Compound your results…….

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.

insanity

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)

Instructions

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.

Coaching cues

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)

Instructions

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.

Coaching cues

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)

Instructions

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.

Coaching cues

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.

Wrapping up

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.

 

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 single leg kettlebell swap courtesy of Dr.  Joel Seedman. 

You should do this because– our feet and ankles are in shoes most of the day and we can lose a little strength and mobility in the ankles because of this.

Makes your everyday life easier because–  stronger ankles and better balance can mean less ankle, knee and hip problems.

Form tips – This is best done with a kettlebell but any weight will do. However, keep the weight light and  your eyes on the horizon. Do 3 sets of 6- 8 reps for on both sides at the start of your workout

 

Plan B

Do you know the saying “everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth”? It’s probably the smartest thing ever uttered out of Mike Tyson’s lips. Please don’t tell him I said that.

Mike Tyson

He may get upset.

Most people who lift have grand fitness plans to get ripped, lose fat, get as strong as an ox or to date Kate Upton. Then they suffer a setback, have too many deadlines at work or the court issues a restraining order and their best laid plans go down in flames.

kate

Sorry guys, she’s already been snapped up.

Unfortunately, nothing ever goes according to plan, especially when it comes to our health and fitness. Rather than chucking in the towel when plan A fails to materialize, having a Plan B to keep you on the fitness straight and narrow will work better.  Use the following strategies as your Plan B.

Problem All the benches are taken on national chest day, otherwise known as Monday.

Walk into any gym on a Monday and you’re probably wishing for an empty bench.  There is something about lying on your back and pushing heavy weights above your chest on a Monday that makes you feel alive.

feel

Instead of standing in the squat rack doing curls while waiting for a bench to open, overload your chest and triceps with these exercises.

Plan B

Barbell floor press

 

Single arm dumbbell floor press

 

Chaos push up

 

Single arm cable chest press

The advantages of these exercises are

  • More mid-section engagement
  • Don’t require a bench
  • Safer for cranky shoulders
  • Make you look like a badass

Problem You’ve eaten a whole cheesecake and totally blown your diet.

You’ve had a bad day and you’ve scoffed a

  • cheesecake
  • couple of donuts
  • pint of ice cream
  • bag of potato chips
  • All the above

And you’ve totally blown your diet. You think to yourself “Oh well, I’ve gone this far I may as well order a pizza.” And then it snowballs from there. The endless cycle of yo-yo dieting begins and the only one who profits from this are the ones who sell you the latest and greatest miracle diet.

Because the weight loss industry is full of unscrupulous characters.

“According to the Federal Trade Commission Americans spend more than $40 billion a year on weight-loss products and services, and much of this stuff is bogus.

The FTC has conducted numerous surveys of consumer fraud over the years and determined that Americans were more likely to be taken in by weight-loss scams than by any other type of fraud.” (1) (2)

There is only one winner and it’s not you.

Plan B – Move on

I could wax poetic about how to put your mistakes in a box, that you’re only human and all you need is to move on and put it behind you.  However, Jordan Syatt says this so much better than I ever could with a few cuss words thrown in for good measure.

Please watch this video.

Problem – All the squat racks are taken on leg day

I have a confession to make. Barbell squats are not my favorite exercise. I’d rather go to a Mariah Carey lip syncing concert in Time Square than put a barbell on my back. However, I suck it up because my chicken legs need the work.

When you walk into the gym on squat day and all the racks are taken, rather than standing behind someone looking impatient and making ugly faces, work on your single leg strength instead.

Plan B

2 KB Bulgarian split squat

Goblet split squat

Barbell reverse lunge

Split squat with 1.5 reps

Problem – You’ve got no time for the gym

Going to the gym is time consuming. By the time you drive there, workout, shower, get dressed and drive back home or to work, that’s fair chunk of time you’ve invested in your health.

Let’s face it, we don’t always have that time and life will get in the way eventually.  That’s when the lazy devil taps you on the shoulder and says ‘It’s okay, you don’t have to train today. Have some chocolate cake instead.

cake

Now cake is always a good idea but you can have your cake and eat it, too (guilt free) with a little sweat equity at home. You need minimal equipment, space and time but maximum motivation to exercise at home. But isn’t your health worth it?

Plan B

There’s plenty of distractions when it comes to exercising at home, so I like to keep the trainings short, sharp, effective and intense enough to burn off cake. Here are some suggestions.

Bodyweight circuit

1A. Pushups – 10 reps

1B. Side planks- 15 seconds each side

1C.. Bodyweight squats 20 reps

Do one exercise after the other with minimal rest between exercises. Rest one minute after each circuit and do four to five circuits.

Cardiovascular Training

Find some open space and get your Usain Bolt on.

Do a two-minute walk/warm up, then a 15 second sprint followed by 15 seconds of rest. Repeat this cycle for five work/rest intervals. Then walk for three minutes to cool down.

100 body weight squats and 50 push ups/incline push ups

Incline push ups

You can break this training up into manageable chunks. For example

  • 5 push-ups/10 squats x 10 sets
  • 10 push-ups/20 squats x 5 sets
  • Or if you’re advanced, 25 push-ups/50 squats x 2 sets

Get this done as quickly as possible for best results. Rest when needed.

4 minutes and you’re done

Pick an exercise below and do it for 20 seconds on with 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds (4 minutes total). However, be warned this will be intense but you’ll be done in just four minutes.

Examples of exercises you can use

  1. Bodyweight squats
  2. Incline push ups
  3. Jumping jacks
  4. Front planks
  5. Mountain climbers
  6. Alternating reverse lunges

Wrapping up

Don’t get punched in the mouth when it comes to your fitness. Having a backup plan for life’s inevitable setbacks will keep the mind, body and scale happier.

Summer exercise plan

Failure to plan is planning to fail, and if you’re planning to let it all hang out this summer, you’ll need to exercise to maintain your health and fitness.

However, one of the last places you want to be is in the gym slaving away while the water and sand call your name.

You don’t need fancy gym equipment or a lot of time to get your sweat on during the summer months. All you need is your bodyweight, a towel and a stopwatch. Whether you’re on vacation or looking for a little exercise variety, the following trainings will keep you in tiptop shape.

1. Sun, sand and sprints

 Ideally this is done in the sand, but any open space will do. Draw two lines in the sand about 20 yards (24 footsteps) apart and sprint to one end and do one pushup, then sprint down the other end a do one squat. Add one push up and squat with each sprint until you get to 10 of each.

beach 4

2. Bodyweight Tabatas

Let Prof. Tabata explain to you what Tabata interval is.

“The Tabata training is an exhaustive, short lastinghigh intensity intermittent exercise, which consists of 6-7 sets of 20 second exercise at the intensity of 170% Vo2max with 10 second rest between the exercise bouts.”

This protocol can be followed with bodyweight exercises such as squats, jumping jacks, alternating forward/reverse lunges, planks, push-ups and jump squats/lunges. You’ll be sweating and smiling and done in less than four minutes so you can enjoy the finer things in life.

3. Spoke training

 Combining strength exercises with cardio gives you the best of both worlds.  With spoke training,  you’ll be alternating between these two with little or no rest in-between so you can be a lean mean calorie burning machine. Let the good times roll.

1. Bodyweight jump squat 12 reps

1B. CardioHigh knees or ice-skaters 20 reps

2A. Towel row( alternate legs) 30 second hold

2B. Cardio- High knees or ice-skaters 20 reps

3APush-ups 8- 15 reps

3B. Cardio- High knees or ice-skaters 20 reps

4A. Single leg hip extensions 12 reps on each leg

4B. Cardio- High knees or ice-skaters 20 reps

5A. Reverse lunge with kick 12 reps on each leg

5B. Cardio- High knees or ice-skaters 20 reps

* Rest 90 seconds and go back to repeat the circuit one more time for a total of two circuits.

These trainings will leave plenty of time to enjoy the sand, surf and sights while looking like you live in a gym but we’ll keep that little secret between us.

Now go and work on your suntan.

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 hip flexor rocking courtesy of Tim Anderson of Original Strength. 

You should do this because–  Good hip mobility is needed for most of your leg training and this will make your lower back very happy, whether you train or not.

Makes your everyday life easier because–  having good movement in your hips will make your life easier in and outside of the gym, especially if your lower back is an issue.

Form tips –  Keep your head up and make sure to squeeze your glutes and not over-arch your back.  Do 10 reps daily or include this in your warm up before you get after it

 

Summer exercise tips

During the summer, exercise is probably the last thing on a lot people’s minds. With parties, work, family and vacations, exercise is often pushed down the to-do list.

However, after overindulging in the good stuff thoughts may drift to exercise out of food guilt. “I have to run that many miles to work off that piece of pie?” Hopefully, that pie was worth it.

pie-2
Yum

The summer is a time for enjoyment, but with so many things going on, it’s difficult to follow any exercise routine consistently. Instead of slaving away on the treadmill, use the following strategies for when your time is limited, so you can have your pie and eat it, too.

1. 10-minute exercise bursts

 When you’re at home and have a spare 10 minutes, do this bodyweight training so the calories will go to your muscles instead of the hips.

1A. Front plank 30-60 seconds

1B. Bodyweight squats 20 reps

1C.  Push ups (or incline Push ups) 8-12 reps

Note- Any incline surface will do.

1A. Plank to pushup- 10 reps

1B. Reverse fly’s – 20 reps

1C. Reverse lunges- 10 reps on each leg

Rest one minute after each circuit and do four – five circuits total.

2. Use your imagination

 During this holiday season when time is your enemy, it’s the time to get creative with exercise. You need to think outside the dumbbell. Here are some examples to get you fired up.

  • Use cans of food for these arm and shoulder exercises
  • Fill an empty milk jug to do these exercises
  • Or use the couch

3. Be more active

 Even when you don’t have time for formal exercise, just being more active throughout the day will have an impact on your waistline. There’s a little thing called N.E.A.T (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) which can account for up to 50 % of daily calories burnt in highly active individuals.

To increase N.E.A.T, find more opportunities to move and include them into your daily routine. For example

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park further away from the entrance when you go shopping
  • Do some house/yard work
  • Play with your kids
  • Take the animals for a walk
  • Stretch or do some body weight exercises on the hour, every hour while sitting at your desk.

Doing any kind of movement and being more active is the key here.

The summer are a time to be spent with family and friends and not worrying about everything you eat or drink. The only things to be concerned with is where the nearest beach is and how much sunscreen you have.

How much time have you got? (to exercise)

You’re given the same 24 hours as everybody else to get stuff done. However, you’re struggling to find the time to stay in shape while your friends who seem to have less time than you are ripped.

How is that possible?

jealous

Among the many clients, I’ve come across, their number one reason on why they’re not in better shape is “I don’t have the time.” Rather than tell them that we all have the same 1440 minutes per day and they need prioritize their time better, I often say “I understand.”

But what I really want to do is run my head repeatedly into a brick wall.

Brick wall

It’s not the amount of time you have to exercise, it’s making better use of the time you do have. (tweet this) Whether you have 10 minutes or 60 minutes per day to exercise, use the following strategies to get in better shape and be the envy of all your friends.

1. Exercise at home

 By the time, you’ve driven to the gym, exercised, showered and driven home or to work, a fair chunk out of your day has vanished.   Not everyone has time for that, unless of course you wake up at the arse crack of dawn.

Crack 1

Instead, cut out the middle (gym) man and save time by exercising at home. With the purchase of a few inexpensive fitness tools like looped resistance bands, dumbbells and by making use of a few household items, most of your fitness needs can be met at home.

Set aside a dedicated workout space and time and then you’re ready to roll. Watch the following videos to gain some exercise inspiration.

 Paper plates

 A couch

The wall

If you need help putting together an at-home routine, you can contact me here.

2. Use the great outdoors

Spring has sprung and summer is arriving so it’s  not too hot or too cold to step out into the great outdoors to exercise. This can be as simple as putting on a pair of shoes and taking a walk, run or going to your local playground to get your sweat on.

If the playground is not your style, try this for the next 12 days. Download a distance counter on your smart phone (if you don’t have a Fitbit or pedometer) and walk or run for 12 minutes for the next 12 days straight.

Here’s the catch. Each day try and beat the distance from the previous day. After 12 days of doing this, you’re sure to be a fitter, lighter and tighter.

3. Minimum effective dose (MED)

 If you’re burning the candles at both ends but still want results from your exercise, MED is perfect for you. MED is simply the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. In most cases, the outcome is probably fat loss or muscle gain.

The following routine will only take just over 30 minutes per week. You heard right. Just 30 minutes.  You’ve got 30 minutes in your week to exercise, right?

Instructions

Follow the training below, 4 times per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) for 6 weeks. Please use nothing less than 100% effort.

Day 1

1A. Close grip pushups 10 reps (Can be done on an incline surface)

1B. Inverted rows 10 reps

1C. Kettle bell swings -20 reps or Bodyweight swings 20 reps

Rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 circuits

Day 2

Walk for 2 minutes followed by a 15 second sprint interval followed 15 seconds of rest. Repeat this cycle for 5 work/rest intervals. Afterwards, cooldown for 2-3 minutes.

(This can be done on a treadmill, track, bike, rowing machine or elliptical.)

Day 3

1A. Push-ups – 10 reps

1B. Side planks- 15 seconds each side

1C. Bodyweight squats- 20 reps

Rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 circuits 

Day 4

Repeat day 2

4. Eight-minute stackable (gym) trainings

If you find it difficult to exercise at home and you don’t have a lot of time to spend at the gym, then try my eight minute stackable trainings. You’ll only need to spend 8-24 min exercising after your warm up.

However, be warned. It’s intense but your results will be worth it.

Instructions

Complete each training as a circuit, resting as little as possible between exercises. Rest 30- 60 seconds at the end of each circuit and do as many rounds as possible within the eight minutes.

Select a weight that allows you to complete all repetitions with good form. If you’re doing more than one stackable training, rest 120 seconds between rounds and choose no more than three.

Eight minute legs

1A. Goblet Side Lunge– 8 reps on each leg

1B. Goblet squats- 8 reps

1C. Single leg hip extensions – 8 reps on each leg

Note- Use either a dumbbell or a kettlebell.

Eight minute arms

1A. Overhead triceps extensions– 8 reps

1B. Concentration curls – 8 reps on each arm

1C. Triceps pushdowns– 8 reps

Note- You’ll need access to a cable machine and dumbbells. Keep them both close.

Eight-minute shoulders

1A. Band pull apart- 8 reps

1B. Band shoulder press- 8 reps on each arm

1C. Band In/Outs- 8 reps on each arm (four front raises/four lateral raises)

Eight-minute chest

1A. Dumbbell chest flies– 8 reps

1B. Single arm chest press– 8 reps on each arm

1C. Incline pushups– 8 reps

Eight-minute back

1A. Dumbbell pullover– 8 reps

1B. Bent over reverse flies– 8 reps

1C. Single arm row– 8 reps on each arm

Eight-minute core

1A. Front plank with shoulder tap– 8 reps on each side

1B. Side plank with hip dip– 8 reps on each side

1C. Reverse crunches – 8 reps

 

Wrapping up

 You don’t need a lot of time to exercise but you do need it to be effective.  Because a little exercise can go a long way. Now I’ve busted the no time excuse, do you have any others?

Come at me.