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Break a Sweat

BreakASweat1

If you aren’t straining you aren’t gaining

By Kevin Hendry
Photography by Robert Shaer

The holiday season is over and you find yourself feeling more like Yeast Mode than Beast Mode. With the social functions, inhospitable weather and that week-long vacation to a tropical paradise, the last couple of months have taken a toll on your physical prowess.

Studies show the average person puts on a few pounds of fat between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As we all know, the scale isn’t the best indicator of health and fitness and many other things may have taken a nose-dive including your lean muscle mass, energy level, nutrition, training discipline and quality of sleep.

A fresh set of 365 days are upon us and the way I see it, life is an all-out sprint that is meant to be filled with the most exciting accomplishments and adventures you can dream of. Stop hibernating, climb out of that hole and get back to attacking life one workout at a time. It’s time to start training with a purpose and treating your body like a temple, not an amusement park.

If the perfect workout existed that packed on muscle, cut fat and increased confidence in a short period of time we’d all be doing it. And we’re not, so it doesn’t.

But a surefire way to transform your body and feel like a million bucks is to train with a purpose at a high intensity. Train slow, be slow, results will be a no show.

If you look at big cats like lions, tigers and cheetahs, they always work in intervals and we should emulate that. They sprint and stop and do it all over again. What do squats, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups and overhead presses have in common? They’re all metabolic movements that involve lots of joints and muscles that can be loaded to produce extreme amounts of testosterone-building tension.

Research and countless hours of hands-on experience show that these exercises are a great foundation, but that would be too easy, so I’ve put a spin on these timeless punishers. Add these exercises to your program and kick it into 6th gear.

Start the stopwatch, time yourself and do this entire routine for 5 sets. Try to beat it each and every attempt but remember that proper form is paramount. Challenge a friend and make a friendly wager to hold each other accountable. Keep in mind it’s not about working at your maximum heart rate, it’s about how fast you can get your HR back down to resting once a set is complete.

Warm-Up

  • Perform mobility drills then hop on a treadmill and for 10 sets of 30 second sprints.
  • Start at an incline of 10 and a speed of 6 m.p.h. After each set increase the speed by 0.5 m.p.h. and decrease the incline by 1%.
  • The 10th and final sprint should be at an incline of 1 and speed of 10.5 m.p.h. 30 seconds rest between sets.
  • Grab some battle ropes and perform 10 sets of 30 seconds to prepare the body to impose its will on its environment. 30 seconds rest between sets, you choose the variations.

Workout:

BreakASweat2 

Landmine Rotational Press
8 reps per side

Don’t lose alignment of your body during the finish.
Good for developing explosive strength and 3-dimensional power.

  • Assume a hinged athletic stance with one hand grasping the end of the landmine bar.
  • Pull through the lower body and lats while pivoting and preparing to switch hands.
  • Catch the bar with the other hand, press and finish in a split stance.

BreakASweat3 

Walking Suitcase Deadlifts
8 reps per side

Don’t initiate the pull with your low back or let your head/shoulders round forward.
Good for training the pulling muscles and strengthening the posterior chain.

  • Get in a low split-stance while hinged at the hips.
  • Firmly grip two kettlebells and perform a row.
  • Pull your entire body up to a standing position by driving up with the front hip.
  • Walk forward and repeat 8 times.

BreakASweat4 

Rotational KettleBell Swings
8 reps per side

Don’t allow your elbows to bend or lose balance while pivoting.
Good for multi-planar, explosive hip extension and end range scapular stability.

  • Grip a kettlebell with both hands and create tension in your body.
  • Pivot off your inside foot, snap the hips into extension and pull the KB overhead.
  • Pack the shoulders at the top and return to the starting position while decelerating.
  • Alternate left and right pivots for 8 reps.

BreakASweat5 

Plyo Split Squat Push Press
8 reps per side

Don’t lose your spinal position/knee alignment.
Good for improving explosive vertical power from the ground up.

  • Assume a low split stance with neutral spine and dumbbells loaded in a press position.
  • Simultaneously press the weights overhead while jumping and switching your lead leg.
  • Alternate back and forth.

Based in Vancouver, Kevin Hendry is a kinesiologist, strength coach and Director of Education for Rad Roller. He is pursuing a graduate Osteopathy degree while working to help people move and perform better.

Click to view this article in IMPACT Magazine's January/February 2016 Issue.