Happy Friday friends! Recently the gym I train through has changed locations and given their equipment a serious upgrade. Between all of the new toys and the new atmosphere I have been absolutely as giddy as a school boy on Christmas. Two particular pieces of equipment the gym has added is an Ergometer (Rowing Machine) and a Heavy Bag.
This leads me to what I want to discuss with you today, one of my all-time favorite full body routines that combines the lightning pace and heart thumping action of cardiovascular exercise with hard hitting plyometric and functional strength, along with some stability and balance.
The Savvy Pirate
Alright everyone, let me introduce you to my routine I call The Savvy Pirate.
The Ergometer (Rowing Machine)
The first portion of this routine involves using an Ergometer (or Rowing Machine.)
Using an interval style training mode, begin at an easy pace to warm up the muscles and get some blood pumping through your body.
After 2 minutes, crank up your intensity (without sacrificing the rowing form: Core tight, back straight, drive through the legs and finish the motion with a mighty row) starting with 30 seconds and gradually building up to an entire minute, followed by reeling back your intensity.
Follow this format for 5 minutes, increasing your time spent up to 20 minutes.
The Heavy Bag
Next up, it’s time to throw some punches and kicks. Unfortunately, you may not have access to a heavy bag. Fortunately, everything can be done via shadow boxing. But, let’s work under the assumption for this article that you do in fact have access to a heavy bag (I would advise having some kind of covering for your hands with wrist support; be it knuckle wraps, boxing gloves, or striking gloves.)
This exercise will be done in rounds.
Start off with 4 rounds, 2 rounds of punches and 2 rounds of kicks.
Each round will last for 1 minute.
During your punching round, it will be divided into two 30 second rounds. Keep one foot forward, this will be your jabbing side as the amount of power you can generate is diminished by the off-centered stance. Your side with the foot back, will be your power side, or “Cross.”
Start simple, 2 jabs and 1 cross. Concentrate on alternating between head level blows, and torso level blows. Once you feel confident enough with your strikes, you can transition your punching rounds into free style, alternating as you please between punches.
Your kicking rounds will also be broken into two separate sections of 30 seconds, left and right side.
Again, stand off-center; your kicking leg will be your back leg. Turn into your kick, torqueing your body. Bring your knee up high and turn your hips over so you can strike the bag with the lower part of your shin. Point your toes and avoid contact with the ankle, top of the foot, and toes.
Once 4 rounds come easier to you, start adding in 1 extra round of punches and kicks.
No bag? No problem! Follow the same routine but shadow box it out.
Stability and Balance
The next part of this routine will work your balance and stability. If you are a beginner to balance, follow a simple regimen of side leg lifts and reverse leg lifts, maintaining a straight position and keeping your core tight perform up to 20 repetitions going both ways.
If your skill level allows you, instead, perform squats on the flat side of a BOSU ball and practice balancing on one foot on the BOSU. Work up to these by first learning to balance on the BOSU.
Advancing beyond that, while balancing 1 foot on the BOSU, perform side leg lifts and reverse leg lifts.
So there you have it, one of my very own killer routines. I had the fortunate opportunity to resurrect this one and used it myself. It delivers the full body blasting that I remember so fondly.
Why the Savvy Pirate you might wonder?
Well, every sailor worth their salt can row a boat, knows how to fight, and can balance on sea legs like they were born with them. Oh, also, it never hurts to be savvy.
Happy Friday friends! This week I have something special for you. As we know, muscle development comes from introducing the muscles to new stimuli. Within the world of resistance training, there are several modalities that we can utilize to achieve the stimulus required for said development.
Some of the most popular that I have encountered include the Pyramid Scheme, 5×5’s, Drop Sets, and negative repetition cycles just to name a few.
Today, I would like to share with you a new modality that I am going to call theSuperman Scheme.
Many modalities and lifting strategies for weights focus on one of two things or try to provide a form of hybrid approach. This is Size, and Strength.
When we are focusing on Size, we aim to keep our repetition ranges high and our rests short.
When focusing on Strength we look to have low repetitions and more rest time between our sets.
The Pyramid scheme is the tried and true weightlifting modality that typically everyone knows, even if they didn’t know that that was its name. This is the methodology of lifting successive sets with high rep ranges, moving to lower rep ranges, and more weight respectively.
Typically a Strength scheme would look like this; 12 – 16, 10 – 12 reps, 8 – 10 reps, 6 – 8 reps, and finally 4 – 6 reps.
While a Size scheme would look more like this, 12 – 16, 10 – 12, 8 – 10, 8 – 10, 12 – 16.
So, if we need to lift heavy and fail at low reps to build strength, but lift heavy over a longer period of time to build size, what if we combined these two ways of thinking into one SUPER scheme?
Enter in, the Superman Scheme.
It is structured thusly:
12 Reps (Warm up Set,) 8 – 10 Reps Working Set, 4 – 6 reps (Heavy Set,) 8 – 10 Reps Working Set, 12 – 16 Fatiguing Set.
The thought process behind this mode is as follows.
Our first set (like all first sets) is geared towards warming up the muscles and brain.
The following set is a working set which builds us up towards hitting our next set hard and heavy. We want to pick a weight that allows us to reach fatigue inside our range.
The next set is our heavy set. Since we are moving this up from where it traditionally rests at the end, we should have more energy and be able to not only lift a little heavier than if we were already exhausted, but also get our brain in the mindset of heavy lifting. The trick here is, now we have more energy and we are in heavy lift mode, so we should be able to lift a heavier weight than we normally would through the same working set range and reach fatigue in the appropriate range.
So our next working set gives us the benefit of stressing the muscle fibers for size inducing stimulus, and also provides our muscles a difficult resistance to overcome pushing our strength threshold that much higher.
Last, we finish the whole thing off with a set designed to burn out everything left in the muscle, again, we should be able to lift a heavier weight than we would with the traditional pyramid scheme.
Sounds almost too good to be true?
Well, like everything else I write about, I’ve used it myself and was pleased enough with the results I just had to share it.
When performing a Dumbbell Bench Press my pyramid scheme looked something like this.
50#’s – 12reps.
55#’s – 10reps.
60#’s – 8reps.
65#’s – 6reps.
70#’s – 4reps.
This was pretty consistent with each time I moved from bodyweight training to free weight training, not bad, but when I switched it to the new scheme, it looked something like this.
50#’s – 12reps.
60#’s – 10reps.
75#’s – 5reps.
70#’s – 8reps.
60#’s – 12reps.
And the very next week, repeating this, it looked like this.
55#’s – 12reps.
65#’s – 10reps.
75#’s – 6reps.
70#’s – 10reps.
60#’s – 15reps.
This scheme was followed for all the power moves, Dead Lift, Squat, and the Bent Over Row; the drastic change in weight moved and repetitions performed followed a similar pattern.
The results speak for themselves and had me impressed enough to share this with all of you!
Another good part about this is as the body adjusts to this stimulus, simply by adding another working set of 8 – 10 either before or after your heavy set will be more than enough to create a new stimulus!
Of course, just like any weight training program, periodization and altering the stimuli when you plateau is the REAL key.
So use this as a new modality for your macro-cycles in the weight room to shake things up and start making progress again.
Happy Friday friends! Apologies for the late post this morning, but this Ferret, is on Vacation! Everyone needs some time away from their usual grind, it’s good for the soul, mind, and body. This week, I want to talk to you about my weekly challenge that is part of my cardiovascular training and show you how you can replicate it!
Last year I ran my first obstacle course race and managed to score in the top percentile of my age bracket. It was invigorating, it was exciting, and it was a new experience.
I had the strength to overcome the obstacles with relative ease (minus the Hercules pull, but I’m ready for that this year!) My biggest limiting factor was my cardio vascular endurance, and my leg strength endurance to tackle as many ups and downs as off-road terrain could offer as a challenge.
It was grueling, I can’t deny that. But through it, I realized how pivotal one aspect of my training regimen was to helping me achieve the place I did. In fact, it was such a corner stone to how I faired for the endurance that I am including it again in my training regimen with more gusto.
This was the Jericho Hill Challenge.
Jericho Hill is an old ski hill near where I live that is .12 miles in length from top to bottom with an average grade of 20%. It is 1.1 miles from my house on winding and hilly back roads, making a run to and from it equivalent to 2.2 miles.
This run was trained for last year once a week, increasing the number of times up the hill by 1 each successive training session. Up to 5, followed by 2 sessions where it was done 3 times with a 50# Bag on the shoulders for one time up and down, a 25# weighted vest for one time up and down, and no weight on the 3rd.
What I would like to do for you now, is offer a training regimen that can be performed on a treadmill to simulate the cardio thrashing power of this routine that you can apply to your own training for any kind of foot race. Remember, cardio strength will carry you far; leg strength will make it easier.
Assuming you have completed a progressive cardio program and are comfortable running/jogging a mile at a steady state (even if that steady state is considered slow!) this program can help increase your cardiovascular strength and your leg strength endurance, really powering up those slow twitch fibers (used for endurance activities.)
This will be broken into a 4 segment run.
Warm Up Mile - 1.5 Miles Steady State
Hill Challenge - 20% Grade .10 Miles Slow – Fast Steady State
Cool Off - 0% Grade Light Jog to Walking Pace 60 – 120sec
Finish Mile -1 Mile Steady State .5 Miles As Fast As Possible
Remember though; push yourself to a challenge, not till you drop dead! This format is not couch potato friendly.
However, I will also include a format I use to get people from sedentary, to running their first mile in as little as 1 Month!
Day 1 - 15 Minute Walk
Day 2 - 14 Minute Walk, 1 Minute Jog
Day 3 - 13 Minute Walk, 2 Minute Jog
Day 4 - 12 Minute Walk, 3 Minute Jog
Day 5 - 11 Minute Walk, 4 minute Jog
Day 6 - 10 Minute Walk, 5 Minute Jog
Day 7 - 9 Minute Walk, 5 Minute Jog, 1 Minute Run
Day 8 - 8 Minute Walk, 6 Minute Jog, 1 Minute Run
Day 9 - 7 Minute Walk, 6 Minute Jog, 2 Minute Run
Day 10 - 6 Minute Walk, 7 Minute Jog, 2 Minute Run
Day 11 - 5 Minute Walk, 7 Minute Jog, 3 Minute Run
Day 12 - 4 Minute Walk, 8 Minute Jog, 3 Minute Run
Day 13 - 3 Minute Walk, 8 Minute Jog, 4 Minute Run
Day 14 - 2 Minute Walk, 9 Minute Jog, 4 Minute Run
Day 15 - 1 Minute Walk, 9 Minute Jog, 5 Minute Run
Day 16 - 10 Minute Jog, 5 Minute Run
Day 17 - 9 Minute Jog, 6 Minute Run
Day 18 - 8 Minute Jog, 7 Minute Run
Day 19 - 7 Minute Jog, 8 Minute Run
Day 20 - 6 Minute Jog, 9 Minute Run
Day 21 - 5 Minute Jog, 10 Minute Run
Day 22 - 4 Minute Jog, 11 Minute Run
Day 23 - 3 Minute Jog, 12 Minute Run
Day 24 - 2 Minute Jog, 13 Minute Run
You should complement this program with a weight training program, and try and advance to the next day every other day.
So get out there, and challenge yourself to cardiovascular health!
Dan "The Fit Ferret": An avid enthusiast of life and seeking out adventure wherever it may lie. ACSM certified Personal Trainer and Spartan OCR Competitor.