Sometimes we are lucky to carve out gym time, aren’t we?
So many of us are enterprising professionals, hardworking moms and persevering students. As much as we love training and the benefits it provides, it can often be difficult to actually find the time. We get it. And we are here to tell you that you don’t need 2 hours in the gym, training each individual body part, to get a great workout. In addition to awesome compound lifts life barbell squats, deadlifts, pullups and pushups, you can add in a “bang for your buck” exercise to make the most of your limited time in the gym.
Going to the gym with your mind preoccupied is awful. When your bogged down with responsibilities, it’s difficult to get focused and in your zone. That’s where “bang for your buck” lifts come in handy. You can work the whole body with limited time, allowing you to focus completely on your movement and not that looming project you have yet to complete.
Although they may seem complex, they are actually pretty straight forward, combining a few key movements that you probably already know how to do. All you have to do is put them together and watch your body move with grace and power. Try out one of these three multi-movements lifts the next time you’re at the gym, and build strength-and a fab physique-with time to spare.
Lumberjack Squat (to calf raise and press out)
While it may take a little practice to feel familiar with the body position in the Lumberjack squat, once you have the correct body angle it’s a very smooth movement. We like this move because it’s powerful in the ascent up. This squat movement allows for a lot of range of motion, its spine friendly in regards to being front loaded, and is completely engaging from head to toe.
Coaching Cues and Notes:
- A landmine is ideal for this exercise. If you don’t have a landmine, position a barbell in a corner (ie: the corner of a squat rack) where it is safe to control.
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
- Position your body at a slight angle and on the balls of your feet.
- Hold the barbell at your chest with a laced grip for added grip control.
- Sit back / squat with your body weight in your heels. As you ascend up, incorporate a calf raise and press the bar out from your chest.
- For safety, do not attempt to load this exercise for max lifts as you would a traditional front or back squat. In an effort to keep things safe (so the bar does not slip out of your hands) load it appropriately for a rep range no fewer than 8 reps.
Here is a demonstration via Alli:
The Turkish Getup (or “getup” or “TGU” for short) is one of the most fantastic exercises you can perform. It entails (eventually) taking a kettlebell from the ground to overhead, and back to the ground again, whilst moving your body through a wide range of movements that train multiple mobility and stability patterns for your body. Talk about bang-for-your-buck!
Of course it’s very important to make sure that you master the TGU with only your bodyweight first, and then you can move to balancing something on your fist to challenge yourself a bit more before adding external load (i.e. weight).
Keep in mind that when you’re first introduced to the TGU, it can seem very intimidating and complex, but once you see it broken down, you’ll see that it’s really just a series of very simple and very important movements. Once you get the hang of it, I guarantee you’ll absolutely love practicing this graceful exercise.
Neghar does a wonderful job of breaking down the getup in this video:
And in this video, you can see Molly channeling her inner Neghar with a 32 kg/70 lb. getup.
1 leg RDL to Row
The one leg RDL is already an awesome lift. Talk about booty building! But add in a horizontal row and it become a total body exercise that challenges stability, mobility and builds strength.
The exercise can be done with a barbell or dumbbells, but we find that using kettlebells-either offset load or double-is the most comfortable way to load the lift.
Coaching cues and notes:
- Start with a pair of kettlebells at your side and descend into a one leg deadlift.
- Keep your standing knee soft and your back leg totally straight and engaged.
- Make sure you are hinging at the hip and not just bending over, as you should feel the load in your glute on the standing leg.
- Once your torso is parallel to the ground, turn your palms in towards eachother as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Be sure not to shrug your shoulder up towards your ears.
- Bring the weight back down, keeping your shoulders packed (don’t let them drop down).
- Stand back up and repeat, switch legs.
Here is our good friend, Ben Bruno, demonstrating the exercise with a barbell: