Workout of the Day Glossary

Back to Backs

Meg shares another series of Back to Back exercises. As before, these pairs are designed to complement each other mechanically. That is the performance of one encourages better form and execution for the other and vice versa. These can be done as an isolated pair, ideally 3, 4, or 5 sets of each as an effective way to break up your work day and fit in some resistance training. Alternately thread 3, 4, or 5 pairs all together for a great full body workout.

 

For questions about today’s Back to Backs you can connect directly with Meg here.

Eric Bols, Personal Trainer at the Toronto Athletic Club, filmed this Flow series on the weekend. What better way to start a short week than some great mobility work. It will get you moving and prepare you for whatever activity you want to tackle today.

 

For information on this and other mobility work you can connect directly with Eric here.

Michael Bellissimo, Personal Trainer at the Toronto Athletic Club guides you through a great full body workout with lots of options to adjust based on what you have available for space and equipment.  Michael’s careful, expert cuing and explanations will really help those of you who want to better understand how move safely and effectively. 

 

For questions about today’s moves you can connect directly with Michael here.

You’ve been asking… and you’ve been so incredibly patient… so it gives me great pleasure to post this link to a wonderfully creative, outdoor Pilates session with Marvin, one of the remarkable Pilates Instructors at the Toronto Athletic Club.

 

For questions about today’s workout you can connect directly with the TAC Director of Pilates Stephanie Schreiber here.

Paul Hudson, GM and Personal Trainer at the Cambridge Club has put together another wicked full body workout for you to crush. Each of the three sections is designed as a circuit. So, move through A1, A2, A3, A4, rest 60 seconds, then run through the 4 exercises again. Then move onto circuit B. Paul has Rx’d 4 sets of everything. Modify as time and energy permits. And if you’re really tight for time today, rock 2-3 sets of circuit A after your first morning meeting. Hit circuit B before your coffee break. And fly through circuit C before lunch. 

A1) Reverse Lunge 4 x 10 (Each Leg)

 

A2) Banded Side Lateral Step 4 x 15 (Each Direction)

 

A3) Shoulder Taps 4 x 20 (10 Each Side)

 

A4) World’s Greatest Stretch 4 x 6 (3 Per Side)

 

Rest: 60 Seconds

 

B1) KB Swing 4 x 15

 

B2) Mountain Climber 4 x 30

 

B3) Prone Swimmer from Floor 4 x 15

 

B4) Prone Bear Position Hold 4 x 30 Seconds

 

Rest: 60 Seconds

 

C1) Burpee Up Down 4 x 6

 

C2) Lateral Plyometric Skater Lunge 4 x 10 (10 Each Leg)

 

C3) Standing KB March 4 x 30 Seconds

 

No Rest Until Series is completed

For any questions about today's workout, you can connect with Paul directly here.

I hope you opened up those shoulders with Eric Bols yesterday, because today David Slade, Personal Trainer at the Adelaide Club is going to teach you how to get so much out of your push-ups!!!

 

For questions about your push-ups, you can connect with David directly here.

Sore, tight shoulders?

Check out this great shoulder mobility and strength workout taught by Eric Bols, Personal Trainer at the Toronto Athletic Club. 

 

If you have any questions about these moves, please reach out to Eric directly.

CGOC Yogi Shara Brown guided many members through this Hatha Yoga class a few days ago, as part of our virtual class offerings. We’re posting the recording here for those of you who missed it, or would like to experience the session again.

 

Have questions about this workout? Reach out to Shara directly.

I started doing what I call “Back to Backs” a few weeks ago. I’d been having trouble fitting in my resistance work. So, rather than worry about trying to carve out a 40, 20, or even 15-minute window somewhere, one day I simply took 5 minutes and did 4 sets of squats and 4 sets of pull-aparts back to back. And it felt SO GOOD! It’s all I ended up doing on the resistance side of things that particular day, but then the next day I did 4 sets of a different pair. And the next day another pair. And the next day? I had a little more time, so I did 5 pairs in a row. Here are those pairs:

 

For questions about today’s Trainer Moves, you can connect directly with Meg here.

Saturdays are meant for fun! Join Shara Brown and Stephanie Schreiber for some playful Pilates in the park!

 

Have questions about these moves? Reach out to Stephanie directly.

Get up off your chair… walk away from your desk… but stop before you walk through that door!

Penny Phang from the Adelaide Club is going to show you how to stretch your entire body in that doorway!

Try these 8 simple stretches to help alleviate discomfort or tightness in your body, especially the major areas: neck, chest, back, hips, glutes, and hamstrings.

Remember to breathe deeply as you hold each pose for at least 20 - 30 seconds. Repeat a few rounds for parts of your body that need more attention! And enjoy!

 

For questions about today's stretches, you can connect directly with Penny here.

Challenge yourself with this dynamic, high intensity workout with Coach Matt Zasidko! There’s some great mobility work at the beginning and then Matt hits some awesome intervals. Nothing required but body weight and a little grit!

 

For questions about today’s Trainer Moves you can connect directly with Matt here

Michael Bellissimo is another long-standing Personal Trainer from the TAC. He shares one of his favourite home based workouts for you to try:

A1) Chest Press or Push-ups 3 sets of 15 reps for presses and 10 reps for push-ups
A2) Standing DB or theraband rows 3 sets of 15 reps
A3) Bicycle crunches 3 sets of 12 reps each way
A4) Split Squats 3 sets of 12 reps each way with DBs in hand 
A5) Plank with leg lift 3 x 8 a side 

 

For questions about today’s Trainer Moves you can reach Michael here.

Warm Up:

7 - 10 minutes Zone 1 - 2

Pick Ups:

8 seconds Zone 5

22 seconds Zone 1 or 2

Repeat 6 times (3 minutes)

2 - 3 minutes Zone 2

Block 1:

4 minutes Zone 4

3 minutes Zone 2

Repeat 2 more times for a total of 18 minutes.

Block 2:

8 seconds all out – Zone 7

32 seconds Zone 1

Repeat 8 times. Block is just over 5 minutes.

5 minutes Zone 1 - 2

Repeat Block 2. (including 5 minutes Zone 1 - 2 after the sprints)

Repeat Block 1.

Cool Down:

7 - 10 minutes Zone 2 - 1

For questions about this workout or training in the different zones, you can reach Meg directly here

Xochil from the TAC demos 4 AWESOME lower body moves. If you have a dowel or broom handle and a resistance band, great. Otherwise, body weight only works well too. 

 

For a complete full body workout, super set each one of these lower body exercises with the 4 upper body moves she rocks in this second video.

 

Try 10 reps of each. 3 to 5 sets. Take a break between each super set.

  1. Tempo Zombie Squat : Push up
  2. Banded Romanian Deadlift : Banded Bent Over Row
  3. Tempo Bulgarian Split Squat : Pike Handstand Pushup
  4. Single Leg Deadlift : Behind the neck pull down

For questions about these moves, you can connect directly with Xochil here.

Take a moment to acquaint yourself with your RPE, HR, or POWER variables associated with Zones 2 and 4. 

Note that POWER is arguably the more objective of these three measurements. If you’re using RPE or HR be prepared for the fact that you might over or under reach occasionally. It might take a few trials to figure this workout out: If you hit a Zone 4 interval too high, you will need to recover a little longer or lower; if your Zone 2 recovery interval is too high, you may not have enough “juice” to sustain the subsequent Zone 4 output; conversely, if you edge too low for either Zone (push too low, recover too low) the entire workout may feel too easy.

Workout: Over Under Ladder

Goal: Accumulate between 20 and 40 minutes in Zone 4.

Warm up: 

4 - 7 minutes build from Zone 1 to Zone 2

Pick-ups:

30 seconds Zone 4
60 seconds Zone 2
45 seconds Zone 4
60 seconds Zone 2
60 seconds Zone 4
60 seconds Zone 2
60 seconds Zone 4
120 seconds Zone 2

Workout:

4 minutes Zone 4
2 minutes Zone 2
5 minutes Zone 4
2 minutes Zone 2
6 minutes Zone 4
2 minutes Zone 2
5 minutes Zone 4
2 minutes Zone 2
4 minutes Zone 4

27 minutes Zone 4

Cool down:

5 - 7 minutes Zone 2-1

Beginner option:

Remove the 6 minute and associated rest intervals. This drops your training time in Zone 4 to 21 minutes.

Advanced option:

Start at 5 or 6 minutes in Zone 4 so the top of your ladder is 7 or 8 minutes respectively. You will still complete 5 intervals but will accrue an additional 5 to 10 minutes in Zone 2.

I featured a number of these stability and strength moves in the blog earlier this month. I thought it would be helpful to put them on video both so you can do the workout with me and benefit from some extra cuing!

 

If you have any questions about this workout, you can connect directly with Meg here.

These more advanced core exercises demonstrated by - Xochil Rodriguez Personal Trainer at TAC - can be a great work break, an add on to your current workout or a way of rounding out or warming up your cardio!

 

For questions about these core movements you can connect with Xochil here.

TAC Personal Trainer Brandon Bernick designed this program to be fully customizable to your schedule. If you only have 5 minutes available, pick one of the Super Sets and off you go. If you have 10 minutes open, pick 2 Super Sets! And if you have 20 minutes, then hit all 4 of the sets below. You can mix and match the Super Sets to change up your workout each day.

There are 4 different Super Sets consisting of 3 exercises. Each Super Set should be done for a total of 5 minutes while rotating through each exercise. Your goal is to complete as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes.

Super Set 1 – 5 minutes

Hip Bridges x 10
  • Stiff torso
  • Push through the feet, and use your glutes to lift hips
  • Avoid extending the lower back

     

Dead Bug w Alternating Leg x 4/leg
  • Use lower abdominals to helps stabilize pelvis and lower back position
  • As your leg lowers, focus on preventing your lower back from lifting away from the floor
  • Limit your range of motion based on your ability to maintain the above cues

     

Overhead Squats x 8
  • Hands start in an overhead position (or as high as you can get your arms without pain, or without your lower back extending)
  • As you squat down, use your upper back and core to maintain the torso and arm position

     

Super Set 2 – 5 minutes

Isometric Floor Press 3 x 5 seconds 
  • Start the exercise by stiffening the midsection, and pushing your feet into the floor
  • Once engaged, then push as hard as you can into the floor through your elbows
  • You should feel your shoulder blades start to glide towards each other, as well as stiffening in the back of shoulder and middle of your back

Push Ups x 6
  • Start in a straight arm plank position
  • Maintain that body position as you bend your arms to lower towards the floor
  • To offload some intensity, execute the exercise with your knees on the floor, or your hands on an elevated surface (couch, stairs, etc.)

     

Straight Arm Plank with Alternating Leg Lift x 15/leg
  • Set up is similar to the push-ups above
  • Sustain the abdominal tension as you begin to pick one leg up off the floor
  • Goal is to prevent any shifting of your body
  • The wider you place your feet, the tougher the exercise

     

Super Set 3 – 5 minutes

Jump Squat x 6
  • Sit into a comfortable squat position
  • Push hard through your feet, and explode off the ground
  • Landing of the jump will be soft and controlled while returning to your squat
Straight Arm Plank with Knee to Elbow x10/side
  • In your straight arm plank position, take one knee and reach it towards the same side elbow (right knee to right elbow, and left to left)
  • You don’t have to touch the elbow with your knee
  • Focus on trying to maintain neutral spine as you pull your knee in

     

Stationary Lunge x6/leg 
  • Take an exaggerated stride forward to start the exercise (make sure your stride isn’t too narrow i.e. you aren’t walking on a tight rope)
  • Lower down towards the ground
  • Make sure that your front side knee does not dive inwards passed our foot

     

Super Set 4 – 5 minutes

Side Plank with Top Leg Openers 8/leg
  • Side up in a side plank position, with your elbow below your shoulder, and your legs bent slightly and stacked on top of each other
  • Maintain the stability on your bottom side of your body while you rotate the top leg open
  • Feet will stay together throughout the motion, while the knees separate

     

Forearm Plank to Push up Position x6reps
  • Start in a traditional forearm plank (exercise can be done on your knees or toes)
  • Tuck one arm to your side and get your palm flat on the floor
  • Push your body up to a straight arm plank position
  • Then from the straight-arm position, return yourself back to the forearm plank.

          

Hip Bridge with Heel Slide x8/leg
  • Lift your hips to the top of a hip bridge, engaging through your glutes
  • Take one foot (best done in socks on a slippery floor, or placing a towel under your heel) and slide the foot away to a straight leg position
  • Prevent any shifting or dropping of the hips

     

For questions about today’s workout you can reach Brandon here.

Workouts on Mondays can be tough. Tough to carve out the time. Tough to figure out what activity to make a priority: Strength? Mobility? Yoga? HIIT? Our Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor Lori Kirwan takes you through it ALL in this dynamic, high energy hybrid workout that only takes 15 minutes!

 

For questions about today’s guided session, you can reach out to Lori directly.

This workout is designed for cyclists… but runners you could hit it too! There’s a manageable 3-minute interval right around your threshold, bookended with two sprints. Recovery spin in between. The sprint at the beginning of the set will make initially holding your threshold pace really tough… amazing for encouraging the body to adapt to figure out how to recover faster. And it trains your brain that you are stronger than you think… you just need to push through sometimes. The second sprint encourages optimal/additional muscle fiber recruitment and trains you to be able to generate power despite a certain level of fatigue. The recovery spin on the other side will boost your endurance and get you prepped for the next onslaught!

Warm-up: 

  • 4 - 7 minutes (Zone 1 building to Zone 2)

Build to and maintain a cadence that feels great!

Pick-ups: 

  • 8 second pick up, higher gear, higher cadence (Zone 5 - 7)
  • 40 - 60 seconds recovery (Zone 2)

Repeat 4 - 7 times

Easy Ride 4 - 7 minutes (Zone 2)

Set:

  • 20 - 35 seconds Sprint (Zone 5 - 6)
  • 3 minutes (Zone 4)
  • 10 - 15 seconds Sprint (out of the saddle?! Zone 5 - 7!)
  • 4 - 5 minutes (Zone 1 - 2)

Repeat 5 - 8 times

Cooldown:

  • 7 - 10 minutes (Zone 2 - 1)

Intensity Guidelines:

 

Note that using heart rate training zones have limitations.  For example, cycling workouts will typically elicit a lower heart rate response for the same exertion compared to running workouts.  Variables such as psychological stress, fatigue and dehydration will also alter heart rate response, making it difficult to gauge how hard you are or more importantly should be working.

 

 

RPE 10 max

Typical Interval

Work:Rest

Qualitative

Zone # (1-7)

 %HRR*

Recovery

1

 

 

“VERY easy”

N/A

 

Active Recovery

2-3

 

 

“Easy”

Zone 1

<68%

Endurance

4-5

60+ minutes

 

Aerobic or “all day pace”

Zone 2

69-80%

Tempo

6

20-90 minutes

 

“Race Pace”

Zone 3

81-90%

Threshold

7

5-30 minutes

 

Continuous sensation of “serious effort”.  Conversation is difficult.  Motivation and concentration needs to remain high.

Zone 4

91-100%

VO2 Max

8

3-8 minutes

1:1

Strong to severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Consecutive days of training at this level typically not possible.

Zone 5

100%+

Anaerobic Capacity

9

30 sec – 2min

1:1.5-2

Severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Conversation impossible.

Zone 6

NA

Neuromuscular Power

10

>15 sec

1:4+

Maximum effort

Zone 7

NA

There are few on this earth who understand how to motivate and inspire people to exercise more than Anna Lampignano. Anna – Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor at the Adelaide Club – consistently harnesses an immense wealth of knowledge and experience and then crushes it together with amazing insight and compassion in order to reach and touch as many members as possible. These days she’s doing everything she can from a distance to keep people moving, lift their spirits, and convince them that “they can.”

She shared this clever and kind email with her clients shortly after the Club closed, and many of them found it so incredibly helpful. Anna wanted to share it with all of you:

I've been hearing from some of you who are struggling to feel motivated to do the programs I've sent. I get it, I really do. So, here's an exercise "cheat sheet" to help.

On a sheet of paper, write down the following exercises in the left margin. Write them in BIG letters and keep this somewhere you can see it.

  • 20 squats
  • 15 push ups
  • 30 lunges R and L
  • 15 push ups
  • 30 Bulgarian split squats (elevate foot behind you for single leg squat) R and L
  • 15 push ups
  • 20 side plank raises
  • 30 sissy squats
  • 45 second wall sit
  • 30 calf raises
  • 15 push ups
  • 30 deep squat pulses
  • 15 push ups
  • 30 Bulgarian split squats
  • 30 lunges R and L
  • 20 side plank raises R and L
  • 15 push ups
  • 30 calf raises

This is your cheat sheet. At any time of day, anywhere, you'll aim to do 1 exercise at a time to complete this list. They don't even have to be in order, just put a checkmark next to each item once you've completed it. It may not feel like you're doing much if you stop after just 1 exercise, but at the end of the day you will have done the following:

  • 90 push ups
  • 90 squats
  • 120 R leg load
  • 120 L leg load
  • 60 calf raises
  • 45 second wall sit
  • 40 side planks per side

Boom!

Eventually you'll find good times to do an exercise, like right after your morning coffee, just before a meal, on route to the fridge for a snack, or during a TV show.

If you have a set of dumbbells, put them in plain view and somewhere easy to pick up. You're at home and no one is coming over, so if your dumbbells (washed and sanitized) are sitting on the kitchen counter, who cares? Pick them up for whatever exercises you can and add these 2 to the list.

(add or reduce reps depending on your dumbbell weight)

  • 15 biceps curls
  • 15 (flat back) tricep extensions
  • 15 overhead dumbbell press
  • 15 bicep curls
  • 15 tricep extensions
  • 15 overhead dumbbell press

If you don't make it through the whole list, it doesn't matter. Doing a few exercises will help and the more of them you check off, the more of them you'll feel inspired to do.

Let's remember that being healthy enough to do any kind of exercise right now, makes us one of the lucky ones.

Stay Healthy and Safe!

Anna

If you have questions or need your Cheat Sheet modified, don't hesitate to reach out to Meg here.

Patience my wonderful friends… we are working on getting these workouts video-ed and out to you so you can understand all our weird jargon, laugh at our form, and follow along with your own playlist… But, for today, here’s a simple full body workout to get your heart rate up and get the chair dent out of your glutes!

Warm-Up

  • High Knees: 20 reps

  • Butt Kicks: 20 reps
  • Hip Extensions: 10 each leg (hang on to the counter for balance)
  • Hip Rotations: Clockwise and counterclockwise, 5 each leg
  • Forward Leg Swings: 10 each leg
  • Side Leg Swings: 10 each leg
  • Arm Rotations: Clockwise and counterclockwise, 5 each arm
  • Pull Aparts aka standing reverse fly no resistance: 20 reps

  • Wall or counter pushups: 10 - 16 (SUBMAX effort. This is just the warm-up!)

Circuit One

  • Body Weight Squat: 20 reps
  • Pushups: 10 reps (floor, coffee table, counter, wall)
  • Jumping Jacks: 20 reps
  • Dumbbell Row from Quadruped or Plank (shown below) Position: 20 reps (use soup cans, filled water bottles)

  • Side Plank: Hold one side 10 - 15 seconds 5 times. Repeat on the other side

Repeat the circuit 3 times

Circuit Two

  • Side to Side Squats: 20 reps

  • Front Plank: Hold and brace a strongly as you can for 10 - 15 seconds. 5 - 10 reps
  • Hip Thrusters: 20

  • Mountain Climbers: 20

  • Alternate Lunge Backs: 20

  • Prone Cobra: Hold and brace 10 - 15 seconds. 5 reps (the image is quite advanced. Feel free to keep more of your chest on the floor. You can keep the arms bent by your sides and slightly lift them off the ground for each rep too. Ensure your abs and glutes are firing to protect your low back!)

Repeat circuit 3 times

If you have any questions about this workout, you can connect with Meg here.

Peter Sheldrick brings us a beauty today! 

LOWER BODY:

(this would be ideal with dumbbells or a jug of water that you can hug to your chest? A large skillet?)

10 x 10 slow squats (45 second rest between each set) = 100 reps

SHADOW BOX:

For one minute (or jog on the spot? Dance?)

CHEST AND BUTT(!):

(ideally with dumbbells or a one-litre bottle to be held in each hand?)

Getting into a glute bridge (push into heels, brace glutes, and core) 10 x 10 slow decline chest press (keeping the glute bridge the entire time; 45 seconds off between each set) = 100 reps

10 x 10 slow push-ups (brace glutes and core throughout the movement) = 100 reps

SHADOW BOX:

For one minute (or jog on the spot? Dance?)

SHOULDERS:

(again, ideally with dumbbells or a one-litre bottle to be held in each hand?)

10 x 10 front shoulder raises (45 second rest between sets) = 100 reps.

10 x 10 lateral shoulder raises (45 second rest between sets) = 100 reps

SHADOW BOX:

For one minute (or jog on the spot? Dance?)

BACK AND BICEPS:

(again, ideally with dumbbells or a one-litre bottle to be held in each hand?)

10 x 10 bent over row (45 second rest between sets) = 100 reps

10 x 10 hammer curls (30 seconds rest between sets) = 100 reps

SHADOW BOX:

For one minute (or jog on the spot? Dance?)

CORE:

3 x 1 minute planks (30 seconds rest between sets)

For questions about today’s workout you can connect with Peter directly.

Simple Staple Workout

I love this workout. A single run through wakes everything up, is sometimes all I can fit in, and when I have more time, these exercises make the perfect workup for a more intense run, bike ride, or heavy lifting workout. Run through the whole thing 3 times for a more comprehensive full body session.

The cool thing about this workout is the better you get at it, the harder you can make it. The simplicity of the movements free up your brain so you can really focus on how the body’s more natural strength patterns will often try to override or hijack the integrity of the movement. Really focus on keeping braced, and still…. Keep your spine neutral, with your shoulders retracted and depressed, and your pelvis neutral (aka “vertical” in relation to a standing position)… you’ll notice as you move how the body tries to inch your shoulders forward and up towards your ears… how your low back tried to arch… how your glute muscles try to run and hide. Keep focused on what you WANT to be firing. With practice you’ll be amazed at how strong your “key” areas become and how good that feels.

Hip Bridge

Watch exercise video here.

  • Engage pelvic floor muscles, slight pelvic tilt. 
  • Press heels and elbows and back of your head into the mat. 
  • Raise hips up using your glutes as high as you can without engaging low back muscles. 
  • Extend the knees outwards slightly to encourage glute activation

Dead Bug with Isometric Resistance

Watch exercise video here.

  • Retract and depress shoulders, press head down. 
  • Raise one leg to table top then the other. 
  • Place both hands on one knee.  
  • Wide collar bone.  Knit ribs. 
  • Check low back so pelvis is "vertical" and lower abs engaged. 
  • Drop the opposite leg away from you and then bring it back to table top USING LOWER ABS

Quadruped Hover

Watch exercise video here.

  • On all fours. 
  • Retract and depress shoulders, straight arms, neutral spine. 
  • Engage abs, knit ribs, engage pelvic floor.  Take care to keep the knees shoulder width apart.  Engage through shoulders, rib cage and lats, BRACE as hard as you can for each breath

Band Pull Aparts

Watch exercise video here.

  • Standing or kneeling. 
  • Hands/arms wide and slightly below the shoulders. 
  • Again, position the pelvis "vertically" so your bum and abs are engaged. 
  • Initiate the movement with your shoulders. 
  • Pull band "apart" Hold for 3-5 secs.

Front Plank

Watch exercise video here.

“Marching” Hip Bridge

Watch exercise video here.

  • As with the Hip Bridge above
  • Keep glute engaged and pelvis still as you extend one leg at a time
  • Gently press the back of your head and shoulder blades into the mat
  • Tip:  As you extend the right leg (for example), ensure the right hip bone stays high be engaging the abs on that side, and focus on keeping the left glute strong. 

Contralateral Dead Bug

Watch exercise video here.

  • Keeping the core stable and spine neutral, reach the opposite arm away from the leg that is reaching toward the floor.
  • Imagine you are engaging the abs on a “diagonal” or “rib-to-hip” as you bring the limbs back to center.

Seated Row

Watch exercise video here.

  • For your home workout version, secure a band and perform this seated on a chair, standing or on the floor with your feet extended out in front of you.
  • The important piece of this is initiating the movement EVERY time with your shoulder blades.
  • Slide them down and back before your elbows start to bend.
  • At the end of the movement hold and think “down and back, down and back…”
  • Avoid leaning back to keep that pelvis neutral and abs engaged

For any questions about this workout you can connect with Meg here.

Whether you’re hitting the road, hopping on your trainer or your stationary bike, these Over-Under Intervals are awesome. 

We know great things happen when you train right around your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) for an extended period of time. I LOVE Over-Unders because it keeps you working right in that Zone, with shorter sub-intervals to break things up. (And the one-minute surges in these sets make me feel a little bit like I’m channeling my inner Superwoman.) 

The entire workout takes about an hour.

Warm Up

  • 4 - 5 minutes, move from Zone 1 to Zone 2

Pick Ups

  • 1 minute: Low Zone 4
  • 1 minute: Low Zone 2
  • 1 minute: High Zone 4
  • 1 minute: Low Zone 2
  • 1 minute: Zone 5
  • 1 minute: Zone 1
  • 3 - 4 minutes: Zone 2

9 Minute Over-Under

  • 1 minute: Zone 5
  • 2 minutes: High Zone 3 - Low Zone 4
  • Repeat 3 times

Recovery

  • 4 minutes: Zone 2
  • Repeat 2 more times.

Cool Down

  • 6 - 12 minutes, move from Zone 1 back up to Zone 2, then back down to Zone 1

Tip: You ideally want to feel “slightly comfortable” during the Unders, and “slightly uncomfortable” during the Overs for the first and second set. The last set might draw a bit more on your motivational strength.

You can extend the workout by adding sets or extending the 9 minute set to 12. Conversely you can shorten the workout by cycling 2 sets, or creating 6 minute sets. With the 6 minute sets, you will likely find you require a shorter warm-up, recovery sets, and cool down.

Intensity Guidelines:

Note that using heart rate training zones have limitations.  For example, cycling workouts will typically elicit a lower heart rate response for the same exertion compared to running workouts.  Variables such as psychological stress, fatigue and dehydration will also alter heart rate response, making it difficult to gauge how hard you are or more importantly should be working.

 

RPE 10 max

Typical Interval

Work:Rest

Qualitative

Zone # (1-7)

 %HRR*

Recovery

1

 

 

“VERY easy”

N/A

 

Active Recovery

2-3

 

 

“Easy”

Zone 1

<68%

Endurance

4-5

60+ minutes

 

Aerobic or “all day pace”

Zone 2

69-80%

Tempo

6

20-90 minutes

 

“Race Pace”

Zone 3

81-90%

Threshold

7

5-30 minutes

 

Continuous sensation of “serious effort”.  Conversation is difficult.  Motivation and concentration needs to remain high.

Zone 4

91-100%

VO2 Max

8

3-8 minutes

1:1

Strong to severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Consecutive days of training at this level typically not possible.

Zone 5

100%+

Anaerobic Capacity

9

30 sec – 2min

1:1.5-2

Severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Conversation impossible.

Zone 6

NA

Neuromuscular Power

10

>15 sec

1:4+

Maximum effort

Zone 7

NA

 

*HRR or Heart Rate Reserve:  The difference between your resting HR and your maximum HR (220-age for males, 226-age for females). 

Now calculate your training zones by adding RHR to a % of HRR.

Penny Phang, Personal Trainer at the Adelaide Club, has put together this wicked, high intensity full body workout for YOU! It not only torches a ton of calories, but it really challenges your core, power, agility, and speed. Modify if need be and do what you can.

          

1. Power push-off lateral jump squat, 60 seconds

2. Push up into oblique crunch, 6 - 8 each side

3. Burpee with donkey kick and knee tuck jump, 30 - 60 seconds

4. Push up into contralateral toe reach, 6 - 8 each side

5. Fast knee-high shuffles, 30 seconds

6. Do your happy dance!

Repeat 2 - 3 rounds.

Have fun, and always remember: If it's burning it's working!

Watch Penny walk you through the workout here.

For questions or comments about today’s workout, you can reach Penny directly here

Another phenomenal AND simple full body workout straight from the home gym of Paul Hudson, GM of the Cambridge Club! 

Where Paul stipulates 3 x 12 - 15 he means 3 sets, 12 - 15 repetitions per set. Because it’s in circuit format, you could perform one set of each of the “A” exercises, and then circle back for the second set, and finally the third before moving on to the next circuit.

Circuit 1

A1) Incline Body-Weight Push Up 3 x 12 - 15 (you can do regular push-ups if you are able)
Watch video here

A2) Banded Bent Over Single Arm Row 3 x 15 (Each Arm)
Watch video here

A3) Prone Swimmer 3 x 15 - 20 Reps
Watch video here

Rest: 60 seconds

Circuit 2

B1) Body-Weight Nordic Raise 3 x 10 
Watch video here

B2) Kneeling Single Arm Banded Lat Pull Down 3 x 10
Watch video here

B3) Banded Front Shoulder Raise 3 x 15
Watch video here

Rest: 60 seconds

Circuit 3

C1) Banded Single Arm Chest Press 3 x 15 (Each Arm)
Watch video here

C2) Standing Banded Face Pull 3 x 15
Watch video here

C3) Banded Hip Thrust from Floor 3 x 20
Watch video here

Rest: 60 seconds

For questions about this workout, you can connect with Paul directly here.

I’m going to call it the SWAB NOK

S%!t We Avoid But Need, OK?

Warm Up:

Select 5 specific exercises you have been avoiding. Here are the criteria:

  • Can be strength, mobility, a stretch… If you’ve been avoiding cardio it can be any activity that gets your heart rate up
  • Something you can do daily (So running 21kms is not likely an appropriate choice)
  • Something you know you need to do but have been avoiding

Pro Tip:  Get an accountability partner: Challenge someone in your circle do it with you

Meg’s 5:
  • Side Planks
  • Hip Bridges
  • Quadruped Hovers
  • Dead Bugs
  • Pull Aparts

Pro Tip: If possible, pick simple things that don’t require special gear or even getting dressed. You want to be able to bang this off quickly.

The Workout:
  1. Determine the minimum daily requirement (in reps or duration).
  2. Determine the ideal time of day and aim to do your “homework” in that window every day.
  3. Time yourself. You will – hopefully – be surprised how little time it took.
  4. (Quick writing break. I’m going to do them right now: 4 minutes 27 seconds. I can definitely fit that in daily.)
  5. Report to yourself (checklist on the fridge?) or to your accountability partner.
  6. Log any progress.
  7. At the end of the week, determine how and when you’re going to continue to get those exercises in. Maybe it’s still daily? Maybe every other day, right before you do your activity you love? 

Let me know how it goes! Send me an email!

We had such RAVE REVIEWS from Lauren Neal’s Lower Body Stair Workout from last week. If you loved that one, the Cardio Interval Workout below is equally awesome!

Cardio Interval Workout

5 moves & 4 rounds

40 Seconds ON, 20 Seconds OFF

Warm-Up

Get your heart rate up and mobilize before you move!

  • Butt kicks – 30 seconds
  • Bodyweight Squat – 30 seconds
  • Lateral lunges – 30 seconds

Repeat x3

  • Reverse Lunge – 30 seconds
  • Squat hold with ankle mobility – shifting weight side to side by driving knee towards baby toe; try to keep heels on the ground – 30 seconds – take breaks as needed

Repeat x3

  • Inchworms – 30 seconds
  • Plank to Downward Dog – 30 seconds
  • Arm circles – 30 seconds a side

Repeat x3

The Moves

Each move will be done for 40 seconds with a relatively high intensity. Take the 20 seconds off and start the second exercise. You will go through the five exercises and start from the top continuing with the 40/20 split the entire time.

Watch Lauren go through a quick demonstration of all the moves here.

A1. Skaters

Technique:

  • Hips squared
  • Torso angled slightly forward – keep spine neutral
  • Press off of outer foot
  • Think athletic position
  • Accelerate then decelerate
A2. Mountain Climbers

Technique:

  • Hands stacked under shoulders
  • Neutral through spine
  • Drive knees forward while keeping spine in the same position

A3. Vertical Hops/Steps

Technique:

  • Start on non-dominant side first
  • Step back into a lunge keeping torso slightly angled forward
  • Press through heel & drive back leg up
  • Can come into a hop or step depending on how you’re feeling
A4. Burpees

Technique:

  • You’ll hop or step out into a plank position
  • Lower yourself down to the ground or modify by holding in plank
  • From there, hop back into a squat and come to as standing position
A5. High Knees 

20 total reps

  • Start by driving your knee upwards, then hop or step to the opposite leg

Repeat the moves from the top 4 times!

For questions about this workout you can connect with Lauren directly here.

Running Mechanics 103

This is the last of a series of three on this topic for the meantime. (You can skip to the Running Workout by scrolling down!) Thank you to TAC Member Steven Cherwenka for the inspiration to write this. He wasn’t sure whether the HUGE volume of runners suddenly on the paths were giving him a wide berth because of social distancing, or because of his violently flailing arms and legs.

The first two posts on this pretty much covered you head to toe: Hips & Butt, Cadence, Feet, Tango, Head, Shoulders, Hands & Arms, Core. I hope you’ve found at least one or two tweaks that are helpful. 

Running Mechanics 101

Running Mechanics 102

Today I just want to leave you with a few thoughts:

Every runner is different. The “right” mechanics will vary greatly from one runner to the next. For many of us, we’ve been running for decades. Making a complete overhaul of our running mechanics is not only extremely difficult, it’s inadvisable: Our body has adapted to the specific stresses we have been placing on it kilometre after kilometre after kilometre: Bones have strengthened in specific places; joints have adjusted to specific ranges; tight muscles are often protecting a vulnerability or imbalance. Aggressively changing how we strike the ground, how quickly we turn over, how we hold our torso and head… may challenge the muscular and skeletal system too much. It can lead quite quickly to extremely sore muscles, joints, and, ultimately, injury.

Proceed with small steps. There is a more efficient, natural runner inside you. As you play with different subtle alterations you will find things feel “slightly more challenging in a good way,” or “more fluid.” You may find that running at a slighter quicker pace elicits both a slightly higher cadence and feels “harder” but “better.” Whatever you’re working on, do your best to keep relaxed. Breathe deeply. And relish the opportunity to cover some distance outside. 

I gather in France, they’ve now prohibited day time running outdoors. We’re lucky to be out running. Flailing limbs and all.

The Workout:

Dynamic Warm-up:
  • Hip Bridges
  • Straight Leg Lateral Swing
  • Knee hugs
  • Walking Lunges (arms overhead, torso twist)
  • Butt Kicks
  • High Knees
Running Warm up:
  • Easy Run (Zone 2 - 3): 5 - 8 minutes

See intensity guidelines at the bottom of the Workout Section

Ladder Workout:

  • 50 metres run “hard” (Zone 4 - 6)
  • 50 metres recovery easy run or walk (Zone 1 - 2)
  • 100 metres run “hard”
  • 50 metres recovery
  • 150 metres run “hard”
  • 50 metres recovery
  • 200 metres run “hard”
  • 50 metres recovery
  • 250 metres run “hard”
  • 50 metres recovery

Comfortable run (Zone 2) for 5 minutes

Repeat the Ladder 1 - 2 times.

Cool down easy run 5 - 8 minutes.

More advanced runners: 

Run both “up” and “down” the ladder to make a whole set (i.e., after 250:50, 200:50…)

Repeat 1 - 3 times.

 

Intensity Guidelines:

Note that using heart rate training zones have limitations.  For example, cycling workouts will typically elicit a lower heart rate response for the same exertion compared to running workouts.  Variables such as psychological stress, fatigue and dehydration will also alter heart rate response, making it difficult to gauge how hard you are or more importantly should be working.

 

 

RPE 10 max

Typical Interval

Work:Rest

Qualitative

Zone # (1-7)

 %HRR*

Recovery

1

 

 

“VERY easy”

N/A

 

Active Recovery

2-3

 

 

“Easy”

Zone 1

<68%

Endurance

4-5

60+ minutes

 

Aerobic or “all day pace”

Zone 2

69-80%

Tempo

6

20-90 minutes

 

“Race Pace”

Zone 3

81-90%

Threshold

7

5-30 minutes

 

Continuous sensation of “serious effort”.  Conversation is difficult.  Motivation and concentration needs to remain high.

Zone 4

91-100%

VO2 Max

8

3-8 minutes

1:1

Strong to severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Consecutive days of training at this level typically not possible.

Zone 5

100%+

Anaerobic Capacity

9

30 sec – 2min

1:1.5-2

Severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Conversation impossible.

Zone 6

NA

Neuromuscular Power

10

>15 sec

1:4+

Maximum effort

Zone 7

NA

 

*HRR or Heart Rate Reserve:  The difference between your resting HR and your maximum HR (220-age for males, 226-age for females). 

Now calculate your training zones by adding RHR to a % of HRR.

What a coup to have a General Manager who is also a kick-ass Personal Trainer!!! I hope the guys at the Cambridge Club know how lucky they are. Paul Hudson – caring for a small child at home – also fully appreciates the value and importance of an effective workout that’s easy to follow and fit in.

Here's one of his at home recommendations:

A1) Body-weight Split Squat - 3 sets x 15 reps (each leg)

Watch video here

A2) Body-weight Sprinter Bridge - 3 x 10 each leg (this exercise can be performed with your feet on the floor)

Watch video here

A3) Front Plank 3 x 45 seconds

Watch video here

Rest: 60 seconds

B1) Supported Body-weight Reverse Lunge 3 x 10 (each leg)

Watch video here

B2) Banded Lateral Step 3 x 20 (20 side steps each direction)

Watch video here

B3) Bird Dog 3 x 15 extensions each side

Watch video here

Rest: 60 seconds

C1) Single Leg Body-weight Dead Lift 3 x 15-20 (each leg)

Watch video here

C2) Front Step Up 3 x 12-15 (each leg)

Watch video here

C3) Side Plank 3 x 20 seconds (each side)

Watch video here

Rest: 60 seconds and then some. You deserve it!

For questions about this workout, you can connect with Paul directly here.

The 500+ Rep Race!

Peter Sheldrick from the Adelaide Club is continuing to find ways to shock his nervous system. He can't lift heavy things consistently at the moment, so he needs alternate ways to positively "stress" his body during these times.

How?

Full Body Workouts/High Rep/Little Rest:

ROUND ONE: with 25 lb dumbbells per arm (or whatever fits your stress/comfort zone)

  • 12 lateral lunges right leg
  • 12 lateral lunges left leg
  • 20 backward lunges right leg (faster)
  • 20 backward lunges left leg (faster)
  • 20 Romanian DL

Rest 60 seconds...

  • Push-ups to failure (I went for 30 plus)
  • 20 slow decline chest press (holding a glute bridge (squeeze the buns!!!!))

Rest 60 seconds

  • 10 arm curls
  • 10 tricep kick-backs

Rest 60 seconds

  • 15 front shoulder raises
  • 15 lateral shoulder raises
  • 25 overhead shoulder raises

Rest 60 seconds

  • 25 bent over rows

Rest 60 seconds

ROUND TWO:

  • 24 lateral lunges right leg
  • 24 lateral lunged left leg
  • 25 backward lunge right leg
  • 25 backward lunge left leg
  • 30 Romanian DL

Rest 60 seconds

  • Push-ups to failure (I went for 30 plus)
  • 25 slow decline chest presses

Rest 60 seconds

  • 15 arm curl
  • 12 kick-backs

Rest 60 seconds

  • 15 front shoulder raises
  • 15 lateral shoulder raises
  • 30 shoulder press (think pumps-- fast)
  • 35 bent over rows

Rest for many seconds. 

You’re done!

If you have any questions or comments about this workout, please feel free to reach out to Peter directly here.

Okay cyclists. Spring is sort of here. Whether you’re getting back out on the road, or still training inside, try adding in the intensity drills below. They will make you stronger. And while you’re flying, the time will too:

The entire workout will take you between 40 and 60 minutes depending on how long you choose to train in each section.

Warm-Up

Build from Zone 1 to Zone 2 over 4 - 7 minutes. Note the cadence you naturally settle into for the last 2 - 3 minutes.

Cadence Pick-Ups

Without changing gear, increase your cadence by 7 - 10 RPM for 45 - 60 seconds, recover for the same period. This will likely have you oscillating between Zone 4 and Zone 2. Repeat 3 - 5 times.

Ride in Zone 2 for 4 - 7 minutes.

10 Second Sprints

You will need to gear up for the higher intensity intervals.

  • 10 seconds, "all out" (Zone 6 - 7) followed by 20 seconds "recovery" (Zone 1)
  • Repeat for 8 - 15 minutes
  • Pedal easy (Zone 1 or 2) for 5 minutes
  • Repeat the set (again 8 - 15 minutes)

Cool Down 

5 - 10 minutes

For questions about this or other workouts, please contact Meg directly.

Intensity Guidelines

Note that using heart rate training zones have limitations. For example, cycling workouts will typically elicit a lower heart rate response for the same exertion compared to running workouts. Variables such as psychological stress, fatigue, and dehydration will also alter heart rate response, making it difficult to gauge how hard you are or more importantly should be working.

 

RPE 10 max

Typical Interval

Work:Rest

Qualitative

Zone # (1-7)

 %HRR*

Recovery

1

 

 

“VERY easy”

N/A

 

Active Recovery

2-3

 

 

“Easy”

Zone 1

<68%

Endurance

4-5

60+ minutes

 

Aerobic or “all day pace”

Zone 2

69-80%

Tempo

6

20-90 minutes

 

“Race Pace”

Zone 3

81-90%

Threshold

7

5-30 minutes

 

Continuous sensation of “serious effort”.  Conversation is difficult.  Motivation and concentration needs to remain high.

Zone 4

91-100%

VO2 Max

8

3-8 minutes

1:1

Strong to severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Consecutive days of training at this level typically not possible.

Zone 5

100%+

Anaerobic Capacity

9

30 sec – 2min

1:1.5-2

Severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Conversation impossible.

Zone 6

NA

Neuromuscular Power

10

>15 sec

1:4+

Maximum effort

Zone 7

NA

*HRR or Heart Rate Reserve: The difference between your resting HR and your maximum HR (220-age for males, 226-age for females).

Now calculate your training zones by adding RHR to a % of HRR.

Candice Lewis wears a lot of hats: Her Personal Training Hat ensures she layers every workout with science, experience, and expertise. Her Mommy Hat ensures she understands the importance of a Rx-ing a workout that is quick, tough, fun, and really effective!

30 - 45 minute body-weight workout

Full body strength workout ramped up with a HIIT circuit! (2x through between each circuit!)

HIIT Circuit
  • Modified burpees x 10
  • High knees x 10
  • Butt kicks x 10
Circuit #1 (3 sets)
  • Spiderman push-up x 10
  • Side-to-side lunges x 20 (10 reps/side)
  • 45 seconds of mountain climbers (controlled)
  • Russian twists x 30 (15 reps/side alternating)

HIIT Circuit
  • Modified burpees x 10
  • High knees x 10
  • Butt kicks x 10
Circuit #2 (3 sets)
  • Quadruped x 30 reps (reaching opposite arm/leg; 15 reps on right side, 15 reps on left side)
  • Bench dips x 15 reps (use coffee table?)
  • Static lunges x 20 reps/side
  • Standing heels raises for calves x 30

HIIT Circuit
  • Modified burpees x 10
  • High knees x 10
  • Butt kicks x 10
Circuit #3 (3 sets)
  • Side plank on knees with leg abduction x 15 reps/side
  • Single leg hip lift x 20 reps/side
  • Leg raises x 10
  • Wall sit x 45 seconds

HIIT Circuit
  • Modified burpees x 10
  • High knees x 10
  • Butt kicks x 10

You can connect with Candice here about any questions you have about this circuit.

Lauren Neal, our Group Fitness Director at the Adelaide Club, created this fabulous Lower Body Stair Workout. She’s prescribed a stair climbing warm up, and then 5 different exercises and recommends 5 full rounds. You can either increase or decrease the rounds as you see fit. Lauren also explains: “For each of the unilateral exercises, always start on your non-dominant side. If you find a very large strength imbalance, add a couple reps to that side. Because most of us won’t be adding weight to this, most exercises are focused on slower tempo to ensure intensity through increased time under tension.” 

Bring Your Heart Rate up with Your Warm-up

Start by climbing the stairs, depending on how long your stairwell is, you can adjust accordingly. By the end, your heart rate up should be up!

Technique:

Aim to land with a flat foot and your torso angled forward slightly. Focus on pressing through your heel and driving knee up.

  • 15 Rounds regular stairs – up and down counts as 1
  • 10 Rounds double stair climb
  • 5 Rounds double stair climb – try to increase your pace
Dynamic Calf Stretch (2 ways):

Start by placing your hands against the wall. One foot is forward, close to the wall, with a soft bend in the knee. The opposite leg is extended behind you (this is the focus). As you exhale, focus on bending your back knee and driving it forward. Try not to let your back heel lift off the ground, but rather using each exhale, try to work into available ranges.

Using the bottom step, place your one foot flat on the step. The opposite heel will be hanging off the step. As you exhale, drop your heel towards the ground slowly and then return to your starting position. Take your time with this one as it can be intense. If too much, just focus on the first stretch. Keep this dynamic, by continuing to work into further ranges if available.

The Moves

A1. Reverse Lunge to Step Up

10 Reps (per side)

Technique:
  • Hips squared
  • Step back with your dominate leg into a reverse lunge
  • Torso slightly leaning forward
  • Focus on pushing front knee towards baby toe (don’t let it collapse)
  • Pause at the bottom for 5 seconds
  • Press into heel with your back leg coming up into a step up on the stair
  • Drive opposite knee upwards to about 90 degrees & squeeze opposite glute
  • That is one rep – Step back into your lunge and repeat

          

A2. Pistol Squat

8 Reps (per side)

Technique:
  • Start seated on the stair – Non-dominate leg will be at 90 degrees
  • Start on a higher stair to make it a bit more accessible, if needed
  • Press through heel and come to a standing position
  • Squeeze glute
  • Focus on a slow decent as you lower yourself back to a seated position
  • Hold onto the railing as needed

     

A3. Lateral Lunge with Pulse

10 Reps (per side)

Technique:
  • Bring one leg up onto the stair
  • Toe faces forward
  • As you exhale, press your hips backwards and drive your knee outwards
  • Shoulder blades are retracted and ribs are down
  • Pause at the bottom & add a tiny pulse
  • Press yourself back up to a standing position

     

A4. Bulgarian Split Squat (1&1/2s)

8 Reps (per side)

Technique:
  • Facing away from the stairs, you’ll elevate your dominate leg against the step
  • Shoulder blades retracted, ribs down, torso angled slightly forward
  • Holding neutral spine, you’ll inhale lowering your back knee towards the step
  • Pause at the bottom, press through heel and come up halfway
  • You will then go back to your bottom position and hold before coming back to your start position
  • That’s one rep!
  • Focus on finding your glutes – this should be done slow!

     

A5. Switch hops

20 total reps

Technique:
  • Facing the stairs, start with one foot elevated
  • Press through heel into a hop and switch legs on the stair
  • Drop back knee towards the ground for an added challenge

     

Repeat the moves from the top 5 times!

For questions about this workout you can connect with Lauren directly.

Running Mechanics 102

As promised, I have a few more simple tweaks to nudge your running form in the direction of more efficiency and fewer injuries.

If you didn't get a chance to read Thursdays article, you can find it here. I recommend you quickly review the notes on Hips & Butt, Cadence, and Feet.

I’m going to recommend the same running workout, so you can relax your mechanics (and your brain!) during the easy intervals, and focus on different tweaks during the hard intervals. While this may sound counter intuitive, running hard (when you’re fresh… if you’re becoming fatigued everything falls apart…) tends to engage more muscular engagement. Especially through the core as your exhale become more forceful. This can make it easier to run centered under your mass. Also, running faster will often increase your cadence a bit naturally. You’re naturally a bit quicker to pick those feet up. 

Important to note: Please try to use RPE as your gauge for “HARD” vs speed. Making changes to your natural stride, however subtle, can make the running feel harder at first. This is especially true when you first work on increasing your cadence.

Warm-up 1: Hip flexor mobility and 10-16 hip bridges (see Hips & Butt from Thursday’s Post)

Warm-up 2:  4-7 minutes easy running

FAST pace : EASY pace

1:1

2:2

3:3

Walk for 1 minute

Repeat 2-4 times

Cool down 5 minutes.

Here are today’s tweaks:

Tango:

Yes. Dance when you run. Not only does “tango-ing” help some runners naturally pick up their cadence, it also encourages more symmetrical and centered running. Which in turn lends itself to more efficient and safe pavement pounding.

It’s quite simple. As you run, rather than think “one, two, one, two, one, two…” as each foot hits the ground (left, right, left, right…)  you think “one, two, three, one, two three…” The “one” or natural down beat, is now falling on alternate feet. You may tend to breathe out and brace on alternate foot falls, so that both hips get the advantage of a little more core stability as that foot hits the ground.

Head:

When I spoke about foot strike position, I mentioned the importance of trying to strike under your centre of gravity. Well, that’s a lot easier to do if the rest of your body is nicely “stacked”.

Let’s start with the head: 

Your head is heavy. And when it slides forward (think “text-neck”) it gets even heavier. Your neck and upper back will have to strain to hold it up. And you curve ever so slightly beyond your centre of gravity. So, hold your head right above your neck. Keep your gaze about 20 metres in front of you. Even try imagining you have a toilet plunger on the top of your head and someone is gently pulling up!

Shoulders:

Relax them. Keep them loose as well as low and back. This is where they are “meant” to sit, so despite being relaxed you’ll actually get better stability from them. AND in this position, they will help keep you centered. 

Hands and Arms:

Relax your hands. This will help keep your shoulders and neck relaxed. Okay, don’t let them flop around… but “soften” them. You know what I mean.

Bend your elbows and about 90 degrees and swing them forward and back. Naturally pivoting from that beautifully stable and relaxed shoulder!

Core:

There’s no question a strong core improves running speed and posture. Running with your pelvis in a slight anterior tilt (think slightly distended belly) will inhibit your abs from firing effectively and may force your hamstrings to work harder to whip your legs forward. Keeping your pelvis in a more neutral position, for one mechanically “stacks” your pelvis right under your head and shoulders. It also makes it easier to activate your abdominals to help drive your thigh forward, and stabilize the hips so each foot fall can be lighter.

Okay. Enough geeking out for one day.

If you have any questions about this or any workout, please feel free to connect with Meg here.

To balance out me running on about all that running, here's a really solid, full body strength training workout. Peter recommends weights. If you don't have any, the leg work can be body weight only. You could fill a couple of water bottles to add some resistance for the upper body exercises:

Round One

Weights are needed.

  • 10 (with dumbbells in hand) plank - single arm row - hop to feet - single arm curls; repeat
  • 20 front goblet squats
  • 10 single arm - half curls (from straight arm, pull into 90 degrees), while shuffling into a tight semi-circle
  • 10 single arm - half curls (as above)
  • 20 single leg backward lunges
  • 20 single leg backward lunges
  • 15 lateral raises
  • 30 weighted squat jumps
  • 30 push-ups
  • 10 single arm inverted shoulder raises
  • 10 single arm inverted shoulder raises
  • 10 single arm - half curls (palm faces your body with this one)
  • 10 single arm - half curls (palm faces your body with this one)

A full body pyramid to end Round One

With dumbbells in hand.

  • Plank - single arm row - hop to feet - shoulder press x 1 of each
  • Plank - single arm row - hop to feet - shoulder press x 2 of each
  • Plank - single arm row - hop to feet - shoulder press x 3 of each
  • Plank - single arm row - hop to feet - shoulder press x 4 of each
  • Plank - single arm row - hop to feet - shoulder press x 5 of each

Round Two

Repeat the above, but trying to add more reps, or more weight.

For questions about this workout, you can connect with Peter directly here.

Running Mechanics 101

Runners, runners, runners… they are everywhere! I, myself took the winter off running and am now finding myself pounding the gravel every other day. Ouf. Running is an incredible activity. Great stimulation for the heart, lungs, and the muscles… it’s a great excuse to get outside… and all you need to do is pop on a pair of shoes and go! Right? Not exactly.

For all the positive simulation running places on the muscles and joints, there are negative aspects too. It’s hard for many of us to run efficiently, symmetrically, and in a way that minimizes injury due to overuse or faulty mechanics. Improving your form in even subtle ways is not only easier on the body, but it ultimately makes the running feel easier too.

The tricky variable for me here, is all of you are different. You each have unique running mechanics determined by how your body is built, including the current strength and mobility of your different joints and muscles.

That said, there are a few “tweaks” I can offer which may improve your running mechanics and lessen the negative load on your muscles and joints. The pre-run tweaks are easy enough to add in. Try them out, and see if your runs feel any different. For the “during the run tweaks,” try applying each one during one minute of running. That is, run “normally” and then try to alter your mechanics with one technique for one minute. How did it feel? If it felt “better,” “more natural,” and/or "more comfortable” you may have a winning tweak. If it didn’t… try again with 2 or 3 more intervals. Still not jiving? Maybe it’s not what you need today. Move to the next tweak. But keep this other tweak in your back pocket. It may work another time.

So I don’t run over (I’m so funny), I’m going to feature 3 in this blog, share a few more Saturday, and finish up Monday. (PS. I did include a simple Running Workout at the end of this piece!)

Hips & Butt:

Open up your hips.

Strengthen your bum.

My two favourite exercises to do pre-run? Hip flexor mobility followed by hip bridges.

Cadence:

Efficient, fast, long distance runners tend to have cadences over 180 steps per minute (spm). Irrespective of what YOUR stride rate is, subtle increases in step rate can substantially reduce the loading to hips and knees and may prevent running related injuries.

On your next run, wear a watch. Warm up 5 - 8 minutes. Count the number of foot falls in a given minute (or count the number of times your left foot hits the ground and multiply by 2!). Do this 3 - 4 times to get a solid average. Your goal for your more efficient strike rate should only be 5 - 8% higher. So if your current spm is 160, a goal of 168 is perfect.

So how do we do this?

  • Alternate 1 minute faster turnover with 1 minute normal foot fall. Gradually increase the time spent at the higher spm.
  • You can download a free metronome and set it to 168 bpm. Use this to help you pace the faster turnover intervals. 
  • Shorten the amount of time your feet contact the ground
  • Think “run light.” You will likely find your core more engaged as your body tries to stabilize your legs and lessen their impact on the ground.
  • The slightly faster cadence work will initially feel harder. You will likely become tired faster. It will take time for your core, hips, and glutes to adjust to the new mechanical load. But, ultimately, your running will become more efficient! And you will be less prone to injury.
  • Simply thinking about engaging your abs, especially as you start to drive each thigh forward may help too.

Feet:

Dare I say this? There is no right or wrong way for your feet to hit the ground. Again, everyone is built in a unique way. That said, there is evidence to show that mid-foot strikers tend to contact with the ground almost directly under their centre of mass. And heel strikers tend to strike too far ahead of their centre of mass, wasting precious energy “braking” and often landing with the knee locked out. In other words, I’m suggesting it may be more important to focus on trying to shift your foot strike so you’re striking under your centre of mass rather than worry about what part of your foot is striking the ground first.

One of the easiest ways to shift your foot strike so it’s more under you, is by increasing your cadence. See point two 😊

There’s also evidence to suggest you can improve foot strike placement by:

  • Increasing your hip mobility
  • Strengthening your glutes
  • And tweaking your running posture so your head is stacked over your shoulders which are stacked on top of your hips…

AND whether you’re working on altering mechanics or not, here’s a great running workout. Use the “fast” interval for higher cadence work. 

Warm-up 1: Hip flexor mobility and 10 - 16 hip bridges

Warm-up 2:  4 - 7 minutes easy running

FAST pace : EASY pace

1:1

2:2

3:3

Walk for 1 minute

Repeat 2 - 4 times

Cool down 5 minutes

For questions about this or any workout, you can connect directly with Meg here.

When workouts and home schooling collide?!?

Candice Lewis - Personal Trainer at the Adelaide Club - created this really fun (and effective!) workout. She test drove it with her daughter Veronica using both of their names. The varations are endless!

The rules are simple: Spell out the letters of your name. Each letter corresponds to the activity listed below. And, really, you could spell out anything! Make a grab bag full of words... roll a dice... and the number on the dice determines how many words you have to "spell"?!?

A - 20 Hip Thrusters
B - 1 minute Front Plank
C - 30 second Side Plank
D - 25 Squats
E - 15 Split Squats
F - 15 Push-ups
G - 20 Pull Aparts OR Prone Back Flye
H - 30 Mountain Climbers
I - 20 side to side Lunges
J - 20 Hip Thrusters
K - 1 minute Front Plank
L - 30 second Side Plank
M - 25 Squats
N - 15 Split Squats
O - 15 Push-ups
P - 20 Pull Aparts OR Prone Back Flye
Q - 30 Mountain Climbers
R - 20 side to side Lunges
S - 20 Hip Thrusters
T - 1 minute Front Plank
U - 30 second Side Plank
V - 25 Squats
W - 15 Split Squats
X - 15 Push-ups
Y - 20 Pull Aparts OR Prone Back Flye
Z - 30 Mountain Climbers

My word today? “ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM”.

Kidding.

I spelt "MEG".

I developed this workout a few days ago for a member who reached out looking for quick circuits she could do to break up her online work and conference calls. These can be done in isolation (6 - 9 minutes per circuit) or all together for one awesome 20 - 25 minute full body workout.

In each set, I've incorporated Hip CARs - Standing, Quadruped, and Supine. These are Controlled Articular Rotations which warm up, activate, and strengthen the hip joint. They're PERFECT if you've been sitting for a while. Done mindfully they are also fabulous for activating and strengthening the core and glutes. And - for me anyways! - they feel really good! The pace on the videos is very controlled. You could move a bit faster.

Circuit #1:

Standing Hip CARs. 5 clockwise and then 5 counterclockwise on each leg. Stand sideways to your kitchen counter or desk and stablize yourself with the opposite hand. You can also alternate clockwise/counterclockwise for each rep.

Watch the video here

  1. Body Weight Squats x 10 (add your weights if you like!)
  2. Pull Aparts, aka reverse flyes with band or without! x 10
  3. High Knee Raises x 20
  4. Push-Ups off the counter or desk x 10 

Repeat circuit 2 or 3 times.

Circuit #2:

Quadruped Hip CARs. 5 each direction, each leg.

Watch the video here

  1. Supine Hip Bridges x 10
  2. Quadruped Hover x 10
  3. Side Plank 5 x 10 seconds
  4. Prone Y's x 10
  5. Jump Rope, 30 - 45 seconds

Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Circuit #3:

Supine Hip CARs. 5 each direction, each leg.

Watch the video here

  1. Front Plank
  2. One Leg Supine Hip Bridges (hug opposite knee to chest)
  3. Supine Dying Bug x 10 - 16 reps, alternating legs
  4. One Legged Step Down (use the bottom stair) x 10 - 16 reps, each leg
  5. Climb stairs 2 at a time - repeat staircase so that you step 10 - 16 times with each leg

Repeat 2 or 3 times.

For questions about this or any workout, please connect directly with Meg.

Ann Richards - an amazing Member at the TAC - was missing her Aquafit classes. So, she took it upon herself to encourage her classmates to try a little Dry Land Training based on their instructor Dana McGlynn's awesome moves!

"Pretend you are Dana on solid ground leading us in class! Put on some music...and maybe don a bathing suit too?!?"

Both Ann and Joan Rocha (pictured here, no suit?!?) have been loving these workouts!

  • Brisk march, knees up, pump your arms
  • Hamstring kickback
  • Elbows to knees, repeat other side
  • Kick out, try to reach your toes
  • Jumping jacks
  • Washing machine
  • Walking lunge with a book on your head for balance
  • Walking grapevine
  • Side lunges
  • Donkey kicks
  • Punching - cross body, upper cut, rapid
  • Raising leg forward on angle, right/left, while reaching forward to touch heels

Cool down with some yoga moves:

  • Warrior One
  • Warrior Two
  • Warrior Twist
  • Dance Pose
  • Eagle Arms

Okay. ONE thing I'd like you to schedule this weekend: Opportunity to move. It doesn't matter what it is. Ideally something you enjoy. Either during, after the fact, or both.

Toronto has some incredible green spaces. Throw on a pair of sneakers and go explore. Some of these areas are great on bike too!

  • West Humber Parkland
  • Bluffer's Park
  • High Park
  • The Leslie Spit
  • Evergreen Brickworks
  • The Beaches Boardwalk/Ashbridges Bay
  • Trillium Park and William G Davis Trail

Blair Larsen - a trainer at the Adelaide Club - is unbelievably fit. He's also one of the smartest and most well-rounded fitness professionals I've ever met. He fully embraces the importance of a great workout that is quick and easy to do. And uses solid scientific principles to ensure these workouts get results.

Blair acknowledges that there are SO many factors to consider when training. But today he wants to share his top 3 secrets to keep things simple and really effective.

  1. Intensity: PUSH yourself.
  2. Variability: Adapt to suit your fitness and energy level.
  3. Execution: Great form is KEY!

Intensity:

Most people miss the mark in this aspect of training but it can make the world of difference. There is a preconceived notion that 3 sets of 10 reps is the golden rule and the effort needed to improve muscle tone, size, strength, really any and all types of muscle gain. But what that arbitrary standard is too much for John Big and not enough for Mrs. Universe? Maybe John just wants to feel awake and mobile, whereas Mrs. Universe needs that pump so she doesn't lose the gains she's made so far.

Let's consider intensity on a continuum that varies for each individual: For any of us, if the effort seems too "light" then it's likely we're just going through the motions. There won't typically be nearly enough stimulus then to create any positive stimulation or change. If the effort feels "moderate" then it could help us wake the body up, is likely the kind of workout we could do almost daily, and maintain our current gains. If you push to your maximal ability (to "failure" or high levels of fatigue), then you're on the road to making some serious gains. Remember the recovery in this case is as important as the workout itself. So, rest or engage in "active recovery" the next day.

Can you do this in your own home? Absolutely. (You KNOW Blair and his girls are!).

Are you up for Blair's challenge? Here it is: Pick your exercise - push-ups, squats, plank, calf raises... It really can be any exercises that you can perform with great form.

Now choose your variation: Push-ups from knees, toes, feet elevated, clapping push-ups, one arm... You see where I am going here. Let's choose push-ups for this example.

Next, do a few reps (2 - 5) to warm up those muscles and joints and shake it out.

WAKE UP Intensity:

So, you have been working for an hour in your home office and are getting tired and sore. It's a perfect time to stop and take a little "wake up" break. You chose a manageable number of reps for you (2, 6, 10, 15,...), that is not to failure, but you can definitely complete with some effort. You will feel like you've accomplished something.

PERFORMANCE Intensity:

It's Game Time: Set your mind to it that you are going to push through that uncomfortable burning feeling to the point that you can't do another rep. Then ask yourself - after this breath: "Can I do another?" Then go for it until, literally, you get stuck. That is past fatigue and right into failure. Great job!! You are well on your way to progression towards your goals.

Now ask yourself, can you do another set like that? With a different exercise? Then do it!

SAMPLE WORKOUT:

(depending on the number of sets you choose to do, this could take 10 minutes or longer)

  1. Push-Ups
  2. Body Weight Squats (to a low chair)
  3. Side Plank
  4. Heel (Calf) Raises
  5. Hip Lifts

Let us know how it goes! What series of exercises did YOU choose for your workout?

Runners, stepmillers, cyclists, power walkers...today's workout is for YOU. AND all those you care about. These repeating Under/Overs keep you training right around or slightly above your "sweet spot," the variety makes them (sort of?!) fun, and they tax your body to try and recover at a higher pace than you are accustomed to. So, it's really tough. Will make you stronger. And you'll feel both tired and exhilarated afterwards.

Denise inspired me to write this workout. As per her suggestion above (Inspiration of the Day), for each of the 45 second intervals think of someone you love, are grateful for, are concerned about. Channel the strength in your legs, lungs, and heart towards each of those amazing people. As we charge up the hill, surge out of the saddle, sprint along the road, imagine our collective positive energy streaming upwards, and to all those who need a little boost.

I'm writing this on Wednesday morning, but when you receive it - Thursday - I will be out on the road in my running shoes. Join me!

1. Warm up: 5 minutes (Zone 1 - 2)
2. Pick ups: 10 - 15 seconds springs (Zone 4 - 6) followed by 40 - 45 second recovery (Zone 2). Repeat 4 - 6 times.
3. 9 minute work set: 90 seconds (Zone 3): 45 seconds (Zone 5). Repeat this 2:15 minute set x 4*
4. 3 - 5 minutes recovery (Zone 1 - 2)
5. Repeat 1 - 3 times
6. Cool down 5 - 10 minutes (Zone 2 - 1)

*Note: the Zone3:Zone5 interval is 2:1. You could change the duration to fit your mood, fitness, or the terrain! Have fun with it. The point is you are "recovering" at a far higher intensity than is comfortable.

One of the BEST things about a tough workout is the positive stress it creates. Among other things, it will help clear those stress hormones from your system!

For those of you missing the heavy weights, Peter from the Adelaide Club, is getting really creative in his home gym. Hit this awesome workout. It might not feel too terrific during...but you will feel incredible when you're done!

Full Body Workouts/High Rep/Little Rest:

The weight, rep range, sets and REST are what Peter used. He's a bit of a crazy beast. Modify as you need to. I did it without weights at all and it was wonderfully tough.

ROUND ONE:

(with 25lb dumbbells per arm (or whatever fits your stress/comfort zone))

12 lateral lunges right leg
12 lateral lunges left leg
20 backward lunges right leg (faster)
20 backward lunges left leg (faster)
20 Romanian DL

Rest 60 seconds

Push-ups to failure (I went for 30 plus...Meg's note: If you're going to modify your push-ups, rather than do them off your knees - try elevating the push-up so you leverage your whole body)
20 slow decline chest press (holding a glute bridge (squeeze the buns!!!!)

Rest 60 seconds

10 arm curls
10 tricep kick-backs

Rest 60 seconds

15 front shoulder raises
15 lateral shoulder raises
25 overhead shoulder raises

Rest 60 seconds

25 bent over rows

Rest 60 seconds

ROUND TWO:

24 lateral lunges right leg
24 lateral lunges left leg
25 backward lunge right leg
25 backward lunge left leg
30 Romanian DL

Rest 60 seconds

Push-ups to failure (I went for 30 plus)
25 slow decline chest presses

Rest 60 seconds

15 arm curl
12 kick-backs

Rest 60 seconds

15 front shoulder raises
15 lateral shoulder raises
30 shoulder press (think pumps - fast)
25 bent over rows

If you've got a stationary bike or Trainer at home, or if you're heading for a run and want some variety and intensity try a few sets of these to get a serious sweat on. I've included a table using various ways of measuring effort to help you gauge intensity.

8 Minute Ladders

5 minutes warm up (Zone 2)

5 minute pick ups: 30 seconds higher zone:30 seconds recovery zone

     Zone 3:Zone2
     Zone 4:Zone 2
     Zone 5:Zone 2 (repeat this one x 3)

8 Minute Ladder:

     Zone 3 x 4 minutes
     Zone 4 x 3 minutes
     Zone 5 x 1 minute

5 Minute Active Recovery (Zone 2)

Repeat hte ladder 2, 3, or 4 times for an awesome workout! 5 - 10 minutes cool down to finish.

Intensity Guidelines:

Note that using heart rate training zones have limitations. For example, cycling workouts will typically elicit a lower heart rate response for the same exertion compared to running workouts. Variables such as psychological stress, fatigue, and dehydration will also alter heart rate response, making it difficult to gauge how hard you are or more importantly should be working.

 

RPE 10 max

Typical Interval

Work:Rest

Qualitative

Zone # (1-7)

 %HRR*

Recovery

1

 

 

“VERY easy”

N/A

 

Active Recovery

2-3

 

 

“Easy”

Zone 1

<68%

Endurance

4-5

60+ minutes

 

Aerobic or “all day pace”

Zone 2

69-80%

Tempo

6

20-90 minutes

 

“Race Pace”

Zone 3

81-90%

Threshold

7

5-30 minutes

 

Continuous sensation of “serious effort”.  Conversation is difficult.  Motivation and concentration needs to remain high.

Zone 4

91-100%

VO2 Max

8

3-8 minutes

1:1

Strong to severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Consecutive days of training at this level typically not possible.

Zone 5

100%+

Anaerobic Capacity

9

30 sec – 2min

1:1.5-2

Severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Conversation impossible.

Zone 6

NA

Neuromuscular Power

10

>15 sec

1:4+

Maximum effort

Zone 7

NA

 

*HRR or Heart Rate Reserve: The difference between your resting HR and your maximum HR (220 - age for males, 226 - age for females).
Now calculate your training zones by adding RHR to a % of HRR.

This wickedly simple (or should I say wicked AND simple) full body workout comes to you courtesy of Candice Lewis from the Adelaide Club. It requires no fancy equipment, but maybe throw on your favourite playlist to give you a push! Time dependent, each circuit can be run through 1, 2, or 3 times before moving to the next!

Circuit #1

  • Incline plank push-ups x 10 reps on each side
  • 10 jumping squats (or 20 fast squats)
  • 30 second plank
  • Push-ups on knees x 15 reps

Circuit #2

  • Superman (both arms and legs) x 20 reps
  • Inchworm x 10 reps (on the spot)
  • Static lunges x 20 reps/side
  • Line hops x 30 or jumping jacks x 30

Circuit #3

  • Side plank dips x 20/side
  • Hip lift (feet on bench) x 25
  • Bicycle kick x 30
  • Wall sit x 45 seconds

I'm slowly getting back into running. And today my goal was 6km. I'm up north with limited places to run without driving somewhere. Our the door and to the right? 3+km uphill. To the left? 3+km downhill. Either way, I'm looking at 3+km uphill at some point. Ugh.

So, I got creative:

I turned LEFT. Then:

2km downhill. Easy pace, great warm-up. I then turned around and started the following intervals:

  • 250 metres fast run uphill
  • 150 - 200 metres recovery run down

Distances weren't super accurate, but basically the idea was to net gain on every interval. It was actually kind of fun. Walked the last 500 metres up as a cool down to engage my butt muscles and stretch everything out a little.

For today's workout, I'm going to feature a strategy instead:

Plan and schedule your workouts and activity for the next 7 days.

Many of us don't have the same structure we're accustomed to. There seem to be hours stretching out on end...then, suddenly, it's 5:00pm and we haven't done anything for ourselves. Keep scheduling your workouts in. ANY kind of movement is vital, so commit to it daily. For me: I'm trying to get out and MOVE before my second coffee. I'm with my kids, so the best thing these days is either mobility and then a quick solo run, or a hike with the little guys!