Stay in shape this winter (and beyond) by incorporating some our favourites exercises we use in our programming. Some are conventional lifts, while others are variations on classics. Some will be more strength focused, while others will dial up your heart rate. Either way, start doing them now! Here we go:
1. The landmine clean and press.
An advanced full body movement focusing on power, The landmine clean and press is the perfect exercise to throw into a conditioning circuit given the amount of muscles you are working. The added rotational component makes this a go to of ours.
Once you’ve got the flow of the movement, it is actually much easier than it looks. Break it down by practising the following on the landmine attachment:
- Single arm high pull.
- .The pivoting of your feet by 90 degrees while changing the bar between your hands.
- A single arm press.
Note: A landmine exercise refers to an angled barbell movement where one end of the barbell is on the ground (either in an attachment such as above or safely wedged into a corner of a wall/something stable).
2. The forward to reverse lunge
With added volume compared to a traditional lunge, this variation targets the quads and glutes from two different angles, and really ups your heart rate! You don’t need to add much weight to feel this lunge variation in all it’s glory. Try to go from the forward direction to reverse without your foot touching the ground in between for balance. Regarding technique, practice the following:
- On the forward lunge, keep your spine in a straight line perpendicular with the ground.
- On the reverse lunge, hinge/tilt forward at the hips more while maintaining a straight back.
- Aim for at least 6 reps on each side (forward to reverse = 1 rep).
3. The trap bar deadlift
If you’ve been following us for a while you’ll know we love deadlifting and we will always recommend the movement, but in this case we are going to recommend the trap bar variation over the barbell for a number of reasons.
Both the barbell and trap bar deadlift help to increase hip mobility and increase strength through the posterior chain (lower and upper back, glutes, hamstring muscles), however the trap bar has less of a load on your spine due the torso being more upright. It could be a good starting point if you lack control and stability through your lower back. The neutral grip positioning of your hands (palms facing towards your body) are also much easier in terms of shoulder stability.
4. Pull Ups
Executing a pull up from a full hanging position is one of the toughest upper body exercises you can do, and requires plenty of strength through your upper back muscles, shoulders, and biceps.
Brace the glutes, keep the core tight, and envision pulling the bar towards your chest. As fitness expert and strength coach Bret Contreas says, think of the pull up/chin up as a moving plank and keep a straight line from the shoulders to the knees throughout the movement. Vary your grips and hand spacing to help improve your performance.
Also, your lats (upper back muscles which run from your shoulders to your hips) are one of the primary muscles being used in a pull up, and are key muscles of your core so strengthening them can assist in improving your squat and deadlift.
5. Goblet Squats
A much more natural squat position in comparison to a front and back squat, the goblet squat should be the starting point for all weighted squats as it allows you to set a rigid spine and perfect the balance and movement of a squat. As well as a starting point, there are benefits to programming variations of the goblet squats for people of all levels.
The goblet squat will help you improve the upright torso position that is needed for more advanced exercises (such as cleans, front and back barbell squats, amongst others), as well as being a great exercise for the quads, core, and upper back. Due to the upright torso position, this also allows for less stress through your lower back.