By Ken “SGT Ken®” Weichert

“Your struggle today is your strength tomorrow.”

Our Little League Baseball team kneeled in front of me for some encouraging words after a difficult loss last Saturday. Some looked sad and others frustrated, but all were desperately seeking some sort of approval for the their extraordinary efforts during the game and guidance for the way ahead.

These 9-year-old boys experienced more than several strikeouts and missed catches today. This was a life learning experience for every player, as well as a moment for me as their Head Coach to strengthen their self-esteem and show them how to turn an obstacle into an opportunity.

I told them a short story about how I was on a Pop Warner football team that lost every game of the season, even though we had a young but already tremendously talented Deion Sanders on our starting lineup. The next season we won all but two games. The season after that, we were undefeated and won the championship.

We turned our setbacks into comebacks.

I continued, “There are two things that can happen to you when you face an obstacle of any kind, fall apart or bounce back.”

I paused and looked at them intently before asking, “When you bounce back, do you bounce back to where you were before.”

One player said profoundly, “No. You learn from what you face in life.”

“Exactly! What you go through, your GROW through. That’s resilience.”

“You can either let this game make you bitter…or better. Which will you choose?” I asked.

“BETTER!” They responded.

“Your parents and Coaches know that you all want to be great at this sport. Hear me when I say that being great does not mean to be better than anyone else – it means to be better than you used to be. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. All we ask is that you do your best to be better every day.” I said.

“We suggest that you strengthen your sports-specific skills whenever and wherever you can, and not just at our practice sessions. Perform your exercises and technical drills 5-6 days a week because proper preparation provides peak performance. Make mobility and movement mastery a part of your life.” I said.

“The bottom line is that life does not give you what you want – it gives you what you deserve. And what you deserve, is what you work for and earn.”

“Yes, Coach!” They responded.

Pushing for Power with the World as Your Playground

Former National Football League (NFL) running back, Emmitt Smith, was known for performing quick and explosive workouts that required little or no use of exercise equipment. We can learn a lot from his example. His physical strength, power and endurance helped him lead the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories (1993, 1994 and 1996) and he is ranked #1 in the all-time rushing leader list with 18,355 yards.

Smith once said, “All men are created equal. Some work harder in preseason.”

Smith made mobility training and personal fitness a daily way of life. Wherever he felt like exercising, immediately became his power-building playground.

Whether you are stuck at work with little time to jump into the gym or at home with the kids safely asleep, perform the following fitness quick fix to win the war against unwanted weight gain:

CHAMPION’S CHALLENGE

 WARM-UP PHASE

 Calisthenics: Perform 4-6 minutes of calisthenics, such as running in-place, Side-Straddle-Hops “Jumping Jacks” or jumping rope in order to warm-up the body.

Dynamic stretching: Perform 2-4 minutes of dynamic flexibility exercises, such as Knee Lifts, Hip Stretches, Leg Lifts and Shoulder Rotations.

 WORKOUT PHASE, ROUND ONE

Squats

Primary Muscles Targeted: Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius

 Start: Stand upright, feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward and hands at your sides.

Actions: Lower your body by bending both knees until you reach 90 degrees of knee flexion with your hips moving backward as if sitting on a chair. Maintain your weight directly over your heels or mid-foot. While you lower your body, raise your arms upward until level with your shoulders, palms facing inward. Return to the start position. Continue until your goal is reached. Inhale through your nose as you lower your body and exhale through your mouth as you return to the start position.

Basic: 10 repetitions

Intermediate: 20 repetitions

Advanced: 30 repetitions

Extreme: 40 repetitions, with a backpack or weight vest

Note: Advanced athletes may choose to hold a medicine ball, kettle bell, dumbbell, or any kind of light-medium weight in their hands while performing the exercise.

 Lunges (Split Squat)

 Primary Muscles Targeted: Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius, hip flexors

 Start: Start with your left leg on the ground straight in front of you with your left knee slightly bent. Place your right leg straight behind you, balancing on the ball of your right foot. Your upper body is upright with your hands on your hips.

Actions: Lower your body, both knees bending until your forward leg achieves 90-degrees of knee flexion. Maintain your balance in the center. Return to the start position. Continue until your goal is reached. Switch sides and continue. Inhale through your nose as you lower your body and exhale through your mouth as you return to the start position.

 Amplification note: Start from a standing position and lunge forward as you lower your body with each repetition. You can add a torso rotation by twisting your upper body to the left as you step forward with the left foot and twist to the right as you step forward with the right foot.

 Basic: 10 repetitions (each side)

Intermediate: 20 repetitions (each side)

Advanced: 30 repetitions (each side)

Extreme: 40 repetitions, with a backpack or weight vest (each side)

Note: Advanced athletes may choose to hold a medicine ball, kettle bell, dumbbell or any kind of light-medium weight in their hands while performing the exercise.

Vertical Leg Crunches

Primary Muscles Targeted: Rectus Abdominus, Transverse Abdominus

Start: Lay down on your back (supine) on a soft flat surface, arms straight and against the sides of your body, palms on the ground. Elevate your legs and align your feet and knees with your hips, feet flexed. Raise your arms and point your fingers toward your toes. Keep a slight bend in your knees.

Actions: Tighten your abdominal muscles and raise your upper body, reaching your fingers toward your toes. Return to the start position.  Continue until your goal is reached. Exhale through your mouth as you reach upward and inhale through your nose as you return to the start position.

Basic: 20 repetitions

Intermediate: 40 repetitions

Advanced:  60 repetitions

Extreme: 80 repetitions

Push-ups

Primary Muscles Targeted: Anterior and Medial Deltoids, Triceps, Pectorals

Start: Balance your body on your hands and feet with your back and legs forming a straight line. Maintain a neutral spine, feet together or up to 12 inches apart, hands shoulder-width apart, legs and arms straight.

Actions: While keeping your abdominal muscles tight, lower your body straight down by bending both elbows until your upper arms become parallel with the ground. Return to the start position and repeat. Inhale through your nose as you lower your body and exhale through your mouth as you return to the start position.

Basic: 15 repetitions

Intermediate: 30 repetitions

Advanced: 60 repetitions

Extreme: More than 60 repetitions, with a backpack or weight vest on

 Squat, Push-up and Jump Drill

 Primary Muscles Targeted: Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius

 Start: Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, hands at your sides, and palms facing inward.

 Actions:

  1. A) Squat until your knees bend 90-degrees and hips move back as if sitting on a chair. Maintain your weight directly over the middle of your feet and heels. Keep your knees aligned with your feet.
  2. B) Reach downward with your arms and place your hands on the ground slightly in front of your feet.
  3. C) Thrust your legs back to a “push-up” position, back and legs forming a straight line, arms straight and head facing forward. Lower your body by bending both elbows until your upper arms are parallel with the ground.
  4. D) Return the to start position and jump vertically as high as you can, arms extended overhead. Continue until your goal is reached.

Modification note: Omit the push-up and perform the Squat-Thrust-Jump only.

 Basic: 10 repetitions

Intermediate: 20 repetitions

Advanced: 30 repetitions

Extreme: 40 repetitions, with a backpack or weight vest

Note: Advanced athletes may choose to hold a medicine ball, kettle bell, dumbbell, or any kind of light-medium weight in their hands while performing the exercise.

COOL-DOWN PHASE

Dynamic or Static Flexibility: Perform 2-4 minutes of dynamic or static flexibility exercises.

Remarks:

  1. MUSCLE TARGETING: Perform these exercises in the specific order given to achieve an athletic conditioning strategy called “muscle targeting” (often referred to as “complimentary exercise choices”). This is where you perform two or more consecutive exercises in the same area of the body to promote muscle fatigue or muscle failure before transitioning to the next section. When transitioning to the next section, you gradually ascend (or descend) along the kinetic chain of the body with each exercise in order to engage more muscle activity.

Example: While performing the Lunge or Split Squat (#2), your primary focus is to engage the legs, hips and gluteal muscles with secondary and stabilization focus on the abdominals. Once complete, your next designated exercise is the Vertical Leg Crunch (#3). The primary focus with the Vertical Leg Crunch is the abdominal muscles, with secondary and stabilization focus on the hips and legs. This means that the primary focus on Lunges became the secondary focus on the Vertical Leg Crunch. This gradual shift allows for sustained muscular engagement in the same area of the body, which results in high volume output.

  1. BREAKS DURING AN EXERCISE: You may take breaks while attempting to complete your exercise repetition goal, providing that the breaks are no longer than 30 seconds each.
  2. BREAKS BETWEEN EXERCISES: Perform each exercise in sequence and allow no more than 2 minutes break in between each exercise.
  3. EXTREME CONDITIONING (SUPERSETTING): To superset, perform little or no break between exercises.

Equipment Needed:

None

Stamina Stopwatch

The Stamina Stopwatch includes the timing estimates for each set of the Champion’s Challenge (does not include the 6-min warm-up and 4-min cool-down).

Quick Fix: 1 full set of 4 rounds = approximately 20 minutes
Double Tap: 2 full sets of 4 rounds = approximately 40 minutes
Triple Threat: 3 full sets of 4 rounds = approximately 60 minutes

Author’s notes:
Warning
: Always seek the advice and guidance of a qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have prior to commencing a fitness program. This article should not be relied on or substituted for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. The exercises presented are for suggestion only. Participate at your own risk. Stop if you feel faint or shortness of breath.

Champion’s Challenge

(6-min warm-up, 20-min workout at 4 rounds, 4-min cool-down = 30 min total)

Download a PDF of the Champions Challenge.

Note: If you don’t have 30 minutes to conduct the entire workout at once, split the rounds up throughout the day.

  1. Program Target: Muscular strength, power and endurance, and aerobic conditioning
  2. Program Type: High-volume Interval Training (HVIT) involves performing a series of exercises at no more than 75% output during a workout at intervals of 60 seconds or up to four minutes, where each drill is followed by a period of rest. This work-to-recovery cycle is repeated several times throughout the workout with the intent to improve overall endurance. Note: Some concerns are being able integrate adequate recovery periods to help sustain optimum performance.
  3. Program Format: Free Circuit fitness training involves performing a series of exercises at different stations for a uniform measure of repetitions during each round, with little to no rest between stations. The objective is to perform the exercises or obstacles as quickly as possible with the intent to achieve the lowest total time for the entire event. An obstacle course is an example of a free-style circuit. Note: Some concerns are being able integrate adequate recovery periods to help sustain optimum performance. Other concerns are the potential risk of injury associated with a compromise of proper by performing each drill too fast or beyond personal ability.
  4. Program option: AMRAP (As Many Repetitions As Possible) during each 60-second exercise interval.

Come join us for the Boot Camp Instructor Certification Course:

  • 26 May 2019, 9:00am-5:00pm, Session #4002, canfitpro EAST in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 14 August 2019, 8:00am-4:00pm, Session #4002, canfitpro 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

We are ready to help you create clarity in your purpose so you can see the opportunity in your practice.

Feel free to reach out with any questions that you may have at sgtken@sgtken.com.

Hooah!
SGT KEN®

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