Football-Inspired Agility Workout

Source: Competitor.com

Source: Competitor.com

It’s fall racing season, and we’ve got one thing on our minds at Team LUNA Chix Portland Run (well, besides pumpkin spiced lattes and cozy sweaters): Getting faster.

Training to increase your foot turnover and develop explosive power can help increase running speed. Which is why we’ve taken a page from the football coach’s handbook and have been focusing on plyometrics and agility drills in practice lately.

Plus, let’s face it, sometimes it’s fun to add a few “toys” into training. But if you don’t want to invest in an agility ladder or speed hurdles, you can just as easily draw squares on asphalt with chalk and blow up a few balloons to use as hurdles that’ll pop if you happen to land on them the wrong way.

footballfield_agility drills workout

If you’re not familiar with the drills above (or a shuttle run), King Sports Training is a great resource for both agility ladder (here) and speed hurdle (here) drills. I use it as a reference when planning workouts — not only becasue they demonstrate the moves with videos, but they also explain the benefits of each.

Do you pull tidbits from other sports into your training? 
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Workout: ‘Fall Back’ Into Fitness This Season

FallBackIntoFitness

Has summer sidelined you from your usual fitness routine? Don’t beat yourself up; just recommit to making exercise a priority as you set your fall schedule.

Easier said than done, though, right? 

Well, give me 20 minutes, and I’ve got a fun way to help get you back on track. Perform this tabata-style routine a few times times a week, and you’ll set yourself up for better success by the time the holiday frenzy hits.

Or if you’ve been consistent over the past few months, this workout is also a great addition to your current regimen. Whether you’re short on time, need to switch up your routine or want improve endurance and speed, it’s one of the most efficient ways to burn fat and build lean muscle.

So set the timer, and get ready for what will likely feel like the longest four minutes of your life!

Are you revamping your fitness plans for fall?

The I’m-Having-So-Much-Fun-I-Forgot-I’m-Exercising Workout

IMG_7790

It’s become a joke this season on our Team LUNA Chix Portland Run team that it’s either scorching or pouring when we meet, so after several weeks of record-high temps I knew it was time to reach into my bag of tricks to get everyone motivated amid the malaise. We did this workout a few weeks ago, and it went over so well that I wanted to share it here.

Ever get one of those days where you’re just struggling to get that workout done? Whether it’s trying to get out the door or waffling on which type of exercise to do, this is the perfect way to fool your body into getting active when your brain’s not having any of it.

The I’m-Having-So-Much-Fun-I-Forgot-I’m-Exercising Workout

What you need: 

  • Deck of cards
  • Marker
  • Track or open place to do some running (at least 100 meters at a time)

What to do: 

  1. Make a list of body-weight exercises (think moves that can be done anywhere, anytime — planks, jumping jacks, squats, lunges, push-ups, etc.)
  2. Get a deck of cards, and write an exercise on each card (I wrote in numbers for face cards: Jacks = 11, Queens = 12, Kings = 13, Aces = 14)
  3. Give yourself a little something special for the Jokers (ours were “Run a lap”)
  4. Shuffle up the cards, divide them into four piles and place one pile every 100 meters along a track
  5. Start the timer, run to the first set of cards, grab a card off the top and do the exercises
  6. When you’re done with the exercises, place the card on the bottom of the set of cards and run 100 meters to the next pile
  7. Repeat until time is up!

We did 20 minutes for our workout, and when I gave the five-minute warning everyone was shocked at how quickly time had flown by.

Between the distraction of the run-exercise intervals and the element of surprise from the cards, I guarantee you’ll have a blast — and get a great full-body workout in the process.

Got any tips for tricking yourself into a workout when motivation’s flagging? 

Get Beach-Body Ready: Summer Sizzler Ab Workout

SummerSizzlerAbs

A strong core is always in season, so I created this quick and versatile body-weight ab routine that can be completed anywhere, anytime.

Customize it to suit your needs, whether it’s one set on your lunch break or a multiple-set, full-body workout with the addition of short bursts of cardio (warm-up, cool-down and in between sets).

Hint: As always, if you’re not familiar with some of the moves listed, simply Google the term, and you’ll be able to find a description or video of it in action.

And please remember to focus on quality of movement over speed for the best results!

What’s your favorite workout for getting beach-ready? 

Get Explosive: 4th of July Firecracker Workout

4thofJuly

Light up your 4th of July with a plyometric workout designed to build explosive power. Performing these moves regularly can help you increase your vertical jump, speed and strength, which directly translates to better athletic performance.

A few words of warning, though: Plyo work can be pretty intense, so don’t do this workout in the heat of the afternoon or with a full belly. Your heart rate will soar, you’ll work several muscles at once and you’ll torch calories…but the last thing you want to do is pass out or lose your lunch in the process.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a towel, some water and feel the burn before that big family BBQ!

4thofJulyFirecrackerWorkout

Hint: If you’re not familiar with some of the moves listed, simply Google the term, and you’ll be able to find a description or video of it in action.

And, as always, remember to go at your own pace and use proper form. Think quality over quantity!

Are you planning a special workout for the 4th or taking the holiday as a rest day?

Bright Idea: Summer Solstice Body-Weight Workout

Summer-Solstice-Stonehenge

It’s almost the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere (2015’s sumer solstice falls on June 21) where 15+ hours will pass between sunrise and sunset in parts of the U.S. and Canada.

That sounds, to me, like a great excuse to soak up the abundance of daylight and celebrate the start of summer than with an outdoor workout.

Round up your friends and family, and hit the local lake or beach for an hour of body-weight work while the kiddos can play!

Photo via BrendelSignature at English Wikipedia

Photo via BrendelSignature at English Wikipedia

Hint: If you’re not familiar with some of the moves listed, simply Google the term along with the word “exercise,” and you’ll be able to find a description or video of it in action.

And, as always, remember to perform the moves at a steady pace and use proper form!

How are you taking advantage of sunny days this summer?

Don’t Just Sit There: DIY Standing Desk

toon377

It’s funny how your body can speak volumes to someone without even saying a word.

Case in point: Every time I go in for a massage lately, my therapist gets stuck on my back. Or, rather, my back gets itself stuck, and then my massage therapist has to spend an hour convincing it to loosen up.

You see, working from home is a double-edged sword. Now I’m not complaining — my commute rocks, my workout-wear attire is comfy and my four-legged office-mates are pretty chill (unless they hear a knock at the door, then all bets are off). But the drawback is that sometimes the lack of ergonomics can be a pain in the neck — like, literally.

Some scary facts:

  • The moment you sit at your desk each morning, your calorie-burning rate immediately drops to one calorie per minute
  • Sit for six hours a day, 14 days straight: Muscles stop burning fat, blood sugar rises and maximum oxygen consumption drops.
  • After a year of sitting six hours per day, weight gain would be noticeable, as would higher cholesterol levels and loss of bone mass.

But the real kicker comes 10-20 years down the line. Us desk jockeys may need to augment retirement savings to account for medical bills. Sitting affects almost every part of our bodies from head to toe, raises risk of death by nearly 50 percent and creates a stunning 125 percent increase in the risk for cardiovascular disease.

So I’ve decided I’m not taking this sitting down. In fact, I’m taking a stand…as in, using a DIY standing desk.

Why? Well, our budget is zilch, and we’re lucky enough to have a bar-height butcher block table in the kitchen that works, so I’m trying that out for now. But Plan B is to “hack” our space using the specs and ideas below to create something that’s cheap, comfortable and won’t undo all the good I try do by way of exercise.

So, athletes, consider this my little PSA: We talk about the benefits of recovery because that’s where the body bounces back and the real gains happen. But if you’re sitting at a desk all day, you’re still doing yourself a disservice.

Get up, stand up. Stand up for your life.

Click to Enlarge Image

DIY Desk

DIY Desk
Infographic by CustomMade

Are you ergonomic at work?

Have any tips for doing it effectively (and on a budget)?