What is the La Sierra?

What is the La Sierra?

June 10th, 2018

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A physical literacy program was created by an inspired gym coach named Coach Stan LeProtti in 1957. The program was adopted by La Sierra High School in Carmichael, California.  This specific high school gained great notoriety for the program, which caught the attention of John F. Kennedy. In 1962, Kennedy wanted the program to spread to all high schools in America. JFK was a huge advocate of physical fitness and wellness especially within the school systems. 

Students moved through the program based on a color scale. White shorts were for rookies while red, blue, purple, and gold shorts were for students with serious skills.


Getting to blue shorts was nothing to scoff about and getting to gold meant you had marine like strength. However, the navy blue shorts were the coveted and hardest shorts to earn. You had to complete 34 pull-ups and carry someone on your back for five miles to earn this color. Only 19 students ever made it to navy blue shorts in the history of the program. 

Over 4000 schools adopted the program, but unfortunately, it's popularity lost momentum and completely ended when the school closed in 1983. 

Doug Orchard, a former graduate of La Sierra, is trying to help the program regain some steam. As we all know, physical education is being cut left and right out of school programs. Children today are more sedentary than ever, but Orchard believes the JFK Challenge, as it is sometimes referred, can turn this dynamic around.

It should be noted that although women are not pictured, they too had their own separate gym classes with the La Sierra method. 


Grassroots Fitness Project adopted the La Sierra warmup over two years ago in efforts to reboot this type of training and teach a new generation this amazing full body workout. It is a combination of dynamic stretching, ballistic and strength movements that can be done between 5-7 minutes. 

We are proud to say that most students here at GRFP can perform this complex series of exercises with proper execution. If this is your first time doing this workout, don't worry it will get easier! With that said.....GOOD LUCK!

Cited Sources - littlethings.com, youtube documentary



La Sierra Warm Up

Do without stopping!

5 sets of 8 Jumping Jacks

5 (2 Count) Push Ups

5 sets of 8 Windmills

5 (2 Count) Push Ups

5 sets of 8 Full Bends

5 (2 Count) Push Ups

50 Straddle Hops

5 (2 Count) Pushups 

50 Stride Hops

5 (2 Count) Push Ups

5 Toe Hops

5 (2 Count) Push Ups

5 Counts of 8 Squat Thrusts

5 Sets of 8 Mountain Climbers 

5 (2 Count) Push Ups