The Modern Gladiator | A Man's Guide to Living

Your Fall Guide to Staying FIT This Season: Workout Like a Gladiator!

on September 9 | in Cover, Health & Fitness, Issue 17 | by | with No Comments

Fall and winter are the perfect time to work on getting ready for your spring and summer sports.

Many people are avid runners or golfers when the weather gets nice but struggle with training consistently during the colder months when they can’t always get outside.

Instead of contemplating a move to warmer climates so you can do the thing you love year-round, why not use that time to improve your performance and protect yourself from injuries? After all, nobody wants to perform worse each year…and injuries are a surefire way to keep you off the golf course.

Injury prevention both in season and out starts with warming up properly. This applies to training in the gym and participating in your chosen sport. Break a sweat and get moving in multiple ranges of motion before you start. Also, since we’re talking gym training, don’t attempt to make your gym exercises look like what you do in your sport. This will lead to errors in technique, plus you set yourself up for injury due to overuse and overloading a specific movement pattern.

The McGill 3

We use this as a part of the warm-up for our athletes as well as anyone with back pain. The 3 exercises in this series are the Paused Bird Dog, McGill Crunch, and Rolling Plank. Dr. Stuart McGill is a Professor of Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo and possibly the world’s foremost expert on spinal health. The reason we use this series so much is because it’s actually been shown to stiffen your core for up to 3 days after completing a few rounds of it.

This means less back pain and better performance. Do 2-3 rounds of 10 reps on each exercise as a warm-up before lifting. If you really want to step your game up, do 1-2 sets most days of the week.


Paused Bird Dog

Abdominals workout posture

Rolling Plank


Incorporate the Bent Over T-Spine Rotation into your warm-ups. It gets that upper back moving in the rotational capacity that many of us are missing that results in lots of shoulder and neck pain. Again, 2-3 sets of 10 will do the trick.

When it comes to improving performance and decreasing injury risk, I have 5 exercises that I fall back to pretty much every time. Remember, we’re not trying to mimic your sports activity in the gym. We’re simply trying to develop as much raw potential in terms of speed, power, and strength as we can. So, here are my top 5 exercises for you to focus on.

Trap Bar Deadlift


Benefits Substitutions Set and Rep Ranges
Full Body Strength Barbell Deadlift (Convential or SumoLandmine Deadlift 3-8 sets of 2-8 reps


Kettlebell Swings

Benefits Substitutions Set and Rep Ranges
Power and Endurance Dumbbell Skier Swings Power = 3-6 sets of 3-8 repsEndurance = 1-10 Sets of 15-30 reps


Inverted Rows

Benefits Substitutions Set and Rep Ranges
Upper Back Strength, Hypertrophy & Shoulder Health Chest Supported Rows / Half Kneeling Cable Rows 2-5 sets of 8-20 reps


Half Kneeling Pallof Press

Benefits Substitutions Set and Rep Ranges
Core Strength and Stability Renegade Rows 2-5 sets of 8-15 reps


Dumbbell or Kettlebell Farmers Carry

Benefits Substitutions Set and Rep Ranges
Back and Grip Strength Conditioning; Hip and Core Stability Dumbbell/Kettblebell March 2-5 sets of 100 feet or march for 10-20 seconds


As you can see, this is not a complete program and it focuses almost exclusively on your posterior chain (back, butt, hamstrings, calves). Start including these exercises in your current routine or use this as a standalone workout.

No matter what you do, the goal is to progress in either weight or reps each week.

For instance, if you deadlift 100 pounds for 5 reps on week 1, you can either attempt 105 pounds for 5 reps on week 2 or you can go for 6 reps with 100 pounds. Neither is really any better than the other, just make sure you listen to your body. If you’re feeling strong,  try to hit something a bit heavier. If it’s not feeling great, try for a rep increase if you can maintain good form.

As I stated earlier, the primary goal is injury prevention. Not only are injuries going to keep you from doing what you love, but they’re also going to potentially keep you from working and being happy, healthy, and productive. Don’t let all your hard-earned progress from this summer slip away during the cold winter months.

Get in the gym and move some iron so that next year you’re tuned up and ready to crush it!

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