Back And Core Workout – April 2015

This is a workout I did the other day. I was pleased with how well it worked and how efficient it was. It did not take too much time, but I definitely felt a great pump and was sore all over the next day. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia KTGnyc.com

Model: Alec Varcas
Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia
KTGnyc.com

Warmup:
30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio.

Working Sets:

  • 1. Superset 1: 4 rounds
    • 3 Drop sets of seated rows. 10 reps each. (10 reps at heavy, medium, then light weight)
    • 10 raised shoulder push-ups
    • 45 second hollow hold
    • 1 minute rest
  • 2. 50 reps of Lsit pull-ups
    (10 sets of 5 with a 30 second rest)
    • 3. Superset 2: 3 rounds
      • 15 reps of rear delt flyes
      • 1 minute side plank on each side
    • 4. 5 sets of farmer carries
      • 5. 10 handstands until failure
        • 6. Stretch
          • TIPS:
            1. For my moderate intensity cardio, I decided to walk at 4.0 speed on a 7.5% incline on the treadmill for 30 minutes. This burned a little over 300 calories.
            2. When I say “3 Drop sets of seated rows. 10 reps each,” start with a heavier weight and do 10 reps of seated rows. Immediately after, lower the weight and do another 10 reps, and then lower it one more time and do another 10 reps. You will do 30 reps total during this drop set, and eventually end up doing 120 total after you do the 4 rounds of that super set. I ended with doing 120lbs, then 80 lbs, then 40 lbs.
            3. During the “50 reps of Lsit pull-ups,” you can break them up however you want. I did 10 sets of 5 reps with a 30 second rest in between each set. Also, during this exercise, you can use a wide grip, or a close grip.
            4. When I did the “10 handstands until failure,” I did mine off the wall and just tried to hold my position. If you are not comfortable with handstands, try holding the handstand against the wall for as long as you can.

            Hope you enjoy this workout as much as I did. Let me know what you think or if you ended up modifying any of the exercises. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics, contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

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            WOD: CINDY

            Cindy

            For any of my Crossfit readers, you know exactly who Cindy is. “Cindy” is a WOD (Workout of the Day) done in Crossfit gyms around the world. Cindy is a full body workout that consists of only body weight exercises. What is great about Cindy is that people of all different fitness levels can do this workout because every exercise can be easily modified.

            CINDY – 20 minute AMRAP(as many reps as possible):
            5 pull-ups
            10 push-ups
            15 air squats

            For 20 minutes, you cycle the three workouts and see how many rounds you can get in. My last time trying CINDY I did 19 rounds plus 5 push-ups. This means I did 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats 19 times in a row, and the time ran out after I did 5 more pull-ups and 5 push-ups.
            Cindy 2
            In total I did 100 pull-ups, 195 push-ups, and 285 air squats in 20 minutes! Talk about a hard workout!

            TIPS:
            1. The pull-ups and push-ups can easily be modified depending on your fitness level. For beginners, a resistance band can be used over the bar to assist in the pull-up, or pull-ups can even be switched out for body weight rows using rings or a TRX. For the push-ups, they can be done on and incline instead of parallel to the floor, or they can be done on your knees.
            2. This workout will really test your endurance and your heart rate will shoot up. If you have any heart or breathing conditions, consult a doctor first and don’t perform this workout unsupervised.
            3. A dead hang pull-up will make this workout much harder Cindy 3
            on your arms and back. Try kipping the pull-up to relieve strain. You will be doing a lot of reps; dead hang pull-ups will cause you to fatigue quickly.
            4. When doing air squats, keep your back straight and get your glutes as low to the ground as possible. Remember “Ass to Grass” when doing squats. Also push through your heels, not your toes.
            4. CINDY is a perfect full body workout to perform when you are short on time. It combines cardio with muscle building and will make you sweat like you have never sweat before.

            Have you ever friend CINDY? Do you have other WODs that you really like? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, or ideas for new topics.

            Rolling Pistol Squats

            Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 1

            Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 2

            Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 3

            Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 4

            Rolling Pistol Squat: Step 5

            One of the benchmark exercises to do in any CrossFit gym is a Pistol Squat. Pistol Squats involve only using one leg to squat down and push back up to the standing position. This exercise is very difficult and requires a lot of practice and strength to complete. Rolling Pistol Squats are an easier variation of the standard Pistol Squat because they allow you to use momentum to your advantage. Rolling Pistol Squats are also a great cardio and full body workout.

            To Perform a Rolling Pistol Squat:
            1. Start in the standing position with both feet on the floor.
            2. Squat down with your glutes as close to the floor as possible and create a comfortable curve in your back to prepare to roll backward.
            3. Roll backward onto your back and raise your legs in the air.
            4. Using the momentum of throwing your legs forward, place one foot on the ground as close to your glutes as possible with the other leg straight out in front of you and stand up.
            5. Once standing, put the leg that is straight out in front of you back down to return to the standing position.
            6. Repeat the exercise from Step 2 and alternate legs with each rep.

            TIPS:
            1. When I roll backward, I like to keep my legs straight and bring my legs as close to my chest as I can. I give them a light pull with my hands and this allows me to give my hamstrings a stretch.
            2. The closer you can place your foot to you glutes when you role forward, the easier it will be to stand up.
            3. Momentum is key! Quickly bring your legs forward to make the push up from the floor easier.
            4. For anyone with a knee or hip injury, any variation of a pistol squat is not recommended. Never do a workout that causes you pain. Listen to your body!
            5. Rolling Pistol Squats are great to help tone your legs, but they also wok your core and provide a good cardio workout as well. I like to use Rolling Pistol Squats in between other exercises to keep my heart rate up. I usually do about 16 reps per set (8 on each leg), and about 3-5 sets during my workout.

            Have you ever tried Rolling Pistol Squats? Do you plan on adding these to your workout routine? I really appreciate any feedback. Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

            BOSU Burpees

            Back to BURPEES! I promised that I would show you other versions of Burpees and the one I am about to show you is one of my favorites. For this variation, you will need to use a BOSU ball. These BOSU Burpees intensify your workout by adding stability and resistance components to your burpee.

            To do a BOSU Burpee:
            1. Start in a standing position holding the BOSU Ball handles with the ball facing away from your body.
            2. Squat down and place the BOSU ball on the ground. (The flat side should be facing up and the ball side should be on the floor)
            3. Jump your feet back to put yourself in a plank position while still holding the BOSU ball handles.
            3a. Optional Pushup
            4. Jump your feet forward to return to the squat position.
            5. Raise the BOSU ball above your head.
            6. Jump up. While jumping, press the BOSU ball up toward the ceiling.
            7. Repeat from Step #1.

            Tips:
            1. If you are not familiar with Burpees, or forget some of the tips I have given to get the most out of these exercises, check out my ‘How to do a Burpee’ Post before trying this more difficult variation of the exercise. It is important to understand the body mechanics of the basic exercise before trying more difficult variations in order to prevent injury.
            2. Remember, when squatting down, try and get your glutes low to the floor.
            3. Activate your core while in the plank position. The BOSU Ball will add an additional stability aspect to the exercise which will require more core strength and activation than the Basic Burpee.
            4. When jumping during this exercise, you also press the BOSU Ball up toward the ceiling. Adding the BOSU ball will not only add weight to your jump making the jump more difficult, but it will also help tone your shoulders while pressing the BOSU Ball up.

            Bosu Burpee: Step 1

            Bosu Burpee: Step 1

            Bosu Burpee: Step 2

            Bosu Burpee: Step 2

            Bosu Burpee: Step 3

            Bosu Burpee: Step 3

            Bosu Burpee: Step 3a (optional pushup)

            Bosu Burpee: Step 3a

            Bosu Burpee: Step 3a (finish optional pushup)

            Bosu Burpee: Step 3a

            Bosu Burpee: Step 4

            Bosu Burpee: Step 4

            Bosu Burpee: Step 5

            Bosu Burpee: Step 5

            Bosu Burpee: Step 6

            Bosu Burpee: Step 6

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

            Do you any variations of Burpees that you like to include in your workout routine? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com for any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics.

            How to do a Burpee!

            BURPEES! You love them and you hate them.
            Burpees are an amazing cardio workout and work many of your major muscle groups. Burpees are one of the best full body workouts you can do in your exercise routine, however it is also easy to do a burpee incorrectly, making the exercise not as effective.

            To do a Basic Burpee:
            1. Start in a standing position
            2. Squat down and place your hands on the ground.
            3. Jump your feet back to put yourself in a plank position.
            4. Jump your feet forward to return to the squat position.
            5. Jump up straight off the floor from the squat position.
            6. Repeat from Step #1

            There are many variations of Burpees. The most common variation is the Burpee Pushup where one pushup is done while in the plank position. (Between steps #3 and #4 of the Basic Burpee instructions, do a pushup).

            Tips:
            1. When squatting down, try and get your glutes low to the floor. This will make the exercise seem harder, but that is because you are activating most of the muscles in your legs from your quads, to your glutes and hamstrings. This muscle activation will help tone your legs more effectively.
            2. While in the plank position, make sure to keep your body completely flat and activate your core. It is very easy to raise you hips and glutes up toward the ceiling.
            3. When jumping during this exercise, and in any other exercise, land with bent knees. If you jump and land with your legs completely straight, you will put too much pressure on your knees and lead to injuries in the future.
            4. Burpees can be done as a FT workout (For Time) or AMRAP workout (As Many Reps As Possible). If you do a FT workout, give yourself a certain number of burpees to do and see how much time it takes you to complete the workout. If you choose to do an AMRAP workout, give yourself an amount of time, usually a minute or two, and see how many burpees you can do in the time allotted.

            Burpee: Step 3

            Burpee: Step 3

            Burpee: Step 2

            Burpee: Step 2

            Burpee: Step 1

            Burpee: Step 1

            Burpee: Step 5

            Burpee: Step 5

            Burpee: Step 4

            Burpee: Step 4

            Burpee: Step 3a (optional pushup)

            Burpee: Step 3a (optional pushup)

            Burpee: Step 6

            Burpee: Step 6

            Do you include Burpees into your workout? Do you have any variations that you would like to share? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com for any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics.

            Feature Friday: Cassandra Fiorella aka ‘PetiteFi’

            PetiteFi1

            First name: Cassandra aka ‘PetiteFi’

            Last name: Fiorella

            City: Denver

            State: Colorado

            Age: 26

            Height: 5’4”

            Weight: I rarely get on a scale and have not been on one in a decent while, but I would guess around 130 – 135lbs

            Profession: General Trouble Maker/Blogger/Health Enthusiast/Crossfitter/Trainer

            Follow Her:
            Twitter: @OhHeyItsFi
            Instagram: PetiteFi
            Blog/Website URL: One is coming soon!

            When did you start working out?:

            I grew up an active child – playing sports, climbing trees, biking, running, jumping around. “Fitness” in the sense of movement and life- has been a part of my world since day 1. However, my journey into fitness in the traditional sense of the word began around the time I turned 21. It was at that time, after a long stint of years spent partying, that I realized it was time to change my direction and head down a new path in life.

            PetiteFi2

            How many days a week do you work out?:

            This is very much season and schedule dependent, but I prefer to hit the gym 5 to 6 days a week. I’d say I average 4 a week throughout the year although even on the days I don’t make it into the gym, I still remain relatively active either through biking (my main mode of transportation) or hiking, running, walking. This is simply a way of life for me, not some necessary evil or chore I feel I must do.

            How long is your average workout?:

            Crossfit WOD classes are scheduled for an hour at a time however the actual workouts themselves average around 12 to 20 minutes. The rest of the hour is spent warming up, going over technique and mobilizing/stretching. Some days I perform additional “accessory” work generally in the form of technique work focused around particular weaknesses of mine. I also try to spend at least 15 minutes a day mobilizing as flexibly is a major factor that generally gets overlooked. On top of this, I generally average around 10 miles a day on my bike (in the warmer months) simply in transport from one place to another.

            Favorite muscles to exercise:

            All of them! I don’t “spot” train (no “leg days” or “back days” for me). My lower body is much stronger than my upper body – as is the case for most women – so anything lower body centric is preferable to me but I am working hard to balance them out as much as possible.

            Least favorite muscles to exercise:

            None. This is not about muscle groupings for me. This is about functionality. Anything involving heavy overhead (presses/snatches) is difficult for me and causes me the most anguish, but I enjoy practicing those movements because I want to improve.

            PetiteFi3

            Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:

            I absolutely have goals and will continue to do so with every one I achieve. By the end of 2013 I would like to be able to Squat 300lbs, Deadlift 300+, Bench press 150lbs, Snatch my body weight, Clean & Jerk my body weight (or more), perform 10 strict handstand push ups, and knock out double unders like its my job.

            Do you have any fitness inspirations? If so, who are they?:

            To be perfectly honest, all the people I see and meet on a regular basis who are pushing themselves in the gym are inspiration to me. Whether it is the girl taking her first steps into the weight room, the novice nailing a heavy lift they’ve attempted time and time again, or the single mom somehow finding time in her day to take a walk around the park. Knowing that they all are striving to better themselves fuels my drive to better myself and help others do so in the process. All accomplishments, large or small, deserve to be recognized and celebrated. If you are dedicated, working hard and staying positive all the while, you have my utmost respect regardless of your fitness level.

            What supplements do you take or recommend?:

            Supplementation is a gray area in my world. I believe that some supplementation, mostly in the form of vitamins and minerals, can be used to round out a healthy, real food based diet, but totally relying on pills & powders is absolutely unnecessary and potentially dangerous. I personally try to get all my nutritional needs from whole foods but do take a high concentrated fish oil as well as a D3 supplement daily. I occasionally make use of protein powders either when I am in a pinch for time after the gym or in between meals in order to meet my daily protein requirements, but try to not rely on them too much. I’d much rather eat a steak than drink a chocolate flavored beverage.

            PetiteFi4

            Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:

            I eat Real Food! Foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. I eat very little, if anything, processed – even making my own condiments and non-dairy milks. High quality (aka grass-fed, pasture raised) animal products from a variety of sources (including organs and bone marrow) make up a large portion of my diet as well as seafood and eggs. I eat a wide variety of vegetables including an abundance of dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and squash for my carbohydrates. I also eat A LOT of fat – coconut oil, olive oil, real butter, ghee, bacon fat, avocado as well as some nuts and seeds. I consume a minimal amount of fruit as I try to keep my sugar intake, even sugar from natural sources, on the low end and I do not drink any alcohol or sugar based beverages but do drink coffee and kombucha tea regularly. I also incorporate fermented foods such as sauerkraut regularly for their probiotic benefit as well as drink home made bone broth to support healthy gut flora!

            Do you have any workouts that you specifically like, that you believe are very affective?:

            Constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. I truly believe in Crossfit because I have seen what it has done for hundreds of people’s lives – including my own! The premise of specializing in not specializing is very appealing to me as it has developed me into a well-rounded athlete capable of a wide variety of tasks and set the stage for my functionality for years to come. That being said, if I had to pick one exercise that I believe is the most affective in overall strength and health development it would be the squat. Loaded and unloaded. You want to be able to stand up off the toilet without assistance for the rest of your life, don’t you?

            PetiteFi5

            How much cardio do you do? (Per day or per week):

            The only “cardio” I perform in the traditional sense regularly is riding my bicycle, as it is my main mode of transportation. I average around 100 miles a week in the spring and summer time here and probably spend more time on that thing than off. Otherwise, I am training my cardiovascular system every time I train thanks to my workouts being performed at high intensity

            Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:

            Find a style of fitness that you find fun! If you hate to run it is very unlikely that you will stick to running a few times a week. Try different types of classes, workout alone or with friends, experiment with active activities in order to find something that best suits you. There is no ONE “right” way – don’t let anyone allow you to feel that there is. Regardless of how you choose to train, STAY consistent! That is ultimately the key to success in anything in life. Hard work & dedication.

            Do you have any other things you would like to say?(Comments, suggestions, etc)?:

            Remember that your life is yours and yours alone. You can shape it into any direction you choose – make it what you want.

            Do you find ‘PetiteFi’ inspiring? Do you have any other questions for her? Do you think you have what it takes to be featured on my blog? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

            Workout: Outside Body Weight Workout 4/6/13

            When traveling, sometimes it is hard to really find the time and place to get in a good workout. Today we experienced exactly that. DO NOT LET THIS BE AN EXCUSE TO DO NOTHING!!!!! Right now I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the weather could not have been more perfect for a workout. With little time and little equipment, my fellow cast members and I put together a quick circuit training workout that we could do outside just using our body weight. All you need to perform this workout is a bench, wall, or other object that is a foot or two off the ground. Here it is:

            Alec Varcas Circuit Training

            20 pushups
            20 tricep dips
            15 burpees
            15 box jumps
            10 squats
            60 second plank hold
            Sprint around the pool

            We did this circuit 5 times!

            The goal was to do this as fast as possible with very little breaks. It doesn’t sound too hard when you read through the workout, but once you get your heart rate going and you really push yourself to finish quickly, you will definitely SWEAT and your muscles will be screaming!

            TIPS:
            1. If you have never done any of these workouts, please do proper research and make sure your form is correct and safe! I will be posting some techniques for these workouts in the near future, so keep an eye out.
            2. Circuit Training workouts are great to do with a group of friends. Seeing others push themselves hard, only makes me want to push my limits too. Plus if you are competitive, you can see who is able to finish the workout first!
            3. BRING WATER! Circuit training can be very hard and if you do not hydrate, you are chancing dehydration which is never a good thing!
            4. Push yourself. If you find this workout too easy, make it harder! You can add 10 more pushups, 10 more box jumps, 10 more squats, or even add more workouts to the circuit!

            After this workout I realized that I did have a little more time so I also did 3 sets of:
            20 belt kicks
            60 second side plank holds on each side
            40 power squats
            30 pushups

            All of these workouts together make up a great, quick full body workout. I usualy like to focus on one or two muscle groups a day, but it is great to mix it once in a while. Circuit training provides great cardio while also building and toning your muscles.

            Do you have any circuits you like to do? Sent them to me! Maybe I will try them out and post them :-). Do you have any other questions? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.