The best exercise you’re not doing

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is the suitcase carry.
You should do this because– we often have strength imbalances between our left and right sides. And lifting or carrying with one hand at a time will help iron out some of these imbalances.
Makes your everyday life easier because- you will be making less trips carrying the groceries from the car to the house. A definite time saver. No jar will be too difficult to open with your new found grip strength.
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Form tips – Hinge or squat down to pick up the weight. Look in a mirror to see if your shoulders are even . Do 20-40 yards in each hand. Thanks to Kevin Carr for the video.

Exercise swaps for faster results

It’s easy to get discouraged by your lack of results.

You’ve been training consistently, eating right and yet the scale mocks you. You may resort to desperate measures such as cutting even more calories and exercising like a madman. Maybe you’ve even dreamed of smashing the scale into a million pieces.

scale

Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Sometimes small changes are all that are needed. Next time you’re in the gym, stop being frustrated by your lack of progress and start making these exercise swaps in your current routine.

1. Out – Straight sets. In – Supersets

Gym-goers often do one set of an exercise, rest, do it again and then repeat this sequence for their entire training. Straight sets are great for building strength with exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses and rows.

However, when you’re looking at building muscle or burning fat (or both), supersets are perfect.

Supersets are two exercise done back to back with little or no rest in-between.  An exercise pairing of a leg exercise with an upper body move will allow you to:

  • Increase your workout intensity
  • Cause your heart to work harder to push blood from your lower body back up to your upper body, increasing your overall calorie burn
  • Save time and hit the showers early

For example

1A. Squat, deadlift or single leg exercise 8-12 reps

1B. Upper body press or pull variations 8-12 reps

Rest 60-90 seconds and repeat once or twice.

Doing three supersets per training session, two-three times per week will have you well on the way to breaking your funk.

2. Out – Leg press. In – Goblet squats

First, let’s get this out of the way – there is nothing wrong with the leg press machine. You’re able to move massive amounts of weight will little or no risk.  That’s because the machine supports your body and there’s little or no core engagement.

Enter the Goblet squat. Holding the weight at the front of your body acts as a counter balance that prevents poor squatting form and also provides resistance for your muscles.

You’ll be moving less weight, but you will be working more total muscle, which is win-win for your fat loss efforts.

 

3. Out – Sitting down. In – Standing up

There’s nothing wrong with sitting down and exercising.

However, we spend the majority of our day sitting down at work and sitting down watching our television, smartphone and laptop computers. Sitting for prolonged periods of time is one of the biggest culprits inhibiting your body’s natural calorie-churning engine.

Undo some of this by doing your whole exercise routine standing up. You’ll burn more calories and improve your core strength and balance.

Do this following routine for 4 weeks and notice the difference

Instructions

  1. This is 3 a day a week program. Rest 48 hours between trainings. For example Monday- Wednesday- Friday.
  1. Complete the following routine has a circuit and rest when needed between exercises. Rest 90- 120 seconds at the end of each circuit.
  1. For single arm/leg exercises do the prescribed repetitions on each side.
  1. Use a weight that allow you to complete all the repetitions with good form.

 

Day 1- 4 circuits – 5 repetitions for each exercise. Heavy weight.  Farmers carry 40 yards

Day 2 – 3 circuits – 10 repetitions for each exercise. Heavy- moderate weight. Farmers carry 40 yards.

Day 3- 2 circuits- 15 repetitions for each exercise. Moderate- Light weight. Farmers carry 40 yards.

Click on each exercise for a video demonstration.

STAND UP ROUTINE

1A. Goblet squat– Keep chest high and drive your heels into the ground.

1B. Single arm row– Keep chest open and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Do both arms

1C. Single arm push press– Keep elbows close plus load and explode. Do both arms

1D. Goblet side lunge– Keep chest high and push into the hip. Do both legs

1E. Farmers carry– Strangle the dumbbells plus squeeze your shoulder blades back and down.

You’ll be a lean mean calorie-burning machine in no time.

The best exercise you’re not doing……

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is the golfers lift.
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You should do this because– this  exercise will help with balance and is a life saver for your lower back.
Makes your everyday life easier because- If you’re clumsy like me and you’re constantly dropping stuff on the floor, this will save your lower back from unnecessary discomfort.
Form tip – Do this when picking something light up off the ground or a couple of reps daily on each leg to help with your balance.

The best exercise you’re not doing……..

 This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is the deadbug.
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You should do this because– I said so 🙂 Core stability is just that important in and out of the gym.
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Makes your everyday life easier because– Not only does this exercise emphasize breathing correctly it also reinforces our natural contralateral ( opposite arm/leg) movement pattern.
Form tip – Thanks to Eric Cressey for the video Breath out as you extend your opposite arm /leg and breath in on the way back. Do 6-8 reps on each side daily.

The best exercise you’re not doing…..

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is the proper hip flexor stretch.
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You should do this because– We often get ‘tight’ hip flexors and lazy glutes from sitting to much and not moving enough. This exercise helps both.
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Makes your everyday life easier because– Hips that have a good range of motion allow you to squat, deadlift and lunge like a champ. Having proper movement in the hips lowers your risk of low back pain.
Form tip – Watch the video (thanks Tony Gentilcore) and hold for 30- 60 sec per side daily.

How long can you stand on one foot?

I have a confession to make.

I don’t call myself the Balance Guy because I have great single leg balance — far from it.  I’m still a work in progress.

 

work-in-progress-1

 

Being a tall guy who’s all arms and legs, I’ve always struggled with my balance in daily life, on the sporting arena and in the weight room. If there were cameras around on the many occasions that I fell on my butt, I’d be a star on America’s Funniest Home Video.

 

 

Single leg balance is probably the most overlooked factor in training and in daily life, but it’s fundamental to almost everything we do. Walking, taking the stairs or playing your favorite sport all involve single leg balance to some degree.

According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) in 2010 falls by older adults cost the U.S health care system 30 billion dollars.  Balance is kind of a big deal, especially as we move on in life.

In Dan John’s book, “Can you go?” he suggests only being able to balance for less than 10 seconds on either leg is a cause for concern, and there could be an underlying medical condition.

Here’s a little test for you before we go any further.

Grab a stopwatch and see if you can balance between 10-20 seconds on either foot. Stand by a wall for safety. If you touch the wall or your foot touches the ground, the test is over.

If it’s less than 10 seconds, stop reading and take Dan’s advice and go see your doctor.  It may just save your life. However, if you’re between 10-20 seconds, keep reading because you’ve still got some work to do.

In my experience when training clients who lack single leg balance, the ankle is my first point of emphasis. The ankle is a mobile joint that allows you to walk, run and play.

However, wearing shoes can contribute to a loss of mobility through the ankle joint. Some us even take this to the extreme for the sake of fashion.

shoes

That’s okay occasionally, but for the sake of your balance, taking the shoes off and working on your ankle mobility can be a godsend for your feet and balance.

When you’re feeling wobbly and want to improve your balance or when your ankles are cranky, take these exercises out for a spin.

Rocking ankle mobility exercise- 10 reps on both feet

 

Considerations

Have your big toe approximately six inches away from the wall and rock forward, touching your knee to the wall. If your front heel leaves the ground or your front knee cannot touch the wall, move your toe closer to the wall until they can.

Leg swings- 10 reps on both legs

 

Wall hip flexor mobilization – 10 reps on both legs

 

Considerations

Having a pad underneath your knee helps for comfort. If you’re unable to grab your back foot just leave it on the ground and do the exercise as demonstrated.

Do these exercises daily for a couple of weeks and then retest your single leg balance. Hopefully, you’ll crush the retest with your new and improved ankles.

However, if you’re a dedicated exerciser and you still want to improve your ankle mobility and balance, do my ankle mobility warm up instead of your usual warm up before you crush the weights.

Do one set of each exercise in the order shown for best results.

 

  1. Breathing squat- 5 breaths

 

  1. Dead bug- 6 on each side

 

  1. Hip extensions- 10 reps

 

  1. Six-point rocking- 10 reps

 

  1. Hip mobility series- watch video

 

  1. Rocking ankle mobilization – 10 reps

 

  1. Inchworm

 

  1. Light goblet squats- 10 reps (10-15-pound dumbbell)

 

To help your balance even further you can include more single leg work into your exercise routine because balance is a skill that needs to be practiced often.  The more you challenge yourself the better your balance will be.

Try these following exercises only if you can balance more than 20 seconds on each leg.

1. Bosu ball single leg balance (try for 30 seconds on each leg)

 

2. Shoe lace touch

 I stole this exercise from Taylor Lewis and you’ll be thanking me later.

Instructions

Stagger your stance , heel to toe,  shift your hips back and touch your right hand to the shoe laces on your left foot. Take your right foot off the ground and balance until you stumble forward or you lose your balance. Repeat on the other side.  Do two-three times on each leg.

3. Vertical birddog (Needs a dumbbell or Kettlebell)

 

Wrapping up

 Balance is a skill that’s often neglected until it is too late. No matter your age or exercise experience we can all benefit from better balance.

Because none of us want to end up being laughed at on AFV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best exercise you’re not doing…..

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is push up position plank (PUPP).
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You should do this because– Dan John said so 🙂 This move will show where you are weak and where you are strong. If you can hold this for 2 min with good form, you’re golden and better than me.
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Makes your everyday life easier because– this move will strengthen your entire body and stronger is better.
Form tip – Get your wrists underneath your shoulders, engage your glutes and have a straight spine from head to butt. Try working with 20 sec on 10 sec off for 4 -10 reps.