As a strength and conditioning coach, I’ve designed customized training programs for people from all walks of life, including professional athletes, artists, celebrities and everyone in between. So no matter who you are or what you do, I’m here to help you reach your goals.
Most of you know I get an early jump start on my day with a treadmill run in the wee hours of the morning. But, like everyone else, preparing my body to run is not always a walk in the park. Running 8 to 10 miles daily is not easy, but music definitely helps set the tone for a great workout.
My MP3 player blasts all kinds of tunes, but nothing gets me going like those unmistakable Latin beats. What can I say? It’s in my blood. From the moment I heard the songs from Corazón Latino in 2001, I couldn’t get enough of the energetic and supremely talented Spanish singer David Bisbal. I’ve been a fan ever since, and I’m glad to see how he has evolved into one of the most successful performers in his native land and all over the world. His talent is being enjoyed even here in the States, where he has performed with stars like Jessica Simpson and Rihanna.
Bisbal’s live performances are inspiring displays of song and dance, but they’re not all he does to stay in shape. He’s a biking enthusiast who’s had the chance to ride alongside some of the all-time great Spanish cyclists. In fact, he recently completed the 467-mile (750 km) Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in northwest Spain. Seeing that kind of background, I designed a special cycling strength routine that could have him challenging Tour de France winner Alberto Contador in no time! Or at least beating David’s best-ever time. He agreed to join me to test his strength in this specially designed workout.
The MM Exercise Program: Strength and Power
The advantage of this program is that it will make you lean and strong, whether you’re into cycling or not. Although endurance athletes are usually reluctant to lift weights because of the misconception that they will become slower from carrying extra bulk on their frame, the fact is strong muscles provide more endurance and peak strength at the end of any race. We used to associate strength training with bodybuilders, but what they do is totally different. I’m not training you to develop bigger muscles — I’m giving you the tools you need for stronger muscles.
In cycling, specific muscles are challenged more than others, and you must always remember the instability component, which adds difficulty to the sport. This routine will give you the stronger back and pecs you need to take pressure away from the smaller muscles in your arms.
It will also strengthen your core (abs and lower back), since you spend most of the time in a seated position and need to balance the pressure your body exerts on those supporting areas. Cyclists also keep shifting their body load from one side to the other, so they need to work the three heads of the shoulders to deal with the added pressure. And last but not least, the hip flexors (iliopsoas and quadriceps): These muscles are incredibly taxed when you are spinning those wheels.
The aim of this routine is to give you a thorough workout on the muscle groups most taxed during cycling. A Swiss ball will mimic the instability component of a bicycle. Even though cycling is a very complete sport, it still won’t help you develop a stronger bone structure. That’s why I added squat jumps to box along the way, since taxing the axial skeleton will help you strengthen bone mass over time.
Bullish Pursuits: This Euro Pop Star Stays True To His Spanish Roots
In case you missed it, Spain is currently undergoing its own Golden Age of Sport. Rafael Nadal is at the top of the tennis world, the national soccer team won the last European Cup, the country holds the Davis Cup and Alberto Contador recently won his second Tour de France.
All of this is hardly lost on Spanish recording star David Bisbal. How could it be? His ties to sport are equal parts national identity and genetic inheritance. David’s father was a professional boxer, and even though David chose a mic instead of boxing gloves, his admiration for everything athletic has been in his blood from very early on. “I’ve always loved sports. As a kid I could play soccer for six straight hours in my neighborhood. But it wasn’t until my teenage years that I found my true athletic calling — cycling,” he says.
“I used to ride my bike to school right around the time [Spanish cycling legend] Miguel Indurain won five straight Tour de Frances [1991-1995]. He brought a lot of youngsters to the sport of cycling, and I was among them.”
David raced competitively for two years before he realized he had to devote all his time to the music profession. Still, the biking bug stayed with him, and he’s now traded road racing for mountain biking. “I like to push myself when I’m on my bike. Cycling is very demanding, but it rewards me with energy and strength for my concerts,” he says. And that’s no small thing. His epic tours (over 100 concerts per album) usually take every ounce of energy he has.
That’s why prior to going on his global tours he’ll go into “preseason” workout mode. Even though he is not a fan of working out in gyms, David will spend time with a personal trainer before hitting the road. “If you start a concert tour without being in shape, it can be very hard. You have to prepare yourself physically for energy output that lasts a long time,” he says. He splits his time in the gym with mountain biking and running. Once on tour, however, he says he slows down his physical activity to recover between show dates. Even so, the actual performances provide all the exercise he could ever want, he says. “There’s nothing like it. Cycling is very demanding, but it rewards me with energy and strength for my concerns.”
Getting Tight For Touring: Do It Like David
Okay, maybe you won’t be on a mammoth musical tour in front of millions of adoring fans anytime soon. That doesn’t mean you can’t cull some tips from David’s keys to touring success. Here are three things David does to stay fit and sharp while on tour:
Make some exercise part of your everyday routine. David and his crew of managers and concert technicians play soccer while on the road. “Even though I’m the boss, they are not afraid to kick me,” he says. “They know I have insurance.”
When on tour, David has a tendency to lose body weight. As a result he eats lots of pasta to keep the carbohydrates up, and makes sure to keep hydrated during and between performances. “During wardrobe changes in concert I always have bananas and a sports drink.”
Keeping mentally focused can be difficult with throngs of fans giving you an adrenaline rush. That’s why David cools down with alone time in hotels. He’ll put on some easy listening music and drink chamomile tea before hitting the sack.