These push and pull workouts will enhance your performance, both in sports and in real life. They will help build total body strength, power, and endurance, and facilitate fat loss.
The opposition of push and pull in combination with the explosive, rotational, and bridging moves will work your whole body in a functional type of way, so chasing after kids or running up and down the subway steps will be easier.
The circuits are also designed to get your blood flowing between your upper and lower body, which helps drive metabolism and calorie burn.
There are two circuits per workout. Perform each circuit four times with a 45-second rest between each exercise.
These workouts are for people with intermediate to advanced fitness experience.
Barbell High Pull
- Place a plate on each end of a barbell. Weight will depend on your level. Start with no heavier than 65 pounds. The plates should make the bar reach shin height. If they don’t, you can deadlift the bar to start at shin height.
- Place the bar on the floor so it is close to touching your shin. Grab the bar with an overhand or pronated grip.
- Your hips should be down, feet flat, and shoulders tall. Your back should not be rounded at all.
- Forcefully drive into the ground to pull the bar off the floor. Make sure you pull with your hips rather than your arms.
- As the hips come forward the legs start to straighten to bring your body up (do not allow your hips to rise faster than your shoulders).
- As the bar begins to cross the knees, pull and shrug as hard as you can to make the bar move as fast as possible.
- Continue to pull your elbows up toward the ceiling.
- The end of the pull should have you in a position with your elbows high, hips extended, up on your toes.
- Guide the bar down through the same pathway it came up. Hold it close to the body line until reaching the starting position.
- Do four sets of 10.
Kneeling Cable Wood Chop
- Set the height of a cable weight stack to an overhead position.
- Holding the handle of the cable weight stack with both hands, kneel on one knee on a pad or towel. The knee closest to the weight stack should be up and the knee furthest away from the stack should be on the pad or towel.
- Holding the cable handle out in front of you, rotate and stretch upward toward the machine until the muscles of your back start to stretch.
- Drive back and down, keeping your arms extended.
- Keep rotating until you feel the cable wrap around the back of your shoulder.
- Keeping the arms straight, rotate back to the starting position in a controlled manner.
- The exercise should resemble chopping wood with straight arms.
- Do four sets of 10 per side.
- Lie on your side and prop yourself up on your elbow and forearm. Make sure to keep your elbow lined up below your shoulder.
- Stack your feet on top of each other so you are resting on the bottom foot.
- Pick your hips up and keep your upper hand on your hip or in the air.
- Look straight ahead so your top shoulder doesn’t roll forward.
- Hold for 30 seconds. Then lower yourself by placing your hips down on the floor.
- Do four 30-second sets per side.
Dumbbell Curl and Military Press
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Your knees should be locked and the majority of your weight should be on your heels.
- Hold the dumbbells at your sides in a hammer grip (palms facing in), then do a hammer grip biceps curl.
- When the dumbbells reach your shoulders, set your core and press them overhead without bringing them together.
- Avoid arching backward and looking up at the weight, as this can strain your back.
- Return to the starting position by lowering the dumbbells in a controlled manner back to the shoulders and continue back down through the hammer curl.
- Do four sets of 10 reps.
Dumbbell Alternating Side Lunge
- Grasp a dumbbell in both hands and stand with your core set and feet close together.
- Step sideways with one foot out as far as possible.
- Land flatfooted and sink into a deep side lunge position, allowing the dumbbell to touch the floor. Keep your back straight and your head up.
- Forcefully push back up to the starting position.
- Repeat on other side. This is one rep.
- Do four sets of 10 reps per side.
Incline Bench Press
- On an incline bench, using a slightly wider than shoulder width grip, lower the bar toward the upper center of your chest.
- Drive the bar upward and slightly backward until your arms are fully extended.
- Lower the bar using the same pathway that brought it up.
- Do four sets of 10 reps.
- Grip a dip bar slightly wider than the width of your body. Arms should be in a locked out position. Feet should be off the floor.
- Using a grip slightly wider than the width of your body, lower your body until your upper arms are at least parallel to the ground.
- Try to keep your torso erect with only a slight lean forward.
- Drive up until your arms are fully extended.
- Then descend back to the starting position.
- Do four sets of 10 reps.
Marc Miller is a New York state-licensed physical education instructor and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He has a master’s degree in physical education, biomechanics, and sport sciences. He is currently accepting new clients for training at their location of choice or at Independent Training Spot, located in the Flatiron District. MarcMillerFitness@gmail.com