Target the Weak Links with this Simple Program

You've probably seen or heard of some of these workouts, kettlebells and sandbags are the rage now.  Other versions may use heavy ropes, beer kegs, sledge hammers, or balls filled with water. The idea is to challenge your body, brain and muscles to produce force under different and more challenging circumstances, to get you out of your workout rut.  This workout, which I developed for a few of my advanced clients, uses typical gym equipment.  It is appropriate for someone who has been working out for a few years, and wants some integrated exercises to target the core, stabilizer muscles and wrists and forearms - the often neglected weak links.  If you've had any recent problems with wrists or elbows (ie, tennis or golfers elbow), these exercises may not be appropriate for you. 

Each exercise will use either a body bar or barbell gripped in the center to increase the challenge.  Warm up first, select a much lower weight that you would ordinary work with, and make sure that you allow adequate space between other members and yourself.  Begin the program at a weight where you can do 12-15 repetitions, and if you experience any discomfort at the joints reduce the weight or discontinue the program,

Single Arm Chest Press Using Barbell (or Body Bar) - grip barbell in center and exercise each side in individually.  Progression:  Single Arm Chest Press on Stability Ball Using Barbell.

Single Arm Bent Over Row Using Barbell (or Body Bar) - grip barbell in center and exercise each side in individually.  Progression:  Single Arm Bent Over Row Standing on one Leg Using Barbell

Lateral Raise Using Body Bar - grip body bar in center and exercise both Sides.  Progression:  Lateral Raise Using Body Bar Standing on One Leg

Single Arm Biceps Curl Using Barbell (or Body Bar) - grip barbell in center and exercise each side in individually.  Progression:  Single Arm Biceps Curl Standing on one Leg Using Barbell

Triceps Kickback Using Body Bar - bend over and maintain a neutral spine, grip body bar in center and exercise both sides. Progression:  Triceps Kickback Using Body Bar Standing on One Leg

You may experience Delayed Muscle Soreness for 1-2 days after starting this workout, because you are using muscles in a different way and activating more muscle fibers.  Try it, let me know how it works or if you have any questions.


If any of these points apply, then this is the workout for you..

- Stuck on the same machines or exercises for a while and aren't getting the results you want
- Advanced your program but need a few new moves to kick it up a notch
- Haven't been working out regularly and need to step it up

or maybe you're just looking for something different?

This workout is appropriate from the beginner/intermediate level and above, and is a total body exercise circuit.  That means you're using big muscles, a lot of muscles and you're working almost non stop to maximize results.  Warm up first, and select or set weights so that you can do two sets of 15-20 repetition of each exercise.  I've given you the basic exercises, and in some cases a progression to make it more challenging.

Single Leg Press - This is one of my favorite exercises for people who sit a lot.  Use about half the weight you normally would and pay extra attention to keeping the toe, knee and hip in alignment as you perform the leg press.  Push out through your heel and feel the fire in your glutes.

Scaption - This exercise is similar to a lateral raise but works muscles that help your posture in the shoulder area.  Use very light weights, hold them in front of your thighs in a thumbs up position and draw in the abdominal muscles.  Raise the arms in a V, maintaining a 45 degree angle, stop at shoulder height and slowly bring the weights down to starting position.  As you do scaption, you should feel the contraction between your shoulder blades.  Progression:  single leg scaption.

Pushups on a Bench - Face the bench so that the long side is in front of you, place your palms down on the bench spread wide, and spread your feet wide.  Pull the abdominal muscles tight and perform the push-up, and try to touch the chest to the bench.  It should be slightly easier to do a full push-up this way compared to on the floor.  Progressions:  Floor push-up; regular push-up with feet on a BOSU ball.

Squat with Cable Rope Row - Attach the rope handle to the cable machine at about waist level, grip the handle with the boots of each hand, and step back far enough to create a space between the plates.  Slowly squat down and as you rise back up pull the rope back into the row.  Progression:  Squat with Single Arm Cable Row.

Cable Triceps Pulldown - Attach the straight or easy bar to the cable machine at a high level, place palms up shoulder width apart and grip the bar.  Keep the elbows by your sides directly below the shoulder, and perform the exercise by pulling the bar down and resisting as it rises.  Progression:  Cable Triceps Pulldown on Balance Board.

Step Up Balance and Curl - Use a step or box and a pair of dumbells lighter than those you normally use for biceps curls.  Draw in your abdominals, step onto the box and balance on one leg.  The leg you're standing on should have a bent knee, the other knee should be raised, Perform one biceps curl in the position, step down and alternate.  Progression:  higher box; face sideways and work one side at a time.

This is the kind of workout that almost anybody can do, yet even the most advanced reader will find it quick, efficient and effective.

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