Archives for April 2008

April 30th Workout

Stiff Leg Deadlift/Bent Over Row Hybrid – 6 reps – 50lb. Dumbells

Medicine Ball Kneeling Shoulder Press (Kneel on two medicine balls as you are shoulder pressing) – 8 reps – 30lb. Dumbells

Mogul Squat – (These are basically jump squats holding a medicine ball where you rotate your hips from 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock each squat) – 20 seconds

Swiss Ball Push-Up – 10 reps

Russian Twist with a medicine ball – 30 reps

5 sets 1 minute rest between each set

The Stiff Leg Deadlift/Bent Over Row Hybrid exercise was originally written as a barbell exercise, but due to logistical constraints I had to do it as a dumbell exercise. (I had to use the studio space at my gym. I can bring a set of dumbells in there, but it’s not really feasable to carry a loaded barbell halfway across the gym.) It really didn’t work here. The 50lb. dumbells weren’t nearly heavy enough. Maybe it would work with 75’s.

I probably could have gone heavier with the shoulder presses, as well.

Everything else was pretty good, although I’d have to that I wasn’t a huge fan of this particular complex. I took the rest period down to one minute from two minutes and that helped, but it was only OK.

Clean and Jerk – 12 reps

1st set 85 lbs.

2nd set 65 lbs.

1 minute rest between sets

These were great. The good old C&J is a fantastic exercise. It hits nearly every muscle in your body as you take the bar from the floor to over your head. 12 reps is a lot for these with any weight. It is very challenging.

Tabata Push-Ups – 6 reps

For those of you that don’t know what Tabata means, it is an exercise protocol where you do 20 seconds of an exercise as hard and as fast as you can, then take a 10 second rest. That is one round. You do eight total rounds.

It is very tough.

You can do it with nearly any exercise although some work better than others. It should be an exercise that can be done relatively quickly and repeatedly. Deadlifts wouldn’t really work, cleans wouldn’t work, bodyweight squats work well, stationary biking works well, etc. When you are doing a rep oriented exercise you count your reps as the least amount that you did during any set.

Ideally you want the most you did and the least you did to be pretty close. With push-ups that’s kind of hard. As you can see, the least amount I did was 6. The first two or three sets went well, right around 15 or so then after that it was mouch tougher and I had to finish the last four or so on my knees. Also, keep in mind that this was the last thing I did today. I don’t want anyone thinking that I can’t do all that many push-ups.

Mitchell Rothbardt

(coming soon)

P.S. Don’t forget to vote in the poll! 4 1/2 days to Rush!!!!!!!

April 28th Workout

Front Squat 12 reps
Chin-Ups/Curl Grip Pulldowns 12 reps
Step-Ups 12 reps each leg
Dumbell Push Press 12 reps
4 sets with a 60 second rest between each set

I did front squats at 95 lbs through all four sets.
I did my first set with 12 chins, my second set with 8 chins and 4 130 lbs. curl-grip pulldown, 3rd set with 6 and 6, 4th set 5 and 7. I probably could have powered the chins most of the way through, but I felt it was more important to keep the pace up.
I did my first set of step-ups with 32.5 lb. dumbells, my second set I did the first 13 reps with the dumbells and then finished with only bodyweight and the 3rd and 4th set was bodyweight only. Again, I might have been able to power through here, but I wanted to keep the pace up.
I did the push presses with 32.5 lb. dumbells all four sets.

Deadlift 20 reps
Dumbell Bench Press 20 reps
Walking Lunge w/Side Bend 20 reps each leg
Cable Seated Row 20 reps
2 sets with a 60 second rest between them

I did 95 lb. deadlifts, 32.5 dumbell bench press, 10 lb. dumbell walking lunges, 90 lb. cable seated rows. I could probably have gone a little heavier on the bench presses.

Hanging Leg Raise 10 reps
2 sets with a 60 second rest between them

Very good overall today. I might have been able to go a little heavier on a few exercises, but not enough to really make that much of a difference in the overall effect.

I will keep going.

I’m interested in what people think about my emphasis of pace over load. Is it better to push through with a faster pace at a lighter weight or do all of the reps at a slower pace but a more challenging weight?

Let me know what you think.

Mitchell Rothbardt
(coming soon)

April 26th Workout

Deadlift 6 reps

High Pull (onto toes) 6 reps
Squat Clean 6 reps
Military Press 6 reps
Jump Lunges 6 reps
6 sets 45 sec. rest between sets
1 minute sprint at 9.3 mph – 2 minutes at about 3 mph
3 sets
I started out with a 95 lb. barbell and after the first set switched to an 85 lb. barbell.
I can honestly say that this was one of the toughest workouts I have ever done. Very exhausting. I have done all of the complexes that Alwyn Cosgrove created from this article and this one was, by far, the most difficult. Complex D was hard mainly because keeping all those reps in the back squat position really was difficult as far as shoulder flexibility, but as far as conditioning this one was certainly the hardest.
I usually go to about 10.5 mph on my sprint intervals, but I couldn’t get there after this one. It was very good all the same.
Mitchell Rothbardt
(coming soon)
P.S. 8 days to Rush!

April 24th Workout

Today’s workout was pretty direct from Alwyn Cosgrove and Lou Schuler’s “New Rules of Lifting” book.

Long link but a great book. The workout consisted of two Giant Sets. What that is is four or five (in this case four) exercises done back to back with no rest until the full giant set is over.

Anyway, here it is with the weights and comments:

1. Deadlifts 12 reps 135 lbs. (started at 155 lbs. and very quickly realized that this would be too heavy during the later sets)

2. Explosive Push-Ups 12 reps (this is a push-up done so your hands come off the floor when you push up)

3. Bulgarian Split Squat 12 reps each leg 45 lb. dumbells (this was easily the toughest part of the whole routine. Very hard to balance on one leg as I got more and more tired.)

4. One-Arm Dumbell Row 12 reps 45 lbs. (maybe I could have a done a few more pounds but certainly not enough to make a real difference in the overall metabolic effect.)

4 sets with a 60 sec. rest between each set.

This was very tough and very good. Real hard on the grip.
The second set is as follows:

1. Squats 20 reps 65 lbs. (probably a little light)

2. Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown 20 reps 80 lbs.

3. Step-Ups 20 reps each leg 20 lbs. (probably a little light)

4. Dumbell Shoulder Press 20 reps 20 lbs. (a little light)

2 sets with a 60 sec. rest between each set.

As you can see I probably could have pushed the weight a little here, but with this kind of workout it is better to err on the side of lighter weights. The rep scheme is the most important thing here and once you start the set you shouldn’t interrupt it to get another set of dumbells. I will go a little heavier the next time I do this particular set, though.

1. Swiss Ball Crunch 10 reps

2 sets with a 60 sec. rest between each set. This was a good finisher. It really highlighted how much stability we used on the other two sets. It was very nice.

Overall I would say it was a very good workout. We were pretty much finished when it was over and I see why you shouldn’t do this kind of workout two days in a row. We were able to do everything basically at one station so we didn’t have any problems there and we solved the problem of two people doing this together by staggering the starts of the sets. I started with Deadlifts and Squats and when I was done with my initial set of those Tim started his set. it worked fine and we should be able to continue with this kind of protocol in the future with these workouts.

I took my measurements last night and while I won’t post them all, I will say that my body fat percentage is at 9.3% at the moment (although, I don’t know how accurate my measuring skill is, I am confident that it’s not too far off) and my weight is 182 lbs. That would mean I am carrying about 17 pounds of fat. If I lose my goal of 5 pounds of fat that would put me at carrying 12 pounds of fat at 177 lbs. That would put me at about 7% bodyfat. We will see. I will take my measurements each Wed. night and weigh myself at the end of the first workout after that.
Talk soon.
Mitchell Rothbardt
(coming soon)

Here We Go!

Tomorrow I start my month-long fat loss program. I plan on posting all of the workouts I do for the next month and my impressions on how they went. I will also post my body fat percentage and measurements weekly to see how those things are going. I am planning on eating pretty clean for the next month. I usually do, although I might have a cheat meal or two too many during the week. I will cut down on those a little and I plan on cutting my general portions just a little, too. Generally, I eat pretty well so I don’t think drastic changes are needed.

My main challenge is going to be designing workouts for a commercial gym where I do a lot of different exercises back-to-back. Most gyms are not set-up for that kind of thing. Also, designing workouts that I can do with a partner in that setting will also be a challenge. The good thing about all of this is that when I do get certified as a trainer, this is the kind of thing that I will have to be doing for clients, so it’s good to be doing it for me first.
I think my main goal for this month is to lose about 5 pounds of fat. Not weight. Fat. That’s a very big distinction. I’ll be able to keep track of this by taking my body fat percentage each week. As of last week I weighted 182 lbs. at 9.9% bodyfat. That’s about 18 pounds of fat. If I can get that to 13 pounds of fat without losing any muscle, that would put me at about 7% bodyfat at 177 pounds and I’d be pretty darn happy with that.

The percentage part is important because I don’t want to lose any muscle. I hope to accomplish that by keeping up my glutamine supplementation and keeping my protein intake at about 1 gram per pound of bodyweight a day. We’ll see. I’ll take my measurements every Wednesday night and make any adjustments I need to. To reach this goal would be pretty great not only for myself, but I would know first-hand that this kind of training works and I would be able to help other people lose fat knowing how to do it.

The eventual goal

On a seperate note, thanks for your enthusiastic voting in this weeks poll! It was a real close race to decide everyone’s least favorite exercise. It was so close there was actaully a three way tie between the Mangled Larynx Throat Lift, the Olympic Nipple Pull and the Eye Toss. That’s tough. As much as I really enjoy doing the other Olympic lifts, my Olympic Nipple Pull numbers have always been pretty bad.

For this weeks poll, in celebration of the Rush concert on May 4th, vote for which Rush song is your favorite. I’ll have the voting up until after the show to give everyone time to think about it.

As always, let me know if you have any ideas or comments or questions or tell me to shut up or anything at all. Leave a comment here or email me at

Thanks for reading.

Mitch Rothbardt

(coming soon)

Study Time

Even though it’s in the title of this thing, I realized that I haven’t actually written about my personal trainer certification studies. Right now I’m going over the nutrition chapter in my study manual. I just finished up the anatomy chapter and, I’ve got to say, it wasn’t easy. I had a basic knowledge going in of the medical names for the muscles and some bones, but geez, there’s a lot of these things. 206 bones, for example. It ‘s not easy and I still have a long way to go before I feel that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this technical kind of stuff. I think once I start getting into program design and things like that it should be a bit easier because I feel I do have a fair amount of knowledge in that area. (At least I think I do.) We’ll see. Overall it’s going well, but I do wish I had more study time.

The good news is that before I started studying I took two practice tests. I got a little over 50% on both of them. I took them again last week and I got around 70% on both this time. I think I’ll be OK when it comes time to take the test. I still need to take the CPR/ED certification, too.

Only about a week before my fat loss month begins. I’m looking forward to it. I did do a killer fat loss workout this morning mainly to try and adapt some of Alwyn Cosgrove’s complex style workouts into something I can actually do at a regular commercial gym. Most of his complexes (by the way, a complex is a number of exercises done right one after another with no break) involve a lot of different types of equipment and it’s not realistic to be able to use three of four seperate pieces of equipment at once for an extended period of time at a regular commercial gym.

The one I did this morning went a little like this:
Dumbell Snatch-Overhead Squat – 6 reps
Swiss Ball Rollout – 8 reps (kind of like an ab wheel, except with a swiss ball)
Windmill Lunge – 3 reps (these are lunges done in front, to 45 degrees, straight out to the side, 45 degrees to the back, then straight back. Then do the other leg. In other words, each rep is actually 10 lunges done to different areas.)
One Arm Dumbell Rows – 10 reps
Swiss Ball Wood Chops – 10 reps
5 sets with a 2 minute rest between sets

It was tough but real good. The only change I had to make from it’s original form was that the Dumbell Snatch – Overhead Squats were supposed to be done with a barbell. I also could have used a slightly higher weight on the rows. I did everything with 35 lb. dumbells. If you go here: I believe it’s actually workout B. You can see pics of all the exercises there, as well.

Before I start, I will take my body fat and measurements and keep track throughout the month.

The other big thing in my workouts lately has been a drastic improvement in my olympic lifts. I feel that I have a good handle on form for most exercises, but starting the olympic lifts has really felt, at times, like flying blind. I have done a lot of video watching and reading and I think I’m really getting a handle on this thing now. About three weeks ago I watched a video that said that 90% of the form problems with these lifts occur right from the set-up (go here to watch: scroll down to “The Set-Up” parts 1, 2 and 3.) Over the last three weeks or so, I have dramatically improved my set-up and over the last week have improved the whole pull.

The big difference has been in my abililty to know when to really explode and get the quadruple extension through the ankles, hips, back and shoulders. It’s not right off the ground. It has been night and day and I look forward to finally seeing some improvement in my numbers here.
For example, this morning after my complex workout, I did a few snatches just for the heck of it. Even being pretty darn tired, I snatch 135 lbs. with not much problem. That had been a number that I could barely reach previously, and then only for one rep, maybe. I felt I had at least two or three more in me this morning. I’m excited. I will continue with the olympic lifts even through my fat-burning month. If I start the workouts with these, I should be able to make some big improvements this month. Not to mention that these are great full body exercises, anyway that can definitely aid in the fat-burning. If you’re not a believer, do 10 clean-and-jerks and see if you’re breathing normally. (You won’t be.)

Check above for some incredible video from the last olympics. The last lift is about a 580 lb. clean and jerk olympic record that the guy gets off the ground like it’s a pencil, and then holds it over head and yells to the crowd. Beautiful.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Let me know what you think about all this and certainly let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions or questions.

Mitchell Rothbardt soon)

A Few Things

Just a couple of quick notes:
1. There’s a new poll. Please vote and let me know what you think.
2. In about two weeks, I am completely changing my workouts for about a month. I am going from a hypertrophy-strength periodization cycle to a month long fat-burning extravaganza. I am going to use mainly different kinds of complexes, such as the ones that Alwyn Cosgrove talks about.

Go to or here for a little taste.
These are very high intensity workouts.

I have incorporated certain aspects of this sort of training into my workouts for a while with very positive results, but this is the first time I will be going full scale into these and only these for an extended period of time.

I will write more about them as I get into them and let you know how it goes.

Rothbardt, out!

Mitchell Rothbardt
(coming soon)

Hawaii Beach Workout

Well, I just got back from a week in Hawaii with my family. It was great! We all had a wonderful time being together in the beautiful state that is Hawaii. One thing I did when I was down there was take advantage of the beautiful setting and have a few workouts on the beach, in front of the endless horizon. Since I was working out with the family I decided to take it a little easy on them. I read in the latest issue of Men’s Health a quick little workout that Dan John wrote. It was very simple:

30 second pushup plank
30 second sprint
30 second Jumping Jacks
30 second sprint 
30 second rest 
8 total sets
That’s it. Like I said, I was working out with the family so I decided to scale everything back to 15 seconds, do a sprint-plank-sprint-jumping jacks pattern and do only three sets to start. 
Now, I don’t do sprints a whole lot in my normal workouts, but when I do, I’ll usually do 20 or 30 second sprints. I’ll do tabatas or something like the workout I just wrote out. A 30 second all-out sprint is no picnic but I can do them, however, I was totally unprepared for beach sprints. I figured with scaling everything back it would be somewhat easy. I was wrong. The combination of the uneven ground and the give of the sand made those 15 seconds seem a heck of a lot longer. I would estimate that those sprints were probably 3 to 4 times harder than sprints on a hard surface. 
After those three sets we were all really worked. It was great! It wasn’t only the sprints either. We did some stretching that was very different as the sand would shift under our feet. (Doing lunge stretches really test the balance there). The jumping jacks also required much more effort. I was expecting a nice vacation workout with the family and I got a really cool surprise. 
Later on in the week I did this workout:
10 pushups
20 second sprint
15 crunches
20 second sprint
15 squats
20 second sprint
1 minute rest-3 sets
(another Dan John workout)
followed by
15 second jump squat
15 second speed squat (body weight squats as fast as you can)
15 second pause squat (hold at the bottom for 1 second)
15 second hold squat (hold at the bottom for the full 15 seconds)
45 seconds rest-3 sets
(an Alwyn Cosgrove workout, also from Men’s Health)
It was a good one. The whole thing only took about 20 minutes and I felt absolutely finished when I was done
Anyway, it was a really eye-opening experience that I wanted to share with you and it shows once again that pretty much wherever you are or how much time you have, you can get a nice workout in. It also shows you that when are somewhere like Hawaii, get the heck out of the stuffy gym and take advantage of your surroundings! You can bench at your home gym all year long! You’ll never know what you might discover.

Apollo knew a secret!
Mitchell Rothbardt
(coming soon)

P.S. Thanks for voting in the latest poll. It was unanimous! The Philadelphia Phillies will be the 2008 National League Eastern Division champions! We are all very excited.