In round number 4 of the “random thoughts” series, we are going to touch on exercise routines, rehab training, and how your location affects your programming.

After 5 full weeks here in Saudi, I’ve got a nice little groove going on with my exercise routine. The first week was a big transition so I didn’t get to train that much, but the last 4 weeks were very consistent. I managed two ‘strength training’ days, one interval day, some pool work, a little yoga, and some walking. Here’s a quick breakdown of a typical week (FYI – the “weekend” here is Friday & Saturday):

SUNDAY – Resistance Training
Deadlift (keeping these light due to the hip)
Dumbbell chest press
Barbell hip thrusters
Bilateral rows
Weighted pushups
Slider body-saws
Captain’s chair leg lifts

MONDAY – Bodyweight Intervals and Pool work
For the bodyweight routine, I just set a timer for 10-12 minutes and did a short circuit of handstand pushups (5) and burpees (10)…as many as possible. I followed up that quick blast with some pool work. Here’s a clip showing two routines I’ve been doing:

TUESDAY – Rest Day
Pretty busy day with clients so it’s a good day to take off from training.  

WEDNESDAY – Resistance Training
Barbell front squats (keeping these light due to the hip and working on range of motion)
Single leg squat variations
Handstand pushups
Torso rotations
Stability ball “stir the pots”

THURSDAY – Low Intensity
This is a long day of sessions so this ends up being a low intensity day…the last 3 Thursdays I went to a park near my apartment and walked for 30 minutes. I also started doing light 40-50 yard runs to test the hip…still feels a little tight but the pain isn’t bad at all.

FRIDAY – Activity
Since I’ve been here, I’ve either done yoga or been hiking on Fridays.

IMG_3638hiking in Jeddah…camels!

Walk, eat, run errands, eat, hit the pool…and eat.

lamblocal, organically raised and pastured lamb…he keeps looking at me!

I plan to do this for about 8 weeks…done 4 and starting week 5 now. Changed up the two strength routines a bit…this will work for now until all the equipment arrives  for the gym that I’m here to open.

I’ll change things up when the equipment is here as I’ll have access to tools I can use that won’t aggravate hip (and the elbow that still acts up on me when I do certain things).

Sometimes we have to adapt our workouts to our location. I believe I first heard something along these lines from coach Mike Boyle when he talked about how your programming is affected by your facility. So true. When I was training athletes at ‘Fitness Quest 10′ I used the heavy tire for flips because it was a great weight and a great height for advanced athletes. When I was a working with athlete at ‘Alliance Training Center’, I didn’t like the tire they had (too low) so I removed it from the normal routine. I incorporated more full-body medicine ball work to elicit similar movement patterns.

You need to be creative at times based on your location and what you have available. Until the gym opens here, I’m training at client homes so we are doing a lot of bodyweight routines…using dumbbells (the one’s that have them), tubing, sliders, and the TRX that I brought with me. I love sled pushing and pulling but I don’t currently have access to one…so I’m doing a lot of partner resisted crawls and runs…still getting it in just using different tools. I like TRX knee tucks and pikes but I can’t use it at certain homes so I use sliders or even towels at some locations instead. Different tools for the job but similar movement patterns. We are only limited by our creativity. As long as the movement is safe and effective, and you have the client’s goals in mind, get creative and have some fun with your routines.

About Doug Balzarini
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

For more information please visit