Category Archives: circuit training

Don Wildman Profile – The Circuit

The World’s Healthiest 75-Year-Old Man

Don Wildman can run like a Marine, snowboard like an Olympian, and bike like a Tour de France champion. Not bad for a 75-year-old.

By Susan Casey

Photo Of Don Wildman Doing Pull Ups
Kurt Markus
On any given day, in a private gym above Malibu’s Paradise Cove, a handful of men show up to attempt a workout known as the Circuit, more than three thousand repetitions of weight lifting and balancing and abdominal exercises. (Click here to read more about the Circuit, including what exercises are included.) If you’re thinking that three thousand is a huge number of times to lift or pull or curl some heavy object, you are right. Which is why the Circuit has developed a reputation for causing some of these men to — there’s really no subtle way to put it — projectile vomit. Its twenty multipart exercises are cycled through six times in a complicated sequence, but the Circuit’s ground rules are simple: Once you start, you don’t stop until it’s done. There are no water breaks, no substituting easier moves when the going gets tough, and obviously no whining.
“We’re starting with thirty reps!”
A deep growl booms out from the center of the room, where Don Wildman, the Circuit’s master practitioner, wearing faded jeans and a Sonic Youth T-shirt, stands barefoot, holding a pair of fifty-pound weights. Muscular, lean, six-two, with a trim beard, he looks like Sean Connery, if Connery had borrowed the body of a U.S. marine. This gym, filled with cutting-edge equipment, occupies a wing of his home. I’ve heard about the Circuit, I’ve heard about Wildman, and I’ve come to see for myself what, exactly, is going on in here.
Behind Wildman, Jason Winn stands at the squat rack. Winn, twenty-six, played quarterback for Texas Tech and now races mountain bikes. And next to Winn, sitting at the neck machine, is Tim Commerford, forty, the bassist for Rage Against the Machine. Sixty-five percent of his body is covered in black tribal tattoos. This makes for a lot of ink, as Commerford is six-two and looks as if he could rip a phone book in half.
Wildman himself is a world-class athlete in several sports. In recent years, he has competed in the Ironman Triathlon nine times, the three-thousand-mile Race Across America bike race, the Aspen downhill ski race, and the New York and L.A. marathons. In the sailing world, Wildman made history by winning all three of the Chicago Yacht Club’s famed Mackinac races in one season. He snowboards the Alaskan backcountry with Olympic downhill champion Tommy Moe. Two years ago, he paddled through the entire chain of Hawaiian islands on a surfboard.
That outing was proposed by Wildman’s friend and training partner Laird Hamilton to raise money for autism research. Hamilton, at forty-four a surfing legend who’s been called the Chuck Yeager of his sport, is famous for his off-the-charts training program, featuring workouts that prepare a person to launch himself onto the face of an eighty-foot wave. His body needs to withstand three g’s of force, pressure that would incapacitate most people. If he falls, he must survive thousands of tons of angry water slamming down on his head. It’s an extreme kind of extreme, which is why, in person, the six-foot-three-inch, 215-pound Hamilton comes across like an action figure sprung to life. In the scope of Wildman’s exploits, it makes perfect sense that he’d be training with the likes of Hamilton, someone equally unfamiliar with the concept of moderation.
Except that it doesn’t make sense. Because Don Wildman is seventy-five years old.
In the gym, Wildman clicks his iPod into the stereo and we begin lifting to the howls of Marilyn Manson. In case you’ve never tried it, thirty reps of anything is about fifteen more reps than your body would prefer to do. And because there’s no resting between exercises, Wildman explains, “you’ll go into oxygen debt, so you’re getting a cardio workout along with a weight workout. Your body doesn’t know where to pump the blood first. That’s why people puke.” As if these things were not daunting enough, each exercise also contains a twist or two intended to add difficulty. Upright rows, for instance, are performed while balancing on an inverted — and highly unstable — Bosu ball (picture a giant Super Ball sliced in half). Chest presses are done sitting upright, with legs outstretched to work the core and hip flexors.
Thirty minutes in, I’m getting the message: The Circuit challenges everything, especially the psyche. The duration of the thing is overwhelming. Commerford, moving to biceps curls, wipes sweat from his shoulders. “I cannot keep up with the Wild Man today,” he says. “Haven’t been in here enough lately.”
“Gotta get you back in the church!” Wildman yells from across the room. Then he turns to me: “You missed abs on that last one.” I backtrack, do the missing forty crunches. By this point, the windows have steamed up. Weights clank, accompanied by audible breathing and occasional grunting. The only one who has enough energy to talk, it seems, is Wildman.
“People come here and say, ‘This is madness! What the hell are you doing this for?’ ” he says, working his way through a set of shoulder presses. And it does seem fair to ask whether, maybe, two thousand repetitions might be enough to do the trick (especially since most people his age consider lawn bowling a fine workout). That kind of thinking is alien to Wildman, just as it is to the hardcore group of regulars who adhere to the same philosophy: When it comes to endorphin production, more is more. Along with Hamilton, Commerford, and Winn, the group includes John McEnroe, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios, and another dozen ultrafit men. In Wildman’s crew there are stuntmen and ski racers and motocross riders. There’s a sheriff, a restaurateur, and an ultimate fighter. There is the occasional celebrity (Sean Penn, John Cusack, John C. McGinley) or rock star (Kid Rock, Eddie Vedder). And one time, there was NBA star Reggie Miller.
“Ohhh, Reggie got torn up by this workout,” Commerford says. “I saw him the next day, andman.”
“Well, that’s because Laird tried to kill him,” Wildman says, shaking his head. “We definitely did all six rounds that day.”
Thing is, for Wildman and his crew, this kind of behavior isn’t abusive at all — it’s fun, heavily laced with lactic acid. “It’s just that our play is harder than 99 percent of other people’s work,” he explains.
The immediate question regarding Wildman is, of course: How? How is it that while other seventy-five-year-olds are complaining about their hip pain, Wildman is saying things like “I prefer heli-snowboarding because you can get more air off the cornices”? How can a septuagenarian be someone about whom John McEnroe, forty-nine, winner of seventeen grand-slam titles, says, “He reminds me of myself in a way, but he’s on a whole different level”? How, in other words, has Wildman managed to buck the basic rules of human physical existence, in which years lived do seem to have some correlation to whether a senior citizen will opt out of, say, paragliding from the top of Aspen Mountain?
You want to know the answer, because despite the promises of stem-cell therapy and genetic manipulation, the offerings of the $70 billion antiaging industry have so far proved deeply unappealing, involving such things as starvation diets and cryogenically freezing your head. While it’s true that one of Wildman’s adages is “When you stop moving, it’s all over,” and that his diet is low on meat, fat, junk food, and alcohol, and that he takes about fourteen different supplements a day, basic high-quality stuff such as calcium, vitamin C, B complex, CoQ-10, and hyaluronic acid, and that he swears by glucosamine for his knees, Thai massage for recovery, and a little-known technique called “prolotherapy” to shore up his ligaments — while all of this is true and helps him avoid unnecessary deterioration, none of it really explains how, at the three-quarter-century mark, Wildman is keeping pace with pro athletes decades younger than he is, guys like Hamilton, or Chelios, one of the toughest players in the NHL.
“On to the next activity!”
Finished with the gym, Wildman strides out into the late-morning sunshine. Commerford, who’s about to go on tour in Australia and Japan, has rehearsal. Winn is busy with Bonk Breaker, his energy-bar company. That leaves me to continue on to Wildman’s “next activity,” mountain biking in the hills that rise sharply from the section of the Pacific Coast Highway behind his house. There are other things I’d rather do, all of which involve lying down, but Wildman appears to have more energy now than when the Circuit began. I follow him into the kitchen, where he pours us both a triple espresso. He’s explaining why he won’t be taking a water bottle on the ride. “It’s an extra two pounds to carry,” he says. “Believe me, two pounds can make a difference.” No water? “I’ll look over at Don’s mouth when we’re riding and there’ll be white coming out of the corners,” McEnroe says. Wildman shrugs, “It freaks people out, but I got used to it. We never take water.” His eyes are a piercing light blue, and often they’re roving, noting everything and running it through a very serious filter, but at certain times, like now, as he’s explaining how his body can go without liquids, they take on an uncommon intensity seventy-five years in the making.
Wildman grew up in Los Angeles in the thirties, the only son of a fire-and-brimstone Pentecostal preacher. Listening to promises of eternal damnation for the unfaithful, he concluded early that religion was a process of “scaring the bejesus out of people.” At fifteen, he found his calling on the football field instead. But the same aggression that worked in the stadium got him into trouble outside of it.

Don Wildman On The Beach With A Group Of Fellow Fitness Freaks
Kurt Markus
Fistfights led to an appearance in juvenile court. There was an unfortunate incident involving the torching of a decrepit set of bleachers. Probation and curfew ensued; Wildman chafed at the restrictions. When one of his buddies suggested that the best way to regain full autonomy would be to join the Army, he thought, That doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

It was a bad idea. The year was 1950. “The next thing I know, I’m headed for Korea,” he says. A combat medic, Wildman was shipped directly to the front line. The first sight that greeted him was a freshly decapitated corpse. “I was seventeen years old,” he recalls. “I’m seeing this stuff and I’m thinking, I want to get out of here now.” That night, while he was shuttling the wounded to a field hospital, the position was ambushed and most of his company killed. Wildman escaped by running down a frozen riverbed. “And that was the first day.”
After deciding against shooting himself in the foot as an exit strategy, Wildman set about figuring out how to survive. He took comfort in the discovery that everyone else he met was as terrified as he was, figuring, If they can take it, I can take it. He became a platoon leader and then a sergeant. Also, he became stronger, lifting weights and packing seventy pounds of muscle onto his naturally thin frame. In the manner of a pragmatic convict, Wildman searched for bright corners in a dark situation. Even now, he can’t quite believe that he made it out alive. “I had so many close calls — I’d felt sure I was going to be killed. And the thing was, most of the guys who thought they were going to get killed did get killed. When I got off the boat back in the U.S., I kissed the ground.”
Humans waste a lot of energy worrying about things. Might get cancer, might go bankrupt. Might marry the wrong person or screw up at the office. Emerging from war, Wildman no longer had these kinds of concerns. At twenty, he’d crawled out of the darkest of pits, and in comparison, 1950s America looked like one big, golden party. Anything was possible. And no matter what went wrong now, it wasn’t likely to result in death. “My father gave me a piece of advice once,” Wildman says. “He said, ‘Never walk. Always run.'”
Wildman ran. In the year after he left the service, he got married, saw the first of his three sons born, and took on as many jobs as he could. He plastered walls during the day, sold life insurance at night. Weekends he worked at Burbank’s Vic Tanny gym. Back in the fifties, going to the gym wasn’t a popular pastime. Men worried that exercise would lead to dangerous enlargement of the heart; women feared the prospect of developing bulky muscles. And it didn’t help that the gyms themselves had a kind of fly-by-night aura, with people buying memberships only to return the following week and find that the club had closed down.
It was a sketchy, unformed business and Wildman thrived in it. For one thing, he believed deeply in what he was selling — the transformative power of exercise — and, in turn, people believed him. Leaving the other jobs behind, he rose to the top of Vic Tanny’s network of a hundred clubs, and then branched off to start his own company. “I wanted to be the largest health-club operator in the world,” he says. To do that, Wildman created clubs that people saw as desirable places to be, as opposed to vaguely disreputable sweatshops filled with snorting bodybuilders. He updated the equipment and the ambience, the message and the image, to make exercise appeal to the mainstream.
Eventually, Wildman’s company, Health and Tennis Corporation of America, owned two hundred health clubs. In 1983, he sold the enterprise to Bally Entertainment Corp., and it became Bally Total Fitness, which today has about four million members. Wildman officially retired in 1994, at age sixty-one, not because he’d lost his passion for the business but because having a job — even one in the fitness industry — made it difficult to snowboard a hundred days a year.
“The ride takes about an hour,” Wildman says, fastening his helmet and clicking into the pedals of his $5,000 carbon-fiber Cannondale Scalpel. “This is the easy trail.” Thank you, God. I’ve heard the stories, and apparently the first rule of going mountain biking with Wildman is: Don’t.
The trail is called Winding Way, a name that evokes the image of gentle and meandering curves. This is a cruel misrepresentation. It begins on a 15 percent grade and heads directly, indefinitely, uphill. While I fumble with my gears trying to find one big enough to ride in, Wildman shoots off ahead.
Along with Winding Way, his other favorite trail is called Three Amigos, and by all accounts it’s a vicious three-hour ordeal. “After that ride, I couldn’t walk,” says the six-foot, 190-pound Chelios, describing his first time up it with Wildman. “I fell twenty-five, thirty times. I was bleeding, my legs were cut from branches.”
Most people would be happy simply to survive such a course; Wildman prefers to race it. Though Hamilton cannot be beaten, even when handicapped with a fifty-pound weight on his bike, and Winn is a bit of a ringer, Wildman can sometimes take Commerford, McEnroe, and a few of the others, and the rivalries are intense. “As you can imagine, I’m not a guy who takes losing very easily,” McEnroe says. “But Don — it’s like he has an extra gear.”
Though Wildman claims he doesn’t mind losing because it makes him want to try harder, it’s clear that he brings competition to everything he does — even parenthood. “I grew up training like a madman,” says John Wildman, forty-nine, Don’s youngest son. “Don had me doing this push-up regimen where he would pay me five dollars every time I could do five more push-ups than the last time. Before I was ten, I could do several hundred in a row.”
One of the most consuming chapters in Wildman’s competitive life began in 1982, when he caught the first televised Hawaiian Ironman triathlon. The race, composed of a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a marathon, was touted as the ultimate physical challenge. As if to illustrate this, the women’s leader, twenty-three-year-old Julie Moss, collapsed two hundred yards from the finish and for ten minutes attempted to drag herself to the line, staggering and crawling. When she touched the finish line, she collapsed in a puddle of urine and her eyes rolled back in her head. It was one of the most horrifying moments ever documented in sports. Watching it, Wildman was impressed. “I told my wife, ‘Hey, there’s this new sport I want to try.'”
“Don dragged me and all my buddies into training for the thing. And then he beat us all,” John Wildman says. “I did not do subsequent Ironmans.” His father did. After being told he’d won his age group, Wildman was dismayed to learn that he’d actually come in second to a Canadian named Les McDonald. The following year, Wildman returned, seeking to claim the gold, only to lose to McDonald again. Ditto the third year. Over seven years, a pattern emerged: Wildman would lose to his rival, a superior runner, but he’d narrow the gap. The eighth year, Wildman won.
After forty-five minutes of climbing, I can’t see the summit — or Wildman, until he doubles back to warn that a Doberman named Baby might charge me a little farther up the road. On recent rides the dog had bitten him, lunged at McEnroe, and knocked Commerford off his bike. I look at Wildman hard. I’ve fallen three times where the grade became so steep that I couldn’t turn my pedals, and I’m already bleeding from the knee, hip, and elbow. I don’t need a set of teeth sunk into my leg. “I thought you said this was an easy, hour-long ride!” I say, my voice cracking.
“Yeah, Laird holds the record,” he says, with a hint of a smirk. In other words, it is just a quick spin — if you’re Laird Hamilton.
I’m beginning to see why Hamilton and Wildman found one another. They both believe nothing is so hard that it can’t be pushed just a little bit harder. Nothing is so new or radical that it can’t be tried. Wildman describes their meeting, in 1996 at a heli-skiing lodge in British Columbia, as “two-part epoxy.” Hamilton admired Wildman’s snowboarding skills; Wildman admired the thickness of Hamilton’s neck. They didn’t spend much time together on the trip, but two years later they crossed paths in Malibu and discovered that they lived less than a mile apart. “We started banging iron, and I fell into his routines,” Hamilton says. “I wasn’t really a biker until I met Don.”
And Wildman wasn’t really a surfer. But when Hamilton invited him to come to Kauai and then asked if he wanted to try tow surfing on a twenty-foot swell, Wildman actually did it. He slid his feet into the straps on Hamilton’s six-foot board, picked up the water-ski rope, and let Hamilton, on a Jet Ski, fling him onto waves the size of two-story buildings. He got walloped by two before making the third. “The power, it felt like a Mack truck hit me,” he says. “I went, ‘Whoa! This is pretty good.'”

Photo Of Don Wildman Doing Pull Ups
Kurt Markus
When most of us do something that could potentially result in severe injury, resistance intervenes in the form of terror. Like Hamilton, Wildman appears to be missing that gene. To them, getting hurt is simply an inconvenient by-product of doing what they love, nothing to get emotional about. Both men have had multiple broken bones, dislocated joints, and torn ligaments, and as for stitches, Hamilton “stopped counting at a thousand.” In addition to an expansive pain threshold, the two men share the same orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Neal Elattrache, one of the athletic world’s most sought-after specialists. In 2005, Elattrache reattached Wildman’s right shoulder to his body when he tore all four tendons of his rotator cuff jumping out of a helicopter in Argentina. After painstakingly installing many screws and plates, Elattrache was dismayed to hear reports that Wildman had been seen shortly after the operation, riding his mountain bike. Then, six months later, Wildman had to have his knee pieced back together after he fell while racing an eighteen-year-old kid on a snowboard, sending his femur crashing into his tibia. When I asked Elattrache about all this, he sighed. “Some people’s bodies can go through more than others,” he said. “Don is an extreme case of that.”
Winding Way is becoming steeper, and I tip over again. Wildman gets off his bike and helps me up, nodding his approval: “I always say, It’s not a ride unless you get some blood.”
That’s it. “I’ve had enough,” I say. I’m about to become one of the cautionary tales.
“Another two minutes and we’re there,” he says. “You can’t turn around now.”
The damn thing is, he’s right. I can’t. And in that moment, I understand how Wildman inspires people to fire on all cylinders: If you spend time with him, you find yourself wanting to be more like him — and he isn’t turning back before the summit. And so even though it’s more like another ten minutes before we crest the diabolical peak and head down the long, hypothermia-inducing descent, when I tell Wildman later that I’m glad we went on the ride, I mean it.
Whenever Wildman wants to go stand-up paddling in the surf, which is on most days, he walks about three hundred yards from the sunny-yellow, Mediterranean-style house where he lives with his wife, Rebecca, down a tropically landscaped path marked with pink footstones, to his one-bedroom beach house. Located on the sand in Malibu’s Paradise Cove, it’s the ideal place to park a squadron of toys, including three dozen surfboards, kayaks, paddles, wakeboards, inflatable boats, a four-wheel-drive golf cart, and four Jet Skis. When you add this to the gym, the putting green, the aviary of exotic parrots, the garages filled with mountain bikes, road bikes, and tandem bikes, it’s easy to see why Chelios, who lives next door, calls Wildman’s five-acre compound “his own little amusement park.”
On a clear January morning, I pull into the driveway and park next to Wildman’s Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet. The $150,000 car is painted matte black, its proud Teutonic crest smeared over by an imprecise hand. “Got a guy to do it for $500,” Wildman had told me. According to him and Hamilton, there are two acceptable color schemes for any vehicle: matte black or dull khaki camouflage.
Wildman answers the door. He’s wearing a knit cap pulled low over his ears, baggy jeans, and a faded red T-shirt emblazoned with a skull. Anyone seeing him from a distance would take him for a skateboard punk. When Wildman wears a short-sleeved shirt, it’s hard not to stare at his biceps. They’re perfectly defined, as though baseballs have been sewn beneath his skin, and it’s only the skin itself that gives any indication of the owner’s age. Wildman predates sunscreen, and the result of his decades outdoors is a patina of tans gone by.
In the kitchen, Rebecca, a pretty, slim blond in her fifties (with an Ironman and four marathons under her belt), is making a salad. It’s Sunday, and a football game is on. Wildman gestures toward the screen. “The problem with most of these coaches — they’re not inspirational,” he says. “You see this guy from Seattle, Holmgren, who’s supposed to be so great — and he’s got a forty-inch waist! Three chins! What the hell is that about?”
He pours water into a glass and mixes in a packet of amino acids, enzymes, and minerals called Neuro1, created by Bill Romanowski, the former linebacker and four-time Super Bowl champ, to help in the aftermath of countless concussions. Its purpose is to nourish brain tissue. “If the brain stays young, you’ll stay young,” Wildman says. He’d made the same point when telling me why most of his friends were decades younger than he was. “When you’re around young people, they think they’re gonna live forever — and it’s contagious,” he’d said. “Rebecca always says I never hang out with people my own age, and I say, ‘Yeah! Because they’re so friggin’ negative!’ “
It’s true that everywhere in this room, in this house, in Wildman’s life, there is evidence of a curious and optimistic mind. You can see it in the pair of black-eyed toucans sitting on the giant copper ring, and in the books that line the shelves of his library. You can see it on the walls, where Picasso etchings hang next to paintings done by friends. But most of all, you can see it in the pictures. There are dozens of pictures of Wildman’s family, on mountains and boats and beaches, at parties and celebrations, at the finish lines of marathons and triathlons; pictures of him with Ronald Reagan and at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wedding. There are many pictures of Wildman and Rebecca kissing. A digital frame flashes images of Wildman standing on a surfboard next to Hamilton; at a Pearl Jam concert with his grandson. Looking at them, it strikes me that for all of his physical triumphs, Wildman’s real genius lies in the sport of living itself.
“Hey, have I ever showed you the Magic Twanger?” Wildman says suddenly.
“The what?”
“Come outside for a second.”
Wildman walks to the three-hole putting green on his lawn. Beside it, a birdbath holds a pyramid of golf balls. He drops a handful on the ground, and then he reaches for an odd-looking club that’s leaning against a lawn chair. He holds it up. “This is the Magic Twanger,” a putter he invented and marketed in the nineties. It has a bulky, square face that allows a golfer to emulate Sam Snead’s method of putting between his legs, rather than angled off to one side. Wildman, who has been known to play as much as ninety holes of golf a day, had admired the innovation, but golf rules forbid it because it looks ungainly. With the Twanger you can still use your body’s center line, but your legs are in regulation position. To demonstrate, Wildman taps a few in. The Twanger is a superior design, he says, but it never caught on.
Listening to him, I remember something that Hamilton said: “Don’s always on the cutting edge. That’s why he’s ageless.” I mention this to Wildman, who thinks about it for a second. “Some of my contemporaries say, ‘When are you gonna grow up?'” he says. “I hope I never do! I’m trying everything not to grow up.” He walks toward the edge of the green. “And when I think I’m doing things that are grown-up, I go, Uh-oh. I’m slipping. I’d better get onto some new adventure.” He laughs and leans over the Twanger. It’s a long-shot putt, uphill and off-kilter, from an improbably far distance. The ball snaps forward, rolling wide toward the rough and away from the flag. But then at the last possible instant it hooks, as though rerouted by an invisible hand, and it drops into the hole.

Wikio

Laird Hamilton’s Strength Training Circuit Workout 2-18-11


WORKLOAD
1 Circuit (1 Hr 15 minutes Total)
20-30 seconds in-between moves
22 Exercises In This Circuit – Some Moves are Repeated
15-20 Reps of Everything

GOALS
Quality Technique, Range of motion, Endurance, and Flexibility. The goal is to do high reps with heavy weight. Laird’s exercises incorporate 2-3 muscle groups per each exercise.

EXERCISES
(Video 1)
1. Cable Machine Front Cable Raises – Balancing on Indo Board
2. Over Head Ab Press on Declined Bench – Weight Plate
3. Pull Ups with Legs at 90 Degree Angle on Hack Squat -360 Body Hang Stretch
4. Single Leg Wall Sit with Rotator Cuff (against stationary Object)
5. Cable Machine – Rotating Ab Twist in Squat Position (Middle to Side)
6. Upright Row on Indo Board
7. Golf Ball Stance (Foot Torture)
8. Dips with a Single Dumbbell between thighs
9. Push up to Hop Up (demoed by Hutch) similar to a ½ burpie
10. Stability Ball Balance Squat with Shoulder Flys
11. Cable Lunge Squat with a Chest Fly

[12,13,14 – 3 Circuits]
12. 1 Minute Wall Sit (single leg 90 degree) 1 with rotator cuff
13. 1 Minute Wall Sit (single leg 90 degree) 1 with bicep curl
14. 1 Minute Handstands

15. Lying Sliders Burn Out – In/Out – Side/Side (Hips Up)
16. Bosu Ball Ab Reach Up – Hands to Toes (lift arms up at the same time as legs)
17. Straight Leg Deadlift with Dumbbells (on elevated structure)
18. Wide Cable Lat Pull-down (stand on stability ball or indo board)
19. Back Lunge on Slider with Overhead Shoulder Hold
20. Leg Extension with a Shoulder Press
21. AB-CORE Leg Twist on Declined Bench (bend legs, use hips and core for height)
22. Face Down on Stability Ball on Bench – lift legs up, scissor, lower back down

Circuit Training with Laird Hamilton


Posted by,
A Laird Life Editor
1-4-2010
Taken from Laird’s book, Force of Nature

Laird Hamilton explains three ways to do a circuit training workout, one of his favorite ways to train in the gym.

Depending on how hard you want to go and how much time you have, you can choose how many rounds you want to do and how many reps you’ll do in each round.

1- The Basic Circuit: Three rounds: First round is 25 reps; second round is 15; third round is 5. Increase weight on each round.

2- The One-Round Endurance Circuit: One round: Do 40 to 60reps (as many as you can do, keeping good form) of each exercise with light weights

3-The Grind: Six Rounds: first round is 30 reps; second round is 20; third round is 10; fourth round is 5 (as heavy as you can go); fifth round is 15, sixth round is 25.

Here’s an example of a few exercises. All 15 exercises plus demonstrating photos can be seen in Laird’s book “Force of Nature”.


1- Crunch: Works your abdominal muscles and obliques (the muscles along your sides that enable you to bend and twist)

2- Plank: Arms are bent at 90-degree angle with elbows directly under your shoulders and palms flat on the ground directly under shoulders. Hold for 1 minute.

3- Cable Pulldown: Use an overhand grip with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart, and pull the cables (or bar) down. Keep your body stationary; make sure you’re not rocking backward and using that momentum to move the weight.

4- Chest Press: There are all kinds of ways to do a chest press, both on a machine and with free weights on a bench. If you use the latter, you can vary the movement by changing the position of your body: flat, decline, or incline. Each angle works your chest slightly differently.

5- Leg Extension: Sitting with your back flat and your feet hooked behind the pads, straighten your legs (being careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees.) Slowly lower legs to starting position.

Wikio

>Outdoor Ab Workouts

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Shed winter pounds with these pro trainers’ outdoor workouts

In Your Backyard

The Pro Trainer’s Workout: Body-Weight Circuit
Torch fat with this routine from Turbulence Training developer Craig Ballantyne, C.S.C.S.

Do this:
Perform these exercises as a circuit. Rest 1 minute only after completing all four. Complete 5 circuits.

1 Jumping jacks (60 seconds)
2 Spider-man pushups (until failure)

As you lower your body, swing your right leg out to touch your right knee to your right elbow. Reverse the movement and push up. Alternate sides.

3 Reverse lunge (15 reps per leg)

Stand tall, hands behind your ears. Step back with one leg, and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees. Pause. Push up quickly. Do all reps, then switch legs.

4 Squat thrust (8 reps)

Squat, put your hands on the floor, and kick your legs into pushup position. Quickly reverse the move. Repeat. Make it harder Rest 30 seconds (instead of 1 minute) between circuits.

On the Court

The Miami Heat Workout: 10’s
This routine combines fast-paced intervals with quick changes of direction. “It’s a great fat burner, and it improves endurance,” says Bill Foran, the Heat’s strength and conditioning coach.

Do this:
Begin at one baseline of the basketball court and run (not at a full sprint) to the opposite end. Stop, plant your foot, pivot, change direction, and run back. Repeat four times for a total of 10 trips between baselines. That’s 1 set; try to complete it in 60 to 70 seconds. Do a total of 2 or 3 sets, resting only 2 to 3 minutes between each.

Make it harder:
Work your way up to 5 sets. The first few sets may seem easy, but the last few will test your physical and mental endurance.


On the Diamond

The Boston Red Sox Workout: X-Pattern Skill Drill
This drill challenges you to run in all directions at full intensity, which every player must do, says David Page, strength coach for the Red Sox.

Do this:
Set up four cones in a square formation, each cone 10 yards apart.

1 Sprint from cone A to cone B.
2 Immediately turn and sprint diagonally from cone B to cone D.
3 Backpedal as fast as you can from cone D to cone C.
4 Sprint diagonally from cone C back to cone A. That’s 1 set.
Rest 2 to 3 minutes after completing all four sprints. Repeat for 5 sets.

Make it harder:
Start the drill sitting or lying down, then jump up and run.

>Train Like a Man!

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Train Like a Man!

The Fall of T

America is becoming the poster-child for low testosterone levels. Men today are becoming increasingly more feminine, fussing about their eyebrows, spray tanning, and booking mani-pedis.
There are many potential explanations for the drop in testosterone and subsequent increase in American Idol voters. Skeptics will argue that it’s simply our aging population that’s to blame for our country’s collective low T. Yet that fails to explain the feminine leanings of the younger guys. I believe their shockingly low T scores are due in large part to poor lifestyle choices.
Obesity, stress, prescription meds, staying up late, and poor food choices all affect T to varying degrees, but in a weird way, a low T lifestyle is almost glorified.
The 25 year-old guy with the muffin-top waistline due to the stressful job that keeps him up late is essentially what college prepares most “successful” people for. Follow that lifestyle too long and voila – self-induced castration, a gut you can’t seem to lose, and an iPod chocked full of Kenny G.
But here’s the kicker: castration has infiltrated and infected the one spot you might think immune to low T levels – the gym.

Castration in the Gym?

What do squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, and dips have in common? Answer: They’re all compound exercises that can be loaded to produce extreme amounts of testosterone-building tension.
Sadly, a lot of people answer: “They’re all dangerous exercises that yogagirl127 posted on Facebook can hurt you and should be outlawed!”
Dangerous? To whom exactly? And what isn’t “dangerous?”
Look, I’m not only a trainer, I’m also a physical therapist, and I respect the importance of proper biomechanics and injury prevention, but those basic exercises are not inherently dangerous.
Everything you do in the gym has some potential for injury, as do most things in life. Reading is bad for the eyes, door handles are caked with germs, and pesticides are sprayed on virtually every stitch of produce at the grocery store.
Are you going to stop reading, opening doors, and eating vegetables? Before we outlaw the overhead press, let’s crack down on texting-while-driving and we’ll really start making the world a safer place.
Safety in my training is paramount, but so is common sense – which isn’t always common in the fitness industry. Over the last 20 years, I’ve watched bizarre trends in fitness information dictate the actual training that occurs inside the gym.
After the rise of the internet, articles written by any “expert” that could type had you in a full sweat-suit to stay warm during your dynamic warm-up and pre-habbed on the foam roller before you rehabbed with your corrective exercises.
In short, as information became more plentiful, more had to be written about the minutia. Once the minutia was deeply covered, the only thing left was to write about what everyone was doing wrong and the risks involved with just about every exercise.
Fact is, most stuff I see talked about today is about what we supposedly can’t or shouldn’t do. My goal is to remind us all that life is often better when you take the “t” off your can’t.
This information overload leads us first on a quest for something safer, then moves us to something either more time consuming or boring, then moves us to skipping that new thing all together due to a lack of time or interest. Ultimately, we’re unable to go back to the old exercise that worked and kept us stimulated because we’re now convinced that it’s bad for us!
Knowledge is power? No, knowledge is only power when we put action behind it. Today, I believe knowledge is often paralyzing.
Here are a few examples of “castrating” training trends and exercises.

Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells

dumbbells

Kettlebells are a great tool, but since the explosion of the kettlebell cults, dumbbells have taken a backseat in training. Funny, but no one ever takes a picture with a dumbbell, yet I see more shots every day of people carrying a kettlebell like it was his or her first-born.
I have nothing against kettlebells and use them in my training. I just wonder if the KB explosion would’ve ever happened without the internet? Kettlebell shirts, kettlebell necklaces…
Poor dumbbells, I’ll miss them.

Bands vs. Chin-ups

Bad Chinups
Chin-ups are one of the all-time great upper-body exercises (and I include the abdominal area in that too). But they’re difficult to perform, which turns people off.
So some genius discovered that a band originally designed for stretching also works great to make chin-ups easier by removing all the testosterone-producing tension. Now you have rooms full of guys doing sissy chin-ups thinking they’re Olympic gymnasts.
Dump the bands. Do your chin-ups. And hurry up, because even though they haven’t been outlawed yet, I’m sure someone is already working on an article called “Why Chin-Ups Are Bad For You.”

Glute-Ham Raise vs. 45-Degree Back Extension

Back extensions are a great exercise, especially when you hold as many plates as you can across your chest.
Too bad some “efficiency expert” discovered that by just having a glute-ham raise bench you didn’t need a back extension or a lying leg curl machine because the GHR effectively trains both knee flexion and hip extension. So now, both the back extension and leg curl are falling into exercise obscurity.
Turns out the joke is on them. Glute-ham raises are difficult and about as comfortable as a muay thai kick to the quads, so no one does them. So now, no one does anything, except of course occasionally working the triceps while wiping the dust off the GHR.

Prowler Pushes vs. Suicides

Suicide Sprints

I love the Prowler, but this idea that you need a special piece of equipment for conditioning is bunk.
Unfortunately, we’ve learned to value exercises either by their novelty or their ability to produce soreness or fatigue. I’m not sure there are many sports or activities that you need to prepare for by either passing out or puking in training, but hey, while we’re lowering our testosterone levels, might as well find a way to crush our nervous and immune systems, too.
Want a really new exercise that no one is doing? It’s called sprinting.
The biomechanics of sprinting is essential to our basic mobility, but it’s also very much a “use it or lose it” skill. If you’re 27 and haven’t sprinted since high school, you need to get out to the field and start doing it. It’s slowly leaving you, every day – and that means you’re only racing faster toward the big dirt nap. (Maybe they should call being fat and sedentary a “suicide” instead?)
Notice I said “sprinting” not treadmill running, elliptical training, or texting your friend while you ride the recumbent bike. Each one of those pieces has castrated the thing we all need to make progress: impact. Oddly, biomechanists spend a whole lot of time trying to remove impact from our lives.

Lateral Raises vs. Shoulder Pressing

What’s more functional than pushing something heavy overhead? I’m all for the YMCA dance and whatever else we do with ten-pound dumbbells to activate our lower trap, but there’s nothing scary about a proper overhead press. It’s a fantastic way to challenge significant musculature and load the spine.
Yeah, these can bother you if you have poor mobility, strength, or movement issues, but what wouldn’t bother you in that case?

Pushdowns vs. Dips

Dips ruin the shoulders, right? That’s why I see countless athletes in my facility with fantastic physiques complaining about shoulder problems from performing dips up to one hundred times per week.
Oh wait, that’s right… I don’t. And by the way, some of these athletes are girls I call “gymnasties” that often out-chin and out-dip the guys.
Pushdowns are great, but strap a 100-pound dumbbell around your waist and see if you can replicate the tension at the cable station.

Planks vs. Spinal Flexion

In the last few years, bending forward at the waist has been under siege. The firefight is all over the internet, and although I’ve adopted many anti-rotation, anti-flexion, and anti-everything else exercises to stimulate the core, I admit I still throw in some spinal flexion. Somehow I’ve still produced pretty solid results.
I will agree that a poorly performed sit-up isn’t great for your back or neck, but you know what the absolute worst thing is for your back and neck? Sitting slumped over your desk surfing the internet for the latest plank variation.
Sit-ups aren’t the biggest problem – it’s sit-ting. Let’s figure out how to stop people from doing that before we figure out any more things we shouldn’t do.

Step-ups and Split Squats vs. Squats and Deadlifts

Step-ups and split squats are great exercises, but for building muscle they aren’t in the same league as squats and deadlifts. Tension wise, they don’t even come close. But because they’re less “scary” than the big lifts, they’re making a single-legged run at it.
Here’s the irony: because they’re unilateral, they also take twice as long to do, so people find them boring. So after a few weeks, nobody does anything. And then they sit in their chair and tell you to watch your back if you dare to deadlift?

Active Warm-Up vs. Static Stretching

Static stretching has been beaten down so hard it’s barely breathing. Dynamic flexibility during an active warm-up is a wonderful thing and something I personally use daily, but static stretching definitely has its place in training.
Just about everybody has dropped static stretching in favor of dynamic movement, but here’s the thing: dynamic flexibility during a warm-up is time consuming and sometimes complex, so many trainees simply skip it.
Now people are doing no flexibility training at all, and the result is they no longer have the mobility to squat or deadlift properly. So instead of performing some simple static stretches before performing the dynamic movements, we have immobile guys confined to doing planks on an Airex pad in the squat rack.
Stretch out, then warm-up, and then pick up something heavy!

80/20. Not 20/80.

Getting tension back into your workouts doesn’t mean you have to kill yourself or get injured. It means scaling things back so that most of the time you spend in the gym is doing stuff that’s actually productive.
The 80-20 rule never fails. If 80% of your time is spent straining under good old-fashioned barbells and dumbbells, with 20% spent doing pre-hab, rehab, and “potentiation work” then you’ll probably look more fit and have a handful of calluses.
If that split is more like 20-80, then you likely have a problem that includes veggie hotdogs, waxing, and a dream to someday fit into those damn skinny jeans.

TRAINING THE WHOLE BODY

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Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift

Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and hold them in front of your thighs, arms hanging straight down. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent (A). Without changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor (B). Pause, then raise your torso back to the starting position.
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Dumbbell Plank and Row

Grab a pair of hex dumbbells with an overhand grip and assume a pushup position, your arms straight (A). Keeping your core stiff, balance your weight on your left arm as you pull the dumbbell in your right hand up to the side of your chest, bending your arm as you pull it upward (B). Pause, and then quickly lower the dumbbell. Repeat with your left arm.
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Dumbbell Front Squat

Stand and hold a pair of dumbbells so that your palms are facing each other and a dumbbell head is resting on the meatiest part of each shoulder (A). Keep your body as upright as you can at all times. Brace your abs and lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees (B). Don’t allow your elbows to drop down as you squat. Pause, then push yourself back to the starting position.
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Dumbbell Push Press

Stand and hold a pair of dumbbells so that your palms are facing each other and the dumbbells are parallel to the floor (A). Keep your body upright as you bend slightly at the knees, then explosively push up with your legs as you press the dumbbells over your head (B). Pause, then lower the weights to the starting position.
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Dumbbell High Pull

Hold a pair of dumbbells just below the fronts of your knees with your palms facing your legs, your hips pushed back, and your knees slightly bent (A). With your back flat and arms straight, pull both dumbbells upward as fast as you can by thrusting your hips forward and explosively standing up (B). Keep the dumbbells as close to your body as possible and bring them up to shoulder height. (At the top of the movement, your elbows should angle out like you’re doing the funky chicken.) Return to the starting position.
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Cross Body Mountain Climber

Assume a pushup position with your arms completely straight (A). Lift your right foot off the floor, then bend your right knee and bring it up under your body, toward your left elbow, without changing the arch in your lower back (B). Lower your leg back to the starting position. Then raise your left foot off the ground and bring your left knee to your right elbow. Alternate back and forth until time is up.
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Alternating Split Jump

Stand in a staggered stance with your feet 2 to 3 feet apart, your left foot in front of your right. Keeping your torso upright, bend your legs and lower your body into a lunge position (A). At the bottom of the movement, your left thigh should be parallel to the ground, and your right thigh should be perpendicular to the ground. Now jump with enough force to propel both feet off the floor (B). While you’re in the air, scissor-kick your legs so you land with your right leg forward and your left leg behind you (C). Repeat, alternating your forward leg for the duration of the set.
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T Pushup

Grab a pair of hex dumbbells with an overhand grip and assume a pushup position, your arms straight (A). Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor (B). As you push yourself back up, lift your right hand and rotate the right side of your body as you raise the dumbbell straight up over your shoulder until your body forms a T (C). Reverse the move and repeat, this time rotating your left side.
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Dumbbell Row

Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend at your hips (don’t round your lower back), and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length, palms inward (A). Without moving your torso, row the weights upward by raising your upper arms, bending your elbows, and squeezing your shoulder blades together (B). Keep the dumbbells close to the side of your body at the top of the movement. Pause, lower the dumbbells, and repeat.

For all the secrets to losing fat fast, check out The Men’s Health Diet. It combines the latest findings in exercise and nutrition with practical how-to-advice that will transform your body into a fat-burning machine!























Do this circuit 3 days a week. Perform 1 set of each exercise in succession.
Each set consists of doing the exercise as many times as you can in 30 seconds. Use only perfect form—it doesn’t count if you cheat, Mr. McGwire—and when your 30 seconds are up, give yourself 15 seconds to rest before moving on to the next exercise. Rest for 2 minutes after you’ve completed the entire sequence. Then repeat the whole process two more times for a total of 3 circuits per workout.

If you get tired and can’t continue exercising for the entire 30 seconds, stop and rest for a few seconds, and then resume performing reps until the time is up. For each exercise, you should start with a weight that you can use for 10 to 12 perfect reps.


By Stephen Perrine

The Right Sets for Strength and Size

By: Scott Quill
You’ve been told to listen to your body, learn its idiosyncrasies, embrace it like a friend. Don’t buy it. You can listen and learn, sure, but forget the friendly stuff. When it comes to muscle, you need to be less good buddy and more psychotic drill sergeant.

Keep your muscles off balance. When they get used to lifting a certain amount in a certain way (sound like your workout?), they stop growing. A weight-training program that never changes also creates strength imbalances; that’s unproductive and dangerous.

This doesn’t mean you have to master the incline behind-the-back modified Slovenian triceps windmill. Just do your usual exercises, but use different combinations of sets and repetitions.

What follows is a guide to different kinds of sets and how they produce different results, from trainer Craig Ballantyne, C.S.C.S., owner of workoutmanuals.com. Plug this into your weight training-program and see the surprised—and supersized—reaction you get from your muscles.

Straight Sets
What they are: The usual—a number of repetitions followed by a rest period, then by one or more sets of the same exercise.

Why they’re useful: The rest periods and narrow focus of straight sets help add mass and build maximal strength. As long as you rest enough between sets (1 to 3 minutes), your muscle, or group of muscles, will work hard two, three, even five times in a workout.

How to use them: The start of your workout is the best time to do straight sets, regardless of your experience level, Ballantyne says. Your energy and focus are high at the start, so it’s the best time to execute difficult moves. Perform three straight sets of six to eight repetitions of a challenging exercise like the bench press, pullup, or squat; aim to do the same number of repetitions in each set, with either the same or increasing amounts of weight.

Supersets
What they are: A set of each of two different exercises performed back-to-back, without rest.

Why they’re useful: Supersets save time and burn fat. You can multitask your muscles—for instance, working your chest and back in one superset and legs and shoulders in another. Lifting heavy weights in a short time period increases the rate at which your body breaks down and rebuilds protein. This metabolism boost lasts for hours after you’ve finished lifting.

How to use them: Insert a superset at any time in your workout. To involve the most muscles, pair compound exercises—moves that work multiple muscles across multiple joints. For example, combine a chest press with a row, or a shoulder press with a deadlift. To save more time, pair noncompeting muscle groups, such as your deltoids and glutes. One muscle group is able to recover while the other works, so you can repeat the set without resting as long.

Trisets
What they are: Three different exercises performed one after another, without any rest in between.

Why they’re useful: Trisets save time and raise metabolism. A single triset can be a total-body workout in itself, like our 15-minute workouts.

How to use them: Trisets are a good workout for at home (or in an empty gym), because you need to monopolize equipment for three exercises. Do basic exercises that hit different body parts—like bench presses, squats, and chinups. Perform a warmup set using 50 percent of the weight you usually use in each exercise. Then repeat the triset two or three times, using weights that allow you to perform eight repetitions per set. Rest 1 to 3 minutes after each triset.

Drop Sets
What they are: Three or four sets of one exercise performed without rest, using a lighter weight for each successive set. Also called descending sets or strip sets.

Why they’re useful: Drop sets are a great quick workout, fatiguing your muscles in a short time, getting your heart going, and giving you an impressive postworkout pump as your muscles fill with blood.

How to use them: Use drop sets when you’re pressed for time. Don’t do them more than three times a week; you’ll get so tired you won’t be able to accomplish much else. Start with a warmup, using 50 percent of the weight you expect to use in your first set. Now use the heaviest weight you’d use for eight repetitions of that exercise to perform as many repetitions as you can. Drop 10 to 20 percent of the weight and go again. Continue to reduce the weight and go again, always trying to complete the same number of repetitions (even though you won’t), until your muscles fail.

Circuit Sets
What they are: A series of exercises (usually six) that you complete one after another without rest, though you can do some cardiovascular work (such as jumping rope) between exercises.

Why they’re useful: When you use weights, circuits can be a great total-body workout. But they’re most valuable without weights as a warmup of the nervous system, joints, and muscles, Ballantyne says. Because a circuit stresses the entire body, it’s more effective than a treadmill jog, which primes only your lower body.

How to use them: You’ll annoy the other guys at the gym if you do an entire workout based on circuits, because you’ll monopolize so many pieces of equipment. But one circuit is quick and effective. If you’re using it as a warmup, you need only your body weight or a barbell. Or use just a pair of dumbbells and circuit-train at home where you won’t annoy anyone.

Wikio

Georges St. Pierre’s UFC Workout

By: Adam Bornstein and Abby Lerner

LANDING-Lunge-front-2_1.jpg
What does it take to be a UFC Champion? “A desire to turn your name into a legacy,” says Georges St. Pierre, UFC welterweight king. St. Pierre allowed us to follow him through his workout at Renzo Gracie Academy in New York to see how he’s preparing for his next title fight.
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Tackle Your Warmup

Think about what you do before you lift weights. Hop on the treadmill for 5 minutes? A few light sets on the bench press? In the world of a UFC Champion, that’s a walk in the park.

St. Pierre begins his training with about 10 minutes of grappling. Today’s (un)lucky participant: Kenny Florian, fellow UFC fighter and finalist of the original The Ultimate Fighter.

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The Lifter is Lifted

Grappling offers the perfect dynamic warmup for St. Pierre, as it improves blood flow, speeds up his heart rate, and loosens up his joints … even if it means being tossed around a bit.
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Brace Your Core

A fighter is only as strong as his midsection. Here St. Pierre fine-tunes his core strength with Swiss-ball rollouts. If you don’t have a Swiss ball, load a barbell with a 10-pound plate on each side, affix collars, and grab the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip.
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Jump to the Top

Immediately after finishing a set of abs exercises, St. Pierre continues his “warmup” circuit with medicine-ball skater hops. Hold a 10- to 15-pound ball and jump from side-to-side on one leg. When you land, lower your body into a partial squat.
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This is a Stick Up

Shoulder health and mobility is important for more than just lifting heavy weights. It’s a vital component of wrestling, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu—three of St. Pierre’s fighting strengths. Here, St. Pierre uses “scapular wall slides” to activate and strengthen his lower trapezius, a muscle that helps control your shoulder blade and is often weak—whether you’re an average guy or a world-class athlete.
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Lift Like an Olympian

Rumors that St. Pierre hopes to make the 2012 Canadian wrestling team are true—but that only means it’s one of his goals, not a certainty. Here, he kicks off his weight workout with an Olympic-lifting staple: barbell snatches.
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The Setup

Pull the bar up to your waist, and prepare to take it above your head.
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Pull Explosively!

Use your hips and glutes to generate force while you pull the bar upward with your upper-body muscles.
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Total-Body Workout

Notice how the snatch incorporates almost every muscle in your body. The legs generate power to help you move the weight from your lower body to your upper body, while your shoulders, back, and arms help you finish the movement.
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Squeeze It Out

At only 170 pounds, a 135-pound snatch provides the challenge needed for an intense workout. But the fun is just beginning for St. Pierre.
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Move at a Breakneck Pace

St. Pierre builds neck strength between exercises by vigorously pressing his head into a pad on the wall. His face indicates the level of intensity exerted on this seemingly simple exercise.
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Champion Abs

Meet a secret player to building rock-solid abs: core getups. This movement engages your six-pack muscles to raise your torso while the rest of your body lies motionless.

Add it to your workout: Lie face up with your legs straight. Extend both arms straight above your chest, and tighten your glutes to help stabilize your core. Without using momentum, raise your upper body, stop, and then slowly lower back to the starting position.

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Old-School Training

Chinups are a staple in almost all of st. Pierre’s workouts. Only in this case, he holds a 60-pound weight between his legs to add resistance and significantly increase difficulty. 
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Don’t Cheat

Every rep is performed with maximum effort and as “clean” as possible. A perfect chinup is when you touch your collar bone to the bar by pulling your elbows down to your rib cage.
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Dead Weight

See … we weren’t lying about the weight.
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Take a Swing

Fifteen seconds of consecutive alternating ball slams is all it takes to rip your upper body and blast your abs.
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Knock Out

The final impact you’d miss if you blink. Thank you, shutter speed.
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A Bulletproof Chest

See those 225 pounds on the bar? They’re proof of St. Pierre’s overall fitness level. Just don’t insist that he’s all show and no go. Or else he might embarrass you in the gym … and then in the octagon.
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Go Back to Basics

GSP shows that body-weight exercises are still popular, especially when performed immediately after a set of bench presses. But there’s a slight twist with this championship version.
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… But Add a Twist

These are plyometric pushups. After you lower your body, explode up and off the ground with both your hands and your feet.
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Ground Force

St. Pierre builds strength and power from the ground up.
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Jump Around

Strength, speed, and endurance. That’s what it takes to fire through a series of alternating split jumps, which will leave your quads burning.
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Let Me at ‘Em

st. Pierre trains his explosiveness with these band-resisted runs. On each rep, he’ll sprint toward his opponent and fling his body as he learns to generate more power. Just imagine what happens once the resistance is removed.
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Get Low

Let’s just say this sequence didn’t end well for Florian. But he just kept on popping back up like a true fighter.
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Knowledge is Power

Throughout the day, GSP discussed strategy with one of his coaches, John Donaher, and Florian. Despite his renowned success, GSP remains determined to continue learning. “I’ll only reach my goals if I keep on finding ways to become better than everyone else,” St. Pierre says.
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Practice is a Pain . . . Literally

Even though the grappling was considered a “light” day, grimaces and tapouts were common.
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A True Champion

Even after an hour of lifting and another hour of practice, St. Pierre was still kind enough to talk with fans and take a few pictures. “I want to represent my sport in the best way possible and show people the true meaning of being a fighter while still entertaining my fans,” St. Pierre says. In our case that meant waiting an extra 15 minutes to interview St. Pierre as he talked with every fan that watched him train. That might have been the best moment of the day.

Wikio

Timed Circuits: Pace Yourself for Maximum Fat Loss


We’ve all heard the saying by Benjamin Franklin: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”
While we can’t speak for the long-dead Mr. Franklin, we’re pretty darn sure that if he were alive today he would expand his list of life certainties to three: death, taxes, and packed gyms in January.
Most hardcore trainers will agree that the January gym crowd is about as annoying as a Hanna Montana marathon. They all seem to show up at the same time on the first Monday evening after New Years, full of piss and vinegar from yet another drunken New Year’s resolution to finally lose that “last 10 pounds.” Fortunately for us, after two or three weeks of wandering from cardio machine to cardio machine, these misguided souls generally slink away when they realize that this whole fat-loss thing actually takes a little work.
If you see the need to drop a belt loop or two this month but don’t want to get lumped in with the “read the paper on the stationary bike crowd,” coach Chris Bathke has an out-of-the-box program that thumbs its nose at traditional cardio training. But as you can well imagine, it takes work. But you’re no New Years Noob; you can handle it.

Timed Circuits

It’s that time of year again! You know, the one when we have to confront the cruel reality of what happens to our physique as a result of saying yes to that third serving of pumpkin pie too many times.
But instead of just telling you to get in touch with your inner hamster and hop on the treadmill or puke your way through torturous rounds of Tabata intervals, here are some ideas for dropping fat and making progress in other areas at the same time.
Many of you might be familiar with density circuits of the type that strength coaches Robert Dos Remedios and Charles Staley advocate, in which one seeks to increase the number of rounds done in a given time period or a set number of rounds as quick as possible.
I’m a huge fan, and these work great for improving conditioning, power, endurance, and hypertrophy. However, with a slight twist regarding pace, we can add the incentive of rest, and thus create motivation to work faster and create a significant metabolic effect.
Just be warned, as the consensus of everyone that has performed these circuits is that they well, suck. But if you’re the type of person that revels in suffering, this will be right up your alley.
For those that still want to get in some strength work, I’ve found that a couple of movements done for 3×5, 5/3/1, or whatever you favor, done before these circuits, works well for most people to maintain or even improve strength. Needless to say, if your primary goal is strength or hypertrophy, then use an appropriate program.
This is how it works.
Start out with one or two 12 minute circuits per training session. Eventually, you’ll progress to 15 minute circuits, but wait a couple of weeks before increasing time. We’re going to focus on increasing the amount of work in the 12-minute period before moving to longer circuits. When you try it, you’ll know why.
Exercises: For the first circuit we’ll use three compound movements. You’ll want to typically choose one lower body movement, one upper, and a third that compliments the other two. In other words, a pulling movement works well with a push and a squat variation. For example:

Note that all three can be done with minimal equipment and space, which has obvious benefits if you train in a big box gym, and also maximizes rest time. For cleans and front squats, I prefer using kettlebells due to being able to rack the bells on your chest, but you can also use a barbell or dumbbells.
Rest between sets: You’ll do one movement per minute, and then switch to the next movement at the top of the minute.
So for the above example, finish all the prescribed chin-ups (more on that below) in one minute, and then you’ll get whatever time is remaining in the minute to rest until the start of the second minute, when you switch exercises. After you finish the front squats in the third minute you’ll return to chins again in the fourth. So for a 12-minute set you’ll be doing 4 rounds of each movement, and for a 15-minute set you’ll be doing 5 rounds.
Reps: If you can do a maximum of 10 consecutive chin-ups, then do only five per set. If you can do a max of 15, then do eight per set; and if you can do 15+, then go for ten reps. You get the idea. If you can’t do 10 chin-ups then substitute band-assisted chins or inverted rows. The idea is to work at a set pace, or number of reps per minute, and try to maintain that volume the entire circuit.
Load: On the cleans and push presses and front squats, choose a load you can do for 15 good reps. The clean and push press is obviously comprised of two movements, so just do 5 per set. Do 10 front squats per set. If using KBs, try using the same size bells for both the cleans and squats.
Once you complete the last rep of each movement, rest until the end of that minute. I suggest using a Gym Boss, or similar timer that can be programmed to beep at the top of each minute. It may seem easy at first, but just wait until you hit the halfway point and you’ll think differently.
One reason to start with a conservative number is to ensure each rep is done with perfect form and a full range of motion. Keep the quality of movement good and no slop!
You should be able to finish all three exercises for the required reps for the first few rounds of the circuit within 20 to 30 seconds, and then use the remainder of the minute to rest until the start of the next minute. But as you begin to fatigue it’ll get harder, which forces you to work harder in order to finish and allow yourself some rest, thus providing a greater metabolic effect.
If you can’t keep doing the prescribed reps, then drop a rep or two. The idea is to keep working with perfect form and gradually increase the amount of work. Provided your nutrition is on point, any strength coach will tell you that improving work capacity and conditioning has a significant benefit on body composition.
Progression: Make sure to keep track of how many total reps are done each circuit. The next time you do the same circuit, try to add a rep each minute. Once you can add two reps to each exercise and maintain that pace for the 12 minutes, then either nudge the weight up slightly or move to a 15-minute circuit. The choice is yours.
For second circuits, I tend to favor exercises that aren’t loaded as heavy, or even bodyweight movements. Examples of this could be:

Use the same rules regarding loading and volume as with the first circuit, and of course maintain strict form. If you’re doing a unilateral exercise then halve the volume, so for the above example do five lunges on each side.
I find that most people are good with using the same size dumbbells or KBs with the renegade rows and lunges, so again we can be efficient with equipment and space.
Other combinations that work well are:

If you have the equipment available, then sleds, sandbags, and battling ropes are also great tools for this type of circuit as they allow you to keep a hard pace, yet are relatively easy on the joints. I have a number of clients that have had hip, knee, or back surgeries that do well on such circuits with this equipment.
Feel free to get creative and come up with your own combinations, but make sure to include a mix of pulling and pushing, core, and hip and knee dominant movements over the entire session.
Six total movements should do for one day, along with mobility and pre-hab work of course, so stick with two circuits per session, or one if you do some preceding strength work. Two or three days per week of paced density circuits plus another day of intervals or other work is ideal for most people.
If you choose to do two days per week, then pick four circuits total and arrange them into an A and B day. If you want to do three days per week than pick six different circuits and arrange them into and A, B, and C day and get after it.
Stick with the same circuits for three to four weeks so that you can try to improve on the previous week’s result before switching it up.
Another way to up the intensity and improve results is to work with a training partner or two. Having each person start on a different exercise and rotating through is a great way to push each other and inject that elusive element of fun into your training.
Dropping those holiday pounds and getting in shape doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous. Though the diet end of things might seem a little bland after a month of pumpkin pie and eggnog, at least you can still make your training as challenging and enjoyable as possible.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Timed Circuits: Pace Yourself for Maximum Fat LossKettlebell front squat.
Timed Circuits: Pace Yourself for Maximum Fat LossKettlebell clean and press.
Timed Circuits: Pace Yourself for Maximum Fat LossBarbell front squats.
Timed Circuits: Pace Yourself for Maximum Fat LossRenegade rows
Timed Circuits: Pace Yourself for Maximum Fat LossBattling ropes.

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

© 1998 — 2010 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Fat Loss Edition Vol 2



In our last installment of TMUSCLE Twitter, we put a few of the TMUSCLE coaches on the spot and asked them to come up with their five essential kitchen tips to kick-start fat loss.
This time, we’re sticking with fat loss but switching to the subject of training. Because after all, even if diet is the biggest player in the fat loss equation, how you train matters, right? Or does it?
Before you take your Christmas bonus and buy the Kung Fu 5000, that latest infomercial fat loss gadget that doubles as an autoerotic asphyxia device while folding up neatly in the closet, give this article a quick read. You might learn a thing or two.

Scenario: Do you have a favorite fat loss routine (a workout complex, a finisher, an ab routine) that you use with all your fat loss clients?

Check it out!

Mike Robertson

I have one exercise that is 100% guaranteed to expedite your fat loss gains. I’m not kidding, guys and gals, this one’s foolproof. It works for EVERYONE.
A little interested, aren’t ya?
They’re called Table Pushaways. Push your fat ass away from the table more often, and it’s amazing what kind of progress you can see.
I’ll be frank — fat loss programming is pretty easy. Maybe not going from 6% to 4%, but the start of the journey is easy with regards to programming.
The diet/nutrition is where people get lost.
Whether it’s peer pressure from friends, emotional issues tied to food, or simply being lazy, if you can get your diet in check and eat a little bit less, you should be pleasantly surprised at the success of your next fat loss training program.

John Romaniello

I don’t have a specific favorite fat loss routine because they vary a lot from client to client, but I certainly have a favorite fat loss protocol.
The idea is to rotate multiple training styles over the course of the week: one day bodyweight, another day density based fat loss training, another day complexes.
Taking it a step further, each workout would use variations of different exercises, but always include one variation of the squat, lunge, press, pull, dynamic abdominal exercise, and static/stability abdominal exercise.
A single workout might be: jump squat, floor press, plank, alternating lunge, pull-up, and ab rollouts. These exercises would be done according to a set up determined by what style of training we’re doing.
Doing this keeps the workouts fresh, the client motivated, and the training stimulus both challenging and varied enough to ensure consistent progress.

Martin Rooney

For my athletes looking to drop fat, I go to my Hurricane Training. Of the five categories, my favorite version utilizes a treadmill and simple weight exercises.
Do a 30 second sprint on the treadmill at 10% grade and about 10 mph (or whatever is comfortable), followed by 10 reps each of two weight exercises like the bench press and barbell curls. Then, you jump right back onto the treadmill and sprint again. The sprints and two lifts are repeated three times to equal one “round.” Rest one minute between rounds and perform two to three more rounds with two new exercises between the sprints.
Good choices are high pulls, chin ups, triceps pushdowns, and push jerks. Keep the intensity high and not only will you lose fat, you’ll gain some muscle too!

Bret Contreras

For fat loss, I like total body strength training workouts with “finishers” at the end. I believe that the Airdyne and Prowler are the two greatest pieces of equipment for fat loss.
With the Airdyne, you’re using your upper body pushing and pulling muscles and your legs to pedal the bike as fast as possible. I like alternating intervals of 20 seconds fast and 40 seconds slow.
With the Prowler, you’re using your lower body to push the sled while contracting your upper body and core muscles for transfer into the sled. I like 30-meter sprints with the Prowler with 60 seconds of rest in-between sets.
An important caveat to these two activities is that there isn’t too much technique to them; any healthy, somewhat athletic individual can do them.

Christian Thibaudeau

It’s more of a technique than a routine. It’s called “put the fork down.” There’s also the advanced version called “stop eating, you fat bastard!” But in all seriousness, there are a few routines that I used when I was training athletes that were always very effective.
This one was a “favorite” of one of my hockey players who played in Europe. Back in 2001, he started the summer at 195lbs and 12% body fat, and ended the summer at 192 and 6% body fat; all without any particular attention to his diet.
 3 reps using around 70-75% of your maximum.
 (basically 100m, turnaround, 100m back to the starting point).
 3 reps with the same weight you used for the snatches.
He started at two sets, and by the end of summer was able to do 14. No, I’m not kidding; but he was also the freakiest overall athlete I’ve ever worked with. Besides him, the most anyone ever did was 8, with three minutes between sets.
If you’re training indoors and can’t do sprints, do burpees (15 reps) or sprint stair climbing (30 seconds).

Chad Waterbury

For fat loss, fast full body exercises are best since they create a large metabolic demand. I’ve used the following sequence for years with clients that need to lose fat and build athleticism.
Start with 50 revolutions of rope jumping, then drop the rope and perform two burpees (a squat thrust with a push-up, and be sure to jump in the air and reach overhead).
Next, do 50 revolutions and four burpees. Then, it’s 50 revolutions and six burpees. Keep adding two burpees each time until you each 10. At that point, decrease the burpees by two each time and work your way back to 50 revolutions and two burpees.
This is an excellent way to finish up your fat burning workout to bring out those “hidden abs.”

Dr. Clay Hyght

All of my fat loss clients that have access to a Step Mill (aka Gauntlet) do a killer 20-minute HIIT routine on it.
Warm-up two minutes, then go ALL OUT for 30 seconds (skipping a step with each stride), followed by 60 seconds at a normal pace (normal single steps). Repeat 12 times. Five of these sessions per week will get you lean FAST!

Tim Henriques

If someone wants to lose weight and will do anything I tell them, I have them get up earlier in the morning and do a brisk 30-60 minute incline walk before breakfast.
Most people should start out walking at 4 mph with a 2% incline for 30 minutes, and try to work up to 4.5 mph with a 4.5% incline for 45 minutes in a couple of months. Do this four or more times a week and you’ll get leaner, guaranteed.
The beauty of walking is you can put it in your regular routine and you won’t overtrain; in fact, you’ll probably recover even better. You can also do this walk after your workout or before bed if necessary, but I do think fasted in the AM is the number one choice for it.

Alwyn Cosgrove

Fat loss training is about maintaining muscle, burning calories and cranking up metabolism. The best programs have always used a combination of weight training and some kind of cardio or interval training (with solid nutrition planning).
However, the fastest training method that I’ve used (with several hundred clients) is a hybrid that we call metabolic resistance training (MRT). Basically, it’s higher rep, density based, short rest-period resistance training.
The usual argument about high reps not working for fat loss is bullshit. Traditional interval training (e.g. running) has always worked for fat loss and that uses VERY high reps! MRT is just taking that same principle and using more muscle than traditional cardio while doing lower reps (albeit still high).
Think higher rep (or about 45-60s work), superset or tri-set style with incomplete rest periods.

Michael Boyle

I’m with Coach Robertson, my favorite fat loss exercise is Table Pushaways. Most people just eat too much and need to push themselves away from the table with greater frequency.
The old saying that you can’t out train a bad diet is so true. I tell my clients seeking to lose fat to forget the word meal and substitute the word “feeding”; five to six small feedings a day is the key. Combine Table Pushaways with Airdyne intervals and you have a pretty good start on fat loss. For intervals, try riding a half mile for time on the AirDyne at a 2-1 rest to work ratio, or better yet, use a HR monitor and just rest until your heart-rate goes under 120 BPM.
But first and foremost, fat loss is primarily a psychological exercise, and requires more mental strength than physical strength.

Jim Wendler

Are people really this confused? Fat loss doesn’t have to be complicated. Push something heavy: a Prowler, a truck, a shopping cart loaded with a couple of your fat fucking friends, it doesn’t matter. Run up hills or stadium stairs. Do this four to seven days a week. Lift four days/week.
Eat less, type less, and train like you have a fight. Repeat.

Nick Tumminello

First off, the only thing that separates a fat loss exercise from a conditioning exercise is the diet. So, if you’re trying to lose fat, tighten up the diet!
One of my personal favorite fat loss exercises are good old fashioned 300-yard shuttle runs performed at the end of a workout, two to three times per week. Depending upon your available space inside or outside, place two cones either 25-yards or 50-yards apart.
Sprint as fast as possible, completing six 25-yard round trips or three 50-yard round trips for a total of 300 yards. This should take you roughly one minute to complete. Perform two to five 300’s per workout, resting three to five minutes between sets.
Be warned, until you adapt to it, this workout will have your legs feeling like over-cooked spaghetti. Exorcist-inspired projectile vomiting is also a common side-effect, so please be kind to the guy who owns the gym and adjust your pre-workout food choices accordingly.

Erick Minor

My favorite fat loss routine combines German Body Composition Training and a ketogenic diet.
For all you fat sum-bitches, follow a 4-day Poliquin GBC program such as the following:

Day 1:
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest Int.
A1) Trap Bar Deadlift 4-5 4-6 30X1 60 sec
A2) Sternum Chin-up- supinated grip 4-5 4-6 2010 60 sec
3 mins after circuit
B1) Step-ups 3-4 8-10 10X0 60 sec
B2) Dips – Chest 3-4 8-12 30X1 60 sec
3 mins after circuits
C1) Glute-Ham Raise 2-3 6-8 30X0 45 sec
C2) Seated DB Shoulder Press 2-3 6-8 30X1 45 sec
C3) Cuban Press 2-3 6-8 30X1 60 sec
Day 2:
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest Int.
A1) Javorek Wave Squats 4 (5,5,5,5) 10X1 60 sec
A2) Hanging Leg raise 4 6-10 2010 60 sec
3 mins after circuit
B1) Incline Thick Bar Press 3-4 4-6 30X1 60 sec
B2) Pull-Up-Pronated, close-grip 3-4 6-8 2010 60 sec
B3) Drop Lunge-front 3-4 6-8 X0X0 60 sec
3 mins after circuit
C1) One-Arm Cable Row-offset stance 3-4 6-8 21X1 45 sec
C2) Reverse Hip Extension 3-4 6-8 2010 45 sec
C3) Low Pulley Upright row 3-4 8-10 30X1 45 sec

Combine this with a ketogenic diet such as Dr. Mauro DePasquale’s Metabolic Diet.
I have personally lost up to 10lbs of fat in less than a month on this type of regimen with no loss of strength or muscle mass. I have many clients who’ve achieved similar results.

Scott Abel

Well, first off, no one can out train a lack of diet consistency for fat loss.
Next, people are too concerned with the “immediate” aspects of fat burning, as in calories burning, rather than the cumulative effects of application and diet. And yes, circuits are great, but they can take people too far away from muscle-development work.
I have dozens of finisher type moves that are strategically placed once or twice per week in programs to enhance fat burning, while not adding too much time, or too much unrelated work. I’ve paid special attention to other sports and have noticed what I call “sequential activation” as a common thread in leaner athletes’ training. I’ve since been implementing various new versions around this concept.
Check out the following two examples at the right: the Shoulder Girdle Core Sequence and Power Sequence, which are samples that can be used after a workout, within a training block to pronounce fat burning.

TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Although what you do in the kitchen remains king, there are a few things you can do in the gym to strip away fat.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Fat loss is a psychological war, not physical.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Prowler Push.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Keep telling yourself she finds chubby guys attractive.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2Training like a fighter is never a bad idea.
TMUSCLE Twitter — Fat Loss Edition Volume 2You don’t need to get to a crowded gym to get your heart rate up.

The Power Sequence

The Shoulder Girdle Blast

© 1998 — 2010 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Joint-Friendly Training by Nick Tumminello

Everyone knows the best lifts for building strength, size, and sport-specific power. But what if you can’t squat because you have bum knees? What if you can’t do bench presses and/or overhead lifts because of lingering shoulder injuries? What if your bad back makes deadlifts a bad idea?
I’ve worked with lots of athletes over the years with the issues I just described, and I’ve found alternative exercises that helped them get bigger and stronger. I’m able to do this with a concept I call joint-friendly lifting.
Joint-friendly lifts are simply creative variations that aren’t as hard on the joints as their traditional counterparts. They allow serious lifters and athletes to work around their limitations without compromising the results they get from their training.
Before I get into the specific exercises, I want to wave the obligatory caution flag: Before switching out the tried-and-true lifts for the ones I show here, make sure the aches and pains you have aren’t caused by suboptimal exercise technique, poor program design, or too much training with too little recovery.
I also want to mention an article I wrote a few months ago called “Making Gains with Pain.” Today’s article shows you how to work around your pain and limitations. The earlier piece shows you how to alleviate that pain. I know I’m biased, but I recommend it as a complement to the one you’re about to read.

Joint-Friendly Lifts
Joint-Friendly Training

The kettlebell folks have popularized the pistol squat (shown below). But I rarely use pistols with my athletes, especially those with back pain related to disc problems, since they force a lot of unnecessary spinal flexion. Also, pistols don’t allow the glutes to activate as much as the variation shown above due to the position of the torso. Glute activation is important, since it helps reduce the load on the spine and increases stabilization of the knee joint.

Joint-Friendly Training

The best way to add load to a one-legged squat is to put on a weight vest. This will increase the intensity of the exercise without adding stress to your bad back.

I absolutely love sled training. I use it with just about everyone who walks through our doors. It’s especially valuable for those who have knee problems and those who have back trouble. I’ve found these athletes can move heavy loads on the sled with no added stress on their painful areas.
My favorite sled exercises:

Sled dragging

Sled dragging with the hand position shown in the photo below is much safer than using a waist or shoulder harness for people who have back issues. Be sure to maintain good spinal alignment, and don’t allow your arms to move away from your sides.

Joint-Friendly Training
Sled pulling

This is a great way to blast your quads if you have knee problems and can’t do squats, lunges, or leg extensions. It’s also a valuable exercise for knee rehab, thanks to the terminal knee-extension action it requires.

Joint-Friendly Training

No sled? No problem — just get a big tire from a junkyard.

Joint-Friendly Training
While I’m on the subject of tires, I should mention that tire flips, as performed in the example shown below, are not a joint-friendly lift. Even if you have the hip mobility to get low enough to maintain a neutral spine — an ability that eludes 90 percent of serious lifters, I’d estimate — this exercise still puts a serious amount of stress on your lower back.

Joint-Friendly Training

I’m not saying tire flips are a bad exercise. But I am predicting that many of the people who do them will end up paying for some back surgeon’s new Porsche. There are no bad exercises, just bad applications.

Sled/plate pushing

This is another of our go-to exercises for building strength and increasing work capacity without putting excess stress on the knees and backs of our athletes.
You want to keep your back straight, with your hips more or less level to your shoulders. Athletes with bad backs need to be especially cognizant of their back position, maintaining a neutral spine and avoiding spinal flexion as they step forward.

Joint-Friendly Training

For building strength, stack up a sled and push it for 20 to 40 yards. To improve conditioning, use a plate push (as shown above) for 50 to 100 yards.

As with sled dragging, this is another exercise we use with almost everyone we train. But it’s especially valuable for athletes and clients who need posterior-chain work but can’t do the traditional hip-extension exercises.

Joint-Friendly Training

Hold as much weight as you can without discomfort on top of your shin, as shown below.

Joint-Friendly Training

The movement is straightforward. With the heel of your working leg on a bench or step, contract your glutes and hamstrings to elevate your hips off the floor, until your body forms a straight line from the knee of your working leg to your shoulders. Do all your reps with that leg, then switch.

By limiting the range of motion, the floor press also limits stress on the injured shoulder. Many of our athletes who experience pain during and after bench presses find they can floor press big weights without discomfort.

Joint-Friendly Training

The reason it works for people who can’t perform overhead lifts is simple: It’s not overhead. It allows heavy loads and, as a bonus, requires the core muscles to control and resist rotation throughout the range of motion.

Joint-Friendly Training
Joint-Friendly Training
One key to performing the angled press is keeping your forearm perpendicular to the barbell, as shown below.

Joint-Friendly Training

This is, as you probably guessed, the pulling version of the angled shoulder press. And like that exercise, it forces your core muscles to work as you struggle to stay upright as the weight pulls you forward. Execution is simple enough: stand in front of the lat-pulldown station and pull the bar to your upper chest.

Joint-Friendly Training
Final Thoughts

You’ve heard this one hundreds of times: “Train smarter, not harder.” In my opinion, the saying should be updated to this: “Train smarter and harder.”
If you currently suffer from back, knee, and/or shoulder pain, you have no choice but to train smarter than the average lifter in your gym. But you also need to train harder to recover from your injury, and to prevent a recurrence. With joint-friendly lifts, it’s possible to do both.
But even if you have no injuries, joint-friendly lifts are a pretty good way to help you maintain that winning streak. Not only are they easier on your most vulnerable joints, they provide new, interesting, and challenging ways to build muscle and improve your strength, athleticism, and work capacity.
Assuming, of course, you’re interesting in that sort of thing…

About the Author
Joint-Friendly Training
© 1998 — 2009 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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