix up the plane of motion between frontal, lateral, and transverse.

Additionally, stick with only one dumbbell instead of picking up the other.

The lunges will be a bit more challenging with weight on one side of the body. Switch the weight back and forth, and pose as much of a challenge to your internal balance and stabilization mechanisms as possible. Feel free to do presses as you go into the lunges as well for increased demand.

Keep Going!

James Villepigue CSCS

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Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 10.9.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

by James Villepigue CSCS

This workout is a slow twitch extravaganza to better prepare a Spartan’s musculature, especially the core and shoulders, for many specific obstacles. Slow twitch muscle fibers and the ability to not only sustain your own weight in continuous contraction, but something else added onto it, are essential.

When was the last time you saw someone doing a full-body circuit workout that challenged everything, but added in tons of slow twitch challenge? All that’s needed for this 3 circuit timed workout is a bench, a lat pull down machine of some sort, a weight plate, a set of light dumbbells, and a medicine ball.

We’re shooting for at most a 35 minute workout that you’ll feel for days. I’ve broken everything down, with the W-T-R below.

Let’s start slow twitching…

-  3 Circuits under 11 Mins – 33-35 Min Workout Tops

W-T-R

Exercise 1 – 2 Minutes Non-Stop
Exercise 2- 40 Successful Passes

30 Second Rest to Get to Back Machine

Exercise 3 – 3 Sets of 20 Second Holds
Exercise 4- 2 Minutes

30 Seconds Rest – Active recovery

Exercise 5- 2 Minutes, 1 Min per Arm

 

1) Power Up 45lb Plate Press into Alternating Lunges w/ Twist: This is one of those exercises where we put the body through a metabolic mini-course. The list of muscles being worked is a mile long, and it’s going to loosen up everything. It’s imperative to keep your head up and straight, aligning the kinetic chain through everything. We’re after powerful movements with speed, and control.

Start by sitting on a bench holding a 25lb plate for the ladies, or a 45lb for the guys (generally speaking of course!). You’re going to perform a quick half squat and press it above your head. Don’t yank your shoulders out of their sockets, but give it some heat on the way up!

Next, bring the plate down, tuck it up close to your sternum, and do a front lunge. As you lunge out, push the weight directly out from the chest and keep your arms straight. Before returning to a standing position, while still holding your arms straight, perform a twisting motion to one side, and then the other. Then return to standing position, and sit back down. Now that’s an exercise! It’s hitting fast and slow twitch muscles, and prepping the musculature for pure obstacle punishment.

Like in the picture, you can keep the arms outstretched above your head as well, and then bring it down for the twist. This will add more intensity to the core rather than the arms.

Alternate the lunges, and add some heat to the torso twists. Just be careful, and controlled. Suspend the weight, and feel your arms and shoulders burn! Once the two minutes are up, set down the plate and grab your medicine ball.

 

2) MB Fly Tosses: This is actually one of the best workouts for the chest and inner shoulders, but it’s very rare to see people doing them. This kind of movement builds dexterity in the upper limbs, increases body control, and reinforces the mind to muscle connection.

All of these are crucial when it comes to such a high impact sport like Obstacle Coursing.

You’re going to grab a moderate weight Medicine Ball, but nothing too heavy. This is more of a muscle endurance workout, and it would be dangerous with anything heavy. 10-15lbs should be more than adequate for anyone.

Now lay down on a bench nice and flat. Begin by putting the ball in one hand and extending your arm out into a fly stance. Feel the awkwardness of it, and mentally zone in on your brain controlling and balancing the weight. You should begin to feel the tension in your pecks immediately. This is because the weight isn’t static like it would be with a dumbbell or barbell.

Then you bring the ball up while keeping your arm relatively straight and pass it into your other hand. Let the other arm do a fly motion, and then bring it back up for another toss. Back and forth, while controlling the weight and not dropping it or tossing it on the guy next to you benching 250.

3) Back Muscle Holds: You can use really anything for this, from a machine to a basic lat pull down bar, or even cables while sitting on a Physioball. What matters is that you can choose a manageable weight, which you can safely hold for 20 seconds.

It shouldn’t be an easy hold either, but one that causes you to grunt, and feel an intense burn throughout your upper body and even your abdomen.

For this description I’ll use a basic lat pull down bar. Sit up straight, keep your chin up, and grab the bar with a wide grip. Simply pull it down to your shoulders and keep it there for twenty seconds. Do not arch your back, instead engage your abs and clench them hard.

Make sure to breathe! No holding your breath. This increases the dynamic of the workout. There will come times when you need to be sustaining muscle contraction for a longer period of time than normal. Controlled breathing is key. Focus on the strain in your back, arms, abs, hands, shoulders, and neck muscles, but keep your form picture perfect.

Finally, no cheating by putting your feet under something. Ideally you should do this without being anchored down by your knees either. Choose a weight that’s right at the cusp of bringing your butt off the seat, but you can control it. This increases the intensity tenfold.

4) Spider Walks: These are a bit more complicated than bear crawls. They basically work the same muscles, but there’s far more brain and ab work. It would take up a fair amount of space for me to accurately describe every movement to you.

There are a lot of them that engage pretty much every slow twitch muscle group in the body, especially the core. I’ll give it a brief rundown, but for a great in-depth article with pictures check out this Spider Walk description from Acefitness.org.

You get down on your hands and toes as close to the ground as possible with a wide leg and arm stance like a spider. With the head tilted up mimic a spider crawl; slowly, and with creepy determination. As one leg moves up, so does the opposing arm to the point that your knees and elbows touch! Unlike bear crawls where you can keep your butt in the air, these crawls are meant to sustain a close proximity to the ground from head to toe.

Once these are mastered to where you can completely handle your own body weight close to the ground, moving quickly, these can shave off tons of time on crawling obstacles.

5) Dumbbell Shoulder Circles: This is another exercise that’s going to engage the slow twitch muscle fibers throughout the upper body and core. It’s easy to switch them around so you do some with the wrists pointed out, and some with them pointed at the body.

The very best thing I can use to describe the motion you’ll be doing in both instances, is the infamous “wax on, wax off” motion from the first Karate Kid movie. I apologize if that was before your time. While keeping the biceps engaged, make a circle motion in front of the body. You can move your arm with either a clockwise (wax on), or counter clockwise (wax off) motion.

Pay close attention to your shoulder joints, and make a conscious effort to keep your glutes and core engaged to protect the lower back. It should be a fluid motion. This exercise effectively trains all the upper body muscles that are called upon on the wall traverse obstacles.

Keep Going!

James Villepigue CSCS

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Spartan WOD for 9.24.12 brought to you by Gaspri Nutrition

~By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call

 

If you’re looking for an expert level workout that’s sure to provide a heavy hitting combo of strength training and endurance training, then look no further. This series of exercises targets everything, but puts special attention on the core and lower body working together.

Everything is well explained, including the rep counts per exercise and what exactly counts as one. These are all low impact, but get the job done. You should shoot for a minimum of three cycles, and try not to rest in between exercises. Instead, give it your all, and try to save a 45s-1min rest period between cycles.

 

Let’s get the ball rolling…

1) 20 Dumbbell Squat Thrusters to Burpee: It’s best to squat down in sumo stance for this. If you find that your heels rise up prematurely, thereby restricting proper form, then this means you need to spend a few minutes stretching the calves. Tight calves are extremely common, but nothing a few static stretches can’t fix.

There’s no reason to power up the dumbbells in this exercise until you’re nearly popping your shoulders out of their sockets. Instead, use an eight count, four up and four down. Slowly lower yourself and pay attention to any stress on the lower back. It should be straight as a board, and your head up. Use your mind to keep the weight in your heels, and gradually come up to where you’ll be extending the arms. Feel the burn, absorb it, and let it cleanse the muscle tissue of any lactic acid.

After you’ve completed the shoulder press, bring the arms back down to your sides, and then go into the burpee while still holding onto the dumbbells. At this point I usually tell people to add in pushups and dumbbell rows before getting up and going into another rep, but that’s completely up to you. The squat, press, and burpee upon completion count as one rep.

 

2) 5 Walking Transverse/Diagonal Lunges: There are tons of ways to do lunges. Most people stick with forward or lateral, even though they’re only the icing on the cake.

Transverse lunges in this context are where the body does a full one eighty. It requires twisting the torso so that you’re facing the direction that was at your back.

The point of the transverse lunges is to completely change the planes of motion in your mind. It’s an efficient way to manipulate force within the body. The nervous system treats turning around very differently than simply stepping to the side. Start with a lateral lunge, and then swing either foot forward or backward and turn around while still moving in a certain direction. Sometimes swing forward, sometimes swing backward and mix it up. The point is to maintain a solid center of balance, stay low in your stance rather than standing, and move gracefully.

After four transverse lunges, do some diagonal lunges, which all technically take place in the transverse plane as well. As you can see by the picture it might feel like a saggital, or forward lunge. However, because one side of the body is diagonally crossing into a different plane of motion, it becomes transverse.

For example, the woman in the picture stepped forward with her right leg, but crossed the center line. Take time to get into the stance, and feel how different it is for both the knee and ankle joints. Do another four of these and consider those and the other 4 transverse lunges one rep; 8 total. Altogether, 8 x 5 = 40 total lunges, 20 per leg, per set.

 

3) Jog 1/4 of a Mile: This isn’t a sprint. Instead the pace should be what is typically considered a steady jog. For most people who are not accustomed to jogging it takes a determined mind to keep the pace. The body without you being aware of it will speed up and devour energy reserves if you don’t make an effort to slow down.

Running to the beat of breath is a good idea, or counting off like they do in the military. Keeping time is essential.

For most tracks one fourth of a mile is exactly four loops. Try not to take any longer than two minutes. Some other tips are to make sure you’ve stretched well before doing any jogging and make sure that you’re wearing specially designed shoes meant for jogging. They should have a nice and snug fit, and remember to bring those knees up. Finally, try to breathe from the diaphragm, control it, and in this way avoid the dreaded side pains. Contrary to most beliefs, these side pains during running are due to improper breathing.

 

4) 20 Alternating Low Get-Ups: There are so many names for these things, but they’ve become especially popular in football training. It’s a lower body and core workout that works immediately and becomes extremely hard endurance wise for everyone, no matter what their fitness level.

If you’re looking to power up the muscular endurance of the lower body, get into these on a regular basis. The point of the entire exercise is to stay low in a squat stance whenever you’re on two feet, and to keep the core engaged and back straight while on one knee.

Begin in the starting position that the young man in the picture is in. He has his right leg up, and is on his left knee. Now bring up the left foot so that you’re on both, but don’t stand up. Stay low, and then put the right leg down so the beginning stance is switched. Now bring up the other side, and vice versa. The quicker you can do these the better, but keep low! Once you’ve used both legs to get into a low squat position, that’s considered one rep.

 

5) 25 Dumbbell Pushups with Alternating Supermans: These are pretty straight forward. You’ll be doing pushups on a pair of light dumbbells that you can use to enhance the alternating supermans.

Here is the series: first begin with a pushup on one foot with the other in the air, and then after you come up lift the opposite arm (holding the dumbbell) from the leg being held up. Do another pushup on the other foot, come up and lift the opposite arm for a few seconds, and that’s one rep. Make sure to breathe! Too many people hold their breath while doing these and it defeats the purpose. Muscles need oxygen for too many reasons to list. Additionally, for an ultimate workout, keep the core fully engaged the entire set.

 

Once you’re done with all three sets, you’ve gotten an amazing workout for the day. If you workout within 24 hours, make sure it is with dynamically different exercises. Eat well, train smart, and enjoy it! This is Sparta, but you should still keep the fun in your fitness WOD!

 

Keep Going!

James Villepigue & Hobie Call

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Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 9.18.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition

~By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.
- Confucius

Hello Spartans! This WOD goes out in remembrance of Hobie’s epic performance at the first ever Military Spartan Race at Fort Carson Military Base in Colorado. If you didn’t see it, or haven’t watched the video, Hobie managed to place first while wearing a 10lb weighted vest. The WOD is based on preparing you for that same exact obstacle course. It was intense!

He went on a few jogs, did some tire flips, climbed a wall, conquered a big cargo net, simulated throwing grenades and spears, tons of burpees, rope climbs, rolling in the mud with the sound of bullets sounding out and on and on!

If you want to wear a weighted vest, that’s awesome, but all that’s needed for this WOD is a grassy/muddy hill (not too steep), a rope, and a friend who is willing to help you train like a Spartan!

There is absolutely no rest periods put into this WOD for all three cycles. Hobie wasn’t given time to rest, and it was his endurance and sheer will that saw him through to the finish line. If one is needed, then shoot for no more than 30-45s of active recovery in between cycles.

Let’s get ready to roll…

Before beginning be sure to stretch very well, and don’t dare tackle this workout without the proper amounts of energy and fluids. Your friend should be standing at the ready holding a rope similar to what Hobie found while he scaled up the walls.

1) Uphill Sprints & Burpees: Uphill sprinting is one rock solid way to catapult your speed and endurance levels through the battle field. For this part of the workout, you’re shooting for five reps. A rep is sprinting full bore up hill, then completing 10 burpees at the top, and returning to starting position. Altogether that’s 50 burpees and five metabolically demanding sprints.

 

Breathing is the key to most endurance stunts. For some strange reason it seems almost natural to hold your breath and dart up the hill as fast as possible. If you watch videos of Hobie, whenever he is within range, you’ll hear him taking advantage of practiced controlled breathing.

 

With form in mind you should be leaning into the hill, and making contact with the heel rather than sprinting fully on the balls of the feet. This type of exercise will tell you exactly how tight the calves are. Tight calves can destroy a Spartans chance on the race track.

 

2) Rolling Downhill & Burpees: At least four or five times in the military Spartan Race, Hobie was in the mud and dirt with his vest on rolling under barbed wire. It’s far more demanding than it looks, any Spartan knows that. The movement after more than about ten seconds takes a special kind of core endurance.

It’s harder to breathe properly, and when you couple it with mud, the challenge level goes way up.

Additionally, it can be a bit tough to practice for something like that. Unless you think back to when we were kids, rolling down hills. This is exactly what you’ll be doing. Again, we’re shooting for five reps which includes rolling down the hill, doing ten burpees, and then either walking, jogging, or sprinting back uphill, that’s your call. I advise you to pile on the struggle.

Finally, don’t go so fast that you’re going to be too dizzy for the burpees. Remember, moderate and steady wins the race.

 

3) Walking Uphill Lat Pulls & Burpees: Your friend should be holding one end on top of the hill, or it could be anchored to something sturdy if need be, and the other end should be lying on the ground at the bottom.

You’re going to pick it up and pull yourself up the hill, without leaning forward, then do 10 burpees, and return to starting position. As always, shoot for five reps on this part of the WOD.

You should be carrying your weight in your heels as you use your lats to pull yourself up the hill. To be really hardcore you could try to pull your dead body weight up the hill while sprawled out on the ground. However, to simulate Hobie’s experience treat it like scaling a wall.

This is also a tremendous forearm workout as well because of the constant strain on them. Often times in the Spartan Race we find wall traverses and these are all about forearm endurance and grip strength.

 

4) Bear crawling Uphill & NOT Down w/ Pushups: Bear crawling is an indispensible training tool for obstacle courses, just ask Hobie. He had to rely on the mechanics involved in bear crawling more than once on the course at Fort Carson. Crawling uphill is great for many reasons, but going downhill not so much.

 

Crawling downhill can be extremely dangerous for the wrists and isn’t advised. Furthermore, it’s not something you would find on a course that’s designed obstacles not only for challenge but safety as well.

For a set of these you will do some bear crawls up hill, into 15 pushups, and then jogging, or perhaps rolling down hill. That’s up to you. The more brutal the better when it comes to prepping for the Spartan Race.

Keep your butt down while keeping your mind focused on breathing, the fingers, and the wrist joints. Don’t be afraid to grab at the hill, and push with all your might in the lower body without putting your face in the dirt.

 

5) Barbell Twists & Lateral Dips: This is an exercise I’m going to throw in for those that find through this WOD that their core endurance isn’t at the level they want it. Unless you own a barbell, the best place to do this core workout is in the gym.

 

The 45lb Olympic size works best for men and for women a barbell of any kind that weights at least 30 lbs will do. The issue is making sure it’s long enough to get the results we’re after.

 

Get it up on your shoulders, and situated your arms along the bar in a way that’s comfortable. Some people prefer to wrap them around, while others prefer a more traditional squat like stance holding it with the hands and elbows pointing down.

 

Begin with a dipping side to side motion that bends the torso laterally. There shouldn’t be so much weight that you come off your feet at all, and there’s absolutely no reason to bend either forward or backward. Shoot for sets of twenty reps, with ten dips leans per side.

 

Then, once the obliques are screaming, start a twisting motion while in a standing position. Let the weight guide you to a degree, so that you can engage the abs to absorb and redirect the force in the opposite direction. Shoot again for twenty reps of both sides giving a balanced workout to the obliques and lumbo pelvic hip complex. It’s a sure shredder, and an efficient way to work on the dynamic stability and endurance of the core.

 

WOD Breakdown of One Cycle – Shooting for Three

Exercise 1 - 5 Sprints and 50 Burpees is one set

Exercise 2 - 5 Rolling Downhill & 50 Burpees is one set

Exercise 3 - 5 Rope Climbing Uphill & 50 Burpees is one set.

Exercise 4 - 5 Bear Crawling Uphill 75 Pushups is one set.

Exercise 5 - 20 Side Leans & 20 Full Twists is one set.

 

Once you’re done with this monster WOD then you’ll get a taste of what it took Hobie to claim victory in Colorado. Many times we find that it isn’t lean mass, but endurance, and force production that wins races. When training to compete with Hobie, it’s all about endurance from head to toe. This WOD will shred you up regardless, but it also prepares the body for the dynamic movements we find on the course.

 

Make sure to let us know what your impressions of and how you did with this WOD. Additionally, if you saw Hobie compete at Ft. Carson, or were in the race yourself, please stop by and let the community know what other things could be thrown into this WOD to make it even more efficient. For Hobie it came down to burpees, and he’s a pro at those. That’s why there are so many integrated into this WOD.

 

Keep Going!

 

James Villepigue & Hobie Call

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Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 9.11.12 brout to you by Gaspari Nutrition

By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call

 

Typically we put together workouts that are geared towards commanding one obstacle, but this time it’s about preparing the body for literally anything.  It’s going to be pretty core intensive, but will rock the socks off of everything.

It’s pretty much an obstacle course for your body, and all that’s required is one medicine ball. It is essential to really take the time to stretch. In fact, a good solid twenty minutes of stretching is advised, because the movements you’ll be executing are both intense, and dynamic. It’s time to see what you’re really made of, and where your endurance level is really at.

Let’s get in the game…continue on our blog

W-T-R Breakdown

This is a hardcore circuit, there’s no doubt. It targets every muscle tissue from head to toe, and exhausts all energy reserves quickly. This type of workout is geared towards showing Spartans where their endurance level is truly at. The first run through should be timed. The goal of the second set is to beat the time of the first. The goal of the third cycle is to beat the time of the second run through. This means that during the first cycle, you must pace yourself. At the end of the third cycle, add up the times for the total score. The next time you attempt to climb this mountain of a workout, try to beat that time as well.

If you go full bore out the gate, there’s basically no way you can beat your time by the third cycle. The core work is intense, especially the fourth exercise. In fact, it will most likely be a very new experience for most people’s central nervous system.

There is only one rest period, and that’s for 1 min between the third and fourth exercise. Active recovery is a must. After the first set take a few minutes to get some water and take a quick breather. No more than five minutes, which shouldn’t be counted in the overall total, and then dive head first into the second cycle with that time on your mind. Pace yourself once again, but with a slightly elevated level of intensity.

 

1) 20 Medicine Ball Get-Ups with Slam: You’re going to start by lying down on the ground with a medicine ball in your hands above your chest. It can be a little tricky finding the right weight for the medicine ball.

 

You don’t want it to be so heavy that the weight alone can propel you to your feet, but not so light that it becomes more like a dangerous gymnastic move.

Bring the medicine ball back behind your head, lift your feet into the air, and engage the core. Then, with a powerful burst bring the medicine ball forward. While you do this you should lift your hips up slightly so that the weight of the legs can also help guide you up. All too often people close their eyes, don’t. On the course closing your eyes can be really bad habit.

Try to make the next movement fluid, and a part of getting up. When you come to a stop the ball should be above your head ready to slam down on the ground as hard as possible. The best thing to do is try these with different size medicine balls until you find one that works just right.

 

 

2) 30 Crunches with Medicine Ball Pass: This is similar to the first exercise in how it begins; with you on your back holding the medicine ball above the chest.

 

However, this time the movements involve a simple crunch motion, and three different passes. It doesn’t matter how you split it up, but there should be a total of ten passes per side.

The first is crunching up and passing with both hands to the front. Unlike the first exercise, you don’t want to bring the ball above your head and use its momentum. Instead, keep it in front of the chest for a chest pass rather than an overhead throwing motion. Stay stuck in position, hold the tension, and wait for the pass to come back. Once it does, don’t let the ball carry you back to the ground. Catch it, absorb its force in the abdomen, and then go down like a springboard ready to pop back up again.

The second pass should be to the right. You start with both hands on the ball, go down for the crunch, then as you come up twist the torso and get ready to powerfully pass the ball with the left arm. Like the first pass, sustain the tension, hold the pose, and then catch it with primarily the left hand and absorb its force in the obliques.

The third pass is to the left and follows the exact same form as the previous exercise. Just remember to make every movement a determined one, where the abdomen is creating and absorbing force, not being led by it.

 

 

3) 10 Burpees w/ Mountain Climbers and Tuck Jumps: These are monsters! One rep is going from standing into front plank position with one motion, then go straight into six mountain climbers, three per side, and then when you come up do a tuck jump.

 

Let me warn those Spartans out there with all kinds of agility stored in their muscle memory: don’t go from the air down into a plank! These are so dynamic that they become fun, and are known to cause small bursts of adrenaline. I’ve seen people get carried away and go from the height of the tuck jump down into a plank position. That’s a great way to break your wrists.

Feel free to add anything you like, for example pushups, to increase the intensity because you know there’s a rest period coming. Don’t let the small number of reps fool you though. These ask an incredible amount from the musculature, and are extremely taxing. Additionally, one should keep in mind that the core is pretty ripped up already, along with the upper back. Pace yourself, and hit the ground with your feet before going into the next burpee.

 

4) Four Sided Planks (2mins w/ 4 30sec Intervals): Most people have seen the front, left, and right planks. What about being on your elbows facing up? We can call it the back plank. Doing all four sides for thirty seconds without stopping sounds pretty nuts, and it is, but you’ll be surprised at how different each side will feel.

It’s really effective because there’s no point within the two minutes where the ab muscles aren’t under tension. They’ve been engaged for the last two exercises, but now it’s time to really focus on them. It’s common for people to start doing the four sided planks regularly because it’s much easier and more efficient. Easier because each side feels different within directly zeroing in on the other’s The back plank is still targeting the lumbo pelvis hip system, but puts a completely different task on the brain.

 

 

5) 20 Medicine Ball Pushups with Bear Crawls: Yet again, the core will be worked, but in a new way. Basically what you’re going to be doing are bear crawls, and as you crawl along you’ll push the medicine ball and then do pushups on it.

 

Push the ball up a bit, bear crawl to it, then do five pushups on the ball. You can either do them with one arm on the ball and alternate, or do them with both hands on the ball. Either way will be excruciating. Each time you finish the pushups that will be a rep out of the twenty you should do before standing up.

Stay low, and this is where you can dig deep and use up some of the energy reserves you’ve been cradling along the way. The next exercise will not be as demanding on the core or upper body, so really push. Go fast, and make up time, because you’re going to have to beat it on the next cycle. Consider this like the corner before the last stretch in the race. Bolt around the corner so that there’s some momentum for the last exercise.

 

 

6) 20 Reverse Lunges with Quick MB Torso Twists: These are pretty self explanatory, but there are some subtle nuances to mention. Alternate the reverse lunges, and one rep includes a burst to both the left, and the right with the medicine ball.

Make sure that you’re nice and deep into the lunge before twisting, and use the mind to stabilize and maintain balance. This is core intensive, but in bursts, and it challenges the internal balance and stabilization mechanisms. Pace yourself, if you hurry on these you could easily get hurt or lose footing.

 

Keep Going!

 

James Villepigue & Hobie Call

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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.

Keep Going!

James Villepigue & Hobie Call

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