Kicking Off AFM FITTEST Moves

By Diane Vives, MS, CSCS – January 2, 2013

It’s arguably the most exciting time of year for fitness!  This is when we start looking at new training goals and start preparing for events such as the AFM FITTEST (as in, "Fit Test").  For you competitors, we are going to introduce movements this month that build up the burpee this winter.  It’s a great one to start with for conditioning as well as working toward strength in this full body movement.

As with any exercise, progression is the key and this would be no different.  We will be showing you ways of loading movements that complement the whole movement pattern of the burpee as well as an example of loading the actual burpee movement.  Mastering the movement with control and consistency through the full range of motion with body weight is the first goal of each one of these movements.  Then, we show you ways that the movements can be externally loaded to build strength and strength endurance.  By building strength and efficiency in this total body movement, you will create a good foundation to be able to then apply speed to the burpee movement in order to improve the number of repetitions that you will complete in one minute on the AFM FITTEST event day.  As you get closer to the event, you will practice with more speed and track your best efforts.

Overhead Squat with Super Band

  • Start with feet shoulder-width apart, standing on band to secure and anchor it to the ground.  Then, extend the arms overhead and stand in tall posture to create tension in band.
  • Maintaining overhead arm extension, perform a squat with the lower body by sitting back into the hips.
  • The hands should maintain alignment over the feet at all times.
  • The band provides good feedback if you start to lose position or posture during the movement.

Push-Up with Weight Plate

  • Start in the plank position of the push-up.  Use a lightweight plate to load the movements across the upper back.
  • Keep the back flat and lower the upper body evenly, performing the push-up.
  • Don’t let gravity do the work; you want to feel like you are pulling yourself down into the low push-up position.  
  • Use smooth, controlled movements; if you are not yet able to perform the movement with good form, simply remove the plate and continue with body weight. 

Mountain Climbers on Medicine Ball

  • Start in plank position with hands placed on a medicine ball  (this creates a balance challenge as well as slightly elevates the body).
  • Extend one leg into a plank position and place the opposite foot just under the hip in a knee-tuck position under the body.
  • Switch the foot positions by driving the knee of the extended leg and extending the leg that was tucked while maintaining a flat and stationary torso position.
  • Knees should travel in a straight line under the body and not swing laterally outside the body.

Burpee with Dumbbells

  • Standing tall with light dumbbells (preferably hex dumbbells to avoid rolling at bottom position) at the hip carry position.
  • Lower the body by bending at ankle, knees, and hips while reaching down with dumbbells about shoulder-width apart.
  • Once the dumbbells are securely on the ground and you have a firm hand position, kick the legs back in to plank position.
  • Perform a knee tuck to bring feet back underneath the body and shift weight back to feet.
  • Bring dumbbells to sides and stand into full extension with shoulders, hips, and knees in line. Maintain smooth, controlled movements at each stage of the exercise.  Be sure to master the movement with body weight before adding the dumbbells to the movement.

If you feel pain at any point in a movement, this is a good time to seek a licensed health care professional for evaluation and to address any concerns or risks for injury, especially if you are just starting or early in your training program. Nothing is more frustrating than being excited about training for a new goal and getting injured. So train smart and take care of the vehicle—your body—that is going to carry you to your goal.

Start off your New Year right and find one of the many facilities that is ready to prepare you for the AFM FITTEST competition!


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