Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Lake Merced Workout

I like to do outdoor workouts every so often. Lake Merced has a fitness trail lining the north end of the lake.  I used to train clients at this spot.  Once a week I bring a 50 pound kettlebell to a pull-up station at Lake Merced and do a workout of pull-ups, one arm push ups, pistols and kettlebell snatches.

A fitness trail (a.k.a. parcourse) is a running course with exercise stations scattered at varying intervals.  It's a great way to get some fresh air and sun and combine strength calisthenics with cardiovascular work.

Here's a brutally effective circuit that I used to put my clients through.  The pull-up station at Lake Merced is located next to a downhill path, so we'd do hill sprints as part of the circuit.

The Lake Merced Workout:

  1. Pull-ups, as many reps as possible (AMRAP)
  2. Run downhill to the bottom, turn around and sprint up the hill as fast as you can
  3. Push ups, AMRAP
  4. Body weight squats, AMRAP
  5. Hanging leg raises, AMRAP
  6. Repeat circuit 2-4 more times

Thursday, April 16, 2015

High Tension Exercises on Kindle?

Q: Hello, I found your books site off an Amazon search and have several added to my Kindle.  I'm in the middle of one right now, and I'm enjoying it immensely.  I was really interested in the High Tension Exercises book but don't see it available yet as a Kindle book. Any idea if or when it will be???

I saw it available as an E-book from a separate site, but I am pretty sure my wife won't approve of me paying $25 for an E-book. :-(

Was just hoping it would show up on Kindle eventually???

Thanks in advance.
Scott M.

My Answer: Hey, who's the boss, you or your wife?  If you want to buy a $25 E-book, then buy it and prepare to sleep on the couch for a week.  It's worth the investment!  A man's got to have his hobbies.

All kidding aside, thanks for purchasing my Kindle books.  Strength and Physique: High Tension Exercises for Muscular Growth, however, will not be on Kindle.  The book goes over the same material in my previous books, but has the added info of the exercises.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mobility Work for Tactical Athletes

Q: I found your Return to Copland workout on line. I am a 41 yr old Lt. who is trying it. The workouts seem great so far. I'm looking for something to do on the off days. What do you recommend? Rest? Walking? Yoga?

Thank you,

My Answer: Any of those are fine.  I prefer doing mobility work on the off days.  The following are exercises that I recommend to all tactical athletes (law enforcement, military, fire, EMS).  Years of bearing the continuous load of your equipment (bullet resistant vest, duty belt) compresses your spine and constricts your torso movement.  This often results in lower back pain as well decreased thoracic mobility.

These mobility exercises will restore your range of motion.

Body weight Squats

Single leg RDL

Quadruped extension rotation

Arm thread 

Lying scorpion


The Angled Neck Bridge

Side lying t-spine rotation with arm sweep

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Accommodating Resistance

Here are a couple of videos where I discuss accommodating resistance:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Physical Ability Testing for Law Enforcement

Hello, my name is Mariah, and I am currently getting ready to try for the police department here in my city of Tucson, Arizona. I have heard of the changes in physical requirements for police officer recruits across the board, and I would like to step up my game to be able to pass the physical successfully. 

I stumbled upon your blog online. I want to attempt your strength building routine. Would you be able to provide me some additional insight and tips I could use in my endeavor?

Any help is appreciated.

Thank you and thank you for your service keeping the peace,
- Mariah

My Answer: If you haven't done so already, then you should find out what is the physical ability test for Tucson PD.  The best way to train for the physical ability test is to know what physical tasks you'll be tested on and then to practice those tests.  Unless they have updated the requirements, the Tucson PD physical ability test involves:
  • 1.5 mile run
  • Sit-ups (during one minute)
  • Push-ups (in one minute)
  • 300 meter run
  • Vertical leap
So this means you should do a lot of running, 1 minute timed sets of sit-ups and push-ups and some box jumps.  Alternate running distance from workout to workout.  In other words, run for 1.5 miles one session and then run 300 meters for the next.  Don't run both on the same day.

What would help you increase your vertical leap are explosive kettlebell swings, provided the kettlebell is heavy enough.  If the kettlebell is too light, then do one arm kettlebell swings.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Avoiding Estrogen Dominance

I'm a 23 year old male. My problem is that I have really fat thighs and calves. It actually runs in the family. I tried all sorts of leg exercises, but they end up looking more thick. If I do too much cardio I end up losing weight from my upper body. Any help or advice will be appreciated. 


My Answer: Tough to say what your issue is, because I don't know if you're fat overall or just fat in the legs. But let's just assume you're fat in the legs and not the upper body. If this is the case, then you have a major problem. You as a young male should not be having a pear shaped body like a woman. If you're fat in the hips and thighs, then you've got too much estrogen circulating in your body. Again I don't know what exactly your issue is, because I don't know if you're fat overall or just fat in the thighs.  Drinking a lot of alcohol screws up your androgen levels, so avoid alcohol.

With that said, you should avoid squats, lunges and leg presses as these will build your thighs. Obviously don't do any calf work, since your calves are naturally big. Exercises to tone the thighs instead of building them up would be deadlifts, step-ups and bicycling. This is how I normally train women with pear shaped bodies and estrogen dominance.

To avoid muscle loss in the upper body, you should train the upper body with multiple sets of heavy weight. In other words, 8-12 sets of 3-8 reps per upper body muscle.