Exercise Guide

Miscellaneous Exercises

Here are a few of the Exercises that I like to include in my workouts, but didn't fall into a certain category. Each of them has functional benefit. 

Turkish Get Ups

Weighted Pull Ups

Chest to ar Pull Ups

Kipping Pull Ups

Dumbbell Push Up Rows

Burpees

Box Squats

Desert-Fit Workbook

Exercise Guide

Gymnastics Exercise Part 3

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This is the third an final part 3 of 3 gymnastics exercise guide. These last few are a little more intense and technical than the others with rings and box jumps. Enjoy!

Air Squats

Box Jumps

Step Ups

Planks

Muscle Ups

Ring Dips

Ring Push Ups

Ring Rows

Desert-Fit Workbook

Exercise Guide

Kettlebell Workouts

The kettlebell has caught on like wild fire, and for good reason.Its just a big ol' heavy weight with a handle on it. You can swing it, throw, squat it, snatch it, clean it, its awesome. Here a few of the common kettlebell workouts.

Kettlebell Swing

Ketlebell Snatch

Kettlebell Cleans

Kettlebell Thrusters

Kettlebell Press

Goblet Squats

Sumo Deadlift High Pull

Desert-Fit Workbook

Exercise Guide

Gymnastics Exercises Part 2

This is part 2 of our video list of gymnastics exercises. These are some of the essential body weight exercises that usually require minimal equipment.

Handstand Push Ups

Flutter Kicks

Leg Raises

Hollow Rocks

Reverse Crunches

Dips

Lunges

Desert-Fit Workbook

Exercise Guide

Skill Exercises

Brute strength is awesome, but what good is it if you can't perform daily or complex tasks. thats why I make sure to include exercises for specific skills in my workouts. They also work out many muscles that may get ignored from doing the same repetitive exercises. Thats what functional fitness is all about! Below are a few that I include in my workouts.

Rope Climb

Bar Hops

Hang Board

Compus Board

Rock Wall

Sledge Hammer

Desert-Fit Workbook

Exercise Guide

gymnastics exercises part 1

Gymnastics moves? Maybe not the graceful high flying acrobats of Olympic gymnast, but the following gymnastics exercises are a daily must. This is just part 1 of of 3 because there are so many to cover! Here are the first few to give you a good idea of how to perform them properly.

Push Ups

Pull Ups

Sit Ups

Toes to Bar

Ab Mat sit ups

Back Extensions

GHD Sit Ups

Desert-Fit Workbook

Exercise Guide

Mobility Exercises

Are you looking after yourself in-between lifting heavy and running long distances? Or are you already having mobility issues? Staying flexible and loose is important no matter what your discipline is. Here are some mobility exercises to throw into your workouts.

Dislocates

Jane Fondas

Y+L

Hip Mobility Drill

Hip Stretch

Desert-Fit Workbook

Gear

The Workout Workbook

Here at desert-fit we recently came up with a new workbook to help you program and schedule your workouts, as well as document and track your performance.

The Desert-Fit workbook is a downloadable PDF that contains the Desert-fit workout structure, log pages, and a performance tracking page. 

There are over 2 months worth of log pages included in the workbook. These help document your daily workouts, and can be used to schedule and plan them using the Desert-Fit Workout Structure. It in clues a template for how the workouts should look, and a guide to what types of exercises to do each day.

almost more importantly, the workbook contains a log sheet to track your performance. There are sections to track your weight lifting personal records, fasted run times, and even Triathlon times.

If you'd like to download one for yourself, just click the picture below!

Exercise Guide

Weighted Exercises

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Many times Desert-Fit admittedly post some weird workouts. Thats why we've started a series of posts to inform you on how to perform those exercises properly. This post will focus on weighted exercises outside of barbells and kettlebells.

Sandbag Get ups

Medicine Ball Shots

Tire Flips

Farmer's Carries

Weight Sled

Ball Slams

Floor Wipers

Desert-Fit Workbook

Garmin Forerunner 10 Review

In an attempt to decrease my 2 mile run time, I purchased a Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch. So far it has been the best and worst (in a good way) investment that I have ever made. But first lets go over the main features.

The Forerunner 10 is the base model Garmin GPS watch. It's basically only good for moving on your feet. There are no bike or swim settings. I have so far used it for running and ruck marching. I find it especially useful for rucking as its easier to go faster with a ruck than when your already going all out during a run. Being 100% geared towards running, it does do its job exceptionally well. The most basic feature is simply tracking your runs. It tracks your run's distance, time, mile or KM pace, calories used, and lap times (miles/KM). It also keeps your records. It stores your fastest mile, fastest 5k, fasted 10k, and longest run. the best part of its recording features is that you can upload your runs to Strava.com. Strava is an app and website that records your runs, bike rides, and other metrics while putting you in a competitive social environment against your friends. Usually used with your phone, you can upload the .gtx file from your watch to your Strava account with the watch's USB charger. The watch doesn't have the best battery power so its not for all day use. I plug it back on the charger and upload my run right when I get back from my workout. Be sure to charge it completely beforehand if you are going to use it before a race.

The best performance features however are two fold. Tracking your pace during a run, and run-walk settings.

I said before that this is one of the best and worst investments that I made, and here is why. Before starting your run you can set the pace you want to run to. The watch will beep at you when you are moving above the pace, on pace, or below pace. Of course when you start fresh you are above pace, and when you dip down to on pace you don't want to risk going below pace so you run faster. This is where the pain comes in, but I can only see it help my run times and my leg's muscle memory to run faster (my personal limiting factor). It also helps a lot in letting you know what your target pace feels like as well.

The other performance feature is a run-walk setting. You are able to set the times that you want to on and off run and walk to. This is particularly helpful for Fartlek runs. It again beeps at you when to walk and run. It even has small count down beeps before running again.

Another convenient feature is a an auto pause setting. The watch will detect when you dip down to a walking speed and pause your run. It will also detect when you speed back up again to restart the run. The setting is great for casual runs in which you come across busy intersections, or stop to talk to a friend. You can also run more than one setting at a time. Particularly useful is the pace setting paired with auto pause.

So far this watch has been great, and I highly recommend it. Within two weeks I knocked over 30sec off my 1 mile time. Its almost exclusively from just knowing what running my target pace feels like! The beeps are encouraging. I can only see my times getting better and better. Of course one of the primary reasons I picked up one is these is, well, the price. Its hard to beat. Compared to its competitors it has more bang for the buck for most people who won't use the complicated features of the higher priced watches. You can pick one up for your self right below. I hope this helped you, and let me know how you use it if you have one, or any other GPS watch.

The Results

So does the the program work? Well for a taste Below is a graph of how much my personal weights ave improved. Look them over and decide for yourself. Every day We're improving the program of each upcoming version.


Exercise Guide

Cardio and Endurance

We uploaded a blog post earlier on proper lifting technique. But thats not the only thing people can hurt themselves on, but just simple running as well. Here are some Videos on how to properly conduct cardio and endurance exercises.

Run

Bike

Row

Swim

Ruck

Double Unders

Airdyne

Desert-Fit Workbook

Elevation Mask 2.0 with Functional Fitness Part 2

I first started reviewing the elevation mask last month. The initial review can be found here. I immediately started implementing it into by daily Desert-Fit workouts and included it on the Desert-Fit V3 workout structure.

 

So does it work? Well in the last review we talked about how it doesn't really simulate a change in elevation, but actually restricts the airflow to your lungs. In that case your lungs are not adjusting to thinner air, but your lungs are instead working harder to get the same air in. This condition is call "Hypoxic" honestly I'm not much of a scientist, but this link can explain hypoxic training better than I can. Some people may not see the benefit of it, or even assume its snake oil, but think about swimming. Swimming is hypoxic because you are holding your breath through a few strokes before breathing again. This is unlike running where you are breathing the entire time. If you do not swim a lot start now for the proof of concept. your first few sessions will be miserable, but you will rapidly improve as your lungs get better at operating in a hypoxic situation. But does the mask work? Yes.

 

Here are some examples of workouts I've completed with the mask on:

3 Mile hill climb ruck

10-5-3-1-1-1-3-5-10  185lb front squat

7 rounds of airdyne w/ no feet 3 min each

3rds: 5 205lb cleans, traverse the rock climbing wall, 33 push ups

4rds: 50 double unders, 25 push ups, 400m run

 

The mask turned all of these workouts into an extremely high intensity one. This causes you to work harder in a shorter amount of time, and works you lungs harder than they would otherwise. Its almost like overspeed training for your lungs. It also has an added mental benefit. It absolutely makes you concentrate on your breathing. You have to in order to make it through a workout. This is great for those who may have trouble controlling their breathing, or simply don't know how. The mask forces you to control it.

 

How do I program it in to my workouts? I refrain from using it during dedicated weight training or when testing myself because I want as much oxygen as possible to achieve the best results. I do use it however when I want to increase the intensity of a shorter workout. I also plug it into some dedicated cardio workouts. 

 

To wrap up I absolutely recommend the mask. When you purchase it and plan for it keep in mind what it's capabilities are, and how it can benefit you. The Elevation Mask is available below!

Exercise Guide

Olympic and Power Lifting Form

Olympic and power lifts are some of the most dynamic and useful exercises you can. However, they can be rendered useless, or even result in injury if performed improperly. Because of that here are some videos that show how to perform the movements correctly. We will be covering the following lifts: back squats, push press, snatch, bench press, front squat, cleans, deadlift, overhead squat, clean and jerk.

 

Back Squats

 

Push Press

 

Snatch

 

Bench Press

 

Front Squat

 

Cleans

 

Deadlift

 

Oerhead Squat

 

Clean and Jerk

Logging and Documenting Your Workouts

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So you've been working hard, getting it in, and you've got your fitness goals set; but how far are you getting? How close to your goal are you? How much have you improved? How would you know?  Far too often people begin a workout program and dont pause to document their progress. 

 

Logging your workouts is extremely important in improving your performance. It shows you how far you are or are not going. It shows your problem areas. And it can tell you what workouts are working best for you. With this information you know how to further plan your workouts for maximum out put. AKA, more bang for your buck. When you have an accurate snap shot of your performance you can know how much to scale back exercises, and much harder yuo can actually push yourself as well.

 

How to do it: 

When your first starting, using a note book is just fine. The first thing you want to do is set your goal. After that, you need to determine how your going to measure your goal. For instace, if your goal is to run a 14 min 2 mile you would measure 2 mile run times, 1 mile run times, 1/2 mile run times, and 1/4 mile run times. Find a spot in your note book and write down the things you need to measure. Every time you perform that exercise write down the results and date it. Be sure to keep it organized and in chronological order. Over time you will be able to see how doing more of one exercise than the other helps, and where you need to improve. continue to write down every workout you do in chronological order, and date it. You may see some surprising trends in your performance.

 

Different methods of logging workouts work for different people.  Many use fitness apps and web sites. These can be helpfull, especially in archiving data. However sometimes they may need a little more discipline than just writing on a note pad. You can also store the data you've collected in spreadsheets and power point charts. Personally, I use my blog to document all my workouts, and keep a running chart on powerpoint to show my progress. 

 

All professional athletes, and anyone who has strived for signifigant progress has documented their progression to help improve themselves. You should too. so if you haven't already, get a pen and paer out, and start your own orkout log. And if you check out Desert-Fit V3 at desert-Fit.com it will sow you exactly what to document when using that program. You can also use the workbook available below that corresponds with desert-fit V3

Outdoors

Hiking and Amateur Mountain Climbing Mistakes for the Functional Fitness Athlete: Altitude Sickness and Route Selection.

 View looking back from the "99 Switchbacks" on the Mt Whitney Trail. Trail Camp sits somewhere below.

View looking back from the "99 Switchbacks" on the Mt Whitney Trail. Trail Camp sits somewhere below.

This past April I took a weekend trip to climb Mount Whitney. Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 located half way in Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Park. luckily it's only a 3 1/2 hour drive from my house. After researching the heck out of the climb, watching youtube videos, watching the weather, tracking the snow fall, and pouring over the map I came up with what I thought was a flawless plan. However, it turns out that I made two big mistakes. I want to share them with you so that you don't make the same mistakes I did on your next trip into the mountains.

Mt Whitney can be accessed from the west along the legendary John Muir trail, or the more popular route from the east along the Mt Whitney trail starting at the Mt Whitney portal just outside of Lone Pine, CA. I chose to take the Mt Whitney trail. The trail has two designated camp sites, but many choose to hike it as an extreme day hike. My plan was to climb up and down in one day; the first weekend of April before permits are needed in May and throughout the Summer to control the amount of people on the trail. This meant that there would be snow along roughly 1/3 of the entire route. I would step off at 3am, eat breakfast at the second camp, sumit some time after lunch, and be back to my truck before dark. I used an external frame Deuter day pack (not a full mountaineering pack or ruck sack), loaded with food, water, crampons, first aide, head lamp, extra batteries, and enough warm clothes  and socks for an emergency over night. I used high top Merrel boots with Army issue socks, Outdoor Research gaiters, hiking poles, Columbia pants, Under Armor base layer, and an Avalanche thermal pull over. I started off with a soft shell jacket as well, but it proved too warm even in the early morning. Once I hit the snow and ice, I attached the crampons to my boots. Over all I traveled pretty light. 

 Sleeping in the truck! #vanlifenotvanlife

Sleeping in the truck! #vanlifenotvanlife

Mistake number 1:  Acclimatization. 

Being the tallest peak in the lower 48 I knew altitude would be an issue. Since I live at around 3000 feet and Mt Whitney is at 14,505 feet I new I would have to acclimatize myself before hand, at least just a little. I drove there the night before and slept in my truck at Whitney portal which sits at around 8000 feet. I assumed this would be enough.  Even starting off at three in the morning I was doing great at first. The moon was full so I only used my headlamp sparringly with red light as not to ruin my night vision. I was making great time, and even had enough wits about me to use my map and compass successfully when the trail diapered in the snow. I didn't take a rest until I made it to the second camp known at the trail camp. It resides at 12,000 feet, is above the tree line, and sits in the bowel that begins the steep and technical portion of the trail. This is when it got hard.

At this point I had made a 4000ft elevation change in about 5 hours, and 9000ft in about 12 hours. That is not enough time for your body to adjust to the elevation. The majority of hikers up Whitney hike to the trail camp and stay there over night to rest and acclimatize to the drastic change in altitude. Instead I ate a quick breakfast of dry food and frozen water, then kept going. Two people passed me while I stopped to eat so I decided that I would follow them up the more technical route; they quickly lost me. At this point I began to stop and take quick rests. As far as muscle fatigue was concerned, I was fine, great even. However, I was now feeling out of breath. As I climbed and climbed I began to get headaches as well. Eventually it evolved into shortness of breath, severe headache, nausea, blurred vision, and Impared mental judgement. Around 12,500ft I had enough. If I made it to what's known as the trail crest that begins to run along the ridge line, I'm not sure that I would have been able to make it back. Altitude sickness had hit me hard. I turned back down the mountain and headed home. At this point it was the middle of the day, there were more people with more foot prints to follow, and It should have been easier to navigate. Unfortunately I was so out of it I constantly lost the trail. I followed draws, animal tracks In the snow, and scrambled down a few cliffs I walked myself into until finally finding the trail again. I wasn't my normal self until I was only a few miles from the trail head.

 The author at 12,500ft when he had to turn around

The author at 12,500ft when he had to turn around

Mistake number 2: Route Selection

During the summer the only route up Mt Whitmey trail takes you up what's known as the 99 switch backs that start just after the trail camp, and up the steepest part of the trail. However, during the winter months you have a second option; The chute. In the summer the chute is s steep loose gravel draw, but with winter snowfall it becomes accessible with crampons and ice picks.  This was my first time hiking in the snow, and my first time with crampons. Even though you feel like a bad ass when climbing up the side of a snowy mountain with crampons on your boots, you still have to know what you're doing. Being my first time I chose to take the 99 switch backs. I assumed it was the more amature route since it is what most casual summer hikers used. I was wrong. The snow pack for the Sierra Nevadas this year was horrible. This meant that the snow along 99 switch backs was patchy. Extremely deep in some parts, non existent in others. This made for slow going, constantly having to switch crampons on and off, and unpredictable conditions. On top of that, the route was long, very long. Climbing up the chute may have been steeper, but much shorter. I had the right equipment to scale it, but now on top of altitude sickness I had chosen a more technical route, and created much more work for myself.

So how was it?

Honestly, it was a great trip. Even though I didn't sumit, I learned a lot. I experimented with a few new hiking strategies, and learned my lesson on a few new skills. The take away I would like to share is that when climbing mountains, please take the time to acclimatize your self. The consequences of altitude sickness can be tragic. Not only can the fatigue be deadly, but secondary symptoms such as reduced mental ability can lead to danger as well (like getting lost). Also be sure to double check your plan with someone familiar to the area or hike you would like to take. This way they can dummy check you, and make sure you can achieve your goal safely; local gear shops and ranger stations are great for this. I Hope this was useful to any other armature hikers out there. Let me know what you think, or share your own experience. I'm always looking to improve myself  and help other improve. Thanks for reading. Some of the gear I used is available below, and please remember to subscribe!

Columbia Sportswear Men's Royce Peak Pant, Gravel, 34x32-Inch
$41.38
Columbia Sportswear (Sporting Goods)
Avalanche Men's Treeline Pullover, Morel, Small
$35.00
Avalanche (Outdoor Apparel)