07-14-2015

Strength Training Workout For Mud Runs

As I mentioned yesterday, I ran a mud run/obstacle course race this past weekend…and it was awesome! It was the Rugged Maniac in New Jersey, but they have locations all over the country and in Canada as well. If you find one near you, definitely try it out. I’m going to go into a detailed recap later this week and add in reasons why you should do it. I noticed yesterday a lot of you said you’re nervous about injuries…so was I! But still…you should do one ;)

The day after my race I was actually surprised at how sore I was. I consider myself in decent shape, though I know I’ve lost muscle and strength in the past few months. My arms were really sore after the race and my quads. Weird! So today I wanted to share a strength training workout specifically for those who might be training for a mud run.

These races are a lot of pulling yourself up and over things, squatting, crawling, etc. So those are the types of moves I focused on.

Try this workout if you're training for a mud run or obstacle course race!

As always, do A1, A2 first, then move on. Perform each exercise for 3 sets of 15 reps. So do A1 15 times, then A2 15 times, then repeat 2 more times before moving on to the B exercises. Okay here we go:

  • A1: Lat pull downs (Reason? Strength for pulling yourself up on obstacles like wall climbs)
  • A2: Push ups (Reason? Chest and shoulder strenght for those barbed wire crawls)
  • B1: Squat hold (Hold for 60 sec. Reason? Some obstacles require you to go through it in a crouched or squatting position…talk about quad burn!)
  • B2: Negative pulls ups (Reason? Monkey bar or rings – where you need to use upper body strength to cross. Negative pull ups help build up strength so you can do unassisted pull ups. Start at the top of the bar, and take 3-5 seconds to lower yourself down SLOWLY. Use a box to boost yourself up to the top of the bar, repeat)
  • C1: Walking lunges (Reason? You need quad and glute strength for all that hill running you’ll be doing!)
  • C2: Inverted row (Reason? More upper body/pull strength)
  • CORE: Planks, walking planks, any type of moving planks. (Reason? A lot of crawling is involved in mud runs, so planks/moving planks are good practice)

I was so tired during the barbed wire crawls because I know my core strength is lacking. I ended up rolling myself under them instead of crawling LOL.

What exercises would you add? 

If injury wasn’t an issue, would you try a mud run? 

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03-24-2015

Quick Hamstring and Glute Workout

After a run, I really don’t feel like lifting. I know it’s a problem, and I should probably start splitting up my workouts (lift in the AM, run in the PM), but for now, I have been doing quick strength workouts post-run.

I did this one yesterday and really liked it. I wanted to focus on legs, especially hamstrings and glutes, which is why I named this a posterior chain workout.

We know that runners, and people who sit a lot throughout the day in general, are prone to weak glutes and hamstrings. That’s why working on your core is so important…and these two muscle groups are part of your core!

While doing lunges, squats, step-ups etc. does hit your hamstrings a bit, those mainly target quads and glutes. By not doing hamstring specific work, you’re setting yourself up for an imbalance. 

Here are a few facts about your hamstrings that I found here:

The role the hamstring plays in running is twofold:

1. when a runner’s leg is in the air advancing forward, the hamstrings control how quickly the knee extends and the hip flexes;

2. when the runner’s foot hits the ground, the hamstrings will do the reverse and flex the knee and extend the hip. This is a key distinction because the hamstring muscles must quickly transition from one role to another once the foot strikes the ground. It is during this transitional period that injuries frequently occur.

So this workout is one you’ll definitely feel throughout your back side…and I threw in the windmills for a little oblique action as well, though even those I felt in my hamstrings too! 

If you don’t have access to do cable kickbacks, you can do kneeling kickbacks (get on all fours, kick your straight leg up into the air, focus on a slow, controlled motion). 

Here’s the workout, and keep reading for video instructions if you need them!

Hamstring & Glute Workout
Cable kickbacks:

Kettlebell windmills:

Kettlebell swings *good form is important for this, so watch this whole video!*

Read more tips and cues from personal trainer Annie Brees in regards to the kettlebell swing…it’s a great exercise and if you can only do one thing after a run, I’d definitely suggest this!

I did this workout yesterday after an 800s repeat treadmill workout, and then finished up with a good stretch and sauna session. Stay tuned for another workout I’ll post on Thursday that focuses on your quads…remember, it’s all about balance!

Do you lift after a run? Or split up your workouts?

Do you prefer working on your quads or hamstrings? I love doing heavy deadlifts!

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03-11-2015

Full Body 30 Minute Workout Part 2

A few weeks ago, I posted a full body 30 minute workout. It got good feedback, so I wanted to post one more as I continue working on my fitness eBook which will be a 9-12 week program with workouts similar to this. This one is a bit more complicated than the first one in terms of exercises involved, so below the image I will explain each one and put in a video tutorial if needed. Keep reading below for my full instructions:

30 Minute Full Body Workout
 AMRAP means as many rounds as possible. So in the first set of exercises, you’re going through and repeating them until your watch hits 30 minutes. Take a 1-2 minute break, then continue onto the next set of exercises. You should get in 2-3 sets in each group of exercises.

Okay so let’s explain the exercises:

Split squats + overhead press: You’ll be doing 10 split squats per leg, with the dumbbells stacked on your shoulders. As you come up, you will press up. Similar to a squat and press. Here’s my split squat tutorial:

Pushups with shoulder taps: You do a normal pushup, and when you come up you tap each shoulder with the opposite hand. Sounds easy but trust me, it makes this exercise even harder.

Side to side burpees: Usual burpees but instead of jumping straight back, you jump out to one side, jump in and up, then jump out to the other side.

Single leg deadlift + row: This is a typical single leg deadlift with a dumbbell, but when you get into the bottom part of the exercise (when your back leg is up), you will do a single arm row, then come back to standing and repeat. This is a great exercise for runners because you’re working on your hamstring and glute strength AND balance.

Tricep dips with leg raised: You will do 10 tricep dips with one leg raised straight out in front of you, then switch legs and do 10. You can do this on the floor or with your hands behind you on a bench to make it more challenging.

Donkey kicks: Another one that looks easy but is a killer cardio exercise and you’ll feel the shoulder burn! You don’t need to have your arms elevated like she does, but it’s a good modification if you need it to be a bit easier for you. If your wrists are an issue, hold dumbbells in your hands so your wrists are in a more neutral position.

Curtsy lunge + kick: Pretty self explanatory. Do a curtsy lunge then as you come up kick your leg out. Do 10 on each side then switch. You can add weight to this exercise to make it harder.

Half and half bicep curls: Start with the dumbbells up by your shoulders (elbows bent), lower half way, then bring back up. Do this 10 times. THEN, start with the dumbbells down (elbows straight), curl up half way and lower 10 times.

Commando burpees: Normal burpees but when you get down on the ground, you will go from on your hands to plank position, then back up.

Side plank with DB reach under: Get into side plank position, then with the dumbbell, reach under yourself, then bring the dumbbell up towards the ceiling. A bit hard to explain:

Dumbbell pull-over: This is a good lat workout (sides of your back) and a core workout. Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle with feet up in the air. As you drop the weight behind you, focus on engaging your core and pressing your lower back into the floor. Here she demonstrates the pull-over portion of the exercise. With your feet elevated it makes it more of a core exercise.

Reverse plank: Instead of facing the floor you’re facing the ceiling. Hold it. You’ll feel it in your hamstrings, glutes and core. Bring it down to your elbows to make it more challenging.

I know that’s a lot of YouTube videos but I wanted to make sure you knew how to do each exercise and it wasn’t confusing! This is a full body workout that will have you sweating for sure…and it’s only 30 minutes! 

If you try it out, please let me know! I loved hearing back from people about their thoughts on the previous workout I posted. Stay tuned for my eBook which will have a workout plan with workouts like these so you can get fit in just 30 minutes per day :)

Do you add in cardio to your strength routines, or do them separately?

What are your favorite cardio exercises in a circuit routine? I love to hate burpees!

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03-03-2015

5 Mile Treadmill Workout

I’ve been doing this treadmill workout recently because I cannot do steady pace runs on the “dreadmill” for the life of me. I GET SO BORED. Props to all you training for a spring marathon on the treadmill. 5 miles is about my limit.

So I made up an interval type run that focused on speed with some hills thrown in, which really helps pass the time. I actually had a really good 4 mile treadmill run yesterday thanks to this workout.

Anyway, here’s my 5 mile treadmill workout:

5 Mile Treadmill Workout
Something I like to do on the hill intervals is speed up for 15 seconds at the end. So if I’m running 45 seconds at 7.0 speed, in the last few seconds I’ll lower the incline back down but then crank it up to around 7.5 and run that for 15 seconds before I take that one minute break. I think that helps with feeling stronger on hills in races, because you’ll be trained to speed up at the top once it flattens out as opposed to slowing down or walking.

You can play around with how many of those 2 minute intervals you want to do or at what pace. Same with the hills. With the hill intervals, just pick something you can hold for 1 minute for the first one (challenging but not TOO challenging), and that last interval should really be killer for 30 seconds.

Let me know if you try this out, I always like hearing feedback!

What types of treadmill workouts do you do? Are you able to just do steady state runs?

Some of you have suggested podcasts instead of music…if you listen to podcasts please leave me some suggestions!

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02-04-2015

No Excuses, Full Body 30 Minute Workout

I’ve been experimenting with and creating my own strength workouts lately. I wanted something my mom and I could do 3 times a week for 30 minutes. This will be perfect for when we start running more and don’t feel like spending an hour or more at the gym. I’m planning on creating an ebook of these workouts, along with video how-tos for the exercises. You do a different, full-body workout 3 times per week for 4 weeks before the plan changes. Let me tell ya…I have been feeling sore lately!

This type of workout is different for me because I’ve always focused on lifting heavier and not tracking my rest periods. On upper body days I remember feeling like I hadn’t really worked out at all.

This workout is 30 minutes…which sounds short, but you’ll be dripping in sweat like I have been. You only need a set of dumbbells. You get a 1 minute break in between each group of exercises before moving on to the next. You’ll hit every major muscle group and it includes cardio/plyo moves. 

I’ll explain more below:

30 Minute Total Body Workout
Although I say “AMRAP” I don’t mean that you should be flying through each thing trying to get as many reps as possible. Go through each exercise as you would in any normal workout…the key thing is focusing on your form.

I have been using 10 pound dumbbells for my workouts, though I’d suggest a lighter pair and a heavier pair. For example, you might need heavier weights for DB (dumbbell) squats.

Each week, you should be improving. So the first week I could only do 2 rounds of the first group, then the second week I got 2 rounds + the first exercise done. If you feel you can up your weights the next week, do so. You should be struggling for those last few reps, not blowing through each exercise.

Hmm…trying to think of what else to tell you about this workout…I know once I click publish I’m going to remember stuff!

With 1 minute breaks after each group, it’s a 28 minute workout. If you need longer than a 1 minute break, take it, and see if the following week you can cut down your rest time. 

When I wrote up my workouts, I figured, this won’t be that hard…I’ve lifted with barbells before, psh, lunges with dumbbells is a piece of cake! Nope, I was dripping with sweat and so sore the next day. Having each round be timed is what really challenged me, and has helped me lose 5 lbs in the 2 weeks I’ve been following my plan.

This is an example of what the workouts in my future ebook will be like…now I just have to sit down and write it/create videos! :)

Edited to add: I’m linking this post up to the Wild Workout Wednesday link-up. If you have a workout to share, join in!

If you try this, please leave a comment or tweet me with your feedback, I’d love to hear it as I work on creating more workouts.

What’s your favorite way to lift weights? Slow and heavy? Circuit style? Or mix it up?

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01-21-2015

Do-Anywhere Leg Workout For Runners

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been doing more circuit based workouts recently, which include single leg movements and plyometric movements. As I was working out, I thought, these exercises are perfect for runners. 

As runners, we spend most of our time on one leg…so it makes sense to do single leg training. I love step-ups, lunges, single leg hip raises, etc. and include those in my own training plans I make for my cross country team.

Before I get into the workout, here is one of my favorite exercises: reverse lunge into single leg deadlift. It’s working on your hip stabilizing muscles, core, hamstrings, glutes and quads…what more can you ask for?? It’s okay if you’re wobbly (like I am in this video). Start with no weights then add in dumbbells.

 

A video posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


Cues:

  • Keep your chest up and shoulders back throughout the movement.
  • When you go into the deadlift, hinge at your hips and bring your back leg up as high as you can as you squeeze your glutes.
  • When you’re not using weights, reach out in front of you a bit with your hands. Place a low box in front of you and touch that with your fingers, then come back up and into reverse lunge. When you start using dumbbells, lower dumbbells straight down (not out in front) so you’re not placing pressure on your lower back.

It’s a bit challenging, especially for someone with lack of balance like me, but it really is a great exercise for runners to work on!

And here is my do-anywhere leg workout for runners:

Leg Workout For Runners
So you do the first group of exercises for 5 minutes straight, take a break, then repeat. Then move onto the next set. Or you could do the first group, break, second group, break, and go back to the first group.

With reverse lunge with knee raise I mean step back into a lunge, and when you step back forward left your knee up so it’s at a 90 degree angle, balance for a second, then go back into reverse lunge. Let’s work on our balance people! :)

What are your favorite leg exercises you can do anywhere? Or balance exercises…because I need those!

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11-05-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

I feel like I say this every Wednesday but this year is flying by!! How are Christmas decorations already up?? Dan and I are debating on getting a Christmas tree…I personally think it’s a hassle and am not super gung-ho on Christmas decorating, so we’ll see ;)

Okay here are some great links for you to read today!

Featured: Quick (better than nothing) Treadmill Workout – Comfy Confident

Quick-Treadmill-Workout

 

Sometimes, you only have 20 minutes. But that’s still better than nothing. This is a great treadmill workout to try out. I’d probably also add in some different inclines if you want to make it even more challenging!

Do you run outside in the winter or resort to the treadmill? Or not run at all? Because last winter I didn’t run whatsoever :-P

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10-22-2014

Add Pull Exercises To Your Routine

Chances are, if you’re like me, you sit at a desk for the majority of your day. This can wreak havoc on your posture and muscles. I wrote once about posture tips in the office, but today I want to talk about what you can do at the gym to help your posture.

Something I learned when I first starting personal training in 2010 was in regards to exercises we do that can either help or end up making our posture worst. Pull exercises are the #1 that can help you maintain better posture (I feel like I already typed posture 10 times and I’m only 2 paragraphs in).

Add These Back Workouts To Your Routine

Most people do push exercises when they’re at the gym, or do a combo of push and pull exercises.

Push exercises include: push-ups, bench press/any type of press

Pull exercises include: pull-ups, rows, pull-downs

I know that banging out a few bench press reps makes you feel awesome and hardcore, but it may not be the best thing for your posture. When you sit at a desk all day, chances are you’re probably hunched over, at least a little bit. That means your shoulders are rounded forward, and as time goes on, they stay like that. Your pectoral muscles get tight, and doing more bench press reps just ends up making it worse…meaning then your shoulders are hunched over, and the vicious cycle continues.

That’s why I suggest doing more pull exercises than push exercises. I rarely even do push exercises to be honest. I’d rather work on my back anyway, which is one of your largest muscle groups. I also have horrible posture so I know going for a bench press PR won’t help me (though I did try this winter haha).

Doing anything that involves pulling will work your back muscles, which is good for a few reasons.

  1. Working a large muscle group like your back means you’re burning more calories, before and after the workout.
  2. Your back muscles are what keeps your posture up and also pulls your shoulders back. A strong back will help correct posture imbalances.

When you start doing more back workouts, just make sure you mix up horizontal pulls (seated row) and vertical pulls (lat pulldown).

MY FAVORITE PULL EXERCISES

Here are a few of my go-tos, and I wrote about more in a previous post as well:

Negative pull-ups

Can’t do a pull-up? No problem. Start with these. These are really tough but will make you stronger really quickly. This exercises focuses on your lats and biceps. Yeah you’re not actually PULLING yourself up but you’re working towards being able to do unassisted pull-ups (if that’s your goal)

Start with lowering in 5 seconds, and work your way up to 10 seconds (aka it takes you 10 seconds before your arms are straight again)

Seated row

I love seated row. It’s probably my favorite exercise and has really helped me build a stronger back. Make sure you sit with your chest up and shoulders back. Shoulders back always!! Pull in with force, then take 3 seconds to let the weight go again. Don’t rush through any of these exercises. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades as you pull in.

Cable row (Runners, add this to your routine!)

I just started doing this as I’ve been half marathon training and I believe it has really helped me running. Go to a cable machine, pull the cable out a bit and stand in a split stance. Leg that goes back matches with the arm holding the cable. As always, chest up, shoulders back and when you pull make sure to maintain that posture and don’t let your body turn in any way. Your torso should stay facing forward. Pull in with force, then slowly let it out.

She’s not standing in a split stance but her form cues are exactly what you need to be doing.

Why is this great for runners? Because it’s working on your arm strength specific to running. When you need power, what do you do? You pump your arms. You need that arm force. This exercises goes through that exact movement pattern, and as you get stronger you’ll have more power when you need that finishing kick.

To make it more challenging and add in a leg workout too, you can grab the cable, do a reverse lunge, and as you come up do the cable row.

So my main tip? Stop doing as much pushing and start pulling!

Do you do chest AND back exercises or tend to focus more on one?

What’s your favorite pull exercise?

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09-12-2014

The 10 Minute Leg Workout

My mom and I try to do strength training two times per week. We are training for a half marathon but also want to make sure we make time to lift as well. Some days we run beforehand and go to the gym after…so let’s face it, we really don’t want to be there for hours. We want to get in and get out.

So that’s why this past week we started incorporating this leg workout into our workout. It only takes 10 minutes when you do it for 3 sets. And trust me it’s not easy. Once you’re done, you now have more time to work on other body parts like back, arms, and especially core.

10-min-leg-workout

So you go through and do each exercise for 30 seconds, then take a 30 second rest. You do this for three sets. You need to make sure the weight is heavy enough. You should be getting 8-10 reps in those 30 seconds. If you’re doing more, then the weight is too light. I am always dripping in sweat after this workout!

Here’s a picture I posted on my Instagram showing the exercises (ignore my running splits, that was from my tempo run that day which was awesome!!) :

This workout targets all the major muscles in your legs, like glutes, quads and hamstrings. It’s great when you’re short on time or want to do something quick after a run.

Let me know if you try it out! What types of lifting do you do while you’re training for a race?

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09-09-2014

Quick Hill Interval Workout

Are you limited on time or just want a good finisher after a lifting workout? Then you have to try this hill interval workout I did yesterday!

My mom and I were sweating bullets once we were done, and it only took about 10 minutes (or maybe less). 

Doing hill sprints helps torch calories as well as make you stronger – which is a great thing if you’re a runner. Adding in hill intervals will help build speed, strength and endurance. 

Here’s the workout:

Hill Sprint Workout

Instructions:

  1. Warm up for 5-10 minutes. Obviously skip this step if you have been lifting or exercising prior to this and are using this as a finisher.
  2. Start running! Take a 1 minute break in between each interval. I like to walk or slow jog.
  3. Cool down & walk for 5 minutes once you’re done.

Like I said, perfect for when you’re short on time but want to get in a good sweat.

Do you like hill sprints? I know some people hate them but I love them. I also like hillier courses better than flatter race courses. How about you?

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