1. Box Jumps for conditioning
I’ve said this many times in the past, I’m not a fan of box jumps as a tool for conditioning, The purpose of plyometric work is to learn how to generate force (accelerate), but more so, how to absorb it (decelerate). You are defeating the purpose jumping up and down on a tall box like a chimpanzee on crack. More pressingly, they become very demanding on your body when you perform them in that fashion. This opens the door for potential injury.
There are far better options. I’d opt for something with less impact that’s not going to sacrifice future training quality (kettlebell swings, med ball slams, battle ropes, sled work).
I have such an affinity for strength development… but, that's just one component. Being strong doesn't mean anything if you can't move and perform well. Here's an aerobic circuit of medball slams, kettlebell alternating reverse lunges, trx reverse flys, and burpees. 40 secs of work, 20 secs rest. #Hawaii #GoodFriday #LittleBadass #StrongAndLean #WomenWhoLift #honolulu
2. Push-Ups with elbows flared out
Even though Push-Ups are underrated — and don’t get the respect it deserves for its versatility — being able to do them properly is not an easy task for beginners, especially women. Push-Ups with your elbows flared out isn’t an ideal position. A technical error like that becomes problematic simply because it puts undue stress onto your elbows and shoulders. Moreover, what you’ll typically see is poor anterior core engagement and virtually no recruitment of the triceps.
The ideal position you want is that of an arrow — placing your left elbow at 8 o’clock, and right elbow at 4 o’clock. Initially, it’s going to be significantly harder, but it will pay dividends in the long haul.
3. Overhead Press
Rule of thumb: if you can’t get your arms up overhead without dropping your neck (forward head posture), or over-arching your lower back, then pressing a load over your head is out of the question. Earn the right to do it.
To that end, overhead pressing has never been a main staple in my workouts nor most of my clients, for good reason. The pertinent issue is that a lot of folks can’t do them pain-free. And, in the grand majority of cases, people just demonstrate piss-poor form (top) — it’s like watching a live grenade about to go off.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should totally discard the movement. In fact, I still have a few of my clients do them from time to time because it is a great exercise. It all comes down to risk-reward.
Bottom line: if you can perform them then have at it… but, do so in an efficient manner (bottom).
4. Deadlift Butchery
Many lifters have a tendency to hyperextend through the lower back at the top of the deadlift. Admittedly, I’ve also been guilty of this in the past. This aberrant movement becomes more pronounced as the load gets heavier and heavier. Don’t believe me? Go to any commercial gym and see for yourself.
In all fairness though, those same people are just unaware of how to actually use their hips. We’re always going to resort to the path of least resistance. So, in this case it’s much easier to rely on our lower back than our glutes (or lack thereof).
Luckily, this can be easily rectified by pumping the brakes and backing off on the heavy loads to give yourself some time to… yanno, work on technique.
Two ways I’ve found to be extremely helpful in dissociating low back movement for true hip extension is the Hip Thrust and Sumo Deadlift.
5. “Squatty” Kettlebell Swing
There’s a world of difference between a knee-dominant movement, and a hip-dominant movement. With that in mind, the most butchered exercise out of the bunch would have to be the Kettlebell Swing. If applied appropriately and executed correctly, it can improve hip strength and build a solid backside. Treating it like a squat, however, ruins many of the benefits.