This, in Fact, Will Hurt a Bit


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Outside magazine, January 1999

This, in Fact, Will Hurt a Bit
The champ’s plan to get you to the next level

To hone your athletic prowess, Huffins suggests that you look inward — to your body’s core. “If you can strengthen the muscles between the knees and shoulders,” he says, “every athletic movement is enhanced, because they all start there.” That’s why his routine calls for, ahem, 500 crunches a session. Before you throw up your arms
in defeat, bear in mind that this is merely a goal; Huffins fully expects you to roll over clutching your stomach before finishing. But eventually you’ll get there. The same holds true for jump-rope skips — especially the one-leggers. On the athleticism day, complete the following regimen, first warming up for 10 minutes. Afterward, stretch for five minutes and
cool down for another five.

Rope Skips

It’s preferable to skip on grass, dirt, or a wood floor. Do 300 skips with both legs, 100 with the left leg, 100 with the right, and another 100 with both. If you can’t finish a particular group, stop, rest, and then start up with the next (ditto crunches). Rest two minutes.

Elevated Ab Extensions

Lie on your back with your feet propped on a bench. Keeping your shoulders flat, bridge your body so it forms a plank. Hold the position for 30 seconds, and then drop down and rest for 30 seconds. Repeat five times.

Walking Lunges

From a standing position, take a long stride forward with your left leg and dip down until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Be sure that the knee of your forward leg doesn’t jut ahead of your toes. Now step your right leg forward in a mirror
position, and continue until you’ve done 20. Rest one minute, repeat the set, and then rest another minute before moving on. Huffins offers fair warning: “Your butt will feel like somebody’s been hitting it with a jackhammer — especially the next day.”

Jumping Knee Tucks

Stand and jump straight up, momentarily clutching your knees as close to your chest as possible. Land in the same spot and immediately take off again. Do three sets of 20 jumps, resting one minute between sets and two minutes after the last.


From the same starting position as above, squat and steady yourself with your fingertips. Exploding with your legs and reaching skyward with your arms, jump up as high as you can. Land on the balls of your feet and quickly repeat. Do two sets of 15, resting two minutes between sets and two minutes afterward. “Burpies,” Huffins adds, “really suck.”

Five-Dot Drill

Mark four spots to make a five-foot square on the floor, and then add a fifth in the center. Number them clockwise from the bottom left, with the “2” in the middle. For 30 seconds, hop dot-to-dot with both feet as follows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 5. Repeat five times, resting 30 seconds between bouts and two minutes afterward. “Do them quickly, but not as fast as you can,”
says Huffins. “Make sure you get off the ground with five solid ‘pops.'”


Do four sets of 25, three sets of 50, two sets of 75, and one set of 100, resting 45 seconds between sets and two minutes between groups.

Double-Leg Hops

Standing with your feet together, hop forward as far as you can and then take off again in one smooth movement, continuing until you’ve completed ten. Do four sets, resting one minute between sets and two minutes afterward.


With an overhand grip that’s just wider than your shoulders, try to do 20. Emphasis on “try.”

Box-Top Intervals

Stand facing a two-foot-high box with your feet shoulder-width apart and, for 30 seconds, step onto it in the following pattern: left foot up, right foot up, left foot down, right foot down. Then rest 30 seconds and repeat for 30 seconds starting with the right foot. Rest 30 seconds and do another sequence in which you alternate your starting foot. This is a good
drill to end on, says Huffins, because you’ll have just enough leg strength left to hobble to the shower.

Photographs by Charles Harris