In the last post I spoke about High Intensity Interval Training for Strength Athletes and the benefits this way of training can have on the human body.

This week I want to go through a routine in which I highly recommend and a great finisher at the end of your workout. Try this at the end of your next workout and feel the burn:

Medicine Slam Balls – 15 – 30 seconds

Kettlebell Swings – 15 – 30 seconds

Rest – 15- 30 seconds

Perform 3 – 8 Sets depending on you fitness level.

Now to go through the coaching points of how to perform these exercises correctly in order to avoid injury:

How to do Ball Slams

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent and a non-bounce medicine ball held overhead.
  2. Throw the ball down to the ground in front of your feet with as much force as possible. Exhale during the movement and contract the abs powerully.
  3. If possible, catch the ball as it bounces from the floor. If there’s no bounce at all, keep the ab muscles engaged and pick the ball from the floor.
  4. Lift the medicine ball back the the starting position and repeat.

Notes:

  • It’s important that non-bounce medicine balls are used for ball slams else it’s likely you’ll end up with a broken nose! Dead balls are a popular choice as they’re rubber balls filled with sand and will deform when impacted, with minimal bounce.
  • Test how bouncy the ball is before starting the exercise!

How to do Kettlebell Swings

Place one kettlebell between your feet. Push back with your butt and bend your knees to get into the starting position. Make sure that your back isflat and look straight ahead. Swing the kettlebell between your legs forcefully. Quickly reverse the direction and drive though with your hipstaking the kettlebell straight out. Let the kettlebell swing back between your legs and repeat. Switch arms with each set.

Below I have posted a video from my youtube channel showing myself implementing the routine myself! So you can be assured it is tried and tested!

Face Pulls are a great warm up exercise before a Bench Press workout or any upper body routine for that matter. You use a cable pulley machine to pull the weight toward straight toward your forehead. Exercising the rear delts will prevent muscular imbalance and build overall shoulder strength. This exercise isn’t hard to do as long as you pay attention to your form.

They are a great exercise for the rear delts, trapezious and upper back muscles. Robert Herbst, a 19 time World Champion Powerlifter and Personal Trainer once said “They help keep the shoulders squared and back so someone doesn’t get the pulled-forward look from doing too much chest and delt work. They also help build a thick upper back as a base to arch onto for a power bench press.”

Strong shoulders are critically important for everyday activities of lifting, pressing, pulling, and rotating your arms. The deltoids are the powerhouse muscle group of the shoulders—responsible for all overhead actions (putting items up on high shelves, lifting a child onto your shoulders, or even playing basketball).

Face Pull Instructions:

Facing a high pulley with a rope or dual handles attached, pull the weight directly towards your face, separating your hands as you do so. Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these errors so you get the most from this exercise and prevent strain or injury.

Poor Form

The most common culprit when it comes to doing face pulls incorrectly is simply not understanding what you’re supposed to be working. This is a rear delt exercise, so you should feel it working the back side of your shoulders into your upper back between your shoulder blades. If you start pulling the attachment toward your chin or neck, if your elbows start pointing down instead of out, or if you fail to keep your palms facing in, chances are you’re going to feel it more in your biceps and back. If you do, double check your form. If the arms are not at right angles to the body, you are performing a pull-down rather than a face pull.
Too Much Weight
It’s also pretty common to overload select too much weight. The rear delts are a smaller muscle group, and if you’re not used to working them, you’re going to need to go lighter than you would with other shoulder exercises. If you find you’re using momentum to pull the attachment toward your body, or if you can’t control the weight as it returns to the stack, pulling your body forward, then you should probably reduce the amount of weight you’re trying to lift. To target the rear delts effectively, you need to make sure you’re not inadvertently recruiting additional muscle groups to take over to perform the exercise.
Modifications and Variations

If you have access to heavy-duty resistance bands, you can hang them over a high attachment point, like a pull-up bar, and mimic the movement using bands. This is good for those who are new to training the rear delts, but the bands might not provide enough resistance to challenge advanced exercisers.

If you don’t have access to a cable machine or resistance bands, you can do dumbbell exercises designed to target the rear delts, such as the rear delt dumbbell flys. It’s not a perfect replacement for face pulls, but it does target the same muscle groups.

Safety and Precautions

If you have any back or shoulder problems, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about whether this exercise is appropriate for you. If you feel any pain during the exercise, stop

In this article I will talk about the exercise instructions and benefits of a great exercise called the ‘Skater Squat’.

There are different ways of doing this exercise but I prefer to do it on a BOSU Ball.

BOSU BALL SKATER SQUAT INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Begin with a pad or BOSU ball placed directly behind you and your feet hip-width apart.

2) Transition your weight to your dominate leg and lift the opposite leg slightly off the floor. Keep your neck neutral and maintain a straight back. This will be your starting position.

3) Slowly descend by pushing your hips and butts backwards. Continue descending until the knee of your bent and raised leg lightly touches the pad or BOSU ball.

4) Upon contact, push through the heel of your stationary leg and return to the starting position. This is one repetition.

5) Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions and then switch legs.

BENEFITS OF THE SKATER SQUAT:

1) Creates knee and hip stability.

2) Trains a stable arch.

3) Quad and glute/hamstring development.

4) Develops single leg strength.

5) Teaches neutral spine.

6) Transfers to the landing position of a HOP or 1-2 Stick (essential drills for developing bulletproof knees).

7) Decreases the risk of ACL and other knee injuries by teaching the ankle/knee/hip to be strong and stable.

Below is a video demonstrating the the exercise. I implement this into my leg routine for good reason, single leg training is great for sorting out any imbalances and preventing injury. Researchers recommended an unstable surface, such as the BOSU ball for rehabilitation of lower back conditions. This no-load balance training improves the strength and conditioning of your lower back muscles, important in your ability to perform everyday movements. If everyone would add Skater Squats to their regimens, we would have a drastic decrease in ACL and other knee injuries.  Sprinting and jumping would also improve.

As a competitive powerlifter my weekly workouts consist of Squats/Bench/Deadlifts and Push Press. In this post I will take you through a Push Press session where I test out my brand new Bench Blokz!

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the Bench Blokz. My weakness is the lockout part of the Bench Press so this piece of kit is great for adding a bit more weight than you are used to. Although, as this was my first time using them I didn’t want to go any heavier than normal, just for safety reasons! I would recommend first time using just go as heavy as you normally would just to get a feel for it. Next session I will definitely go a bit heavier to test the waters! I wouldn’t use it as a main lift movement but certainly a great accessory for an upper body workout.

Push Press – 90.5kg x 4 Reps

How to:

1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and grip the bar with your fingertips, elbows pointing forward.
2. Rest the bar on the front of your shoulders.
3. Drop down into a shallow squat, centring your weight under the barbell.
4. Press up through your heels.
5. Drive the bar directly above your head until your arms are straight.
6. Lower the bar down to your chest.

Maintain a neutral arch in your spine throughout the move.

Bench Blokz Press – 120kg x 6 Reps

Benefits of using Bench Blokz:

By bringing the bar down to the Bench Blokz instead of all the way to your chest, you effectively shorten the distance the weight has to travel. This allows you to lift heavier loads since you don’t have to press the bar as far. You can also zero in on sticking points, which are the most difficult portions of the exercise. Using the Bench Blokz at various heights can also allow to train through injuries effectively and when attempting to rehab an injury.