Boyz! get big and strong the right way. No matter what equipment you use, dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells , no one will argue that a complete exercise program should contain resistance in addition to a cardio workout.
The body is designed for two kinds of actions: pushing and pulling. Pushing exercises are your presses (shoulder press, bench press etc.) and pulling are your rows, pull-downs, snatches, cleans etc. Powerlifters and “gireviks (kettlebell users) call them “grinds” (shoulder press, or clean & press) and “ballistics” (snatches, swings, high-pulls) because they’re performed either slowly for balance and strength or quickly for power and cardio.
As long as your workout program has a mix of both, you’re set! I recommend free weights over machines, as they allow you to develop stability and symmetry, as well as a better sense for using your core.
We need to perform compound movements that engage more than one muscle at a time. We almost never have the need to isolate only one muscle, and even when we think we do, we don’t . The compound movements I will outline are not fancy or impractical. Quite the contrary, they follow the body’s natural alignment. When do you ever do a backwards lunge with a lateral raise, or a side-lunge with a biceps curl?
1) Clean & Press: the action is in pulling the weight up explosively through the hips till it rests at about shoulder/clavicle level, and you follow it with an upward press. The pulling action engages your lower body for the upward power generation and stability/rooting, and upper body to finish the pulling and continue with the pressing. REAL WORLD EXAMPLE: pick up and lift your suitcase, or your groceries.
2) Squat: A perceivably quad dominant drill, it engages your buttocks, spine and back, provides a great lower abs exercise (by engaging the transverse abdominis) and all around fitness builder and excellent for the core.
3) Snatch: 1-arm with a dumbbell, or 2-arm with a barbell, develops explosive power in the hips, a strong back, stability and flexibility in the shoulders and pecs. Use it with a light weight for reps and you’ve just made this exercise aerobic! REAL WORLD EXAMPLES: Throwing a ball (for the eccentric phase of the movement) and any overhead lift.
4) Deadlift: Single-leg for balance and strength (perform it slowly and feel the burn) or use both legs with weight Great for those with knee injuries, as you minimize the bend. Great butt builder/toner. REAL WORLD EXAMPLES: Almost any time you pick something off the ground.
5) Swings: The all-time core strengthening, deep-rooting, all-muscle engaging and cardio building exercise. The momentum goes forward, though you go up by pushing your tush forward and while maintaining a straight spine, you go from bent over to upright. Best performed using a kettlebell, you may use a towel looped through a weight plate. REAL WORLD EXAMPLES: trotting on a horse, martial arts kicking, power-generating the squat, clean or snatch (as a tie-in to become better at the aforementioned moves)
This is all you need. Get your variety from switching between heavy, moderate or light days, or doing pulls one day, presses the next.
Jarrett James London’s top personal trainer
“Where fitness is created and results are guaranteed!”