How many times are you at gym and have to guess what to do next? Perhaps you did the leg press and then jumped into a lat pull down without any other reason other than the lat machine was next to the leg press. Of course, any exercise is better than none. But there are some exercises that when coupled together will actually multiply your fitness, sports, and health goals.
1. Push-Ups + Upright Row = Ready to Show Off the Arms
When shaping the upper body the push-up is one of the best exercises to build muscle and tone, mainly for the pectoral and the triceps muscles. However, in a study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal, some other back and shoulders muscles are also recruited according to the hand position, such as shoulder width apart and/or wider or narrower than shoulder width apart. Other muscles like the biceps and trapezius are relatively inactive though.
But if you pair this gold standard upper move with a slightly narrow grip up-right row—hands shoulders width apart—you will tackle the two muscles left behind in the push-ups (biceps and trapezius) to round up a ripped torso ready to show off this summer.
Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps.
[Below]: When going down, make sure that you keep the back straight, shoulders down and do not sink the hips, keep the neck align with the spine. Vary the hand position to emphasize different muscles.
[Below]: Keep the bar close to your body and lift it up to shoulder height.
2. Front Lunge + Split Jumps = Prevent Osteoporosis
In a study published in the Physiology & Biochemistry Journal, 51 untrained women, aged 20-35 years, were put in two different types of workouts: high-impact aerobics and strength training. After 12 months only the ones that performed the high impact aerobics resulted in significant increase of bone mass.
Dynamic, high intensity loading to yourskeletal system is vital. Physical activities that
require jumping, sprinting, and agility have proven to increase bone mass while exercise like swimming and cycling have the least affect on bone health. [NOTE: Don’t do these exercises if you already have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Still exercise is a must, you should make some modifications to do it safely.]
Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Keep the bar at shoulder level, don’t let the arms fall. Keep the back straight and chest up while you sit on one leg. Do not lean forward.
From a lunge position, jump and land softly with the opposite leg. If this is too hard. Jump on one leg without switching legs.
3. BB Pullover + DB Walking Lunges = Increase Flexibility
If you think the only way to improve your flexibility is static stretching exercises (reach for your toes!), think again. A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research demonstrated that full range resistance training exercises can improve flexibility as well as a typical static stretching program—and even improve strength better than stretching.
Do these two exercises for 3-4 sets, vary the reps through the weeks anywhere from 8-15 reps. Make sure the weight adapts to the reps—the lower the reps, the higher the load. These two exercises were part of the 12 exercises that were used in the study’s program. (In particular, these two moves force you to fully stretch the shoulder joint and the pectoralis muscles.) Flexibility is joint specific, which means you will improve the joints you are working.
[Below]: Begin with your arms extended above your chest. Bring the bar all the way back while keeping the arms and elbows slightly flexed. Use your chest muscles to then bring the bar to chest height again.
[Below]: Think that you are “walking.” You want to reach out, fully step forward, while you sit back and keep your back straight and core tight. Don’t lean forward. Step into a lunge from one leg to another in a continuous motion.
4. Narrow Squat + DB Lunge to Bicep Curl = Cycling to the Tour the France
Endurance aficionados still fear weight training because they think bulky muscles will hinder their performance. Nevertheless, if you want to improve your cadence while reducing the physiological demands—i.e., get faster and tire less—a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, shows that adding a weight lifting workout to your usual endurance cycling training—four legs exercises, two times a week—does a better job than the usual endurance training (long duration, low intensity) workout.
Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
[Below]: Keep the legs slightly narrower than shoulder width apart to focus on the quadriceps muscles, which do most of the job when cycling. Sit back and keep your back straight and abdominals tight.