Many gym goers repeat the same routines over and over again.
It’s time to add a new weapon to your fat burning arsenal. It’s time to get more functional and improve your strength. It’s time to improve that posture. Each one of these moves can do all of those things mentioned above!
I’m not saying this is superior to back squats, but this is a move that can be done as often. If you don’t like the barbell approach, you can use dumbbells in front of your shoulders or even a kettle bell up by your chest.
What I like about this exercise is that, when done right, it forces you to lift your chest and keep your shoulders back. (Lifting your elbows “up” as you go down will help this process, as well.) Many people have a hyper kyphosis of the thoracic spine happening (rounded shoulders & “slumped” posture). This move can help alleviate this problem to a degree. Make sure you perform through a full range of motion. Great asses have been sculpted at the bottom of squat patterns!
Reverse Cable Woodchop
One reason this pattern is so beneficial is that it helps to mobilize the thoracic spine. Another reason is it helps people to reverse their thoracic spine curvature. I am very conscious of the back/spine health of my clients. As mentioned above, many people suffer from a slumped forward posture. Over time this can lead to the dowagers hump. You don’t want to be that old man or lady bending forward. It doesn’t have to be that way. This move can help. Think of a guy chopping down a tree.
This motion, rather than chopping high to low, simply moves low to high. Grab a cable around knee height or just above. Stand facing ninety degrees from the cable with a wide stance. 70% of your weight is on the cable side leg and 30% on the other. Now in one motion and in this order 1) shift your weight to 70% opposite leg of the cable and 30% near side leg 2) rotate the torso 3) pull the cable at approximately a 45 degree angle across your chest ending up outside of the body on the opposite side.
A few things to remember, always stay tall, always look straight ahead, keep the arms long; the move should be done quickly with a slower return back to start. Moving from the ground up - legs, torso, arms – will work the entire body, including the core, and help you stay functional in your daily life.
Supine Lateral Ball Roll
Grab a swiss/stability ball and a dowel rod (if you have one). Lay on the ball like you were going to do a chest press on the ball. Make sure your head and shoulders are on the ball. If you have a dowel rod, let it rest on your chest by your collar bone with arms extended out horizontally. If you don’t have a dowel rod just make a letter “T” with your arms.
Your goal through the exercise is to keep your hips up and even with the ground, keep your hips level with the ground, keep your body perpendicular to the dowel rod (or arms). Start the movement by “crab walking” towards one side. As your feet move your shoulders have to move the same distance (staying perpendicular to the arms). Go as far as you can to that side making sure the hips and everything else is in the same alignment as the starting position. Once you’ve gone as far as you can simply crab walk back and go towards the other side. Complete 5-6 trips each side then rest.
This is great for the core, butt and hamstrings. It is actually a really healthy (and sneaky) move for the deep cervical extensor (neck) muscles to pull those heads back over the shoulders where they belong!
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About Phil Gephart:
Phil Gephart is a certified personal trainer with a Master's Degree (MS) in Exercise Science with a focus in Coaching & Athletic Administration, received in 2009 from Concordia University in beautiful Irvine, California. Phil’s passion for fitness is reflected in his involvement in sports throughout his life—in high school, he played basketball, baseball and soccer, in college he continued playing basketball and soccer. Phil also played basketball professionally for five years.
Phil Gephart is currently a professor in the exercise science department at Concordia University, where he teaches an Advanced Personal Training course to undergraduate students.