This is a guest blog post from my friend Jen Sinkler who does a lot of cool stuff along with writing for Women’s Health and Men’s Health.
My husband, David Dellanave, who founded of our gym, The Movement Minneapolis, has a question that, if you ask if of yourself, will help you lift more weight.
Wanna know what it is?
How often, when you head to the gym, do you stick with the movements you’re familiar with, for a number of reps you know you can do, at a weight you know you can lift?
If the answer ranges from “pretty often” to “always,” then chances are good that you’re stuck in what David refers to, as an “I can do that” mentality. Which is not a terrible place to be, and certainly a lot better than an “I can’t do that” mentality. But, what if you could be doing more, making more progress?
So, here’s the question I’d like you to yourself the next time you head to the gym, courtesy of David:
Can I do that?
The next time you train, make the mental shift from “I can do that” to asking yourself, “Can I do that?” with regard to the weight on the bar and brand-new exercises entirely. And just see what happens. I bet you’ll end up very surprised.
If you’re ready to get started now, can you take on “The Pentagon”? (See what I did there?) Keep your reps looking sharp and rest as long as you need at the bottom of the round so that when you’re moving you are moving.
Name: The Pentagon: Serious business going on here.
Suggested Equipment: Just your body, a kettlebell, a sandbag and a desire to sweat.
Instructions: Complete three rounds of this circuit as quickly as possible. Take breaks as needed (but try to take them at the bottom of the round).
Suggested Time: 20 Minutes
Sandbag Push Press
- Assume a racked position by grasping the handles of the sandbag, elbows directly below the weight, with the sandbag resting against your chest.
- Keeping your chest upright, dip slightly at the knees, then straighten your legs quickly, using the momentum you gain to move the sandbag quickly overhead.
- Use the strength of your arms to finish the movement, completely locking out the sandbag overhead.
- Carefully return the sandbag to the start position, keeping your elbows close to the body, and repeat.
Sandbag Reverse Lunge
- Start with the sandbag resting on your biceps and hugged against your chest. Depending on the size of the sandbag, you won’t need to directly hold onto the handles in this position.
- Take a large step backward and lower your hips, going as low as you can control.
- Return to standing by “pulling” your body up with the front leg, driving through your heel.
- Complete all repetitions on one side or alternate legs, keeping the weight close to your body the whole time.
Kettlebell Russian Twist
- Start in a seated position on the floor with your legs bent and your spine tall.
- Holding a weight to your sternum, lean back.
- Rotating through your rib cage, move the weight from hip to hip.
- Challenge the core more by leaning back farther (while still maintaining a tall chest) or elevating your feet to balance on your butt.
Kettlebell Two-Handed Swing
- Place a kettlebell on the floor about a foot in front of you with both hands gripping the handle, butt high in the air and knees bent in an athletic stance.
- Hike the kettlebell back and up between your legs and push your butt back, slightly straightening your legs as you do this. Your forearms should make contact with your upper thighs.
- When the kettlebell reaches its farthest point back, quickly stand up, using the power of your hips, hamstrings, and glutes to “float” the kettlebell up to about shoulder height. Make sure to keep your shoulders pulled back and down, and don’t let the bell pull your chest forward.
- Reverse the movement by pulling the kettlebell down through the same arc, staying upright as long as possible before you push your hips backward and swing the kettlebell high between your legs. Keep your chest up the entire time — someone across the room should be able to read the writing on your shirt.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, using a powerful hip extension to generate upward momentum in the bell.
- When you’re ready to stop, pause at the bottom of the swing portion, gently parking the kettlebell on the floor in front of you.
Bodyweight Mountain Climber
- Start in a straight-arm plank position with your hands under your chest.
- Lift one knee toward your chest without twisting at the low back. Keep your foot off the ground and your toes dorsiflexed up toward your shin.
- Quickly return the raised foot to the ground while simultaneously lifting the opposite knee toward your chest.
- Repeat the movement, quickly alternating the feet to create a sprinting-in-place effect.
Can you do this…faster?
If you’re looking to amp up your conditioning in creative and productive ways, I’ve put together a mammoth 181-workout pick-and-choose library called Lift Weights Faster 2. Complete with a full exercise glossary that includes written descriptions and photographic demonstrations of nearly 270 exercises (from classic moves to more unusual ones — the Jefferson deadlift, anyone?), a video library that includes coaching on 30 of the more technical lifts, 10 challenge-workout videos, plus a dynamic warm-up routine, I’ve combined my training and athletic experience with my long background in magazine publishing to create a clear-cut, easy-to-use resource that you’ll want to turn to all the time.
Every workout is organized by the equipment you have available and how much time you’ve got, with options that last anywhere from five up to 30 minutes.
Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention I teamed up with my husband, David Dellanave, to create a strength program companion resource called Get Stronger Faster 2 to help you take your strength level to the next level. This completes the total workout package and helps you get results, faster.
For more info, click HERE.
Jen Sinkler is a longtime fitness writer for national magazines such as Women’s Health and Men’s Health. A former member of the U.S. national women’s rugby team, she currently trains clients at The Movement Minneapolis. Jen talks fitness, food, happy life and general health topics at her website, www.jensinkler.com.