Tagged: Glutes

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Today's Workout 139: 4 moves to lift, bend, and stretch your way to lean, lower-body muscle

Take your regular legs day routine up a notch by incoporating both cardio and yoga moves into the mix.

This rapid-fire, four-move routine focuses exclusively on your legs. Back-to-back rounds of barbell front squats and dumbbell sumo squats will build mass in your quads and hamstrings, jump squats will work to lean out your entire lower body, and a finishing wheel pose will stretch you out and help you recover.

Directions

You’ll do this workout as a circuit, meaning you’ll complete each exercise consecutively without rest. Once you’ve finished all exercises, rest for 60 to 90 seconds. Repeat the entire circuit for 4–6 rounds.

Depending upon your ability, you may shorten or lengthen the rest periods between circuits. You may also complete more or fewer rounds.

For more legs work:

Check out our favorite 10 workouts to do on legs day[1], our 15 exercises to develop the best glutes in the gym[2], and our five old-school legs workouts that’ll work forever[3].

For a complete archive of our daily quick-hit routines, go to mensfitness.com/todaysworkout[4].

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Build An Athletic Body With This Quickfire Home Dumbbell Circuit

You should know by now that you don’t need to spend hours slaving away in a gym to build a bigger, leaner and more functionally fit body. Indeed, more is often less when your training ambition is to look more like an athlete because you need to give your muscles the recovery time they need to adapt and grow.

But even though cutting down on your training time is the way to go when wanting a well-defined, athletic physique, you must also guarantee that what time you do spend training is 100% effective. That’s what this six-move total-body circuit offers – all you need is a pair of dumbbells and the right attitude, and you’ll get out of every session exactly what you put in. So start stripping away body fat and building new muscle mass today.

RECOMMENDED: The 4-Week Dumbbell Workout Plan To Build Muscle At Home[1]

How to do the workout

Do the six dumbbell exercises in order, sticking to the reps detailed, without resting until you finish all the reps of the sixth and final move of the circuit. Rest for two minutes, then repeat the circuit. Do four circuits in total.

Pick a dumbbell weight that allows you to perform the hardest lift for you with good form. Increase the weight weekly as you get stronger

1 Squat[2]

Reps 15 Rest 0sec

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your chin and chest up. Brace your core, then bend at the hips and knees to squat down as low as you can. Push back up through your heels.

2 Alternating lunge[3]

Reps 12 each side Rest 0sec

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your chin and chest up. Lunge forward and down until both knees are bent at right angles. Return to the start and alternate leading leg with each rep.

3 Overhead press[4]

Reps 12 Rest 0sec

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Keep your chest up and brace your core. Press the weights directly overhead until your arms are fully extended, then lower them back to the start position.

4 Hammer curl[5]

Reps 12 Rest 0sec

Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand, with elbows by your sides and your chest and chin up. Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, curl the weights up together. Squeeze at the top, then lower under control.

5 Renegade row[6]

Reps 6 each side Rest 0sec

Get into a press-up position holding dumbbells. Brace your core and glutes to keep your body stable. Row one dumbbell up, leading with your elbow, then lower it back to the floor. Repeat, alternating arms with each rep.

6 Press-up[7]

Reps 15 Rest 2min

Get in the press-up position holding dumbbells. Brace your core and glutes to keep your body stable. Bend your elbows, keeping them close to your sides, to lower your chest to the floor. Press back up powerfully.

References

  1. ^ The 4-Week Dumbbell Workout Plan To Build Muscle At Home (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  2. ^ Squat (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  3. ^ Alternating lunge (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  4. ^ Overhead press (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  5. ^ Hammer curl (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  6. ^ Renegade row (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  7. ^ Press-up (www.coachmag.co.uk)
HardPuppy Fitness Gym 0

You Don’t Need Any Equipment For This 2-Move Total-Body Workout

Trainer: Jeremy Scott, trainer at Jeremy Scott Fitness in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Benefit: Pushups work your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. Squats challenge your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Combine the two with plyometric variations, and you’ll build total-body strength and power while melting fat, Scott says.

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Push-Ups for Real Strength

Nowadays, push-ups are either mocked, considered useless, or worse, forgotten about altogether. That’s a huge mistake, and one that we need to address ASAP.

Why Do Push-Ups?

  1. They’re great for the shoulders. Push-ups not only improve timing between the scapulae, shoulders and elbows, but they also work to open up the upper back. One of the reasons we have so many shoulder problems today is because we don’t put a strong enough emphasis on proper push-up technique.
  2. They’re great for the core. If you want to get stupid-strong, you need to bench press. But one of the downsides to the bench press is that it’s performed on your back. In a push-up, you have to unify or tie together your upper and lower body. Your core is the tie that binds, and if it’s weak, unstable, or imbalanced, it’s going to affect your ability to do the push-up correctly.
  3. They can be done anywhere. There’s always enough space to get a quick and dirty push-up workout in.

How Do You Do Push-Ups?

I can’t tell you how many “experienced” lifters I’ve worked with who have absolutely no clue how to perform a proper push-up. Seriously. No clue. Here are some areas that need focus:

1 – The Upper Body

Too many people want to think in absolutes. Either they want the elbows flared out to 90 degrees, or they tuck them in hard by the sides. Neither option is great for your shoulders.

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With the elbows flared excessively, a ton of stress is placed on the shoulder joint. It’s also an incredibly disadvantageous position biomechanically, so not only will it feel like crap, but you’ll perform like crap, too.

On the flip side, tucking the elbows in hard to your sides isn’t a great idea, either. While most do this with the intent of sparing the shoulders, what ends up happening is that this excessive tucking causes the humerus to glide forward in the glenoid fossa. In normal people talk, you start to get an “owie” in the front of your shoulder.

Instead, find a balance. Make a 45-degree angle with your elbows, or simply “make an arrow.” This cue works like a charm for shoulder health and performance.

2 – The Lower Body

This part is easy. Just keep the lower body tight. Sure, you can squeeze the glutes and flex the quads, but you don’t need to go full-blown high-threshold when you’re doing a standard push-up. Instead, find a normal amount of tension for the task at hand. Save all those high-tension strategies for when you’re doing those single-arm, blindfolded push-ups on a medicine ball.

3 – The Core

This is arguably the most important part of the body when performing a push-up. After all, tying together the upper and lower body is the reason we perform push-ups versus bench presses. Find and hold a neutral spine position throughout. If you laid a PVC pipe or broomstick on your back, you should have three points of contact:

PVC Test
  1. The back of the head
  2. The upper back
  3. The buttocks

If you want extra credit, make sure that you only have a slight (1 inch) space in between your lumbar spine and the stick. This will make sure your abs are optimally engaged.

Now getting into this position may be relatively easy, but the hard part is staying there when you actually do the movement. What you tend to see is a lowering of the body, followed by deepening lordosis, a caving of the upper back, and a head that droops towards the floor. Instead, lock the spine in throughout and you’ll not only get a great upper body workout, but a great core workout as well.

4 – Natural Movement

Most people make push-ups unnatural and unathletic. If you’re thinking about “pulling” your shoulder blades together when you lower yourself down, stop!

When most people think about pulling the shoulder blades together, they inevitably slam them together at the beginning of the movement and run out of motion at the scapulae. At this point, they continue to lower down, and all of that movement (and stress) moves to the shoulders.

To remedy this, think about making the movement athletic again. Don’t think about pulling the shoulder blades together. Simply think about moving the scaps, shoulders, and elbows at the same time.

But if you’re really patterned to first pull the shoulder blades together, you may need to think about the opposite: bending the elbows first. It sounds counterintuitive, but thinking about bending the elbows first will typically clean up the movement in a matter of reps.

5 – Reaching

The second critical element of a great push-up is to focus on reaching at the start and the finish. Many athletes are locked into a poor position through their upper back and thorax:

  • The thorax is pushed forward, which doesn’t give the scapulae a place to rest.
  • The scaps are looking for stability, so muscles such as the rhomboids become overactive and “pin” the shoulder blades back and down.

Push-ups are a great tool to help remedy this, but only when done correctly. You may have seen that bro on Instagram cranking out sets of 50, 75, or 100 push-ups, but you’ll note that he never actually finishes a rep. Sorry, but that’s making things worse.

Instead, think about finishing each rep. Keep the chest out while simultaneously reaching long through the arms, or thinking about pushing the body away from the floor.

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When done correctly, it should feel like you’re stretching the area in between your shoulder blades at the start and finish of each rep.

How Do I Make Push-Ups Harder?

It’s funny when someone says, “Push-ups are easy! Can’t we find a way to make them harder?” Then when you actually watch them do some push-ups, their hips are dragging the floor, their shoulders are all over the place, and their neck is protruding like an 80-year-old with osteoporosis.

Push-ups aren’t the sexiest exercise, but first learn to do them correctly before seeking new challenges. Once you do that, there are three routes you can typically take to make them harder:

1 – Strength-Focused Progressions

Chain Push-Up

Use these if you want to go full-blown meathead and just get super strong. These include anything that increases the external resistance:

  • Bands
  • Chains
  • Weighted vests
  • Plates loaded on your back

2 – Stability-Focused Progressions

Ring Push-Ups

These are great options if you want to bulletproof your body and make sure things are in balance. It’s not uncommon to see super strong guys who have shoulder or lower-back problems, so doing stability-focused progressions can clean up those weak areas and fix them up for the long haul.

Stability-focused progressions would include any exercise where there are elements of instability involved: unstable surface push-ups (TRX, Blast Straps, Jungle Gym, gymnastic rings, etc.) and push-ups with the hands on medicine balls.

3 – Rotation-Focused Progressions

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Strong and explosive athletes have a tendency to get locked in the sagittal plane (driven into extension). If this becomes excessive, they lose access to their frontal and transverse planes, which can cause injuries up and down the kinetic chain.

To remedy this, offset push-up variations can be crucial in getting trunk rotation back. Push-up variations in this category can include: offset variations off a box (see video), offset variations with one hand on a medicine ball, and push-ups to a single-arm support.

Based on your needs and goals there are tons of different options at your disposal. And if you want the best of all worlds, simply rotate your emphasis every 2-3 months to help build a strong, well-balanced, and bulletproof physique.

Related:  The Very Best Push-Up for Pecs[1]

Related:  Push-Ups: You’re Doing Them Wrong![2]

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Tip: The Bodysaw for Real Core Strength

This might just be the toughest ab and core exercise you’ve never tried. Take a look.

by Ben Bruno[1] | Today
The-bodysaw-for-real-core-strength

NEW

The bodysaw is very similar to the ab wheel rollout. The goal of both exercises is to resist extension of the lumbar spine (avoid arching your back too much).

To do the bodysaw, start by getting in a plank position with your feet on something slippery such as Valslides, a slideboard, furniture sliders, a paper plate, a TRX, etc. From there, maintain that body position and push back and forth on your arms, like this:

Bodysaw

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Go back only as far as you can handle while still maintaining your original spine position. If you start to arch excessively and/or feel them in your lower back, you’ve gone too far. They’re a lot tougher than they look, so it probably won’t take much range of motion to feel them working.

Once you’ve got that down and it feels easy, you can progress to doing them on one leg at a time or, if you want to get really frisky, doing them with straight arms starting from the bottom of a push-up position, which extends the lever arm and makes them pretty brutal.

Straight Arm Bodysaw

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Don’t jump into this version too fast, though, because you don’t want to hurt yourself.

Advantages

The bodysaw has a few advantages over the ab wheel rollout:

  • Most people feel them more in their abs.
  • Bodysaws don’t fatigue the shoulders like rollouts can, so they’re easier to pair with upper body exercises.
  • They’re more user-friendly for people with preexisting shoulder injuries and/or poor shoulder mobility. They’re easier on the lower back too.

Related:  Not Your Average BS Core Training[2]

Related:  The 12 Minute Fix for Abs and Glutes[3]

References

  1. ^ Ben Bruno (www.t-nation.com)
  2. ^ Related:  Not Your Average BS Core Training (www.t-nation.com)
  3. ^ Related:  The 12 Minute Fix for Abs and Glutes (www.t-nation.com)
  4. ^ Follow Ben Bruno on Facebook (facebook.com)