When I write an article with a workout, I prefer to get straight to the point. After all, your probably reading this because you want to know what the program is, right? So real quick, this article describes a workout for your lower body. Here is an important note: In order to work your lower body, I like to follow a thorough warm-up by high-intensity (80-90% of 1RM) lifting. This is a workout for a person in good shape who has been steadily lifting for several months, so if that’s not you, reduce the weight and then the volume of the workout.
One more important note: Cut out any processed carbs in your diet, and get all carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This will make your body cut up a lot faster. Ok, here we go:
Start by warming up your body as completely as possible with, -ankle rotations, knee rotations, 1 leg bent knee rotations, hip rotations, wrist & elbow rotations, shoulder rotations, and neck rotations. About 10 times for each on each side. Then: -Good mornings; legs spread wide, flat back, stretch toward the floor. Go at a slow to steady pace until it becomes a little difficult. This may be 20 or 30 reps, just don’t overdo it.
-Deep squat stretch: Get into a squat with as wide a stance as you can and still get to rock bottom. Your squat is wide enough for you to bring your elbows onto the insides of your thighs, and reach your hands towards the floor. Hold this position for several seconds, then perform 5-10 bottom position partial squats. Partial as in do not come all the way up, keep the tension on. Repeat this 3 or 4 times until you’re feeling warm.
-Back squats from bottom position: Adjust your racks so that you are almost, but not completely in the bottom position of a squat when starting the movement under the bar. Start with a light to moderate weight. Tighten your abdomen from your groin, brace, deep breath, and drive the bar up as you blow out. Your chest should be up, your neck pressing into the bar. Keep this tightness until the set is over. The rep/set structure should look something like this:
You will need 2-3 minutes rest in between these sets for best results. To clarify my method of jumping squat, it is hands laced behind head and jump out of a squat as hard as you can. The harder you jump, the harder you come down. Ouch.
Glute/Ham raises: Using a bench, blocks, or the machine if you are lucky enough to have it. Lay on your stomach, or step into the machine and grab the handles, and keeping your midsection tight, raise your straightened legs together. If you are using a bench, you can put a dumbbell between your ankles for extra resistance. keep the sets/reps at 3×15-20.
Pistols: If you don’t know, a one-legged squat. Alternatively you can do these with your free leg resting on your ankle instead of straight in front of you. Or, hold onto the side of a squat rack and do assisted pistols. If you are the pistol master, you know how many you can do. If not, work in 3-5 reps for each leg for 2-3 sets.
Unless you are a world class powerlifter or champion bodybuilder, this workout should leave your entire lower body limping. By the fifth set of squats, with proper steady form, not rushed, you should be really pushing. With proper tightening of your midsection from your lower abs throughout these exercises, your stomach should feel worked as well.
Next time a nice deadlift workout; and follow this link to more motivational articles by Mo:
Bodyweight squat are easy, right? I mean what kind of a lameass exercise goes by the nickname of “deep knee bends” and still respects itself? I’d better add some difficulty and pause at the bottom of every 20 for 10 seconds. That, and maybe I’ll go to 150, or 200, okok, let’s get started, hands behind head, looking up:
Ok, 100 is going to be too easy. 10, 11, I guess I’m starting to feel something. 19,20, bottom position rest. Sonofabitch, did I say 100? Or was it 50?
And go: 21…28…haaaaowwwww…35, and, 37, and, and …40. Grrrrr,ok,yeah, that’s a pump,still not hard, not..really…hard
what the fuck just happened between 40 and 60? Anyone? hello?
Ok, somewhere around 70 my quads decided I would be better off not going down again… annnd 72, 73, 74 I’m on the floor. oh crap, can I just start taking painkillers now?
I am I and I am floating outside of a strange man going up and down in place with his hands behind his head
I really think I just forgot which way was up
97, 98, 99, come on deeper, deeper, now all the way up, higher, higher, Ohhh yeahhh! Ok, so somewhere between 70 ish and 96, I just hit 100. GAAASFRGTASFASER! (Ow.)
So 100 hurts, but I can keep going,let’s try 150…
108, 109, 110, no? Ok, 10 second rest…nap?
Maybe if I go faster, thats it! NOOOO
I’m free, I’m floating free! I can’t feel my legs!
AAAARREGGGRT! I can’t even rest squat anymore, what was that, 126, ahshitfuck
more squats, more than 130, …I don’t f$%^&*&^*^ know how many more! It’s more!
currently kicking ans screaming on the floor like a little girl, hobbling to keyboard, only 12 more.
147, squat, fail, roll on back, get up ’cause I’m a MAN, punish falling with 10, make that 5, second squat rest. Oh Lord have mercy, 150. Kiss my swollen glutes I can’t wait to lay down. Hell, why wait?
Let me see, orange juice + vodka = energy drink. Sounds about right.
Like a lot of people I’ve become so busy these days that spending an hour or two working out makes me feel like I’m squandering my time. I’ve come to terms with this, and have even developed a method of fitting in any kind of workout I’d like to do in just a few minutes, a couple of times a day.
With the exception of marathons or other endurance races this method of workout has been accomplishing what I’m after right now; to stay healthy, to feel healthy, and to at least maintain my strength levels, if not increase them. These workouts are quick, but heed my words of caution: As with any exercise routine you need to warm-up to prevent injury. In these workouts, the warm-up usually consists of taking the first exercise and using very light weight, if there is free weight involved, and moving slowly and steadily. When the primary movements involve nothing but your bodyweight, you will start at a slow pace and use pauses throughout the range of motion.
Here are three exercises with three different tools that you can do in 5-10 minutes. The goal of the majority of these workouts is to get through as many rounds as possible without stopping. For lighter weights or higher reps your rest should be minimal, less than 30 seconds. If you decide to build up to a couple of heavy rounds, whether it is a body weight exercise or free weights, rest 60-90 seconds between sets or rounds. for our purposes a round is any exercise or combination of exercises performed continuously for time.
Your body weight is an amazing thing. Because you carry it around all day, maybe workout heavy at the gym a couple times a week or put yourself through grueling triathlon training, you might think body weight exercises are negligible warm-up techniques only. That is true, and it is not.
For instance, take a simple exercise like a push-up, and someone who frequently does heavy chest work may find the exercise to easy to take seriously, at least for building muscle. Take that same exercise and raise your feet to a higher angle and it becomes more difficult. Widen the position of your hands, and the level of difficulty is yet again increased. The same is true of most body weight exercises, they can be as grueling as you want them to be.
A note on free weights: Unless you’re performing a power exercise like the snatch, clean, clean & jerk, don’t rush through the movement. It isn’t necessary to move like a turtle, but if the workout calls for a curl or exercises specifically for your shoulders, don’t jerk the weight all over the place.
With that in mind:
Good morning walk out: Take a wide stance 3-4 feet apart, or whatever is wide for your body. Reach your arms out wide to the sides, lock your lower belly, and with a flat back reach your arms down to the floor in front of you. Ideally your hands will touch the floor between your legs. Now, first on hands, then if you can on fists and then fingertips, walk your hands out as far as you can in front of you. Concentrate on keeping your belly tight and your butt down as you get flatter. Walk past the push-up position if possible. The goal will be to have your body fully extend, arms out as far as they will go.
Pause for a second, or two, or five in your furthest possible extension, then walk your hands in reverse all the way back to your good morning position. Tighten belly, arms out to the sides, pull up with hamstrings, butt, and lower back. Then repeat.
*I find it easier to get a longer extension if I bring my legs a little closer together as I walk my hands out.
Do this exercise until you are warm. That may be 5, 10, or 20. If you like, keep going until the work breaks you, rest briefly, then repeat. However I recommend you now switch to:
Hindu push-ups + Squat: The Hindu push-up is basically like down dog pose for yoga. Start with your legs in a wide stance and your palms on the floor. Back flat and butt in the air. Swoop down through your arms and finish with your arms locked out as you look up. Pause for a couple of seconds, then:
+Squat: As you rock back on your arms to the starting position, drop you butt and jump into a squat, then fall forward and repeat the Hindu push-up.
*Keep the motion smooth and continuous and your heart rate will climb faster.
Kettlebell Snatch + Windmill OR Bent Press: Obviously you will need a kettlebell for this one, and if you don’t have one, consider investing in one. This piece of equipment is portable, and a single bell of moderate weight can provide a variety of workouts. That said, use a weight that challenges you after a few reps. If you’ve reached 10-12 reps and are asking yourself if this really works, you need a heavier weight.
To warm-up for this exercise, use a lighter bell if you have more than one, and switch when you are ready. Alternatively you can start by doing kettlebell swings holding the bell with two hands, or locking the bell out overhead and walking around in circles. If you choose the latter method, gently get the weight over head to begin with and tighten up your midsection to support it. Don’t lock the bell out for too long until you get warm. When ready begin the snatch.
Watch the second video below for some good tips on proper snatch form, and the windmill in the first. Remember to drive the movement with your legs and shrug the weight to the overhead position. Unlike the swing, the ballistic motion of the kettlebell when doing the snatch should not be allowed to float back through your legs, at least not intentionally.
Start with 5-12 snatches on one side, depending on how heavy your kettllebell is, then switch to the other hand. Use the first set to determine how many reps is difficult without going to failure. When both sides are complete, lock the bell out overhead and execute a windmill. Which you can see here:
If you only have one kettlebell, and are not able to perform the windmill in the correct, strict form it requires, try a bent press instead. With the bent press, clean the weight to your shoulder, point your feet as for a windmill, and fold your body as you press up, then stand up as with a windmill. Again, with either exercise, do several reps, but not to complete failure.
Once you have finished a round of both exercises, the snatch and the windmill or bent press, rest about 30-60 seconds depending on how heavy your weight is, and repeat. See how many rounds you can fit in 5 or 10 minutes.
Barbell complex: Complexes are just several exercises, really two or more strung together one after another. You can create endless barbell complexes, but here is one that references coach Javorek’s methods. The type of barbell here is not important. So long as you have a solid piece of equipment at least 5′ long, you can do these exercises.
Do each exercise for 6 reps. Rest 30-60 seconds, repeat. For heavier weight, take up to 90 seconds. Start lighter and increase weight as you warm up. The weight you choose should be lighter than you would normally use for any individual exercise.
-Barbell Upright Row X 6: Start with the barbell at hip level and pull up to your chin in a straight line. Avoid excessive rocking with this exercise.
-Barbell High Pull Snatch X 6: As with the kettlebell snatch, from hip level, shrug the barbell forcefully upward, bending your elbows only at the last second. Think of “punching” the barbell through the apex of the movement to lock it out.
-Barbell Behind The Head Squat Push Press X 6: After the snatches, let the barbell come down behind your head, squat to parallel and press the bar out as you stand up. The harder you go up, the harder you come down.
-Barbell Behind The Head Good Morning X 6: With the barbell still behind the head, resting on your upper back and shoulders, keep your eyes straight ahead, tighten your glutes, hamstrings, belly, and lower back, and bend forward to a 90 degree angle. Come back up to standing to complete. Do not rush this exercise. -Barbell Bent Over Row X 6: With knees slightly bent, and as with Good Mornings, everything tight, row the barbell to your upper torso using your back muscles.
Repeat this cycle once before you decide on the number of rounds you can handle. Getting through three rounds of this will finish you off for the day, working your upper back, lats, lumbar, shoulders,…well, you get the idea. Of course, there are other combinations you can do, and I’ll be posting many of those here. In the meantime, take 5 minutes and GO!
I admit it, I’m not a big fan of gyms, commercial gyms specifically. It’s a personal preference. I like solitude when I workout or at least small groups. I also like to choose my own music (if any,)perform unusual and dangerous exercises, and let the dog hang out. Oh, and leave the air conditioning off, I’ll take hot and steamy, thanks. For those reasons and others I workout 90% of the time at my house, and usually in the garage. Besides the usual barbells and dumbbells, I suspended a pull-up bar from the ceiling, made some ‘clubs’ out of galvanized steel pipe, and a slosh stick out of pvc pipe filled with water. What I had always wanted to include was suspension training. The TRX, with its fancy yellow nylon webbing, it’s quick adjustments and glowing hard body models demonstrating new and interesting exercises, captured my imagination. Now don’t be silly, I wasn’t about to shell out $150+ dollars when I could attempt to make my own version of suspension training! The solution was simple: I had suspended a capped iron bar from the ceiling using eye hooks screwed into the joists. This was my pull-up bar, and it was suspended by rope bought at Home Depot. Then I tied knots to the eye hooks, and tied those knots into knots, then on the other end I had to tie knots to the bar, and re-tie knots to get the measurements correct, until I was really sick of tying knots. My plan for the suspension trainer was the same, suspend rope from the eye hooks screwed into the ceiling. For handles, I had some 1 1/2″ pvc pipe I ran the rope through. Presto! Of course, we’re back to tying knots, and retying, and with these sumbitches, because each rope hung from its own hook, I had to adjust a lot to get the height even. It was at this point I began dreaming about that shiny yellow nylon webbing. I imagined how easy it would be to anchor it to the ceiling. Maybe even easier now that I had already installed eye hooks! But no! I’m a man, I love my green rope and pve pipe substitute! So I kept adjusting until I was satisfied.
Flaws in the Design
I wouldn’t say there were flaws in the design, it just wasn’t the TRX. My invention wasn’t even gymnastics rings. Now it worked alright. I mean hell I only had one ugly knot-loosening incident. Fortunately I wasn’t hanging upside down when that happened. I could do all kinds of exercises including rows from several angles, inversions, and various push-ups and dips with the aid of a step-stool or ladder. However, not being able to quickly adjust the ropes made the tool much less versatile than even basic gymnastics rings. Let alone that commercial contraption with the pretty yellow nylon webbing. I hung on to the dream a little longer. In place of the additional strap that hangs down like a stirrup from the TRX handles, I put my own little strap. So glad I kept that extra green rope! It hung from the PVC pipe handle just like a stirrup. Not right away, though. First I had to adjust it by tying, re-tying, you know the drill. I was so proud of my genius that I invited one of my friends and trainees to try it. He was somewhat skeptical. He stared at the roughly chopped pipe handles, and his eyes traveled to the ceiling to study the attachment process. “Don’t worry, you’re not even going to be putting your full weight on it. Just stick your feet in here, no down more, whoops, look out, maybe you should let me help you…”
I was soon the only user of my suspension trainer. Although I still find it very useful, it hangs there looking like an outdated relic. I sense that it knows its fate. It stares out across the garage at the failed PVC pipe and green rope trapeze experiment, now laying in a pile in a dark and dusty corner.
I’m going to miss my various contraptions. After all, the TRX can be taken anywhere, and well, I’m sick of tying knots. The fact is, the weather in Arizona is beautiful. This is the best time of year to be outside here, for the sane people anyway. In a few short months the temperature will be topping 100, and I will scurry indoors to continue using my new workout tools. Shoot, look at the time. I have got to go! I found a concrete-filled parking post out in the middle of the desert that someone left behind. Now I know I can do something with that!
For more information, or to shop the TRX, read the post “Buy TRX Suspension Trainer Online,” or click on the link below:
Taking care of kids,working, working overtime, cooking, cleaning, studying, attending classes, shopping for groceries, presents, oh yeah, and sleep. How many of these activities do you combine in a single day? I’m guessing for most people that’s the short list. Notice the terms workout or exercise are not even mentioned there, but unless you’re in a skilled (or unskilled) labor trade, you need to find time for that workout.
In the coming articles I will be talking about what I call “microworkouts.” These are fast, 5-15 minute routines that can be done with little or no equipment. Are they effective? Absolutely. Do a search and find the original scholarly article by Dr. Tabata and his team for the science. Better yet, try one, try two. After all it’s only going to take a few minutes out of your busy day.
In the following video borrowed from youtube, three exercises are performed:
–bodyweight reverse flyes on the TRX: A great exercise for the muscles of your rear shoulders and upper back. Increase the angle, increase the level of difficulty. Be sure to keep your body tight and straight like a plank, especially your abdominals.
–Jumprope : Uh, duh, it’s a jumprope. A note though: Invest in a good, adjustable one, preferably weighted, unless you want to find it broken on the gym, or garage floor one day. Monkey Bar gymnasium sells a really nice one, see the links below for details.
–Kettlebell Swings : There’s a common misconception that this exercise is hard on your lower back, or that it’s a shoulder exercise. Both wrong, unless your’e performing it incorrectly. The bell should stay close to your body as you begin the momentum, sticking your butt out and folding at the hips, not bending your legs. It’s not a deadlift. The power from this exercise comes from your hips, and that propels the bell upward. Less hip drive, lower swing. More (effort!) hip drive, higher swing=more effective.
The trainer in this video chose his tools well. The TRX suspension trainer, kettlebell, and jumprope are three very portable and versatile workout products; Check back frequently to find new articles on microworkouts utilizing these and other great tools. So what are you waiting for? Take the next five minutes and start working out!
**If you’d like to get started doing workouts like these, or just have some shopping fun, click on the links below:
The scene is a bit unusual, even with a preponderance of boot camps scattered throughout the park on any given morning: Four guys, ranging from their early thirties to late forties, gathered at the sand volleyball courts, now dubbed “the sandpit,” barefoot and shivering in the first light of dawn. Several pairs of dumbbells and kettlebells are set on the grass next to the ‘pit, and as I explain today’s workout to the guys, the looks I get range from skepticism to disbelief. They’d been through some interesting workouts with me before, the sand bag relays, various crawling down and back the length of the soccer field, but in order to get them to go barefoot in the freezing sand carrying heavy weights, I needed to be a little more convincing.
Before my group had arrived, I took myself through the workout, something I like to do to ensure its effectiveness, and to scale it to the participants. They should have been grateful they hadn’t been there with me. The workout was simple: Walk barefoot around the sandpit, which was a little longer than the three volleyball courts set up on it, carrying progressively heavier weights until you reached the heaviest. Then continue walking, going from heaviest to lightest. The weights could be carried in a farmer’s walk at your sides or overhead, but were not allowed to be dropped. To rest, the weights were racked to the shoulders while the player ‘rested’ in a squat. The total laps were between 16 and 19, and the heaviest weights that day were 50lb. dumbbells. By the time I finished my body was screaming, and my feet were absolutely numb. The trick to getting through it, and the purpose of this workout was to find “the void.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I pulled the term ‘void’ from some Eric Van Lustbader ninja novel years ago, but it stuck with me. The void can be defined as an empty point of focus, or mind-no-mind, the space between spaces. It is reached by finding a point of focus and then finding the space between your eyes and that point, and it is maintained by mindful breathing. The point of maintaining this focus is to take one’s mind away from the pain. As I began this workout I realized that strengthening one’s mind should be a part of a good fitness routine, or at least a side effect. So why not design activities to emphasize that training? This is not a new tactic; the U.S. Military is famous for testing wills after they’re broken down with physical activity.
Going to the top of this pyramid and beginning the lap with 50lb. dumbbells became the sticking point. Sure, after this the weight started getting lighter, but only after this. A lap when your arms, shoulders, wrists, calves, maybe lower back, are already tired Hold them at my sides, rest in a squat, push them up overhead, rest again, hold on with everything you’ve got, even though your wrists want to give out…whew! Finally the lap is complete, but it never gets any easier after that, until I’m back down to the 10’s. In the beginning of this routine, focusing on the void was the hardest part. After all, I was only carrying 2.5# plates to start, and I was walking, not running through the sand. However, as the weight climbed to 15, 25, 35 lbs., my feet became numb, and the sand and tree debris scattered over it became painful, maintaining my focus on the void was the only way to complete the workout.
Standing there explaining what I wanted to put the group through that day, I’m sure it helped that I could look them in the eye and tell them that I’d done it. Maybe getting frozen feet didn’t bother them, maybe nobody wanted to be the coward, but everyone went barefoot that day, and everyone completed the workout, even if they did have stop a few times to rest.