Sample Upper/Lower Split Workout

Here at Rugged Athlete we like to offer "the most bang for buck" type of training.  What I mean is that time is limited for many and time is money for most.  We want to make sure when you train with us that you progress and improve physically and mentally.  We do not program random workouts, each workout will have a purpose.   

One such type of workout is an upper/lower split.  A combination of an upper body movement with a lower body movement.  This can be modified several ways but to keep it simple the one below is a upper push/lower pull split. 

What this means is that your upper body will be doing all "pushing" movements (ie: horizontal - pushups, or vertical - overhead press) and your lower body will be doing all "pulling" movements (ie: KB Swings, Deadlifts, RDL's, Hamstring Curls, etc)

Here is a sample workout:  

Farmer Carry.JPG

Warm Up:
2 Sets

4x KB Turkish Get Ups e/s 12kg

8x 2-Leg KB Deadlift 16kg

5x Pushups

10x BirdDogs

Instep Stretch



(1) 5 Sets

12x KB Swings 16/24kg

8x Pushups

**No rest between exercises, 30 sec between each set

(2) 3 Sets

6x 1-Arm KB Military Press e/s 12/16kg

6x 1-Leg KB RDL e/s 16/24kg

**No rest switching sides and no rest between exercises, then 60 sec rest between sets

(3) 3 Sets

12x KB Russian Twists e/s 16kg

45 sec 2-Arm KB Farmers Carry 24/32kg – (heavy as possible without having to rest during carry)

**No rest between exercises, 60-90 sec rest between sets


Sandbag GetUp Assessment Results

We recently completed our 6-week Sandbag Strength and Honor class that was held 3x a week (Tues, Thur, Sat).

During week 1 and week 6 we had each athlete perform a 10-min Sandbag Getup Assessment following a warm up.  The weight of sandbags that we used were 40/60# (with the exception of one athlete who had no prior strength training in which she used only a 20# bag).  

During the Assessment the athletes could switch sides holding the bag at any point, and could rest if needed, however, the time continued to run.  

get up assessment1.jpg

The only factor that was inconsistent was the environment in which the Assessment was performed.  During week 1, it was done indoors and during week 6 it was performed outdoors.  It's inclusive whether this skewed the results.  

getup assessment2.jpg

Six athletes performed the Assessment during week 1 but only five were able to during week 6 as one athlete was not able to attend.

Here are the results:

Athlete                       Week 1             Week 6             Improvement

Julie     20#                   63x                  72x                   9x (14%)

Aaron   40#                   70x                 ------

Greg     40#                   67x                 74x                    7x (10%)

Jason    40#                   70x                  86x                   16x (23%)

Travis    60#                  51x                  57x                    6x (12%)

The average improvement was 9.5x more reps which equates to an average increase of 14.75%. 

All athletes reported that the test was NOT any easier in week 6 compared to week 1.

Sandbag Get Ups

A great full-body exercise that trains both physical and mental toughness. An extremely transferable exercise requiring an athlete to go from a lying horizontal position to a standing vertical position while under load.  It also builds real world strength for the abs, legs and back and requiring coordination and agility to perform efficiently.

Anyone can benefit from doing this exercise, but can be especially beneficial to law enforcement and fire and rescue professionals, as well as wrestlers/MMA fighters due to all the ground work they perform.  You can vary the focus by going with a lighter bag and exploding up quickly each rep or go heavier and focus on simply getting up

I first learned of this exercise from Jordan at Atomic Athlete several years ago.  One of the challenges they were having their athletes attempt to complete was 100x reps in 10 minutes or less.  Now at first, this may not seem too difficult, that's an average of only 10x reps every minute.  However, the sandbag weight is where things get a little daunting.  The bag weight must be 80#. 

So not only do you get the benefit of stamina, you also get the benefit of strength-endurance.  After learning about why their athletes were doing it and the benefits of the exercise I had to try it for myself.  I was only able to get 67 reps using an 80# sandbag my first attempt, and the highest I have gotten so far is 88 reps.  I believe one of their athletes got up to 120 reps (which is insane). 

Sloane SB 9.jpg

It was one of the hardest fitness tests I have done that I can remember.  At the 5 minute mark I remember telling myself I wanted to quit. But I kept going, and for the next 5 minutes I've never felt so uncomfortable.

The weight of the bag really starts to add up, and I eventually learned that there is a trick to the placement of the bag.  The more weight of the bag you can position in front of your body the better and easier it will allow you to get off the ground to 1/2 kneeling and then to a standing position.  

Sloane SB 10.jpg

I like to put my athletes through this 10-minute Sandbag Get Up Assessment fairly early. This allows us to establish a baseline of their strength endurance. I will typically use 60# for men and 40# for women for most athletes, and 80/60# for my stronger/fitter athletes.  

We will vary the focus in training by sometimes using a lighter bag and exploding up quickly each rep or go heavier and focus on pure strength by simply getting up.

The lesson I learned from this single exercise was that getting up off the ground with heavy weight is not fun. And over the years of training and coaching, I know that some of the most beneficial exercises are the ones that are not "fun".

If you are up for the challenge, try to get 100x reps in 10 minutes using a 80# sandbag.  Send me a video if you do and I'll send you a FREE Rugged Athlete gift.

Small adjustments lead to greater gains

As a coach, we must look for the little things during training sessions to help our athletes improve.  The more cueing/instructing we can give our athletes; whether it's visual, audio, or both, the better they can begin to understand the proper mechanics of movements.

While teaching a class last night, I noticed two of my athletes were not getting the most out of their sandbag front squats.  Putting the load in front of the body forces the torso into flexion, so it's critical to have the supporting posterior muscles to maintain proper postural alignment. 

Both athletes have desk jobs and we know that they have tight hip flexors.  Both were having difficulty getting into a proper full squat position without their trunks collapsing forward.  By making a small adjustment to their ankle position we were able to get them both into full squats under load with "vertical" torsos (could still improve here a little with Greg - red shirt); hence maximizing the effectiveness of the movement. The goal is to see the torso and shins align parallel with each other.

Travis Front Squat.jpg
Greg Front Squat.jpg

I took a photo of each athletes' squat in the down position on (without the carpet) and each noticed immediately that they were not getting as low as we would like to see.  In the photos above, you'll notice that I pulled out some pieces of carpet and placed several layers under their feet to elevate the heels a bit.  

Not only did this allow them a greater range of motion, but they both said it felt more comfortable in the lower position.  Once the athlete/s begins to feel confident and comfortable in a certain movement, then it's easier to progress.

Taking time to notice the small things can lead to greater improvements and injury-free athletes.  One thing I have learned over my years of coaching is that I try to get each athlete to master a movement before adding weight. 

6-Week Sandbag Strength and Honor

Starting February 1, 2018, I will be coaching a 6-week sandbag strength and conditioning class at Conquest Obstacle Gym in Chattanooga.  

Sloane SB 10.jpg

The focus of the program will be strength, short sprints, core work, and some agility work; two strength days and one aerobic capacity day each week. 

Utilizing sandbags as the primary resistance, expect to engage many stabilizing muscles that normally do not get activated when lying on a bench, or even using a barbell.  Don't expect to get BIG, expect to get strong and powerful.  The strength gained during the 6 weeks will transfer over to sport/profession/daily activities.

After each class, anyone who will be competing in an OCR event in 2018 (or those who just want to have some fun) will be encouraged to spend some time working on the obstacles in the gym (such as climbing ropes, Mt Olympus, walls, Twister, monkey bars/rigs, balance beams, etc). 

Cost of Class:  $120

Class days/times:  3x a week

    Tuesday/Thursday:  6pm

Saturday:  10am 

February 1 - March 10

Strive to get to the top

If you want to reach the peak, you must first start at the bottom.

Whether in sport/fitness or in life/profession we all want to achieve success (travel anywhere in the world, make lots of money, win the World Championship, win an Olympic gold medal, etc).  However, in order to get there, what you do will determine how high you go/how much you achieve.


There are no gimmies, no handouts; if you want to be the best you have to put in the hard work/dedication to get there.  Don't look for shortcuts, or the easy path.  Think strategically rather and plan how you "expect" to get to the top. 

Set micro goals, but still have your mind on the bigger goal/s. Sooner or later the hard will pay off and you will reach the peak.

Birthday Fitness Challenge

I found this great Fitness Challenge on Muscle and Strength that I felt was worthy of sharing.  They call it the Bodyweight Birthday Fitness Challenge, but you know you don't really have to do it on your birthday.  

I would highly advise trying this Challenge if you think you are strong, but be prepared to suffer a little.  Make sure to allow a few days of recovery after the workout and make sure you are properly fueled prior to starting this so you have the energy to give it your best effort.  

The Muscle and Strength author, Roger "Rock" Lockridge, goes as far as stating, "fitness challenge most lifters can't complete".  Who doesn't like to be challenged.  Just be smart about it and always maintain proper technique.  

So here is the Birthday Fitness Challenge

The Exercises:

  • Pullups
  • Dips
  • Barbell Back Squats
  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Barbell Deadlift
  • Run

The Rules:

  • Your age will serve as the number of reps you need to complete
  • You age will also serve for how long you have to complete the entire workout in minutes
  • Your bodyweight (1/2 BW for women) will serve as the weight lifted for Squats, Bench Press and Deadlift
  • You have to complete all 5 exercises
  • Any time left after the 5 exercises you run until the time is up (so if you are 40 and finish all 5 exercises in 32 minutes you will run for 8 minutes)

Good luck and feel free to contact me and let me know how you did if you decided to take the Challenge.  Or you can personally thank Roger "Rock" Lockridge for created this masterpiece.



Improve Running Performance With These Hamstring Exercises

Hamstrings are the most powerful leg muscle for runners as they transfer power between the knees and hips, propelling your forward momentum, and control athletic performance.  Strong hamstrings are critical for any running athlete who wants to run fast.

Athletes should condition their hamstrings in movement patterns that are similar to their respective sport/s.  For the purpose of this article, runners should train their hamstring muscles in the linear movement (such as in running).

Hamstring are often under-developed and weak in comparison to the quadriceps muscle. Strengthening the hamstring muscle can prevent potential injuries to the knee and muscle strains in the leg.  Weak hamstrings will also limit your speed potential.  

Instead of using the leg curl machine (which isolates the hamstring muscle) in the gym, runners should focus on exercises that engage the entire posterior chain (muscles in the back of the body) to teach the hamstrings, glutes and other "backside muscles" to work together.  Choose exercises that involve hip extension and knee flexion; critical movements in running, and your performance will improve.

Here are five exercises runners should incorporate into their strength training program .  Select 1-2 of these exercises to use per workout. 

1.       Inchworms

·         Assume a pushup position

·         Walk feet out towards your hands keeping legs straight until you feel            a stretch in the hamstrings

·         Walk hands forward to return to the pushup position keeping legs              straight

·         Perform 2-3 sets of 20 yards


2.       TRX Hamstring Runners

·         Lie on your back and put your heels in the TRX straps

·         Bend knees to 90 degrees and lift hips off the ground

·         Slowly straighten one leg at a time as if you were running (like an                upside down mountain climber)

·         Make sure to squeeze your glutes during the movement

·         Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps each leg


3.       1-Leg Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls

·         Lie on your back with both heels on the ball and knees bent at 90                degrees

·         Raise your hips off the ground keeping hands on the ground

·         Lift one leg off the ball keeping it at a 90 degree angle and keep one            on the ball

·         Slowly pull the ball towards your butt and then slowly return to a                straight leg

·         Make sure to keep hips elevated during the movement

·         For a greater challenge, raise your arms above your chest instead of              on the ground

·         Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps each leg


4.       2-Arm, 1-Leg Dumbbell RDL

·         Stand with feet shoulder width apart

·         Hold one dumbbell in each hand with palms facing backwards

·         Keeping the dumbbells close to your boy and your back flat, push               your hips back and lower the weights to your shins (or until a stretch            is felt in the hamstrings)

·         Extend your hips to stand up and return to the starting position

·         Make sure to keep your shoulders retracted and not let them rounds            forward as you hinge at the hips

·         Perform  3 sets of 6-8 reps each leg


5.       Eccentric Hamstring Curls

·         Kneel on the ground on both knees with a partner holding your                  ankles

·         Keep knees, hips, and upper body in a straight line

·         Slowly lean forward taking as long as possible to reach the ground

·         Catch yourself with your hands and immediately push your body                back to starting position

·         Perform 2-3 sets of 5 reps

Improve Grip Strength Using Towels

Resistance training to improve grip strength can be critical to athletic success. Using isolation movements (squeezing a hand-held gripper) can be time consuming and not be optimal for the best results.

One way to keep your grip training more metabolic and targeted to whole-body athletic strength gains is to add towels to various athlete-specific pulling exercises that work on strength and coordination. These types of grip strength exercises can save time, establish balance between grip and limb force, prevent injury and even help you break through plateaus. 

Another benefit to this is when you go back to the exercises (particularly the trap bar deadlift and bent-over close grip rows) without using the towel/s you will notice you can lift a lot more weight than before.  And this will also transfer over to other exercises, like barbell bench, because you won't have to grip the bar as hard which will conserve energy.

Try incorporating these four exercises with towels for 4 weeks and watch your grip strength go through the roof.

Use a towel that's 2 to 3 inches thick. Be ready to lift less weight than you're used to. Thick towels will likely produce decreases in weight during short term, presumably due greater reliance on maximal grip strength that has not yet fully developed. Start with a 2-inch towel and work up to 3 inches over several weeks.

During each movement, use a four-second eccentric (lowering) phase to maximize strength and stimulation of muscles in the hand. Pull up quickly in one second with a one-second pause at the top.

1. Inverted Row with Towel

This exercise is made much harder with a towel.  Set up a Smith Rack with a bar about chest height.  Grab the towel and walk feet forward until your body is leaning back at an angle.  Brace your core and don't twist your body as you pull up. If grabbing the towel is hard, wrap it around your hand once. If this is still hard, walk a few feet away from the squat cage to change your body angle and lessen the load.

2. Two-Arm, Bent-Over, Close-Grip, Barbell Row with Towel

Straddle the bar and place one end in a corner of a wall so it's braced.  Wrap the towel around the bar and as you pull the bar up make sure to engage your lower lats and don;t allow the shoulders to shrug forward.  The towel is a great addition here, because it allows for a greater range of pulling motion the farther down the towel you grab. 

3. Trap Bar Deadlift with 2 Towels

This is one of my favorites.  Using a trap bar, wrap a towel around each handle and perform a deadlift as you normally would do.  This also adds a balancing component as the trap bar will rock and twist the more your form deteriorates. Grab the towels close to the base to reduce unwanted movement.

4. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift with Dumbbell Row Using Towel

This is one of the more challenging exercises listed here.  The reason is due to the amount of balance that will be required.  I would only advise trying this variation if you have already mastered the RDL movement.  Hinge at the hips, keeping lower lats engaged pull the DB up while performing a row.  Lower the weight slowly and then lower the back leg down. Grabbing the towel closer to the base will reduce unwanted movement.  Don't be afraid to reduce the weight to maintain proper mechanics of the movement.

Off-Season Conditioning for Obstacle Course Racer (OCR) Athletes

As the season winds down for all OCR athletes, it's time to move into the "off-season".  The off-season is a time to let the body recover from any nagging injuries that may have occurred as well as give the mind a break from the normal routine.  It doesn't mean that you will be sitting on the couch and becoming a lard ass.  

The length of time for an off-season can vary for each athlete, depending on goals.  Typically an off-season will last 3-4 months (Nov - Feb, or Dec - Mar for most people).  During this time, I advice athletes to take 2-3 weeks off COMPLETELY and catch up on some things they may have had to sacrifice during the season, and to not think about training at all.  This time may need to be longer if an athlete has a major injury to recover from.

Then for the next 4 weeks I'll have them begin a strength program targeting all major muscle groups using compound movements.  The focus will be on lighter weights with higher reps to get the muscles used to the resistance training again and to get them ready for more strength work to come.  Rest between exercises will be minimal so that we are activating the aerobic system at the same time.  We'll also include some low intensity cross training with other sports such as mountain biking, paddleboarding/kayaking, or rucking/hiking along with a good amount of mobility work.  It's also good to get into some Yoga/Pilates classes 1-2 days a week, if possible.

Weeks 6-10 I like to have athletes work on building lots of full-body strength using heavier weights and lower reps.  The goal is to build strength, not muscle mass.  I like to prescribe up to 8 sets of certain compound movements of 2-3 reps allowing adequate amount of rest between each. Finishing each workout with a little obstacle work is ok to add in some fun, but I like to keep it simple and not structured.

Week 11 will usually be a recovery week to allow full recovery and prepare for some explosive-style movements/plyometrics. 

For the next few weeks (weeks 12-14) I'll move athletes into a power phase where they begin to move explosively (box jumps, split lunge jumps, power cleans, etc.).  Here I like to add in some short high intensity work capacity circuits to fire up the anaerobic system a little.  This is also a good time to start adding in more structured obstacle work/grip strength training. 

So by the end of a 3-4 month off-season, the OCR athlete should be really excited to get back to competing again.  If the athlete/s plan to focus on Championship races held in Sept-Oct, I like to have he/she begin with more short distance events (Spartan Sprint, Bonefrog Sprint, or Tough Mudder Half), and then as months go by start adding in some middle distance events (Spartan Super, Savage Race, Bonefrog Challenge) and then really start to focus on the longer events (Spartan Beast, Bonefrog Tier 1, Tougher Mudder) as July/Aug roll around  

In general the goal for the off-season should remain the same for most athletes, while the time frame may need to be adjusted for each individual athletes.

Once the off-season is over I'll have athletes move into an "early season" period.  More on that in a later post.


Training in the heat

Summer is in full swing and depending on where you live temperatures could be reaching near, or even above, 100 degrees.  If you live in the southeast or Midwest you also have the humidity to factor in.

Higher outside  temperatures will quickly increase body temperature when exercising.  Because it will take longer for the body to regulate heat, one's heart rate (HR) will also increase as a result. This will make a workout seem much harder than it did/does when exercising in cooler temps during fall/winter, or when exercising indoors with air conditioning.

There are a few tips to consider that will help to give you a safe, effective workout when exercising outdoors in the heat.  

1.  Keep the intensity low.  No need to go out and perform intense intervals on the track.  Instead go for a slow run or even a hike.  Perceived exertion will be much higher than in cooler temps, so even a slow run will seem much harder.   

2.  Try to exercise early (5-7am) before the temps rise or later in the evening (7-9pm) when the sun is beginning to set.  Another benefit to this is that if you're at a park, odds are there might not be many others.

3.  Wear light colored clothing and a hat with vents and sunscreen.  White shirts/hats will reflect the sun better than dark colored clothing, and sunscreen will protect your skin.  

4.  Drink lots of fluids...16 oz 1 hour before, 8-10 oz every 15 min during, and 8-16 oz immediately after exercising.  In humid climates your body will sweat more.  Because of this it is important to replace that loss of fluids with electrolytes (i.e.: Gatorade, Nuun tablets) to prevent excessive cramping

5.  Be smart!  If you start to feel disoriented or start to have blurred vision, end the workout immediately.  Or if you have access, cool down and then head indoors to finish the workout.  With higher temperatures, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke become more common during exercise.

Exercising outdoors in extreme heat can still be fun, just make sure to use common sense and a few of these tips above.  My best advice in extreme heat is to exercise a controlled air conditioned environment.

In-Season strength exercises for mountain bikers

Whether you are an elite or recreational mountain biker, strength training should be a regular part of your summer exercise program.   Cycling is a repetitive sport; moving certain muscles in the same movement pattern over and over, sometimes for many hours.  What happens is that those specific muscles get stronger but everything else gets tight or weaker (including your bones).  

In order to stay healthy and strong for the duration of the season (typically April – November) you should incorporate at least one strength training day a week (but no more than 2 days) to maintain, or even improve, strength gained during the off-season.

For many, the off-season is a time to ride your bike at a low intensity for many hours and build the aerobic engine.  Some are fortunate enough to do this in a warm climate, while others in the northern hemisphere aren’t as fortunate.  Recent research has shown, however, that there are benefits of strength training for cyclists; pushing a bigger gear, having less injuries during the season, and preventing burnout.  

Newer pieces of fitness equipment make it easier to train the aerobic system and build strength without fatiguing the body or reducing on-bike performance during the peak racing/riding season.  Equipment such as TRX and Kettlebells are great because they can be used as bilateral (both sides of body moving together, or unilateral (one side of the body at a time) during training

Strength workouts during the summer season should be secondary to on-bike training.  So especially on high intensity training rides, perform the strength workout AFTER the ride.  This can be immediately or a few hours after the ride.

If you keep a training log, (and you should) remember to count the strength workouts as training hours when factoring in your recovery days.  This will help to prevent over-training.

Here are 5 exercises to maintain strength during the mountain bike season:

1.  TRX Sprinter Starts

Start with straps positioned under each armpit.  Keeping your chest up, lean forward and move one leg into a reverse lunge.  Begin by bringing the back leg forward and lifting the knee up in the air.  To build power for pedaling, add a little hop forward and backward before each time moving the  back leg into reverse lunge. 

*Repeat 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps per leg

2. Half Kneeling Straight-Arm Pulldowns with Ropes

For this exercises you will need two rope attachments for the cable machine.  Begin in a half-kneeling position (one knee up in front and the other on ground behind) and grab the ropes handles.  Keeping your torso tall, pull the ropes down using your lat muscles while the arms remain straight.  Keep your core muscles engaged during the movement at all times and control the weight.  This is great for teaching you to keep your upper body relaxed on the bike and not shrug.

*Repeat 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps on each side

3.  KB Double Lunge (L/R)

Begin with one Kettlebell racked at shoulder level.  Your wrist should remain flexed, do not allow the wrist to fall back while holding he weight.  Keeping the weight at shoulder height, step forward into a lunge, and then immediately step back into a reverse lunge with the same leg.  The goal is to not step the feet together before moving into the reverse lunge.  This will challenge your balance and coordination and will make you more secure on the bike when riding in a pack.

*Repeat 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps on each leg

4.  Pushup with Knee Tucks and Abduction using Sliders

For this exercise you will need two Sliders (or a piece of paper works as well).  This is a great upper body exercise that can simulate riding out of the saddle while cranking on the handlebars.  Begin in pushup position with each foot on a slider.  Lower down and as soon as you begin to push back up slide one foot forward bringing your knee towards your chest.  Extend the leg back and then lower down again and this time bring the other knee forward, then lower down and bend both knees forward together at the same time, and finally with legs straight spread them apart and back together.  This series counts as 1 rep.

*Repeat 2-3 sets of 4-8 reps

5.  TRX Single Leg Hip Press

Lie on your backside and place one heel in the lower loop of a TRX Strap.  Bend knees to about 90 degrees.  Push your foot in the strap down as you lift your hips at the same time.  Keep the foot that is not in the straps elevated as well.  This is great for working the hamstrings to “pull” on the pedals.

*Repeat 2-3 sets 8-12 reps on each leg

Register for Spartan Race Training Camp!!!

Beginning August 5th, Rugged Athlete will be running an 8-week training camp to prepare athletes who will be competing in the Spartan Race Sprint - Fort McDowell race on September 23rd near Nashville, TN.

                    WHEN:     Aug 5 - Sept 16 

                                      SATURDAY'S @ 9am

                    WHERE:   Windridge Apt Complex and local parks

                     COST:       $45.00 (includes 8-week strength program)

The training camp will be led by Certified Trainer and Elite obstacle course racer, Sloane Anderson, and held Saturday's at 9am in the social area by the pool in the Windridge Apartment Complex and occasionally at a local park. Each workout will last approx 1-1.5 hours. 

  • A complete 8-week "Rugged Regimen" strength training plan will also be provided for each athlete to complete on their own…32 total workouts (in addition to training camp) 
  • Improve your mental toughness and develop grit.
  • Lots of equipment will be used: Tires, Sandbags, Buckets, TRX, Kettlebells, Hurdles, Med Balls, Stairs, etc.
  • Must be able to run, jump, crawl and lift moderate to heavy objects.
  • What are you waiting for, it's time to get rugged and Spartan Up!

Rugged Athlete competes in Warrior Dash Georgia

Rugged Athlete athlete, Greg Higgins, competed in the Warrior Dash event this past weekend in Covington, GA.  This was Greg's first attempt at an mud run/obstacle course race event. 

Greg has been training for this event since January.  He has a background in running but hadn't done much strength training prior to starting his training in January.  Our focus with Greg was to improve his overall relative strength using bodyweight exercises the first 6 week and then begin adding in resistance exercises in the form of dumbbells.  

Greg's upper body strength improved quickly as noted in several assessments, and his per mile pace also improved.  Prior to beginning his training with Rugged Athlete, Greg was not able to perform a pullup. One week prior to his event he was able to perform 5 strict pullups.  As most who have competed in an obstacle course race will contest, it is essential to be able to pull yourself (ie: your bodyweight) up and over objects (ie: walls).  

Greg Warrior Dash.jpg

The final few weeks prior to the event we mixed in some race simulation workouts and reduced the total volume of running.  Running with wet shoes was also essential so he was familiar with the extra weight and wet socks.  

Now that the cobwebs have been dusted off and the first race is completed, he will begin training in May for his first Spartan Race Sprint in Asheville, NC on July 29th.  

Upcoming event?

Are you getting for your upcoming summer races, obstacle course, mountain bike, 10k, GoRuck, etc?  If so, is your training getting you prepared to attack and conquer the event/s? 

Give Rugged Athlete a call or email and let us prepare your training plan so when you show up at the start line (or start time) you have the confidence to do your best.  Choose form one of our pre-written plans or our Athlete-Custom plan and get started today.  

Most of our plans are 8 weeks in duration, so if you have an event in June/July now is the time to get specific with your training.  Don't forget to maintain a good balanced diet as well.  Nothing trumps a good training plan than a poor diet.

Get Rugged!

Brutal Battling Ropes Workout

Some of you may already be familiar with Battling Ropes, however, for those of you who are not, this will be a new exciting workout for you.  

The idea behind battling rope training was first introduced by John Brookfield, who developed his owns system of rope training called "Battling Ropes".  The rest is history.  These systems have been used by professional and Olympic athletes and are great for building strength and challenging the cardiovascular system.

There are several different ropes on the market; from different materials, to different weights and lengths.  If yo have the option start with the smaller and lighter rope and build up to working with a heavier rope.  If you have never used battling ropes, you may also want to start with only 1 set rather than the 3 sets prescribed in the workout below.

In this workout, all you need is access to a Battling Rope and your own bodyweight. Perform all exercises with minimal rest between each. Once all 4 rounds are completed, rest 2 min and move to the next group.  During the 2 min rest, it's best to do some mobility drills for hips and shoulders

(1) 4 Rounds

30 sec Alternating Rope Slams 

20x Bodyweight: Lateral Jumps -  (10 per leg)

30 sec Alternating Rope Waves 

10x Bodyweight: Burpee


(2) 4 Rounds

30 sec Reverse Lunge Rope Waves - 10 lunges per leg

10x Bodyweight: Push-ups (add a clap if too easy)

30 sec Side to Side Rope Slams

20x Bodyweight: Mtn Climbers


(3) 4 Rounds

30 sec Grappler Rope Slams (side to side with overhand grip) 

15x Bodyweight: Squats 

30 sec Plank Alternating Rope Pulls 

10x Bodyweight: Jump Squats

2 strength workouts for runners

Are you a runner struggling with running hills or lack that burst of power needed to stick with the pack?  If so, try incorporating these workouts into your off-season strength training to build strength and power.

Make sure to allow for a day of rest between these workouts and that you warm up for 10-15 min. with some easy jogging, then some dynamic movements such as the following before starting each workout:

Warmup:  10 min.
6x Lunge with Rotation e/s
10x Jumping Jacks
6x Med Ball Good Mornings 8#
4x Knee Hugs e/s
10x Cross Mtn Climbers

Allow 1-2 days of rest between these workouts.  If you have been running regularly, you can include one of these workouts the day before your Tempo run and one workout the day before your Long run.

Workout #1:  45-60 min
Complete all strength exercises one after the other in a circuit format.  Perform 4 sets of 6-8 reps with 20-30 sec rest between exercises and 1-2 min rest between sets.  Complete only 2-3 sets of the two core exercises.
All exercises should be performed with slow controlled movements, however, for the DB side lunge/Clean and Press make sure to make the Clean and Press a little explosive.

(1) 4 Sets

6-8x Bulgarian Lunge
6-8x DB RDL to Bent-Over Row
6-8x Alt. 1-Arm DB Bench Press

(2) 4 Sets

8-10x Alt. DB Hammer Curls e/s
8-10x TRX Triceps Press
8-10x DB Side Lunge to Clean to 1-Arm Press (the side yo lunge to is the arm you press overhead)

(3) 2-3 Sets
30x Bicycle Crunches
30 sec Plank with Alt. Opposite Leg/Arm Lifts

Workout #2:  45 min
3 sets of each superset in Part (1) and (2).  Rest 30 sec between each set and 60 sec between each pair of exercises.  For Part (3), perform in circuit format (one after the other with minimal rest). 
For all core exercises (#6,7,8) perform 3 sets of 10 reps each.

(1) 3 Sets

10-15x TRX 1-Leg Squats e/s
10x Split Lunge Jumps

REST 1 min

(2) 3 Sets

10-15x KB RDL
15-20x Back Extensions

REST 1 min

(3) 2 Sets

5x X-Band Lateral Walks (using a superband (.5" - 1") e/s
10x Stiff-Arm Pulldowns (using a straight bar)
10x DB Suitcase Deadlift (like a regular deadlift, but only lifting 1 DB) e/s
10-15x Hanging Knee Raises
10-15x Med Ball Chops
10x Anti-Rotation Situps (lie perpendicular to a c able machine.  Using a single handle (or rope attachment) extend arms out in front of chest.  Then perform a situp without letting your torso twist towards the cable anchor point...resist the rotation

Make sure to cool down with an easy jog or spin on the bike for 5- 10 min.  Then mix in some foam rolling and stretching. 

4 exercises for a stronger Stand-Up Paddleboarding season

Many people are trying out Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) for the first time without any experience except for maybe a brief overview by the rental company before they get on the board.  SUP requires you to remain upright on an unstable board while moving a large paddle through the water.  In order to effectively do this, you need to engage many muscles.

Since it is a low-impact sport, it can also make for a great cross-training workout during the summer months.  And, because of the shoulder and hip movements required to paddle, it can also be a great sport-specific workout for high school baseball players and XC skiers during their off-season.

Below are four exercises that will strengthen your shoulders, hips, glutes, arms, and core muscles: 

1.  TRX Rip Trainer Low Pull on BOSU Ball

-Stand on the black side of the ball to mimic the instability of the water

-Grab a TRX Rip Trainer with resistance band at the bottom (if you don’t have access to a   TRX Rip Trainer you can use a Body Bar and light Superband.

-With slightly bent knees, reach forward with the Rip Trainer (or Body Bar) and pull back keeping the bar vertical, just like you would with a paddle.

-Make sure you position your BOSU Ball far enough back so that when you reach and initiate your pull that you have enough resistance.

-Perform 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps

-Repeat on both sides


2.  Split Stance Cable Chop

-Stand with one foot in front of the other in a lunge position next to a cable machine

-Use the rope attachment

-Grab the handles of the rope and pull the rope downward in a chopping movement

-Make sure to keep your torso as stable as possible

-Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps

-Repeat on both sides


3.  Balance Pushup on BOSU Ball

-Place a Barbell across a BOSU Ball (black side)

-Get into a pushup position, feet shoulder-width apart, and grip the bar with your hands just outside where the ball ends

-Perform a pushup

-Perform 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps


4.  Swiss Ball Thera-Tubing Lat Pull

-Lie face down on a Swiss Ball resting your hips on top of it and leaning forward

-Attach a Thera-Tube around an anchor point and face the anchor

-Separate your legs just wider than shoulder width and plant them on the ground

-Extend arms forward, parallel to head, and grab the handles

-Without moving your feet or body, exhale and pull your arms straight back past your hips without bending your elbows

-Perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

New year, same goal

Time is counting down on 2016, so that means a new year is shortly upon us.  So what does that mean to YOU?  Hopefully the same thing it meant to you 3 or 6 months ago, that you are staying focused on your goals.  

Don't get all caught up in the hype of the New Year's Resolutions, instead, continue to keep path of your goals that you should have set months ago. But if you are just now setting a goal, here's a little advice to help.

Saying "what" you want to accomplish is one thing, but what are you "doing" to achieve that goal.  Life is not easy, nor should it be.  If you want something you have to earn it.  Nothing should ever be given to us, because that makes us lazy.  When you work hard for something and then earn it, it becomes that much more gratifying and also becomes addictive.  You then find new things to go after and the cycle continues while you improve.  

Setting and attaining the goal of traversing under a bridge (approx 40 yds).  It                                      took about 5 tries to finally get it.

Do know, we will not always attain what we worked hard for.  And in this case, it should only makes us work even harder knowing that we came so close.  Failure is not losing.  Failure is quitting when things get difficult.  

Here's a great quote from the movie, Creed , that sums it all up.

"Let me tell you something you already know.  The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows.  It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.  You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.  But is ain't how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.  How much you can take, and keep moving forward.  That's how winning is done.  Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth.  But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody.  Cowards do that and that ain't you.  You're better than that!"

Happy New Year to all you rugged athletes out there