Fill in the gaps with these exercises
October 11, 2013
"Fundamental human movements are fundamental," Dan John.
Now before you roll your eyes and think to yourself, 'yeah, I know that.' Ask yourself, do you train with this in mind? I routinely see people in the gym isolating their biceps and inner things, which is fine and has its place, but rarely do I see people training the way, I think at least, the body was designed do move. I believe humans were made to push, pull, carry, squat, sprint and throw. These fundamental human movements make up the majorly of my fat loss, athletic training and general population workouts.
During my initial assessment I ask what types of physical actives or workouts clients are currently doing or have done in the past. If they are not working out at all it is pretty easy, we push, pull, squat, carry and throw things. We try to cover all the basic fundamental human movements.
Frequently, when a person is currently on an exercise program they tend to neglect one or more of these movements. It is my job to "fill in the gaps." A classic example is a young man doing a bodybuilding routine who probably needs some more flexibility training, like yoga. Or maybe it's a female who likes to run and might need some added strength training. Basically, I try to get my clients to do exercises or movements they are not doing on their own to "fill in the gaps" and make that person as physically well-rounded as I can.
The following are three movements that most people leave out of their training. Loading carries, squats and throws are great exercises that almost every person should do, but because people tend not to, my clients seem to get fast and excellent fat loss, strength and athletic development results. They feel better too because the body is not accustom to the movements.
Single arm weighted carry: Usually people think of this as only a strongman-contest exercise to test the grip, but this exercise is a walking side plank. Anytime you hold a heavy load on one side of the body and not the other it requires the core muscles to offset the unbalanced load. This workout is a fat-loss and core-conditioning exercise all rolled into one.
How to: To do this exercise correctly, maintain good posture with a straight back and chest up. You'll want to use relatively light weights when starting, until you're confident that your body positioning is correct. Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell with palms facing your thighs. Walk forward at a moderate pace, keeping your core braced and head high the entire time. Start with three sets of 15 to 20 steps (about 30 to 45 feet), resting 60 seconds between sets. Increase the distance or use a heavier weight to progress.
Goblet squats: This is an excellent exercise to strengthen the glutes, quads and core; while at the same time increase hip mobility. By holding the weight in front of your body, it forces you into proper position, which also reduces the risk of squatting. This position also challenges the core to a greater degree.
How to: Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward. Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell and hold it against your chest. With a kettlebell, hold the handle, but with a dumbbell just hold it vertical by one end. Squat down with the goal of having your elbows, which are pointed downward because you're cradling the bell, slide past the inside of your knees. Then squeeze your glutes and quads to standing position.
Medicine ball toss: The chest pass exercise is excellent for developing the pushing muscles in the upper body. It also helps strengthen the muscles of the core. It's also just fun to throw stuff around sometimes.
How to: Hold the ball chest high, standing approximately 6 to 10 feet away from a partner or a solid wall. Throw the ball using a similar motion to a basketball chest pass. The partner should catch and immediately throw the ball back, or have it bounce off the wall and repeat for reps.
If you are unfamiliar with any exercise, seek the advice of a fitness professional and as always consult your doctor prior to starting any exercise program.
Kyler Crouse, BS, CSCS, FMS is a personal trainer and strength coach who trains at Sierra Athletic Club and a training center instructor at Barton Memorial Hospital. Kyler specializes in performance enhancement and injury prevention. Visit http://www.KCstrength.com for more information.
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