The Non-Negotiables: Five Essential Training Moves for Every Routine

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There are so many beneficial training techniques these days that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming! I’ve come up with 5 essential training moves for every exercise program. These exercises will benefit you in more ways then one and get you ahead of the game in your workout routine.  As with every exercise that we teach at Premier Mind and Body, concentrate on your breathing (inhale on the negative/concentric, exhale on the positive/concentric phase) and focus on the muscle being trained (put your mind into that muscle).

Lower Body 

Front Loaded Squat (goblet squat) – Can be performed with a kettle bell, dumbbell, medicine ball or straight bar. The Front Loaded Squat forces you into a safer, load barring position and ultimately autocorrects your form. The front load not only helps transform your legs, it also strengthens your core as well. Hold the weight of your choice at chest level and perform a squat, pushing your hips back into a sitting position, keeping your core engaged.  Return to a standing position, pushing through your heels and driving up through your core.  Always inhale and engage the core as you drop into a squat and exhale upon returning to a standing position. When you engage the core, it will take pressure off of your lower back.

Bulgarian Split Lunge – Great for strength training, mobility and speed. Get into form as if you were doing a regular lunge, but elevate your back foot onto a step stool, step or stability ball. Perform a lunge with dumbbells in hand (or without), driving the back knee down towards the ground. On your return up, push through the front heel and back foot toe to engage the gluteus muscles. This exercise works both the legs and gluteus while emphasizing hip flexibility.  Remember to engage the core for balance and it will help drive you up from the bottom of the lunge. This move is great for leg balance.

Kettle Bell Swing – This is a challenging exercise to master, but once you do, you’ll work the whole posterior chain and boost your fat burning metabolism. The key to this exercise is remembering it’s not a squat, but a hinge at the hips. Keep a tight core, straight back and your hips behind your centerline. Let the kettle bell drag you down and then explode through your hips with the kettle bell.  Your knees shouldn’t bend more than 20 degrees throughout the exercise. Engage your glutes and squeeze them at the top of the exercise without overextending your lower back.  This is a great power move that will strengthen more than just your legs—it also works your hamstrings, glutes, lower back and your core.

Upper Body

Push Up With Medicine Ball – There aren’t many exercises that are comparable to the push up, except this power move. It works your core, chest, shoulders, back and triceps. Add in a medicine ball to magnify its benefits and shock the body with instability and variety. If you’re at a beginner level with push-ups, you can still do all the same exercises from your knees. Place a med ball on one hand and perform a push-up, while the other hand is on the ground. Shift the ball over to the other hand after each push-up and do the same on the other hand.  Another option is performing a push-up with both hands on the medicine ball to engage your triceps and inner chest. There are even more options to spice up the med ball push, such as the plyometric push-up, which involves placing your hands on the ground and then exploding up with a push, landing both hands on the ball.

Plank

The plank is a staple in most exercise routines, but performing them correctly and with variations is a crucial training move to every program.  I prefer shorter, fully engaged planks as opposed to longer planks. During a plank, squeeze the gluteus, tighten (engage) your stomach and engage your arms, legs and chest.  From this plank position, add some instability with alternating single arm extensions or alternating single leg extensions.  Another plank option is to extend both arms and opposite legs at the same time to add even more instability (and strengthen the core).  Most importantly, perform the basic plank correctly before moving on to more difficult variations.  As with every exercise, quality is better then quantity.

Taber Maier, #FL2Master

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