WOD for Tuesday, May 28th, 2012

~By James Villepigue CSCS & Hobie Call

Good Day, Spartans!  It’s crazy how quickly 2012 is moving along. Here we are in the midst of the Spartan Race season and you need to bring your game to a whole new level if you expect to perform at your Spartan best!  So let’s get into this week’s Spartan WOD, presented by Gaspari Nutrition, the indisputable #1 sports supplements brand.

This week I’m giving you a few new exercises to add to your repertoire. You must be willing to change up your training workouts or at least change around the various training variables in order to keep your body guessing and allow progress and results to optimally take place. If you visit most gyms, you’ll see 90% of the people training or trainers training, following the typical 3 sets of 12 repetitions that have been around since the 1940’s. Even with the explosion of high output training programs like Cross Fit and high intensity interval training, it’s amazing that people continue to follow such an archaic and limiting training program.

This, I feel, is authentic validation that our society is susceptible to sticking to what’s comfortable and safe. It’s the few, like you, who are willing to take chances and take a step out of your comfort zone, in order to become your very best and for that, I commend you! Okay, here we go… Today we’ll be focusing on an endurance exercise followed by a strength exercise.

You’ll be executing a total of 15 exercises, which makes up one full cycle. You may repeat cycles based on your level of conditioning. You’ll be working at a 45 second work time and a 15 second rest between exercises. That’s a lot of work and a tiny bit of rest, so be forewarned and be ready to work!

Here’s how each superset sequence will look and work:

1 – Jump Rope –45 seconds will usually give you about 100 jumps, depending on your jump pace.

2 – Kettlebell/Dumbbell Swing – Stand with feet hip width apart, hold the dumbbell by the top end with fingers wrapped under the top weight plate and your thumbs securing the top. The long end of the dumbbell will be hanging down vertically. Let the arms fully extend down and place the dumbbell between your legs. Bend your knees, keep your abdominals tight, stick your chest out, keep shoulders back and down and head up. To begin, I want you to shift your pelvis forward, creating momentum to lift the dumbbell straight out in front of you, making sure to keep those arms completely extended…no elbow bend.

The harder you shift your pelvis forward, the more force generated to effortlessly lift the dumbbell. When the dumbbell has reached the level of 60 degrees – if 90 degrees is straight up above you, 60 would be more like a diagonal angled straight out from your chest. When you reach 60 degrees, do not resist the dumbbell from lowering aka allow the dumbbell to fall back down to the start position, except due to the falling force, I want you to allow the dumbbell to freely move between your legs and beyond – you can counter this force by squatting down fairly deeply and without any rest, immediately begin your accent back to standing with that seamless pelvic shift transition. Repeat for 45 seconds.

3 – Side Shuffle – Try to find a spacious setting to get the most out of this drill. Start at one side of that space. Take a hip width stance with knees bent and upper body upright. Bring your arms up in front of you and keep head straight. Your objective is to move side-to-side – your left leg moves laterally first and then the right comes next…this is what creates the shuffling effect. Make sure to stay low, so that your center of gravity stays intact. As you shuffle, each time you shuffle both feet, push your arms out to full extension and them quickly bring them back in. You will continuously do this for the entire 45 seconds.

4 – Spiderman Push-Ups into Supine Leg Lift – Take a standard top push-up position, with arms fully extended and balanced on the balls of your feet. As you lower your body, pull your right foot in toward your groin – this is the Spiderman like action. Push the leg back out to full extension, but keep it elevated and then as you push up, raise that leg as high as you can aka hip extension. Pace yourself here, as too fast a movement will throw of your ability to extend that leg up. Now, repeat on the other side.

5 – Jump Rope –45 seconds will usually give you about 100 jumps, depending on your jump pace.

6 – Romanian Deadlift -This exercise works more muscles than any other exercise. Sloppy form will injure your lower back, so be sure to pay close attention to the techniques described and look at our model’s (The very talented Reebok sponsored Libby DiBiase) beautiful form in the right side picture.


With two dumbbells on the floor, placed horizontally in front of you, stand facing them bar with your feet shoulder width apart or slightly less and halfway under the dumbbells.

While still standing straight, look up to the ceiling and inhale deeply. As you descend to the dumbbells, hold your breath and do the following: arch your lower back—don’t round it— and squeeze your shoulder blades to hold your shoulders back. Make a point of pushing your butt back as if you were going to sit in a chair and keep your shins vertical.

Remember to keep your eyes on the ceiling throughout the movement. This keeps your back aligned properly so that you will lift with your legs instead of your back. During the descent tighten up your entire body to keep alignment correct. I call this the full body tension technique and it’s a great way to call upon all muscles for work time, while helping to avoid injury because all muscles are working to keep joints and connective tissue guarded.

Without looking at it, grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Use an overhand grip on both db’s.

Straighten your arms, tighten your abs and glutes and remember you are still holding your breath. When I say “holding your breath”, this creates a valsalva maneuver, which creates a natural safety belt around your spine. Don’t hold your breath for too long! It’s only during the range where exertion is at its greatest. Make sense? If not, contact me and I will be happy to explain further.  

Squeeze the db’s with your hands and turn your focus to your legs. Tighten up your legs—imagine them as huge coiled springs ready to launch you to the moon.


Stay tight throughout the movement. Envision your legs as giant hydraulic pile drivers burrowing into the ground. Your back is a crane: straight and strong. Your arms are cables, just carrying the load.

Near the top of the lift give your hips a slight thrust forward and throw back your shoulders to completely straighten your body. Keep your chest high but DO NOT LEAN BACK. You are still looking at an angle up.

At the top, you can take a deep breath before you lower the bar to the ground.

To lower the bar, keep your back straight and push your butt back, bending at the hips. If you want to get the greatest result from your deadlifts, don’t do as most people do and haphazardly drop the weight…control the weight and lower them using your muscles. Remember to stay on your heels and continue looking at the ceiling.

Your Mind-Set Matters:

This exercise requires full concentration and focus to stay tight and straight. Your mind needs to be fully engaged with this exercise, making sure that all of your body’s muscles are assisting in the movement. Most importantly, you need to be constantly aware of your back and keep it in proper alignment.

7 -Jumping Jack Flash – A standard jumping jack with forward and side arm raises. Begin with legs together and arms down at your sides. Perform the jumping jacks as fast as you can, and when the legs first jump out to the side raise your arms to the front and then immediately back down, when the legs jump back in, bring your arms out to the sides and repeat for the 45 second duration.

8 – Dumbbell Lunges – Because only one leg is used at a time, lunges require a balancing act. In order to maintain balance the body recruits as many auxiliary fibers as possible. This means more muscle stimulation per repetition. In addition, lunges can stimulate the hamstring muscles or the quadriceps muscles by varying how far away you place your foot. If you step forward with your foot closer to your body, you will primarily stimulate the quadriceps. If you step forward with your foot farther away, you will primarily stimulate the hamstrings.

Note: In no case, as you’ll see in the exercise description, should your knee go past your toes.


Take hold of two dumbbells and hold them to the sides of your body.

Align your body from the bottom up, taking a stance with the feet together and toes pointing straight ahead. Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid any stress from locking the knee joint. Slightly contract the abdominal muscles.

Stick the chest out while simultaneously bringing the shoulder blades back, keeping them there throughout the movement. Keep your head level at all times, making sure your head or your eyes do not drop down or excessively wander upward.

Step forward with your right foot. Bend at the knees making sure you descend slowly and in control and that your right knee does not go past your toes. As your left knee bends and your hips are lowering, lower yourself only until your left knee is about two inches from the ground and then stop.

Reverse the movement by pushing through the heel of your right foot only. You may naturally want to use the left knee to assist in pushing back up, but do not let this happen. The objective is to fully isolate the right leg muscles and use the left leg only as a balancing tool, sort of like the rudder on a boat. Remember to keep your focus on the contraction of your right thigh muscle throughout the exercise.

Make sure you do not use momentum as you push off with the right leg to return. This will totally inhibit the stimulation of the leg muscles.

Return to the start position but do not rest. Switch legs and repeat the same movement making sure to main­tain the alignment and posture throughout the movement. Once you’ve lunged with both legs you’ve completed one repetition.

Your Mind-Set Matters:

Some people think that you have to be loose and springy to avoid injury on an exercise like the lunge. Actually, tensing your leg muscles in this exercise stabilizes your joints and absorbs the impact to reduce the risk of injury. It’s like a seatbelt in a car accident: a snug one will keep you tight against the seatback and limits whiplash, while a loose one lets your body gain forward momentum before jolting you to a stop.

9 – Straight Punches – Take a hip width stance and bend the knees slightly. Your objective is to punch straight ahead, as fast as you can. DO NOT lock out your elbows. This is not about throwing the perfect punch…it’s about the speed of the punch and non-stop movement.

10 – Pushup Bridge & Flip – Begin in an elevated pushup position. Perform one pushup and as you push back up, swing one arm out from your side and flip your body to a bridge position, where your belly is now facing the sky, and hands and feet are flat on the ground. Without any rest, quickly thrust and flip (this is the flip aka a reverse plyo-pushup) your body right back into a pushup position. Without rest, continue in the opposite direction.

Now, to throw in a twist of “not ready for it”, get ready for this triple treat of core work…

11 – Bicycle Maneuver – The bicycle maneuver has been regarded as one of the most effective abdominal/core exercises in existence.


Take a lying position on your back and bring your legs in toward your chest to start.

You’ll be raising your knees so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor & your lower legs will be parallel to the floor, thus creating a 90-degree angle.
Now, interlace your fingers/hands behind your neck and get ready to twist – You must be careful not to pull on your neck during the actual exercise. You’re placing your hands behind your head in order to help optimally twist your upper torso toward each knee.

I want you to begin by flexing/crunching the spine and holding that isometric contraction for the entirety of the set. Now, exhale, and begin the motion by twisting your right elbow across your body, to your left knee, which will be drawn in…your right leg should be extended fully out.

Do your very best to touch your elbow to your knee; but even more importantly, concentrate on driving that left shoulder across your body, as that’s where the most effective abdominal work comes in.
Okay, now inhale as you slowly return back to the start/neutral position, but do not lower your head back to the floor and continue to hold that tight isometric contraction in your abdominal muscles.

Without rest, repeat the twisting on the other side, driving the left elbow/shoulder across your body, toward your right drawn in knee, while the left leg is fully extended out.

As you hopefully realize, the twisting motion from right elbow/shoulder toward left knee and left elbow/shoulder toward right knee along with the opposing leg extension should all be a very fluid and seamless transition as you execute your target # of repetitions.

12 – Plank:  Get on the floor and face downward. Take a modified pushup position, where your forearms are positioned on the ulna/pinky down with palms facing each other, but fists clenched. Forearms are in straight line, parallel to one another. Get up on your tiptoes and keep them rigid. Legs are completely straight and maintained in a tight position. Keep a neutral spine and make sure that the spine is straight and doesn’t dip down or peak up. I want you to focus on keeping your abdominals contracted throughout the full 1-minute, as this will both help to keep a rigid and straight spine, plus will further engage those abdominal muscles.

13 – Heel Taps – This is an easy description, but the execution is no joke. Lay with your back down, bend your knees and place your feel flat on the ground. This next partn is critical: The distance your feet are from your butt will have significant effect on this exercise will stimulate your core muscles. The further your feet are, the more intense the exercise will be. Here’s the way to determine the best distance for you. Place your feet far enough away from your butt where you have to really reach/crunch forward to touch your heels. You may have to test a couple of lengths. Now that you’re in the right position, lay back and place your arms hands down at your sides, with palms down and fingers pointing toward your toes. Next, crunch your chest toward your pelvis and hold that static contraction for the entire exercise. In that crunched position, I want you to laterally bend to your right side, reaching your right arm/hand to touch your right heel and immediately bend the opposite direction and bring your left arm/hand to your left heel and touch.

This static contraction to the rectus abdominus muscles and the lateral bend to the left and right sides will stimulate your abs and internal/external obliques.

14 – Walking Bodyweight Lunges – same form as the Dumbbell Lunges above, but now you’re moving to cover distance. I like to call it, “getting from here to there and back!” – The only difference, is that with these, you’ll be constantly moving forward, so the leg that lunges, will be the same leg that uses force to move you forward. Do not let that back leg push off into the next lunge. That leg/foot is only for balance. The front leg does all the work!

15 – Jump Squats Make sure that you use proper form – Feet are hip width apart, knees are slightly bent to start, hands are held back behind you and straight (to help produce power & momentum), head is up and eyes looking up on an angle, chest out, shoulders back, abs tight and lower back arched, not rounded. Speed in the jump rebound is the key to building power! As you land back into the squat, quickly transition right back into your next jump.

Repeat 2-3 Times!

As always, please have a timer with a beep indicator to ensure that you keep tabs on your work time. At the end of each cycle (the 15th exercise), you’ll have a 1 minute break.

If you need to take more rest, do so, but no cheating yourself!  As always, please have some cool water, a towel and a timer with you.

Please remember to let Hobie and I know how you did!

Keep Going!

James Villepigue & Hobie Call


9 Responses

  1. avatar

    Sounds invigorating, difficult, exciting and challenging. I will perform this WOD. Thanks y’all for this and all other WOD.

  2. avatar

    I just got done with the routine, wow it was a good one. I will be looking forward to more like it

  3. avatar

    My girlfriend just got done with the routine as well!!!! This was her first spartan wod!!!!!! I am sooooo proud of her!!!!!

  4. avatar

    Incorparating each an every WOD into my daily routine has helped me tone out and better my endurance. Planning on completely the Spartan Trifecta after deployment!

  5. avatar

    i love it when you guys throw something different at us. i get tired of run this run that. this does look challenging. looks like im off to the gym for this one thou lol. no afternoon at the park tonight. its too hot anyways <3

  6. avatar

    Thanks for a fantastic WOD. I’ve never done spiderman push-ups or heel taps before. It felt fantastic to do the new movements.

    I did 3 rounds and worked up a great sweat. My heart was pumping! I also really liked the 45 on/15 off timing. Nice shift from the 20 on/10 off tabata.

    Thanks again!

  7. avatar

    Heel Taps were new to me. Good abs workout for moms like me who have diastatus recti (split abdominal muscles).
    I only did one round so far, as learning the exercises slowed me down, but I will do another two rounds when I get home from work tonight.

  8. avatar

    Took me a couple days but finally got to it and even though my transverse abdominal is in the repair stage and probably still little tore I worked through 3 rounds of this WOD. It was great, thanks again.

  9. avatar

    Mike M. tore it up today right out of the blocks today! Tried to pass him the whole time, but just coludn’t catch up. Well done, Mike, and thanks for the push.Then I got 2 muscle ups after the WOD, so now I feel better!!

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