The Crunchy Frog introduced readers of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to Matt Parrott on Jan. 6, 2003.
Joe Barnett demonstrates the second step of the Single Arm Cable Fly on Ball in 2007.
Yancey Prosser demonstrates the first step of the Isometric Reverse Pushup in 2007.
Yancey Prosser demonstrates the second step of the Isometric Reverse Pushup in 2007.
Robert Stebbins demonstrates step one of the Bi-Angled Chest Press in 2008.
Robert Stebbins demonstrates step two of the Bi-Angled Chest Press in 2008.
Robert Stebbins demonstrates the third step of the Bi-Angled Chest Press in 2008.
Robert Stebbins demonstrates the fourth step of the Bi-Angled Chest Press in 2008.
Aimee Berry does the first step of the Low Pulley Squat Thrust in 2010.
Aimee Berry does the second step of the Low Pulley Squat Thrust in 2010.
The frog -- an exercise -- was the first move Parrott created for his weekly Master Class column, which since has appeared in this section every Monday except one. That's 13 years' worth of Mondays.
Accompanying Parrott's inaugural column were photos of Janet Korenblat, a friend he recruited to pose for photos through his then-job as fitness director at Little Rock Racquet Club. The photos dispelled any mystery raised by the name of the exercise, which involved knee tucks done while balanced atop the then-novel BOSU (Both Sides Utilized) ball.
Flash forward 688 weeks to today, and turn to Page 3E, where Master Class presents the Sprinter Situp with illustrative photos featuring his friend Lisa Cooper, director of fitness and group exercise at Little Rock Athletic Club in west Little Rock. Today's column is only Parrott's 687th because a newspaper production snafu prevented publication of one column (that he had ready to go).
"Writing is easy," he says.
Parrott met those weekly deadlines while he was attending graduate school at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, writing his thesis (on email as a strategy for encouraging adherence to a schedule) and obtaining a doctorate in sports studies/exercise psychology; while working as assistant professor of health and fitness management at Clayton State University in Atlanta; while owning H-P Fitness, a small fitness chain with three outlets in Kansas City, Mo.; and then during the past 2 1/2 years while managing the corporate fitness center of cellphone carrier Sprint's world headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.
Today, Parrott, 39, manages and directs accounts for Sprint's fitness centers on behalf of contractor Corporate Fitness Works.
He has filed his column from work and from home, during his honeymoon, while on cruise ships, while visiting his family in Little Rock and from the hospital after the birth of daughter Ava.
"I'm kind of over-the-top organized," he says. Before family vacations, for instance, he makes spreadsheets and time tables. "And there is color coding."
Parrott writes each column the week before it appears, but he plans them five weeks ahead, so photos can be shot in batches in Little Rock. Over the years, he has coordinated with different photo managers, most recently with personal trainer Hannah K. Pinkston at Little Rock Racquet Club. Pinkston recruits a model and directs the poses using Parrott's emailed instructions.
"I use these moves with my clients," she says. "Some of them can be a little odd, but he's always got really good ideas."
The Democrat-Gazette asked Parrott to look over his columns and pick out 10 that represent his training philosophy.
"I tried to come up with exercises that aren't so run of the mill, that are something that you wouldn't see in a Muscle & Fitness all the time and that represent a good cross-section of stuff that we write about from week to week," he says of the 10. "There's a lot of core work involved in each of these, and as you know from all the articles I've written, that's something I think is really important in a strength-training workout.
"I love those where there's an isometric component while something else is moving dynamically, because I think that forces you to not just address the single muscle group you're focused on. A lot of times, guys or ladies will sit on a preacher curl, and they're curling this big bar but the whole rest of their body is just limp. A so much better exercise is a lunging curl where the lower body is engaged, the core is engaged and the biceps."
The following 10 moves could be organized into one rather intense workout, but he notes that they don't include flexibility training or cardiovascular endurance, which a well designed regimen requires.
10 GOOD ONES
1 Single Arm Cable Fly on Ball: Position a Swiss ball at the midpoint of a cable-cross machine. Set the cable height at chest level if you are seated on the ball (maybe the third or fourth hole from the bottom). Grasp one handle with your left hand and sit on the ball. Place your right hand on your hip and do a single arm fly in this position. Make sure the left arm is slightly bent and the feet are just beyond shoulder width apart.
2Isometric Reverse Pushup: Place the Smith machine bar about 4 feet off the floor and lie supine underneath it. Grasp the bar with hands spaced beyond shoulder width and let your feet remain on the floor with your legs slightly bent. Pull yourself up so the bar is at chest level. Hold in the "up" position with your chest touching the bar (or close to it) for as long as you can. Drop down. Do five repetitions.
3 Mini Cobra: Lie face down with your arms at your sides (palms down). Place your heels together. Lift your legs about 6 inches off the floor. At the same time, lift both arms 6 inches off the floor. Also, lift your head and look toward the ceiling. The simultaneous contraction lifting of all of these body parts will create an intense isometric contraction in the lower back muscles.
4 Glute March: Lie on your back with your knees up and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms by your sides with palms down. Lift your hips off the floor until you form a bridge between your knees and upper back. Tighten your gluteals. Slowly raise your right leg while keeping your knee angle constant. Continue to raise the right leg toward your chest -- make sure you keep the 90-degree angle at the knee. As you do this, your left leg and left gluteal muscles should be supporting your hip bridge. Slowly return the right foot to the floor and perform the same movement with the left leg, not allowing your hips to touch the floor. Do 12 reps with each leg.
5 Bi-Angled Chest Press: Select a pair of medium-weight dumbbells and sit upright on a Swiss ball. Walk forward and lean back slightly until your torso is inclined at 45 degrees. Press the dumbbells up as you normally would for an incline dumbbell press. Do eight repetitions. Walk your feet forward until you are in a flat bench-press position with your torso parallel with the floor. Do eight more chest presses in the flat position. This one is great because you move from a weaker position to a stronger position as you grow more fatigued.
6 Reptile: Position yourself on the floor in the "up" phase of a pushup with your arms extended. You should be balancing on your feet and hands with your torso very straight and rigid. Bring your right knee toward your right elbow, making a wide arc rather than bringing the knee straight under your body. This will challenge your core stability significantly more. Once you reach the elbow (or as close as you can get), return your right foot to its starting position on the same arc. Repeat this motion with the left knee to left elbow. Alternate knees for two sets of 12. It looks weird but it really works.
7 Whale Tail: Lie face down on an exercise bench. Slide down so your hips are just at the end of the bench and your legs are unsupported. Hold onto the sides of the bench with both hands. Bend your knees to 90 degrees so the soles of your shoes face the ceiling. Position your heels next to one another. Lower and raise your legs. Keep your heels together throughout the movement. Once your thighs are parallel with the bench, squeeze your gluteal muscles for a second. Lower your knees again. Continue this pattern for two or three sets of 12 repetitions. Great for the lower back and gluteals.
8 Low Pulley Squat Thrust: Attach a rope to a low pulley and select a light or medium resistance. Grasp each side of the rope with a thumbs-up grip. Step back a few feet from the pulley toward the center of the cable cross machine. Squat down. As you reach the full squat position, stand back up while pulling your arms up. Stand straight up and continue raising the rope until your arms are completely extended over your head. Think of trying to toss a beer keg over your head, and you'll know just what this exercise is supposed to look like.
9 Decline Heel Touch: Lie on your back on a decline bench with your head at the higher end and your feet on the floor. Hold onto the top of the bench with both hands. Lift both knees to waist level and tighten your abdominals. This is the starting position. Slowly drop the right heel while keeping the knee bent. Lightly touch the floor with the heel and return to the starting position. Do the same with the left heel. Continue alternating with each heel for 10 repetitions, then do a double heel touch for 10 repetitions. The key is to remain focused on keeping the lower back flat to the bench. If you are unable to do so, decrease the severity of the decline on the bench.
10 V-Up Press: Lie on your back on an exercise mat while holding a Swiss ball in your hands. Rest the ball over your head with your arms outstretched as you lie down. Raise both legs so the soles of your shoes face the ceiling. Raise your shoulders slightly and bring the ball up so it's touching your shins. Your shoulders are off the floor and you are pushing the ball into your shins with some pressure. Hold for five seconds, lower the ball to the starting position, and then repeat for 10 repetitions. Very tough when done correctly.
ActiveStyle on 03/28/2016
Print Headline: Man behind 'Master'