Thursday, March 11, 2010
Get Out of The Gym: Train Like Rocky.
(This segment is brought to you by the Modern Gentleman's health and wellness specialist DMG)
They gym is not for everyone. Weight training is a great way to gain muscle, burn fat, and get in shape; but if you're like me, then you probably don't enjoy spending 4-5 days a week indoors with a bunch of sweaty dudes talking supplements and hanging out in saunas. The "Get out of the Gym" segment will be a monthly staple in the fitness section of The Modern Gentleman, and I am a firm believer that getting out of the gym and training like an athlete makes exercise more effective and enjoyable.
For this month's segment, it's time to get outside and train like Rocky. In fitting with the "Back to Basics" theme of this blog, here's some classics that require less than $5 and yield results quickly.
Jump rope. All you need is a jump-rope, some good shoes, and practice, practice, practice. Jumping rope is an essential part of many athlete's training regiments- from boxers to skiers to football players. Jumping rope increases coordination, agility, quickness, footwork, and endurance while toning your shoulders and providing a scorching card workout. Here's some tips to get started jumping rope:
1. Select a rope: Jumping ropes are cheap, and you can usually find a good one at your local sporting goods store or online. They come in several different materials and lengths- just buy a lightweight, plastic speed rope and don't spend much on it. Usually less than $10, sometimes less than $5 if you look around. Typically ropes are 8-10 ft long- most at the stores will be 9 ft. If your 6' tall or less, a 9 ft. rope will usually be fine, if you're much taller than that you may have to get a 10 ft. rope.
2. Technique. Jumping rope isn't something you will be good at you're first time, believe me. It takes practice to get the hang of it, but once you got it-the benefits are huge. Start with skill workouts. The purpose of your initial workouts will be to develop your rope-jumping skills and coordination. Expect frustration at first, but don't give up! There are endless skills to learn to keep your conditioning challenging and enjoyable, but start with basic two foot jumps (the rope will skip once for every jump) with both feet. After you've got that down, move on to alternating your feet as if you are running in place. *Pick your knees straight up and land on the balls of your feet, you're not taking a full stride here. ISCAfit.com (International Sports Conditioning Association) is a good resource for more advanced techniques.
3. Shoes & surface. Wear a good pair of cross trainers when you jump rope- running shoes don't have enough cushion for landing on the balls of your feet. Also, try to jump rope on a more forgiving surface like a track rather than on concrete; it'll save your feet and ankles a world of hurt.
Got the basics down? Check this guy out for inspiration.
Run Stairs. A park or a stadium will do fine for this. Sprint up stadium stairs like Balboa does in Philly. After that, jog back down and do "mountain climbers" on the bottom step (Running motion, pump your arms, ball of your foot touches the step and alternate quickly. *It's not how fast you get off the step, it's how quickly your feet explode off the ground that counts.)
These two workouts are simple. Jumping rope will take a little more practice, but they will definitely get you out of the gym and provide some variety for your workouts. Only got 20-30 minutes to squeeze in a workout? Try this:
1. Jump rope for 1-2 minutes without stopping to warm up. Jump as quickly as you can based on your skill level and incorporate different techniques throughout the jump. This will get your heart rate up and ready for the workout. *Bump some upbeat music in your Ipod to help keep the tempo up.
2.As soon as you're done jumping rope, sprint up the stadium stairs. When you reach the top, turn around and jog back down, pump out 20 mountain climbers on the bottom step and then drop down for 10-20 quick push-ups. You have just completed 1 set. Take 30-60 seconds to scrape your lungs off the pavement and repeat. You'll want to get in at least 3 sets, possibly 5 based on your fitness level. You'll be shocked when you look at your watch and realize you spent 15 minutes working out and you are completely whipped.