Daily Dozen is Twelve Years old!
It's been the most searched-for, commented-on and downloaded coaching activity I've been involved with.
This short workout was created as a simple solution to a common question, "How to I build core strength, get my legs, bum, middle, arms chest and back toned, without going to the gym or using equipment"?
In spring 2003, I was training with Larry Saunders, A seventy-nine year old man training for his first triathlon. During body-weight strength training, Larry exclaimed, "We had a workout like that in the Army -- The Daily Dozen".
A month or so later, working on a Denali expedition in Alaska we'd been stuck in a storm for a few days. To get my body moving, I decided to do the Daily Dozen outside our tent and half of the team joined in. Long expeditions can create boredom, so we continued the Daily Dozen for the next three weeks. It was a moral booster!
Our team member, Joe Glickman - who was covering the expedition for the New York Times - and joked afterwards that he was expecting an endurance challenge, but didn't expect to get a six-pack as a result of climbing the mountain! I've always been grateful to Joe because he was the guy who inspired me to write Fit By Nature. For interest, here is the NY Times article
Back in Washington and training with some Seattle Firefighters who were training for Mount Rainier. We used it again. (At the time, I used the yoga and pilates terms for exercises. Several guys said, "I don't do yoga", so we changed the names of exercises - Half moon = Side bender, Bicycle = Steam engine, etc. It worked, everyone got in shape and we all got up and down the mountain. Fun times!).
Before I realized it, The Daily Dozen had taken a life of it's own. That next spring, we made posters and began teaching it and gyms and health clubs around the Seattle area, with running and climbing clubs, exercise groups, companies and groups of friends. As well as being a stand alone workout, it's a great teaching tool for good movement skills, especially the squat, steam-engine and push up. Its a way of teaching/practicing basic strength training techniques and correct form for the core functional movements.
It's rare that a couple of weeks go by without receiving a comment, request or thank you note about the Daily Dozen and it's fun to know that it's getting done all around the world every day by people of all ages and fitness levels.
If you want to get a copy you can download here. There are a chapter of instructions and pictures for it in Fit By Nature and if you'd like to arrange a coaching session for me to teach it, please send me a note.
In honor of the 12 exercises and 12 years, here are
12 reasons to do the Daily Dozen
- It's an all-body training session
- You can fit 12 minutes in very easily. Do it while the coffee is brewing!
- Injury prevention for endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
- You can do it anywhere
- It needs no equipment
- 12 minutes each day equals 1 hour 26 minutes per week. (Are you spending an hour and a half strength training today?)
- Anyone can do it. It can be adapted for any fitness level.
- Easy to learn. The movements are basic and powerful.
- Contains the plank and squat: these are the very best exercises for toning butt and stomach muscles.
- Improves running, cycling, hiking and climbing.
- Improves core strength
- Powerful habit to add to your routine easily and will become a stepping stone to greater fitness levels.
Here are a couple of pictures from the Denali Expedition where we first used the DD!