TRX CRUNCH ON BOSU
BENEFITS: This is a semi-advanced core exercises that effectively targets the rectus abdominals and several anterior chain muscles including the shoulders, triceps and hip flexors. Due to the stability demands of the BOSU ball, you must be able to comfortably perform the regressed version with hands on the floor as this is a progression.
SET-UP: With the TRX suspension trainer hanging at calf length, sit on the ground facing the anchor point. Slide your feet into the foot cradles and position yourself in a prone position on your knees. Place the BOSU ball underneath your chest with hands on opposite ends and fully extend your legs into a push up position.
ACTION: Brace your core and pull both knees towards your chest. Squeeze your abs as hard as you can when your knees pull forward and gently extend them back. Be careful not to let your hips ‘sag’ while performing this movement.
BARBELL HIP THRUST
BENEFITS: The single most effective exercise for building and developing the glutes. According to several EMG studies, no exercise activates the glutes like the hip thrust. For many years, the squat was the king when it came to working the butt. Not anymore. While the traditional barbell squat remains a great exercise for targeting the backside, it pales in comparison to the hip thrust. If you’ve never done this exercise before or don’t do it often, you need to make it an essential part of your training programs. Your butt will thank you!
SET UP: Just like the Deadlift, setting up to do a barbell hip thrust can be a little exhausting. The first thing you need is a bench or Reebok Step, preferably against a wall or sturdy, immovable object. If you’re a healthy adult with some exercise history, the Olympic 45-pound barbell will pose virtually no challenge at all meaning you’d have to start with some weight plates on the bar. Generally speaking, you want to start with some considerably, challenging weight plates on the bar. This is because for the hip thrust to happen, you must be seated on the ground perpendicular to the bench and with your legs fully extended under the loaded barbell. Have a folded yoga mat, pad or any other cushion accessory handy. If you’re not able to start with the bigger weight plates (25, 35, 45) and can only use 10’s, you’ll need to have someone strong enough to assist you in placing the loaded bar on your hips.
ACTION: Slide the cushion accessory under the bar so it sits between your hip area and the bar. The loaded barbell should be on your iliac crest before you begin the movement. Bend your knees to a 45-degree angle and using your heels, drive the bar upwards as high as you can. Squeeze your glutes as hard as you can at the top and lower gently but without coming to full sit. The reason for this is to keep tension in the glutes rather than relax them by coming all the way back to a seated position. Repeat for reps. Ideally, a challenge in the 8-12 rep range will yield the best benefits.
THE REVERSE LUNGE
BENEFITS: The most knee-friendly of all the lunge variations, the reverse lunge strengthens the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and core stabilizers. When dumbbells are used, there is great emphasis on grip and forearm strength.
PROGRESSIONS: You should be able to perform the basic reverse lunge before you try these progressions.
1ST PROGRESSION: Dumbbell Reverse Lunge: Front Foot Elevated
SET-UP: Stand on an aerobic step box about four to six inches in height with a pair of dumbbells in your hands hanging along your sides. The weight of the dumbbells should be moderately challenging but not too heavy. Your arms shouldn’t get fatigued too early.
ACTION: Take a big step backward with one leg until the knee of the back leg is about an inch or two from the ground. Powerfully push upward back to the box while maintaining good posture. Because of the slight elevation, there is a greater demand on balance and coordination as some people will tend to wobble during descent. Perform 8 to 12 reps per side.
2ND PROGRESSION: Reverse Lunge With Kettle Bell Clean-Grip
SET-UP: You must be familiar with the kettle bell clean in order to perform this exercise. Clean a pair of equal resistance kettle bells and stand neutrally with shoulders back and core braced.
ACTION: Although both feet are grounded this time, the load in front of the body challenges the anterior core musculature. The abdominals have to stay braced because the kettle bells naturally want to pull the trunk into flexion. The resistance from doing this greatly works the core. Because the kettle bells are heaviest at the lowest point of descent, the hamstrings have to contract explosively during the eccentric phase. Keep all your weight on the heel of the front leg and push forcefully through it to return to the starting position. Perform 8 to 10 reps per side.