This is not a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. On the surface they may seem to be the same thing, but in reality they are very different. One isn't necessarily better than the other it just all comes down to what you are looking to get out of your time spent in the gym.
Training; is generally geared towards long term strength & fitness development. It requires the understanding that one session leads into the next, then into the next and follows a program built around developing the specific movements, muscles groups and energy systems that are appropriate for your goals. It requires consistency over a prolonged period of time to get sustainable results; and therefore should also include an emphasis on injury prevention and progression over time that can be customised to your individual needs.
Exercise; is great for people who are wanting to get moving. The results of exercise are focused on the short term, with the goals not moving too much further than each individual session. Burning ‘x’ calories per session, hitting ‘x’ heart rate or as simple as just having fun with movement and being active. The day to day plan can be a little random with little or no attention paid to the long term structure of the program and can generally be programmed on mass with generic movements for multiple people.
So which one is better than the other? It all comes down to you. The key will always be context.
What are your goals? Why do you workout?
Specific goals require specific training. Generic goals don't require a plan they just require movement.
The choice is completely yours.
Power development is a crucial component to many sport specific training programs.
However especially in a team environment it may not be viable to have everyone working with a barbell due to time, cost, injury & technical constraints.
There are numerous options you can implement to illicit similar movements and training responses.
The Vertical Deadball Toss is a great way to teach and train triple extension(hip, knee & ankle) which is a vital component of lower body power development.
Using the power generated through the lower body, throw the ball as high as possible and allow it to drop to the ground.
The KB swing is a staple exercise for us they are great for developing lower body strength and power.
A heavy KB swing single can be great for working on acceleration and speed. Breaking the momentum of the swing every rep forces you to reset and generate power from a stationary start every rep.
Just be sure to have a solid KB foundation before implementing these into your program.
We love to implement loaded movements and the suitcase carry is definitely a favourite.
Using one heavy kettlebell or dumbbell load the weight in one hand and take it for a walk. Making sure you work to engage your glutes, abs and shoulders to ensure your body stays square.
In particular try to resist leaning over to the weighted side. You should feel this predominantly through your mid section.
The push up is one of the best and simplest upper body strength exercises you can do.
But when starting out or professing from modified push ups, many people can struggle with having the upper body strength to perform them correctly from their toes.
The band assisted push up is perfect for adding a little bit of assistance to help keep you progressing through the movement. Be sure to set up as usual over the top of the band, with the band resting over your hip bones.
Ensure shoulders are stacked over your wrists, palm screwed into the ground and glutes engaged.
The higher off the ground you have the band set the more assistance it will provide you
As a trainer the number one reason I hear from people for why they missed training or don't train in the first place is… You guessed it TIME. I get that people lead very busy lives today and figuring out the best way to squeeze a workout in can be difficult especially if you are new to training and you don't know the most effective exercises and methods to get moving with.
The biggest tip we can give you is to get things done as early as possible to avoid any distractions later in the day. Also for the few weirdo's out there that do not enjoy exercise; eating the frog (getting the hardest part of you day out of the way first) is a great way to get started as things can only get better from there on in!
There a few simple ways to make sure you can manage to squeeze in your workout amongst the craziness of your day and we have put together this list of 5 quick go to workouts that should fit into almost any day no matter how chaotic things get.
100 Burpees for time
Burpees are a great full body exercise that will get you heart pounding and help to develop upper body strength and lower body power endurance.
Grab your phone, open the timer application, press start and get to work. Aim to complete 100 reps as quickly as possible beginners might take 10 minutes+, more advanced people may be done in as little as 5 minutes. The aim is to get quicker every time you do it.
2. Daily Accumulation
One of the easiest ways to improved strength is to incorporate a lot of volume. However spending the 2 hours in the gym required to fit that volume in just isn't practical for many people. Adding in mini circuits/exercise breaks through out the day to help accumulate extra volume is a great way to help with this
Bodyweight exercises such as Squats, Push Ups, Pull Ups, Lunges, Dips, Inverted Rows & Planks are great exercises that can be done almost anywhere. The aim with this isn't to go to failure every time. You might start by aiming to do 200 push ups in a day. That might consist of 20 sets of 10 spread out whenever you can, it may be 10 when you get out of bed, 10 while you wait for the kettle to boil, 10 when you get to the office etc… you get the picture.
Alternatively just set an alarm to go off every hour you are awake. Doing 15 push ups/squats/burpees every waking hour (~16 hours) gives you 240 for the day. Rotate the exercise daily and by the end of the week you will have accumulated a heap of quality volume.
Think labourers & manual workers who are constantly lifting and moving loads; it is not always super heavy or intense but it is constant and your body adapts to that work to get stronger.
3. 500m, 1000, 2000m Row/Ski For Time or 50 Cal Airbike
It is little wonder these machines have become so popular. There is instantaneous feedback on your work ethic and the numbers don't lie!
These short duration workouts can be brutal. After warming up effectively, program in the selected distance and go as hard as you can until the distance is complete. The shorter the distance the more advanced you will need to be to get an effective workout from it. A 500m row for time can be devastating if it is a true all out effort.
Have a go and see how you stack up against these guides.
Ski / Row
500m Beginner M - 1:45, F - 2:00 Intermediate M - 1:35, F - 1:50 Advanced M - 1:25, F - 1:40
1000m Beginner M - 3:40, F - 4:10 Intermediate M - 3:25 F - 3:55 Advanced M - 3:10, F - 3:40
2000m Beginner M - 7:40, F - 9:00 Intermediate M - 7:10, F - 8:20 Advanced M - 6:40, F - 7:40
50 calories Beginner M - 2:00, F - 3:00 Intermediate M - 1:30, F - 2:30 Advanced M -1:00, F-2:00
4. Tabatta Circuit
These style of high intensity interval circuits have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. While they have been bastardised and misused from the original purpose the fact remains that their 2:1 work to rest ratio makes for an extremely time efficient way to get some of training in if you are pressed for time.
Set a timer for 20 seconds with a 10 seconds break (or just keep a rolling stop watch and monitor the interval for yourself).
You are going to do 8 rounds (4 minutes) of total work. Body weight exercise work well for this format as they can be done anywhere with minimal equipment. You can also choose from a couple of different formats depending on time and equipment.
Format 1 - Fatigue
Push Ups x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes
Squats x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes
Sit Ups x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes
Inverted Row x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes
Burpees x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes
Format 2 - HIIT
Push Ups x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Squats x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Inverted Row x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Burpees x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Dips x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Lunges x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Sit Ups x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Burpees x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
Rest x 2 mins
x 1 - 5 Sets
Substitute exercises to suit your goals, equipment, ability, space & time.
5. Balls of Steel
The kettlebell is one of our favourite training tools, they are versatile, don't take up a heap of space and can provide a great full body work out.
This is a great full body strength workout courtesy of the kettlebell experts from StrongFirst, that will only take you 15 minutes to complete.
After a warm up you are going to complete 10 sets of 10 kettlebell swings. With the aim of finishing them in under 5 minutes. 10 reps every 30 seconds with get you there.
Immediately followed by 10 sets of 1 Turkish Get Ups completing 1 rep every minute. See below for a estimated weight guide.
Beginners 12-16kg - 2 Handed Swing
Intermediate 12-16kg - Single Hand Swing
Advanced 16 - 24kg - Single Handed Swing
(The Strong First standards range between 16-32kg for females & 32-48kg for males)
Also check out our training tip videos for a technique reminder. Or better still if you are unfamiliar with kettlebells come in for a 2 week free training trial and get some instruction on just how to use them.
Just be warned while these workouts can help to keep your fitness ticking along and fill in any gaps on a rough day/week, they are not the be all and end all, you're not going to win the Crossfit games, you wont break any records, nor will you be able to progress to any meaningful strength & fitness goals, these are a very short term solution.
Real fitness can only be earned by putting in time, effort and energy to get real results. So if you do have serious fitness goals and find you aren't progressing due to lack of time you may need to re-evaluate your goals, or the way you are training for them.
This variation of the bent over row is great to implement as part of an upper body warm up sequence. The intense isometric portion of the movement can help you pinpoint any pulling muscles that aren’t activating correctly.
The set up in a bent over row position with a neutral grip on the plate. It won’t have to be too heavy as the emphasis is on the isometric.
Hold and continue pulling for 3-5 seconds, repeat for 8-15 reps
This unilateral exercise is a great athletic movement help develop single leg speed and power.
Set yourself up with your hand on the bar at shoulder height. Keep your elbow tucked into your ribs.
Rapidly dip and drive your hips causing the bar to explode upwards on a 45 degree angle.