TRAINER: The January Program

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

With the New Year comes a renewed dedication to your health and wellbeing. If you’ve been following the past TRAINER columns, you’ll be hitting the ground running in peak shape.  If you’re new to the club, welcome…and get ready to sweat!  We know the holidays are filled with festivities complete with delicious food, drinks, sweets, treats and, yes, more sweets.  With health, nutrition and fitness at the top of many people’s “New Year’s Resolution” list, we are here to help lead you on that mission. Stay focused and make specific, measurable, attainable goals. You can do it!

WARM UP: Perform this quick warm up daily prior to the following workout routine.

  • High Knees: Perform for 15 seconds.
  • Mountain Climbers: Perform for 15 seconds.
  • Squats (with foot tap): Perform for 15 seconds. Stand with legs slightly further than shoulder width apart and toes pointed slightly outwards. Squat down and tap feet in and out (horizontally), while maintaining a tight core and centered position.
  • Line Runs: Perform for 30 seconds total. Imagine there is a line on the floor (or place a 12” strip of masking tape temporarily). Tap your feet back and forth to “run” over the line as fast as possible. Lead with your right foot first for 15 seconds. Then, switch and lead with your left foot for 15 seconds.
  • Jumping Jacks: Perform for 15 seconds.
  • Squats: Perform for 15 seconds.

Cool Down: (perform this post workout): Perform the foam rolling exercises outlined in the November TRAINER to help improve mobility and speed recovery of muscles for 5-10 minutes after each exercise routine daily.

MONDAY: Cardio Intervals and Squats

Cardio: Run outdoors (preferably on grass to reduce risk of knee pain or shin splints) or on the treadmill and follow the instructions below:

  • Get your heart rate up with a jog for 5 minutes at 50% of your VO2 max (i.e. of your fastest pace).
  • As your muscles become warm, increase your speed between 75-85% of your VO2 max and hold that pace for 15 minutes. (If you have a polar watch, this is a great way to measure your heart rate).
  • Increase your speed to a sprint (95% VO2 max) for 2 minutes.
  • Then, bring it back down into a jog/run speed (75-85% VO2 max) for 10 minutes.
  • Finish your run, with another 3-minute sprint (again at 95% VO2 max). Give it everything you’ve got, build your speed and cardiovascular endurance here!

Once you have completed your cardio exercise, perform the following squat exercises in order as listed below:


Single Leg Squat:

  1. Stand on a bench or box that is knee height.
  2. Hold your arms straight out in front of you and flex your right ankle so that your toes are higher than your heel.
  3. Keep your back straight and bend your left knee, while keeping your right leg straight and lower down until your right heel lightly touches the floor.
  4. Pause for 2 seconds and then push yourself up.
  5. That’s 1 repetition. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg.

Negative Squat:

  1. Stand straight with your feet together and balance on your left leg, facing away from the bench or box.
  2. Hold your arms out and right leg out straight in front of you and slowly lower your body as if you were sitting in a chair and hold for 5 seconds.
  3. Then stand up using both legs.
  4. That’s one repetition. Perform 6 repetitions with your left leg, then six more with your right.

Partial Squat:

  1. Stand on a bench holding a pair of 5-pound dumbbells in each hand at sides.
  2. Perform a single leg squat (as indicated above) and simultaneously left the dumbbells in front of you to shoulder height.
  3. Lower your body down until your right heel lightly touches the floor.
  4. Pause for 10 seconds and then push yourself up.
  5. That’s 1 repetition. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg.

Bulgarian Split Squat:

  1. Stand with a bench about 2 feet behind you and place the instep of your right foot on the bench.
  2. Keep your torso upright and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Your left lower leg should remain perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Pause for 2 seconds, then push yourself back to starting position as quickly as possible.
  4. That’s 1 repetition. Perform 12-15 repetitions on each leg (next with your left foot resting on the bench and right foot in front of you).  Immediately perform the high step.

High Step up:

  1. Stand facing a bench or step that is knee height.
  2. Lift your left foot and place it firmly on the bench, push down with your left heel, and push your body upward until your left leg is straight and your right foot hangs off the bench. Lower yourself back down.
  3. That’s one repetition. Do 12-15 repetitions on each leg. 2 sets.

TUESDAY: “Pull” Strength Training

Warm up then perform the following circuit routine completing each circuit three times through before moving to the next circuit.  You can look up how to perform each exercise in the TRAINER Fitness Guide.

WEDNESDAY: Cardio Cycling + “Push” Training

Warm up and then complete the following routine.

Stationary or Road Bike:

NOTE: When your seat is too low, it places stress on your knees and causes you to fatigue more quickly. To adjust your seat, place your heel in the middle of the pedal where the ball of your foot would normally go and extend your leg fully.  Your leg should be fully extended at the lowest point of the pedal rotation.  This position improves your power when pedaling.  Now that you’re set in the saddle, follow the instructions below:

  1. Vary the intensity of your ride. Warm up for 5 minutes at 50-60% VO2 max.
  2. Pedal for 3 minutes at 85% VO2 max.
  3. Add 1 notch of resistance and pedal standing (don’t let your butt touch your seat, keep your back straight and your head forward).  Pedal as fast as possible for 45-60 seconds.
  4. Sit on your seat and repeat steps 2 and 3 five more times. Add one more notch of resistance each time you repeat step 3 to increase difficulty.
  5. Total cardiovascular workout is approximately 30 minutes.

“Push” Training:

Decline Push Ups:

  1. Place both feet up on a bench (preferably with feet slightly above or at hips height).
  2. Get into a regular push up position.
  3. Maintain a straight line from your head to your toes. Hold core tight and back straight (no curvature).
  4. Perform 15 repetitions. 2 sets.

Walking Offset Push Up’s:

  1. Get into push up position, with feet together and a straight line from your head to your toes. Move your right hand back one foot and keep your left hand in original position (directly below chest level).
  2. Perform one push up.
  3. Then move your right hand to original position (directly below chest level) and move your left hand back one foot and perform a push up.
  4. Together, that’s one 1 repetition. Perform 10 repetitions.

Medicine Ball Push Up:

  1. Get into push up position and place left hand on the matte and right hand on the medicine ball.
  2. Do a push up, and explosively come up, rolling that ball to the center so that you land with both hands on the medicine ball. Stabilize yourself with both hands cupping the ball in central position and perform a push up.
  3. Explosively come up (rolling the ball slightly to the left) and place your right hand down on the matte, while landing your left hand on the medicine ball. Perform a push up.
  4. Total of 3 push up’s for 1 repetition. Perform 5-10 repetitions as quickly as possible.

The Sundial Push Up:

  1. Get into push up position, with feet together and a straight line from your head to your toes.
  2. Pretend that you the “hands” of a time clock starting at 12am. Move your hands in a clockwise rotation, keeping your feet stable in one position and rotate all the way around to a “3 pm position” on the clock. Perform 10 push up’s here.
  3. Repeat step 2, and rotate around to 6 pm. Perform 10 push up’s here.
  4. Repeat step 2, and rotate around to 9 pm. Perform 10 push up’s here.
  5. Repeat step 2, and rotate around to 12am. Perform 10 push up’s here.
  6. Note: Total 40 push up’s, while also targeting your core and oblique muscles.

THURSDAY: “Push” Strength Training

Warm up then perform the following circuit routine completing each circuit three times through before moving to the next circuit.

FRIDAY: Escalating Density Training

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

Escalating Density Training (EDT) is a training method devised by strength coach, Charles Staley. It is a tecnique that takes two antagonistic muscles for each workout and trains them as quickly as possible in a designated time period to reach a “PR Zone.”  It emphasizes training “density” which is defined as the work-to-rest ratio of a specified period of time.  We know it’s nerdy…but it works.

Focus for Today: Quads and Hamstrings.

  1. Perform 3-5 squats and then 3-5 stiff-legged deadlifts in a row moving back and forth between the two exercises for as many sets as you can in twenty minutes. NOTE: You can take short rest breaks in between each set and the number or sets and reps per set are determined by you as the workout progresses.
  2. Choose a training load that you can complete ten times with good form and do multiple sets for as many sets as possible in each “PR Zone.” (The weight should be more or less equal to your 10 rep maximum).
  3. Keep a training journal and record the number of total reps that you completed for each exercise after each “PR Zone” and try to do more reps in the same amount of time the next time you perform this workout.

Other antagonistic muscles to target:

  • Biceps (Curls) and Triceps (Extensions)
  • Squats and Chins

A sample “PR Zone” might look something like the following (based on a sample given in Charles Staley’s book, Muscle Logic: Escalating Density Training):

  • Set 1: Squats – 225lbs x 5
  • Set 2: Chins – x 5
  • Set 3: Squats – 225lbs x 5
  • Set 4: Chins – x 5
  • Set 5: Squats – 225lbs x 5
  • Set 6: Chins – x 5
  • Set 7: Squats – 225lbs x 5
  • Set 8: Chins – x 5
  • Set 9: Squats – 225lbs x 5
  • Set 10: Chins – x 5
  • Set 11: Squats – 225lbs x 4
  • Set 12: Chins – x 4
  • Set 13: Squats – 225lbs x 4
  • Set 14: Chins – x 4
  • Set 15: Squats – 225lbs x 3
  • Set 16: Chins – x 4

Total Time: 15 mins; Total Sets/Exercise: 8; Total Sets: 16; Total Reps (i.e., your “PR”): 73
After completing your EDT for today, perform the following swiss ball exercises.

Swiss Ball Stability Exercises:

Set 1: Stabilization Swiss Ball

  1. Get into push up position. Lift legs up and place feet in the center of a swiss ball and stabilize your body.
  2. Hold your core tight and lift your right leg up and slowly swing it out to the right (perpendicular to your body).
  3. Maintain your balance and hold for 2-3 seconds.
  4. Alternate to your left leg and perform steps 2-3 on left leg.
  5. Perform 10-15 repetitions on each leg.

Set 2: Prone Cobra Swiss Ball

  1. Get near a wall with your legs straight out behind you, touching the wall.
  2. Lay on the swiss ball (with the ball placed under your torso) and your arms reaching forward.
  3. Grab a pair of light dumbbells and hold in both hands.
  4. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and raise your arms in a wide arc.
  5. Hold for 2 seconds and feel your core tighten and push down on the ball when you bring your arms down.
  6. Perform 15 repetitions. 2 sets.

Set 3: Swiss Ball Resisted Torso Rotation

  1. Grab one medium weight medicine ball.
  2. Get on a swiss ball (with the ball supporting your lower back and knees bent shoulder width apart to support body).
  3. Hold medicine ball with both hands and arms straight out.
  4. Rotate your upper body and arms (holding the medicine ball) all the way to the right side, then all the way to the left side (making a half circle).
  5. You want to go as fast as possible from the right to the left, while still maintaining stability and proper posture.
  6. Perform as many repetitions as possible in 60 seconds.

Set 4: Plank on Swiss Ball

  1. Hold your body in a plank position with elbows on that swiss ball.
  2. Keep elbows and legs shoulder width apart and hold for 45 seconds. 2 sets.

SATURDAY: Cardio & Core

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

Cardio: Jump on the stair climber at the gym or go to the nearest park with at least 20-30 stairs or bleachers (a length 50 stairs is preferable). Keep your body upright with a slight lean forward (if your using the machine don’t put your arms straight down on the railing like crutches).

  1. Sprint to the top of the steps (stepping on every step) as fast as possible.
  2. Recover for 5 seconds, and slowly jog back down the stairs to the bottom. Focus on your breathing here for recovery.
  3. Sprint to the top, skipping every other step, as fast as possible.
  4. Recover for 5 seconds and slowly jog back down to starting position.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 fourteen more times. (Total of fifteen stair runs).
  6. NOTE: If you are on the stair climber, increase the speed as you progress in your workout. Aim for a 75-85% VO2 max zone (heart rate) for 15 minutes.

Advanced Side Plank:

Set 1:

  1. Lie on your left side and prop your upper body up on your left forearm.
  2. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from ankles to your shoulders.
  3. Move your torso up and down (to equal one repetition) while maintaining stability with a straight line from your left elbow to your feet.
  4. Perform 20 repetitions on each side.

Set 2:

  1. Lie on your left side and prop your upper body up on your left forearm.
  2. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from ankles to shoulders.
  3. Raise your upper leg to hip height (the opposite leg that is closest to the ceiling) and hold for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Contract your core, obliques and glutes and perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Set 3:

  1. Lie on your left side and prop your upper body up on your left forearm.
  2. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from ankles to shoulders.
  3. Brace your body on only your upper leg (right leg) and bring your lower leg (left leg) towards your chest.
  4. Hold it for 30 seconds or repeat for 25-30 repetitions bringing knee up to chest level and back. Perform on both sides.

SUNDAY: Recovery Day

Use this day to stretch for longer periods of time and use the foam roll as needed. Ice the muscles that are sore and hydrate appropriately (16-24 ounces of water for every 2 pounds of weight lost during exercise). Try 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. Rejuvenate your mind and body and get ready to get back into it on Monday morning!

For more nutrition and fitness tips, contact our Fitness Expert, Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer | CW Nutrition for Body & Mind

References:

  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. 20 November 2006. The American Media Inc Fitness Health Network. Leg Workout: The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing.
  3. Men’s Health. Weider Publications, LLC. December 2009. Exercise Machines to burn fat faster and The All in 1 Abs and Chest Sundial.
  4. Staley, Charles. Muscle Logic: Escalating Density Training. “PR Zone.”

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