“A snowstorm of historic proportions…” says any NJ weather forecaster on 1/26/15. As we experience the first major northeastern US snowstorm of 2015 (so named “Juno” – not just a great movie), I’m reminded that not being able to drive to the gym or to your favorite training center is no excuse for not getting in a great purposeful workout. While practicing proper technique and staying true to proven training principles, you can be very creative with how you get stronger. Thus, I present to you the “Snowmageddon Snow Day Workout.” *Disclaimer: Always wear proper attire when outside in cold weather/snow and remember to hydrate before, during, and after strenuous activity outside!
- Dynamic Warm Up (10 minutes)
With any proper workout or training session, a solid dynamic warm up is crucial. With my warm-ups, I follow this sequence: activation (“waking up” the stabilizing mechanisms of the body) –> mobilization (controlled simple movements to improve ROM) –> dynamic movement preperation (purposeful controlled multi-joint movements that stabilize, mobilize, and strengthen) –> build up (fast, plyometric movements). Check out this blog for more on the science behind my warm-up approach. Before throwing on your winter gear and heading outside, try out this sequence. Perform in socks (unless a medical condition warrants shoes for support):
- Push-up plank with alternating leg lift, slowly x 10 each side. Don’t spill that “hot cocoa” you visualize sitting on your back!
- Side plank (on knees = level 1, straight leg = level 2) with upper body rotation. Starting in the side plank position, reach underneath you with your upper arm (rotating forward towards the floor) then return to starting position with your upper hand reaching to the sky. 2 sets of 5 on each side
- Marching bridges. Lying on your back with your arms “under arrest”, heels on the floor, and knees bent to 90 degrees, press into the floor through your heels and lift your butt until there is a straight line from shoulder through to your knee. Once here, alternate lifting your knee towards your chest without your butt dropping. 10 marches each side.
- Floor waxing. In push-up position and with your hands on your winter gloves/mittens, alternate sliding your hand on your glove on the floor directly out to the side about 12″ and back to starting position. Minimize any movement other than your arm. Perform 10 each side, alternating. For less friction (and cleaner floors), place a towel between your hand and the floor.
- Standing knee hugs. Standing as tall as you can, pull your right knee towards your chest followed by pulling your right shin across your body (without letting go of your knee), then return your foot to the floor. Change sides. Repeat 10x each side.
- Touchdowns. Starting with your hands in front of you as if holding a box, extend your arms upward over your head (thumbs pointing backwards). Signify 10 touchdowns, Ed Hochuli-style.
- Back scratchers. Alternate reaching your hands behind your back (right reaching over top, left reaching underneath) as far as you can, 10x each side.
- Squats with reaches. Drop into a squat, and at the bottom of your squat reach up and out (thumb leading the way) to the right, rotating back as far as you can without your legs moving. Your eyes should follow your hand. Return to center and stand up. Repeat x 5 reaches each side (10 squats total).
- Toy soldiers (in place) into superhero: With your arms extended in front of you, alternate lifting a straight leg forward as far as you can while keeping your sock flat on the floor, followed by swinging that same leg behind you until you are doing your best superman/woman impression on one leg. 10 each side.
- Jog in place for 30 seconds, building tempo as you go.
- Put on your snow gear!
First and foremost, you have to create your training area. Grab your shovel and, using proper shoveling technique (squat and lift, NOT bend and lift), clear a 10 yard x 2 yard runway. Try to toss all of the snow you are moving onto 1 pile. Every 3 scoops switch sides (you too can be an ambidextrous shoveler!). When finished, leave the shovel off to the side
- Giant set #1 (repeat 3x:) A “giant set” refers to 3 exercises grouped together. In otherwords, you’ll do #1 through #3 then return to #1)
- Snowman Squats holding shovel overhead x 10. Keep those boots parallel and flat on the ground.
- Polar bear crawl. Crawl slow and controlled on your hands and feet (knees not touching ground, directly below your hips to start) while not spilling the imaginary hot cocoa sitting on your low back (you spill it and there’s nothing warm to drink when you’re done). Crawl forward 10 yards and backwards 10 yards
- Snow angels x 15. Using slow movements, aim for symmetry, good posture, and try to stand up without messing up your beautiful creation. Yes, you have to pick a different snow spot each set.
- Giant set #2 (x3)
- Snowy split squats. Right leg forward, front boot remains flat on the ground as you drop your left knee underneath you until almost touching the ground. 10 each side. To increase resistance, hold a bag of ice melt or a child.
- Sideways polar bear crawl. Just like above in giant set #1, but you crawl sidways to the right for 10 yards, the back to the left for 10 yards. Second time through go left first. 3rd time through start to the easier side.
- Snow gathering. Kneel on the ground, bend forward at your waist and spread your arms as wide as you can. Pull your arms inward through the snow, collecting as much as you can in your arms along the way. Lift your pile up to a tall kneeling position (on your knees with tall posture) and “make it rain” Lebron James-style. Repeat x 10
- Giant set #3 (x3)
- Snowball rolling. Using your best squat and lift-from-the-ground position, start at your shoveled pile and begin making a giant snowball by squatting down and rolling the ball it forward as it picks up more snow. 10 squats + 10 forward snowball rolls (leave the ball, as the next two time you will return to it and pick up where you left off – soon you’ll have your base for your snowperson!)
- Snowball throwing. Make Elf proud and launch 15 snowballs forward. Take aim for something within 10 feet to start, and with each throw aim at something farther away. Bonus points for accuracy.
- Snowball chasing. Run through the snow for 30 seconds, carefully avoiding any sled-riders.
- Return to the warmth of your home and have a glass of water.
- Make a cup of hot cocoa.
- Drink your hot cocoa, then proceed to enjoy the rest of your snow day!
Wishing you all the best in safety, health, and fitness on this wintry day!
P.S. To all of my blog followers, I do sincerely apologize for how long it has been since my last post. Since September I have been working hard to build a new brand, “O-PA! Performance Academy”, and while doing so I aimed to share my time between my family and business-building. Don’t fret! As time allows, I’m still going to maintain SMftM as best as I can. Thanks!
Any questions? Feel free to email me.
Ryan Stevens, MPS, LAT/ATC, CSCS