Why do dietitians recommend adding green peppers to a beef dish? One reason: the vitamin C in the veggie increases iron absorption of the meat. This is just an example of how foods can do wonders when paired together. But what about exercise? For instance, does a squat followed by a deadlift maximize results? And if it so what is the benefit? Here is a look at how pairing certain exercises can improve your workout outcome, enhance performance, and increase your health.
1. Deadlift to Row + Squat to Press = Lean Body Mass
Studies show that multi-joint exercises that recruit a large amount of muscle mass provide a greater anabolic response—such as increase in growth hormone, insulin like growth factors and testosterone—than exercises that work one muscle-joint at a time. Regardless of the gender, when looking to get tone and lean, the spikes of these hormones are important to improve the body mass/fat ratio.
Perform 3-4 sets, 8-15 reps, with short rest periods, 60 to 90 seconds. Use a weight that makes it hard to perform the last two reps.
DEADLIFT TO ROW: Keep the back straight, chest up and the bar close to your body. Bring the hips backward while lowering the bar passing the knees only if you can keep the back straight and proper technique. In this position do a row and lift up the body to the starting position. Don’t round your back.
SQUAT TO PRESS: Keep the bar at shoulder high, bend at the hips to perform a squat and in one motion lift the bar up to a shoulder press. Keep the core tight.
2. Dumbbell Step-Up + Physioball Hamstring Curl = Run better
A study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal showed the hip extensors and knee flexor muscles (gluteus and hamstrings) showed the most increase in biomechanical load with faster running.
The authors mentioned some experimental data where the limit to maximal sprint seems to be related to how hard and quickly a runner can push off the ground. In other words, you need to get a strong gluteus and hamstrings (back of the leg) to run faster. The additional perk that if you achieve it, you’ll look good from behind.
The step-up makes the mark for this purpose as shown in a recent study that revealed greater glutes activation when compared to other types of step-ups—side, diagonal, etc. A hamstring curl on a physioball works the back leg muscles, but also other important hip stabilizers muscles, which makes it ideal to strengthen the core too.
DUMBBELL STEP-UP: When stepping, push through the heals from the leg that sits on the bench. Don’t use the rear leg to get up nor shrug the dumbbells. Keep the arms extend by your side.
PHYSIOBALL HAMSTRING CURL: Use the hamstrings and the glutes to bring in the ball. Keep hips straight and tight. Don’t let them fall.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that trunk muscle activation was greater when doing free weights exercises, such as the squat and the deadlift, compared with doing core specific exercises on a physioball.
Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
SQUATS: Keep the back straight, abdominals tight and chest up. Sit back.
DEADLIFT: Keep the back straight, neck align with the spine and the bar close to your chins. Lift the bar using the hamstrings and the gluteus. Don’t round your back.
4. Burpee + Mountain Climber = Increase cardiovascular capacity
When you do brief, intermittent bursts of vigorous exercise, followed by periods of rest or low intensity exercise for recovery, you are in the high intensity interval type of training.
Martin Gibalba, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at MacMaster University, writes that even though this exercise protocol is extremely demanding you can get the same benefits or in some cases even more than traditional endurance training on improving cardiorespiratory fitness and health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Do each exercise for 60 seconds , rest for no more than 60 seconds, and repeat five times each.
BURPEE: (L-R) Jump back, jump in and jump upward, land softly. This should be one powerful move.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBER: (L-R) From a push up position bring one knee to the opposite elbow. Alternate legs. Do this as fast as you can without moving the hips.