A Giant List of Effective Core Exercises| Part III

Motion

Need water? ¬†A cigarette ūüö¨¬†? ¬†Struggling to stay awake ūüėī¬†?

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 ‚Äúcore work‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄúU-Shape‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúcore‚ÄĚ movements are not isolated movements, and they shouldn‚Äôt be because isolating the ‚Äúcore‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúkick‚ÄĚ 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.¬†

(ūüĎ謆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.

ūüĎČūüĎČūüĎȬ†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 

 

Buy a Gym Membership or Build a Home Gym???

Quick Tips

I draw ideas to write from every little conversation and every daily experience. 

I recently had a longtime friend ask me this very question:

“I am just getting back into working out, would you recommend getting a gym membership or should I buy some simple pieces of equipment from a sporting goods store”.

This is a really good question actually.  The funny thing is that if someone would have asked me this 5 years ago, I would have said get the gym membership.  

Why?

Home gym equipment sucked. ¬†Honestly, home gym equipment was really shitty. ¬†You were stuck shelling out thousands of dollars for a treadmill or a elliptical trainer, or maybe a universal gym that companies touted as the “greatest thing ever”. ¬†

The problem is two-fold for this type of equipment:

1) ¬†You’re buying a $2,000 coat rack. ¬†Most people buy a treadmill and 2 months later they are using it to dry their laundry. ¬†This might be some of you reading this blog right now. ¬†Same goes for a universal gym or elliptical.

2)  It provides an inferior training effect.  We know this!  You only have to maintain the speed of the belt on a treadmill with zero ground force production and a universal gym is a machine with fixed angles that place a much lower demand on crucial stabilizing muscles that fire in reaction to daily physical demands (whatever they may be).  A weight machine has very little real world carryover.  

Fast forward to my response to him today…

Without a doubt, I said go with the home gym set up. ¬†I have been training at home for the past 5 years and it has been refreshing. ¬†Absolutely refreshing. ¬†I don’t like being around people when I train. ¬†I don’t like the little conversations about my “toe shoes”, I don’t even like people asking if they can work in with me or when I am projecting to be done with the equipment that I am using. ¬†I don’t like the music they play in gyms, blah blah blah. ¬†

I just don’t like it.

Now, the second reason that I recommended the home gym is because quite frankly, home training went to another level with the introduction of:

  • Suspension trainers
  • Kettlebells
  • Dumbbells (Powerblocks)
  • Jump Rope
  • Weight-vests
  • Battling Ropes
  • Sand bags
  • Sand-bells

These are some of the more popular pieces of training equipment that is widely available to the public today.

Now, you’ll spend a decent chunk of change if you bought one or two of all those items that I listed, so will trim down the list to what I believe are the most impactful pieces of equipment.

1)  Suspension Trainer

2)  Kettlebells

I would go with those two items. ¬†If you’re a male, start with a 12kg and a 16kg kettlebell (be prepared to make a quick jump to a 20kg) and a LifeLine Jungle Gym XT suspension trainer. ¬†Females, start with a 8kg and 12kg kettlebell (be prepared to make a quick jump to the 16kg) ¬† The exercise variations that a person can come up with from just these three pieces of equipment will blow your mind. ¬†Endless combinations, workouts, etc. ¬†Total body training that lends itself to not just stripping fat and building a lean physique, but also promotes the building of athleticism. ¬†¬†

The suspension trainer alone will keep you progressing for months. ¬†It’s the single best piece of home training equipment on the market. ¬†The portability and simplicity of a suspension trainer make it ideal for those who travel or those who wish to initiate the home training experience on a budget. ¬†I love suspension trainers for folks that have banged up joints from years of grinding it out lifting big weight. ¬†Reputable brands are TRX and Lifeline Jungle Gym, although i can’t say enough about the quality of the Jungle Gym XT and it’s unbeatable price point ($99 or less). ¬†Watch for sales.

I buy my kettlebells from Lifeline also. ¬†They are high quality, great surface finish and the customer service makes ordering a breeze every time. ¬†Plus Jon Hinds is local to my location so it feels good buying a product from someone in my own backyard. ¬†Trust me, it is possible to buy a shitty kettlebell. ¬†Buying kettlebells is just like buying everything else. ¬†You’ve got quality and then you’ve got imitation, then you’ve got plain old cheap. ¬†Stay away from the latter two. ¬†You’re only buying your kettlebells once, so make the purchase count or I can promise you that you will wish you had. ¬†At least your hands and wrist will wish you had.As for the durability of suspension trainers and kettlebells‚Ķ ¬†you should have both for a lifetime. ¬†The only reason the suspension trainer would crap out on you is if you were using it improperly, maybe having excessive loads on the straps or stringing it around a coarse/sharp edged¬†anchor point, which would cut through the straps. ¬†Shouldn’t be an issue if you use your head. ¬†

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Kettlebells are a one time purchase that will last forever.  Period.  Well worth the money.  

The bottom-line is this…

The options for training at home were terrible even just a couple of years ago.  That has all changed with the evolution of improved equipment options.  More and more people are seeking alternatives to the commercial gym, and I fully support this movement.  Obviously the best approach is to analyze your budget and what you desire from your training efforts.  I would also evaluate your personality.

Are you the kind of person that can give an effort without anyone watching?  If not, home training is not for you.  At least not yet.  

If you can, and you have the money to invest in some simple gym equipment… well… welcome to the club.

 

 

Respectfully,

 

KG