Fitness Posts

Military Muscle | Mobility boosters using resistance bands and a medicine ball

Military Muscle | Mobility boosters using resistance bands and a medicine ball

No athlete competes in a single plane or walks in a stiff, straight line. Hip and spine mobility play a large part in any athletic competition — or simply enjoying an afternoon hike in the woods. Five exercises to improve movement:

Bridge with a reach-across

  • Lie on the floor with knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Perform a normal bridge, raising your hips and keeping shoulders on the ground, forming a plane from your chest to your knees.
  • Extend your right arm up and across your body toward a point on the left. As you extend, also rotate your trunk toward the left. Hold for a two-count and return to neutral bridge. Repeat on the left side.

PT365 Run Plans | Happiness is winter running

resolution_250.jpgWinter is coming, days are shorter, and it’s the perfect time to work on your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If you’ve suffered a string of injuries and find running as you used to becoming difficult, it may be time to do crl-alt-del — reboot  — and reset your running from the ground up.

After multiple injuries, foot surgery, and being told not to run, I started over in 2000 and have not suffered an injury since. My reset focused on strengthening the feet, which are the foundation, learning better movement, getting more mobile in the right places, getting stronger, and landing softer. It is still working, and just this week I finished the JFK 50-mile run after two fall marathons, including a top-50 at the Marine Corps Marathon at age 48.

You must be willing to back down in intensity and distance while your structure strengthens in places that may have been neglected, but at the end you will be more resilient and have more fun with a transformed foundation and suspension. Cut your mileage by 50 percent and lower the intensity. Use some of the time you would be running more to do these exercises, trusting that the result will be a stronger form, less injury down time, and more fun. Videos are available on our website at http://tworiverstreads.com/fun-drills/. Follow the “Lets Do Lunge” series and three episodes.

Dr. Mark Cucuzzella is the author of the PT365 Run Plans, including the 16-week 5K & Beyond Plan, 12-Week Half-Marathon Plan and 16-week Marathon Plan

Here are some resets to work on this year if you’re ready to reboot.

Reset your mind

Why: We are constantly being told that 30 minutes a day of activity is the “prescription for health.” We sometimes gravitate to gyms or groups, and for some that is the ticket to adherence. But often the motivation wears off. We are rarely told it is healthy to spend 30 minutes a day with yourself in peace and calm.

Sgt.’s 101-mile race tips | How he went from barely a finisher to ultramarathon winner in 2 years

Sgt.’s 101-mile race tips | How he went from barely a finisher to ultramarathon winner in 2 years

Never mind that Army Sgt. Kyle Curtin just won a 101-mile ultramarathon. Or that he beat the trail race record by about an hour.

Or that — even with the fastest time yet — he was still running nonstop, through cold creeks, across rocky ridgelines and up and down 10 Empire State Buildings’ worth of Missouri highlands, for more than 17 hours straight.

If nothing else impresses, be amazed that he ran the Ozark Trail 100 without inflicting a single blister on his otherwise slightly sore feet. Not so much as a hotspot.

That’s a far cry from the first time he tried to run a 100-mile race, just two years ago, also at the Ozark ultrarun.

2015 fitness forecast | Old is new, and CrossFit is not on the list

2015 fitness forecast | Old is new, and CrossFit is not on the list

The top trend in fitness is one of the oldest workouts around, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2015 fitness tracking forecast.

“Body Weight Training” — pushups, situps, squats and the like — reigns supreme as the most popular way to bring the burn.

Each year, ACSM pings more than 3,500 health and fitness experts across the globe as a pulse-check on what’s hot — and what’s not — in the workout world. The survey results were released in the most recent issue of ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal.

“It’s no surprise to see body weight training claiming the top spot this year,” said lead author Walter R. Thompson of Georgia State University. “These kinds of exercises provide the benefit of requiring little to no equipment and are incorporated into many fitness programs that are currently popular.”

If you’re wondering where CrossFit falls on the list, it doesn’t — at least, not by name.

While brand-specific trends such as Zumba and Pilates have been tracked by ACSM for years, CrossFit isn’t unique enough to make the list, according to ACSM officials. Instead, it gets lumped under the umbrella of “High Intensity Interval Training.”

Command CrossFit | Who’s already doing it — plus how to start at your unit

Command CrossFit | Who’s already doing it — plus how to start at your unit

Army 1st Sgt. Shawn Jarvis doesn’t need a fancy four-year fitness study — like the one pitting CrossFit against unit PT at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas — to tell him what he already knows: CrossFit works better than traditional unit PT.

“I drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid because I’ve seen the results, not only with myself, but with my soldiers,” says Jarvis, assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division.

Since his unit — yes, his entire unit — adopted CrossFit as its primary mode of physical training about a year ago, PT test scores have gone up and injury rates have gone down, he says.

“I consider PT the most important part of the day, because it’s the one time you can make or break motivation for the rest of the day,” says Jarvis, the top enlisted leader for Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment. “So we do CrossFit every morning, except on Thursdays, which is our road-march day.”

Anyone who knows the difference between a kettlebell and a medicine ball knows the cult of CrossFit has drawn a huge following among those in uniform.

Just witness the explosion of official “military affiliate” CrossFit “boxes” — as most CrossFitters like to call their Spartan houses of pain. From the Pentagon to the combat zones, on-base boxes have jumped from about 60 affiliates four years ago to more than 160 now.

But most, if not all, are for individuals looking to augment their regular unit PT. Now, however, entire units across all services are dumping their standard PT playbooks, in whole or in part, for CrossFit workouts.