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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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:

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Sandbag Deadlift:

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Sandbag Floor Press:

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Sandbag Front Squat & Press:

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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