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Squat Triangle Pyramid Workout

Squat Triangle Pyramid Workout

THIS WORKOUT.

Only after finishing this workout for the first time did I realize what a serious lapse in judgment I had when I decided pyramid training was a good idea for increasing my squatting skillz.

I’m pretty sure the workout gods were laughing at me from who knows where as I started that first set.

Source

Just kidding.

This workout brought my back squat one-rep max from 190 lbs. to 225 lbs. in a month. So if you’ve hit a back squat plateau, check out this sucker.

The workout takes about 25-30 minutes, and it’s really an all-in-one deal. You get a warm-up on the first few sets, an attempt at your one-rep max, and a nice little cool down on the way back “down” the pyramid. The key is to not go heavy on those first few sets. If you do, you’ll be too gassed to truly attempt your one-rep max.

So if you’re ready to get the benefits of intensity and volume in one workout, give it a try.

Hungry Gator Gal's Squat Triangle Pyramid Workout

I did this workout once per week with some running, stadium conditioning, and swimming sprinkled in my routine throughout the rest of the week. Once per week is all you need.

I also only did this workout for four weeks. If you continue to do it for more than that, your results may diminish. I’m not a personal trainer or athletic coach, so speak with one for advice and to make plans customized to your goals.

Let me know what you think if you try it! 🙂

 

Questions:

  1. Have you ever used pyramid training?
  2. If so, what lifts/movements did you use it for?
  3. If you used pyramid training, what were your goals and did you reach them?

 

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10 Tips for Cranking Out More Push-Ups on a Military PT Test

10 Tips for Cranking Out More Push-Ups on a Military PT Test

Once upon a time I HATED push-ups. And when I say I hated them, I mean I loathed them, and not in a love-to-hate kinda way. I just sucked at doing them.

But guess what?

Push-ups are by far my favorite exercise now, even over the squat, which says a lot coming from someone like me who lives for the power rack and sprints.

Source

Push-ups are a total body movement, and I didn’t master the movement overnight. I learned the tricks of the push-up trade. After nine months in the Army ROTC program, here’s what I’ve learned that can help you perfect the form, get stronger and therefore crank out more push-ups.

I went from being able to do 25 push-ups in two minutes to being able to crank out 62 push-ups in two minutes on last month’s PT (physical training) test by using these techniques.

10 Tips for Cranking Out More Push-Ups on a Military PT Test from Hungry Gator Gal

Graphic by Brianna Kolota

 

1. Look straight ahead while performing the entire movement.

In other words, DO NOT look down at your hands!

 

2. Pull in your glutes.

a.k.a. Don’t sag in the middle or make yourself a tepee. Your body should look like one straight line from the heels to the top of your head.

 

3. Find the distance between your hands and feet that naturally allows you to perform the greatest number of push-ups . . .

 

4. . . . and change that stance when it becomes difficult.

Changing your stance will engage different muscle groups and will allow you to crank out a few more push-ups than you thought you had left in you.

 

5. Enagage your quads (a.k.a. the tops of your thighs) and push your heels backward.

 

6. Engage your core muscles (a.k.a. your abs).

 

7. Don’t forget to breathe.

You don’t want to pass out in the middle of a push-up, do you?!?

 

8. Take a 10-second break when you’re nearing complete muscle failure.

After your 10-second break, perform two or three push-ups and then break again for five seconds. Repeat this pattern of two or three push-ups followed by a five-second break until you can do no more push-ups or your time expires (if you’re being timed for a test).

 

9. Practice!

Basically every other day I crank out 100 to 200 push-ups. I usually complete it circuit style by alternating between 20 push-ups and a 1-minute rest. I do these push-ups a few hours before or after a workout to give my body enough time to rest.

Some days I go MUCH slower with these reps than I would during a test. Slowing the upward and downward motion of a push-up allows you to focus on form rather than speed and builds the muscles needed to push out as many reps as possible on test day.

Other days I focus on an explosive upward movement as I would during the test. This trains the muscles of your upper back for power and speed.

Note: If you can’t complete 20 push-ups in a row without resting, focus on doing 5, 10 or 15 at a time. Rest 1 or 2 minutes. Repeat as many times as possible.

 

10. Lift heavy things (body weight and added weight).

In addition to practicing straight push-ups for muscular endurance, I lift and pull heavy things.

I bench press or do incline presses. I do pull-ups. I perform military presses, goblet squats, dips, and biceps curls. In other words, I hit it all.

I like to stick with three or four sets of five heavy reps for each of the exercises. I focus on strength here as opposed to endurance with the 100 to 200 push-ups every other day.

 

That’s it!

Feel free to email me at bkkolota@gmail.com if you have any questions related to Army ROTC, military PT training, or PT tests. I’d be happy to share my experience! 🙂

 

Question:

  1.  What’s your trick for performing as many push-ups as possible?

 

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Lately + 5×5 Circuit Workout

5x5 Circuit Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

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Hungry Gator Gal’s Top 10 Posts of 2014 + Thank You!

Hungry Gator Gal’s Top 10 Posts of 2014 + Thank You!

My thoughts on 2014 in general . . .

Source

I accomplished SO much in this whirlwind of a year: studying for and taking the LSAT a second time while working and going to school, graduating from UF with highest honors, applying to and starting law school, and starting the Army ROTC program, just to name the highlights.

It was rough at times with late nights, early mornings and moments of  “What did I get myself into?!?” However, I wouldn’t change any of it, and I want to thank everyone, including my readers, for supporting me and Hungry Gator Gal through it all.

It means more to me than words can express that this little website has encouraged so many others to live healthier, active lives. This blog has been a constant source of fun and creativity in my life for only three years, but I honestly don’t remember life without it and your words of encouragement.

So before I get super sappy, here’s a list of YOUR favorite posts, based on page views, from the year 2014. Click on the titles to see the original posts.

Enjoy, and I’ll see ya’ in 2015! I have a feeling it’s going to be the best year yet. 😉

1. Yoga Workout Playlist

2. Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout

Upper Body + Abs Circuit Workout from hungrygatorgal.com 

3. Paleo Oatless Oatmeal

Paleo Oatless Oatmeal from Hungry Gator Gal

4. Basic 8 Leg Workout + Lower Body Stretches

Basic 8 Leg Workout from Hungry Gator Gal

5. Vega Bars Review

 #vegabars on Hungry Gator Gal @FitApproach @VegaTeam #sweatpink

6. Summer Workout Jams

Summer Workout Jams Playlist from Hungry Gator Gal (spotify playlist included)

7. Burnin’ Abs Circuit

Hungry Gator Gal Burnin' Abs Circuit

8. Favorite Nike Training Club App Workouts

9. Ultimate EDM Playlist

10. Very Berry French Vanilla Smoothie

Very Berry French Vanilla Smoothie from Hungry Gator Gal #OneChange #VegaOne 

Questions:

  1. What was your favorite post, workout, playlist and/or recipe from 2014? It doesn’t have to be from Hungry Gator Gal.
150-Rep Lower Body Challenge

150-Rep Lower Body Challenge

This lower body endurance workout + a 6.6-mile run afterward = sore quads and hip flexors for days.

But really. I was sore to the touch for a SOLID 48 hours. I really have no idea what I was thinking. All I know is that I hobbled around the mall and Target the next day in pain. I looked like a baby giraffe learning how to walk. But it was amazing.

So if you love self-imposed pain, check out this workout. Feel free to tell me how awful and awesome it makes you feel afterward. 🙂

150-Rep Lower Body Challenge from Hungry Gator Gal

Exercise videos:

P.S. This is an awesome at-home or holiday workout that requires minimal or NO equipment. No gym = no excuse. I usually complete 50 reps of one exercise and then 50 reps of the next exercise, etc. Feel free to split up the 150 reps however you choose.

Questions:

  1. Do you ever complete lower body workouts and longer runs on the same day?
  2. What’s the hardest workout you’ve ever completed?

 

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10 Things I’ve Learned as a New Runner

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26-Minute Boredom-Busting Treadmill Workout 

26-Minute Boredom-Busting Treadmill Workout from Hungry Gator Gal 

5-4-3-2-1 Lower Body Blast


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10 Things I’ve Learned as a New Runner

10 Things I’ve Learned as a New Runner

New to running? Me too! Here’s what I’ve learned in my first six weeks of truly pursuing my goal of becoming a “runner.”

10 Things I've Learned as a New Runner from Hungry Gator Gal

1. Check your form!

Go to a running store or find a running coach who will videotape you while you’re running to check your form. I went to Fit2Run in Gainesville and completed an assessment for FREE. Other stores also offer the service at little or no cost.

I discovered I’m a heel striker during the assessment, so I’ve been walking around on the balls of my feet and my toes for weeks to change the way I walk and run. My calves hurt like hell, but I don’t feel pain in my shins anymore. I did a simple search online and found these tips on running form.

2. Buy new running shoes, if necessary. 

Women's Nike Zoom Pegasus 31 Shoes on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

If you receive an running assessment, the store associate will likely tell you what type of runner you are (i.e. under pronator, over pronator, neutral). The associate will then suggest specific brands and types of shoes that fit your stride.

Trust me when I say that the correct shoes will prevent injuries. I’m a neutral runner and recently bought the pair of Nike Women’s Zoom Pegasus 31s you can see above (affiliate link!), which make it feel like I’m running on clouds, no joke.

No shin splints = a happy Brianna.

For my male readers, check out the same pair of Nike shoes below, which my brother bought in a different color. Each pair cost about $100.

Men's Nike Zoom Pegasus 31 Shoes on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

3. HYDRATE.

Nalgene Wide Mouth 32-Ounce Water Bottle on Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Drink water all day, every day. Keep a water bottle at your side at all times. Challenge yourself to drink a liter every 60-90 minutes. I drink at least four full bottles of water from my Nalgene water bottle every day and often more. That’s 128 ounces or nearly 4 liters for you math wizards.

Hydrating properly before and after a run is especially important if you live in a more humid climate like Florida, even if you run in the mornings when it’s not as hot outside.

How do you know if you’re drinking enough water? Let me show you this lovely pee color chart . . .

4. Mind over matter.

 

The struggle is real . . . but, it’s more mental than physical.

I had never run more than 2 miles without stopping prior to joining the Army ROTC program. Now, I regularly run 4 miles at a decent pace without stopping. I’m not the fastest of the bunch, but I push my personal limits with each run.

To ensure I don’t give up, I usually pick a mantra and repeat it to keep myself going. I can’t wear headphones or listen to music when I’m working out for ROTC, so I usually repeat something like, “The faster you run, the faster it’s done!”

5. Make “pre-hab” a priority.

 

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Do dynamic stretches before running and static stretches afterward. Go to yoga at least once a week. Foam roll. In other words, do something now to save yourself from an injury, subsequent rehabilitation and time off from all exercise.

Here’s my favorite warm-up, the ultimate static stretch for hip flexors and quads, and my favorite  yoga stretches.

6. Don’t forget about strength training.

If you run, run, run all the time without taking time to build muscle, you won’t become stronger or faster. Aside from running with ROTC, I complete two strictly strength workouts on my own each week.

I’ve been digging “One-Set-to-Failure” workouts lately because they’re challenging and time-efficient.

7. You are what you eat.

Cajun Turkey Lettuce Wraps photo by Brianna Kolota

If you eat crap prior to a run, you’ll probably feel like crap. In other words, put down the fried foods, pizza, candy, etc. and go eat your veggies and lean meat.

And even if you eat relatively healthy, make sure you’re not eating too much fat. More than once, I’ve made the mistake of eating too much “good” fat (i.e. nuts, avocados) the night before a cardio-intense 5:30 or 6 a.m. workout. And guess what? I was as slow as molasses.

You can eat fat before a run. It’s your choice. However, I realized I need more carbs, less fat, and a moderate amount of protein to perform my best. If I have a physical training test in the morning, I like to do a moderate “carb load” at dinner the night before with fruit, starchy veggies and occasionally some whole-wheat cereal, pasta, bread or crackers.

8. Track your progress.

Photo by Brianna Kolota

I bought this $15-Casio watch at Walmart to time my runs. It’s the cheapest watch I’ve ever bought, but I LOVE it. It’s waterproof, easy-to-operate and has a 24-hour clock for military time.

P.S. Here’s a similar Casio watch you can buy on Amazon (affiliate link!).

9. Don’t think every run has to be better than your last.

Some days you might not be “feeling it.” Don’t give up and go home on those days, but make the most of what you can do if you’re not in the “running groove.”

Case in point: I could tell during the first lap of my first Army Physical Fitness Test this semester that it wasn’t going to be my best run. My legs were stiff. My hips were tight. I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. I was nervous. But you know what? I made the most of it and told myself the next test would be better.

10. REST.

I couldn’t resist the seal photo. . .

First, sleep at least 7 hours every night. And if you can’t sleep for at least 7 hours, try modifying your sleep schedule. You don’t want to feel exhausted before you even start running.

Secondly, take FULL days off. Don’t run every day and overdo it. This concept sounds easy, but it’s easy to forget if you like to exercise.

The amount of time you need to recover is personal. I typically take two or three days off from all strenuous physical activity each week. I also have one day where I walk a lot and/or practice yoga.

When you take rest days, enjoy them. Be productive. I usually knock out a bunch of homework on rest days and sometimes even sit on my butt for a few hours to watch “JAG” or “How to Get Away with Murder.” I thoroughly enjoy the laziness, and you should too.

Side notes:

  1. Yes, I hope to join Army JAG after law school; and 
  2. “How to Get Away with Murder” is incredibly unrealistic in terms of what I’ve experienced in law school, especially in my criminal law class. 

    Conclusion:

    Photo by Brianna Kolota

    After six weeks, I can say I still don’t love running. If given the choice, I prefer to cycle, hike, interval train without running, etc. However, becoming a better runner currently tops my “fitness bucket list” in terms of ways I want to keep challenging myself physically and mentally.

    So if you’re new to running like me, please don’t give up! Learn from my tips and mistakes. That’s why I’m sharing them. Secondly, if you’re a seasoned runner, please offer your advice by leaving a comment on this post. Sharing = knowledge.

    Also feel free to email me at bkkolota@gmail.com or reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter or Google +  if you have questions about running or anything really. I LOVE talking with readers.

    Thanks for reading, and have a great day! 🙂

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    Photo by Brianna Kolota

    Best Treadmill Workout for Killer Legs