You see and read these types of articles and posts everywhere. “3 Secrets For The Best Body Ever” or “Top 5 Exercises to Make You a Better Athlete”. The truth is, some exercises are better than others, but to pick a few and call them “the best” is pretty ridiculous.
The bottom line is, people tend to over think fitness. To get in shape doesn’t take the newest trend or some new product. It just takes diligence and effort. In fact, most new products and exercises are just the basics repackaged to give you the appearance of something new.
Which leads me to my list of 3 great exercises anyone can try. Notice I said “3 great exercises” not “the 3 greatest”. What are they?
2.) Pull-ups / Chin-ups
What makes them so great is they take almost no equipment (except for a bar or stable structure to pull yourself up on) and can be done in virtually any space. Plus, each one has modifications so you can still get the benefit of training without risking injury or exacerbating an existing one.
Push-ups are excellent exercises for developing strength and endurance in the chest, arm and shoulders.
Here are three push-up examples showing progression and modification.
The first is a standard push-up. To vary the intensity, speed up, slow down or add a pause at various points during the movement.
The second is a Band resisted Push-up. By simply wrapping a resistance band around your upper torso you can make push-ups much more challenging.
The third picture is a modification for someone who can’t do a regular push-up and wants to avoid using their knees. This is a sport-band assisted push-up. The band reduces the effect of gravity on the body, allowing you to perform the movement with proper form. As you get stronger, the size of the band can be reduced, lessening the assistance it gives. Eventually, you’ll progress in strength so that no band is needed.
Pull-ups are great for developing back and arm strength. All you need to perform them is a bar. Look around and you’ll find them almost anywhere…a park or playground for instance. Any jungle gym will likely have something suitable.
The first picture shows a standard pull-up grip.
The second picture shows a reverse grip, commonly referred to as a “chin up”. A Chin-up is typically easier to perform because you have much more assistance from the biceps.
The third picture shows TAKU doing pull-ups with a towel slung over a bar. This is one progression you can make to really challenge the body. By gripping the towel with both hands and pulling yourself up, the exercise becomes much, much more challenging. Try it and you’ll see. In addition, you work the forearm flexors, which often give out in certain exercises long before the other muscles do. This is a great exercise for martial artists or any sport where a strong grip is essential.
Squats are an outstanding exercise overall. They incorporate many different muscles and muscle groups. There are so many squat variations, it would take me forever to detail them all.
Here are some squat examples:
The first picture is of a body-weight squat. It’s very simple and, when done correctly, very effective at promoting strength, power and endurance in the entire lower extremity.
The second picture is Liam “Taku” Bauer performing a Banded Over-Head Squat. This move can be done a couple different ways. You can start by simply holding a band stretched tightly between your hands with them held high, directly overhead. The second version (shown) has you standing inside the band with it held by your feet and your hands. These simple variations make the movement considerably more challenging and effective.
For anyone with knee and / or joint issues, simply limit the range of motion for the exercise to something that doesn’t aggravate the issue. Your mantra should always be “Movement you can control, through a range of motion that’s pain free”. This is true for push-ups, pull-ups and all other movements.
So keep these exercises in mind and remember, fitness doesn’t need to be fancy, but you do need to work hard (put in some effort).
For more ideas about creating simple effective strength training and conditioning programs check back here frequently or visit us at: www.tntstrength.com
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