Top three workout exercises
By Wina Sturgeon,Adventure Sports Weekly (adventuresportsweekly.com)
Go into any gym and you’ll see bored people sitting on machines and pushing or pulling something in one limited range of motion. They’re using something that goes forward or back, up or down, without any of the other angles of movement that would ordinarily be used in real life, so they’re not getting a complete workout.
You’ll also see other people — perhaps you’re one of them — who do a bunch of different exercises for the upper body and for the lower body, perhaps using free weights or a combo of iron and machines. Often, some muscles get left out or don’t get worked as hard as other muscles.
That’s why you should add three exercises to your workout — the top three that will give your body a full workout, not only in a stationary position, but in an active position as well. Warning: these three exercise are hard to do. You may even have to work up to being able to do them. Most important, they have to be done with absolutely correct form. But if you want to be strong all over and physically fit for the athletic demands you may place on your body, these are the ones to do. They are squats, pull-ups and the vertical jump.
Squats will work every muscle in your lower body. Start out with a light weight so you can first work on your form. Your spine should be held straight; slightly and tightly arched in the lumbar region. Never lean over or forward, because that places all the weight on your lower back, which can injure the lumbar vertebrae. To help maintain an erect position, focus your eyes upward, where the ceiling meets the wall. It may help to elevate your heels slightly by placing them on two and a half pound weight plates. Go all the way down, with your butt as low as possible. You don’t want your leg strength to be undeveloped if your thighs go below parallel to the floor while in a sport or other activity.
Pull-ups work every muscle in your arms, shoulders and upper back. If you can’t lift your full body weight, you can start with the gym machine that allows you to pull up a lower amount of weight. Keep increasing the resistance weekly until you can perform an unassisted pull-up. Or, try the “negative” system. Start in the up position and gently lower yourself. Negatives, as they’re called, will soon give you the strength to do regular pull-ups easily.
The vertical jump is an extremely athletic movement that’s also somewhat complicated. It may be a good idea to purchase a session with a personal trainer to learn how to do it properly — but first, ask if the trainer is familiar with the right technique. The elements of this exercise are used in every sport and active activity done by recreational or elite athletes.
It’s an explosive movement, so make sure you’re well warmed up before doing it. Wear good supportive shoes. Start in a squatting position. Jump up by “pushing” off the floor as hard as possible. Let the force of your push move upward to the thighs, hips, core, shoulders and arms, stretching each body section in a coordinated fashion. As you extend upward, lift your chest and do a shoulder shrug. Never forget the shrug, it’s an essential part of the jump acceleration. As you shrug, extend your arms starting with the shoulders all the way to the hands, reaching as high as you can. Think of exploding upward with each body section in turn.
Put these three exercises into your routine, and you’ll soon be stronger, more powerful and a much better athlete.