We know the drill: Since starting your fitness journey you’ve been constricted to the treadmills and fixed movement machines in the back corner. Your gym routine is starting to take shape, but you have finally decided to start making some serious gains. Your first thought is to jump into the deep end known as the free weights section, but you haven’t got a clue what to do.
Let us help ease you into deeper waters with some moves using equipment that even frequent gym goers avoid, but done correctly, can be some of the most advantageous exercises in the gym. Learn these total body exercises on odd pieces of equipment and you will look more like a seasoned veteran than a newbie next time you hit the gym.
So you have made it into the open plyometric area in your gym. You skip the ladders, jump a hurdle and go have a seat to think about the next move…you land on a plyo box. It may just look like a box, but this apparatus is used by all athletes for explosive fast twitch muscles and to shed fat/burn calories with awesome cardiovascular exercises. So on your way to gaining hops and dunking like Lebron James you start stacking the boxes.
Go-to Move: Box Jump
What it Works: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, arches and core
Try it: Square up to the box, feet shoulder width apart. Start with a quarter squat, explode from the heels to the toes moving momentum from the arches of your feet, up the legs, through the core and finally swinging the arms to propel you upward. Tuck the legs and stomp the landing. Stand straight up when on the box then step off to complete one repetition.
The round, Russian made, cannon ball shaped weight with a handle on it is often passed off for dumbbells by most, but not you, the savvy gym goer. Kettlebells are measured in poods and come in a range of weights (1 poods = 36lbs or 16kg) and sizes and can be used for any exercise.
Go-to Move: KettleBell Swing
What it Works: Glutes, quads, hip flexors, core, lats and anterior delts.
Try it: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width and point your toes outward 35 degrees. Hold the kettlebell with both hands below your midsection. From here drop into a sumo or plié squat, but do not touch the kettlebell to the ground. In one fluid motion, swing the weight through your hips and core up to eye level while keeping your arms straight. At the top of the movement you should be standing straight up with your glutes tight. Control the weight on the way down keeping your chest up, back straight and core tight. The weight will finish between your legs for one repetition. Use the momentum of your previous swing to start the second.
TRX Suspension Trainer
Developed by a Navy Seal that wanted to workout and didn’t have a gym, these long black straps with yellow markings and two handles are great to take anywhere so you can workout anytime. The TRX is great for your Homer Simpsons (just getting off their couch), Lois Lanes (avid gym goer) and the Superman’s in the gym. Many professional athletes have been left on the floor after a TRX workout. Considering many athletes are adding this to their workout routines, you should, too. The great thing about it is you can adjust your lever to your skill or strength level with any exercise.
Go-to Move: Atomic Crunches
What it Works: Chest, shoulders, triceps, core (total body isometric hold) and lower abdominal.
Try it: Lower the straps about a foot from the ground, place both feet into the loops and get into a push-up position. Lower yourself under control down into a push-up. On your way back up bring your suspended feet and knees into your chest and back out to straight. This is one rep. To make it harder walk your hands out away from the TRX anchor and to make it easier don’t worry about the push up.