Featured Movements

Seated Pull-Ups

Set a barbell across J-Hooks on a rig as shown above. The bar should be high enough where you can extend the arms while your bottom is in contact with the floor. Pull down on the barbell through your shoulder blades, pressing the shoulders down. Have your knees bent and feet lay flat on the floor for leverage.

Using your feet only as neccessary for assistance, bend the elbows down as you pull your upper body directly up, keeping the shoulders almost directly over the hips. Do not lean back with the upper body at an angle.

Continue to pull until your chin is above the bar. Descend with the shoulders still above the hips until your bottom makes contact again with the floor and arms are extended.

Barbell Deadlift

Place your feet (shoe laces) underneath the barbell, standing hip-width apart. Bend down to grab the barbell 1-2 inches outside of the hips with arms extended. Set shoulders back and brace the core to ensure a neutral spine. Hips start below the shoulders (as shown above). Look at an angle ahead of you.

Keeping the arms long, lift the bar by pressing through the feet and moving the knees slightly back. The back angle should not change here with the hips still below the shoulders. Maintain leg contact with the barbell, and the feet stay flat on the floor.

Once the bar moves to the knees, the shoulders are far in front of the barbell, and the knees are just slightly bent. The back angle should still maintain a similar angle compared to when the movement started from the floor. Avoid the shoulders rounding forward!

Still lifting upward, squeeze the legs and open the hips. At the top of the movement, the legs and hips will have full extension and the shoulders will be slightly behind the barbell.

Kettlebell Snatch

Stand with kettlebell in between feet and heals underneath the shoulders (and toes may be pointed out slightly). Next, hinge forward at the hips and bend your knees to grab the kettlebell handle with one hand. (It helps to grab the opposite side of the handle.) The arm should be extended and chest at an angle from the floor.

Keeping the arm long, pull the kettlebell from the floor with your legs. Ensure your spine is in a neutral position. When the kettlebell moves past and above your knees, quickly squeeze the butt to open the hips.

Momentum from the floor will assist in the upper body pull. To keep the kettlebell close to the body, next bend the elbow up and out. (From the starting position, it will feel a lot like revving up a lawnmower with the cord.)

Immediately after the elbow up and out pull, punch quickly through the handle to extend the arm and transfer the kettlebell from the front to behind the wrist. (It will take some practice to feel comfortable with the overhead transition where the kettlebell "slides" across the wrist.) Arm, hips, and legs need to be extended to finish the rep. To bring the kettlebell down, bend the elbow up, guide and drop the load, get the arm long, then hinge forward at the hips and bend your knees until the kettlebell hits the floor.

You can alternate arms every rep or use the same arm for multiple reps. If the starting position from the floor is extremely hard to get to or maintain, modify with these steps. Place the weight on a sturdy bench or chair. Grab the weight and have the arm extended to "hang" the kettlebell from the knees, rather than from the floor. Ensure the spine is in a neutral position (think shoulders back, proud chest). Start the pull from the knees and continue with the rest of the movement as described above.

Rope Pulls

Stand tall next to the rope with both hands gripping it near the head. The rope can be placed either to the side of the body or in between your legs.

Keeping the hips high and in line with the shoulders and knees (as the knees are bent), move hand over hand climbing down the rope. The climb is harder the more straight your legs are.

Climb down until your hips and shoulders touch the floor. (At this point, your hands may still be grabbing the rope higher than your body.)

Once the hips and shoulders have touched the ground, climb up the rope hand over hand, once again with hips high in line with the shoulders and knees. Stop once you get to the starting position.

Dumbbell Thruster

Stand with heels underneath the shoulders and toes pointed out slightly. Hold the dumbbells to support one head on each shoulder. Elbows will be bent and facing forward. Brace the core.

Keeping elbows up, squat with the dumbbells in place. The target is to get hips below parallel (below the knees). Use a box or medicine ball to squat to, if needed.

Coming out of the squat, squeeze the legs and quickly open the hips. With the core braced, the power created will transfer energy to launch the dumbbells off the shoulders. (The force may bring your body up on your toes briefly.)

Once the hips are completely open, press both dumbbells up to the overhead position, with the head in between the arms. When the rep is complete, lower the dumbbells to the shoulders before attempting the next rep.

Farmer's Carry

Start by bending the knees to grab the handle of the kettlebell and brace the core to lift the weight. Keep the arm long and chest up while holding the load. Do NOT grip the handle super tight, only enough to have a secure grip. Short, choppy steps forward work well here. Keep standing up tall and resist the weight bending the torso sideways. 

Bench Dips

Sitting on the bench or sturdy chair, place your palms on top of the seat with the fingers around the edge. 

Then, move your bottom to the outside of the seat, legs out and torso upright. Your legs can be either fully stretched out, bent at 90 degrees (shown above), or somewhere in between. The more the legs are stretched out, the harder it is.

Keeping the torso upright and close to the seat, bend both elbows backward. Keep bending until your triceps are parallel to the floor (about a 90 degree angle, shown above) or slightly lower.

Once you've hit the "bottom" of the movement, extend both arms until fully straight and back to the original position. After several repetitions, you should feel the burn in your triceps!

Ball Slams

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, legs and hips extended, core engaged. The slam ball will be in between your feet. (A medicine ball can also be used.)

Bend forward at the hips and bend the knees to grab the ball slightly underneath. Squeeze your shoulders back slightly and brace your core to keep a neutral spine.

Lift the ball by quickly extending the legs and hips then immediately move the elbows upward to bring the ball overhead.

Once overhead, slam the ball towards the floor with forceful arms and slightly bending the knees. Repeat the movement once the ball has hit the floor.

Stationary Forward Lunges

Stand with feet underneath hips, legs and hips extended, core engaged.

Keeping torso upright, step one leg straight forward. (Think feet on railroad tracks, not a tightrope.) Bend the front and back knee in order to go down into the lunge.

Keep bending both knees until the back knee kisses the floor. The legs should make 90 degree angles at the bottom, and the torso should still be upright.

Once at the bottom, put weight into your front heel and PUSH back in order to stand up. You can either alternate the stepping leg or finish a set with the same leg before switching.

If leg strength or balance makes standing up difficult, use a pole, box, sturdy bench or chair to push/pull with your upper body a bit or to support you. Only use these tools as much as necessary, not as a crutch. You can also reduce the range of motion and not bend your knee to the floor.

Dumbbell Push Press

Stand with feet underneath hips, legs and hips extended, core engaged. Hold dumbbells with one head in contact with shoulder, elbows pointed directly forward, not at an angle.

Keeping torso upright and feet flat to floor, bend the knees forward to dip straight down. This is not a squat but a dip down to start momentum.

QUICKLY extend the legs and open the hips. This will create power to launch the dumbbells off the shoulders. Heels stay on the floor until both legs and hips extend.

As soon as the legs and hips are extended, punch your hands toward the ceiling to extend the arms. You should finish with ears between the arms, dumbbells above the shoulders, and heels down.

Plank Rows

Plank rows are a little sneaky on how much core and shoulder strength they take to do them well, to keep the upper body from swaying and to get adequate range of motion bending the elbow.

Take a look below on how to perform the plank row:


You can also not utilize any dumbbells. They can be challenging without any load as well!

Goblet Squat

The air squat is the cornerstone of the movement foundation. It expresses so much that you do in everyday life. Sitting, standing, using leg power, utilizing core strength, and more. The goblet squat is an expression of the air squat with load placed in front. The load can also be helpful and act as a counterweight for a better torso position, a "taller" upper body position rather than being extremely hinged over the legs.

To complete the goblet squat:

Double Unders

The Double Under variation of the jump rope skills takes time to achieve, let alone master! Adding on one more rope rotation under the feet during the jump, it’s worth practicing to learn skill, balance, and coordination. Just make sure you are proficient with performing single jumps with the rope first! Here is how to practice double unders (as a beginner):

If you become severely frustrated while practicing this skill, don't do anything rash! Just calmly and gently set the rope down and walk away. 😆 Double unders do take time to achieve, but they are fun once you get the hang of them!

Hand Release Push-Up

The push-up is one of the foundational exercise movements. Striving to improve body position and improve range of motion is worth the effort. By doing so, core strength will increase as well as shoulder strength. For the hand release push-up, the range of motion is increased compared to a regular push-up by allowing your chest to completely make contact with the floor.

Start in a plank position on your toes, hands just outside shoulders, core squeezed and shoulders locked back, body forming a straight line from head to heal.

Bend elbows at a slight angle out, allowing the shoulders and hips to lower together towards the floor until your chest hits the bottom.

Release your hands off the floor, also keeping your thighs off the floor.

Bring your hands back to the original position and extend your arms by pressing through your hands, shoulders and hips now rising together (body still straight) until full arm lockout.

To modify, perform the movement with your knees on the floor, using less core engagement in that position. You still get the most benefit to keep the plank position at an angle higher from the floor. For that modification, perform the push-ups by placing hands on the wall, edge of a big wooden box, bench, or sturdy and heavy chair or couch, just don't release your hands!

Dumbbell Clean

With dumbbells on the floor slightly wider than your hips, stand between them and bend down to grab the dumbbell handles. Angle them so the front head only is touching the floor.

Brace your core and slightly squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keeping a neutral spine, lift by pressing through your feet with the dumbbells right alongside your legs.

QUICKLY extend your legs and open up your hips to generate acceleration and move the dumbbells up along your torso.

With speed, rotate both elbows forward and receive one dumbbell head on top of each shoulder.

V-Ups

Start with your body flat to the floor on your back, legs zipped together, hands above your head. Then, lift your feet off the floor before moving your arms and shoulders up. Your body will create a shallow "bowl" position (shown above) with the small of your back in contact with the floor.

The hardest part is this one: moving your legs and straight arms towards each other at the same time to meet somewhere in the middle. Your feet will be higher than your head as your hands touch your toes (shown above). Then, move your legs and arms to the original position.

One way to modify this movement is by bending your knees towards your chest rather than keeping them straight (shown above). The starting position remains the same.

Another way to modify is by doing knee raises on the floor. Lay flat on your back in front of something you can hold behind your head, legs zipped together. Start by raising your feet off the floor, then bend your knees past your hips (shown above). Straighten your legs to return to original position.

What seems so simple can actually create quite the challenge! For the dumbbell box step-over, it depends on the loading you choose!

Here are some tips on how to do it:

Dumbbell Deadlifts

 Using the dumbbells this week as well, the deadlift is great for strengthening the core and posterior chain (includes back, glutes, and hamstrings). And with the dumbbells, there is an opportunity to lift some load off the floor with less risk of injury. Here is how to do this movement:

If touching the dumbbells to the floor is impossible without rounding the back, you can scale this movement by placing the dumbbells on raised platforms such as small step stools or (if you have any) stacked barbell plates. Then, proceed to perform the movement the same as instructed above.

Pull-Ups

 The pull-up. The movement almost every woman that comes into the gym wants to have and seems to come so easy for most men. Oftentimes for anyone, it requires patience in developing strength in the upper body and a progression of practicing body positions. Here's how to perform this movement:

You can modify this movement with ring rows. You can also jump off a box or stack of plates or use a band like a small spring hanging from the pull-up bar (both shown below). 

Sumo Deadlift High Pull

Another full body exercise with pulling as the main force of movement. With the sumo deadlift high pull, you will gain strength using your legs, train power output by a quick opening of the hips, and work your shoulders. Here's how to perform this movement:

Break this movement down by practicing pulling the kettlebell from the floor to your hips first (the deadlift). Then separately, practice doing a strict pull from your hips to your chest. Finally, tie the two parts together with a quick opening of the hips in the middle to create the momentum. This one may take some time to feel out before getting comfortable!

Ring Rows

This is a sneaky movement. Simple to complete but not always easy to do! The strict shoulder pull requires much more effort after several reps. This is also a great modification for almost any workout that involves pull-ups! Here's how to perform the ring row:

Modifying this movement can be done by walking your feet back to create more of an angle when you pull. The closer you are to the floor when you start, the harder it becomes!

Wall Balls

Either you love them or hate them! A full body movement to quickly raise your heart rate, get a good sweat, and feel the burn! Here's how to perform the box jump:

Modifying this movement can be done by performing bear hug squats (by wrapping arms around the ball), jumping air squats, starting with a very lightweight medicine ball, or starting with a lower target.

Box Jumps

This movement is fun! To do it takes some mental hurdles to overcome (pun intended), but once achieved, it feels amazing! Performing the box jump trains explosive power, balance, and coordination, making it an excellent tool for general fitness exercise. Here's how to perform the box jump:

Start out by jumping on a small sturdy box or stack of barbell plates before you try a taller box or edge. Modifying this movement can be done by jumping forward over a low bench as well. If impact movements such as this are not possible due to injury or doctor's orders, stepping up on top of a box or sturdy step stool is another way to scale.

Rowing

Rowing used to be the movement that would frustrate me to no end! “Why am I not good at this? I’m awesome with cardio!” Turns out, the same as becoming more efficient with running, doing well rowing on the machine takes practice! Here's how to be efficient on the rowing machine:

Kettlebell Swings

This movement can be deceiving. It looks fairly simple to do, but it is challenging to keep moving after several repetitions. It will get your heart rate going! Take a look at how to complete a kettlebell swing:

If you have a shoulder injury that prevents overhead movement, or you are just learning how to swing, modify by swinging to eye level instead of overhead. 

Burpee

The burpee is the movement most of us love to hate! There are actually several different variations of this movement. The one that I would like to show you is one of the most efficient. Here is how to complete the burpee:

You can modify by stepping back and up again one foot at a time. There is also no need to make the burpee "strict" by doing a push-up on the floor. Why make it harder than it needs to be? 😉 If laying your stomach on the floor is not an option for you, modify by doing a push-up on a box then stand to jump and raise your hands above your head.

Dumbbell Snatch

Pulling from the floor to punching overhead, this “one fluid motion” movement is the real deal! It is also easy to learn and practice with a dumbbell. One can start at a light load and work their way up to heavier loads as desired. You will not feel short-changed performing this movement in your next workout! Here's how to do it:

Once you have the movement down using both arms, you can practice "cycling" reps by switching hands as you bring the dumbbell down without needing to pause at the floor. Got questions? Just let me know by email (jenn@417training.com) or direct message on Facebook!

Push-Up

The push-up is one of the foundational exercise movements, and it often gets taken for granted. Striving to improve body position and improve range of motion is worth the effort. By doing so, core strength will increase as well as shoulder strength. 

To modify, it is most beneficial to keep the plank position at an angle higher from the floor. Perform the push-ups by placing hands on the wall, edge of a big wooden box, bench, or sturdy and heavy chair or couch. The closer you have your hands to the floor, the harder it is. Another option is performing the movement with your knees on the floor, using less core engagement in that position.

Running

It’s something that (almost) everybody hates. It is also something many, many people can do with little admission to entry. Dress in some comfortable clothes, grab a great pair of running shoes (as was mentioned in a previous article), find a safe walkway or trail, and start putting one foot in front of the other! Here are some tips on how to run properly:

Using the Jump Rope

Jumping with a jump rope has so many benefits. There is developing balance and coordination. There is also the benefit of a moderate impact on the body that stimulates growth in bone density. Here is how to use the jump rope:

ABMAT Sit-Up

The sit-up movement is great for training core engagement and core strength. Using an ABMAT has its added benefits as a support for the spine in its natural curve and allowing the body to move through both trunk extension and flexion. It is highly recommended to buy an ABMAT (with little cost) to add to your gym equipment inventory! Here is how you perform the sit-up:

Modify this movement by crunching until the shoulders lift off the floor. As an athlete gets more core strength, their capacity to fully sit up will progress and be realized.

Dumbbell Strict Shoulder Press

 Dumbbells are specifically great for learning proper mechanics for overhead movements without the stiffness of a barbell. To complete the dumbbell strict press (after you have picked up the dumbbells):

Air Squat

This is the cornerstone of the movement foundation. It expresses so much that you do in everyday life. Sitting, standing, using leg power, utilizing core strength, and more. If anyone would like to get better at moving in life, they would benefit highly from improving the squat. How you perform the movement translates into how well you move in many other areas.

Does “improving the squat” also mean being able to increase loads or go heavy? Not necessarily. Especially as you age, the goal most likely present is consistency over setting personal bests. You may discover some personal bests along the way when it comes to load, but the best moments are when you move well and feel great doing it!

One of the beautiful things about the air squat is that you can do it anytime and anywhere with no equipment required. To complete the air squat: