All posts in Fat Loss

Metabolic Leg Challenge

I’ve got a great strength and conditioning challenge to share with you all today that includes squats, lunges, plyometric jumps, sled drags and sprints. It’s sure to satisfy the best of those who (like me) desire a heart throbbing, wind sucking, leg crumbling, mental challenge to the finish line!

.
You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video
.

The above circuit that you just watched was something Nick, of Performance University, designed a few years back. He used to hold P.T.A sessions once a month for high level clients which stood for Pain. Torture. and Agony! I am gearing up for my show training to begin on May 10th, but until then, we are still training hard and with a purpose. That session was purely to have fun, work hard and sync with my lower body day.

.

To complete this on your own, the following are the challenge parameters:

1. Super Legs Variation

  • 24 Squats (body weight or light weight added)
  • 24 Lunges (forward or reverse, body weight or light weight added)
  • 24 Split box jumps
  • 6 Plyometric jumps

2. Sled Drag 40 yards

3. Sprint 40 yards x 4

The above series is considered ONE round. Rest as needed between exercises, but complete one round in as little time as possible. Rest 3-5 minutes between full rounds. If you’ve never done any training like this before, begin with 1 to 2 rounds the first attempt. Eventually progress to three rounds. If you are more familiar with this metabolic training style, you could progress all the way up to five rounds. Due to the high intense nature of this type of training, I recommend only performing this type of workout for no more than 3-4 weeks at a time, 1 day per week.

.

Lastly, the song in my video is “Excuses” by The Jon Bailey Band, a very talented group from the Baltimore area. If you, like me, are always looking for great new music to train to, you can check them out on their website here.

The Airdyne Bike

Blizzard number two hit Baltimore today and has us trapped inside again. I thought since the airdyne bike in my bedroom was starring me down and begging for attention, I would post a quick thought about one of my favorite pieces of equipment for cardio/conditioning…

.

Dear AIRDYNE BIKE, I love you for many reasons:

  1. It is a change of pace and movement from running and sprints
  2. It engages your upper body in the push/pull of the handle bars
  3. It’s easy to control the resistance… no dials necessary… the bike is designed to increase resistance as you pedal faster
  4. In addition to just cruising along, the bike can be used for insane, heart-throbbing, windsucking, leg pumping  interval training and conditioning :)
  5. And, you can use your creative side and utilize the handle bars for an upper body conditioning workout

I personally choose the airdyne bike at least 3 times a week for a conditioning challenge and often have my clients tackle the bike at the end of their training session for a big finish. The following are a few ways I like to mix up my airdyne work:

  • Moderate Interval Work: 3 minutes on the Airdyne Bike (Moderate intensity, RPM in the 60′s) followed by 2 minutes of jumping rope. 5 minutes per round, complete 4 rounds for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Complete a Timed Mile on the Airdyne bike in as little time as possible. (Goal time: under 3 minutes, 2:20 – 2:30 if you’re really pushing it!) Over time, after you’ve mastered one timed mile, try incorporating a rest period (pedalling mildly for recovery–about the same amount of time it took you to complete the first mile ie: 2:45) then begin timed mile number 2! Its brutal, but doable ;)
  • Moderate to Hard Intervals: 1 minute warm up, 1 interval round = 30 seconds hard pedalling (RPM’s above 80), 30 seconds easy pedaling (RPM’s 40′s or 50′s). Repeat 8 rounds and a 1 minute cool down for a total of 10 minutes.
  • High Intensity Intervals: Another interval scheme I enjoy is 10 seconds hard (and I mean HARD, RPM’s around 90′s or breaking the 100′s) 20 seconds for recovery. 30 seconds is one round, repeat 8 rounds for 4 minutes total. This is a Reverse Tabata. If you are at the intensity level you should be, 4 minutes will be all you need to feel smoked!
  • Upper Body Interval Training: Last, try the Airdyne bike in a non-traditional way–using your upper body. This is a great way to get conditioning while allowing your legs recovery. Check out the video below for an example.

.
You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video
.

The above suggestions are by no means an exhaustive list of all the great things you can do with an Airdyne Bike. Try these, create others and let me know what you come up with! I’m always up for a new challenge !! ;)

.

…now excuse me, I have a date with my Airdyne Bike.

Sprinting: 1 – Steady State Cardio: 0

I was just about to post another exercise superset for Lower Body Contrast Training, until I did my regular quick check on T-Nation. I came across the following article and enjoyed reading this so much, I thought I would rank it as a must-share over the next set of exercises. 

.

If you have followed my blog, I have preached this before and I’ll say it again– If you’re goals include a chiseled physique (not to mention the athletic benefits that come from this) then you ought to be adding sprint and interval training into your program. Regardless of whether you’re a physique competitor, an athlete or a weekend warrior– this applies to you! Check out Erick Minor‘s article on T-Nation called “Sprinting Towards Single Digit Body Fat.”

.

This is my first exposure to Erick’s work and I think he has great stuff here…it’s an easy read and easy to understand–not to mention, very helpful in providing great program design. Check it out

.

P.S. Do not misinterpret my message, I too enjoy a little steady state cardio here and there, but it’s more for cardio health, a good sweat and mental therapy :)  Sprinting, I belive, is far more aggressive when it comes to conquering your physique goals. I even find that those who claim “I will only run if I’m being chased” can manage a few bursts of sprint work. More tomorrow on Contrast Training for the Lower Body ;)

Strength Training & Fat Loss: An Upper Body Day

As promised, I wanted to share with you a version of my current training schemes. I explained in my last post that we are working hard to eliminate body fat to bring me down to a very competitive percentage while preserving my muscle mass to present the best physique I can bring to the stage.

.

A good warm up is important to me. I want to be prepared to train. I want to make sure my CNS is fired, my muscles activated and ready for demand and most important to any prevent injury. Although as important as the rest of the session, if done right, they may not require a tremendous amount of time but they should be thoughtful to your training goals of that day. My upper body and lower body warm ups are VERY different. I have referenced quite a bit the band warm up I use for upper body days and below is a video clip for to help explain.

  • The warm up is designed to bring up my body temperature and prep muscles and movements. It is not supposed to be fatiguing. Choose a band that is moderate for you. We like to use the JC Bands.
  • Five movements, 20 reps per drill, 2 rounds.
  • The movements are: band pulls (hip dominant), row (starting from a bent over lat pull position), tight rotations (both sides), band press, chest fly (letting your shoulder blades retract between each fly).

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

**Note, when lifting heavy, after the band warm up, we always transition into the working sets with 1-2 sets of build up weight.

.

Moving on, we start out with strength work. In order to bring out my smaller muscles now, I isolate and pre fatigue my shoulders with a front raise before I hit incline press and isolate and pre fatigue my rear delts before rows.

  • For the smaller muscle groups (front raises and rear delt work), I completed 8-10 reps.
  • Bigger muscle movements (incline press and row), I completed 6-8 reps.
  • Four rounds, a minute between each round.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Strength work complete. On to metabolic conditioning. I mentioned in the last post, we do a variation of a complex every time. These are great for fat loss, they can integrate all muscle groups, elevate your heart rate and the list goes on and on.

  • a complex is a string of exercises back to back without rest inbetween.
  • 6-8 reps of each exercise 
  • go for speed if you can (without compromising form of course)
  • rest 1 minute between rounds
  • complete 3-6 rounds

The following is an example of a complex using dumbbells:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Last and never least! We move on to conditioning. As you know, I focus on upper body oriented conditioning on upper body days to provide my legs with the rest they need to recover. My upper body conditioning recently has been either boxing intervals or a circuit which I have posted in my Strength Training Split, High Rep, Part IV post.

.

Good Luck!

Want a Chiseled Physique? SPRINT!

Let’s talk about sprinting!! This is the last component to my “high intensity workouts.” As I mentioned previously, we always hit the pavement for sprints on my heavy leg days. We do this because they are explosive, anaerobic, great for EPOC and fat loss plus so many other great benefits.

There is a GREAT article on sprint intervals and the science behind them, the benefits of doing them and ‘how to’ by Loki on bodybuilding.com which can be found here. The article is titled, “Sprinting: The Purest, Most Powerful, Physique-Shaper in an Athlete’s Arsenal.” I think that is a Bad A$$ title and I couldn’t agree more! Check out the article, they do a fantastic job covering all bases on why sprinting is killer for your system and a must in physique training.

So! Back to my sprint workout on Tuesday which consisted of :

  • Eight max-effort sprints, roughly 50- 55 yards, followed by four max-effort sprints for roughly 35-40 yards. (We measured the distance with steps / eyeballing and then marked the “track” with cones).
  • My goal was to accomplish the 50 yard sprint under 8 seconds, which I completed each one between 7.0 and 7.6 seconds (yes, even my 8th sprint).
  • The shorter sprints took me between 5.2 and 5.4 seconds to complete.
  • We aimed for a 1:8 ratio of work to rest. I walked back to the start line each time between sprints and started again when I was feeling about 80% recovered and able to breathe normal again.

 

 You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Check out the sprint article on bodybuilding.com and if you’re not sprinting as part of your conditioning, I highly suggest you start incorporating them. Take a look at the physique of an Olympic sprinter, when was the last time you saw one who wasn’t chiseled??