Four Of My Favorite Exercises

by James Kerrison on May 23, 2010

Here you go, straight to the the point.

It’s what I like because it is what works.

I don’t see the point in doing exercises to ‘fill in time’. If you are going to do an exercise it may as well have a purpose. If not, find another one that does. (That is unless you have so much spare time on your hands that you want to waste it on pointless exercise…)

Number One

Front Squat Variations

It’s not that I don’t like back squats, it’s just that I think front squats are superior.

Why?

  • With the right tools they are a lot easier to teach and learn.
  • You don’t need as much load to work the legs –> less spinal loading
  • They work the anterior core more

So in a nutshell, you can get up and running with them quicker because you don’t have to spend a whole heap of time ‘learning’ how to do the exercise. You won’t get much benefit from an exercise that you can’t load up because you can’t nail the correct technique. You can still smash your legs without smashing your back. And they smoke your abs (this is cool for everyone!)

You could squat properly at some stage...

Number Two

Push Up Variations

Why?

This old school classic is almost infinitely variable for both the beginner and the advanced trainer. Elevate your hands to make it easier or you can elevate your feet to make it harder.

You can also add resistance with bands, sandbags (or both…yikes!!). You can vary the with and angle of your hands and elbows to target different muscles and you can incorporate your lower body (think spider man pushups) to blast your core as well.

From a biomechanical point of view, your scapula should be free to move and not ¬†trapped in on a bench. Not to say that you shouldn’t do bench presses, but at least balance it out with some non bench ‘chest’ exercises.

Number Three

Swing Variations

Why?

A lot of people tend to disregard the muscles they can’t see (too many squats and pushups maybe…!) All of the muscles on the back of their body which are typically important for your posture, muscle balance, injury prevention and strength. Your hammies, glutes, lower back, upper back all need to be worked as much as the muscles on the front of the body.

Personally I think kettlebells are the best tool for swings, you can pretty much swing anything. Be very careful when you are swinging cats though….

Seriously though, weight plates, dumbells, sandbags, water bags will all get the job done fine. Just be sure to stay super tight through your core, keep your back straight and in control of the weight at all times.

This movement can be used for power or endurance making it a great all rounder.

Wrong sort of swing...

Number Four

Pull Up Variations

Notice I didn’t say pulldown variations….if you are going to do pulldowns, us some bands and not a machine, they will keep you honest all they way up and down (you’ll know what I mean when you try them!)

These are another great exercise for your back muscles to help get that balance back.

Now with pullups you can add weight to make them harder or make them easier with bands or help from your trainer. Change your hand with and rotation to challenge your strength and different muscles and you have endless options for change or advancement.

If you want a great ab workout (and who doesn’t!) hold a weight between your feet and let me know how your abs feel the next day or two…

Now, give it to me straight….

Do you like the list? What would you add? What would you take away??

Leave a comment below….

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