Here’s my 5 favorite exercises to help get in shape, lose some extra pounds, and tone up.
Wall Ball Shots. This exercise combines a front squat and an overhead press. Between these two movements, the entire body is engaged. Face a wall with high ceiling and spread your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the wall ball at the sides, not underneath. Squat until the top of your thighs are parallel with the ground. Now keep your knees above your ankles and keep your weight on your heels. Press up through your heels while keeping those knees above the ankles and use that momentum to push-throw the wall ball up towards the wall. Catch it just as you threw it on the way down and go directly back into the squat. Repeat! 2 sets of 10 is a great start. Want something harder? Try 4 sets of 12 with 60 seconds of rest between each set. Good luck!
Kettlebell Swings. The kettlebell swing looks simple and it is for some, but the mechanics are complex and there’s a million different ways to do them. I’m going to show you how to get the most out of kettlebell swings for the goal of weight loss. First: it’s called a kettlebell “swing” for a reason. Do NOT use sheer shoulder strength to raise the kettlebell in front of you! Start with feet shoulder width apart, hold the kettlebell with an overhand grip. Use both hands. Go into a squat and swing the kettlebell between your legs rearward. When you come up from the squat (Knees over the ankles, press through the heels) swing the kettlebell in front of you to eye level. Your shoulders and arms should be doing almost none of the work! The movement and momentum from the squat and hip thrust should be enough to move the kettlebell alone.
Jump Rope. So simple, so effective. You don’t need to do 30 minutes straight for jumping rope to be effective. Try intervals first. 30 seconds of jump rope and 60 seconds of rest for 10 minutes. If that’s easy, try 45/60 or 60/60. It’s easy to overdo it with jump rope. So start small and add just a few intervals to your training to see how your body reacts to it.
Mountain Climbers. These will kick your ass! Start in pushup position. Bring one foot forward so that your knee is almost touching your chest. Now switch your feet… at the same time! It takes a little “hop” with your body to do it, and that’s what this whole exercise is about. It’s full body including the entire upper body, core, lower body, and it combines elements of aerobic and anaerobic! You’ll feel it though. Try 3 sets of 15-20 seconds each with 60 seconds of rest in between. Too easy? Try 3 sets of 30 seconds with only 30 seconds rest! Good luck!
Walking Lunges. The trick with walking lunges is keeping the legs at right angles at the bottom of the lunge. One way to do this is to pause at the bottom of the lunge, resting the rear knee on the ground. Is your front knee above your ankle? Is your rear knee directly below the hip? Drive up with the front leg and pick up the rear leg to swing it through and past your other foot, just like walking. Add a little glute squeeze when you bring up the rear leg, like you’re kicking someone behind you. For additional difficulty and upper body workout, hold two light dumbbells at your sides. At the bottom of the lunge, hold and perform a bicep curl, then complete the lunge. For even MORE difficulty, hold the dumbbells directly overhead and keep them there for the duration of the lunge set. Try 2 sets of 20 (10 per leg) with 60 seconds of rest in between. Want more burn? Try 3 or even 4 sets of 20-30 with the added weight of dumbbells.
Now, try adding all of these together to make a little circuit of fat-shredding exercises! Example: move through each of these exercises with 30 seconds of rest in between. Go through the circuit twice for a total of 10 sets.
12 Wall Ball Shots
30 seconds Jump Rope
20 Kettlebell Swings
30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
24 Walking lunges
Remember! Every exercise is FORM FIRST, WEIGHT SECOND. If the form is sloppy or incorrect, use less weight. Additional weight does not mean progress. Perfect form and the correct weight equals progress.
If there is no gym equipment (or if you’re stuck at home or the office) substitute the kettlebells for a small bucket full of water or just about anything. Proper form with Kettlebell Swings should keep the water in the bucket! Or, a jug of water and do the kettlebell swings with one hand. Sub dumbbells for cans of soup/gallons of water/a thick book/etc. Don’t have a jump rope? Pretend! It looks corny, but you and I aren’t working out to look cool. Go for it, stay safe, and have fun!
Mike Walsh Personal Trainer Salem, Oregon
Mike Walsh is a Marine Veteran and Personal Trainer in Salem Oregon who currently operates at his gym Northwest Forge. He has experience training athletes, expecting mothers, actors preparing for a role, those trying to lose weight, and weight lifters. He has been coaching individuals who seek to live a healthier lifestyle for over eight years. In addition to personal training, MIke offers clients dietary plans to help achieve goals and leads a Boot Camp on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings at the Forge. If you would like a consultation, feel free to contact Mike and be sure to visit the Northwest Forge Facebook to keep up to date with special events and news.