We've all heard of core training and flexibility for improving athletic performance, but where do you go to understand how this applies to endurance training and fitness?

Endurofit's new DVD, The Next Level: Strength Training for Endurance Athletes answers the question with an easy-to-follow, three-phase program that will truly take your training to the next level. Jeb Stewart and Reece Haettich claim they'll whip you into the best shape of your life.

As a fair warning, this isn't the next Jane Fonda exercise flavor-of-the-month, nor is it for the faint of heart. It's a program for those serious about getting into the best shape of their lives and motivated to do what it takes.

User friendly

Great thing about this program is that exercises are not equipment-intensive. Many of the exercises can be done using free weights, a stability ball and resistance bands. Reece and Jeb also take you outside for a series of exercises such as running high steps, power skipping, squats and sprints. They even incorporate two ball-tossing exercises for strengthening your back and shoulders -- these guys come up with some great moves that work multiple muscles and really pack a punch.

They perform all the exercises while giving you important tips to ensure you have proper form. You'll know exactly what muscles you're working and the specific things to focus on so you'll perform the exercises correctly. As you watch the DVD, you'll feel like they're your personal coaches walking you through the program.

There's an information card for each of the phases, listing the exercises and the number of sets and reps, intensity, frequency and holds for each of them. Although there are numerous exercises, the combination of the easy-to-follow DVD and information cards help keep you on track. In addition, you'll see several of the exercises in all three phases, and they'll quickly become old favorites.

It only takes a few repetitions of these stretches and exercises to realize why they were chosen. You really feel the affected muscles -- whether the great feeling of a deep stretch or sweet burn in a working muscle, they've selected intense moves. And because you aren't depending on a machine, these exercises require you to develop balance and stability using core muscles -- crucial in all sports.

Exercises such as the supine leg curl, arm curls and frog kicks all use the stability ball so you're working multiple muscles and developing balance in order to complete the moves properly.

Phases of the program

The three phases include: Flexibility and stability, strength and power, and maintenance. Many of the exercises are repeated throughout the phases, but with varying reps and intensity:

  • Phase one: Flexibility and stability exercises help develop full ranges of motion to perform exercises properly and safely. You'll be creating a solid base of strength, flexibility and balance to prepare for the intense work to come.
  • Phase two: This is the strength and power phase; you'll be doing the hardest workouts here. Many of the exercises are technical and should be done with a spotter, and access to a gym is helpful.
  • Phase three: These exercises are for in-season training, while you focus on sport-specific training and racing. The purpose is to maintain strength and power you've gained without creating fatigue. The idea is to maintain the speed of movement you've gained and ensure your performance remains high throughout the season.
  • Why this program is so good

    Proper preparation
    A common error is to begin a training program without developing base strength or flexibility. In my case, I typically begin cycling by simply starting out gradually and progressing as I gain riding strength, without taking time to strength train muscles I'll be using for the sport. I figure my muscles will get conditioned as I ride longer and harder.

    True, but the chance of getting injured is so much greater when you don't take the time to prepare and build the muscles you'll use in training. The program's first phase spends eight to 10 weeks simply developing your flexibility and stability to ensure you're ready for the harder work to come.

    Well rounded
    Many athletes focus their training almost exclusively on muscles used for their particular sport.

    For example, if you're a runner or cyclist, you probably work mostly on leg strength. Because this program strengthens EVERY muscle in your body, you'll achieve an overall strength and balance enabling you to perform well in your sport of choice. And when all your muscles are well-conditioned, you're less likely to get overuse injuries, especially those caused by strength imbalances.

    In addition, none of the exercises allow you to depend on machines for proper form. Stability-ball and free-weight exercises force you to use core muscles, which improves balance and delivers a well-rounded workout. The exercises selected are some of the most efficient you'll find.

    This may sound familiar: In the beginning of the season, this person (okay, let's say it's you) is in great shape and at their best. At some point, performance begins to decline -- whether it's because of over-training or training at a slower pace than earlier in the season. Regardless of the reason for declining performance, the maintenance phase ensures you maintain the high level of fitness you've worked so hard to achieve, throughout the season.

    This is a comprehensive, well-balanced program that will get you into top form, no matter your sport. You'll learn some excellent training moves to incorporate into any training routine.

    This DVD isn't for the faint of heart or anyone simply looking for another workout. The Next Level: Strength Training for Endurance Athletes is for those who want to reach their full athletic potential.

    For more information or to order the DVD, visit, or e-mail them at

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