Ethan and I both discuss to new clients especially, our 4 top exercises that should be in your routine.
We once heard a quote..
“Anything is a exercise if you can justify it”
Basically you could literally make a exercise up and say this a lower/upper body move as long as you can explain how it’s going to benefit, and improve your body. There are many exercises I look at these days and think, to me that is a waste of time. But honestly, you don’t no the reason behind why that person is doing it - they could be coming back from injury, they could be warming up so it’s very easy to criticise from behind the screen.
Both me and Ethan used to be a culprit of isolating one certain muscle group, thinking this was the only way. I’ve been in the fitness game since I was 18, I’ve always been in some sort of gym. There was a time I had 3 months off when I was travelling the east coast of Australia, but I ending up realising I need some sort of training back in my life and made a homemade gym on the farm I worked at. Calisthenics then stepped into my life. Calisthenics is the term for bodyweight training. The farm was a complete skip yard, old tyres, rusty poles and just broken equipment. The only thing I invested in prior was a small set of parallette handles that I could fold away. From this day on I never realised how tough push-ups could be. My first day, my set started 12reps 6reps 6reps 5reps, I was utterly shocked, I could bench 37kg/40kg dumbbells but couldn’t do a full set of 12 push-ups, and the pull-ups was even worse. Madness. I worked 10 hour days which was what we call ‘hard graft’ manual labour and trained straight after to keep my mind sane more than anything. The farm experience lasted 18 days, which was no surprise, terrible place to put it lightly.
We moved on and training went back to normal, we ‘paid as we went’ in the local gyms throughout the east cost. I found myself back on the bench, resistance machines and isolating them singular muscles groups. And guess what, I got bigger, stronger and pretty much what I expected - to burst out of a size small, muscle fit top. I know, embarrassing.
On the return home, Ethan was well and truly deep into his functional (movement) training, I knew what this was but I’d always thought, nope thats not for me I just want to look good, that beach bod, that 50+ likes on ‘the gram’
I was bigger in size, looked good in a medium ‘slim fit’ top, but I had definitely lost my lean shape, and therefore the muscle fits had to take the bottom shelf.
I completed one of Ethan’s classes and paired up with him, he not only sank my ship he buried me in the sea bed. I was UNFIT out of shape but ‘strong and big’ the out of shape thing was mostly down to a relaxed lifestyle diet but the fact I couldn’t get near him was one big shock. I thought I’d always stay reasonably fit because “I went to the gym” I was deluded.
Months went by, we trained most days as functional as we could, we moved, we lifted and finally, calisthenics was back in my life. We up’d our game, we introduced training we’ve never done before we attended yoga, weighted mobility and we finally STOPPED isolating muscle groups. We are still far from perfect, but we enjoy our training and the results come as a bonus. We can move more freely, a lot less injuries and we understand how the human body is meant to work.
Now with functional training always going to be the best types of training, our 4 TOP MOVES are what we call “the daddy’s” they’re not the most functional exercises but they are huge Compound moves, which will progress your strength at ridiculous speed. A compound move is when you’re using more than one muscle group at one time.
The RDL (Deadlift)
Obviously, the pull-ups and dips can be assisted, and the deadlifts and front squat do not have to be heavy. But these 4 exercises should most defiantly be in your routine. These will target the majority of your muscles in your body. When I do a pull-up my abs and legs burn, its shows hows many muscles you’re using. Technique and good form are vital, so when doing them make sure you’ve been properly introduced to them. I’ll always give tips and advice on exercises and often do on my Instagram page, so you can always ask a question there. If you are finding you’re training easy or repetitive, and any of these exercises aren’t in your routine - ask yourself WHY?
People who like to plod and keep it simple like to workout, let them be. Thats their choice, and there is nothing wrong with it, and I like the fact they’re doing something rather than nothing. But if you’re serious about you’re training, how you move and why you can’t do 10 strict push-ups, it’s your training.
Always do the exercises that you’re most uncomfortable with (obviously with correct form) start light - assisted to bodyweight and then you can always work up to adding weights. The more functional you make your body the better its going to feel and work.
I would definitely recommend these moves twice a week, but if not certainly once a week will make a big difference.
We usually rep it out until failure NB - by this, we mean until your form drops you could be on 2 reps and you feel your form drop. This is now your time to STOP an either lower the weight or add assistance.
Always remember that we are designed to move, lift, carry, push and pull.
STAY HAPPY, LIVE HEALTHY, BE ACTIVE
Jack & Ethan