The first month of 2014 is behind us, and many of you have moved back on track and are recommitted to your fitness goals. Last month’s Muscle Movement of the Month detailed the importance of building a baseline of good movement by focusing on a four-movement circuit that could be adjusted to meet your best progression point for success. That ability to adjust creates a better foundation, which can now be used to increase intensity and challenge your body with higher intensity movements and circuits. This month, we will use the SMARTset strategy of Fit Set circuits to introduce ways to increase the intensity and begin increasing your body’s physical capacity for overall conditioning. The circuit consists of an exercise using each of the human movement categories:
Each of this month’s exercises is adds a combination of movements to the core movement in order to progress.
Purpose: Increase the intensity and movement demand by adding the overhead carry position that requires good shoulder mobility and static core stability. Then, bump up the intensity with holding the isometric position in the bottom of the lunge while performing an alternating press before returning to the standing position.
Regress for Success: Use shoulder carry position with light dumbbells on each side and perform the alternating press at the top of the standing position.
Purpose: Use a stability ball as rotary base of support to generally increase the stability challenge, adding a three-point stance with a single leg on the ball to add the rotational stability challenge to the movement. This is a lot of work for the entire body and you will really feel it in your core.
Regress for Success: Use a two-leg knee tuck until you feel confident in your control and ability to perform multiple repetitions.
Purpose: This push-up challenges the body by moving through multiple planes of motion from the prone position (sagittal), transition movement (transverse), and finishing in the T-position on the side of the body (frontal). This creates great movement and stability work for each shoulder. Further increase the challenge by using the dumbbell to load the movement with external resistance.
Regress for Success: Perform the rotational push-up with body weight. You may just focus on the T-position and rotation without performing the push-up.
Purpose: This is a great plyometric exercise that involves total body coordination. This movement increases the intensity of the fourth movement in the circuit as well as the overall intensity of the entire circuit. Focus on low-impact jumps and strive for higher repetitions for conditioning.
Regress for Success: Remove the challenge of the jump rope coordination and perform a low-impact vertical jump just 2-4 inches off the ground. Make sure the landings are quiet with a slight bend in the ankles, knees, and hips.
This conditioning will continue to increase your basic strength level and overall conditioning for the next four-week cycle. Use this strategy or choose alternate movements to add variety to your Fit Set circuits for this next month— it’s a great way to increase your foundation of movement that prepares you for higher intensity strength, power, and speed in the upcoming months. Please keep this in mind: Don’t be afraid of “power” if your goal is losing weight. Power is the equivalent of doing more work in less time, so let’s safely set up your movement capacity for more powerful movement. This will work in your favor and is the secret to many an athlete’s success.