Outdoor Trainer

A conversation with a legend and pioneer in the fitness industry—Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta has been called a "Fitness Pioneer", "The Godfather of Sports Conditioning", and the "Trainer’s Trainer". He’s trained many amateur and professional teams, including the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, The Cincinnati Reds, The San Jose Sharks and the US Men’s World Cup Soccer Team. He's considered the Founding Father of Functional Sports Training—also known as Functional Fitness.
 
Read his Top Tips. Listen to the Podcast...

Want to target that hard-to-reach inner-thigh area? Looking for a great move to strengthen your knee joint? I developed this exercise for just that purpose—and found that it also really toned my inner and outer thighs.
 

I call this a “half-tuck” because you are isolating one leg at a time, in a tuck position. This exercise is perfect for doing beside the short hillside or slope that typically lines the sides of a single-track trail, a fire road, or a paved path through a park. It also works great along a curb or parking block.
 

The step lung targets your lower body, especially your legs and glutes. Think, “high and tight!”

What makes the step lunge so effective?
The reason why this move works so well is because you are using the large muscles of your legs and glutes against the forces of gravity. This eccentric action loads your muscles, putting them "on stretch," which sculpts and strengthens, while at the same time pushes your heart and lungs for a terrific cardio effect — which burns calories and cuts fat!

Here is a simple exercise that can ease your stress in a matter of minutes.
 
To begin, take a moment to think about peace and tranquility. Really sit back and allow yourself to think and feel serenity and calm.
 
What kinds of mental images come to mind?  A newspaper, TV, Traffic? Highly unlikely! For most people it is the images that are found only in nature, such as, a mountain meadow or the crashing surf. Nature soothes the mind and calms the senses. Mother Nature has been nurturing us through our evolutionary process and helps us maintain our psychological, physical and emotional health.

Winter sports are a blast! They’re even more fun when you’re fit for the challenges of the terrain.
 
Here is an outdoor workout that I designed (for Athleta Chi) to get you in shape for your favorite winter activities. The workout incorporates simple strength exercises that are incredibly effective—and efficient—because they demand that your body works across many planes of motion: up, down, forward, laterally, diagonally, twisting and rotating. They are also great for mental focus and balance—the perfect complement for winter sports. Check out: The Winter Sports Workout

A proper Warm Up is perhaps the most important part of your workout!
Every workout should begin with a 5-10 minute warm up.  A warm-up is your time to limber up your body—and your mind—in preparation for the workout to come. A warm up can be a simple as a walk or a jog. My outdoor warm-ups combine breathing and posture exercises with joint lubrication exercises, followed by an environmental integration exercise I call “high toes”. If space is limited, you can always do a  “One Spot Warm Up” with exercises that are perfect for situations where you aren’t including a walk to your workout site as part of your warm up.

Here's a fun abdominal exercise you can do with a monkey bar or a tree limb.
 
Props:  Tree limb, monkey bar
 
 

High and Tight!
These are my favorite squats on the planet!  Believe it or not, the hillside provides a stable and effective platform for working the glutes and hamstrings, especially the area where the two meet—that’s the “high and tight” effect. You’ll never get this kind of result doing squats on a gym floor.

Try these four basic stretches to prevent injury and enhance recovery.

With Outdoor Fitness workouts you may find that your hips, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves get a little tight due to the variety in terrain - inclines, declines, steps, stairs, traversing on rocky surfaces.

Think Japanese Sumo Wrestler! 
The sumo-squat is a wider variation of the wide-legged squat—ideal for when you’re moving laterally over the terrain. I really like these squats, because they’re extremely effective for sculpting the inner and outer thighs as well as the hips and glutes. My clients love them because they’re fun to do.
 

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