Thursday, April 23, 2015

Upper Body Challenge

For a little fun, here is an upper body challenge you can try.

See how many strict pushups you can do in 3 min.  Not only is this a great upper body "push" exercise, but it is also a test of muscular endurance.  Some of you might be able to crank out 30-50 in a row, but then once lactic acid has set in your muscles, will you be able to keep going?

There are several different ways you can attempt this challenge.  Here are three ways...

1.  The first option is to do as many as possible without stopping as fast as you can.  Then rest and make a second attempt in the same fashion, going to failure.

2.  The second option is to do as many as possible without stopping as fast as you can, and then rest for 1/2 the time it took you to complete the reps.  For example, say you did 40 reps without stopping and it took you 40 sec, you would then rest 20 sec  and continue cranking out the reps.

3.  The third option is to choose a specific number of reps you can comfortably hit without going to failure, and then rest 15 sec. and continue. So, a good guess would be shoot for 20 reps, rest 15 sec, then another 20 reps, rest 15 sec and continue.

I chose to do the third option but seemed unable to keep the 20 reps going after 60.  I ended up with 90.

It might be fun to try all three different options, once per week and see which one gives you the best result.

If you take on this challenge, do me a favor and post your results in the comments section below.

I will be posting a weekly plan soon that for those who are interested in improving their pushup numbers.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Obstacle course training camp videos

Great weather in Bend this weekend made for good times during week 2 of my 6-week obstacle course training camp. Lots of running, pullups, tire flips, sandbag carries, crunches, low hurdle crawls, bear crawls, and of course burpees.

My camp runs April 11-May 24 and is open to drop-ins.  The cost for one day is $20.  If you are preparing for a Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, or any other obstacle course/mud run event you need to be out here training.  You'll improve your cardiovascular fitness, coordination, upper and lower body strength, and learn to never give up. for more information to contact me,

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to do a KB Swing

Derri Sandberg demonstrating the KB Swing

KB Swings can be a great exercise to develop the posterior chain muscles (glutes, hamstrings, lower back) if done correctly.  However, like most exercises, if done with poor form, an injury may result.

I see many people doing what they think is a KB Swing, but is actually completely wrong and sometimes dangerous looking.  The biggest mistake I see most people make is squat and lift the KB with their arms.  The Swing is NOT a squat, but rather a hip hinge.  The weight is propelled upward by the hips rather than by the arms.

Imagine a rod running through your hips from the side and if you squatted it would cause excruciating pain.  However, if you just pivot on the rod everything feels fine.  This is what I have my clients imagine when doing a Swing.

Learn proper mechanics of the KB Swing and watch your strength and cardiovascular fitness improve dramatically.  Your hamstrings will become very strong, as will your grip strength.

If you want to learn how to do it properly, seek the advice of a trained fitness professional or anyone with an RKC certification.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

5 hamstring exercises for track athletes

Hamstrings are the most powerful leg muscle for track athletes as they transfer power between the knees and hips, propelling your forward momentum, and control athletic performance.  Strong hamstrings are critical for any track athlete who wants to run fast or jump high.

Athletes should condition their hamstrings in movement patterns that are similar to their respective sport/s.  For he purpose of this article, track athletes should train their hamstring muscles in the linear and horizontal movements (such as in running or jumping).

Hamstring are often underdeveloped and weak in comparison to the quadriceps muscle.  Strengthening the hamstring muscle can prevent potential injuries to the knee and muscle strains in the leg.  Weak hamstrings will also limit your speed potential.  

Instead of using the leg curl machine (which isolates the hamstring muscle) in the gym, track athletes should focus on exercises that engage the entire posterior chain (muscles in the back of the body) to teach the hamstrings, glutes and other "backside muscles" to work together.  Choose exercises that involve hip extension and knee flexion; critical movements in running, and your performance will improve on the track.

Here are five exercises track athletes (and avid runners) should incorporate into their strength training program .  Select 1-2 of these exercises to use per workout. 

1.       INCHWORMS
·         Assume a pushup position
·         Walk feet out towards your hands keeping legs straight until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings
·         Walk hands forward to return to the pushup position keeping legs straight
·         Perform 2-3 sets of 20 yards

·         Lie on your back and put your heels in the TRX straps
·         Bend knees to 90 degrees and lift hips off the ground
·         Slowly straighten one leg at a time as if you were running (like an upside down mountain climber)
·         Make sure to squeeze your glutes during the movement
·         Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg

·         Lie on your back with both heels on the ball and knees bent at 90 degrees
·         Raise your hips off the ground keeping hands on the ground
·         Lift one leg off the ball keeping it at a 90 degree angle and keep one on the ball
·         Slowly pull the ball towards your butt and then slowly return to a straight leg
·         Make sure to keep hips elevated during the movement
·         For a greater challenge, raise your arms above your chest instead of on the ground
·         Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg

4.       2-ARM, 1-LEG DUMBBELL RDL
·         Stand with feet shoulder width apart
·         Hold one dumbbell in each hand with palms facing backwards
·         Keeping the dumbbells close to your boy and your back flat, push your hips back and lower the weights to your shins (or until a stretch is felt in the hamstrings)
·         Extend your hips to stand up and return to the starting position
·         Make sure to keep your shoulders retracted and not let them rounds forward as you hinge at the hips
·         Perform  3 sets of 6-8 reps each leg

·         Kneel on the ground on both knees with a partner holding your ankles
·         Keep knees, hips, and upper body in a straight line
·         Slowly lean forward taking as long as possible to reach the ground
·         Catch yourself with your hands and immediately push your body back to starting position
·         Perform 2-3 sets of 5 reps