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Saturday, May 25, 2013

What's This Guy's Obsession With Burpees!!??

I honestly felt this post was needed after the last couple days and comments friends and clients have made to me.

I'm not going to lie, every remark made me laugh! Most of you who train with me know I use that word very often!

The dreaded B.... word!


Now, for those of you who are new to training with me....just wait! I have plenty of variations lined up for your future as just when you think you are getting good at burpees....I will throw something else at you!

Back to the burpee.....What are some words that cross our mind with this FANTASTIC exercise??

  • Hell
  • Torture
  • Burpee! Thy name is DEATH
  • Vomits
  • Kill-mes
  • Suck jumps
  • T.T.I.M.M = taste throw-up in my mouth
  • The devil
  • Satan’s idea of fun
  • Poop!
  • Awful!!!
  • My ex-wife
  • Burfff-eeee(How one of my clients thinks it actually is pronounced!)

I could easily go on...but many of the rest would be pretty vulgar!

So what exactly is a burpee!? I mean, if I am constantly telling you to do them I think its important for you to know a little background! Burpees are full body movements that are explosive in nature....improving metabolic efficacy, boosting fat loss, and building lean muscle!

 A burpee is an awesome, complete body workout in one simple (series of) move(s). If you don’t know it, here is the deal:
  1. stand.
  2. squat down and place your hands on the floor
  3. jump your legs out so you are in a plank / pushup position
  4. do a push-up
  5. jump your feet back in to meet your hands
  6. jump up, reaching your hands up

As a fitness professional I would say...It's The "Biggest Bang For Your Buck Exercise!"


  1. squats: works your quads, glutes, hamstrings
  2. plank: works your trapezius, rhomboids, and core musculature.
  3. push-ups: work your pecs, triceps, deltoids, and core
  4. jump: core (abs / erector muscles), glutes, calves

The Burpee is a popular staple in many of today's most challenging workouts, from CrossFit to boot camps to sports performance and triathlon and endurance training. For even the fittest folks, it's a dreaded and highly effective way to build strength, stamina and coordination.

 What makes the move so unique and demanding?  According to Goog's book(the inventor), it's the quick positional shift required when going from a vertical stand, to a horizontal position, and back up to a stand that taxes the heart's ability to pump blood effectively to accommodate the working muscles. Goog's test involved measuring the subject's resting heart rate when standing, as well as the change in resting heart rate from lying down to standing and then timing the subject as they did the move four times and measuring the time it took for the heart rate to return to its resting rate after the exercise.

In terms of my own experience with burpees, I LOVE them! They are the ultimate conditioning exercise. They also build lean muscle and leave you gasping for air! I made it my mission to find the most difficult kind of burpee and master it within a week! I embraced the challenge of trying to beat my all time record of most burpees done in a workout of 265.(push ups included along with my normal workout routine)....that was before my accident. But I'm sure now a solid 10 of them would leave me feeling sick! That's the beauty of the exercise! When you get good at them, you will notice that your fitness is at its best! I always felt that when fat loss is your goal....making them a staple to my routine engineered the best results!

So if you are wondering how one workout with me a week can help your burpee fitness...try adding a few workouts at your own convenience! Another great thing about the exercise is that you can do them ANYWHERE! You don't need much room at all!

So if you have done burpees before...try adding a finisher of burpees to your workout that goes like this:

4 Minutes Total: 20 Seconds of Burpees, 10 Seconds of Rest...Repeat 8 Rounds.

** Shoot for 6-8 Burpees each round if doing Push-Ups, and 8-10 if you are not! Those numbers will indicate that you are on your way to elite fitness!

A goal for you if your a beginner.....try this workout:(Burpee with No Push-Up)

-1 Burpee, 1 Push Up-------10 Seconds Rest
-2 Burpees, 2 Push-Ups-----10 Seconds Rest
......Repeat Up To 10, 10.
**Then, rest 1 Minute and shoot for as many burpees as you can in 30 Seconds! Keep track of that number and try to improve it each and every time!

Now, stop reading this post like I'm some madman for burpees. I just am an enthusiast for exercises that can benefit people whether they are:

-building muscle
-fat loss
-lean muscle

Which covers a LARGE amount of athletes and people in this world! So, lets get to it!

The burpee revolution! Lets see how many you can do in one workout! I guarantee you that you will seep many benefits!!!

Until Next Time,

Stay Strong and Keep on Fighting. As I fight, you must fight! No matter how strong and successful someone looks from the outside, they too, have moments of weakness and despair. I'm not trying to down on successful people but everyone has their days where something upsets them or gets to them physically or mentally. No matter how strong you may appear, you WILL face adversity.

Can you take bad news or situations and turn them into the opposite? Can you fight through them and come out stronger?

That to me is the sign of a true champion. Not the ones who go through life with everything handed to them and given everything naturally.

Like the words on my "fake tattoo" mom thinks I still have on my back say......


Mike Over
CPT / Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Injury, New Battle, New Friends, New Body, New Life


Three letters defined my day today. I was told the most upsetting and mentally crushing news this morning at my doctor's appointment.

I don't even know where to begin to tell all of you. Some of you are clients, friends, co-workers, teammates and so forth who tend to sometimes check out what I have to say in hopes for inspiration and knowledge.

Well this blog for sure will be one to inspire I hope!

As many of you knew, Exactly 10 months ago on tomorrows date, I was hit head on by a pick-up truck on my road bike while training for an Ironman. Now, some of you may think

...well that's your own dumb fault for training for something so crazy and nuts! But others of you will understand where I am coming from in a minute.

You see, training was a passion of mine. Not a chore. Not a duty. It wasn't just something I was good at so continued to do.

No, it was my ultimate escape. It was my dream to be the best athlete there was. To be FULLY rounded. Not just good at soccer....or running....or lifting....BUT to be EXCELLENT at them all. I took pride in my ability, and as many athletes do, tend to get carried away with it. I read book after book and article after article trying to learn how others did it and test out matters with my own hands. I made it my mission to gain the most knowledge I possibly could on fitness and use it in my very own program.

Well, I'm not going to lie, it sometimes backfired. But it is all the more reason to trust me as a trainer/coach and friend because I have experienced THOUSANDS of programs and tried to see what works and what doesn't. I went from running 10:00 miles to 5:00 minute miles in a matter of a year. I went from a 5'7 135lb boy to a 6'1 175lb man in less than a year. I tried every diet out there.

I took pride in doing all the dirty work to see what would work best for when I got a chance to do what I was put on this earth for...TRAINING AND HELPING OTHERS!

So, maybe this truck hitting me, ending my thoughts on mastering the 20-24 age group in triathlons, was meant to be. I mean, it tore my ACL, MCL, Fractured my femur, partially tore my patella tendon, and .....apparently, injured my shoulder.

But hey, it was all okay right? I am a tough kid now, so this is nothing new to me. I had my pity day and got right to work. The first day I could get up off the couch I was at the YMCA doing what I could. I was determined not to let the injury get the better of me.

For 6 months, I continued rehabbing 3 times a week for 2 hours a day. I did what I needed to do. Swam with one arm to start, then one leg for 8 weeks. Then started lifting. It was all great!

I then got the chance to start doing my dream in helping others reach theirs! I put so much time and effort into making sure I designed the best programs for clients, athletes, friends. I was given an opportunity and I sure didn't want it to go to waste!

And let me tell you, the experience has been life changing! I've met new friends who I care more about than anything, saw first hand the positive effects of my programs on clients, and got to be around those who cared about me for who I am and not about what I accomplished.

As my injuries continued to heal and not seem to get better,

....I was swapping with my training on others getting better and seeing my friendships grow! I'm not only their strength coach, trainer, etc....but ALSO their friend! I developed great relationships with everyone I train and couldn't be happier! I took a bad incident that happened to me and turned it into something greater! Something much better!

I started really feeling rejuvenated and at 8 months post surgery, I hit ANOTHER block.

This one was finished off by a cold day and me throwing a HUGE stick for my pup to fetch.(I promise you, ask anyone who knows bailey, and they will tell you she brings 6ft long sticks)

10 weeks later and I still was having shoulder pain so had the last straw and got an MRI.

I walked in this morning with a positive attitude, thinking, this can't be bad.  I am still doing push-ups, already hit rock bottom, and I'm really feeling great! There is nothing but blue skies and happy trails for me and I was even starting to make summer programs for myself I was so excited to finally think my knee could be getting better and shoulder as well.

Unfortunately, I walked in, sat down, waited an hour for the doctor to come in and tell me the MRI showed the most extensive damage he has seen in a very long time. He then went on to tell me how I COMPLETELY separated and ripped my labrum of my shoulder away from the socket....not just a tiny tear to part of it....but THE WHOLE THING.

Not only that, he said I tore my biceps tendon because it attaches to the labrum....and THAT tear, caused a huge cyst from the fluid build up.

At that very moment today my heart stopped. I froze and looked, most likely, like I saw a ghost. I was, and still am, at a loss of words with this news. It requires intensive surgery and another year recovery.

So I figured, before this really hits me(because I have been fairly busy today and did let it sink in yet) I would like to share with you my thoughts.

I had a friend and client come to a workout tonight and tell me....

"You know Mike, your one tough kid. God won't give you something you can't handle."

Is that true? Because I really feel like I gave it all I had the past 10 months.

Where can I pull extra strength from?

And then what he said next really put a smile on my face.

"True strength isn't always physical..sometimes it's just standing up after you get knocked down repeatedly and refusing to back down"

So, I guess the next move is on me. 

Is there something holding you back from reaching your goals? 

Because I can assure you, your response hinders on YOU. Not anyone or anything else. 

So, please, take my advice. Train for yourself. Reach EVERY goal for yourself! Don't do something because you feel its a duty or a chore. 

Because one day, you may be disabled from using your legs....and then your arm....and wish you didn't take anything for granted.

One step at a time. 

Reach for your dreams. 
You must crawl before you can walk.  Walk before you run.  Run before you jump. 

The road you take to get there is solely on you. 

Are you up for the challenge? Can you fight back what life throws at you? 

Ask me. I will give you a definite response!  

Mike Over
CPT / Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers Day-My Favorite Movements for Developing Explosive Power!

I know its been a while since I have made a blog post, but I would rather take the time to make AWESOME, fitness related blogs, than blog about my breakfast and puppy everyday.

When I do post, the articles and information will be great tools to add your your training and knowledge!

PLUS, it's a sign of me getting busy which is another great thing, right?

Anyways, I hope all you mothers out there have a fantastic day! Mine is celebrating hers in Virginia Beach, so I wish her love and happiness while she takes a rare vacation! Love you mom, you deserve all the best in this world! I wouldn't be where I am without you! I only hope to return the favor as I grow older!

So back to this post! As the summer approaches, it means athletes are gearing up and spending a lot more time on their own training. Preparing for their seasons, races, and contests. I start to get busier with training many who are looking for one goal.....


Why is this important? It gives you an edge over your opponent. It separates the good from the best. It can reassure athletes why they train so hard and spent countless hours training each week, because NOTHING beats that moment when you are racing or playing your sport and catch an edge over an opponent.

Back in college, I would love to pick out someone during a practice or game, and make it my mission I outwork him in every aspect of the sport. It was my duty. I made up my mind to do whatever it took to beat him to the ball, jump higher, run faster, push harder, and give every ounce of energy I possibly could release.

So, It's a no brainer as to why your training plays a major role in your success! But lets look at the bulk of an athletes training.

Here are my FAVORITE exercises for building explosive speed and power to help further your progress this summer. If you ever need practice or clarification, just get ahold of me and we can spend some time working on these movements.

1.) Hang Snatch

Yes, a VARIATION of an Olympic lift! The hang snatch is ideal for explosive power! The clean falls close, but I feel as if the snatch is more complex and a heck of a lot cooler! You wont see an athlete who can hang snatch 200lbs NOT be able to clean, squat, and deadlift heavy as well. It goes hand in hand, being at the top of my list.

I chose the hang position because it is much easier for athletes to start from this position due to flexibility and hip mobility issues.

2.) Split Jerk

If you have trained with me, you are almost guaranteed to work with this movement. I am a big fan of it.  No other lift generates more power over head than the jerk. I love this exercise because of its quad dominant nature! Perform this exercise correctly, and you will be sure to notice some major quad development!

The power jerk is great, but adding the split component puts in a completely different element. Athletes MUST be able to change directions and placement of their feet constantly, which is exactly what the split in the exercise demands. You go directly from a bilateral stance to an off-set, unilateral stance....can't get more athletic in any other movement!

3.) Kettlebell Swings

The swing is a GREAT tool for beginners to learn a hip hinge and for showing how important it is to generate power through your hips!

Too often, I see trainers exemplify poor posture and control when teaching this, so please ask me if you are unsure. It is not a squat. This exercise is fully developed for posterior chain power! If need be, I sometimes put a box underneath my client to make them aware they cannot squat with the kettlebell to an excessive degree!

Now, if you are advanced and need a little extra, just simply and band resistance. A few of you who work with me may know what I am talking about!!

4.) Power Clean

Now it arrives! Yes, the power clean does all sorts of wonders for your development as an athlete!  No explosive list of exercises would be complete without some sort of clean. This movement starts from the floor but many athletes struggle with the mobility it takes to lift from that  position so you can easily start from blocks at a higher level.

The initial pull is controlled until you reach about knee height.  Then the magic happens. Extension of the hips is crucial and it is very important to keep your shoulders protracted a little bit to create a shelf for the bar to land.  At a point in the lift, the bar becomes weightless in a sense, before you properly control the landing. You want to have the bar coast up your body and shelf it with your shoulders.  I see many clients and gym go-goers try to raise the shoulders faster than their hips, which leaves the knees flexed and unable to develop the maximum power through the posterior chain.

A lot of times, clean pulls are a necessity to master before getting into the full movement.

5.) Prowler Pushes or Sled Drags

Lastly, I would not complete this list without Prowler drills. This piece of equipment can dramatically improve your linear and lateral speed. If you have ever done them, you will know exactly what I am talking about when I say they are exhausting!

Not only do prowler drags and pushes incinerate your lower body, they also are great for improving core strength! You use core, shoulder,  and legs which are generating force through your hips! Biggest bang for your buck exercise!

Well there you have it! Just a few of my favorite exercises that I use with athletes to build explosive power! With these exercises, it is very important to learn proper technique! Something many people tend to forget.

If any of you would like to learn these movements don't hesitate to ask me. Come join Rush or my Wednesday advanced group sessions for incorporation's of these movements or I would be happy7 to help in a one-one manner as well!

Don't forget to treat your moms to a fabulous day!

Until next time,

Stay strong!

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” – Randy Pausch

Mike Over

CPT / Strength & Conditioning Coach