30 Days of ZooFit: Zoo-maker and the Creation of a ZooFit Workout

Today we tried out a brand-new Conservation Hero WOD, the Dian Fossey. The late primatologist was popularized by the movie “Gorillas in the Mist”. Dian studied the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, and to honor her contribution to conservation and research of the then little-known species, I created a Time Ladder workout with Gorilla Lunges, Double Unders/Jump rope, and Lemur Sit-ups.

Time Ladders are an interval training workout of 6 rounds, each increasing in length of time. You start with 10 seconds of work, and rest for 50 seconds. Then you do 20 seconds of work, and rest for 40 seconds. You continue shaving off your rest periods while increasing your work time until you complete a full 60 second stretch of the exercise.

A time ladder workout consists of 3-4 exercises. Each set runs for 7 minutes. It’s not a bad way to get in 100-200 repetitions of an exercise.

After we finished our Lemur Sit-ups, Chris and I discussed whether or not we should add an arm movement to the workout. It’s a Conservation Hero WOD, so it’s supposed to be a little challenging, and we didn’t feel the Dian Fossey was living up to its potential.

We wandered around the gym (it was raining and windy, so we didn’t work out at the park today), trying to think of an exercise we could share with people easily. We stumbled upon the sand balls.

“We could have ZooFitters do skull-crushers with a medicine ball,” I offered as a suggestion.

Chris practiced a couple of skull-crushers and then added a clean and press to the movement. It wasn’t super fancy, but it was different. I like different. Especially for ZooFit.

“This could be my version of man-makers. The, I don’t know, Zookeeper Builder.”

Man-makers is an actual exercise designed by some sort of bodybuilder to impress other athletes by how hard they work. It’s a ridiculous exercise, because it’s complicated, intense, difficult, and lengthy. To perform a man-maker, hold two dumbbells and burpee to the floor. Rather than jump right back up like you do in a burpee, with a man-maker you do a push-up and a dumbbell renegade row, then another push-up and a renegade row with the other arm. THEN you jump your feet up to your hands, which are still holding the dumbbells. Perform a dumbbell clean (with or without a squat) and press the dumbbells up overhead (clean and press). There. That’s one.

I like programming versatile exercises, and I even like programming challenging exercises like man-makers, but I am also always on the lookout for ways to make exercises my own. This is what happened today. Chris and I created a new ZooFit exercise. The Zoo-maker.

Here’s how you do it: Using a medicine ball (make it yourself if you don’t have one already), drop down in a burpee plank position. Place one hand on the med ball and do an uneven, or plyo push-up. Switch hands and perform another plyo push-up. Jump your feet to your hands and pick up the ball in a med ball clean. Press the ball overhead and do a skull-crusher. Bring the ball back to your front and lower the ball to the ground in a deadlift/squat. That’s one.

Sounds scary, but it’s infinitely more fun than man-makers. And by adding a set of Zoo-makers to the Dian Fossey, we realized it takes just about 10.5 seconds to do one repetition. Maybe not the best exercise for a Time Ladder, but it’s a good exercise. A very good exercise. I may need to program more of these…

Interestingly enough, our workout today started by me mentioning I was going to try to create a Conservation Hero WOD for Dame Daphne Sheldrick, who passed away this week. She ran the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and made a huge impact on the preservation of elephants. To honor her, I’m thinking of making elephant-esque exercises. Perhaps when I create my homemade sandbags, I can make-up some exercises like elephant runs (shuttle sprints holding a sandbag, elephant plank (plank with a sandbag on your back), elephant lifts (single leg deadlifts), and sandbag cleans.

Sometimes my workouts give me the “Workout Dumbs”. Sometimes it leads to “Comic Gold” moments, where I come up with the funniest shit. Today, my workout helped develop ZooFit a little more and create whole new workouts in the process.

What has your workout done for you lately?

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