Killing Two Birds with One Stone

Posted: September 23, 2012 in General Health
Tags: ,

If you were to take a poll of the general public trying to find the #1 excuse they don’t workout on a daily basis, I would bet the answer would be “Because I don’t have time”. While this is a poor excuse for many reasons, most of us don’t have the luxury of 2 hours set aside every day for us to devote to some type of physical activity. So when we do get to the gym, we want the most bang for our buck. This is also true for most college teams. With hour restrictions and coaches wanting to get as much time in on the field as possible, the time in the weight room gets whittled down.

The good news is there are ways to get a really good workout in with limited time, and still hit a wide range of muscle groups. Let’s look at a few exercises that demonstrate this point:

1. Overhead Step Up- The main point here: Anything you do single leg/arm and anything you do overhead should automatically turn the exercise into a core stability exercise along with the main muscle group you are trying to work. One leg is clearly less stable than two so it causes us to brace more during a rep (although you should be bracing your core during any kind of squat, deadlift, etc). An overhead exercise moves the weight farther away from the center of gravity making us less stable. This causes our shoulders and our core to constantly adjust to the weight moving so we don’t tip over. Shoulders, core, legs. BAM! 3 birds with one stone. If you want to go super crazy try going 1 arm and holding a dumbbell or kettlebell over your head.

2. 1 Arm Farmer Walks- After reading the above exercise, you immediately recognize the 1 arm part and think core, and you would be correct. Make sure your shoulders are level and not tilted down towards the side the weight is on. If done properly, you will feel this in your lateral core. It also is great for grip strength. This is a great exercise for a sport like baseball or lacrosse where grip strength is important, and much more useful than just doing wrist curls. For those of you that have never heard of a farmer walk, it is very simple. You pick up a weight in one hand (probably a DB or plate), hold it by your side without any shoulder tilt, and walk. I like to try for 40 yards of walking for one set and do that 3 or 4 times.

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3.  Jumping Rope- I wanted to make sure and include something for the cardio lovers out there. I have always liked jumping rope as a warm up as I could feel it get my shoulders and lower legs loose, along with breaking a slight sweat. You are forced to maintain proper posture and it has an explosive element to it. It also forces you to land on your toes which reinforces proper running technique.

4. Push-ups- I’m going to save an in-depth look at push ups for a post of its own, but it’s definitely worth mentioning in this article. If you do a lot of push ups in one day, either your back (poor technique) or stomach (proper technique) will be sore the next day, along with your chest of course.

Workout out smart, and hard, and you can get a solid workout in a limited amount of time. This list is by no means exclusive. If you are strapped for time, find exercises that target multiple muscle groups that you want to work on a given day instead of just sticking with the single joint exercises on the machines.

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