While I’ve always had an open mind, there were¬†instances in the past where I just wanted to bang my head into the wall over the uncertain¬†things I saw¬†other trainers do. Nowadays, I¬†try¬†to¬†understand the reasoning behind their approach.

How you train or what you advocate is your move. Every exercise has its place due to the concept of specificity.

That being said, if we’re talking about¬†exercises that are the most bang for your buck, it’s no question that you’ve got to hammer down¬†movements that are going to make you strong¬†‚ÄĒ and exercises¬†that exhibit high levels of muscular recruitment are going to be your best bet.

Here are four exercises to rule them all.

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1. Prowler/Sled Push

 

What can I say? They’re the best way to lean out without losing strength and muscle.

From a conditioning standpoint ‚ÄĒ these babies rule, which is why they should be in your training program.¬†If the zombie apocalypse does happen, at least you’ll know that you’re in excellent condition to be a survivor.

2. Loaded Carries

 

I always get asked, “What does this exercise work?” Instead, they should be asking what doesn’t this exercise work. I’m convinced¬†that nothing packs on more muscle than loaded carries. In addition to improved hip stability, walking with a heavy load¬†forces you to engage your core, your upper back, and arms. It’s also worth mentioning that it does a heck of job in improving¬†shoulder function.

3. Deadlift

 

It’s no secret that the Deadlift is highly regarded as the king of all exercises. You’re essentially working everything from your head to your toes. With that in mind, there are many schools of thought on how¬†should you¬†pull. Powerlifters will argue that the Trap Bar Deadlift are for sissies, and others will say Sumo¬†is cheating.

Here’s what I have to say about all of that:

Squidward

What we need to start taking more into consideration is our unique individual anatomy. People vary dramatically in structure. Some might not be able to pull a conventional deadlift.  Similarly, there are others who might be more well-equipped to pull from a sumo stance.

I believe the deadlift is a big movement that should stay in your training program year round, however, you have to choose which variation is suited best for you.

Conventional Deadlift

Sumo Deadlift

Trap Bar Deadlift

Landmine Deadlift

4. Bulgarian Split Squats

 

I know what you’re thinking, and yes¬†‚ÄĒ I would’ve said the same thing in the past, but hear me out. ¬†I have such an immense adoration for this exercise simply because they rarely cause me or my clients any problem. ¬†In fact, I’ve¬†found them to almost have a universal application.

Due to structural limitations, a lot of people are pretty much in quick sand whenever they try to get under the bar and squat ‚ÄĒ they’re not going anywhere. This is why I’m convinced that the Bulgarian Split Squat is a far better¬†option than conventional squatting. Even with proper form in a back squat, you’re bound to run into some problems¬†whether it’d be hip, lower back, or knee issues. Moreover, you can virtually load as much weight as you can, but with less loading on the spine.

If not these, front squats are my second option.

Conclusion

 

I’m aware that¬†this is a very short list. You can make a legitimate argument¬†that I’ve left off other noteworthy exercises. But make no mistake that proper execution of these movements¬†will yield big time results. ¬†Vary the intensity and stay consistent.

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1. Performance based goals yields better long-term results.¬†Being able to do a chin-up(s), deadlift 1-2x your bodyweight, or simply move without pain ‚ÄĒ the confidence that comes with that¬†is advantageous to your overall health.

2. A well-qualified coach can be a great addition to your progress. But at the end of the day, he/she is not going to spoon feed you. You’ve got to take ownership of your own health.¬†If you don’t give anything, don’t expect anything.

3. Band-resisted Deadbug is a great drill to do before you hammer squats or a deadlift because it encourages you to keep a neutral spine, and your anterior core engaged.

4. Alignment and how well you move is going to determine the loads and stress on your joints. You’re body is amazingly adaptive, so always ensure you’re moving with proficiency.

5. If there’s one thing that working in a commercial gym has taught me, it’s that most folks go through the motions. Bust your ass and focus on getting stronger. Watch what happens.

6. Pizza is life, period.

Pieology

7. Get lean and strong with the prowler.

8. If your diet consists of minimally processed foods, you’re body will pay you back. If you eat crap… well, we all know where this is going.

9. You don’t have to be an athlete to train like one.

10. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. More often than not your mindset is taken to a different level.

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11. Squatting ass-to-grass or deep squatting is primarily governed by genetics. You can improve range of motion through various mobility drills and soft tissue work, but it’s ignorant to assume that everybody should squat deep.¬†Assess, individualize, and prioritize.

12. A lot of shoulder, elbow, and wrist problems can be cleaned up by looking at scapular positioning. The site of the pain is not always the source.

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13. Standing on a BOSU¬†or wobble board, and performing an overhead squat while holding your cat in one arm is not “functional training”. There’s nothing more functional than lifting heavy ass weights off the floor. Stop training for the friggin’ circus.

14. If you make the mistake of restricting too many calories in your attempt to lose weight, your efforts will bite you in the butt the moment you say, “F*ck it” and pig out.

15. Consume as many calories as you can whilst still seeing results. There’s plenty of time to make adjustments.

16. So cool to see my articles getting published back home in Saipan.

TagaSports

17. The more disciplines you improve, the better the results. That said, I’d have to say that mitigating alcohol consumption and adding more protein into your diet is the most effortless thing you can do to start burning more fat.

18. Never sacrifice form to lift or move more load. Movements that begin from the spine is an indication for future back pain. Move well, then move often.

19. Must have supplements: Vitamin D, Probiotics, Cod Liver Oil.

20. I hate Farmer Carries and Bulgarian Split Squats, but man do they make your body change.

21. Fat loss is simple by design. Unfortunately, we make things more complicated than it has to be.

22. Don’t be demoralized by how much¬†more you have to do. Rather, appreciate how far you’ve come.

23. How’s this for a baller photo?¬†#ThatViewDoe

BoracayPaddle

24. If you’re having difficulty learning how to deadlift properly, try the¬†landmine deadlift. It encourages¬†you to shift your weight posteriorly imposing much less sheering force in your lower back,¬†and your grip isn’t a limiting factor.

25. If you’re trainer or coach throws you into the workout without an assessment, RUN!

26. Take all the pills and powders you want.¬†If you’re not employing the simple things such as drinking enough water and getting enough sleep, you’re wasting your time.

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We’re halfway¬†through the year.

Can you friggin’ believe that? I guess time truly does fly when you’re having fun.

Anyhow, considering we’re four months out from Thanksgiving, I thought it best to outline some nutrition tips for you¬†newbies out there.

Pay attention.

Ankur

1. Eat real food

 

It goes without saying that what you eat, and how much you eat is going to largely determine your form. ¬†Put another way¬†‚ÄĒ¬†you are what you eat.¬†If your diet consists of minimally processed foods, you’re body will pay you back. If you eat crap… well, you get my point.

Steak

 

2. Supplements WILL NOT get you shredded

 

Supplements can be very useful in aiding you to your goals, but don’t think for one second that it’s the missing link. Truth is they play a very small role. Rather than¬†worry about what supplements to take, adherence to proper (not restrictive) nutrition must first be met.¬†No pill or¬†protein powder is going to offset poor eating habits.

 

3. Move more first

 

Fat loss is simple by design ‚ÄĒ move more, eat less.

Any time you want to lose weight, you simply create a calorie deficit. Most beginners, however, share a common theme. They create too much of a deficit and they end up restricting too many food groups. We can certainly argue that some foods are better than others, but the most important factor that drives fat loss (from my perspective) is movement.

I’m not implying that you shouldn’t be diligent about your nutrition. What I’m trying to convey is before you think about going on a “diet”, how about moving more first. There’s plenty of time to make the necessary adjustments.

 

4. Mitigate alcohol consumption

Without spitting too much facts ¬†‚ÄĒ alcohol diminishes your gains because it slows the rate of protein synthesis, and ultimately affects how your body is going to utilize energy (release it or store it). Don’t get me wrong, I do like to kick my feet up and enjoy the occasional cold one. In fact, moderate alcohol consumption is actually healthy. Where it becomes a detriment is when you go overboard.

 

 

5. Consume more protein

 

Muscle is your body’s best tool for burning fat, and you can’t build muscle without a sufficient amount of quality protein. ¬†Not only does it help support lean body mass, but it keeps your metabolism elevated due to its¬†high thermic value ‚ÄĒ it takes a lot of energy to digest.

Get that protein.

6. Do not cut sodium

 

One of the most misunderstood essential nutrient is sodium. The very thing that most doctors tell you to cut out of your diet, is the very thing that is hurting you. In addition to improved performance and joint integrity, optimal sodium intake increases blood volume, which then helps deliver nutrients to the body and helps remove waste.

Don’t be alarmed by the weight gain when you increase your sodium intake. That’s due¬†to water retention. Once your body adapts, it will normalize and you’ll start to see just how beneficial it is for overall health.

It’s also worthwhile to note that there’s been studies suggesting that people who suffer from hypothyroidism can benefit from increasing their sodium intake.

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7. Shrink the change

 

As human beings, we have a propensity to make things more complicated than it has to be, and as a result, it overwhelms us. There’s no need to make drastic¬†changes. ¬†Focus on making small improvements everyday. Start small and work your way up. ¬†To paraphrase Chip and Dan Heath, “Small targets lead to small victories, and small victories can often trigger a positive spiral of behavior. Big changes come from a succession of small changes.”

switch

 

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