TRAINER: The February Program

by Courtney Walberg, RD, NASM-CPT | Nutrition for Body & Mind

February is “Heart Month” and it’s time to get your cardiovascular system in shape and ready for that special someone on Valentine’s Day!  It is a day filled with chocolate, sweets, and treats, but remember that it’s only one day, not an entire month. Stay focused on the goals that you made in January and commit to keeping them throughout 2011. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and accomplished within a specific, designated time frame. Remember, being an active individual will make you more focused, confident, determined, and subsequently more successful.  Sounds like a win-win to us.

MONDAY: Cardio & Strength Training

Perform the warm up as indicated above and then the following routine.

Cardio run: At a local park or on the treadmill, start at a jog pace (~65% VO2 max) for 3-5 minutes. Increase your speed (~80-85% VO2 max) and continue at this pace for 10-15 minutes. Then perform the following exercises as stated below.

1. Three-Step Lateral Run and Pause

  • Stand straight with legs shoulder width apart. Perform a high knee run sideways taking three total lateral steps, running on the balls of your feet, driving the elbows back and maintaining good upright posture. Do not cross your feet as you run.
  • On the third step pause and maintain balance for at least 1 to 2 seconds before running in the opposite direction. That’s one rep. Perform 10-15 reps.

2. Lateral Speed Lunge

  • From an athletic position, take a lateral step to the right quickly and, with good squat form, touch your right hand (outside of your right leg) to the floor.
  • Immediately drive your body up and shuffle one step over to the left touching the floor with your left hand.
  • Your body should be completely extended (tall) when you move from side to side. Perform 10 reps.

3. Two-Way Lunges

  • From a standing position, take a large step forward with one leg.
  • Then immediately lunge backward. Switch legs after 10 seconds.

4. Glute Bridges

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips so your lower back is off the floor.
  • Hold for 20 seconds.

5. Single-Leg RDL

  • Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
  • Raise one foot and extend it behind you, just off the floor. Focusing on balance, lower yourself until your torso is parallel to the floor. Initiate the movement by pushing your hips back.
  • Push back up to the starting position. Switch legs after 10 seconds.

6. Squat thrust

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body as deep as you can into a squat.
  • Now kick your legs backward and land in a pushup position.
  • Then quickly bring your legs back to a squat and stand up quickly (that’s one rep). Repeat the entire move for a total of 15 reps.

7. Explosive Pushup

  • Assume a pushup position, your hands slightly beyond shoulder width. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor.
  • Press yourself up with enough force that your hands leave the floor. Perform as many as possible (as fast as you can) in 20 seconds.

8. Plank with Arm Lift

  • Get into plank position. (Your body should form a straight line). Brace your abs and carefully shift your weight to your right forearm.
  • Extend your left arm in front of you and hold for 3-10 seconds.
  • Slowly bring your arm back in. Repeat with right arm. That’s one rep. Do 5-10 reps, 2-3 sets. Rest 1 minute between sets.

TUESDAY: Spartacus Training

The actors in the new Starz hit show, Spartacus, used this circuit-training plan to train for their time in the Gladiator’s arena.  The routine consists two circuits containing five exercises each.  The twist comes with the number of repetitions performed.  You begin by performing 10 reps of each of the five exercises in series (#1 through #5).  You then repeat the same 5 exercises performing 9 reps of each, then 8 reps, the 7 reps.  Continue performing the circuit of 5 exercises until you’ve worked your way down to 5 reps of each exercise in series.  At this point, you have completed Circuit #1 and are ready to move on to Circuit #2 containing 5 new exercises.  Complete Circuit #2 in the same manner (10 reps each, then 9, then 8, all the way to 5 reps of each exercise).

Circuit #1

  1. Dumbbell Bench Press
  2. Wide-Grip Pull Up (substitute wide-grip Lat Pulldown if you can’t perform a pullup)
  3. Deadlift
  4. Ab Wheel
  5. Lateral Dumbbell Raise

Circuit #2

  1. Barbell Bicep Curl
  2. Cable Face Pull (Use the rope handle for the cable machine)
  3. Tricep Pulldowns
  4. Dumbbell Squat to Shrug
  5. Medicine Ball Pushup (Perform half the reps with the medicine ball on each side)

WEDNESDAY: Interval Cardio & NFL Core

Interval Run: This endurance boosting run can be performed on any flat surface (grass or dirt preferablly) or treadmill. Interval runs increase your lean body mass and accelerate your metabolism.

  • First, calculate the time it takes you to run 3 miles.  Divide that time by 3 and subtract 30 seconds.  This is your goal interval pace (for example, if you usually run 3 miles in 21 minutes, then your target interval pace is a 6:30 mile).
  • Run at your goal interval pace for 2-3 minutes.
  • Jog for 3 minutes.
  • Then, continue for 4 more intervals.

NFL Core Training: This exercise is courtesy of world class trainer, Todd Durkin, who trained Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers with the following core routine:

  1. Hold kettlebell in right hand and lie faceup with legs straight.
  2. Bend left leg to ninty degrees and hold the kettlebell directly above your right shoulder with arm completely straight.
  3. Extend your left arm to the side and let it rest on the floor.
  4. Keeping your eyes on the kettlebell, raise your body and perform a crunch.
  5. As you perform the crunch, roll on your left elbow to help stabilize your body.
  6. The kettlebell should remain overhead at all times and return to starting position.
  7. Perform 10 reps, 3-4 sets. 1 minute rest between sets.

THURSDAY: Train like “The Fighter”

Mark Wahlberg is known for his physique.  To help you emulate his rock-solid figure, we researched his “theory of evolution” in training for his role in “The Fighter.” Time to turn you into a prize fighter.  Enjoy.

Start: Begin with an intense 10-minute cardio session on the treadmill, stationary bike, Stairmaster or elliptical machine.

Build: Perform the following circuit as stated below. Complete the entire circuit from start to finish 3 times.

  1. Pushup: Perform 15 reps. Note: Advanced athletes should perform explosive pushups.
  2. McGill Curl-Up: Lie face-up—right leg straight, left leg bent so your foot is flat on the floor. With palms under the arch of your lower-back, lift your head and shoulders (don’t bend your lower back). Pause, then lower. Perform 15 reps per leg.
  3. Side Crunch: Lie on your left side and brace your feet against a wall or a heavy object. Rest your left hand on your chest, and place your right hand behind your head. Crunch your torso toward your hip. Pause, and then return to the starting position. Perform 15 reps on each side.
  4. Hip-up: Lie on your left side, propping your upper body up with your left elbow and forearm and keeping your knees straight. Raise your hips, bracing yourself on your feet and your forearm so that your torso body forms a straight line from your head to ankles. Pause, and then lower. Perform 15 reps each side.
  5. Medicine Ball Twist: Hold a medicine ball at chest level, arms straight out. Without moving your feet or hips, rotate your arms far to the left, then far to the right. That’s 1 rep. Continue back and forth as fast as you can. Perform 15 reps.

Finish: Finish the workout with six 30-second sprints or twelve 15-second sprints.  If you have a punching bag at your gym, you can substitute six 30-second rounds of heavy bag hitting.

FRIDAY: The David Beckham Workout

Note: The intensity should be tailored to your individual maximum heart rate (=220-Age)

Each week for the month of February, build up your workout regimen as follows:

Week 1:

  • 5 minute run
  • Intensity: 85% MHR
  • Rest: 4 minutes
  • Sets: 3

Week 2:

  • 2 minute run
  • Intensity: 90% MHR
  • Rest: 2 minutes
  • Sets: 7

Week 3:

  • 1 minute run
  • Intensity: 95% MHR
  • Rest: 1 minute
  • Sets: 5 or 6

Week 4:

  • 60 yard Turnarounds (sprint 60 yards, turn around, sprint back)
  • Intensity: 30 seconds per sprint
  • Rest: 2 ½ minutes
  • Sets: 3 or 4

Post-Run Core Training:

1. Side plank with rotation:

  • In the right side plank position, brace your abs and reach your left arm under your body and twist forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor.
  • Return to plank position. That’s one rep.
  • Do 2-3 sets, 5-10 reps. Rest 1 minute between sets.

2. Mountain Climbers: Perform 3 sets of Mountain Climbers for 30 seconds each set.

3. Spiderman Pushup: Complete 3 sets of 10 pushups.

SATURDAY: Strength Circuit Training

Perform 3 sets of each circuit in series (i.e. Exercise #1, #2, #3 then back to #1, #2, #3, etc.).  Finish all three sets of the exercise before moving on to the next circuit.

SUNDAY: Recovery Day

Use this day to stretch for longer periods of time and foam roll as needed. Try “trigger point” stretching, hot yoga or power yoga at the nearest studio or at your local gym. Use the spa, sauna, or steam room to keep your muscles loose and relaxed.

For more nutrition and fitness tips, or sports specific training and pre/post workout nutrition, contact our expert, Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer.


  1. Clark, Micheal, Lucett, Scott, and Corn, Rodney. National Academy of Sports Medicine Essentials of Personal Training. Third Edition. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2008.
  2. Men’s Health. Weider Publications, LLC. February 2011. The American Media Inc Fitness Health Network. The Ab Exercise of NFL Greats: Kettlebell ½ GETUP.
  3. Men’s Health. Weider Publications, LLC. January 2011. The Perfect Morning Workout.
  4. Men’s Health. Weider Publications, LLC. January 2011.  The David Beckham Workout.
  5. Men’s Health. Weider Publications, LLC. January 2011. The Mark Wahlberg Workout.
  6. Men’s Health. Weider Publications, LLC. January 2009. Improve Cardio and Sports Training


02 2011

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