BIG MOVES STRONG BODY

Fo­cus on big moves to make sig­nif­i­cant strength gains in just six weeks

Men's Fitness - - Trainer -

This three-work­out strength pro­gramme fo­cuses on three key lifts, the squat, dead­lift and over­head press. Each one is the star of a work­out, and we’ve se­lected those moves be­cause they’re the most ef­fec­tive for build­ing whole-body strength. The sup­port­ing cast in­cludes moves that will prime your body to per­form big lifts, as well as as­sis­tance ex­er­cises that ei­ther tar­get key mus­cle groups in the big lifts or de­velop the core strength you need to be able to lift with solid form. Fol­low the set, rep and rest in­struc­tions for each move to get the max­i­mum ben­e­fit. Do each work­out once a week for six weeks, aim­ing to in­crease the amount you lift each time you com­plete the work­out. And al­ways make a note of how much you lift in each ses­sion to keep your­self mo­ti­vated.

1 Ket­tle­bell gob­let squat

Sets 3

Reps 10

Rest 45sec

Why This will get you mov­ing in the right way to gear up for your main lift of the ses­sion, the bar­bell squat. It’s a fairly light way to ease into the ses­sion, which will al­low you to fo­cus on depth. Hav­ing the weight in front of you also en­cour­ages you to keep an up­right torso. How Hold a ket­tle­bell by the horns in front of your chest. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously hinge at the knees and hips to lower as far as you can, keep­ing your weight on your heels and mid-foot. Re­turn to the start and re­peat.

2 Jump squat

Sets 3

Reps 5

Rest 60sec

Why This ex­plo­sive move will ac­ti­vate your fast-twitch mus­cle fi­bres, prim­ing your ner­vous sys­tem so you get max­i­mum mus­cle fibre re­cruit­ment when you per­form the heavy sets on the next ex­er­cise. The rep count is low be­cause this is about qual­ity of move­ment rather than ex­haust­ing your tar­get mus­cles. How With feet shoul­der-width apart, squat down, then ex­plode up to jump as high as you can. Land softly and go straight into the next rep.

3 Back squat

Sets 4

Reps 10,8,6,4

Rest 90sec-2min

Why This is the main move of the work­out, so it de­mands max­i­mum fo­cus. The squat is one of the most ef­fec­tive strength-build­ing ex­er­cises you can do. The rep count is lower with each set so you should aim to in­crease the weight you lift in each set so that you can only just com­plete the reps. This means you do some hard work in the valu­able strength-build­ing lower rep range. You get more rest than usual to al­low your body more re­cov­ery so you can lift the max­i­mum weight pos­si­ble. How With the bar on your back and your feet shoul­der-width apart, si­mul­ta­ne­ously bend at the hips and knees to lower to­wards the floor. Squat as low as you can, keep­ing your weight on your heels and mid-foot and your chest up. Push your el­bows for­wards to en­gage your lats and pre­vent your spine from bend­ing.

4 Plank

Sets 3 Time 60sec Rest 60sec

Why A heavy squat re­quires a strong core to keep your torso up­right. This move will build strength and sta­bil­ity across the whole of your abs, lower back and deep-ly­ing core mus­cles. How Get into po­si­tion with your body in a straight line from head to heels and your el­bows di­rectly be­low your shoul­ders. If your hips are too high that will take ten­sion off the core mus­cles. If they are too low it will put strain on your lower back.

1 Ket­tle­bell swing

Sets 3

Reps 10 Rest 45sec

Why When done prop­erly, the ket­tle­bell swing is a hip hinge rather than a squat­ting move­ment. Drilling that move­ment pat­tern will help you en­gage your ham­strings and main­tain good form dur­ing a heavy dead­lift. How Hold the bell in two hands, swing it back be­tween your legs and then straighten up with a hip snap. The key to a good swing is hinge­ing at the hips and straight­en­ing up pow­er­fully so that the hip drive, rather than your arms, is re­spon­si­ble for mov­ing the weight.

2 Dead­lift

Sets 4

Reps 10,8,6,4

Rest 90sec-2min

Why The dead­lift is ar­guably the most ef­fec­tive whole-body strength and mus­cle builder. It also fo­cuses on your pos­te­rior chain - the mus­cles on the back of your body, which many peo­ple leave un­der­trained but play a key role in pro­mot­ing good pos­ture and keep­ing you in­jury-free. How Set up so you grip the bar with an over­hand grip just wider than shoul­der-width apart. Ini­ti­ate the move­ment by load­ing your ham­strings and straight­en­ing your knees. Once the bar is past your knees you can straighten up.

3 Ro­ma­nian dead­lift

Sets 4

Reps 6-8

Rest 60sec

Why Af­ter your heavy dead­lift sets this is a good way of de­vel­op­ing the ham­string strength needed to im­prove your dead­lift. It’s tech­ni­cally a lot eas­ier than the dead­lift so you’ll be able to go rea­son­ably heavy even when your mus­cles are tired. How Hold a bar­bell with an over­hand grip just out­side your thighs. Hinge at the hips to send the bar down the front of your thighs, en­sur­ing that the bar stays close to you through­out the lift. Lower un­til you feel a strong stretch in your ham­strings, then straighten back up and con­tract your glutes at the top of the move.

4 Hip thrust

Sets 3

Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Why Strong glutes are vi­tal for a big dead­lift and this move tar­gets them di­rectly. How Rest your up­per back on a bench and hold the bar­bell on your hips. Push your hips to­wards the ceil­ing as far as you can while squeez­ing your glutes to­gether. Lower your hips un­der con­trol, then re­peat.

5 Bent-over row

Sets 3

Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Why You can’t hit a big dead­lift if you have a weak back and this move is great at strength­en­ing your larger back mus­cles. How Hold a bar with an over­hand grip and bend at the hips to let the bar hang down at knee height. Pull your el­bows back to bring the bar up to your belly­but­ton, then lower back to the start.

1 Ket­tle­bell press

Sets 3

Reps 5 each side

Rest 45sec

Why This move will warm up your shoul­der joint, which is a com­plex joint and can get in­jured eas­ily. The sin­gle-sided na­ture of the move means that your sta­bil­is­ing mus­cles must ac­ti­vate to con­trol your move­ment. How With your el­bow be­low your wrist and the ket­tle­bell rest­ing on the back of your wrist, press the weight di­rectly over­head. Lower back to the start un­der con­trol. Swap sides af­ter five reps.

2 Over­head press

Sets 5

Reps 5 Rest 90sec-2min

Why Be­ing able to press a heavy weight over­head is a good sign that you have struc­tural in­tegrity in your shoul­ders and up­per spine as well as good core strength. How Start with the bar on the front of your shoul­ders with a grip that’s just wider than shoul­der width. Squeeze your glutes to give your­self a sta­ble base and to ac­ti­vate your core, then press the weight over­head. Lower un­der con­trol. Only lower the bar to just be­low chin height to avoid in­ter­nally ro­tat­ing and over­stress­ing your shoul­ders.

3 Push press

Sets 3

Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Why This ex­er­cise is a good way of fully fa­tigu­ing your shoul­ders af­ter they’re no longer able to com­plete strict over­head press reps. How Start with the bar on the front of your shoul­ders with a grip that’s just wider than shoul­der width. Bend at the knees slightly, then straighten up and use the mo­men­tum to as­sist press­ing the bar over­head. Lower un­der con­trol.

4 Bar­bell roll-out

Sets 3

Reps 6-8

Rest 60sec

Why A good over­head press re­quires you to be strong in the core, par­tic­u­larly when your arms are above your head. This dy­namic move­ment mim­ics that po­si­tion to give you a di­rect ab­dom­i­nal strength ben­e­fit. How Start on your knees with your shoul­ders above the bar and your arms straight. Con­tract your abs, then roll the bar out in front of you. Go as far as you can, then roll the bar back to the start.

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