The Body Reborn: 1–4

Build a Badass: Gambetta's functional-fitness approach primes you for unmatched performance

Jun 1, 2006
Outside Magazine

WHEN TACKLED WITH SUSTAINED focus and intensity, a comprehensive functional-fitness regimen can bring about amazing advances in strength, agility, flexibility, endurance, and speed. And when your workout is as varied and evolving (read: fun) as the Gambetta-designed program detailed here and on the following pages, you'll never find yourself bored or dreading the next one. His three two-week cycles (see "Six Weeks to Ultimate Fitness") mix things up with eight integrated elements—from circuit training to strength work—and follow a strategic progression. Spending about an hour each workout day, you'll get stronger and faster right off the bat by training your whole body, not just one muscle at a time, via moves in the three planes of athletic motion: rotational, side to side, and front to back. Just stay on your feet and make it pay off.

TO PREP your body, Gambetta prefers controlled multidirectional movements. These two exercises energize everything, not just your legs and heart. Finish with 25 paces each of high skips, side shuffles (running laterally without crossing your legs), and high-kick backpedals (kicking heels to butt while moving backwards). TOP GEAR: Reebok 6lb Medicine Ball, $30;

REMEDIAL WORK is designed to address a fact of sedentary modern life: atrophy. These drills develop essential connective strength, so you can take on the more complex exercises to come with greater control and less risk of injury. Try to keep your toes pointed forward, if you can. Finish with one ten-second single-leg squat per leg. TOP GEAR: Perform Better Mini-Band, $3;

INTERSPERSE EACH 30-SECOND SET of each exercise—body-weight squat jumps, med-ball sit-ups, lunges, incline push-ups, med-ball sit-ups—with 30 seconds of rest and one minute of the aerobic drill of your choice. Complete 2 circuits; add 2 each cycle.

ON REST DAYS, DO JUST THAT. On active-rest days, don't just lie around; make a point of doing tai chi or yoga, getting a massage, or trying something new. (See "Boost Thyself")