We use this a lot in programming especially for our sport specific clients.
It is a great way to get the body moving with some load without adding additional pressure to the spine. Make sure you load the weight through the posterior chain to get the glutes and hamstrings working. If you are feeling it in your quads then re-adjust.
This is great exercise to implement as a warm up or as part of a recovery session.
This a great exercise to develop single leg power and stability.
Emphasising the stamping on the box enables you to focus on driving through the glutes and hamstrings on the lead leg and eliminates much of the assistance from the trail leg. Try not to think of stepping onto the box and pushing up, but stamping down hard so the impact drives you up.
Finish with a quick pause at the top of the motion to brace through the abdominals and squeeze the glutes forward.
As we are focusing on speed of movement this does not require a huge amount of weight.
For years the bench press has been the butt of jokes for being useless for anything except building a good set of beach muscles. All show and no real go.
But the bench press can actually be a ‘functional’ exercise with a high degree of transferability to other skills utilising muscles and structures all over the body.
And no. This doesn’t involve lying on a bench with one leg in the air while holding a cable in one hand and a dumbbell in the other.
The main problem with the term 'functional training' is that functional is going to be different for everyone, we all have different activities and are required to perform different tasks on a day to day basis.
There are however a few basic principles that can be generally applied across all walk of life. Being strong in a power to weight context is almost never going to be a bad thing. And the better your body functions as a whole unit, the stronger you will be.
Bench press is generally referred to as a 'chest day' exercise. But there are a few changes you can make to your technique to make it more of a full body exercise.
Powerlifters are obviously some of the strongest athletes in the world and are capable of pressing ridiculous amount of weight. (The Australian record is over 230kg).
The technique they use is not something you are very likely to see at your local gym.
It involves generating tension from your feet all the way up to your hands. When done properly you will feel the work through your glutes, hamstrings, hips, abs, lats, shoulders and chest. So it basically becomes a full body lift.
The tension through out the entire body will help you lift heavier weights, increase strength and have a higher degree of transferability to sports, particularly those involving any type of wrestling, grappling, pushing and shoving.
Not bad for a beach muscle building exercise.
When getting started be sure to get your technique checked out by someone competent in teaching a powerlifting style bench press. Or check out our bench press tutorial video
Bands are a great tool for adding a dynamic resistance to your strength sessions and also to use as a part of any warm up/activation prior to training.
The Band RDL is perfect for activating flutes and hamstrings prior to heavier deadlifts or squats.
Aim to keep knees straight but not locked out, back flat (neutral spine) and engage your glutes by 'screwing' feet into the floor and squeezing through out the movement.
Warming up is often one of the most overlooked aspects of any training session. Running late or short on time? "I'll just jump straight into the fun stuff." Can be famous last words.
Making a habit of this can not only expose you to injury but will also be highly detrimental to your long term progress.
The best cure for any injury is prevention. And the warm up is the perfect place to add in all of your preventive/ rehab type exercises to both activate weak and troublesome muscles as well as ensure you actually get them done consistently.
Bodyweight exercises are great to get moving with. Squats, lunges, push ups, pull ups, single leg deadlifts, crawls, jumps, climbs. The goal should be to mimic some of the movements you have planned in the main part of the workout and prepare your body for action. By doing this you also ready your body & nervous system to handle heavier loads, meaning you will be able to lift heavier weights, leading to better results.
Simply jumping straight into the main part of your workout means you will also miss out on a great opportunity to add to the overall volume of a training session. Think for example if you simply add 10 push ups to your warm up every day thats an extra 3650 push ups every year… Its the little things that add up to make the big difference in the overall process.
Lastly and most importantly, the warm up is a great opportunity to zone out from all of the distractions you have had through out the day and focus on the session to come, because to get the most out of each session you need to give it your full attention so take the time to disconnect from the rest of the world and focus on the goal at hand.
Functional training has become one of the most utilised forms of training, but there is a hell of a lot of confusion about just what functional training actually is.
While yes, doing a squat while standing on a fit ball holding a barbell is a pretty impressive feat of balance, unless you need to do this on a regular basis day to day. It almost definitely isn't functional for you.
Functional training can best be described as preparing the body for the activities which may be encountered in your daily life. Whether that be at home, work or while playing sport. Therefore due to the wide variety of activities and lifestyles we all lead, functional training sessions are going to be different for everybody, and will change as our lifestyles evolve.
That isn't to say you need try to mimic your day to day movements in the gym. There are a few movements that will have a high degree of transfer to most aspects of daily life and unfortunately squatting on a ball probably isn’t going to give you the return on investment for risking your ass and looking like a tool.
However, some of the fundamental strength training exercises are going to be some of the best to incorporate into a program to improve function. Squats, deadlifts & pull ups are a few of these fundamental strength exercises. Whether you are lifting 20kg or 200kg the benefits of these exercises will have a high functional strength cross over for most activities of daily life, think of things like picking up children, boxes, shopping bags, getting in & out of chairs, climbing stairs, walking, running & jumping all of these movements have similar patterns and muscle recruitment to the squat & deadlift.
Mastering these basic movement patterns will serve you far better in the long run than trying to attempt 100’s of different exercise variations. While balance type “functional” exercises may have their place in some circumstances, for most people a good foundation of strength will provide more benefit, better results and ultimately be more functional as well as a hell of a lot safer train for.
Remember if you want to train for function look to train movements that resemble those you may struggle with or need to be good at in day to day activities. Incorporating balance, plyometrics or handstands into a program does not make it functional. If you can build a program around the fundamentals of squats, deadlifts, pull ups and some pressing you will have a solid foundation to build functionality for long term performance.
Loaded carries are a great exercise to improve your grip, shoulder and overall strength. They have a great carry over to many other lifts and can be a perfect supplemental exercise to finish off your session.
If you are looking to build anything (house, high rise, furniture, cake) the most important aspect is having a solid foundation. With out the building blocks at the bottom you will never be able to support anything significant at the top.
Your fitness is no different, people are always looking for the easy way out. The 4 minute this, the 30 second that, the perfect program to get you ripped or the strap in and shake the fat away belt!
The truth is that yes, these methods will probably work initially, but so will just about anything in the beginning. Your body is an amazing creation and will adapt itself to cope with any new stimulus. But to truely get the benefits of high intensity, short work outs you need to earn the right to do them by building a strong foundation first.
Following these short term fixes for extended periods when you are not ready for it, in the long run is a path to nowhere. It's like trying to build a pyramid with the point at the bottom. Sure you can build a few layers on top, but eventually it will come tumbling down, you will get injured and you will have to build back up from the beginning.
While it isn't as glamorous and probably not as fun. The best method to begin training with is a solid foundation, of lower intensity cardio efforts or lighter controlled resistance training work with a focus on perfect technique.
Building this solid and stable base means you will always have a solid foundation that you can fall back on.
Beginning you're training this way is not a quick fix, it will take time but it will also lead to better results and less injury in the long term.
Your fitness is like everything else in life. If it sounds too good to be true. It probably is. So put in the work build your foundation and keep it for life.
The sled is a great tool to develop both power and strength.
To focus specifically on strength we will load the sled up with a maximal load and push for a short distance, the aim should still be to move as fast as possible, even though it will feel as though you are moving slowly.
As we have mentioned before the push of the sled eliminates the eccentric component of movement which will help in preventing muscular soreness post session. This makes it perfect for athletes who may have to compete later in the week or beginners who are just getting used to the effect of loaded movements
I get asked all the time. What is the best workout for me to do so I can...(insert your fitness goal here). The answer to this can best be summed up in a quote from 'The Rock' in the movie Central Intelligence.
Well, there it is the secret...
Just get down to work. And be prepared to play the long game.
CONSISTENCY is king.
Now, I'm not saying it is going to take 20 years straight, but you should expect serious results in months and years. Not days and weeks
So day in, day out, just aim to keep doing more. No matter what your fitness goal is that is your answer. Not for a day, a week or even a month. Real progress will take time.
I'm sorry to tell you that there is no magic workout formula, special number of sets & reps or secret exercise that will guarantee you results. And you definitely can't get it with 6 easy payments of $19.99. The only real answer is to just be committed to showing up, putting in the work and doing it consistently.
The truth is that for most people, especially those just starting out the answer is that simple. Get in the gym and lift a weight, get outside and move (move more, eat better!). Do it consistently, challenge yourself to do better every time, and the results will come soon enough.
It is not a matter of having the perfect workout program. We could write you the best training program ever put together, using top-secret workouts from elite athletes, secret military groups & ancient tribal warriors. Guaranteed to improve your fitness just by reading it while in the gym. But if you are not willing to commit to the getting it done consistently, that program won't be worth the paper (or smartphone app) it's written on.
Think of the story of 'The Tortoise & The Hare'. In the long run, the person who just gets something done every day (4-5x per week), week in - week out. Will become fitter/stronger/leaner than the person who does 4 hard sessions one week, nothing the next & 2 sessions the week after. It is a matter of volume over a period of time to produce sustained results!
So start today, source out some qualified instruction before you begin to make sure you are doing things safely, with progression towards an achievable, measurable goal and then go nuts. Try to make sure you have some variety in each session, adding a different stimulus to the body is extremely beneficial. Most importantly of all enjoy the process, then you can watch the results flood in.
If you are ready to get started with some quality, consistent training check out our Kickstarter Package and get your training off to a flying start.