Here's part II:
Unhappy Campers Part II
The Anti Boot Camp Workout
by Mike Mejia CSCS
In part one of this article, I filled you in on why I think boot camp style workouts aren't the best option for young athletes. So, in this second installment, I've put together a group of exercises designed to give you the kind of conditioning stimulus boot camps are known for- just without all of the overuse and orthopedic stress.
After going through a full dynamic warm-up, do each drill for the prescribed number of repetitions and then immediately proceed to the next one. Then, once you've completed them all, rest for 90-120 seconds and repeat the entire circuit. Aim for 2-3 rounds, depending on your current level of fitness.
One word of caution: before you just dive right into the workout, be sure to read the exercise descriptions, as well as the reasons behind why each drill was selected. This will help you gain an appreciation for how to put your own workout together in the future, based on the program objectives.
Hang Clean to split jerk: x 6 reps
Purpose: Increase explosive strength and power. Low reps target the appropriate energy system and help ensure fatigue doesn't negatively impact technique.
Execution: Stand holding a barbell at arms length in front of your thighs, slightly wider than shoulder's width. Begin by quickly driving you hips back and bending your knees until you reach a quarter squat position. Then, drive the hips forward as you simultaneously shrug the bar upwards to initiate the pull. When the bar is up about chest height, with your hips, knees and ankles fully extended, quickly drop under the bar and "catch" it across the front of your shoulders. Stand back up, and then in one rapid motion, push the weight up overhead as you drive one leg forward to land in the split position. Lower the bar back to the shoulders, then flip it back down across the thighs and repeat- this time driving the opposite leg forward as you press the weight up.
TRX row: x 10-12 reps
Purpose: Strengthen the scapular stabilizers of the upper back to help guard against shoulder injuries. Required position also engages the lower body and core.
Execution: Grab onto a TRX suspension trainer that's attached to a sturdy overhead anchoring point. After properly positioning yourself by walking your feet forward until you feel enough resistance, begin by pinching your shoulder blades together to initiate the pull. Continue pulling with your arms until your elbows drive past your torso and your hands line up next to your chest. Hold for a second, lower and repeat.
Multi-directional Lunge: x 4-5 rounds
Purpose: Increases hip mobility and builds deceleration strength for better change of direction.
Execution: From a standing position, begin by lunging forward until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is almost touching it. Push back up and then lunge forward at a 45 degree angle with the same leg. After pushing back up, lunge out directly to the side with the same leg, making sure that your foot and knee point forward. Next, take a lunge step 45 degrees behind you, making sure to keep your torso as upright as possible. Finally, lunge straight back behind you, until your front thigh is again parallel to the ground, and back knee almost touches it. After pushing back up one more time, you now have the option of repeating the entire sequence again from the beginning, or switching legs.
* You can hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length to increase the difficulty.
Push-up with elevation change: x 8-10
Purpose: Increases core and shoulder stability while cutting down on the amount of repetitive motion associated with doing too many push-ups.
Execution: Start in a plank position with your weight resting on your forearms and the balls of your feet, with your core held in a neutral position. With your feet positioned about shoulder's width apart, begin by bracing your core and getting up into a push-up position, one arm at a time. As you do this, try to keep your hips and lower back as sill as possible. Once in position, do a controlled push-up and then lower back down into the plank one arm a time. Now start with the other arm and once again, get back up into a push-up position. Continue for the prescribed number of reps.
Unilateral Romanian Deadlift and Reverse fly combination x 6-8 per leg
Purpose: Builds strength in the posterior chain and upper back, while simultaneously working on balance and stability through the hip, knee and ankle.
Execution: Stand Balancing on one leg with a pair of light dumbbells in your hands. Begin by putting a slight bend in the working leg, and doing a "hip hinge" by bending over forward at the waist. As you lower yourself over, keep your torso nice and long and lift your back leg behind you, while simultaneously pinching your shoulder blades and working your arms up into a reverse fly position. When your torso is just about parallel to the floor and your arms held out to the sides at shoulder's height, pause for a second, then press your heel into the ground to stand back up as you lower the dumbbells. You may then either continue on the same leg, or alternate until you've completed the prescribed number of reps with each.
Band Woodchop: x 10-12 per side
Purpose: Builds rotary strength in the core without putting unnecessary strain on the lower back.
Execution: Stand aside a sturdy object with a resistance band attached to it. Grab the band and step out enough so you have enough resistance on it. With your feet about shoulder's width apart, knees slightly bent and arms extended across the front of your body over your shoulder, begin by bracing your core and rotating down to one side. As you do this, turn your entire torso and hips by pivoting the hip further away from the side you're turning to i.e. if you're turning left, pivot your right hip. In the finish position, your arms should remain extended with your hands just outside your opposite thigh. Hold for a second and then return to the start position and repeat.
Pull-up Burpee combo: x 8-10
Purpose: Improves overall conditioning level and pulling strength, while allowing you to concentrate on proper technique for each exercise. Be sure to maintain a controlled pace as the metabolic demand will be high. There's no need for rushing here.
Execution: Stand beneath a pull-up bar and make sure you have some open space behind you. Begin by reaching up and grabbing, or jumping up to the bar and do a single pull-up. Next, lower or drop down, and do one burpee by quickly descending into a squat, kicking back into a push-up position, kicking back in and popping back up. Go into your next pull-up and continue this sequence until you've completed 8-10 reps of each (or as many as you can with proper form).
So there you go. Seven challenging exercises in their own right, that when combined, make up one of the toughest conditioning circuits you'll ever attempt. Yet despite the level of difficulty, you can rest assured knowing that you'll not only be getting a great workout, but you'll also be doing plenty to improve your athleticism and protect your body from injury.