Spartan WOD for Tuesday, 8.21.12 brought to you by Gaspari Nutrition
~By James Villepique CSCS & Hobie Call
Once again Spartans, a refreshing WOD challenge awaits you. We’ll be focusing the lion’s share of intensity and strength endurance on the lower body and hip complex. Additionally, we’ll be incorporating full-body movements to tap into our cardiovascular systems and upper body stamina. These are some excellent choices when prepping for obstacle courses, because they train the mind, happen in different planes of motion, require speed, demand agility, and produce power.
For this circuit, a really effective work to rest ratio is going to be employed. It’s called the 60-30 switch, meaning you go back and forth between 60-30 and 30-60 from each exercise to the next. The first number stands for work, and the second for rest.
So, for example, we’re going to hit the first exercise with 60-30, and then go directly into the second exercise but with 30 seconds of continuous non-stop movement, and 60 seconds of rest. Always remember to use active recovery while in rest periods. No standing still or sitting.
After the entire first cycle is done, don’t repeat the same sequence. Instead, start the first exercise with 30-60 this time and alternate from there. It just adds an extra twist of variation, challenging the body even further, and readying it for the race.
Let’s dive in…
(60-30) Dumbbell Side Lunge w/ Touch: During this exercise keep your abdominal wall and thighs in mind.
Countless studies have proven that direct deliberate attention towards recruited muscle tissue enhances efficiency and economy of movement..
Begin from a standing position with head up, back straight, and dumbbells resting with palms inward. The wrists shouldn’t be asked to twist during this exercise, but instead simply hold the weight steady.
Choose a direction and then slowly go into a side lunge. At the end of the movement the spine should still be straight, not leaning forward, and the dumbbells dangling an inch off the ground on both sides of the foot you stepped out with.
Sit low into the stance to feel the adductors, or the muscles on the inside of the extended leg, stretch. Try as best you can to keep the foot still, pointed forward, and squarely planted. At no time should you come forward onto the balls of your feet, because your center of gravity should be held in place by the glutes, abdominals, and upper body.
On the way back up, stay firm and determined. Start by doing one side for half the work time, then the other. Once you get the hang of it, increase speed and metabolic demand, and go from side to side without stopping.
(30-60) Split Jump Squats: This one is great not only for lower body burst and strength endurance, but for elevating overall control of balance and center of gravity.
It’s basically a continuous jumping saggital lunge. However, the real value of the exercise is in how hard you push up on the jump, and how well you can hold steady as you get back to the ground and descend into another lunge with perfect form. It’s easy to tip over, lose balance, and have to stand up to resituate.
Make sure those shoes are tied on tightly, and the ankle doesn’t twist. Take a brief second during every jump to feel yourself landing solidly with feet firmly planted each time.
Push hard; get as much air as possible each time. Use your mind and envision that each time you get just a tiny bit higher. The arms should stay lose at your sides, but it’s ok to use them for balance by extending them out between jumps. As long as you keep your eyes forward instead of looking down at your feet things will work out.
Don’t worry about them, but do keep your ankles in mind, and remember to clench the abs while taking in enough oxygen to sustain movement the entire work time.
(60-30) Single-Arm Dumbbell Swing: This is going to feel like another leg exercise, and they will remain under tension, but this time stay stationary.
Too many Spartans have been focusing on their heart, or hamstrings, but not enough on the hips. The lumbo pelvic hip complex is where a ton of our quick and focused movements in the race originate from. Properly executed swings are a great way to loosen up, and train the hip complex within the saggital plane.
The feet should be pointed forward and a few inches wider than shoulder width apart. Any singular weight with a handle can be used, from a gallon of water to a kettlebell or dumbbell.
In the same way you used lower body strength to propel yourself into the air during Split Squats, now it will be components of the upper body that guide the weight up to shoulder height and back down between the legs. You control the movement, not the forces of gravity and momentum. Focus, be deliberate, and relish in the mobility of your hips that allow you to do all the amazing things you do.
Each part should be done by design, from the squatting aspect to the generation of force that brings up the weight. Work against gravity, not with it, for best results.
(30-60) Goblet Squat: Whenever extra weight is used with this exercise, unless it’s a secure weight vest, I wouldn’t recommend trying to jump. Your chin could easily get smacked like you received a right uppercut. It’s not a good idea.
However, I do recommend that when light to moderate weight is used, you add a shoulder press motion to the exercise. Just make sure that the back stays straight and supported. Only continuous motion and body control is required, no quick jerky movements unless the weight is really light.
It’s very important to flex the abdominal muscles, because the lower back can easily be injured here. It’s like a frontal barbell squat without the secured and evenly distributed weight on both sides.
Make sure to keep the weight into the chest and pay close attention to form. The squat needs to go smoothly. Leaning forward can be costly, especially when working with heavier weights.
(60-30) Dumbbell Floor Wipers: Most people do this with a barbell for extra stabilization, but as you’ll see with two separate weights, it’s far more challenging on the core, and everything else involved.
Typically people start out by holding the dumbbells as steady as possible in an extended chest press stance, and then go with traditional leg lifts that come straight up rather than attempting the wiper motion.
Another modified way to begin is to hold one dumbbell with both hands just to prepare the nervous system for when it won’t be able to depend on one centered point of reference. Once you’re ready to do wipers with two weights, one in each hand, make sure not to lock out the elbows, keep the head flat on the floor along with the spine, and concentrate on the abs during the lower body movement. Try to keep the lower back as stabilized as possible.
This exercise does not have to be executed with speed. In fact, the slower and more concentrated the time under tension, the better and more effective it will be.
Great work with the first cycle! You’ll notice that the second time around feels different, and so will the third. This is exactly the type of thing we want our bodies to become accustomed to for the races, where every single one is different. Even if we do the same course over and over again, the body experiences it differently.
Messing with Work and Rest time doesn’t always have to be complicated, but it should be effective. The 60-30 split is easy to remember, and can fit into literally any course specific training regimen.
Thanks so much for taking part, and don’t forget that the Spartan community is interested in what you think of the WOD, and how well you did. Make sure to leave a quick comment and share your thoughts and experiences.
James Villepigue & Hobie Call