Make it harder by trying an ‘offset’ variation, trying to remain neutral when using just one KB instead of two.
Counter Movement Jump
Mitch Raynsford, PT at Game Changer Performance
“Most training programmes follow a traditional approach of squat, hinge, push, pull and bracing movement patterns,” explains Raynsford. Tired of going through the motions? It’s time to get dynamic. “Plyometric exercises are frequently overlooked, but should be a staple of any power-focused training plan, especially in the lower body,” says Raynsford.
“The simple CMJ doesn’t require any equipment as it is just a maximal effort jump with hands on hips.” In other words, you’re jumping on the spot, as high as you can. Feel silly? Don’t. “Practicing the CMJ can generate more power and can help increase your squat 1RM especially through the sticking point,” advises Raynsford.
Chris Antoni, founder Tailor Made Fitness
“This squat variation is a very underrated exercise and not one you see many people doing in the gym,” says Antoni. “The reason for this is it’s a tough exercise that requires so much upper body strength and balance to stay upright.”
Daunted? The benefits are worth it. “Master the overhead squat and you can improve ankle, hip, and shoulder mobility, also gaining strength, mobility, and flexibility that you can transfer to other exercises and everyday life.” If you want to up your heavy training capability, give it a go.
Grasp a barbell, holding it above your head so your arms make a ‘V’ shape. Don’t lock your elbows. Squat by driving your hips back, bending your knees with your core tight and back straight. Aim to get your thighs parallel to the ground. Push back, through your heels and hips, to return to the start. If you’re struggling to keep the loaded bar straight, try an empty one – or even a band stretched between your hands – to start with.
Hand Release Push-up
Farren Morgan, founder of the Tactical Athlete training method
“This is a highly underrated workout which many people don’t incorporate into their
routines,” Morgan explains. “As a variant of the standard push-up, they benefit the muscles in your chest, shoulders, abs, back, hip, glutes, and arms.”
Easy, right? Well, no. “Hand release push-ups are more challenging because they require you to increase the force you apply to push yourself off the ground, making the contractions within your pectoral muscles significantly stronger and expanding your range of motion by 10%,” Morgan says.
Want to strengthen your core and upper body, improving your ability to perform shoulder exercises? Of course you do.
Perform a regular press-up, pausing to lift your palms off the floor at the end of the down stage. This destroys the rebound-motion, making it more difficult, but don’t even think about stopping until you’ve hit four rounds of ten, OK?
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
Veronika Caskova, trainer at F45 Training Southend on Sea
“This is the most underrated exercise when it comes to building your glutes,” says Caskova. “The foot-supported unilateral Romanian Deadlift is an isolated, single leg exercise that helps to correct any imbalance in strength and muscle size (which can be quite common when it comes to legs).” Basically, it’s the ideal exercise for supercharging your glutes and legs.
“Place the laces of your back foot on a bench for support. This is just to help with balance, so don’t put more than 10% of your weight down. Your front (working) leg is on the ground, positioned near the bench. Hold a pair of dumbbells alongside your body. Hinge at your hips as though you’re about to sit down. When the weights are lowered almost to the ground, squeeze your glutes, pushing your hips forward to bring yourself back to the starting position.”
Let’s see 10 per leg, please. Once you’ve got the hang of it, ditch the bench and rely on balance alone…
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