Want to take your lower-body workout to the great outdoors?
Bodybuilding.com athlete Samantha Leete hits the track to show you how!
Most of my workouts take place in the gym, but sometimes I need a
change of scenery. I'm a former track and field athlete, so my first
impulse is often to grab my sneakers and find an outdoor track.
Whenever I'm asked what I do to work my lower body, I recommend
workouts like my Sprints and Plyos Track Workout. It's a four-part
routine that incorporates a full warm-up, plyometrics for speed and
explosiveness, sprints for cardio, and stair work for lower-body
strength. This workout allows me to burn a ton of calories while
building speed, strength, and conditioning.
Sprints And Plyos Track Workout Samantha Ann Leete Watch the video - 7:52
Whether you're fighting the winter doldrums or looking for an excuse
to enjoy the summer sun, taking your routine outdoors into the fresh air
can do wonders for your mood. Not to mention, it nearly always smells
better than the gym!
Samantha Leete's Sprint and Plyos Track Workout
If you're new to this style of training, don't feel like you have to
push yourself to the absolute limit. Scale it back and focus on getting
better each time you perform the routine. You can swap it out for your
regular leg day, or you can add it to your regular routine as cardio.
Start by running around the track twice at a moderate pace, just to
get your blood pounding and your body primed for the active stretches.
Each stretch will cover a distance of about 25 meters (approximately 80
The first active stretch—the butt-kick run—is exactly what it sounds
like. At a light, low-impact jog, bring your free foot up behind you to
kick yourself in the butt on each step. Don't worry about speed here;
just focus on getting a good stretch in your quads. Perform this stretch
for 25 meters.
Go right into 25 meters of knee hugs. Bring one knee up high, leg
bent, and briefly "hug" the knee to your chest. Continue down the track,
alternating legs. Again, take your time on these; the point is to
stretch out your hips and glutes.
Take your time on the knee raises; the point is to stretch out your hips and glutes.
Turn around, and begin your inchworms without resting. To perform an
inchworm, begin in a standing position, with your feet a few inches
apart. Bend forward, keeping your knees straight (if possible), and lay
both hands on the ground about a foot in front of your toes. Next,
keeping your feet in place, begin "walking" your hands forward until
you're extended in a plank position. Then walk your feet up to your
hands. Take a moment to pause here in the doubled-over position, hugging
your legs and stretching your hamstrings.
Finally, finish off your warm-up by doing walking lunges with a
twist. Perform a deep lunge, bringing your back knee all the way to the
ground, and twist your torso toward your front leg. You should feel the
stretch in your core with each twist.
Phase 2 Plyometrics
Plyometrics are great for lower-body development, agility, and speed.
When performing these exercises, remember to move your muscles in a
rapid, explosive manner, taking the target muscle from a fully
contracted to a fully extended position when possible.
These high jumps are similar to skipping, but more powerful. Jump off
on your right leg, using it to drive your left knee and hand up. Work
on jumping as high as possible, rather than simply moving forward.
Repeat with alternating legs for 25 meters.
Next, turn around and go right into your long jumps. Unlike high
jumps, these should cover as much ground as possible with each leap,
staying low. Begin in a half-squat position with your arms extended
behind you. Leap forward explosively, bringing your arms forward to
provide momentum. Don't let your butt sink below your knees; it's not
necessary to go that low. As you land, try to roll through your heels to
your toes. Perform these for 25 meters.
Finish off your plyo circuit with 20 tuck jumps. With your feet close
together, leap as high as possible into the air, bringing your knees up
as you rise. Try to touch your knees with your hands in front of your
chest to ensure you're bringing your legs up far enough. Take a short
breather, then repeat this circuit two more times.
Phase 3 Sprints
For these sprint intervals, you'll alternate between running at 50
percent of your maximum speed, running as fast as possible, and jogging
Between sprints, take adequate time to recover, so you can give the
next sprint your all. Sprints are a fun way to burn a large number of
calories in a short amount of time, and they'll help you build a
Sprints are a fun way to burn a large number of calories in a short
amount of time, and they'll help you build a fantastic booty.
Phase 4 Stairs or Bleachers
If possible, perform this workout at a track or stadium that has at
least 30 meters of bleachers, so you can do just two rounds of the
circuit. In a pinch, however, any track with a few stairs will work;
you'll just need to increase the number of rounds. In the video, I
didn't have access to 30 meters of bleachers, so I performed 5 rounds of
To perform bench sprints, face the bleachers and place your right
foot on the bottom step. Push through your right heel as you climb up on
the step. Let your body leap upward, squeeze your glutes at the top of
the movement, and switch the position of your feet. Come down with your
left foot on the step and your right foot on the ground. Repeat,
Start a stair hop in a squat position. Driving with both legs, jump
up to the next step, and end in the squat position again. Think of
yourself as a frog climbing the stairs.
Stand with the bleachers to your left to begin the first set of
squat-climbs. Lift your left leg up to the next step, then bring up your
right foot to join it. You should be facing sideways for the entire
set, and even though one leg is higher than the other, maintain your
balance in the center rather than leaning to one side or the other.
Try to keep your weight in your heels to really target your glutes
and hamstrings. After 10 sets of these, perform another set of bench
sprints, then do 10 more squat climbs to the right.
Having more friends really may make you feel better, or at least feel less pain, a new study from England suggests.
People in the study who had larger social networks appeared to have a
higher tolerance for pain, according to the findings, which were
published April 28 in the journal Scientific Reports.
In the study, the researchers wanted to see if people with larger social networks
had higher levels of chemicals in the brain called endorphins.
Endorphins are linked to feelings of pleasure, as well as reduced
feelings of pain. (Endorphins are, in fact, a more powerful pain
reliever than morphine, according to the study.) http://www.livescience.com/54580-friendship-pain-tolerance.html
Instead of just flushing it away, your pee could one day generate
power. Researchers have developed a way to create affordable and
renewable electricity with a fuel cell that runs on urine.
The new device relies on natural biological processes of so-called electric bacteria, essentially living cells that eat and breathe electricity.
"These electric bacteria are a fascinating type of bacteria that are capable of transferring electrons generated by the breaking down of organic compounds extra-cellularly,"
said study co-author Mirella Di Lorenzo, a professor in the Department
of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath, in the United
Extracellular processes are things that happen outside a cell, in the space on the other side of the cell membrane.
For the new fuel cell, researchers at the University of Bath, Queen
Mary University of London and the Bristol Bioenergy Centre collected
electric bacteria from sewage at a water treatment plant in the U.K.
Di Lorenzo said it is still not well understood how these bacteria can
transfer electrons; in normal electricity generation, electrons move by
being given to "electron acceptors" inside the fuel cells. These electrons are donated to an electrode and power is gathered through this movement.
"Some bacteria have conductive wires that carry the electrons, others will use some specific compounds in solution
that act as electron shuttles," Di Lorenzo told Live Science. "In other
cases, the transfer is done by direct contact between the bacterial
cell and the electrode."
The scientists worked on this idea to develop a means of generating electricity at low cost, which could help with combatting dependence on fossil fuels (since urine would be the only fuel needed to run the cell).
"The advantages of microbial fuel cells rely in the simplicity of the design," Di Lorenzo said.
Researchers developed a new fuel cell that is
powered by urine. Left to right: Jon Chouler, Mirella Di Lorenzo and
is also carbon-neutral, according to the researchers, which means no
additional carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere when it
operates. The cost-effectiveness of the materials used, the zero
emission of harmful gasses, and the use of waste as fuel with the
additional advantage of treating waste while generating electricity all
contribute to how the device can support secure, affordable and
environmentally friendly energy, Di Lorenzo said.
Furthermore, microbial fuel cells, or "bio-batteries,"
are much cheaper to develop than similar technologies. They measure
just 1 square inch, or about the size of a postage stamp, and use a
carbon catalyst at the cathode that is made up of glucose and ovalbumin,
which is a protein found in egg white. This means the catalyst is
renewable and a much cheaper alternative to the platinum that microbial
fuel cells often use, the researchers said.
According to the International Energy Agency, around 1.2 billion people
in the world don't have access to electricity. By developing cheap and
simple ways of generating electricity,
such as microbial fuel cells, people in these poor and developing or
rural areas could be helped much sooner, the researchers said.
"The technology has the potential of addressing the poor sanitation in
developing countries and remote areas while generating electricity," Di
Currently, the urine-powered fuel cell can generate around 2 watts per
cubic meter of energy, which is about enough to power a cellphone, but
the team is working on improving the design, and the researchers said
they are confident they will be able to increase the fuel cell's
"To have created technology that can potentially transform the lives of
poor people who don't have access to, or cannot afford electricity, is
an exciting prospect," study lead author Jon Chouler, a Ph.D. student at
the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies at the University of
Bath, said in a statement. "I hope this will enable those in need to
enjoy a better quality of life as a result of our research." http://www.livescience.com/54588-pee-powered-fuel-cells-cheap-electricity.html
A recent study which examined phone calls made to poison control centers
found that more than 30 children are poisoned every day due to exposure
to detergent pods.
The study was conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy
of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the
Central Ohio Poison Center. It examined calls made to emergency poison
control centers made between January 2013 and December 2014.
Of those calls, 62,254 were made due to laundry and dishwasher
detergent exposure to children under the age of 6 years old. These
included calls about traditional detergent as well as detergent pods.
The study found that 60% of the calls made to emergency centers were
regarding exposure to detergent involved detergent pods. This amounted
to 37,352 cases of detergent pod-exposure throughout the almost two-year
The study also showed that half (50%) of the callers who contacted
emergency centers because of detergent pods were referred to health care
facilities for treatment, while only 21% of traditional
detergent-callers needed a reference for treatment.
Not only were calls due to detergent pod exposure more common to
begin with, but their frequency increased by 17% throughout the less
than two-year period. This resulted in around 30 calls a day related to
detergent pod exposure, which is roughly equal to one call every 45
According to Dr. Gary Smith, senior study author, this shows an
abnormally high number of poisonings due to detergent pod-exposure.
“Unless this unacceptably high number of exposures declines
dramatically, manufacturers need to continue to find ways to make this
product and its packaging safer for children,” Smith said in a
There has been much concern from both professionals and the general public surrounding detergent pod toxicity.
Many studies have shown that ingesting these pods causes more severe poisoning compared to other detergents.
Both experts and parents also believe that their convenient shape and
brightly-colored design makes them more attractive for consumption by
To find out more about the risks of commercial laundry detergent, and for information on natural alternatives, click here.
People who say they don't have time to exercise may be out of excuses: A
new study finds that just 1 minute of sprinting, along with 9 minutes
of light exercise, leads to similar improvements in health and fitness
as a 50-minute workout at a moderate pace.
The findings suggest the benefits of so-called sprint interval training,
in which people go "all out" for a short period, then recover at a slow
pace for a longer period and then repeat the cycle. Such exercise may
be an option for people who want to boost their fitness, but don't have a whole lot of time to commit to regular exercise, the study suggests.
"Most people cite 'lack of time' as the main reason for not being
active", study co-author Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at
McMaster University in Ontario, said in a statement. "Our study shows
that an interval-based approach can be more efficient — you can get
health and fitness benefits comparable to the traditional approach, in
In the study, 25 men who previously did no exercise
were randomly assigned to either a sprint interval workout or an
endurance workout. They performed the exercise three times a week for 12
weeks on a stationary bicycle. A smaller group of men did no exercise
at all for the 12 weeks, to serve as a control.
The sprint workout consisted of warming up for 2 minutes, sprinting
all-out for 20 seconds, recovering at a slow pace for 2 minutes,
sprinting for 20 seconds, recovering again for 2 minutes, sprinting for a
last 20 seconds and cooling down for 3 minutes. The endurance workout
After the 12-week program, the two training groups showed similar
improvements in aerobic fitness. Specifically, both groups had a 19
percent improvement on a test called VO2 peak, which measures the peak
amount of oxygen consumed by the body per 30 seconds of exercise.
The two groups also had similar improvements in a test of insulin sensitivity,
which measures how well the body responds to insulin, a hormone that
regulates blood sugar. Finally, a biopsy of participants' muscle tissue
revealed similar improvements in markers of muscle function in the two
The new findings, which were published
yesterday (April 26) in the journal PLOS ONE, agree with previous
studies that have looked at the health effects of interval training. But
the new study tested an even shorter interval training period — just 10
minutes, compared to a previous study that tested the effects of a
25-minute interval workout.
The researchers note, however, that even though interval training workouts
are shorter, the type of interval training tested in the current study
is very intense. It "requires a very high level of motivation and is
clearly not suited for everyone," the researchers said.
It's important, too, to note that the researchers did not look at
long-term benefits of interval training, only at short-term fitness
Future studies should look at whether internal training that doesn't
involve such an "all out" effort would still lead to improvements like
those seen in the new study, the researchers said.