5 Not-So-Difficult Exercises to Make you Look Like an Expert
The proliferation of social media exercise videos presents fitness professionals with a dilemma: how to keep their training appearing cutting edge, while still providing the safety and efficacy that is demanded by the profession.
While safe and effective with advanced clients, some exercises such as the Olympic lifts and pulls from the floor would need to be modified for others. Also, some isolated movements can be progressed to provide a better use of time.
This article will discuss five exercises that are excellent progressions of traditional movements, and can provide variety to assist with client engagement.
Single Arm Snatch
The Olympic lifts, when performed with an Olympic barbell are complex and require high time commitments to master the technical aspect. For individuals that do not have the prerequisite flexibility or training tenure with Olympic lifts, the single arm Dumbbell snatch is a good alternative
One of the benefits of a single arm dumbbell snatch is that less flexibility is required to hold a single dumbbell overhead compared to a barbell. This makes the movement an ideal learning tool for individuals that also need to improve flexibility in the musculature surrounding the shoulder, specifically the latissimus dorsi. Furthermore the centralized load of the dumbbell reduces central stability requirements.
When performing the single arm dumbbell snatch, obtain a stance that is wide enough to compensate for the width of the dumbbell. The movement starts with the dumbbell at the hang position (even with the knees). Common errors include swinging the dumbbell outward, trying to turn over too quickly, and jumping backward.
Trap Bar Deadlift
The trap bar, or hex bar is a tool that provides another option for pulling from the floor. With a traditional deadlift, the loading is slightly in front of the body’s center of mass and the hands are in a pronated position. This increases the stability demands and difficulty of the movement. The trap bar places the loading directly through the individual’s center of gravity and uses a neutral grip.
This allows the individual to obtain a more upright position, taking strain off the lower back and encouraging simultaneous knee and hip extension.
When performing the trap bar deadlift, the feet should be underneath the hips and the toes forward. The starting position should look like the individual is about to perform a vertical jump. The spine must be neutral and the hips slightly elevated above the knees, with the shoulders directly over or slightly in-front of the center of the trap bar.
Shoulder hyperextension and horizontal abduction are often accomplished in open chain, closed circuit movements such as the seated row. Modified pull-ups provide a bodyweight, closed chain closed circuit alternative.
A closed kinetic chain requires the integration of ground reaction force and internal energy management. The distally fixed hands on the bar requires greater stability and improved activation.
Modifying the movement further by adding a small ball under the feet will challenge stability even more. Common flaws of the modified pull-up include shoulder internal rotation at the top of the movement.
Ballistic Bench Push-Ups
If the bench press is occupied and you want to challenge the pecs, try adding velocity. The ballistic bench push-up not only promotes ballistic horizontal adduction and shoulder flexion, but full ROM through the eccentric lowering. Alternative ballistic exercises include medicine ball throws (novice) and clapping push-ups (advanced).
The set up for the ballistic bench push-up requires two benches placed just outside shoulder width apart with a slight angle. Once full ROM is obtained in the eccentric phase, the individual must rapidly press their body into the air and return safely to the bottom position.
Lateral Lunge to Hammer Curl
For vanity or performance, biceps are often relegated to the end of a training session. However, instead of performing isolated movements, a combination exercise such as the lateral lunge to hammer curl will both save time, and challenge the hip musculature and stability.
Perform a lateral lunge with a dumbbell in each hand. Upon returning to the starting position, perform a bicep curl or hammer curl. Lunges can be performed by alternating sides, or if space is limited, perform a specified number of reps to one side and then switch to the other side.