Have you seen that person who goes to the gym year after year and never changes? The last time I checked, seeing change is a major reason to go. They do same exercises with the same weight and get the same results, zero.
In some circles that could defined as insanity. Please, don’t be that person.
A good training program should always include squats, pushes, pulls, deadlifts and single leg exercises. These give you the biggest bang for your buck. However, something special happens when you pair two of these exercises.
They become “super” combination exercises.
Combination exercises work the lower and upper body simultaneously, so you’ll be hitting the showers in no time while that other guy is still grinding through his tenth set of bicep curls.
When you’re looking to change things up, build muscle, burn fat or all three, combination moves are just the ticket.
Combination exercises guidelines
- Use these movements at the start of your training.
- Start with a light warm up set
- The weight you usually use for the upper body push or pull is the weight you’ll use for the entire combination move.
- For strength, do three-five reps.
- For muscle/fat loss, do six-eight reps.
- For muscular endurance, 12-15 reps.
- Rest 60-90 seconds between sets. If you need most rest, take it.
Note: These exercises are advanced and you should be accomplished in all the major movements listed above before attempting combination exercises.
1. Deadlift to bent over row
(Muscles used: Hamstrings, glutes, back, biceps and forearms)
A. Stand with feet hip width apart and grip the barbell shoulder width.
B. Hinge hips back until the barbell is just below your knees while keeping your back straight from head to butt.
C. Pull the barbell towards your sternum, hold for a second and then slowly return barbell to below your knees.
D. Then hinge hips forward keeping the barbell close to your body and squeeze your glutes at the very end of the deadlift. Repeat for your desired repetitions.
Keep your shoulders down and chest up through the entire movement. The bar should scrap your legs during the down and up portion of the deadlift.
2. Squat to shoulder press
(Muscles used: Hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, shoulders and triceps)
A. Stand tall in your squat stance while holding a barbell or dumbbells at shoulder height.
B. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
C. When rising from the squat, start pressing the weight overhead until your elbow are straight and standing tall.
D. Hold the weight overhead for a count of three and slowly return the weight back to shoulder height. Repeat for your desired repetitions.
While lowering into the squat, rip the floor apart with your feet and keep your chest puffed out. Use the power of your leg to press the weight overhead and during the hold, keep your biceps by or behind your ears.
3. Walking lunge curl to press
(Muscles used: Hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, shoulders, triceps, biceps and forearms)
A. Stand tall while holding a dumbbell in each hand on the outside of your thighs.
B. Step forward into a lunge while leaning your torso slightly forward.
C. Curl the dumbbells to shoulder height and then press overhead while remaining in your lunge stance.
D. Reverse the dumbbell movement and then bring your feet together.
E. Alternate legs for the desired repetitions. Make sure the repetitions are even for each leg.
If you have no space to walk in the gym, this exercise can be done stationary. During the lunge make sure your back knee doesn’t touch the ground. By taking a bigger lunge forward you’re working the glutes/hamstrings more and by taking a smaller lunge forward you’re working the quads more.
Combination moves are a great way to challenge the body as you’re working twice as hard. As a bonus, they will also test your lungs, which is a sure sign of a good time.
Now get after it and have fun.