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!

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become a familiar workout style. HIIT uses repeated high-intensity exercise bouts interspersed with brief recovery periods to improve endurance and efficiently activate fast-twitch muscle fibers. But what if you are a Strength Athlete or Powerlifter who avoids cardio because you’re afraid it will burn away all those hard-earned gains? Can HIIT work for you?

The short answer is, yes! In a 2017 study, men 25-70 years of age who performed 12 weeks of HIIT along with strength training experienced increases in VO2 max, insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial function, fat-free mass, and muscle strength. HIIT improved the oxidative capacity, or efficiency, of mitochondria regardless of age—as long as study participants did strength training and HIIT together. Participants who did strength training alone didn’t experience these benefits. [1]Image result for kettlebell swing

HIIT can help you with quick fat loss for a more shredded look. If you compete as a strongman or woman, you can use HIIT to train your fast-twitch muscle fibers to excel at atlas stone carries, yoke walks, and log cleans. Powerlifters can use it to beef up their initial pull for the deadlift.

You can make these improvements by using a variety of exercises while doing short HIIT workouts in the middle of or after your weightlifting program. All you need is your body weight, some space, and, if you’re feeling adventurous, some simple equipment.

Squats, burpees, lunges, sit-ups, and push-ups—and the dozens of variations of each—are essential parts of a HIIT workout. You can also incorporate sandbags, kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, and resistance bands.

A Typical HIIT Workout For Strength Trainers

A typical HIIT workout has 5-8 exercises performed for 30-60 seconds each, interspersed with 20-30 second rest periods. While bodyweight exercises are all you need to get an awesome interval workout, strength athletes may want to use weights in at least half the exercises in their HIIT workout. Lifters should also have 2-3 exercises that target the upper body during HIIT, which tends to go heavy on the legs.

Eddie Hall – 2017 Worlds Strongest Man explains how he uses the technique of 1 minute on and 1 minute off. He discussed how as a strength athlete you will never need to be fitter for more than 1 minute so any longer you are just wasting your energy.

One of my personal personal favourite is the rower. For this I normally incorporate a 15 second off and 15 second off method on the most resistant setting. This doesn’t sound hard but trust me a few minutes of this and you will feel it!

Overall I believe HIIT training is a great way of training that can be utilised in any strength / powerlifting programme either at the end of your workout or on your ‘rest’ days. It is a great way of burning extra fat without having to repetitive cardio for long periods of time!

References

1. Robinson, M. M., Dasari, S., Konopka, A. R., Johnson, M. L., Manjunatha, S., Esponda, R. R., … & Nair, K. S. (2017). Enhanced protein translation underlies improved metabolic and physical adaptations to different exercise training modes in young and old humans. Cell Metabolism, 25(3), 581-592.

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.