Spending all day everyday working inside a commercial gym means I have seen some ‘interesting’ outfits, exercises and attitudes and by ‘interesting’ I mean crazy, ridiculous and inappropriate. Kinda like seeing someone put a coat on a cat and taking it out for a walk.
The following are three alternative exercises that you can add into your current program and start seeing the benefits immediately.
1. Turkish Get Up
The Turkish Get Up has been around longer than your Grandpa’s coin collection and is a one stop shop for improving coordination, balance, anti flexion core work, shoulder health, and awesomeness. There are several variations of the TGU including squat style and no hands though the traditional lunge style is the best for functional strength development. The key to a great TGU is to articulate the shoulder so you can transition through each step without too much grinding on the joint. If you are a chick and want to get into this lift, your goal should be to reach 20kg, while guys should aim upwards of 40kg. It’ll take some time to reach these goals, but that’s the whole point, right?
2. Farmers Walk
Pick up something heavy and go for a walk.
Bam! I’m now your life coach.
The Farmers Walk is hands down the best (and arguably) the only functional exercise on the planet. It just cannot get any simpler than walking a set distance (say 20 meters) with a heavy weight then resting and repeating. Dumbbells, trap bar, kettlebells, farmers handles, sandbags and your significant other (!!) are all great tools to use when doing the Farmers Walk. Whether it be at the start of your workout – go heavy for 5 sets of 20-30 meters with 2-3 minutes rest or at the end of your workout – use medium weight and hold for 3-5 sets of 90 seconds each, you will reap the rewards of the Farmers Walk so fast you’ll be able to paint yourself green at the next dress up party and go as The Hulk instead of Gumby.
3. Power Wheel Crawl
Pioneered by Jon Hinds of Monkey Bar Gym fame, the Power Wheel Crawl is a brutally effective core exercise that will challenge you both mentally and physically. The only catch here is that you will need access to a power wheel, which thankfully most gyms have these days and there will be some slight discomfort initially in the wrists (until you harden up and get on with it.) The beautiful part of the Power Wheel Crawl is that your abdominals will need to stay braced in slight extension while your crawl across the floor, the opposite to most current core training methods which will have you in constant flexion (think of sit up.) It has long been thought that too much flexion can lead to postural issues and imbalances, especially for people who are desk bound at work. While this may not be the case for everyone it is certainly something to take into consideration.
All of the exercise above are made much easier and become more effective when taught and programmed properly. Having a good coach will help you achieve your goal faster and most importantly safer, so go and get one right now. Go. Seriously.