Lately, I’ve been playing around with and incorporating a few different exercises into my workouts. I’m all about increasing the challenge and effectiveness of each exercise I do and here are 3 exercise variations I’ve been enjoying (getting killed by) lately.
Kneeling Banded Hip Thrust with Single Arm Kettlebell Press
The hip thrust is a great exercise to target your glutes. I was searching some fitness blogs last week and came across Mike Reinold’s double kneeling banded hip thrust video on Bret Contreras’s site. I gave it a try and really liked it. It targets the glutes like no other and serves as a great glute activation exercise.
I was doing some overhead pressing the other day and wanted to make the press more strict. When trainees fatigue, they tend to lean back excessively, dip and press with some leg drive and not activate their glutes.
So, I thought, why not combine these two exercises together. You get amazing glute activation and a challenge to the torso to remain erect while pressing a kettlebell overhead. Plus, you can’t cheat by driving with the legs.
Constant Tension Reverse Crunch
The reverse crunch is a great exercise to target the external obliques and “lower abs.” It’s quite difficult for most but the idea is to curl your body into a little ball while anchoring your hands on a moderately heavy dumbbell or kettlebell.
I wanted to make this exercise a little harder, so I started doing them off a slightly elevated surface. The constant tension and localized muscle fatigue was crazy. Keep the eccentric part (down phase) slow and get ready for the burn. Do not swing your legs or kick to perform the rep – use your abs!
Ultimate Sandbag Lateral Bag Drag
Almost two months ago I took the DVRT (Dynamic Variable Resistance Training) Level 1 and 2 certification course with Ultimate Sandbag creator, Josh Henkin. It was an awesome course and taught more than just how to lift a bag of sand. Check out my top 3 eye-openers from taking the course HERE.
Anyway, one exercise that stood out to me was the lateral bag drag. I saw this exercise before but never really tried it. To be honest, it looked too easy and didn’t give it the attention it deserved. Boy was I in for a surprise.
If done correctly, this exercise is one of the most challenging core exercises I’ve ever done…ever! The amount of scapular, core and hip stability required to do this exercise correctly is crazy. Ideally, you would slide the Ultimate Sandbag as slow as possible from one side of your body to the other. Obviously friction and the weight of the bag must be taken into account but the goal here is to minimize any body (trunk and hip) movement during the drag. Keep your elbow locked and scapulae protracted in the support arm to fully engage your scapular stabilizers.
Try this exercise for 30-45 second sets. You’ll be sweating bullets.
Well, that’s a wrap.
If you give these a go, let me know how it goes.
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Have a good weekend,