For October I posted a Weekly challenge on my Instagram. The challenge consisted of one movement to be incorporated throughout a workout each week with a specific amount of reps to be reached each day. The success of having followers join in was greater than I anticipated, so throughout November I will continue the challenge 🙂

 WEEK 1 CHALLENGE: Chest 2 Ground Push Ups 500 Push Ups with complete contact of your chest on the ground. These can be incorporated pre or post workout or added into your scheduled training program over 5 days
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Week 2 challenge: 500 Lunges to be completed over 5 days. All lunge variations are acceptable! Basic, walking lunges, stationary, forward, reverse, weighted, Bulgarian splits or overhead. The options are endless!!
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Week 3 Challenge- 250 strict pull ups to be completed over 5 days
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Week 4 Challenge- 500 Burpees to be complete within 5 days
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Kristen taking on the Burpee challenge in Okinawa, Japan!!!
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These challenges aided us all in the 1st annual Wyvern Mud Run created put on by the US Military! 
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For Breast Cancer awareness month, I was able to bring a crew together for  a ‘Barbells for Boobs’ WOD 🙂

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HIIT involves alternating bursts of all-out intensity (90-100%) for a set duration of time, with a work to rest ratio of 1:2 or 1:3. This essentially means that you train both your aerobic and anaerobic stems simultaneously and hone your metabolic flexibility (i.e. your ability to transition between burning fat (during the recovery) and burning carbs (during the intervals).
HIIT is often performed incorrectly. True HIIT training has a goal. To be faster and stronger. To perform optimal HIIT you need to know what your maximal performance is; the most number of reps you can do, how fast you can run, how high you can jump, etc. Then, your intervals are completed near maximal intensity. Most however do not allow enough recovery time (ex. if you are working ay maximal intensity for 60 seconds, you will need about 2 minutes to fully recover. A 1:2 ratio of work to rest is usually sufficient). Result of a shortened recovery means a decrease in intensity to follow.
To end- if you are not having your programs created for you by a professional; then before you base your programming on “guestimates”, give yourself a few max performance tests.(ex. find your maximum speed for instance by running as fast as you can on the treadmill, complete as many burps, push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups as you can for 30-60 seconds; then program your HIIT accordingly).
HIIT training if calculated correctly can drastically reduce body fat, increase lean mass and aerobic power.
Other forms of HIIT training include:
1) Turbulence Training:
8 reps of weight training alternated with 1-2 minute high intensity cardio, for 45 minutes maximum.

Example Turbulence Training workouts:

  • Sets of 8 back squats x 2 minutes jump rope
  • Sets of 8 deadlifts x 1 minute burpees
  • Sets of 8 bench presses x 1:30 minutes sprints

2) Tabata Method:
Each “set” is 30 seconds long, and consists of 20 seconds work alternated with 10 seconds rest. Repeat sets eight times for a total of four minutes. For Tabata “rest” sets you stop moving completely, unlike the rest sets in other HIIT workouts, which are low-intensity but you continue moving.

Example Tabata workouts:

  • 8 sets of jump squats + 8 sets of push ups
  • Alternate sets of planks and sit ups, do 16 sets total
  • Simply do 8 sets of burps

    3) Power Intervals:
    90 seconds work alternated with 30 seconds rest, usually used for cardio activities such as running, walking, rowing, swimming, etc. Use maximum effort in the work sets, then 50% effort for the rest sets.Example Power Interval Workouts:

    • 10 minutes (5 sets) of running power intervals
    • 4 minutes (2 sets) of jump squat power intervals
    • 20 minutes (10 sets) of rowing power intervals
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For weekly HIIT training follow my girl AJ for awesome intervals! 

As athletes we need to train- and we need to train hard; However, if we don’t allow sufficient time for the body to complete the repair process, we run the risk of moving into ‘exhaustion’. In this stage, cells are not fully repaired before again encountering a demand they cannot meet. (ex. for instance, if your strength program calls for 5 sets of 3 front squats @90% of your 1RM and you spend the next two days moving gingerly and wincing from the resulting DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), its not going to be a good idea to program another heavy leg movement for a few days at the risk of doing damage; this is when injury occurs). Over time, insufficient repair time, stemming from training sessions that are too intense (RX’ing a workout that you should have scaled), too frequently, leads to overtraining and insufficient recovery means poor physical performance (WOD times get worse and loads that were previously easier get difficult).
Yet don’t get it confused- A good athletes training program is to be constantly varied, in which muscles and energy systems regularly encounter an unaccustomed stress to which will be and should be difficult, but a healthy body will have no choice but to respond and adapt with willingness to improve and grow stronger.
By virtue of its structure, the body adapts and can go further than the average person pushes it- but for the Elite athlete that presses it faster than it adapts, risks overtraining and exhaustion. Remember that rest is NOT laziness and it truly is part of the program.

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Building strength and mastering control of your body, is basis for building proficient lifting techniques.Once you are able to perform a task with greater ability, you can then do so at a faster pace. This defines power. Power can be referred to as strength speed.

Certain lifts, movements, and drills when performed at a faster rate, produce power output, but none of this can be done without first having built a foundation of ability to perform even the most basic tasks. In explanation, a novice needs to master the ability to properly perform movements such as Deadlifts, Squats, and Overhead Press, before trying to grab a bar to perform Clean and Jerks.

Everyone’s Deadlift is much higher than his or her power clean. What you really need is explosive strength. This shows most obviously when your leg extension goes beyond ninety degrees. The faster you go from ninety to 180 degrees, the more you are going to power clean. Those fibers will have to keep firing all through that portion of the lift…Power.

‘Making the plates rattle’ A sure fire way to know that your power is explosive all the way through, to the top of the lift along with significant speed. This is a training tool I use to ensure powerful force in driving upward.

Conclusively- Key mechanism of speed, power and strength, working in complete correlation are necessary components for successful Olympic Lifts.

 

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You must train hard and apply sufficient overload to build muscle, but how hard do you really need to push it? Should you put the weight down once you reach 10, when the muscle starts to feel uncomfortable or when you can’t do any more reps with good form? It’s an important distinction you need to understand.

If you’re training for maximal strength, you do not want to train to muscular failure, as it’s simply too taxing on the nervous system and counterproductive to maximum strength development.

However, if hypertrophy (an increase in the size of the muscle cells/fibers) is your goal, it’s a different story. Training to muscular failure—when you can no longer produce sufficient muscle force to complete another rep with good form—has been shown to be most effective.

THE LIMITATION WITH TRAINING TO FAILURE IS CLEAR: IT MUST BE USED WITH CAUTION AS THERE’S A POTENTIAL FOR OVERTRAINING WHEN USED LONG-TERM, A STATE IN WHICH GROWTH COMES TO A GRINDING HALT.

That’s because the nature of this kind of training recruits as many muscle fibers as it can, and produces increased secretion of growth-promoting hormones. Training to failure also induces more metabolic stress to contribute to a greater degree of hypertrophic response.
If you employ this training method, cycle in periods of lower-intensity training.

For bodybuilders, it’s important to use this variable strategically, as it shouldn’t be used all the time.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Training to muscular failure is an effective training variable for hypertrophy when used properly and not overdone. To avoid overtraining and maximize this variable, training to failure should be used intensively for some cycles and avoided during other times.

If your workout consists of heavy lifting and your pre-workout consists of a 200M run and a couple of air squats, it may be time to adjust your regimen.

As every weightlifter understands, doing full snatches, clean and jerks or any heavy lift, requires a high degree of flexibility in every part of the body. All the major muscle groups and corresponding attachments are involved in competitive lifts: shoulder girdle, back, and hips and legs. A lack of flexibility in the shoulders will prevent the lifter from locking out snatches and jerks. It may also keep one from racking a weight on his shoulders while cleaning. Tightness in the hips will have an adverse affect on getting into a low position for snatches and cleans. Not only preventing in correct execution of a lift, lack of flexibility in any heavy lift makes one more susceptible to injury.

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Because every part of the body is activated during the execution of Olympic lifts, every joint and muscle group needs to be given some attention before doing any heavy lifting. This is where there is confusion between the two disciplines needed to enhance flexibility: warming up and stretching. While closely related, they are not the same. Merely stretching a muscle or joint isn’t sufficient preparation for a heavy session in the weight room that will be filled with complicated athletic movements.

In final, warming up and stretching are both vital disciplines for all heavy lifters. Everyone knows a warm muscle is more elastic and reacts better to movement than a cold one. And it’s only common sense to know supple muscles are less prone to injury than tight ones.

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In the gym we like to take you through many variations of warm-ups and movements to prepare you for your workout.  You may be wondering if there is vital importance in doing a warm-up and movements? The answer you will get from all the trainers in the gym is, “ABSOLUTELY!”  But that doesn’t always answer the question of why it is important that we spend the time to get you properly warmed up and mobilized. After various warm-ups consisting of:  inch worms, rowing, running, and other movements  in order to get your body temperature rising, we like to spend time mobilizing and practicing movements which are associated with the workload for the workout. This type of movement is called Dynamic Stretching. Once you are properly warmed up, we take you through a series of movements that consists of:  air squats, leg kicks, lunges, and jump squats. This series of dynamic movements would be great for setting you up to do a strength series of squats, dead-lifts, or split-squats. Dynamic stretching are active movements of muscle that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end position. This is very critical and important. Dynamic stretching will be beneficial to your performance and set you up for the current workload. Why is this critical and important? Here is the science. Your body has many mechanisms that need to be activated and stimulated. When you put your body through a series of stretches while in motion, it sends signals from the brain to the muscle fibers and connective tissues in that area to prepare to do work. Your body’s temperature begins to rise and blood is pumped to the working areas of the body. Getting good blood flow to the area of the working muscles is very critical in order to supply the area with energy needed to do work. Along with getting proper blood flow to the working area, the muscle fibers and connective tissues will gain more flexibility and range of motion. Many studies have shown that dynamic stretching can help increase power, improve flexibility, and increase your range of motion.

In other words, by doing dynamic stretching after your warm-up and before your workout, you are going to feel stronger and work up to a heavier load.  Another point to remember here is that dynamic movements are very sport and movement specific.  We will change the types of movements you do in the warm-up dependent upon what the work load is going to be for that day. Additionally, your range of motion and flexibility will also be greater. Have you ever done air squats at the beginning of a warm up and felt like it was terrible, but after doing a proper warm-up and working on the movements which mimic and simulate squatting, your actual squat will then feel more natural and will flow much smoother.

Jumping rope is an excellent exercise to help improve stamina and conditioning. One method to make jumping rope more challenging is to do “Double Unders,” which means you swing the jump rope two times underneath your feet with only one jump.

Double Unders have gained popularity more recently as an exercise used in CrossFit workouts and competitions. The goal is to start doing double unders consecutively, which is a seriously intense workout.

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Double Unders Tip #1: Jump High & Jump Slow

Double under requires that you jump much higher than a normal jump rope revolution. In fact, you can jump just an inch off the ground during your normal jump rope routine, but a double under requires you to jump much higher. Jumping higher and slower helps create enough time for you to swing the jump rope 2 times underneath your feet as opposed to just once. As you get better and more efficient at doing double unders, you won’t have to jump as high.

Double Unders Tip #2: Use Your Wrists

Probably the #1 most common jump rope mistake is when beginners flail their arms as opposed to turning their wrists in order to create momentum for the jump rope to start revolving. This is similar to a swimmer being very inefficient in the water: an inefficient swimmer gets tired very fast and doesn’t go fast. With jumping rope, you want your skipping to be as efficient as possible so you don’t waste too much energy. If you do, you won’t last for much more than 30 seconds, or a minute. Jumping rope is all in the wrists, which should be roughly at your waist.

Double Unders Tip #3: Keep Your Elbows In

Another related mistake beginners make is not only using too much arms, but extending the arms and elbows to far away from the body. This makes the jump rope shorter so revolutions become more difficult and it’s harder to hold you arms extended from your body. Instead, keep your elbows close to your sides.

Double Unders Tip #4: Keep Your Torso Upright

Because double unders require that you generate significant speed to spin the rope around 2x with one jump, beginners will often bend the torso forward in an effort to shorten the distance the jump rope needs to cover. Instead, remain upright with only a slight bend in your torso as in the photo below.

Double Unders Tip #5: Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect. If you are just starting out with double unders, I recommend the following progression:

  1. Start jumping rope normally, then on the 5th rep do a double under, then stop
  2. Repeat until you consistently complete a double under
  3. Next, do 100 jump rope reps, with every 10th jump being a double under
  4. Repeat until you can do this without stopping
  5. Start jumping rope normally then on the 5th rep do a double under, and on the 6th rep do a double under
  6. Repeat until you can do this easily
  7. Now start doing consecutive double unders with as many as you can in a row!

Eventually, you will be able to complete 25+ double unders. As a simple and effective workout, complete as many double unders as you can to failure for 5-10 rounds with 30 seconds rest in between each set.

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Most athletes respond best to a high frequency and high volume of weightlifting, and perform best when not handling maximum poundages at each session.

The Heavy-Light-Medium training system gives the athlete the volume and frequency that they need to drive progress, and ensure ongoing success, while allowing enough recovery for one heavy day each week for maximum output.

The benefit that this program has for athletes cannot be overstated.  Non-barbell sport athletes must balance training for their sport and training in the weight room. Most sports are demanding of the lower body and many athletes will not have enough reserves in their tank to squat heavy more than once per week. The HLM system allows the athlete to place their heavy squat day on the day of the week that allows them to train in their most recovered state. During the rest of the week, the athletes will have to perform strength workouts, by and large, in a state of fatigue. The HLM system makes this a little easier to manage. On the light and medium days, the athlete will be focusing on form and technique, and speed.

As a starting point though, start your light day 10-20% lower than your heavy day, and set your medium day 5-10%  less than your heavy day.