Harness the Power

31U494O4dIL._SX300_World, meet the harness. No, this is not a sex toy article. The exercise harness and I go way back. For just $20, I have tortured clients (and myself) by using nothing but body weight, a partner, and a little resistance. I’ve made college rugby athletes wimper, boosted my endurance to peak levels, and even trained boxing clients to punch while wearing it.

What can you do with this handy device?

1. Bear Crawls: Have a partner hold the handle as you drop down to your hands and toes. Begin “crawling” forward by bending your left knee and moving it forward (your left knee should almost kick your left elbow). Keep your butt down and continue moving forward with your right arm and leg. Alternate arms and legs crawling forward, using your core to propel you forward. Try not to swivel your hips. In a harness, this will torch your quads.

2. Sprint/Back Pedal: Take off into a sprint, driving knees as high as you can. Use your arms to drive forward as fast as you can. (This is where resistance is useful.) Once at the other end, flip the harness around so it clips in the back. Sit down into a squat and walk backwards, using your arms to drive yourself backwards to the starting point. This is one set. Aim for three complete sets.

3. Lateral Shuffles: Face left and sink down into a mini-squat. With your partner resisting and a flat back, begin shuffling to your left, keeping your hips facing front and resisting against the harness. Perform one way and then switch sides.

4. Broad Jumps: Find an open space. Squat, swinging your arms back. Propel your body forward and land softly on your heels, sinking into a squat. Continue jumping forward for all reps. Your partner should give you light resistance on the jump and no resistance when you land.

5. Broad Jump/Burpee: Perform a broad jump and immediately squat down until your hands touch the floor. Shoot your feet back to a push-up position, lower into a push-up and then push back up. Jump feet in toward hands and stand up. Immediately jump forward to execute another broad jump. (Note: If you are holding the harness handle, give light resistance as your partner performs a broad jump and no resistance as he/she performs a burpee.)

6. Walking Lunges: Have your partner give you a decent amount of resistance and take a big step forward with your right leg. Keep your upper body upright. Lower into a lunge, tapping the back left knee on the ground. Push off your right leg to come back to standing and immediately lunge forward with the left leg. Make sure knees do not extend past toes. Squeeze glutes with every resisted step.

My hubby and I often throw three sets of one exercise into our workouts after a strength component (and we repeat this throughout the entire workout). A great way to get stronger and have fun in the process.

Some old, old stuff…


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Fitness Friday: Quick Workout!

Sometimes, you just don’t have time for a big workout. One of my favorite fitness shortcuts is to pick three exercises and repeat them for 5 reps for 5 rounds. Even if you only have ten minutes, you can spike your heart rate and boost strength.

A great variation of the 5×5 is to pick three exercises and perform each for 5 reps, then 4, then 3, 2 and 1. Pick exercises that are more difficult in nature to challenge yourself.

Featured today:

Kamikaze push-up: Squat down and touch the floor in front of you. Explode your legs back into a plank position and immediately lower into a push-up. Hop back to a crouched position. This is one repetition.

Lunge jumps: Begin in a lunge, hands behind your head. Jump up and switch to the opposite leg lunge and immediately lower to the ground. Repeat.

Pull-ups: Find a bar and hang from it. Slowly pull yourself up to where your chin comes near the bar and lower. Repeat.

Bronco burpees: Squat and place hands on the floor. Using your core, shoot both legs to the ceiling into a handstand. Lower both legs down at the same time and jump straight up. Repeat for reps.

Hip escapes: Start in a push-up position. Lifting your right hand, shoot your left leg through toward the right, keeping it in line with your hip. Keep your right leg bent, knee up, toes pointing back. Quickly bring that leg back through and lift left hand and shoot right leg through. This is one rep.

Alternating get-ups: Sit down, bending left knee and extend right leg in front of left. Press right hand into the ground behind right hip. Using your core, pop your right foot back behind you, pressing off the right hand. Immediately sit back down and bend right leg and extend left leg, placing left hand on the floor. Pop up and then back down, alternating sides for reps.