Go old school


Despite all of the advancements in exercise equipment and fancy machines, there are some exercises which will always be king.

They’re the bang for your buck exercises that burn more fat, build more muscle, and help you make better progress.

No machine will ever replace these bad boys.

Here they are:

1) Squats

I’m talking about proper barbell squats.

No smith machines or support, just you and the barbell.

Ideally – get some depth. Arse to the grass is the goal, where your hammier and literally on top of your calves at the bottom of the movement. Many first-time squatter’s need to work on ankle and hip mobility to do this, but you can work up to it. At least get your thighs parallel with the floor to begin, and then you can develop more range of motion.

The goal is to sit back into the squat with control, keep the elbows under the bar, and then drive back up to the standing position hard.

Beginners tip: if you cannot get full depth because your heels lift off the floor, place 2 x small plates under your heels. After every gym workout and in between sets, work on your mobility and over time you can remove the plates.

2) Bench press

The key is to use your legs, abs and entire upper body for this move.

Bring the bar to within 1 inch of the chest (if you have healthy shoulders) and then use your entire body to explosively push the weight back to the starting position.

3) Deadflifts

My favourite exercise. If you’re not deadlifting you are missing out! Make sure to keep your shoulders blades locked on at all times, and drive through the heels as you lift the weight off the floor. I prefer to do this bare feet – it has a better feel, it helps with technique, and you can really lock all 5 toes into the floor.

4) Pull ups

In Arnie’s latest book “Total Recall” he recalls that he and his training buddies used to perform 10 sets of 20 reps as a warm up each workout.

That wasn’t even part of the session – it was just to get ready for what was to come! What a beast.

There is nothing more honest than a pull up… It’s hard to cheat, and is a real sign of strength for males and females. Mix up the grip, and make sure your chin gets above the bar, and you finish in a full stretch position.

Another thing – there is NEVER a line up at the pull up bar. You noticed that? There’s a line for the curls, a line for bench, but NEVER for pull ups. Pullups make men out of boys and create killer arms for females.

So go do some now.

5) Military press

The forgotten exercise. Like the bench, focus on using your legs to drive into the floor. You’ll feel this in your abs, legs, and your entire upper body.

Work hard on these 5 lifts. There is no point using cables or machines until you are strong at these 5 old school exercises.

Remember to warm up on all of these lifts with 2-5 warm up sets, and always perform a body weight circuit before you begin. Think of your warm  up as preparing for battle – your mind and body should be warm and focused on the workout.

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  • Kris

    No love for dips? 🙁