Exercise of the Week: Kettlebell Swings

At Hybrid Fitness, we like to switch things up and use lots of different tools to develop strength and conditioning. Kettlebells are one of the many tools we use to achieve that. Kettlebell swings are a great exercise for developing strength and endurance throughout the entire body and they can be used by anyone, young or old, conditioned or deconditioned.  Check out this video for step-by-step instructions.

If you like what you see, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube site here http://www.youtube.com/HybridFit. We have lots of great videos in the works and a bunch already posted. Feel free to post comments as well.

Keep training hard!

The Hybrid Fitness Team
www.hybridfitness.tv

Exercise of the Week: Up & Overs

In the previous post, we referenced an Up & Over as part of a simple conditioning circuit. We received a number of emails asking what an Up & Over is. You may know it by a different name (or not at all) but below is a breakdown of the movement.

We’ve made it an Exercise of the Week because it’s a great exercise to incorporate into your routine for a number of reasons. It builds strength and endurance in the legs, it challenges the cardiovascular system, it can be easily incorporated into a weight-based interval program and it’s very easy to increase intensity. That’s done by speeding up the movement, increasing the height of the bench, increasing the external weight you use, or any / all of the above.

Here’s what it looks like:

upover1.jpgupover2.jpgupover3.jpgupover4.jpg

Start by placing one foot on the ground and one foot on a stable, elevated surface. Both legs should be bent when starting out. Extend the elevated leg, bringing the body off the ground. Dynamically switch feet on top of the bench, as if you were hopping from one foot to the other. Lower your body down to a starting position on the opposite side.

The “ground” leg should be bent, as if you were doing an uneven squat. At no point should both feet be on top of the bench at the same time. This is a speed drill designed to promote strength, endurance and conditioning so the idea is to keep a fast but controlled pace.

As I mentioned in the second paragraph, you can easily increase the difficulty by:

1.) Increasing the speed of the movement
2.) Increasing the height of the bench
3.) Increasing the weight you use
4.) Any combination of 1 – 3

The external weight in the example above is a kettlebell. You can also use a weighted vest, dumbbells, sandbags, medicine balls or virtually any weighted implement to get the same effect.

So give the Up & Over a run-through and see what happens. You can try for a set number of repetitions or go for time intervals, such as 60 seconds. Small increases in weight, height and speed make big differences.

Challenge yourself, but don’t overdo it.

Keep training hard!
Jason Klofstad
www.hybridfitness.tv

Simple Conditioning Circuit

Here’s a simple conditioning circuit to try.

There are 6 exercises per round. Each exercise lasts for 45 seconds and there are 3 total rounds. Each round lasts about 4:30. I say about because I like to be precise with the duration of each exercise and I don’t count the few seconds of transition time it takes to switch exercises.

With that said, transition from exercise to exercise should be as immediate as possible.

Rest for 1 minute after each round.

conditioning-circuit1.jpg

If you do all three rounds, this workout should take you just over 15 minutes including rest intervals. The weight you use should be challenging and take you to a point of near exhaustion by the end of each :45 segment. If you’re just starting out, start with lighter weights and slower movements.

Quick note: The :45 time for dumbbell rows is for EACH ARM. Pull with one side first for :45, then immediately switch to the other side.

You can increase intensity by 1.) increasing the speed of your movements, or 2.) increasing the external resistance. Then there’s always option 3.) both.

There is no “magic” to this particular circuit. It’s one of thousands of potential routines. I happen to like it because it’s very easy to set up, very easy to transition between exercises and it hits most of the major muscle groups. Not to mention, it’s very effective at elevating the heart rate and burning calories. Try it for yourself and see.

Feel free to keep track of your weights and reps and post them to the comments section.

Hybrid Fitness hangs with Lou Ferrigno

Being comic book fans from way back, Taku and I took an afternoon to hang out at the always-entertaining WonderCon convention in San Francisco. WonderCon is a mecca of all things comics, sci-fi and games. Needless to say, it’s some of the best people-watching you will experience…ever.

What does WonderCon have to do with fitness? Very little, except for the legend himself, Lou Ferrigno. WonderCon was a good excuse to get a photo op with the one and only Incredible Hulk.  Lou is a nice guy and still in amazing shape. He was good enough to pose for a photo with us and our “Got Snatch?” shirts. If you haven’t seen the shirts yet, check them out in the “Products” section of this blog.

lou-ferrigno-medium.jpg

As for Lou, he and the rest of the Ferrigno family are fitness pros. Give him a visit at www.louferrigno.com

Until next time, keep training hard!

Hybrid Fitness
www.hybridfitness.tv 

Work Hard With the Tools You’ve Got

These days it has become very hip and cool to strength train and do conditioning work with low tech and old school implements. Hitting old tires with sledge hammers, hauling wheelbarrows full of rocks up a hill, lifting and dragging heavy sand bags around. These are just some of the “new” training ideas that are currently in fashion. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the low tech stuff as much as the next person. There are definitely some advantages to being able to get in some awesome training with potentially little to no out of pocket expense, using stuff that you may have just lying around. The truth is for most of us the important thing is to work hard enough at what ever we choose to do, the tools are almost always secondary.

The problem I see with this low tech trend is that some folks start to think that they need the tires and sand bags etc in order to have a tough effective workout. This is just not true. For many of us doing all these cool, low tech exercises is not as easy as it sounds. Perhaps you live in a big city in a small apartment and slamming an old tire with a sledge hammer just isn’t feasible. Maybe you don’t have a garage or a basement that you can turn into the perfect training dungeon and have not taken the time to make home made sand bags.

Many of you may already belong to commercial gyms and wether it is a 24 hour fitness or the poshest club in town I guarantee it comes pre-loaded with more then enough gear to get you in super shape regardless of your goal. Remember what I said above about working hard with what you’ve got, you can and should use the tools you have readily available to create workouts that suit your needs. If you are already paying those monthly dues, don’t cry about not having a wheelbarrow handy, just get into the gym and get to work.

Below I am going to outline one of my favorite “High-Tech” workouts. This plan is designed to improve metabolic conditioning while maintaining strength. The truth is there is nothing High Tech about this workout, I am just using that term to denote that this is an in the gym workout using all the latest tools that may be at your disposal. Like most of the workouts I design, this one is brief and intense. Keep in mind that if you don’t have any of the tools I mention then just replace them with one you do have. If you have read some of my other articles then you know that the ultimate success or failure of a training plan is not found in the order or selection of the exercises or the tools you have available.

Finally, the other side of this story should start to become clear. If you don’t have access to a commercial gym and you are ready willing and able to build yourself a few basic toys you can still get an awesome workout using some very simple stuff. The bottom line is high tech or low tech just work hard with the tools you’ve got.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

——————

The Plan

MONDAY – FRIDAY: H.I.I.T. Rest 1-2 minutes between machines and have a drink. (Water of course)

1.) Warm-up 3-5 minutes with med-ball chops, swings, and reaches
2.) 10 minutes of Elliptical Trainer: 30 seconds sprint / 30 seconds recover
3.) 5 minutes U.B.E.: 15 seconds sprint / 45 seconds recover
4.) 5 minutes Step Mill: 20 seconds sprint / 20 seconds recover
5.) 5 minutes concept 2 rowing machine 20 seconds sprint / 10 seconds recover
6.) Cool-down 3-5 minutes walking on treadmill
7.) AB Work
8.) Stretch

WEDNESDAY: Strength Maintenance. Rest 90 seconds between sets and 2 minutes between exercises.

1.) Warm-up 3-5 minutes with med-ball chops, swings, and reaches
2.) FM Alt Pulldowns 2 X 4-6
3.) FM Alt Shoulder Press 2 X 4-6
4.) FM Alt Row 2 X 4-6
5.) FM Alt Chest Press 2 X 4-6
6.) FM Squat 2 X 4-6
7.) FM CDL+S 2 X 4-6
8.) FM Crunch

Key:

  • FM = Free Motion Cable based resistance equipment
  • Alt = Alternate sides
  • 2 X 4-6 = 2 sets of 4-6 repetitions
  • CDL + S = Clean Deadlift + Shrug. This is my favorite version of the deadlift and is done as follows. Using the Free Motion “Lift” station place the arms in the bottom position. Now grasp both handles and slowly stand as in a regular style Deadlift. As you reach the fully erect position continue by raising up on your toes as high as possible while simultaneously shrugging your shoulders. Lower to the bottom position and repeat for the desired number of reps.

Sandbag Training

At Hybrid Fitness, we like to work with a number of different training tools. One of our favorites is the sandbag. The sandbag is a great training tool for a number of reasons.

sandbags.jpg

1.) Cost Effective. Sandbags are very inexpensive, making them easy for anyone to afford.

2.) Versatile. A sandbag has all sorts of hold-points (handles) and can be used for dynamic lifting, static contraction, Olympic lifting, metabolic training, plyometrics, strength, endurance, etc. It’s all boils down to how you choose to use it.

3.) Mobile. You can easily toss them in your car or truck.

4.) Adjustable. This one is a bit confusing, as each bag is designed to hold a specific amount and weight of sand or rice or whatever you put in it. Here’s a tip: By taking smaller zip-loc bags and filling them with sand, you can still get the desired weight, but can easily remove or replace the weight as needed. This works great if you only have one bag, but it’s too heavy for some ranges of motion.

Once you’ve got your bag, you’ll need to fill it. We prefer sand, but as mentioned above, you can use rice, buckwheat or whatever you have access to.

Now that you’ve got the bag and you’ve got the sand, guess what…you’re ready to go!

Here are some basic movements to get you started:

Sandbag Front Squat:

sandbag-squat-1.jpgsandbag-squat-2.jpg

Sandbag Deadlift:

sandbag-deadlift-1.jpgsandbag-deadlift-2.jpg

Sandbag Floor Press:

sandbag-press-2.jpgsandbag-press-1.jpg

Sandbag Front Squat & Press:

sandbag-squatting-oh-press.jpgsandbag-sqatting-oh-press-2.jpg
Remember, you can use the bags to curl, pull, press, throw, jump or whatever else your protocol calls for. If you’re unsure how to perform a particular move, don’t do it until you get direction or a better understanding of it. Check out www.hybridfitness.tv for lots more exercises.

To purchase sandbags, visit the crew at Iron Woody Fitness. They’ll get you taken care of right away.

Train hard!

The Hybrid Fitness Team
www.hybridfitness.tv

Ring Training – Video

As a follow up to an earlier post about training with rings, here’s a video of Taku in action.

One of the benefits of ring training is that it requires a greatly increased amount of muscular control to stabilize the body, especially in the pressing ranges, resulting in a high degree of muscle fiber activation.  Another great benefit is that you can easily modify most of the exercises, simply by adjusting your body position. In many cases, you don’t even need to adjust the length of the rings.

For clarification on that, lets use the Ring Push Up as an example. The more horizontal your body is the harder it will be. The more vertical you stand, the easier it becomes, because you’re resisting against a lesser percentage of your body weight. The same is true for other pressing exercises, rows, curls, extensions, flys, etc.

Keep training hard!

The Hybrid Fitness Team
www.hybridfitness.tv

Sportband Training

Sportbands have stormed onto the fitness scene recently. A sportband is essentially a big piece of latex or rubber which you can pull, push, curl, stretch or otherwise contort to develop strength in a variety of ways.

Why are they so appealing? A number of reasons.

1.) Inexpensive.
Comparatively, they cost a fraction of other pieces of fitness or resistance training equipment.

2.) Compact and portable.

You can literally roll them up and take them anywhere. They’ll fit in a bag or pack and can be attached to any stable, secure structure.

3.) Simple to use.
Even if you’ve never been to a gym, you can easily figure out a few basic movements like pressing, pulling and squatting.

For the more experienced athlete or fitness enthusiast, sportbands offer a handful of features that more conventional equipment doesn’t. You can work dynamic, power movements such as snapdowns and diagonal high-pull, as well as metabolic pushing and pulling drills, just to name a few. Cable systems, machines and freeweights make many of these drills and movements impossible.

The options for different exercises are literally only limited by your imagination. As for where to acquire these bands, we recommend you talk to Iron Woody at www.ironwoodyfitness.com. Woody’s been in the business a long time and has some of the best products and prices you’ll find anywhere.

Here’s a handful of exercises to get you started:

1 Arm Sportband Row:
Start by dropping down to a 1/2 squat and stablize your body.  With one arm extended and under tension from the band, pull the hand toward the body, keeping the elbow close to your ribs.

1-arm-row-start.jpg1-arm-row-finish.jpg

Diagonal Pulldown:
Start as shown with both feet together and grasping the band above your head.  Step out to one side and simultaneously pull down on the band with both arms.  This exercise can be done slowly or explosively, depending on your goals.

diagonal-pulldown-start.jpgdiagonal-pulldown-finish.jpg

Lateral Resisted Lunge:
Start with the band secured around your waist and anchored as shown.  With the band under tension, laterally lunge TOWARD the anchor point, allowing the “stepping” leg to bend and the stationary leg to stay straight.  Use the bent leg to then press against the resistance of the band and bring the body back to an upright position.

lateral-lunge-start.jpglateral-lunge-finish.jpg

Good luck, keep training hard and keep checking back for more articles, exercises and information.

The Hybrid Fitness Team
www.hybridfitness.tv

Time Progression Interval Training

I am adding this plan as a continuation of my GPP series for soccer players. (See the Blog post immediately following this one) Ultimately this workout could be used by any open field sport player such as Lacrosse, Rugby, Field Hockey, etc. who wishes to improve his/her GPP for their sport. (GPP: General Physical Preparedness) Finally this plan may also be used by anyone interested in getting in great running shape using a short sprint format.

This program lasts one month and is broken in to four, week-long phases. During each week you will sprint on three, non-consecutive days such as Monday-Wednesday-Friday. The only equipment required is a 100 yard athletic field, a stop watch and some good shoes to run in. I usually use an all weather artificial turf field to assure a smooth, even running surface. If you do not have access to such a field, make sure the field you choose is free of gopher holes, rocks and ruts as well as any other garbage or debris. We do not want any twisted or broken ankles or worse.

Begin with a pre-test to ascertain your current best time on a 100-yard sprint with a running start. From this number we will then create our time progression interval goal times. We will do this by adding 4-6 seconds to the best 100-yard time. As an example, if the best 100-yard time is 12 seconds, the time for repetitions of the 100-yard sprint during week one of the time progression interval sessions would be 12 + 4-6 = 16-18 seconds.

Below you will find an example of this training plan based on the pre-test running times listed above. The idea is to start each phase by running sub-maximal efforts and build over the four weeks to doing repeats of your best time. Take 7-10 days off after each four week block before starting a new cycle.

During the first week and there after, It will be easiest to complete this plan if you have a friend or training partner help keep you on pace by shouting out times as you run. Another way to do this is by having the partner blow a whistle at ¼ intervals of the goal time as you run.

EXAMPLE:

PHASE 1: For the first week strive to run 5-15 sprints at the 18 second pace, deciding when you can handle more. Athletes should rest 60-90 seconds between sprints (more if you have to). Be sure to warm-up and cool-down for 3-5 minutes before and after each session. Repeat this workout two more times that week.

5X 100 in 18 seconds with 60-90 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 18 seconds with 60-90 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 18 seconds with 60-90 seconds recovery.

PHASE 2:During week two strive for more consistency in your application of both work and rest. Repeat the workout below on three non-consecutive days such as Monday – Wednesday – Friday. Be sure to warm-up and cool-down for 3-5 minutes before and after each session.

5X 100 in 17 seconds with 60 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 16 seconds with 60 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 15 seconds with 60 seconds recovery.

PHASE 3: During week three repeat the workout below on three non-consecutive days such as Monday – Wednesday – Friday. Be sure to warm-up and cool-down for 3-5 minutes before and after each session.

5X 100 in 15 seconds with 55 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 14 seconds with 55 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 13 seconds with 50 seconds recovery

PHASE 4: During week four repeat the workout below on three non-consecutive days such as Monday – Wednesday – Friday. Be sure to warm-up and cool-down for 3-5 minutes before and after each session.

5X 100 in 13 seconds with 50 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 12 seconds with 45 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 12 seconds with 40 seconds recovery

Well there you have it a simple yet challenging way of gaining fitness using nothing but a 100-yard sports field. Keep in mind that similar programs could be easily developed for longer distances such as 200 – 400 – 800 meter sprints. For the longer distance programs a running track would be more suitable.

PAU for NOW

TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv

Bodyweight Conditioning for Sport

The following is an excellent GPP, body-weight circuit for soccer players. Although soccer was the catalyst for creating the circuit, it’s an excellent program for all-around athletic conditioning in general. Just because you may not play soccer doesn’t mean this protocol won’t apply. Give it a shot.

The circuit is comprised of six different exercises done in order with the goal being to finish three total circuits as fast as possible. The six exercises are as follows:

1. ) Half Squat jumps: Athlete crouches until the knees are at 90 degrees and then drives up off the ground as high as possible, landing in an athletic jump stance. Repeat.

2.) Push-ups: I will not bother explaining this one as it is such a classic.

3.) Prone trunk extension: Lying prone With hands out in front (like Superman or clasped behind the head, lift shoulders and chest off of the ground as far as possible, Lower slowly, repeat.

4.) Squat Thrusts: From a standing position the athlete squats down and places their hands flat on the ground. They then thrust their feet back into a push-up position, jump back to a crouch, and then stand erect. Repeat.

5.) Sit-ups: Any sit-up variation will do here. I like elbows to knees. Lay on the ground with the knees up at 90 degrees. Place the palms of the hands on the forehead. Bring the elbows towards the knees without bringing the knees to the elbows. Repeat.

6.) Ten-Yard Shuttle Run: The athlete sprints between two markers set ten yards apart, bending to touch the marker at each end as they turn.

To help make the training a little more specific to each individual’s
fitness level, I recommend the following steps:

1.) Begin with a pre-test to ascertain the correct amount of work to be done during each circuit.

2.) Once the pre-test has been completed the athletes should attempt to complete three circuits three times a week for three weeks

3.) After three weeks the athletes should take 3-5 days off and then re-test to establish new work loads.

The test itself is quite simple. See how many repetitions of each exercise can be completed in sixty *seconds. Then each athlete should do 50% of that number in each exercise of each of the three circuits. For example, Athlete A completed 30 pushups in 60 seconds. For the next workout athlete A would then do 15 push-ups in each of the three circuits for a total of 45 push-ups in that workout. This is a great workout for younger players as well as anyone looking to build a solid fitness base for the game of soccer. As athletes progress in their fitness ability other tools may be added to make this workout more challenging such as Med-Balls, Resistance bands, weighted vests, sandbags etc.

Well I hope you enjoy this little circuit workout. Have fun and train hard.

PAU for NOW

TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv

*Although this circuit is designed do be done as quickly as possible, each athlete should be coached to perform the movements with perfect form. If the form breaks down too much injury could occur. We want movement that we can control at all times, even when fatigued.