A Killer Full-Body Workout for the Gym Floor
Last Updated: Jan 27, 2017
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No room at the gym? No problem. It actually doesn’t take a lot of equipment to get a killer workout. In fact, all you need is a barbell, dumbbells and two kettlebells! So the next time all the machines at the gym are taken, don’t sweat it. Here's a full-body strength-and-conditioning workout that’ll build muscle and perfect movement patterns. NOTE: Do each of these exercises as listed. The numbers and letters indicate when things are performed alone or as a superset.
KETTLEBELL SQUAT JUMPS
This exercise is a total-body exercise with a primary focus on your lower body -- quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. By working for a shorter amount of time (six seconds, in this case) with full recovery (54 seconds), you’re really hammering the energy system that’s responsible for helping you be fast, powerful and explosive. It’s important that you go all-out for those six seconds, though. HOW TO DO IT: Hold a lighter kettlebell with both hands on the handle with feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down and then repeatedly jump as hard and fast as you can for six seconds. Once the six seconds are done, rest for 54 seconds. Repeat for five total sets.
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Arguably the king of all lifts, the deadlift hammers just about every muscle in your body. In particular, you’re focusing on your hamstrings and glutes as you lift the bar off the ground with a rock-solid core. The deadlift is a great way to teach someone how to generate hip extension with the right muscles (hamstrings and glutes), but it’s also one of the best overall strength builders. HOW TO DO IT: Set up with the bar hovering over the base of your toes. Before grabbing the bar, take a big inhale, blow it all out by contracting your abdominals, and then fill up with air again without letting your ribs come up.
While maintaining that tension, bend over, pushing your hips back and squatting down slightly. Grab the bar and use the weight to help pull your hips down a little further and remove whatever slack is in the bar. While keeping your core tight, lift the bar and press the floor away through your heels until you’re standing up tall. Perform six sets of three reps with one to two minutes of rest between sets.
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. ONE-ARM DUMBBELL FLOOR PRESS
In this exercise the ground gives great proprioceptive feedback (sensory info about your body position and movement) and helps you find your abs by flattening your back into the ground. And by having weight on only one side, it provides a anti-rotational stability challenge, thus targeting more of your abs. It builds upper-body strength while teaching you how to properly reach with a stable midline. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with a dumbbell in one hand in front of your body. Root your heels and use your abs to flatten your lower back to the ground. Once your back is in place, squeeze the dumbbell and pull it down toward the ground, keeping a little space between your elbow and your side. Try to take three seconds to lower the weight, and once you feel the back of your arm hit the ground, punch toward the ceiling as hard as you can. Do three sets of 10 reps on each side and superset it with the two-kettlebell front-rack reverse lunge.
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. TWO-KETTLEBELL FRONT-RACK REVERSE LUNGE
This is another total-body exercise that gets a lot of abs, hamstrings, glutes, quads and even shoulders. By holding the weight in the front-rack position, you force yourself to recruit more of your abs to account for the load. Thus, this exercise is great for teaching proper midline position and then helping you be stable and strong on one leg. HOW TO DO IT: Clean both kettlebells up to the front-rack position and interlock your fingers. Exhale to set your ribs down and brace your core. Without losing those tight abs, step one foot back and lower your back knee until it barely taps the ground. Focus on keeping weight on your front heel and maintaining a vertical front shin. Push through your front heel until you’re standing all the way up again. Perform all the reps on one side, and then switch to the other. You’ll do three sets of eight reps on each side -- and remember to superset this exercise with the one-arm dumbbell floor press.
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. SPLIT-STANCE ONE-ARM KETTLEBELL ROW
This is a great exercise to build a strong upper back while helping to generate some solid single-leg and core stability. HOW TO DO IT: Assume a modified split-stance position with your back leg straight and your front leg bent to 90 degrees. Have 70 percent of your weight on your front leg, and make sure you drop your chest a little to load your front hip and maintain a flat back. Next, place the kettlebell by the sole of your front foot so you can grab it while maintaining a flat back. If you can’t, elevate it slightly on a small box. Feeling your abs and the muscles around your lead hip brace for the load, row the kettlebell up from the floor without letting the weight rotate you. Lower it back down slowly for three seconds until it finds the floor again. Repeat for a total of 10 reps per side for three sets. You’ll be supersetting this exercise with the physioball hamstring curl.
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. PHYSIOBALL HAMSTRING CURL
Having strong hamstrings and good muscle control is essential for being a strong, powerful and healthy athlete. This exercise teaches you to do just that without extending into your lower back. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back and place your heels up on a stability ball. Curl the ball in toward your butt using your hamstrings, and then bridge up by pressing your hips toward the ceiling. Now, brace your abs and slowly move your heels away from your butt using your hamstrings. Take five seconds to straighten your legs without losing your bridge or arching your back, and then curl back up and repeat for a total of six reps and three sets. This exercise is supersetted with the split-stance one-arm kettlebell row.
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SUPINE LEG LOWERING WITH KETTLEBELL
It’s not news that you need to have a strong and stable core, and this is one of the best ways to make that happen. By reaching with the kettlebell, you get your serratus anterior (upper sides of the ribs) to kick in, which pulls your ribs back and allows you to really target your abs while you raise and lower the opposite leg. HOW TO DO IT: Lying on your back with legs straight and a kettlebell in one hand, press the kettlebell to the ceiling and raise the opposite leg in the air. Pin your lower back to the ground. While still reaching and keeping your abs tight, lower the raised leg toward the floor as far as you can without your lower back coming off the floor or your ribs flaring out. Once you reach that position, raise the leg and repeat for a total of eight reps per side for three sets.
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Aerobic capacity is incredibly important for both performance and recovery. One great way to bolster that capacity is to fatigue your slow-twitch muscle fibers by working at a slower tempo. HOW TO DO IT: Elevate your hands on dumbbells and assume the standard push-up position. Brace your abs and lower yourself for three seconds and press yourself up for three seconds with no pausing or stopping for 45 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds and repeat for a total of five sets. For this exercise to work properly, it’s crucial that you pay strict attention to the tempo: three seconds down and three seconds up with absolutely no pausing or stopping.
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
And that’s a wrap! What did you think of this workout? Will you try it (or have you already)? What are some of your favorite exercises to do when all the machines at the gym are taken? Do you have any go-to body-weight exercises you can do even without a gym? Let us know in the comments section below!
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