3 Hip Mobility Exercises to Build Hip Strength and Function

Motion

Active mobility training is life-changing.

LIFE CHANGING.

In my experience, most people are going to notice the most significant improvements from dedicated mobility training in the hip and shoulder region.  

Getting the shoulders and hips working nice, pain-free, strong, and supple is a good goal for ANYONE.

And I know saying that sounds really broad, but a body that works nicely without pain during movement is ideal.  

Today’s post shares 3 hip mobility exercises that can wake up your hips and make them feel great.  

I preach to play the long game with fitness.  Whether you’re pursuing a body transformation, performance gains, or general health improvement, it’s going to take time.

Nothing long-lasting happens overnight with fitness and movement.  

It’s a process.

But after “blowing the dust” off of your hip musculature with a few good work sets of active mobility work, your hips will likely feel amazing.

“Amazing” = buttery, mobile, alive, awake, workable, etc.

The basic premise of active mobility training is to increase range of motion (progressively) and establish full CONTROL over that range of motion.

We accomplish this using a variety of isometric holds and dynamic movements. 

Conditioning the hips, a ball-and-socket joint with a really robust potential for movement in many directions, to perform tasks beyond lifts like deadlifts, squats, and lunges is ESSENTIAL.  

Deadlifts, squats, and lunges are all great exercises to include in a workout regimen.  

No question.

My YouTube channel is loaded with variations of each of those movement patterns.

But, from a joint articulation perspective, these exercises only scratch the surface.

Your hips can do more.  Way more.  Mobility training can help retrain your body to access this movement.  

Don’t interpret my message as a call to stop lifting weights.   but rather an encouragement to deliver nourishment to your joints in the form of active mobility training.   

Dedicated mobility training can help mitigate injury while boosting movement performance. 

Building strong hips is can be made simple, and these 3 hip strengthening exercises will help to improve your hip control and strength.

90/90 Knee to Heel

Touch the knee to the heel.  

Position the hands in front and outside the lead leg, using your arms to prevent any contorting of the body.

While moving the leg, hover the knee an inch or two above the floor while the foot lightly glides.  Keep the floor pressure as soft as possible.

After touching the knee to the heel, drive the leg away from the heel as far back as possible.  

Squeeze the glute hard and PUSH!

Keep the torso calm throughout the drill.

Aim for 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps per side.

 

90/90 Heel to Heel

Same idea here, except right before the knee touches the heel, articulate the hip and lift the knee upward.  

Guide the trailing foot heel to contact the down leg heel.

Some people might refer to this as a “heel click”.  

Call it whatever pleases you, just make sure you try it. 

Lightly touch heels without losing body position before reversing the range of motion and reaching back.

On the reach back, SQUEEZE your ass cheek HARD.  REACH!!!

Aim for 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps per side.

90/90 Around the World

I wasn’t sure how to name this movement, “around the world” seemed fitting.

Perform the same knee to the heel, upward lift into the heel to heel, but return to the leg to the start position by extending at the knee and swooping the leg back into extension (with a subtle rotational articulation).

All of the hip mobility shared will burn up the muscles to some degree, but this exercise will really set them ablaze.

Again, do your best to keep the upper body calm.  Avoid excessive leaning or other compensations.

Stay strict, make the hips do the work.

Aim for 3-5 sets of 8-10 reps per side.

How to Make These Hip Mobility Exercises Harder

Slow down and increase the time under tension.

Test your ownership over the movement by moving slower.  Try moving at a 3-count or 5-count pace.  Add pauses when you find weak points and GRIND!

Add ankle weights.  

Wearing 2-5lb ankle weights load will make each of these hip mobility variations significantly more difficult.

Especially on the 90/90 “around the world” variation.  Your face will begin to melt onto your neck.  

A 5lb ankle weight will feel like 25lbs when your leg is at full extension.  🔥 

A simple pair of ankle weights serve a valuable purpose with mobility training, and if you didn’t find the bodyweight variations difficult, take a shot of whiskey because adding weight is going to increase the intensity quickly.  

Consistently practicing active mobility drills helped me make gains with my lifts.   

I fought the idea for years and talk about it frequently on this blog and in the description section of my YouTube videos. 

Deadlifts clean up.  Squats clean up.  Overhead movements clean up.  

I couldn’t touch the dragon squats for months.  It got to a point where I wasn’t even sure my bony structure would allow me to perform a full range dragon squat.  Ha.  Regressions provided limited improvements.  

 

My hips didn’t understand they could move into those “extreme” ranges without compromising safety.  Our bodies are equipped with amazing safety features. 

So I turned my attention to ramping up the mobility work (along with dragon squat regressions), and whammo… depth achieved.  

I prefer these Valeo ankle weights that are adjustable from 5lbs to 20lbs.  

For Best Results

Give every work-set full attention and focus and don’t let your mind wander during the exercise.  

Center yourself, and stay in the moment.  

Expect these drills to be humbling.  Moving the hips like this will light up the muscles different than any traditional exercise. 

You can expect soreness in the days afterward. 

One workout is not enough to make forever change.  Mobility, just like strength, requires ongoing TLC.  

Patience.  

It took a while to arrive at your current state, it’s going to take some time to reverse it. 

Give the body time to adapt to the stress to make room for the next bout of stress.

Related Posts and Resources:

14 Exercise Total Body Warm-Up Routine

Home Gym Workouts! 31 Exercises to Stay Fit and Other Fitness Things

The Weighted Lizard Crawl

MyMobilityDaily (best streaming mobility training program)

Home Gym| 3 Exercises and a Movement Game to Build Useful Muscle and Body Control

Motion

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
  •  Patience
  •  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?

Me too.

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.

Kyle 

Uncommon Macebell Exercises

Motion

Macebell training provides a unique variety of exercise options mainly because the macebell has a weight distribution, shape, and design different than any other piece of fitness equipment.

The exercises a person can integrate into their workout regimen using a macebell are unlike anything else.

Every piece of gym equipment is a tool with different applications and uses.

The macebell, being a non-traditional piece of equipment for the modern gym, creates an opportunity to explore unique movement patterns.

360s and 10-and-2 are fairly recognizable circular/swinging exercises popular on social media, touted improving shoulder mobility and core stability.

I can’t disagree, but macebell training can go a lot deeper than just two exercises.

The macebell can be repurposed and morphed into a tool to challenge very dynamic rotational movements that include footwork.

The landmine-like exercise in the video above was tough, even with a 25lb mace.  Keep the arms extended at the elbows and reach as far out as possible.  Breathe.

Torque and Velocity

Macebells create a fantastic opportunity to train in planes with torque and velocities that other common gym equipment simply cannot.

Each of these movements presents a different challenge.

Enjoy.

Gravediggers

Gravediggers mimick the motion of shoveling and work great as a warm-up drill or for conditioning.

Play around with hand position on the shaft of the macebell.

Moving the hands closer together can make a 15lb macebell feel like 30lbs.

Add a twist at the top of the Gravedigger, rotating from the waist to the shoulders.

Flowing movements like this can be performed for higher repetitions, anywhere from 8-15 reps per side, for multiple sets.

Gravedigger + Push-Up Flow

A gravedigger, except keep moving forward, setting the mace down softly for a push-up.  

Back and forth you go. 

Squat to Press

Squat down while raise the mace up.  

Looks easy, but it’s not easy.  

Stationary High/Low 360s

Alternating high and low 360s is one of my all-time favorite combinations.  

The flow of this combinationon is addicting and the rotational aspect is very unique.

Be very, very, very aware of where the mace is positioned on the low swing.  

If you bounce the head of the mace off of your feet or shins, it’s all over.  

Even with lighter weight, you’re heading to the emergency room.  

To help avoid this catastrophy, choke up higher on the mace, which basically turns the mace into a club (it’s shorter family member).

You’ll be able to relax your mind and find a rhythm.  

Cross-Body Bicep Curls

Bicep curls using a macebell are freaking aggressive.  

First, you’ve got navigate absorbing the force of the macebell traveling with speed through the middle (while switching hand position on the shaft of the mace).

Hit the brakes, slow it down.  

Lower the arm into full extension, “throw” it back through the middle.  

I love this hybrid bicep curl.  

It’s a lot more engaging compared to a boring traditional bicep curl.  

360 + Bicep Curl Combo

Linking the traditional macebell 360 exercise with the previous mentioned cross-body bicep curl creates a very approachable combination.  

Core, shoulder mobility, biceps, force generation and absorption, etc.  

It’s all here. 

Rotational Skaters

Incorporating a little footwork with rotational movement brings us closer to the dynamic demands of sport and daily life.  

This is a tough drill. 

Firmly palm and grip the mass of the macebell while driving the hands inward toward each other to secure the macebell.

“Skate” and rip the macebell through the middle.  

Get aggressive with rotary compoent, but remember you’ve got keep enough control to push and stick the landing.  

Go with lighter weight.  The video shows 15lbs.

Adex Adjustable Clubs and Maces

It’s nice to have a few different macebell weights on hand for different exercises.

For example, the macebell I’m going to condition with using 360s is WAY heavier than what I’m going to drill rotational skaters with.

The problem is buying a bunch of one-piece macebells is it gets expensive and will clutter up a gym space pretty quickly.

Keep the gym space as open as possible is best (in my opinion).

Adex Adjustable Clubs and Maces provide a great compact solution.

With the purchase of an Adex Adjustable Macebell you’ll be able to quickly adjust the weight ranging from 6-30lbs in increments depending on your strength/skill level, along with the exercise.

Remember, some exercises will require lighter (or heavier) weight.

Need to go heavier?

The Rhino add-on kit increases the club weight options to 45lbs and macebells to 50lbs respectively.

Above 50lbs and you’re going to be buying a custom macebell from somewhere.

Prefer a one-piece macebell?  

👉 Here are several great options.

What do you think?  

Ready to dive into macebell training or at least add a mace to your home gym?  

Do it.  

Macebells are a very dynamic piece of gym equipment.  

You won’t be disappointed. 

 

 

Jump Rope, Kettlebell and Bodyweight Workouts

fat loss, Motion, Workouts

A jump rope, kettlebell, the weight of your body, a small space and roughly is all a person needs to create workouts.   

How heavy of a kettlebell?  

Good question.  

I suggest a moderately weighted kettlebell for each of these workouts.  

How heavy is a “moderately” weighted kettlebell?  

Good question.

”Moderate” will mean something different depending on each person’s current fitness level and familiarity with kettlebells in general.

Select a kettlebell weight based on your overhead press, which is often the weakest lift for many people.  

Choose a kettlebell that gives you hell to press overhead for roughly 8-10 repetitions.

A generalized recommendation for weight selection is:

Males:  44lb (20kg) or 53lb (24kg)

Females:  26lb (12kg) or 35lb (16kg)

No kettlebell? Substitute a dumbbell or a sandbag instead of a kettlebell.  

If you don’t have access to a jump rope, you can:

  •  “Air rope” (pretend you are turning a jump rope)
  •  Bounce side-to-side like a boxer  
  •  Perform jumping jacks 

If you’ve got no equipment and the only option is bodyweight, check out some of these bodyweight-based workouts, here, here and here.  

Warm-Up

Before you start in on these workouts, please, warm-up with some mobility and light bodyweight drills

Here’s a 14 exercise total body warm-up:

 

Workout Structure:

  •  Target 18-20 minutes of continuous work, or roughly 8-10 rounds
  •  Take rest as needed, keep it brief.
  •  Add or subtract reps as needed.
  •  Get creative with different jump rope drills.

 

#1 Jump Rope + Clean-Squat-Press

30 second Jump Rope

6 Right/Left Single Arm Clean-Squat-Press 

 

#2 Jump Rope + Lunge + Row + Rocks

60 second Jump Rope 

6 Right/Left Reverse Lunges

8 Bent Over Rows

8 Hollow Body Rocks

 

#3  Jump Rope + Ground Game + Swings

30 second Jump Rope 

10 Kettlebell Swings

10 yard Forward/Backward Crawl

10 yard Sideways (lateral) Crawl

10 yard Crab Walk

10 Kettlebell Swings

30 second Jump Rope

 

#4 Jump Rope + Ground Game Part II

60 second Jump Rope 

6 Scorpions

8 Cossack Squats

 

#5  Jump Rope + Kettlebell (as many rounds as possible)

30 second Jump Rope 

10 Kettlebell Swings

5 Dive Bombers

10 Goblet Squats

 

These are simple, approachable workouts.  

If you’re training at home, each of these should fit your space.  

Stay active, stay healthy.   

 

How to Make a Home Workout Out of Crawling and Kettlebell Swings

Motion

Today’s home workout includes two exercises that are perfect for the home gym: crawling and kettlebell swings.  

The theme is SIMPLICITY.  

Combining two exercises might sound limited, but if you select the right exercises it can be a deadly way to achieve a total-body training effect. 

Workouts don’t need to be complicated to be effective.  There doesn’t need to be a long list of exercises to work through.  

Alternating between two non-competing movements reduces decision fatigue, makes the workout time efficient and keeps things focused.

I could design a 5-day per workout training program with each day focused on two major movement patterns and a sprinkling of cardio conditioning.

It’d look something like this:

Day 1:  Mobility, Crawling, Kettlebell Swings

Day 2:  Mobility, Upper Body Pull, Squat

Day 3:  Mobility, Cardio Circuit

Day 4:  Mobility, Turkish Get-Ups, Flow Sequence

Day 5:  Mobility, Upper Body Push, Deadlift or Hip Thrust

A person could slip a core movement in on Days 1, 2 and 5 to complete the motif. 

👉👉👉 Notice each workout starts with dedicated joint mobility conditioning. 🤔

But in the spirit of keeping the main thing the main thing… today’s blog post is about crawling and kettlebell swings.  

Wait, isn’t crawling just for kids?

Nope.   

Adults can reap the rewards of crawling throughout life, even if just from the perspective of re-learning a movement skill.

This article will cover the benefits of crawling and kettlebell swings, variations of both exercises and how to organize them into nano-circuits sure to test your metal. 

Crawling

Even the worst-of-the-worst home gym spaces and cramped hotels are crawling approved, which is why I love it so much.  

6-8 feet of straightaway space can accommodate a dynamic crawl.  Even if you had to train in place, there are ways to modify the crawl.    

THERE ARE ALWAYS OPTIONS.

If you’re new to crawling start with flat surfaces.  However, as you gain strength and coordination with the patterns, consider increasing the challenge by introducing obstacles, crawling over, under and around different terrain creates a whole new challenge.  

Most people will be humbled by the difficulty of crawling.  It looks easy but it’s not.  

The shoulders, chest, core, and hips tire quickly, which is not necessarily an indicator of an effective workout, but more so a point to make for folks who think crawling looks “too easy”.  

I’ve been crawling consistently in my workouts for about 3 years now.  My first few sessions really sucked.  I lacked coordination, had limited endurance and really had no connection with my limbs.  Hand and foot contacts were loud and sloppy.  

God bless the process of adaptation. 🙌

Let’s close out this section with a few known benefits of crawling:

  •  Spatial awareness
  •  Total body strength and conditioning 
  •  Coordination
  •  Confidence (movement skill education)
  •  Minimalist (can be performed anywhere, anytime)
  •  Scalable for beginners to elite movers
  •  Easily adjusted to elicit different training effects
  •  Pair well with other exercises (lower body, pulling, swings)
  •  Natural movement other than lifting weights and linear cardio

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings pack a punch considering how minimalist they are.  

If you’ve got 1 kettlebell, you’re GOOD TO GO.  And not just good to engage in swings.  You’ve got access to the entire catalog of kettlebell exercises, combinations, and workouts.

Like crawling, kettlebell swings can be performed in extremely small spaces, outside, hotel rooms, etc.  This makes swings an excellent exercise choice for home gyms.  

Loaded cardio training, which some refer to as metabolic conditioning, is a great fat loss accelerator.  Kettlebell swings, in particular, seem to strip fat but hold on to hard-earned lean muscle.  

There are many case studies of people who have undergone incredible body transformations by leveraging a basic caloric deficit and higher volume kettlebell swings.  

Power training is essential for aging adults.  As we age, we lose power roughly faster than strength.  Kettlebells swings can improve power with a short learning curve. 

Benefits of kettlebell swings:

  • Increased power for the go muscles (posterior chain)
  • Builds a strong back
  • Grip endurance
  • Quick learning curve
  • Minimalist… 1 kettlebell for a great workout
  • Time-efficient total body training
  • Cardio, both aerobic and anaerobic
  • Pair well with other exercises (ex: crawling)

Crawling Variations 

📺 Forward/Backward Crawl

📺 Sideways (Lateral) Crawl

📺 Bear Walk

📺 Lizard Crawl

You can see how the lizard crawl and bear walk differ with regard to hip position.  

Bear walks keep the hips high with the arms straight (soft elbows).  The lizard crawl drops the hips close to the floor and with elbows flexed.   

 

Kettlebell Swing Variations

The video above demonstrates 3 basic kettlebell swing variations:

  • 2-hand kettlebell swing
  • 1-hand kettlebell swing
  • Hand-to-hand swing

There are a lot more variations to explore, but I would consider these to be the fundamentals. 

We will pair these variations up with a crawling pattern for each of the nano-circuits shared below. 

Nano-Circuit Training

[I made up the Nano-Circuit description, so don’t go searching for any white paper support.]

Nano-Circuits are work-sets that include 3 exercises or less.  

Attacking smaller circuits with only 2 exercises being performed in alternating fashion for set reps or time is a great way to focus on the task at hand.  

Reducing the exercises removes the amount of thinking involved, or having to remember what exercise comes next and for how many reps, time under tension, etc.  

All of your energy can be directed at moving well.  

Here are a few ideas for you to try:          

Forward/Backward Crawl + 2-Arm Kettlebell Swings

Accumulate 20 yards of forward and backward crawling.  The target distance for the crawl should not burn you out on the first set.  After finishing the crawl, step up to the kettlebell and perform 10 swings.  

Side-to-Side Crawl + Single Arm Kettlebell Swings

Accumulate 20 yards of side to side crawl.  If 20 yards is too far, shorten the distance.  Upon finishing the crawl, step up to the kettlebell and perform 10 reps of 1-hand swings.  

The Medley:  FW/BW/Side-to-Side + Bear Walk + 2 -Arm Swings

Let’s shake things up a little bit and include forward, backward, side-to-side crawl, bear walk… and then 2-arm swings. Perform each crawl variation for 10 yards before switching to the next variation.  Swing the kettlebell 10 times. 

Lizard Crawl + Hand to Hand Kettlebell Swings

Obliques are going to take a beating with this combo.  The lizard crawl is one of the toughest crawling patterns. Lizard crawling might require shortening the crawl distance because of how aggressive it is.  Play around with it.  Perform 5 reps per arm with the hand to hand swings.  Use a lighter kettlebell if needed. 

I am a HUGE proponent of moving with discipline. 

Not every exercise needs to be picture-perfect from the get-go.

Beginners will feel and look wobbly, which is why selecting an exercise variation of the appropriate difficulty level is so important. 

Even with simple exercises, movement mechanics are rarely sexy in the early days.

No matter which exercise variations you choose, establish the discipline DO IT RIGHT, versus opting to do it fast, intensely or while versus blasting through it chasing burn. 

Generally, moving slow to learn exercises and develop strength, mechanics, and coordination.  

I think people chase fatigue by rushing through exercises far too early in the process.

Learn slow, create a solid foundation, then add in the sexy stuff.

A fun challenge is making a 10-yard crawl last 60 seconds or longer

 

Home Gym Workouts! 10 Minute Circuit Training

home gym

Today’s home gym workout is all about simplicity. 

Keeping it simple, is keeping it effective. 

Turkish Get-Ups, crawling, traveling squats and lunges, push-ups, rolling are all included in the 10 minute mini-circuits of the session.  

Get ready to dirty your shirt.  

If you’re unfamiliar with any of the exercises mentioned above, please head over to my YouTube channel and perform a search using those terms.  

Always, always, always learn movement mechanics of new exercises while fresh and in an isolated fashion.  

Learning an exercise in isolation means you’re repping out that exercise with the basic work-then-rest approach.  Perform specific reps for a number of sets, rest, then attack the exercise again. 

Fatigue can be managed with this approach, allowing movement precision to become the prime focus. 

No one is above learning movements in isolation.  

The exercise’s degree of difficulty might change from person to person depending on fitness level (beginners versus elite movers), but the approach is the same.  

Learn new movements in isolation, code the movement into your system, do what you want from there. 

Workout Structure

The full workout consists of 3 x 10-minute sections, each with a different movement emphasis.

You can execute all 10-minute sections, or perform 1 or 2 depending on your space, equipment and time.  

Movement Emphasis

    • Workset #1: Turkish Get-Ups
    • Workset #2: Traveling Squats and Lizard Crawl
    • Workset #3: High Plank Step-Squat-Reach-Roll Flow

The goal is to perform the work non-stop 10 minutes with minimal rest.

Of course, movement quality is king, so if rest is needed take it to preserve the quality of each repetition.  

10 minutes is the target exertion time.  If you need to reduce the working time for each section, please do so.  Start with a duration you can tolerate, any amount of time is better than doing nothing.  👊 

After completing a 10-minute section, grab a drink, towel off the sweat and get ready for the next section.  Don’t waste time. 

Equipment List:

OMG!!! I need equipment?!?!

Not all workouts require equipment, but this one does, sorry… 

    •  * Kettlebell, dumbbell, sandbag, etc (weight for Turkish Get-Ups)
    •  Bodyweight
    •  12-15 feet of straight-away space

🤷‍♂️ If you don’t have any weights, find any object of reasonable shape and weight laying around the house that can add weight to the Turkish Get-Ups.  

Get creative, it can be anything.  A loaded backpack, children who are durable, a pet with a calm demeanor.  

At the end of this post, I’ve included equipment shopping options.

 

Set #1: Turkish Get-Ups

No secret sauce here.  

Turkish Get Ups are one of the best exercises on the planet. 

Stand up and lay back down for 10 minutes, alternating sides each rep. 

Turkish Get-Ups are a total body exercise and 10 minutes of continuous Turkish Get Ups is total body cardio conditioning.

Ideally, you’d have access to several different weights to switch it up.  Start by using a lighter weight, bumping up the load every 3 minutes or so.  End this 10-minute section with the heaviest load you have.

If you only have one weight, just use that.  You’ll get a good enough training effect.

I prefer to use kettlebells for Turkish Get-Ups, but I’ve used many other gym tools with success.  Dumbbells or sandbags can be used to add load to the Turkish Get Ups.

 

Set #2: Traveling Squats + Lizard Crawl

I love integrating isolated exercises into circuits.

Once you own a movement pattern, the options for using that movement pattern become limitless.

In the video, I’m traveling back and forth across a 15-foot distance.  

From right to left, I use a descending modified dragon squat, uncrossing the legs and standing up with a Cossack squat to shimmy across the room.  

After reaching the wall, I return to the start position with the king of locomotion patterns, the lizard crawl.  

Turn around, switch sides, repeat.

Dragon Squat.  The dragon squat is going to be a bit too aggressive of an exercise for a lot of people.  

Here are exercises to substitute:

👉  Walking Lunge (forward or backward)

👉  Lateral Lunge

Lizard Crawl.  If you’ve never tried a full lizard crawl, a work capacity circuit isn’t the time or place to dabble.  The lizard crawl is an aggressive pattern best learned fresh. 

I suggest regressing the crawling pattern to one of the following:

👉  Forward/Backward Crawl

👉  Lateral Crawl

👉  Bear Walk

 

Set #3: High Plank Step-Squat-Reach-Roll Flow

This simple ground-based flow includes a few common exercises (push-ups, sit-ups) along with uncommon ground-based flow movements (crab reach, rolling).

For some, this might be the first introduction into integrated movement conditioning.

Moving your body naturally through space.  

This isn’t your basic “jogging in place, knees to elbows, shadow boxing fitness” circuit.  

It’s bodyweight and movement, which will likely be humbling for a lot of people, including those who spend a lot of time resistance training in the gym.  

You’ll feel the difference between natural movement and linear exercise while training like this.  

During this work set, focus on smoothing out the transitions between each exercise.  Make the entire sequence look like it’s fused together into a single unit.  

I’ve got a semi-truck load of flow videos on YouTube.  

 

 🛒 Need Equipment?

5 years ago, I wouldn’t have referred anyone to Amazon for fitness equipment.

Today, Amazon is one of the best options to buy fitness equipment.  Prime Shipping is hard to beat for shipping heavy gym equipment directed to your home fast.  

👉 Kettlebells

👉 Kettle Gryp (converts a dumbbell to a kettlebell)

👉 Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbell (cost and space effective dumbbell)

Give each of these mini-workouts a try, leave a comment, ask questions, keep grinding folks!

A Giant List of Effective Core Exercises| Part III

Motion

Need water?  A cigarette 🚬 ?  Struggling to stay awake 😴 ?

Yeah, me too.  

If you made it this far, you’ve read through 30 different core exercises. 

Congrats, you’re in an elite group, primed with knowledge.

Brace yourself for exercises 31-48.  

Here. We. Go.

31.  Rotational Throws

The human body must be able to produce force and resist forces acting on it.  Rotation is a missing component of a lot of workout programs. 

Our bodies move through a ton of rotational patterns in sport and daily living. 

Don’t necessarily reach for the heaviest weighted ball. 

10lb, 12lb a 15lb medicine ball is plenty heavy. 

I like this style of medicine ball.

3-5 sets of 5-8 throws per side (ideally early in the workout the body is fresh).

32.  Chops and Lifts

Chops and Lifts are two simple (not easy) exercises that most people will find they: 

a) struggle to execute on either side (even with lightweight).

b) can only successfully do on one side, not the other (even with lightweight)

There are many different positions to perform Chops and Lifts in, but the inline position is one of the most humbling. 

Assume a half-kneeling position (one knee down, one knee up). 

Place the down knee directly behind the heel of the up leg.  So, make a straight line with your up and down legs. 

Chopping or Lifting once in this position is dramatically more difficult. 

33.  Anti-Rotation Press Outs

Training rotation is often forgotten yet a HUGE part of everyday movement.  One of the core’s important functions is to brace against forces acting upon it. 

Stretching a resistance band under tension, pressing the hands out away from the body, you’re calibrating the core to resist rotational forces. 

3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions.  

Hold each rep (elbows extended)  for 2-3 seconds.  Add time as needed. 

34.  Single-Arm Push-Ups

Everyone is fanatical about something, and I am fanatical about the value of single-arm push-ups.

To get started here, allow me to say that single-arm push-ups are not a circus exercise only for the flashy calisthenics athlete.  They are for EVERYONE.  Follow the progressions and you can make great gains with upper body pressing strength, stability, and range of motion. 

Single-arm push-ups are a fully scalable movement for a beginner.  A beginner can make single arm push ups more approachable by executing from a kneeling position, hands elevated on stairs/bench/plyo box or by wrapping a resistance band around the chest to reduce the loading. 

All of these regressions will build strength while moving you closer to a full single arm push up. 

I have found single arm push-ups to be one of the best upper body pressing exercises available.

35.  Atomic Push-Ups

There is a time and place for isolated core work, and at some point, you realize that all exercises are “core work” on some level.  So if you can add a push up to a knee tuck, do it. 

The key to the knee tuck in this exercise is lifting the butt/hips to the ceiling, as high as possible, to make room for the knees tucking in toward the elbows. 

3-5 sets of 6-15 reps

36.  Core Smash

Core smash = intense core flexion contraction. 

Lay face-up on the floor. 

Place hands on the side of the head (fingertips just behind the ears), slowly bring your knees to meet your elbows, pressing elbow into the knees as hard as you can. 

Hold it there, think of something other than the cramp brewing in your mid-section.

The set ends when the elbows lose contact with the knees. 

Aim for brief holds at first, extending the duration as you gain strength. 

37.  Arch Body

The core is not only on the front of the body, easily seen in the mirror.  It wraps around your body like a weight belt.  Hard to see in the mirror, the glutes and spinal erectors are crucial for human performance, body health, and injury mitigation. 

Arch body exercise is the opposite of the Hollow Body exercise.  Chest down on the floor, you’re going to create a pronounced U-Shape by lifting the arms/back/hamstrings and heels. 

Many will feel weak during the arch body, cramping, etc.  It’s ok.  Hold as long as you can, rest and repeat. 

Hammer the front side, hammer the backside. 

38.  Hollow Body High Plank or Push Ups

Assume a high plank position (aka the top of a push up), roll your pelvis under, arch your spine and protect your shoulder blades to make as pronounced of a “U-Shape” as possible. 

Hold there and embrace the suck, because it’s a highly rewarding position but a sucky position at first.  The hollow body position is fundamental for many more difficult gymnastics based movements.    

Beginner level gymnastics posture here.  Very humbling. 

39.  Stability Ball Stir-the-Pot

Stability balls are naturally unstable.  So, putting the elbows on the stability ball to perform a plank creates a wobbly situation.  Now, add a circular motion with the elbows as if you were stirring a giant pot of soup. 

Why do this exercise?  Because adding more time to a marathon length standard plank is not what most people need.  More time doesn’t mean greater gains.  At some point, especially with planks, make them harder. 

One way to make them harder is to add a dynamic movement to a fundamental stability exercise. 

 

40.  Suspension Trainer Pendulums

Slip your feet into the loops of a suspension train or gymnastics rings, turn over and assume a high plank position (top of a push up).  The feet are now suspended while the upper body is supporting. 

Initiate a side to side motion pendulum motion from the waist on down by activating the hands/arms/torso.  Grip the ground hard and swing the legs without breaking at the low back, hips, knees. 

This is a very non-traditional exercise that will blow up your mid-section.  Expect oblique soreness in the days that follow.

3-5 sets of higher repetitions, maybe 10-20 per side.

41.  Core Compression Pulses

Core compression pulses are a beginner level gymnastics exercise, which in itself is humbling to think about. 

To do them, sit on the floor, upper body erect and legs straight out in front of you. 

Place hands on the outsides of the thighs, pressing into the ground for assistance as you lift each leg entirely off of the ground, pulsing up and down. 

Lift the legs as high as possible without rocking, bending the knees or compensating to do so. 

Core compression pulses are a high repetition exercise, but beginners don’t be surprised if you’re only able to get 3, 4 or maybe 5 before form breaks or cramping commences.

I like to work these early in the workout, before any other lifting or cardio because they are so demanding and isolating the motion is important.  3-5 sets of 4-20+ reps. 

42.  Loaded Carrying Variations

Loaded carries are incredible for core development and total body tension. 

For the functional fanatic in all of us who want every minute of strength work and cardio exercise to translate to real-world scenarios, is there any other mode of exercise more functional than carrying objects of varying weights, texture, shapes and sizes (not to mention carrying in various positions) from Point A to Point B?

Personally, I do not think so.

43.  Lizard Crawl + Push or Pull

Perform a lizard crawl while pushing or pulling an object of weight.  Simple as that. 

I hesitated to include this hybrid exercise but ultimately felt that people who can Lizard Crawl proficiently would enjoy adding a brutal push or pull to the exercise.

A sandbag on carpet or a hard floor surface, a kettlebell, dumbbell or weight plate can all be used as the equipment for the push and pull. 

I’ve used all of these tools with success, but I prefer using a sandbag on carpet or hardwood. 

44.  Spinal Waves

It’s been said, “we are as old as our spines”.

The spine is our life force and if we cannot move it when we need to, it is likely to become a problem down the road. 

Exercise tips:  Soft pump the wall for 100-200 reps most days of the week. 

Sounds like too much?  200 reps of spinal wave take less than 5 minutes and your body will thank you for the movement. 

45.  Standing Spine CAR’s

Lock in the hips, hug yourself and articulate in a circular fashion as if you were trying to dodge pushes from a boxer.  Say hello to controlled articulations and their ability to wake up the obliques.  Brace and breathe. 

46.  Hip CAR’s

Assume a quadruped position with hands, knees, and feet in contact with the floor.  Raise your leg out to the side of your body as high as possible, pretend like you’re a dog about to pee on a fire hydrant.  Be mindful to keep your shin bone parallel with the floor, which means your foot doesn’t move higher or lower than your knee.  

[The guys at MyDailyMobility.com teach controlled articulations and a lot of other effective mobility drills in their daily mobility program.  Give it a look.  Your body will thank you]

Draw a large circle with your knee (articulate) as you slowly move the knee behind the body.  This will look like the finishing position of a donkey kick.  Lower the knee back underneath the body, but don’t set it down.  Reverse the pattern. 

Many of the best “core” movements are not isolated movements, and they shouldn’t be because isolating the “core” is not how humans operate. 

47. Movement 20XX Kick Throughs

Side Kick Through’s are a basic movement element in Movement 20XX, resembling a break dancing type move.

Movement 20XX is a bodyweight focused, ground-based movement system packed with performance and restorative movement patterns. 

Begin in a quadruped position, hands and feet supporting the body (knees hover 1-2 inches off the floor). 

Rotate to one side by pivoting on the ball of the foot, opening up your chest to the side you’re turning toward. 

Slide the trailing leg through and “kick” it through until fully extended. 

While the leg kicks through, pull the opposite arm/hand back as if you were drawing back a bow and arrow. 

48.  Movement 20XX Supine Reach

This exercise is LOADED WITH BENEFITS. 

Posterior chain activation, controlled rotation of the torso, elongation of the often shortened muscles of the core.

This benefits of this exercise are plentiful:

  Opens up the torso and chest in a diagonal pattern (far hip to far shoulder)

  Challenges and improves shoulder stability on the loaded working arm

  Opens up the hips anteriorly

  Activates the posterior chain (gluten/hamstrings) moving into extension.

  Uncommon position (head and eyes get a different look at the world)

The End.  

 

 

Kettlebell Clean – Press- Squat

Motion

Years ago when I was low on cash and training in my studio apartment, my lone pair of 24kg kettlebells provided workout after challenging workout.  Making the most of a tiny home gym also gave me PHD in resourcefulness. 

Kettlebell training is unique, unlike any other mode of training.

Bursting onto the fitness scene in the early 2000s, kettlebells gradually became a mainstay piece of equipment in gyms all over the world.

Kettlebells disrupted fitness.  The spotlight was shifted really functional loaded exercises.  Drills like swings, cleans, snatches, Turkish Get Ups and other combinations became the new standard.  Most of which performed in standing position.

Though the effectiveness of kettlebell training has never changed, the novelty of the tool has since dissipated, which is common in the fitness industry.  

Exercises, equipment, and methods lose their popularity in the mainstream… here today, gone tomorrow.  

“Bring in the next shiny toy of the year, please!”.  

Despite the sex appeal fading a bit, basic kettlebell exercises remain brutally effective for building strength, conditioning, and fat loss.  

I’m one of those people who don’t forget.   

Outside of nutrition, sleep, hydration and adequate non-exercise activity on a daily basis… short burst kettlebell training (high intensity, low rest, etc) is amazing for burning body fat.

And yes, if you want to maximize workouts, you’d better be auditing habits outside of the gym.  Don’t sabotage your efforts. 

 

Kettlebell Clean, Press and Squat Combo

The clean, press and squat combination is a prime example of how a simple 3 exercise circuit can be leveraged to produce a significant training effect.  

And it doesn’t require much time at all.  15-20 minutes at most. 

For your eyes only… 


This kettlebell combination features 3 staple exercises:  clean, press and squat.  

Each exercise is performed with very little or no rest in between each exercise.  

Smooth transitions between each exercise is the goal.

Changing levels with the kettlebell… cleaning the bell from under the legs up to the front rack position, pressing overhead, back down to the front rack for the squat for repetitions…

… is pure work.  

This work creates a total body training stimulus.  

It’s the “magic sauce” of this combination.  

Before moving on, here are some key thoughts:

  •  You must have a working familiarity with each exercise before engaging in this circuit.
  •  Respect fatigue and what it does to the body while under load (increase rest if needed)
  •  Work reps, rounds and rest periods appropriate to your 
  •  Choose a sub-maximal kettlebell weight that allows for 10-12 reps per exercise (even though you’re going to do 6 reps).
  •  Not sure what weight to start with? Go light, work up as needed.
  •  Keep the workout short (15-20 minutes at most)

 

Alternatives/Substitutions

Not everyone is going to have access to a pair of kettlebells that are the same weight, or maybe they are the same weight, but too light or too heavy for your current fitness level.  

One of the most important ideas in staying fit is becoming resourceful.  When space is limited, equipment is scarce or time is tight, DO NOT FOLD.

How many times do we read a workout blog or fitness article and realize we don’t have the same set up the author did?  I’ve had this experience hundreds of times.  

What do you do?  Make adjustments, move forward, get the work done.

No kettlebells?  It’s ok!  Here are some equipment alternatives:

  • Barbell (same exercises and reps)
  • Dumbbells (same exercises and reps)
  • *Bodyweight (change exercises and reps)

Barbells and dumbbells are the most common pieces of weight training equipment in the world.  Most hotel gyms, YMCAs, 24Hour Fitness or Big Box Gym is going to have one or the other.  

Both allow for the clean+press+squat exercise combination to be performed.  The main difference between barbells/dumbbells and kettlebells is the design and how you can maneuver them.  

Barbell training fixes both hands to the shaft of the barbell.  For some people, this is great because you’re not having to control each hand independently.  

Dumbbells allow for independent arm work, but the shape of dumbells means you’ll have to tweak hand position/technique for each exercise.  These are subtle adjustments are mainly to avoid bumping the dumbells into your body on each movement.  

Bodyweight.  Now, if you’ve got no equipment available whatsoever, you’re still in the game, don’t worry!  You’ve got plenty of options.  Tons.  

When resources are scarce, you make adjustments, adapt and push forward.  Don’t get hung up on imperfections. 

  

Try this bodyweight combination…

Wouldn’t it be great if life was perfect all day, everyday?  Yes, it would be. 

(👋 slap across the face)

Life’s not perfect and never will be, so the best practice is to be ready to embrace the situation presented and make do with what you’ve got.

If bodyweight is the only option for the workout, consider digging into this circuit:

  •  Alternating Split Squat Jumps
  •  Dive Bomber Push-Ups
  •  Air squat (or variations: pistols, rear foot elevated, etc)
  •  Burpees

– 6-8 reps per exercise

– 6-10 rounds

– Limited/no rest between exercises

– 45-90 seconds rest after each round.

Perform in descending order (top to bottom) without rest between exercises.  Alternating split squat jumps first, then dive bomber push ups, etc…  

Factoring in no weight is being used to load these exercises, consider increasing reps per exercise, increasing the number of rounds performed or reducing the rest periods.  

Be mindful not to adjust all of these variables in one shot, it may create more fatigue than what your body can handle.  It’s like fine-tuning the dial on a boombox to get the signal of a radio station.  

Tweak here, tweak there.

Burpees?!?! What?!?! I h*te you!?

I don’t believe burpees are the greatest exercise on the planet. 

Some people do, I do not.

Burpees are often blindly prescribed to the wrong people and abused by many, but burpees are an incredible exercise to increase heart rate quickly and condition the entire body… in a pinch.

Personally, I rarely perform burpees.  But if I have few other options, hell yeah, I’m going to rip out some burpees.  

Don’t tar and feather me.

👉👉👉 Up for a challenge?  Try this burpee variation.

So, you have access to kettlebells, but… 

  • Kettlebells are too light
    • Increase the reps 
    • Increase the rounds
    • Decrease the rest periods
    • Add other kettlebell moves or filler bodyweight exercises
  • Kettlebells are too heavy (for desired rep range)
    • Decrease the reps
    • Decrease rest periods
    • Insert bodyweight filler exercises to achieve desired training stimulus)
  • Only 1 kettlebell (see video below)
    • Perform exact same exercises one side at a time 
    • Finish both sides, take rest period
    • Single kettlebell training is fantastic.

Ok, I’ve laid it out for you.  Time to dig in.  

Get after this exercise combination.  The kettlebell clean-press-squat combination is awesome for improving strength, conditioning and fat loss. 

Go.  Now. 

 

 

Cheers, 

Kyle 

 

 

 

Build a Home Gym? Yes, You Should.

home gym, Motion

Before you read this, please know I am a HUGE advocate for moving workouts into the home setting.  

Cutting the cord on a big box gym membership is a little like cutting the cord on cable television.  I’ve done both so I’ve got some experience here.  Change is hard.  Sounds dumb but when I cut cable television for good, I had a few weeks of not knowing what the hell to do with myself at night.  

It was purely conditioning and habit driving these feelings.  

But eventually, I adapted and transitioned my time to more productive activities.  Of course economical streaming subscriptions also helped fill the void (Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, etc). 

Anyways, there’s some initial hesitation, weighing, back and forth, and although it sounds kind of funny… anxiety involved with cancelling a gym membership (or cable television).

“What will I do without my gym membership?”

Step one is to ask yourself if you’re actually using your gym membership.  If you are, how many days a week are you going?  Are you getting results from that money and time investment?  

These are simple questions.  Are you going to the gym enough to make the cost of keeping the membership worth while?

A lot of people go to the gym with intentions of losing weight, building strength, getting healthy, yet have very little if anything to show for it.  

No offense to these folks, but there’s a lot of people that fall into this category.  Gyms love them because not achieving results (aka:  spinning tires in the mud) is great for ensuring a steady revenue stream.  The anxiety is too high to cancel the membership.  So, you pay every month.  

If you do go to the gym and you enjoy it, KEEP YOUR MEMBERSHIP.

The goal of this article isn’t to project a rigid stance on big box gyms and paint them as being a bad place.  

My goal is to shed light on the effectiveness of working out at home and let you know it’s more than doable, it’s becoming the new standard.  Lots of people aren’t aware of this.  #themoreyouknow

A lot of folks use gyms as a social hang out just as people get memberships at the local country club to hang out with their buddies.  

Well built gyms often offer amenities to families (pools, child care, classes, etc).  So for these folks, spending the money might be well worth it.  

Mom and Dad can get some exercise in while the kids play in the pool with licensed gym staff.  

But…

… cancelling your gym membership will free up funds, time and hopefully bring some excitement back to your workouts.  

The biggest benefit (in my opinion) of moving workouts to a home gym set up is the freeing up of TIME.  

When I was younger I had a much harder time understanding the value of my time on this earth.  My perception was that I had all the time in the world.  Wrong.  

Fast forward several birthdays later, I feel much differently.  I have a desire to own as much of my time as possible.  Life’s too short.

Google “Memento Mori Chart” and fill one of those out if you really want the realities on the shortness of life.  

Balancing family, career and finding time for recreation can eat up most of the time in a day.  

Working out at a membership based brick and mortar gym certainly has it’s advantages, but it also has limitations which often go overlooked.

 

#1  Paying for something you don’t use.

A gym membership going unused or not being used on a regular basis is a waste of money.  

#2  Time.  

How much is your time worth?  

Time is our most precious commodity, and we can never get time back.  Drive time to and from, changing clothes time, waiting for equipment time, workout time, shower time, etc.  Big box gyms are a TIME SUCK. 

#3  Safe equipment.  

Most gyms still refuse to offer fitness equipment considered to be “taboo” or “dangerous” because it’s a liability for injury.  

So, the average big box gym is littered with fixed range of motion (aka:  artificial and unnatural range of motion cardio and resistance machines)

There’s a reason most people despise exercise…  because spending hours on these machines is uneventful and completely against human nature.  We were force fed the concept of exercising on fixed machines back in the 1960’s and 1970’s and somehow the concept survived to 2018.  

Those feelings of boredom while “ellipticalling” are real… and more importantly they are NOT WRONG.  Your body craves robust movement, exploration, change of direction, challenge.  

It took 8+ years for most gyms to offer kettlebells to clients for fear of throwing them through mirrors, dropping them on toes, or blowing out backs from poor technique.  All reasonable concerns.

To be blunt, if your gym isn’t offering and promoting alternative modalities of building fitness such as kettlebells, you’re missing out.

#4  Personal training is expensive

God bless personal trainers and their ongoing commitment to educating the public on the benefits of exercise.  

But personal training is expensive.

Personal training is expensive regardless if you’re training 1-on-1, semi private or in a group setting.  At $5, $10 or in some areas $70-$80 per session you could pivot and transition those dollars into one of many online training programs (probably starting with bodyweight based training like yoga or calisthenics) and gradually purchase some home equipment.

Start with a simple pair of dumbbells or kettlebells, maybe a suspension trainer.  These are three of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment on the market.  

Yes, I know barbell training is amazing.  But even in the year 2018, barbells freak a lot of people out.  I don’t know if their is data on this, but it’s anecdotal fact for me in conversations with people.  

So, do your homework on dumbbells, kettlebells or a suspension trainer.  

For the cost of one month of gym membership, you can buy one or possibly two pieces of equipment.  A kettlebell is a one-time purchase.  That kettlebell will outlast your life. 

The gym membership model succeeds and relies on signing up customers who don’t set foot in the door.  

I didn’t make this up.  

Listen, if I owned a gym I wouldn’t want all of my members to workout daily and tear up my expensive equipment.  

It would be a hassle and lost dollars for me to constantly fix broken down cardio machines, reface beat up barbells and weight plates, patch holes in benches, etc.  

No, no… if I owned a gym, give me your money and stay at home.  

Here are some great articles regarding gym memberships:

A snippet from the last NPR article:

“Joining a gym is an interesting form of what behavioral economists call pre-commitment,” says Kevin Volpp, director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Wharton School. Volpp says we actually like the idea of being locked into a gym contract … at first, anyway. “They’re picturing the ‘new me’ who’s actually going to go to the gym three times a week and become a physical fitness machine.” We convince ourselves that since we have committed to putting down money for a year, we will make ourselves go to the gym. And then, of course, we don’t.

Working out at home is not for everyone. 

“Wait, I thought you just told me that…”

I did.

Before you cancel your gym membership, it’s important to understand your habits and personality.  

Cancelling a gym membership with intentions of working out at home, but never actually getting the home workout habit to stick is not good.  It’s a step in the wrong direction.

If you were exercising twice a week at a gym, but now exercising ZERO times per week after making the transition, this is not a good scenario.

While taking workouts into the home setting is loaded with advantages, a lot of people may find it difficult to stick to a workout regimen at home.

I’ve found that inability to make the home workout habit stick are pretty similar to the reasons a lot of people shouldn’t have a home-based career.  

The comfortable environment of the home setting can kill off motivation for physical exertion and breed complacency.  

The temptation to do anything but be productive and get work done is too great.

Before cancelling a gym membership, test the waters by bringing 1 or 2 workouts into the home.  Keep it simple.  Work some bodyweight sessions, play around with the space you’ve got and get acclimated.   

No equipment means no workout!

Survey says:  Wrong.  

A common perception is that quality exercise cannot happen without the presence of fancy fitness machines.  

Heavenly Father… what are you supposed to do without any fitness equipment?!

I can see how a person would have this opinion, I really can. But the reality is you DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.  

If you have these feelings, you’ve got to explore your options.   

Here are some ideas for you… 

Yoga, Animal Flow, KinStretch, gymnastics and calisthenics and resistance training are all INCREDIBLE forms of movement that can provide far more benefit for your body (looks, feel and performance) than any machine ever will.  

Listen, exercise machines have their place, but moving your body in a natural environment should be a primary goal.  Your body and the ground.  Start there.

What about walking?  

Walking, time and time again has proven to be potent form of daily activity.  Start with 10 minutes per day, every single day.  See what happens.  

The Economics of Building a Home Gym

Before buying home gym equipment there are two important points to consider:

  1. Quality gym equipment often isn’t cheap at time of purchase.  The upfront cost of purchasing the equipment will likely exceed what you were paying per month at your gym.  However, shift your attention to the long-term value instead of the short-term.  Most quality gym equipment should last you lifetime versus paying for monthly gym memberships.
  2. What’s the cost of not exercising across the long-term?  This question can be hard to wrap one’s head around, but seriously, in 10, 20, 30 years, what will be the cost you pay for not taking care of yourself physically when you had the chance.  

A badass home gym could be built by shifting spending habits for 6-8 months.  

Many people won’t buy gym equipment for the home because they don’t know how to use it.  In 1996, this was a valid concern, but not in 2017.  This little thing called the internet has created massive opportunities to learn basic technique of physical conditioning, all the way to movement mastery.  

Fitness is now digital.  The information is distributed through video, audio and the written word, there is education that appeals to all forms of learning.  A lot of it is given away for free.

Everything a person could want to know about fitness is on the internet.  

If you’re one of those anti-internet people… please stop.  Yes, the internet has some crap floating around but so does society.  

Take ownership, research, experiment, explore, refine, get curious, learn.  

I want this article to open your eyes to a different perspective on working out, where you do it, how you do it and a alternative view to transitioning your health regimen back to home base.  

Even if you don’t make the switch, it’s important to have the information.

Please let me comments or questions.

Check out some of these other topics of I’ve explored on the blog…  

All center around workout programs, workouts, exercises or equipment fully compatible with the home gym setting.

 

For now… cheers to you and building a home gym.

 

Kyle 

 

AirBike Workouts| 5-Mile Ride for Time

Airbike Workouts

Assault Air Bike

The air bike is a low-impact, low learning curve, low-risk of injury, high reward cardio machine that’s perfectly designed for high-intensity workouts.  

Air bikes deliver a potent cardio stimulus.  The harder you pedal, the more difficult the ride becomes.  Combining the traditional bike pedals with dual action arms, and air bikes become a total body training experience.  

This article is all about a middle-distance challenge, the 5-mile ride for time. 

The 5-mile ride for time is an oxygen depleting, soul-crushing aerobic threshold workout.

If you do happen to own an air bike, the 5-mile ride for time can serve as cardio for the day, assuming you’re looking to sprinkle some in after resistance training.

Most people will finish the ride in 15 minutes or less, making this ride extremely time-efficient.

Air Bikes

Air bike training is a bland topic to write about because there isn’t much technique to riding a bike.  

To be honest, there’s very little skill required to peddle a stationary bike.  

I’m not going to sit here and pick apart technique cues for riding a bike.

While the air bike is simple to operate, the simplicity IS what makes it such a great piece of equipment.  

You can go HARD on an air bike, focusing purely on effort and output, breathing and controlling your brain’s attempts to get you to quit.

I wrote a more comprehensive article on air bikes here.

I appreciate the mental conditioning aspect of air bike training as much as the physical benefits.

As mentioned previously, the training effect is potent, blasting the entire body with the addition of the dual-action arms.  Pushing and pulling the dual action arms fatigues the upper body, and it a lot tougher than it looks.  

The resistance is proportionate to intensity.  

In other words, the resistance increases as the exertion increases.  

Sustaining higher intensity efforts is a first-class way to trash yourself (in a good way).  

The 1-minute ride for max calories is a perfect example.

5-Mile Ride Instructions…

The instructions for the 5-mile ride are simple:  ride 5 miles as quickly as possible.

Record your time so you can monitor progress and identify the time to beat for the next ride.  

Tracking your numbers will give you massive fuel for future attempts.

Make sure you remember to record your time.  Each personal best time serves as the target for the next attempt.  

Constantly attacking your personal best is a great way to gauge improvements with conditioning. 

Here’s a cinema-quality video of the closing seconds of a 5-mile effort…

Finding the data…

Over the years, I’ve been unable to find a log of best 5-mile air bike times on the internet.  I’ve seen private gyms and colleges post times, but not the general public.

I’ve come across plenty of recorded times using the large fan Schwinn Airdyne, but fewer using modern air bikes like the Assault Bike.  

The Schwinn Airdyne has been on the market for 20+ years so naturally there will be more data for the bike. 

I was able to locate several clips of 5 -mile rides on YouTube, but watching someone ride a bike for 12 minutes is boring, not to mention no quality control to verify methods.  

I’m looking for is visual proof of finishing time.  

 

Strategies to crush the 5-Mile Ride…

Your best 5-mile time will depend on the following:

  •  Increase in fitness levels (strength, power, endurance, etc)
  •  Willingness to be uncomfortable for an extended period of time (grit).
  •  Pacing

Unlike a lot of popular air bike workouts, the 5-mile ride requires a bit of strategy.

Don’t sprint too early.  Come out of the gates too hard, you’ll hit the wall and have nothing left to give as you near the end.  I’ve done this plenty of times.  

Don’t save it all for the end.  Conserve energy for too long and valuable seconds are lost which might not be able to recover at later stages of the ride.

Pace yourself with RPM’s and heart rate.  Monitor your heart rate (beats per minute) and pay attention to RPM’s.  Both are tracked on the computer monitor.  

Avoid obsessing over how far you’ve ridden.  You’ll always think you’re farther than you actually are and wish you were farther.  Settle into a challenging RPM range, focus on breathing and stay there.  No need to keep glancing at the monitor when only 15 seconds have passed since you last checked. 

Use your arms.  The arms play an important part in finishing faster.  You must get your arms involved to take on the stress.  Push and pull, push and pull.

Lift your legs.  The deadweight of the non-working leg makes it harder for the working leg and arm.  Actively lift the non-working leg on each revolution. 

Posture.  Keep the chest tall and the butt planted firmly on the seat.  Do not stand up, that is cheating.  Keeping the chest tall will keep the airways open, versus hunching like a turtle and trying to breathe all coiled up.

What’s a good finishing time?

12 minutes or less is a great time.

Here are the closing seconds of my most recent attempt:


Finishing closer to 11 minutes is aggressive.  

A sub-11 minute ride can be done, no doubt about it.  However, as you become more fit, it becomes more difficult to shave seconds off the finishing time.

My best time is 11:07, verified with picture proof Instagram.

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-9-04-00-pm

I need your help compiling the data…

After completing the 5-mile ride, stop back and leave your time in the comments section.

Snap a picture of the computer monitor like you see above.  

We need proof.  No cheaters.

Read more about fitness and workouts: