Athletic Conditioning Workout

Dynamic Warm up – Circuit 1 (1 set each)

  • Walking Lunges x 20 yards
  • Side Squats x 20 yards
  • Straight Leg March x 20 yards
  • Buttkickers x 20 yards
  • Sprint build up x 25 yards @ 50-60% of max speed

Dynamic Warm up – Circuit 2 

  • T-Rotations x 10/side
  • Groiner Stretch x 5/side
  • Arm Circles x 10 each way
  • Carioca
  • A-Skips
  • Side Shuffles
  • Backpedals
  • Sprint build up x 25 yards @ 70-80% of max speed

Conditioning Circuit – 2 Rounds @ 1:3 Work/Rest Ratio (ex. If a set takes 10 seconds recovery would be 30 seconds before the next set). 3 minute recovery between rounds

  • Prowler Push – 4 Sets @ 50-75# x 20 yards
  • Agility Ladder (High Knees to Lateral Shuffle) Use two ladders in an “L” formation. Do 2 Sets each direction
  • M-Drill – 2 Sets each direction

Sprints – 4 Sets @ 70/80/90/100% of max speed.  Walking recovery between sets


  • 40 Yard Dash

Speed Endurance – 1 Set 

  • 300 Yard Shuttle (Two cones @ 25 yards apart.  Run down and back 6 times)

Current Cardio Guidelines for Seniors

Many of us exercise to remain vibrant and active throughout our entire lives. Though none of us is exempt from aging, we can slow the process with regular exercise. Even better, we can reap the same benefits of exercise well into our 60s and beyond — benefits that include increased strength, improved balance, more endurance, higher bone density, lower blood pressure and decreased risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

With an expected 71 million seniors in the U.S. by 2030, there is an increasing amount of interest in exercise and, more importantly, the recommendations that go with senior fitness. Not surprisingly, the current American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for adults older than 65 are essentially the same to those who are younger. The guidelines are broken down into three categories: cardiovascular training, resistance training, and balance and flexibility. For this month’s column, we’ll cover cardiovascular training.

The effect of aging can have a significant impact on cardiovascular output. In fact, it has been found that VO2max (indicator of overall cardiovascular function) decreases approximately 5 to 15 percent per decade beginning at 25-30 years of age. The good news, however, is that older people can have the same adaptations to regular aerobic training as well as their younger counterparts, achieving a range of 10 to 30 percent increase in VO2max in response to cardiovascular training as young adults. Of course, aerobic activity is needed in addition to routine activities of daily life, such as self care, casual walking, grocery shopping or activities that last less than 10 minutes, such as walking to the parking lot or taking out the trash.

For healthy adults older than 65 — or adults between the ages of 50 and 64 with chronic conditions such as arthritis — ACSM recommends moderately intense aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week; or vigorously intense aerobic exercise 20 minutes a day, three days a week.

The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease. It should be noted that more is better! To lose weight or maintain weight loss — or further reduce the risk of chronic disease — 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity might be necessary.

Moderate intensity means working at a level of 5-6 on a scale of 10. This should be hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still be able to carry on a conversation. Vigorous activity is around 7-8 on a scale of 10. It raises your heart rate even more, producing more sweat and still being able to carry on a conversation, while preferring not to.

Also, short bouts of exercise throughout the day are OK if they are at least 10 minutes in length. Plus, moderately or vigorously intense activities performed as a part of daily life (brisk walking to work, gardening with a shovel, carpentry) performed in bouts of 10 minutes or more can be counted toward this recommendation as well.

Plank/Lateral Jump Combo

Here is a fun one to add into the mix. Essentially you’re getting a combination of core, strength, power, and cardiovascular endurance with this partner drill!

Here’s the basic set up:

  • One person is in a plank position while the other is doing either a forward or lateral tuck jump over their partner.
  • You can either alternate every 2-4 repetitions or continue jumping for 20-30 seconds before switching.
  • Make sure you jump over the highest point that your comfortable and confident with! You don’t want to trample your workout buddy 😉

There you have it. Quick, easy, and more fun than a plyo box!


Partner Training for Better Results

When it comes to recreational activity, traditional strength and cardio programs are effective in a general sense, but can lack in preparing us for the specific demands that these activities bring. Factors like quickness, balance, reaction time, and specific strength are skills that are needed in the majority of all recreational sports. One of my favorite ways to improve these areas during training is by incorporating partner exercises. Partner exercises are a great way to add variety to your fitness program and can easily add the specificity that is needed for your favorite activities. Plus it brings a more unstructured and “play-like” feel into the mix by adding an element of fun without compromising the fitness. Half the time you get so lost in the activity itself you don’t even realize how physically demanding they are until the drill is over. With a little bit of creativity and a challenging workout partner the sky is the limit.

Here are five of my favorite partner drills that I like to use. Either mix a few of them into the workout or use all five for a complete training session.

Stabilization with Partner push: Begin in an athletic stance, holding a stability ball directly in front of you with arms fully extended. Your partner will then apply pressure to the stability ball at various angles while you try to maintain the athletic stance and ball position. You will feel this in both your arm and core muscles. Continue for 30-60 seconds and then switch.

Plank/Lateral Hop Combo: Have your partner begin in a low or high (push up) plank position. Pick a point on your partner that you feel confident enough and laterally hop over your partner once in each direction. Quickly drop into a plank position while your partner simultaneously stands up and now hops over you once each way. Continue alternating in this fashion for a full minute.

Partner Row: Using a TRX, you and your partner will each take one handle. Both will begin by using their right arm in a staggered stance with their left foot forward while facing each other. Keep the TRX taught between the two of you, with your arm fully extended and your partners arm bent at 90 degrees with their elbow past the midline of their body. Begin to pull (row) as your partner applies maximum resistance, but still allowing their arm to fully extend until yours reaches a 90 degree bend. Continue rowing back and forth against each other for a total of 10 repetitions each.

Single Leg Balance w/Medicine Ball Chest Pass: Both will begin by balancing on one leg with about a 45 degree bend in the knee. Using a medicine, quickly pass the ball back and forth to one another at chest level for 30 seconds. Stand up, shake it out, and repeat on the opposite leg.

Blocking Sled: Begin with a stability ball directly between you and your partner at chest level. Provide maximum resistance against your partner while still allowing them to move as they push forward against you as you continue to move backwards similar to a blocking sled, keeping pressure on the ball between you. Continue for about 5-10 yards, and then switch pushing/resisting roles. Repeat for 2-3 reps each.

Snow Day Workout

Now grant it…I’m from Utah and today’s snow conditions are pretty elementary from my experience. So with that being said, this workout will still require some equipment and actually making it to the gym for most of you.

The theme of the workout is more for getting out some aggression that comes with cabin fever and is a better alternative to the “All work and no play” approach as we’ve all seen with our “dull boy” in the clip above.

So without further ado…here’s what I felt inspired to do on today’s snow day.

Dynamic Warm Up – 10 Minutes

Anaerobic Circuits: 3 rounds total. Complete the first circuit for the designated reps. Alternating between the two exercises as many times as you can for the full two minutes. At a minimum you should complete each exercise at least one time through.

Rest 1 minute. Then use the same approach for circuit #2. After completing both circuits recover for two minutes, then repeat two more times with the same rest schedule. Note that the reps descend each set as indicated below.

Anaerobic Circuit #1 – 2 minutes
1. Straight Punches (Heavy Bag) x 100-90-80
2. Burpees x 15-12-10

Anaerobic Circuit #2 – 2 minutes
1. MB Power Getup to Wall Ball 20# x 10-8-6
2. Jumping Jacks with Battle Rope x 50-40-30

Rest 3-5 minutes after completing 3 rounds of the anaerobic Circuit.

Strength Circuit (Push/Pull): Pretty straight forward.  Complete both exercises for the outlined reps below (Descending Rep Scheme).  Complete both exercises without stopping, then rest 1 minute between each compound set.  Strict form on the chin ups.  Use a superband or minimal kip if needed.  But try to stay as strict as possible.  For you stronger ladies and gentlemen…you can put your feet on a plyo box if it’s too easy 😉

1. Ring Pushups x 10-10-8-8-6-6-4-4-2-2

2. Chin ups x 10-10-8-8-6-6-4-4-2-2

Rest 2-3 minutes after strength circuit

Core Circuit:  Complete each exercise for the designated reps.  Minimal rest between exercises.  1 minute recovery between rounds.  Use a 8-12# Med Ball for the first two exercises.

1. Long lever crunch with vertical leg raise x 20-15-10

2. V-Sit with rotation x 20-15-10 (per side)

3. Plank with spiderman kick x 20-15-10 (per side)

4. Cobra (McKenzie Press Ups) x 20-15-10

That’s it!  Go home, kick your feet up by the fire and relax…you earned it!


Burpee and Front Punch Combination

his week’s exercise combines two of my favorites…burpees and punches.  Now I know most people don’t care for the first one, but when it comes to straight punches let’s face it…it feel good!  Great for the arms, amazing cardio, and excellent stress relief, anger management…whatever you want to call it!

You can do this drill solo or with a partner holding the bag.  A heavy bag is used in our video, but a kick/punch shield works great too.

Basic set up is starting off with 10 punches immediately followed by 2 burpees.  From there we decrease the punch count by two, while increasing the burpee count be two each time, until we reach 2 punches and 10 burpees to finish the set.  Basically it breaks down like this:

  • 10 punches/2 burpees
  • 8 punches/4 burpees
  • 6 punches/6 burpees
  • 4 punches/8 burpees
  • 2 punches/10 burpees
Of course, this isn’t the only rep scheme you have to use.  Pretty much any combination will suffice.  Feel free to play around with it.More details are explained in the video above.So check it out and enjoy!

Exercise is Key for Treating Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a pain-fatigue syndrome that affects up to 4% of the population aged 20-60 and 80% of those diagnosed with the syndrome are women (Smith & Barkin 2010).  People affected by it are typically dealing with both physical and psychological pain.  Feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration, and guilt (why me?) are coupled with chronic pain, fatigue, headaches, and nerve dysfunction.  Other Symptoms may include restless leg syndrome, morning stiffness, temporo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJ), impaired concentration, and sensitivity in various “tender points.”

As you would expect, these symptoms can take a severe toll in many ways.  Those who are affected often find it difficult just carrying out their daily routines.  Among, FMS patients who were surveyed:

  • 35% reported having difficulty performing normal daily activities of daily living
  • 55% had difficulty walking two blocks
  • 62% had trouble climbing stairs
  • Two-thirds or more had difficulty with the minor tasks of shopping (66%), light household chores (68%) and carrying 10 pounds (70%) (Bennett et al. 2007).

The underlying cause of fibromyalgia is still being figured out.  Exploring the details of the history or current research regarding its cause is beyond the scope of this article.  However, it is noteworthy that research not only has shown that exercise is beneficial to treating those with FMS, but should be a central component to treating it.

According to Rossy et al. (1999), 49 studies show that drug-free treatments are more effective that drug treatments for the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and assert that exercise is central to the treatment of fibromyalgia.  And even more recently, “Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia” (NIAMS 2011)

Then the question is, what modes of exercise are the best?

Research has shown significant benefits with the following activities*:

  • Walking Daily at a moderate pace.
  • Deep water running or water aerobic regimen 3-5 days/week for 45 minutes
  • Cycling at 70-75% of age predicted maximum
  • Resistance Training 2-3 days per week at intensities corresponding to 8-12 repetitions to fatigue.
  • Mind-Body Approaches such as: yoga, pilates, breathing exercises, whole body vibration training

Now studies have shown that it is important to start slow and participate in mild workouts when first starting out. From there gradual progressions can be made.  You will want to avoid intense, fatiguing exercises because it will enhance the build up and overproduction of metabolic byproducts like lactic acid which can actually make symptoms much worse.  In fact, a 70% of surveyed patients have reported that strenuous physical activity is a prime aggravator for their symptoms (Bennett et al. 2007)

So when first starting out it is recommended to:

  • Begin with one mode of exercise, walking is the most common.
  • Exercise intensity should be self-determined
  • Incorporate 1-2 days of rest in between workouts when needed
  • Develop Good Sleep Habits and Eating Patterns
  • As symptoms and endurance improves, slowly begin to introduce an additional activity.
  • Try a variety of each of the activities listed to help you decide which ones are the most effective.

 Every FMS case is different and should be treated on an individual basis.  Work under the supervision of your health care professional to determine the best modes of activities to include and reap the medicinal benefits of exercise.

*Additional Sources

Assis et al. 2006

Cuesta-Vargas& Adams 2011

Hooten et al. 2012

Hurley, Hanson & Sheaff 2011

Busch et al. 2011

Feel Like a Kid Again with these Fitness Games

What image do you think of when the subject of fitness is brought up?  Do you envision going to the gym, hopping onto a cardio machine, and zoning out for the next hour.  Or perhaps you’re more of a Monday is Chest/Shoulders Tuesday is Back/Biceps kind of person.  While either approach is effective and may be satisfactory for some, others will count every painful minute until it’s over or worse, quit due to boredom or lack of results.

Now I’m not saying having a structured gym routine is wrong, it should be part of the process…just not the entire process! What I am suggesting is adding some unstructured, “play-like” workouts into the mix.  Remember when you were young and played pickup games of basketball, rode your bike, played tag or participated in other fun games that had you running, jumping, and actually enjoying yourself?  Play was great, and it also kept us in shape without realizing it.  These same games were great for improving agility, increasing speed and reaction time and were mentally engaging.  We can use this approach for our fitness routine as well.  A great way of doing it is by incorporating a workout each week that centers around fitness games/drills.  Not only are they fun, but they are very challenging fitness wise as well.  And the best part?  They give you something to look forward to, keep you consistent, and have you feeling like a kid again. So grab a workout partner and enjoy a blast from the past with these games and drills!

Crab Race: Set up two cones approximately 10 yards apart.  Begin in the crab position (See Photo).  For one minute using your hands and legs, crab crawl down and back between the cones as many times as you can within the time limit. Switch partners and repeat.  The person who accumulates the most distance wins the round.  Or as a second option, make it a race and go simultaneously with your workout partner.  Perform 1-3 rounds total.

Shadow Drill: Set up two cones approximately 5 yards apart with your partner standing at the mid-point between the cones facing each other.  One will start off as leader while the other follows.  Using a lateral shuffle, the leader’s goal is to outmaneuver (i.e. juke) the follower for 15-20 seconds.  The follower tries to shadow and match the leaders every move.  Rest for 20-60 seconds, switch rolls and repeat.  Perform 1-3 sets total.

Pulling Drill: This drill requires either a rope or a rolled up towel.  Set up two cones approximately 10 yards apart and begin the drill at one end. Both partners will hold the ends of the rope with both hands.  The person whose back is facing the cone at the opposite end begins by pulling and dragging their partner towards the other end.  The person facing the cone at the opposite end is providing strong resistance, but allowing their partner to move.  Switch rolls once you reach the other end and repeat to complete the first set.  Perform 1-3 sets total.

Farmer Walk Race: Set up two cones approximately 10 yards apart.  Each participant will need a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells. Weight selection depends on your level of strength/fitness.  Generally 15-35 lbs. for females and 35-55 lbs. for males.  More or less can be used, adjust accordingly.  The drill begins with each participant holding their

For a video demonstration please click here.

Training tools to add variety to your workouts

It can be challenging to stay motivated with an exercise routine. The human body and mind have a certain threshold when it comes to doing the same thing over and over again, particularly with exercise.

The good news is you don’t have to limit yourself to free weights and cardio machines. Several training devices today are different, challenging and produce great training results.

I’m not talking about fad infomercial products such as the Shake Weight or the Ab Belt; these are the same training tools used by professional athletes. A few of my favorites include battling ropes, sandbags, weighted vests and the TRX Suspension Trainer.

They are versatile and will help improve cardiovascular endurance, strength, power, and burn fat.


These are also known as training ropes. They are used by implementing a whipping or circle motion with your arms that creates a “wave” in the rope. This results in a high metabolic demand to the body from the oscillation of the rope.  For more of a challenge, do simultaneous leg movements such as squats, walking or lunging. Battling ropes generally are from 30 to 50 feet long with a weight range of from 15 to 40 pounds. They are a great total-body training device that will tax your muscles and cardiovascular system.

Sample exercises:

  • Alternating waves
  • Double waves
  • Circles
  • Flips


This is a vest with adjustable weights, ranging anywhere from 10 to 100 pounds. Weight vests are nice because they distribute the load evenly throughout the body, giving more demand during body-weight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups and squats. Plus, you still have the freedom to do combination exercises with free weights or other training tools.  Start with a vest about 5-10 percent of your body weight, then progress as you gain more strength and endurance.

Sample exercises:

  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Squats with dumbbell curl and press
  • Lunge kicks


Sandbags come in a variety of sizes and allow the user to adjust the weight depending on his/her strength or skill level.  With a variety of different handles built in, this training tool can mimic most exercises performed with dumbbells, barbells and medicine balls. The key difference is the increased challenge to your grip and the shifting of the weight during exercises that you don’t experience with traditional free weights. As a result, there is a higher demand on your core and posture muscles to maintain stability, giving you an amazing total body workout.

Sample exercises:

  • Squat press
  • Rotational lunge
  • Bent-over row
  • Front squats


This is a body-weight training tool made from suspension straps. Attach the TRX to an overhead anchor point or door attachment and adjust the angle of your body to make exercises easier or more challenging.  The tool creates more demand on the core muscles and helps increase joint stability because the straps need to be controlled by the body. You can easily perform more than 100 exercises with the TRX, using it for strength training, cardio, balance and core.

Sample exercises:

  • Plank
  • Row
  • Suspended lunge
  • Tricep extension

For more info, check out the video demonstration of the exercises by clicking here.

Jason Wanlass, the owner of Monster Personal Training & Athletic Conditioning in Meridian, has more than 16 years experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at or

The myth of the fat burning zone

I’ve been in the fitness industry for more than 15 years, and it amazes me that this topic still exists. But with cardio equipment makers continuing to display low-intensity training as “fat loss” on their monitors and a percentage of personal trainers still prescribing low-intensity cardio as the most effective method for weight loss, it’s no wonder the confusion still exists.

The “fat burning zone” is 50-60 percent of your maximum heart rate. Research has shown that you burn a higher percentage of fat while training at this intensity. People were quick to conclude that this must mean you lose more fat.

The problem with this theory is the most important factor is left out, and that’s the rate of calories being burned. Also, fat is still being used at higher workout intensities and ultimately will result in more fat calories expended overall.

For example, the average exerciser burns about 8 calories a minute while training in the fat burning zone, with about 50 percent of those calories coming from fat.

Compare that with an exerciser working at 70-80 percent of her maximum heart rate (commonly called the cardiovascular zone), where the rate increases to 11 calories a minute on average with about 40 percent of those calories from fat.

The result:

In the fat burning zone (50-60 percent of maximum heart rate):

  • About 50 percent of calories come from fat.
  • About 8 calories per minute are expended.
  • 60 minutes x 8 calories/minute = 480 calories
  • 50 percent x 480 calories = 240 fat calories.

In the cardiovascular zone (70-80 percent of maximum heart rate):

  • About 40 percent of calories come from fat.
  • About 11 calories per minute are expended.
  • 60 minutes x 11 calories/minute = 660 calories
  • 40 percent x 660 calories = 264 fat calories

The cardiovascular zone yields more for both total calories and fat calories burned. And as a bonus, your fitness levels will improve even more. This is key, because the body will begin to burn more fat during and after workouts because the body begins to spare carbohydrates, a process known as “glycogen sparing.” Because carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel, and because we have a limited supply, the body naturally begins to use a higher percentage of fat during workouts as our fitness improves.

Also, after intense exercise, the body has to work even harder to restore equilibrium to our body temperature, respiratory rate and hormone levels. This requires high amounts of oxygen, a process known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). With this increased demand for oxygen, more fuel is required from our body during post-workout recovery to achieve homeostasis. And guess what the primary fuel is during this process? FAT!

The take-home message is that there is no magical fat burning zone. For best results, cardiovascular training should include a variety of intensities. While there are countless benefits to training at higher intensities, low-intensity workouts are still important and should be included into your routine, especially if you are just beginning a program. And even an avid exerciser in need of active recovery can benefit from lower intensities a couple of times per week.


• Structure two to three long and easy-intensity workouts each week. These sessions should be 45 minutes or longer with a target heart rate between 50-70 percent of your maximum.

These workouts should feel comfortable but have you still breaking a sweat. These workouts effectively target your aerobic energy system, which will help develop fat burning enzymes, help maximize recovery, and should be your starting point if you’re just beginning a program.

• Structure one to two moderate-length and -intensity aerobic workouts each week. These sessions should be 30-40 minutes in duration, and the target heart rate should range between 70-80 percent of your maximum. The level of effort in these workouts should be comfortable but challenging.

• Structure one to two short and intense interval workouts into your program each week. These workouts should last between 20–30 minutes with your target heart rate ranging between 80-90 percent of your maximum during work intervals. During these workouts your breathing is heavier and will definitely be above your comfort zone.


Step 1: Determine your resting heart rate. This is your heart rate in beats per minute when you are resting. To determine your true resting heart rate, before you get out of bed in the morning, measure your heart rate for one minute. Wait a few minutes after the alarm has gone off, so your heart will recover from being startled. For best accuracy, you should do this three days in a row and take the average.

Step 2: Calculate your heart rate reserve (HRR): 220 – age – resting heart rate (RHR) = HRR

Step 3: Calculate your target heart rate: (HRR x target percentage) + RHR = Target Heart Rate


Zone 1, general health: 50–60 percent of your maximum heart rate.

  •  Lower target heart rate zone = (HRR x 50 percent) + RHR
  •  Upper target heart rate zone = (HRR x 60 percent) + RHR

Zone 2, weight management: 60–70 percent of your maximum heart rate.

  •  Lower target heart rate zone = (HRR x 60 percent) + RHR
  •  Higher target heart rate zone = (HRR x 70 percent) + RHR

Zone 3, aerobic conditioning/weight management: 70–80 percent of your maximum heart rate.

  •  Lower target heart rate zone = (HRR x 70 percent) + RHR
  •  Higher target heart rate zone = (HRR x 80 percent) + RHR

Zone 4, advanced conditioning: 80–90 percent of your maximum heart rate.

  •  Lower target heart rate zone = (HRR x 80 percent) + RHR
  •  Higher target heart rate zone = (HRR x 90 percent) + RHR

Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness in Meridian, has more than 15 years’ experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at or