Sunday, November 23, 2008

Death by Truck Ramp!

As you probably know by now, I'm an outspoken critic of most traditional forms of cardiovascular training. One of my blogs, 10 Reasons I Don't Do Aerobics, caused quite a furor, overloading my mailbox with missives from both nay-sayers and supporters. The exercise physiologists (whose livelihood depends on convincing us this exercise is so important) were hands-down the most upset.

Yet people in the physiology community conduct experiments and studies because their positions require they "publish or perish". These studies are typically run by students (as part of their education and training) and are, for the most part, unsupervised. To meet their deadlines, the students may fudge the data, as students will. I'll say it: Most of the studies conducted are worthless.

So, if you can't trust science, who can you trust? Old school trainers, who've been in the field a long time, have tons of in-the-ditches experience and empirical data about what does and doesn't work. Guys like myself ain't gonna have jobs for long if they aren't consistently producing good results for their clientele! As I travel across the country in my little RV, I have the opportunity to meet with like-minded individuals running gyms based on the same principles I espouse. I hear story after story of clients abandoning what passes as mainstream fitness to start training anew with the exercise models I preach--with terrific results! What passes for training, even personal training, in most gyms is for the most part, utterly worthless.

Most people haven't the access to some of these cutting-edge, alternative gyms, like Gym Jones, Monkey Bar Gym, Maxercise, Recreate Fitness and Prime Physique. These are five examples of phenomenal venues producing the fat loss and fitness gains most people desire.

But you don't need any gym at all!
With the phenomenon that is online personal training you can benefit from the decades of personal training and coaching experience of hard boiled trainers like myself and your home (no matter what or where that may be!) becomes your gym--no membership required! You'll become one of the growing numbers of people realizing most gyms aren't even conducive to hard-core beneficial training. In fact, the required exercises are typically discouraged in such gyms!

Some of my--and my young assistant's--most tremendous workouts were completed out-of-doors while traveling cross-country. Obviously, this requires a fair amount of creativity on the part of the ol' Coach, who surveys the terrain and sees a workout opportunity at every turn...and every turn-out!

When I look out the window and see a construction site, I see not building materials but odd objects needing to be lifted. When I spy boulder fields and scree along the mountainside, it's a world of large, smooth stones to shoulder. Roadside warning signs? Forget 'em, I see only the sandbags anchoring the signs, hogging all that gravity! Public parks and rest stops? I possess the uncanny ability to ferret out the pull-up opportunity, using everything from swing sets to picnic kiosk cross beams, tree limbs...and the odd stall bar in the men's washroom.

Often, these workouts are impromptu, spur-of-the-moment affairs. One such workout introduced itself on the drive from Salt Lake City to Portland. As we were climbing a picturesque mountain range, I espied a runaway trunk ramp. A thing of beauty, I tell you! My teen assistant, who'd
already been chauffeuring me a number of hours, was getting feisty and in need of a break. We pulled alongside the runaway ramp and Lil 't quickly donned her workout togs with my gentle--yet persuasive--prodding, heh.

Teresa loves a good workout, and physical exertion in general, thus she's made great progress under the Coach's tutelage and finds herself now, at 40+, in the best physical condition of her life.

One of the most results-producing cardio, and fat burning, exercises are hill sprints. The trunk ramp, though daunting, was the perfect venue for this unparalleled expression of fat combustion...providing actual runaway trucks are as uncommon as we hoped! Although a runaway truck would bring the motivation to a whole new level!

After a warm-up of the Maxwell Daily Dozen, Teresa sprinted from the bottom, as far up the ramp as she could, in 45-seconds. She noted the spot she hit each time I called out the time, then she'd return to the bottom of the hill and immediately perform an upper body exercise to balance the tremendous leg, hip, hamstring workout she was getting during those arduous uphill sprints. It didn't take long in that thin mountain air to get Teresa a-panting like a puppy dog.

Despite the chill (and the fact that she opted for minimalist workout attire) there was a thin veneer of sweat on that silky skin and the ol' Coach felt stirrings as he ogled his assistant!

The workout went like this:

10 sprints, coupled with 10 upper body exercises:

2 pushes
2 pulls
4 core
2 combination push-pulls


1) hill sprint, 45-sec/ return, 45-sec
a) Hindu Push-Ups, on push-up board
2) hill sprint, 45-sec/ return, 45-sec
b) Jungle Gym Rows
3) hill sprint, 45-sec/ return, 45-sec
c) Chatturanga (yoga-style)Push-Ups
4) hill sprint, 45-sec/ return, 45-sec
d) Curl Grip Rows
5) hill sprint, 45-sec/ return, 45-sec
e) Full Sit-Ups, non-anchored
6) hill sprint, 45-sec/ return, 45-sec
f) Continuous Clean & Press with boulder
7) hill sprint, 45-sec/return, 45-sec
g) Alternating Elbow-to-Knee
8) hill sprint, 45-sec/ return, 45-sec
h) Continous Clean & Press w/ boulder
9) hill sprint, 45-sec/ return, 45-sec
i) Elbow Plank then Side Elbow Plank, L/R
10) hill sprint, 45-sec/ return, 45-sec
j) Elephant Walk Outs

This was a fantastic workout requiring no equipment and though enhanced with a Jungle Gym and Push-Up board, they are by no means required.

We hit all parameters of fitness. There was a great deal of athleticism involved, including the anti-aging boon of utilizing those all-important fast-twitch muscle fibers, along with the upper body, core and back work most every woman so badly needs.

Compare this workout to the average woman's gym hour spent mindlessly running the treadmill or stairmaster, plugged into the excess inputs of television or iPod all the while shuffling along at a pitiful pace, burning a pitiful number of calories and deprived of any muscle strengthening benefit whatsoever. If she does any weight training at all, it's ridiculous movements,
with light loads, in bad form, copying some silly, body-building or Shape magazine-style workout.

In this extreme high-intensity workout, your lady friend can hit every parameter of fitness in less than 40 min and continue to burn fat for hours later. Not to mention the effect of the altitude! This is one of thousands of versions of this type of workout I provide to my online clients--and they're seeing their hard-won results.

The only equipment you really need is some type of pull-up bar, a Jungle Gym, Push-Up board and a few kettlebells.
Some luxuries include:

You can get everything you've ever wanted in the realm of the physical body with this simple list. Combat athletes will want to add clubs, mace and climbing rope...and a sledgehammer!

The above can be purchased on even a modest budget, often second-hand.

Do yourself a favor: get out of the gym and get out in nature. Stop the ridiculous, marathon gym routines. Forget the aerobics, they're a waste of time. Start working out in a productive way.

In Strength & Health!

Coach Steve

P.S. I'd like to announce the sale of my Gladiator Seminar DVD! Coach Zach Even-Esh and myself provide more than eight hours of instruction to help you come up with your own creative, innovative and revolutionary ideas for your own unique training regimen. Imagine: two of this country's leading fitness coaches right in your own garage sharing the outstanding information presented in this seminar. It's the next best thing to having been there in person. I don't kid you: there's nothing like hands-on BUT this DVD package comes close!


Wild Geese said...

Well, well, another classy post.

I have a female client who after arriving to the gym one morning found it closed (the blokey had slept in) I suggested we retire to the park and use the kids playground.
After looking at me like I was nuts, she then agreed.

That was months ago, she now requests to train in the park, is dissapointed when I don't pack the sandbag and tells all her mates about what she does.

She was carrying, throwing and doing loads with approximaelt 30kg's of sand (i've never weighed the bag), she's working up to doing an unnassisted chin (not bad for a skinny triathlete) and has done George Herbertesgue straight line assaultcourse drills.
One of here favorites is to carry the sandbag supersetting with burpees.

Before reading Steve's stuff, I'd only train myself this way, but more recently I've been advocating it more and more, esecially during the winter months (it's actually drier in Ireland during the winter).

Keep on inspiring


Anonymous said...

As always, awesome post. Now that is cold out here on the East Coast, I really hate training indoors unless I absolutely have to. IMO, there is nothng more refreshing and exhilarating than an outdoor workout. The natural light from the sun on a perfect day really enhances even the toughest session.

I will try that routine you outlined, but will sub stairs for the hills. Thanks!