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Ideally a workout should accomplish more than just one thing…
It should help improve lean mass gains, while also helping you improve your athleticism. A workout – ideally – shouldn’t just accomplish one thing, and it doesn’t need to simply accomplish one thing to be successful.
A lot of it has to do with tempo, your sets, and what exercises you are doing. Below is a list of 5 exercises that accomplish two or more things at once:
Implement these exercises into your routine to help you build that ideal, “X-Shaped” physique, but also help you build the explosive athletic power that you crave as well.
1. The Snatch
I always include the snatch into my training for a number of reasons. For one, it’s one of the only exercises that gives you 1 fluid motion from ground to above your head or the top of the lift. As such, it’s a great exercise for improving athletic power and speed.
Secondly, there is no exercise with the same grip as the snatch. When doing this exercise your hands are at, or close to, either end of the bar. This ensure’s that you’re going to get low on the lift, but also that you’re going to work your traps from a different angle than any other exercise, building a wider muscle.
The deadlift is a great exercise for building athletic power, but also muscle mass. If you’re trying to accomplish both or either of those goals, you need to incorporate deadlifts into your training.
Heavier lower body lifts like the deadlift result in elevated levels of testosterone, which speed up the recovery process – thus helping you build more muscle, faster.
Tip: I like to perform my deadlift at 85-95% of my maximal lift, using no “down-phase” to the exercise (when improving power). Perform 2-3 reps, lifting the weight as fast as possible, then dropping it right before the apex.
3. The Clean and Press
The biggest mistake people make in performing the clean and press is trying to “muscle” the weight. This exercise is about explosive speed and power, not slower movements like you’ll find in bodybuilding.
From the start (deadlift position), explode with the weight, keeping it close to your body. We don’t want any wasted energy and a circular path of the weight does just that. We want to keep the flight of the bar as vertical as possible. As it reaches your chest level, drop under the weight into a front squat. Complete the exercise with a legs-dominated press.
If you’re not using slower movements found in bodybuilding, how will this exercise help you build muscle?
This exercise, and exercises like it, will help you build muscle that is a lot more dense and powerful than simply using bodybuilding techniques. I find the best results come when combining both athletic training, and bodybuilding techniques.
Also notice how your shoulders and traps develop when incorporating the clean and press into your routine. You’ll like what you see! You can also drop the weight and complete 2-3 sets of 10 for a great full-body warm-up.
4. Box Jumps
There are two kinds of box jumps:
a. One-shot explosiveness from a standstill to a high box.
b. Rebounding power from a box, to the ground, then back on to the box. Spending as little time possible in contact with the ground.
Both are great, and both will help you add speed, explosiveness, and even pounds to your squat and deadlift max.
The stronger you get, the more muscular you’re going to get. Implement both box jumps into your training routine, even as a part of a cardio circuit.
5. Push Press
It’s basically a shoulder press where you’re also involving your legs. So it’s not an isolation exercise that focuses only on the deltoids.
Let the bar rest on your collar bone area. The majority of the press will be with your legs, your arms are simply guiding the weight and pressing towards the end. At the end of the lift, make sure you ‘lock the weight’ towards the back of your head, squeeze your traps, and the repeat.
This is a great exercise for developing explosiveness.
Here are a few exercises (with grip variations) that help you build bigger traps, while also improving your explosive power.
Build Bigger Traps AND Improve Athletic Power
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