Posts about exercises are a risky venture because chances are that most people know that squats, deadlifts, pulling and pressing are good for you. That’s not cracking any major scientific code. While our ‘Big Five’ (squats, deadlifts, overhead press, pull-ups, box jumps) produce the majority of results at P360, it’s very important one also pays attention to the complimentary exercises that continue progress on lighter days and help build up those Big Five, and have you training…
Here are four exercises to start either doing more of or incorporating into your routine ASAMFP.
The medicine slam is exactly what it sounds like. You take a medicine ball, the kind that does not bounce back at hit you in the teeth, and fully extending overhead you slam it down to the floor as hard as you can.
Like, as HARD as you can.
It’s a great exercise that will work your entire body and not take too long for your body to recover. It’s also a dynamic core exercise which are much better than the static variety.
For example, a plank is a static exercise where you are not moving. A dynamic exercise is one that trains the core through movement, like a med ball slam. MB slams work transfer of force which carries huge performance implications. Great exercise for athletes and also everyday folks who want to simultaneously burn fat, improve their core and work power.
If you are doing a MB slam properly it will work shoulders, lats, back, core/trunk, quads, hammies, glutes and even a little calves thrown in there.
Not bad for 8-15 seconds of work.
(Note: You want to squat down just a bit lower on the pick-up)
Key Coaching Points:
- Make sure to fully extend your elbows overhead. You don’t want to throw it like a soccer ball with elbows bent.
- Release the ball when it gets to eye level on a path that is straight down. Make sure it is maximum effort. Ideally the ball lands between the arches of your feet.
- Do not pause after the slam. Continue the downward motion into a squat where you will retrieve the medicine ball in a scoop, rather than a bend over at the waist pick-up.
This is another great core exercise that is a bit more dynamic way than a traditional plank. It’s also one of those exercises that hides that fact that you are working your core musculature due to the involvement of your back and arms.
The core stability benefits of the renegade row have a solid carry over effect to squats and heavier exercises that require a bit greater demand from those core muscles.
You can either add a push-up in the movement or omit it. We make that call based on the other muscles used that day. It is shown below without the push-up, which I actually prefer because I like to go heavier on the dumbbells and not cannibalize shoulder work with the added push-up. No right or wrong way, though.
Key Coaching Points:
- You want challenging weight, but make sure you do not over rotate your core. You want your shoulders are on the same plane and perfectly parallel to the floor. Same thing with your hips.
- Row the weight to your ribs.
- Do not let the weight crash to the floor. Lower it at the same speed you have raised it and be smooth.
- Spread your feet two to three feet apart and keep your hands narrow.
These are for folks who can do regular, full pushups with no problem or mechanical issue. Unstable push-ups could incorporated via a few different implements. It could mean pushups on the bosu, balance dics, medicine balls, rings, TRX or more.
My personal favorites are on the bosu ball and for advanced folks, on the rings. If your gym does not have rings then you can use a medicine ball exemplified in the video.
Why have them unstable?
When the comfort of a stable ground is removed from an exercise like a pushup, your core and other muscles must work to stabilize in a manner your body is not used to. You work all kinds of smaller, complimentary muscles that would otherwise not be worked on a regular pushup and your chest has to work that much harder to complete the rep.
In summary, harder work on the main muscles and new work on otherwise unused muscles.
Key Coaching Points:
- If on the rings, you want to make sure your wrists are neutral. You don’t want them hyperextending so make sure your grip is deep into the muscle of the thumb, NOT in your fingertips.
- Keep your wrists aligned directly underneath your shoulders and do not let them stray outward like a chest fly.
While this exercise is more commonly known in strongman events and training it’s a perfectly acceptable exercise for anyone who wants to get stronger and improve shoulder health. It’s another one of those exercises that hides the fact it’s working your core because of the burn your arms and shoulders endure on the walk. The turbulence of your stride in combination with 50 – 200# in your hands creates an enormous demand on core stability which again, has very positive carryover to other exercises.
I wouldn’t argue that you will “get abs” with farmer’s walks but they make your core musculature much stronger which will help you better get those abs in other exercises like squats and pull-ups.
As Tony Gentilcore has pointed out, it’s also a great exercise for your rotator cuff so you if overhead press a lot get those walks in!
Key Coaching Points:
- First and foremost you want the weight heavy. If you are not dying to drop the weight by the time you get back, it’s not heavy enough. If the weight is too light then the demand for stabilization is not there which is almost the entire point of the exercise.
- When you pick up the weight do it properly. You want to deadlift it up, not just bend over and pick it up like an old person.
- Once the weight is gripped you want your shoulder blades retracted and perfect posture. Tight back and arched lumbar.
- Do not over grip the weight or your forearms will give out early.
- Keep your stride slow and smooth.
- Shoot for about 25 yards down and back to start and increase that length once you become proficient.
So, there you have it. A couple of great exercises to start helping the larger exercises that produce the majority of performance, fat loss and body composition results.