Fewer words, more videos.
From a usefulness perspective, video CRUSHES the written word.
I could write 800 words about an exercise, or show you a :30 second video and deliver more clarity.
I hope you view each video below and think, “Shit, that exercise looks fun/effective/challenging/engaging/different or applicable to my situation, I’ll try that next workout”.
Exposure to new ideas can change your attitude and enthusiasm about working out.
Equipment needed for these exercises:
- Yoga blocks (hockey puck, shoe box, etc)
- Weight (kettlebell, dumbbell, etc)
I used yoga blocks for the upper body Yoga Block Game in the video below, you don’t have to.
Use what you’ve got lying around the house (yoga blocks are extremely versatile, inexpensive and have a lot of uses).
Weight. Any object of weight will work to load these exercises. Common household items can be substituted in place of dumbbell or kettlebell. Use what you’ve got. If the weight is challenges the movement pattern without compromising safety, go for it.
In the meantime, look into getting yourself an adjustable kettlebell or dumbbell (adjustable fitness equipment are economical and space savers)
Quick Advice on Reps/Sets/Weight
Let’s address the two most common questions I get about most of my exercise videos:
“How many reps and sets do you recommend?
“What weight should I use?”
Good questions… but here’s the deal, only you know the answers to those questions.
I can suggest reps all day long.
But if you’re cheating the exercise on rep 3 of a 10 rep set because your ego wants to practice the exercise variation from my video, but what you really need is a variation 2-3 steps back in difficulty… well…
Same goes for weight selection.
Avoid the temptation to chase the “burn” during each work set and select a weight you can control every step of the way.
The Goldilock’s Rule for selecting weight:
Not too heavy, not too light… juuuuusssssstt right.
Take a step back and take an honest assessment of your strength and fitness level, movement quality, and familiarity with the exercise(s).
Ego-Free Guidelines to Apply to any exercise:
- Start with lighter weight (move up in weight as needed)
- Quality reps only
- Get to know fatigue and what it doesn’t to movement quality
- Move slow, move with control
- Be in the moment, feel everything, remain mindful
Enough lead in.
Here are a 4 (home gym approved) exercises and a movement game worth experimenting with in your next workout.
Split Stance Cross Body RDL
Have you ever had to lift an object from the floor without being able to get into a picture-perfect deadlift stance/position?
Stagger your stance and shift weight onto the front leg.
Lower the weight (kettlebell, dumbbell, etc) along the outside of the front shin bone until it touches the floor outside of the foot.
Pause briefly. Stand back up.
You should feel the bulk of the work from the front working leg hamstring up into the glute.
Slipping a little rotation into common movement patterns (hip hinge) is a good thing. (So is rain to make whiskey).
Aim for 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps per side.
Single-Leg Deadlift + Row
Coordination, balance, and timing are all put to the test with this exercise.
Grab the weight, hinge forward while balancing on one leg, row.
People get pleasure from bashing combinations like this because neither the deadlift or the row is “optimized”.
Interestingly, the same folks who poo-poo these exercises struggle to balance on one leg, sooooo….?
The purpose of this exercise is to be a movement challenge.
Balance on one leg, maintain shape and control while rowing an object of weight.
For perspective, this exercise variation isn’t my top pick to deadlift 500lbs from the floor. There are better variations.
Also for perspective, performing a row with a challenge amount of weight while holding a single leg hip hinge is a difficult little maneuver.
And how about the foot conditioning here?
Balancing on one leg is fantastic for strengthening the tiny little muscles underneath and surrounding the foot/ankle.
If you can, remove your shoes while you workout. Barefoot training is a really simple way to strengthen the feet.
Hybrid/non-traditional movements like this one offer up something different for your body unpack and navigate, which IS the benefit in and of itself.
Aim for 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps per side.
Yoga Block Game (Upper Body)
Objective: Push each yoga block out as far as possible.
I suggest going around the circle a few times because you’ll notice you’re able to push each block a few millimeters further on each attempt.
From my experience, when a normal linear set of an exercise transitions into a task or a challenge, people get competitive and the effort given increases.
The entire front side of your body is going to be burning like a bonfire on this one.
Arms, chest, core, etc. All of it… on 🔥
Aim for 2-3 attempts, either during the warm-up or workout.
Hollow Body Rock + Single Leg Squat
Hollow Body Rocks and Single Leg Squats (aka pistol squats) are two fantastic exercises on their own.
Here are links to each exercise:
Single leg squats are my go-to squat pattern. I get a phenomenal training effect without needing a lot of equipment (for added weight) and there are bunch of progressive variations to further challenge mobility (ex: dragon squats).
Single leg squats transition well into everyday tasks. So much is done on one leg, it’s beneficial to train for it in the gym.
Hollow Body exercise variations link the upper and lower body together and might look easy from afar, but they‘re actually quite difficult.
As an introduction to Hollow Body work, try holding a Static Hollow Body position for 30 seconds x 4-5 rounds (1:1 work to rest periods).
Good luck. 👍🏼
Fusing Hollow Body Rocks and Single Leg Squats creates a whole new movement challenge.
The goal here is to make two exercises look like one exercise by creating smooth transitions.
Aim for 5 sets of 6 reps per leg.
Isolated Exercises into Movement Combinations
If you’ve checked out my YouTube or Instagram pages, you’ll notice how often I fuse 2, 3 or maybe 4 exercise together to create movement sequences and hybrid movements.
You can take simplest of exercises and morph them into a difficult movement combinations.
Always start by learning a movement pattern in isolation.
Give your body a chance to understand the exercise.
Your body will gradually make gains in strength, control and work capacity.
From there, explore fusing several exercises together, creating combinations, etc.
Down the road, play around with speeding up the tempo, change angles, twist/turn, change levels, use different training surfaces, add weight, etc.
Exercises like this is can provide a simple introduction to movement training and create a renewed interest in gym work.
Which exercises are you going to try out today?
Any of them? All of them?
Give them a try and leave me a comment down below.
T’is all for today.