John Possman blocks a ball in a Palisades win over Brentwood in Fall 2019 (Image courtesy of Heather Haggenmiller)

Coronavirus Coverage

Column: How student athletes stay fit in quarantine

As schools begin the fall semester, some students may want to start getting back in shape. Many, including myself, have consumed a lot of food during the past five months with about 80% being junk food. As a swimmer, I can consume almost whatever the heck I want as long as it’s edible. I need…
<a href="" target="_self">Spencer Jung</a>

Spencer Jung

August 28, 2020

As schools begin the fall semester, some students may want to start getting back in shape. Many, including myself, have consumed a lot of food during the past five months with about 80% being junk food.

As a swimmer, I can consume almost whatever the heck I want as long as it’s edible. I need a high metabolism while in the water, so this doesn’t affect me as much as other athletes.

Nonetheless, I decided to go around and ask some friends of mine who attend schools all throughout Los Angeles County. The time it takes for each workout will vary, with some ranging from a couple minutes to others maybe a couple hours. I have labeled each workout I received as either a “short workout” which ranges from about 10 minutes to two hours and “long workouts” which are more than two hours.

Each workout provides a quick background of the athlete, their workouts, and tips from the athletes. Some even come with diets and food choices that athletes are choosing or avoiding. Some workouts may seem a little too hard, others may seem like a joke. Choose one and stay active!

The “short” ones (10 minutes – two hours)

Aaron Tehrani, a Palisades Charter High School sophomore does a daily workout that’s around 10 minutes. Tehrani has competed for the Palisades Boys Water Polo and Swim team. He has club experience with Westside Aquatics and Bruins Swim Club. Instead of a pool and a place to run, his workout requires a timer, someone to count the numbers of drills you are doing, and a mat if you wish. 

Tehrani’s workout: 

  1. leg lifts (1 min.)
  2. flutter kicks (1 min.)
  3. leg cross (1 min.)
  4. 30 mountain climbers each side up to chest (60 steps in total)
  5. 2 different hip-twisting drills of choice (1 min. each)
  6. plank (1:30 min.)
  7. plank on left arm w/ body facing right (1 min.)
  8. plank on right arm w/ body facing left (1 min.)
  9. Done? Go back to step 1 and repeat. This workout requires two sets to be completed with 5 seconds of break in between.

“For every single workout, stretch first. I didn’t include stretching cause I shouldn’t have to,” Tehrani said. “Also, do the drills properly. Anyone can bounce their legs off the ground for leg lifts, but can they properly hold their feet inches off the ground without touching it and raise it by 6 inches and repeat the process for a minute?”

Outfielder Jacob Herrera, a member of the baseball team at Palisades, shared what he does to maintain his physical appearance. Herrera is a junior at PCHS and was the only freshman in 2019 to be offered a spot on the varsity roster by Head Coach Mike Voelkel.

The ’19 Dolphins platoon was able to advance to the Open Division finals game at Dodger Stadium, which Herrera pinch ran in, but sadly lost to the Birmingham Patriots. Nevertheless, Herrera isn’t letting a pandemic stop him from hopefully leading his team back to Chavez Ravine in May 2021 (if it isn’t canceled) and bringing the first-place plaque back to Pali High possession.

Herrera’s workout:

  1. Do 100 pushups no break
  2. Squats with weight 50 lbs more than bodyweight (10-30 min.)
  3. Bench with weight about bodyweight (10-30 min.)
  4. Deadlift with weight 50 lbs more than bodyweight (10-30 min.)
  5. Stretch spine and back one completed
  6. 100 pushups no break
  7. 50 lunges each foot
  8. Throw weight ball against wall 20 times

“People should be mindful of their limits and to slowly increase it rather than boosting it suddenly,” Herrera said. “Be extremely cautious with weight training and always have someone strong enough in the room to lift it off you if you crack and end up getting pinned.”

He also mentions that for anyone who wants to follow his workout to add 50 pounds to their body weight, not Herrera’s.

Yash Vora is a tennis player and runs track and field wearing Los Angeles Center of Enriched Studies uniforms. Vora’s workout ranges from cardio to weight training. Vora enjoys playing chess and has won numerous amounts of tournaments. Vora’s cardio workout will be beneficial most to Tennis players, but soccer, basketball, and football players might find this helpful.

Vora’s weight workout:

  1. 25 pushups
  2. 25 curls with weight of choice
  3. 25 pushups
  4. 25 pullups
  5. Standing vertical twist with weighted object arms straight (1:30 minutes)
  6. Repeat 3-4 times

Vora’s Cardio Workout (Tennis):

  1. Run the entire court 3 times with the following speed each time:
    1. Jog
    2. Sprint
    3. Jog
  2. Touch each corner of one side (10 min.)
  3. Run from net to back (10 min.)

In an average L.A. temperature, this will produce a lot of sweat.

Vora’s tips:

Vora suggests for those who don’t have professional weights to substitute it with other objects such as textbooks for lifting and reusable water bottles for curls. For cardio, not everyone has access to Tennis courts and some are closed due to public health restrictions. If this is the case, simply do jump ropes for an hour with no break. Foot reflexes, as well as stamina, can increase as a result.

Julie Kim is a junior at Burbank High School. She is a co-captain of the Girls Water Polo team with many years of experience from club water polo. She has been recognized and mentioned in a number of news articles for her skills as a water polo player, including articles in the L.A. Times. Kim’s workout requires a pool that is deep enough for the participant to not stand and equal pairs of weights or objects.

Kim’s workout:

  1. 2-3 mile run (loosen body and lungs)
  2. Once in the pool, put both hands out of the water with only the fingers out and tread water (1 min.) no weights yet
  3. successfully completed the “fingers” level? wrists out and repeat process with no break (1 min.)
    • If you give up, you are not ready — restart from step 2
  4. Elbows out tread water (1 min.)
  5. Shoulders out tread water (1 min.)
  6. If you completed steps 2-5 without failing, get a pair of the same objects (water bottle, shoes, weight balls, etc.) and repeat the process from step 2 while holding them in each hand.
  7. keep repeating the process with heavier objects
  8. end work out after two hours has passed

Kim’s tips:

“Treading water is one of the most fundamental parts of water polo. This workout itself is meant for water polo players, but almost every sport requires a strong lower-body,” Kim said. “Give this a try even if you don’t play water polo. Also, hands should be dry at all times. If your arms get tired and you’re not even holding any weights, you’re not ready and return to the ‘fingers’ level.”

She points out that treading water will not only improve lower-body strength, but also core muscles and abs.

Kim’s diet: 

  • Lots of banana.
  • Fruits
  • Protein bar after drying off

Julia Fink is a rising junior at Brentwood High School and a member of the Eagles drill team. Fink is a certified lifeguard and enjoys all sorts of music. She actually has two workout plans, a long one (last workout of the story) and a shorter, but still demanding one.

Fink’s shorter workout:

  1. 2-3 mile run (distance choice) (jog)
  2. 2 planks (30 sec each) * 10-second break in between
  3. 30 left side crunches
  4. 30 right side crunches
  5. 25 clamshells on each side
  6. 10 leg lifts
  7. 25 fire hydrants each side
  8. 25 donkey kicks each side
  9. flutter kicks (30 sec)
  10. 10 squats with weights (choose weight)
  11. 20 bicep curls each arm
  12. 10 overhead presses with weights
  13. 10 arm T’s

Fink’s tips:

“Take your time on these exercises. Most of these drills are probably new and you’ve never heard before, but try your best to execute them properly,” Fink said. “If you happen to not know these drills, search them up, and watch quick Youtube videos that can help you understand them. Stay hydrated, but don’t drink TOO much water cause you won’t have too much time to fully digest during the short break time.”

The “Long” Ones (2+ Hours):

John Possman is a rising sophomore at Palisades Charter High School. He is a member of the Water Polo team and plays club water polo in the spring. Possman was the JV team captain in 2019 and was promoted to the Varsity lineup that won first (again) at the LA City CIF Section Finals at LA Valley College. With health restrictions easing up, Possman has been allowed to go to a pool and practice with his club team.

Possman’s workout (mostly beneficial to swimmers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers, and/or surfers):

  1. 2 mile jog
  2. 25 pushups
  3. 25 situps
    • *get in the pool once complete
  4. 3×25 feet warmup (35 sec or under each)
  5. 3×50 feet gain speed (35 sec or under each)
  6. 3×75 feet
    1. 1st 75 sprint
    2. 2nd 75 medium
    3. 3rd 75 Sprint
  7. 3×100 feet fast-paced but not sprint (1:05 sec or under)
  8. Repeat from step 4 but get out and do 10 pushups after completing one distance
    • 10 pushups up after 1st 75 ft, 10 pushups after 2nd, and 3rd for a total of 30 pushups for the 3×75 ft part
  9. Sweet sixteen
    • Start from 1×25 ft. Get out on the other side and do 1 in-n-out (lifting body out of the water but going back in) and 1 pushup.
    • Next, do 2x25ft=50ft, do 2 in-n-out and 2 pushups.
    • Next do 3×25=75ft, 3 in-n-out, and 3 pushups.
    • All the way until 16X25 ft= 400 ft, 16 in-n-out, and 16 pushups
  10. 200 ft constant swim cool down

Possman’s tips: 

“Everything except maybe the ‘sweet sixteen’ drill is mostly for aquatic players to perform better in water. Swimming itself, though, is a very good method of using all parts of your body and improving your cardio,” Possman said. “For anyone who wants to work out their muscles or improve their stamina, give the ‘sweet sixteen’ drill a try. You will be swimming a lot, but lifting your body out of the water to your belly button in a pool with a gutter is especially difficult. Doing pushups and swimming an additional 25 feet to what you previously swam is no light task either. Swimming drains a lot of energy, so make sure to eat food such as banana after exercising in the water.”

Richard Hernandez of Los Angeles Center of Enriched Studies is a Junior and member of the Unicorns’ swim team that competes in the LA City CIF Section every spring. Hernandez’s workout is arguably one of the most demanding and takes a total of 5 hours with a limited break. He swims on a club team and swam in the LA City CIF Section finals as a freshman

Hernandez’s Workout:

  1. 50 push-ups
  2. 50 core drills (each hour is different)
    1. crunches
    2. leg raises
    3. v ups
    4. flutter kicks
    5. Russian twists
  3. 50 Supermans
  4. 50 squats
  5. Repeat step 1-5 four more times for a complete 5 sets. Each set is one hour.

Hernandez’s tips: 

“Try to complete 1-4 in an hour,” Hernandez said. “[It] should get easier over time.”

Similar to Tehrani, Hernandez emphasized to do this workout properly with correct form, even if it takes time.

Hernandez’s diet:

  • No snacks or unhealthy side-meals during weekdays (chips, cookies, popcorn, etc.)
  • Banana for high potassium
  • Fruit smoothie shake with yogurt every morning

Julia Fink’s Long Workout (get ready):

  1. 3-5 mile job (distance choice)
  2. 3 planks (1 min each) * 10-second breaks in between
  3. spiderman plank (30 sec)
  4. right side plank with hip dips (30 sec)
  5. left side plank with hip dips (30 sec)
  6. 10 bird dogs (each side)
  7. 50 left side crunches
  8. 50 right side crunches
  9. mountain climbers full sprint (1 min)
  10. 50 clamshells each side
  11. 2 sets of 10 leg lifts (10 sec break in between)
  12. 50 fire hydrants each side
  13. 50 donkey kicks each side
  14.  2 Flutter kicks (1 min each)
  15. 20 squats with weight (choice)
  16. 20 bicep curls each arm
  17. 10 overhead presses with weights
  18. 20 Arm T’s
  19. 25 bench presses with dumbbells

Cool-down drills: 

  1. Cobra stretch (1 min)
  2. runners stretch (30 sec each leg)
  3. pigeon stretch (45 sec each leg)

Fink’s Tip: “The cobra stretch is meant to stretch out your spine and back. Take these drills seriously and do them properly. There is no point in doing them incorrectly. This is a long workout, but it is really rewarding at the end when you finish this. If you do not have enough time, select a few or maybe half of the workouts and go at it!”

The Last Pitch:

Hopefully, the motivations of these student-athletes were able to motivate you and maybe others to stay healthy and be active. Although I was not able to hear from a player in every sport, some techniques and drills can still work. For example, if you are a basketball player, try out Yash Vora’s suggestion of consistently doing jump rope for as long as you can.

It will help you maintain your cardio and hopefully increase the length you can get off the ground for rebounds, blocks, and dunks. If these workouts seem to have too many needed items, too time-consuming, too easy or any other negative opinion, feel free to go on Youtube and search for a planned workout. If you want to get creative, write down your own workout, and practice it at a consistent interval. Finally, every member including myself can’t emphasize enough to do any workout properly and stretch.

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