TRAINER: The November Program

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

Life is about rising to the challenge. The more you try, the greater the chance to succeed. “Functional fitness” is exercise that trains you using movements from your daily life and subsequently improves your performance. One important note is that you do not need to always go to the gym to exercise. The more diverse your training regimen is the better.  Diversity constantly challenges your body in new ways and keeps your training exciting.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees states that, “you have to know your body and listen. There’s such thing as good pain and bad pain. It’s knowing the difference between the soreness that you can work though, and the times that I feel like my muscles are so fatigued that it’s counterproductive to my goals and the team’s goals.” This month, we will focus on a variety of exercises to improve total body strength, power, speed and rotational core, while preventing overtraining.

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

FOAM ROLL (Self Myofacial Release): Perform at least 3 times per week

  1. Calves (Gastrocnemius/Soleus): Place the foam roll under mid-calf. Cross your left leg over right leg to increase pressure (optional). Find tender spot and hold/roll slowly for 30 seconds to 1-minute.
  2. TFL/IT Band: Lie on one side with the foam roll just in front of the hip. Cross the top leg, with foot touching the floor and the bottom leg raised slightly off the floor. Maintain optimal head alignment (ears in line with shoulders). Slowly roll from hip joint to lateral knee to find the tenderest spot. Hold/roll slowly for 30 seconds to 1 -minute.
  3. Adductors: Lie face down with one thigh flexed (bent at the waist) and abducted (held to the side) and the foam roll in the groin region, inside the upper thigh. Slowly roll the inside thigh area to find the tenderest spot. Hold/roll slowly for 30 seconds to 1-minute.
  4. Hips (Piriformis): Sit on top of the foam roll, positioned on the back of the hip. Cross one foot to the opposite knee. Lean into the hip of the crossed leg. Slowly roll on the posterior hip area. Hold/roll slowly for 30 seconds to 1-minute on the most tender spot.
  5. Lats (Latissimus Dorsi): Lie on the floor on one side with the arm closest to the floor outstretched and thumb facing upward. Place the foam roll under the arm (axillary region). Hold/roll slowly for 30 seconds to 1-minute on the tenderest spot.

High Knees: Standing in place, bring your knees up to hip level and back down, alternating your legs as fast as possible. Perform for 45-60 seconds to get your heart rate up.

Jumping Jacks: Do 20 jumping jacks (medium speed). Alternate with 20 jumping jacks done as fast as possible. Switch between your slow and fast speed after every 20 jumping jacks. Do this until you reach 100 total jumping jacks.

Mountain Climbers: On the floor, get into basic push up position, arms in line with your chest. Bring right knee up to chest, and then back to original position. Alternate this movement with your left leg. Motion mimics climbing a mountain. Perform this exercise rapidly for 30 seconds per set, perform 2 sets.

MONDAY: Cardio: “The Reverse Approach”


(Can be done at the gym or on your own outdoors)

Perform the warm up as indicated above.

Interval Work:

Start out at a pace that is faster than your usually running and gradually slow down every 3 minutes until you hit a jogging pace. The gauge your pace, create a mental scale of intensity level ranges from 1-10 where 1 is lounging and 10 is an all out sprint. In this case, an 8.5 would mean 85% of your VO2 max (your fastest pace). The key is to find your target starting speed and work down from there.

Go at your own pace. Work hard and challenge yourself, but don’t overstrain while following the regimen below:

Cool down: 5 minutes at a fast walking pace or light jog around 40% VO2 max or (no lower than a speed of 4 on the treadmill).

Once off the treadmill, integrate these strengthening exercises in a slow, controlled manner to prevent muscle imbalances.

Ball Squat: Perform 15 reps x 2 sets

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, and knees positioned over your second and third toes.
  2. Rest with your back against a stability ball that you have placed against the wall.
  3. Allow your pelvis to drop down below the ball while maintaining a neutral spine.
  4. Keep your chest up and put pressure through the heels and squat down as if you were to sit in an imaginary chair.
  5. Note: to increase difficulty add 5 or 10-pound dumbbells. Hold in each hand on the side of the body and perform the ball squats.


Single leg calf raise: Perform 15 reps x 3 sets (perform each set at a different angle)

  1. Raise your heels off the ground until you are standing on your tiptoes and hold this fully extended position for a moment.
  2. Lower your heels until they are just about to touch the floor and immediately begin your second repetition
  3. Do calf raises with your feet at three different angles. (Toes facing forward, toes pointing toward each other in a pigeon toed position and then facing outward with heels touching). This will help strengthen your gastrocnemius muscles (i.e. calves) to increase jump height for sports like basketball or volleyball.


Single leg balance reach: Perform 15 reps x 2 sets

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and pointed straight ahead. Hips should be in a neutral position.
  2. Lift your chest, retract your shoulders slightly and tuck your chin.
  3. Draw your navel in and activate your gluteals.
  4. Lift one leg directly beside your balance leg.
  5. Move your lifted leg forward, extending it out in front of your body. Hold for 2 seconds.
  6. Slowly return to original position and repeat.
  7. Next reach your floating leg to the side of your body (frontal plane) and then reach behind your body (transverse plane).


Alternating Lunge Jumps: 15 per side x 2 reps. Targets the quadriceps, gluteus, calves.

  1. Begin with legs separated in frontal lunge position, maintaining a straight spine and not allowing your knees to pass the tip of your toes.
  2. Lunge down and jump up, alternating legs in mid-air and landing softly on the opposite leg.
  3. Repeat as quickly as fast as possible.

TUESDAY: Strength Training

Warm up then, perform the following circuit routine.  Complete 3 sets of each circuit before advancing to the next circuit.

Back Extensions                                                                     Wood Chop

Medicine Ball Push Up                                               Side Plank

Dumbbell Reverse Flys                                               “Skull Crushers”

WEDNESDAY: The Superband Workout

This workout can be done anywhere! It is the perfect solution for business travelers, people who hate going to the gym or urbanites that live in a studio apartment but want a “home gym.”  It is also great for people with shoulder injuries as the regimen strengthens the deltoid muscles and rotator cuff.

Perform the warm up as indicated above.

Equipment needed: ½ inch Superband and utility strap for affixing the band to doors and other stationary objects. (Worth every penny.  You can find the Superband at


Superband Squat:

  1. With your feet shoulder-width apart, step on one end of the band.
  2. Stretch the other end up and over your head and rest it across your upper back.
  3. Perform a squat by pushing your hips back and lowering your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, then push back up to the starting position.
  4. To make it harder, push the band away from your sides with your arms (increasing the tension on the band).
  5. Perform 15 reps.


Suplex Lift:

  1. Connect the band to the utility strap and secure it below the lowest hinge on a door.
  2. Loop one end of the band around the crooks of your arms and bend your elbows 90 degrees.
  3. Step away from the door until the band is taut at a 45-degree angle, and then stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  4. Simultaneously lower your torso forward and bend your legs until your elbows almost meet your knees. (Your back should stay naturally arched).
  5. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
  6. Raise your upper arms forcefully as you move to a standing position.
  7. Perform 20 reps.


Standing Incline Fly:

  1. Connect the band to the utility strap and attach it to a door just above the handle.
  2. Loop the band around your torso and turn around until your back is to the door.
  3. Grab the band with an overhand grip, your hands about twice shoulder-width apart.
  4. Raise your arms out to your sides until they’re about shoulder level and step forward until the band is taut.
  5. Maintain a staggered stance, with one foot in front of the other, and keep your arms slightly bent.
  6. Without changing the angle of your elbows, pull your hands together in front of your body.
  7. Return to starting position.
  8. Perform 20 reps.

Resisted Supine Lying Crunch

  1. Connect the band to the utility strap and attach it below the lowest hinge on a door.
  2. Lie face up on the floor with your head closest to the door and your feet farthest from it.
  3. Loop the end of the band around your left arm, stretch it across the back of your neck, and loop it around your right arm.
  4. Bend your knees with your heels on the floor.
  5. Place your fingers behind your ears, and do a situp by raising your torso as high as you can off the floor.
  6. Lower yourself back to the starting position, and perform as quickly as possible.
  7. Perform 20 reps.

Complete each exercise once through in series and then repeat for total of three sets.


THURDAY: Strength Training

Perform the warm up as indicated above.  Then perform the following circuit completing three sets of each circuit before moving on to the next circuit.

Military Press                                                    Seated Cable Row

Romanian Deadlift                                     Front Shoulder Raise

Barbell Bicep Curls                                                  Wide Grip Pull Ups

FRIDAY: Explosive Power Day

Perform the warm up as indicated above.

Speed Work:

  1. Go to the nearest school with bleachers, or park with stairs (preferably with 75-100 steps or stairs per 1 set)
  2. Complete six 100-yard sprints on the football field or grassy area in the park resting for 30 seconds between sprints
  3. Side shuffle on the grass: in a frontal plane of motion (shuffling a distance of 5 yards) back and forth as fast as possible for 60 seconds (this exercise increases foot quickness)
  4. Find the stairs or bleachers
  • Run up the stairs or bleachers at your fastest speed (to the top equals 1 rep)
  • Slowly jog back down the steps
  • Repeat running to the top of the stairs for a total of 10 reps  (alternate between doing single step for 1 rep followed by skipping every other step for the next, etc.)

Dips: Use bench or bleacher. Do 25 dips as fast as possible.


Power push-ups: Lower yourself down with your elbows at your sides 1 inch from the floor. Perform 20 push-ups as fast as possible (power), while still maintaining good form and a straight line from your head to your toes.


Tuck Jump: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and pointed straight ahead. Jump up, bringing your knees to your chest.  Land softly and immediately repeat.  Do 20 reps.


Butt Kicks: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and pointed straight ahead. Jump up, bringing heels to glutes (i.e. your butt).  Avoiding arching your lower back.  Land softly and immediately repeat. Do 20 reps.


Cool down: 5-minute light jog and 5 minutes of stretching to prevent lactic acid buildup from the anaerobic muscle use.

SATURDAY: Total Body designed by Christopher Slevin from SWEAT GARAGE

Equipment needed: A stopwatch and outdoor space.

Warm up: 10 minutes

Set 1: Knee Raises, 1 minute.

  1. Stand in place with arms extended in front of you.
  2. Lift your right knee as high as you can toward your right arm and back down.
  3. Do the same with your left leg to left arm. Alternate sides in a slow and controlled fashion.
  4. Rest for 30 seconds.


Set 2: Knee Raises, 1 minute.

  1. Next bring your hands in front of your body 6 inches above you waist.
  2. Repeat the exercise this time alternating at a faster rate.
  3. Rest for 30 seconds.

Set 3: Knee Raises, 1 minute.

  1. Repeat step 2 this time jumping from foot to foot as you alternate right to left.
  2. Rest for 30 seconds.

Quick Stretch: 3-5 minutes

Set 1: Hamstrings, 1 minute.

  1. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart and drop hands down toward feet.
  2. Keep knees straight to slight bend.
  3. Simply drop hand toward feet and stretch the backs of you legs. Don’t bounce.

Set 2: Quad Stretch, 1 minute.

  1. Grab one foot and gently pull your heel toward your butt with knee pointing down.
  2. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with other leg.

Run: 15 minutes

Separate the run into four 3-minute sets with a 1-minute walk in between. Have 3 different run speeds: jog, run and sprint.

Set 1: Jog – 1 minute | Run – 1 minute | Sprint – 1 minute | Walk – 1 minute

Set 2: Run – 2 minute | Sprint – 1 minute | Walk – 1 minute

Set 3: Sprint – 1 minute | Jog – 1 minute | Sprint – 1 minute | Walk – 1 minute


Set 4: Jog – 1 minute | Run – 1 minute | Sprint – 1 minute | Walk – 1 minute

Now that your body is warm, especially the lower body, let’s workout the upper body.


Push-ups + Core Hold (elbows and toes): 10 minutes

This is great for total body strength! Push-ups and core holds are hard, but great for your body. Remember, it’s all practice. Do the push-ups and then get into the core hold position immediately (with no rest). Pick a one of the three options below to match your ability, but don’t go easier than option 1.

Perform this option you choose 3 times with 60 seconds rest in between.

Option 1 (Easier)

  • 10 push-ups followed by a 30 second core hold.
  • 30-second rest

Option 2 (Medium)

  • 15 push-ups followed by a 45 second core hold.
  • 45-second rest

Option 3 (Hard)

  • 20 push-ups followed by 1-minute core hold.
  • 1-minute rest

Now for some lower bodywork. Legs are hardly ever the focus of people’s workout, yet they have the biggest muscles in our body. Your overall ability to do other exercises will improve if you workout your legs. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to work the legs. In between each set we are going to add 1 minute of abdominal crunches.

Squats, Lunges & Extensions: 15 minutes

Proper form is essential to protect your knees. Keep your knees behind your toes as you squat or lunge with your weight in your heels!

Set 1: Squats

  1. 10 full squats followed by 10 pulses at the bottom of the last squat.
  2. Repeat this 3 times before you take a break.
  3. 1 minute rest

Crunches: 1 minute

  1. Lie on your back feet raised legs bent 90 degrees. Hands behind your head, elbows wide. Perform crunches for one full minute.
  2. 1-minute rest

Set 2: Lunges

  1. Walking lunges, 20 lunges alternating legs.
  2. Hold your arms out in front of you for the entire set. Be sure to take big steps, take your time and keep your shoulders, chest and head up.
  3. 1-minute rest

Crunches: 1 minute

Set 3: Extensions

  1. Get down on your forearms and knees.
  2. Slowly kick one leg back until it’s straight and raise your heel as high as you can squeeze your butt at the top of the extension.
  3. Do 20 reps on one leg with a 15-count pulse at the top of the last extension.
  4. Then do the other leg. For a better burn, do 2 sets on each leg.

Crunches with bicycle legs: 1 minute

The end of this one-hour workout should include 5-10 minutes of stretching. Be sure to stretch your hamstrings, quads, calves, abs, arms and shoulders. Enjoy and be well.


SUNDAY: Recovery Day

Perform the warm up as indicated above.

Use this day to stretch for longer periods of time on the foam roller as needed. Allow your body to recover and muscles to repair themselves.

Try a light jog, a brisk walk in the park, hit a bucket of golf balls or do yoga at your local studio. Keep your muscles lose and find the line between training and overtraining. Great work this week!

Questions? E-mail the Author:


  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. 24 October 2010. The American Media Inc Fitness Health Network. Portable resistance band fitness routine.
  3. Women’s Fitness. Women’s Health Online. January 2010. Get Your Best Body Ever Workout: Cardio the reverse.
  4. Slevins, Christopher. Sweat Garage. 24 October 2010.


11 2010

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