Landmine Exercises: An Explosive Workout For The Core And Lower Body

There I was several months ago looking at my legs in the mirror, (yeah I’m kind of a narcissist). “Man, I really need to work on them differently.”

I was having one of my typical conversations with myself. I have to confess but my legs are my weak points in my body. Luckily I have found exercises and workouts that work for me and have helped my legs grow. Exercises like bodyweight jump squats along with sprints have been a blessing for me and have given my legs a boost for several years now.

Although these exercises have been a part of my workout routine I figured I wanted to include a new element in my workouts and something that would target not only the lower body but the core as well.

One workout that recently caught my eye for its muscle building and fat burning abilities are landmine exercises. I have been doing these exercises for several months experimenting and looking for a way that would give me the best results possible. The explosive nature of these workouts specifically work fast twitch muscles and as a result helps the body get a lean look. This type of workout is one that can be done using only a barbell and some weight using very limited space.

What Are Landmine Exercises?

Landmine exercises are named after a piece of equipment that is ground based and is rotational in its design. A popular version of the landmine is made by Sorinex (see picture above). This equipment is designed in a way that a barbell can be attached from one end allowing for the bar to move in a circular range of motion. The opposite end of the bar facing the person can have weight attached and a handle for easier grip.

Because of the mobility of this device it makes it easy to get creative with workouts. By using a landmine you can work virtually any muscle group in the upper body, lower body and in the core. The flexibility in its design makes it easy for anyone to set up and use.

In the previous article we discussed barbell Russian twists. This exercise is a good example of one can be performed using a landmine setup. If you have not read it you should go ahead and do it now to get an idea on how you can work the core muscles using a simple twisting motion with a barbell.

Make Your Own Landmine

If you are looking to get one of these pieces of equipment you will see that they are not cheap and will set you back a few hundred dollars. If you are not interested in paying a good chunk of cash for this equipment you can simply make your own at your gym or even at home.

The simple way of making your own landmine requires having the following pieces of workout equipment:

  • Barbell
  • Weight Plates
  • Weight Clip

Simply place a weight plate (preferably a 45 pound) on the floor, a weight plate on the end of the bar facing you (start with light weight) and the opposite end of the bar should fit in the hole of the weight plate on the ground. This setup allows for the barbell to move in a flexible and circular motion like the Sorinex device.

Why I Added Landmines As A New Element In My Workouts?

Well I think it is important to challenge your body to avoid having the same types of workouts. Sure, it helps from breaking a plateau but it is also good to keep your workouts interesting. The goal for me is always to keep my workouts interesting and as athletic as possible, incorporating multi joint movements in order to boost muscle building and fat burning qualities as much as possible.

Jump squats and sprints are still part of my workout routines and I use them twice per week but have added landmines once per week as part of my lower body strength training.

If you notice in the previous post on barbell Russian twists this exercise was pretty simple but was not very explosive. In fact, the exercise required very little mobility in the lower body thereby focusing all effort in the core and upper body. However, at the conclusion of the article I mentioned that there is a way to make this exercise explosive if done in a different manner.

Building Explosiveness With Lower Body Workouts

While doing research on using landmines for an explosive lower body workout I came across the following video.

The exercises used are:

  • Landmine Deadlift Curl Rotate Press: set up your landmine and begin by holding the bar with one hand and with the knees bent. Come up in to a standing position, curl the weight, twist and press the bar up. This is a total body exercise working on the core, legs, lower back, arms and shoulders.
  • Barbell Abdominal Rollout: focuses primarily on the abs. This can be done if you do not have lower back problems, otherwise skip it.
  • Barbell Get Up, Get Down: this is an excellent core and leg exercise. Begin with a barbell with light weight resting on your upper back behind your neck. Come down on the right knee and place it on the floor, then bring your left knee to the floor, come back up first with your right leg then the left leg. This is one rep. Complete the desired number of reps then repeat the sequence this time starting with the opposite leg. Bring the left knee down first, followed by the right knee to the floor, come up with the left leg and finally bring your left leg back to the standing position.
  • Hack Squats: The barbell is placed behind the feet and ankles. Grab the barbell with an underhand grip and come up by keeping the heels firmly planted on the ground and drive the weight up. Look straight throughout the motion.
  • Clean And Press: Start with the barbell on the floor, hold the bar with a neutral grip and in one quick motion bring the barbell to your chest and drop down to a squat position. Come up to a standing position and press the barbell to a shoulder press.
  • Landmine Barbell Twists: As you can see in the video this is like a Russian barbell twist but is done faster. When you twist to each side bend your knees as if you were doing a standing lunge, come up fast and repeat to the opposite side to complete one repetition. After completing the desired number of reps you repeat the same motion only this time much quicker and without pausing at the top of the movement.

In this video you can see that this simple set up works heavily on the lower body and core muscles but also the upper body thereby making it a total body workout. The explosive nature of the movements and the multi joint emphasis on the exercises makes it a perfect workout for developing fast twitch muscles which gives the body lean muscle and a more athletic look.

A Landmine Exercise Workout

Although the workout laid out in the video is extremely effective, it is one that is more for an advanced level of fitness. If you have never done exercises like squats, deadlifts or clean and jerk I recommend you first learn these exercises and develop good form before you attempt this workout.

Because of the high degree of athleticism and difficulty in this video I decided to create an easier version, yet still challenging version of the workout. The following workout incorporates power movements along with the landmine.

  • Traditional Deadlifts- 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Barbell Get Up, Get Down– 4 sets of 5 reps per leg
  • Front Squat– 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Power Clean– 3 sets of 3 reps
  • Landmine Barbell Twist– 4 sets (each set consists of 10 slower twists to each side and then 10 fast twists to each side as in the video)
  • Rest one minute between sets and exercises

In this version of the workout a traditional deadlift is used rather than the landmine version as I wanted to focus more on the power movement of the deadlift. The emphasis here is not on the arms but strictly on engaging the legs and back muscles.

Also, instead of doing a hack squat I replaced this with a front squat. Although hack squats are a great exercise they can be difficult for someone not used to doing them. Hack squats require a lot of strength to drive the weight from behind the legs in to an upward motion. Front squats are easier than a hack squat, make it easier to do a deeper squat and can be easier to control the weight.

Power cleans replaced the clean and jerk. Again, the emphasis for me was in the lower body and not in a pressing movement which would also target the shoulders. Also, for someone who is not advanced the power clean is easier to do and is safer to do as long as you do not have a bad back.

The landmine barbell twist as done in the video is amazing in working the core and legs. By the time you finish the sequence of twists you should not be able to get on a treadmill due to the demand that is placed on the legs.

Since using the landmine barbell twists I have noticed more development in my rear delts and side delts. The twisting motion engages the arms, shoulders, core and legs in a way that I have not seen or experienced with other workouts. It is the combination of this exercise along with the barbell get up stand up that makes the legs work harder than they are used to.

This workout consisting of  landmine exercises and power movements will take your body to a different level by helping it develop fast twitch muscle while getting simultaneous cardio benefits. In fact, if you are not sweating, breathing hard and feel like you can still get on a treadmill then sorry my friend but you are not doing it right.

Try this exercise if you are looking for a different way to get your body to look athletic. Let me know what you think.

Barbell Complex Workout: Build Muscle And Burn Fat In Less Time

“Dude, I want to get seriously jacked! Let’s do some bench presses and then some biceps.”

That was the conversation I overheard recently at the gym but it is one I think I have heard regularly for many years almost verbatim.  Although bench presses are a good exercise, if someone wants to get jacked and kick start their muscle growing they should experiment with a barbell complex as it also burn fat at the same time.

Jason Momoa used these types of workouts to prepare for his role in “Conan the Barbarian

What Is A Barbell Complex?

As the name implies a barbell complex consists of doing a workout with a barbell.  Common exercises using barbells include: bench press, squats, deadlifts, cleans, barbell row, barbell shrugs, shoulder press.  The exercises that are performed are basically power movements or multi joint movements using a barbell.

Although you may be familiar with a power movement or Olympic lift, these only require doing one exercise at a time, resting and then continuing with the same exercise or moving on to the next after completing the sets of one exercise.

Barbell complexes however, require performing a series of power movements continuously without stopping and without letting go of the barbell.  Consider this a superset of Olympic lifts strung together in circuit training style workouts.

Build Mass In A Shorter Period Of Time

A common misconception when it comes to getting muscle or with bulking up is that all you have to is lift heavy weight and the results will come.  Week after week you may workout doing bench presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions and get some results but not the serious gains you were expecting.  The key to building mass and gaining muscle is performing exercises that will boost the body’s growth hormone abilities using multi joint movements.

Although single joint movements like biceps curls, triceps extensions, leg extensions and lateral raises have a purpose in muscle development, they won’t give you gains in your entire body.  In order to see total body gains you need to do exercises that will work all of the body’s major muscle groups together.

Barbell Complexes For Conditioning

(Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training demonstrating a workout)

One of the disadvantages with traditional strength training is they typically only help with building muscle.  A typical muscle building workout will not help with conditioning unless you perform movements that are explosive and help develop fast twitch muscles.

Think about the last time you were at the gym and you stood there doing some curls.  You probably didn’t feel your heart rate pumping or feel like you were getting an explosive type of workout.  That’s because a single joint movement does not help you with conditioning.  Conditioning type workouts will help you look lean and athletic by building muscle and burning fat at the same time.

A Barbell Complex Workout

As mentioned earlier, these types of workouts are different as they require you to hold on to a barbell during the entire duration of the exercises.  Although these types of workouts are tempting to do using heavy weight I would recommend that beginners start with only a barbell.  You can add weight as you become stronger or more accustomed to these workouts.

The goal is to work on different muscle groups, combining upper body and lower body exercises throughout the entire exercise sequence.  Here is the sequence you will use:

  • Deadlifts
  • Power Clean
  • Front Squat
  • Shoulder Press/ Overhead Press
  • Barbell Row

Do not let go of the bar as you move from one exercise to the next

Rest for one to two minutes after you finish the series of exercises

Do 6-8 repetitions of 4 to 5 sets

The workout can be done twice a week allowing 2 to 3 days in between

You can substitute some exercises with variations of the same.  For example, Romanian deadlifts instead of regular deadlifts, power clean with clean and jerk or hang cleans, barbell shrugs can be used in the series.

You will find these workouts challenging as it will require you to use your strength and cardio abilities.  It is common to experience an elevated heart rate much like running sprints or intervals.

Although I highly recommend these workouts I have to stress that you have to perform them with good form.  If you have not learned the proper form to these individual exercises begin with that part of the process.  Learn the form first before you attempt these workouts.

For a beginner at strength training learn each individual movement then start by using just the barbell.  You can then add weight with each week as you get stronger.  Increasing the weight over time, also called progressive overload training, is one of the factors that will help you gain muscle over time.

How To Combine It In Your Current Workouts

Although I mentioned earlier that exercises like bicep curl and triceps exercises were not beneficial to increasing muscle mass to its maximum abilities, you can still include them in your workouts.  These exercises can be done on days you are not doing barbell complexes perhaps with some ab work, maybe once or twice in a week.

Some trainers add complexes along with interval training or other types of cardio.  I find that very difficult for anyone who is not used to doing these types of workouts.  Instead I would do cardio/ interval training on days you are not working with the barbell. You can eventually combine both once you have improved with your conditioning.

Chest workouts can still be a part of the routine, in fact I would suggest doing them but placing an emphasis on bench presses.  Many guys like to do cable flys or dumbbell flys but if you want to get serious chest development bench presses are the way to go.  You can include them on days you do a complex, or on different days, just don’t spend hours on your chest exercises.

Next time someone tells you to get jacked with some curls instead ask them to join you for a barbell complex workout like the one I have outlined for you here and watch as you gain some muscle and look more athletic along the way.

Feel free to comment below and join in the discussion.

Outdoor Workouts: Make The Most Of The Weather And A Bad Economy And Get In Great Shape

I am lucky to live in Los Angeles where the weather is awesome 90 percent of the time and gives us the chance to have outdoor workouts.  I know many other places are not as lucky, but we are right in the middle of summer and it looks like many places are experiencing the type of weather that makes it perfect to do workouts and activities that will benefit our health.

Make The Outdoors Your Personal Gym

Most people do not go to the gym for various reasons: time, money, distance, etc.  Believe me, I understand how hard it is if you are low on cash and can’t sign up to a gym, the economy is killing us! Literally! So what options do we have?  Well, the best alternative is to use the outdoors in your favor.

When we think of a workout outdoors we usually develop a picture in our minds of someone rock climbing, mountain climbing, mountain biking or surfing.  These are all excellent workouts and I highly recommend them but they are not for everyone, especially when most people don’t have the skills to do them.

Go Back To Basics- A Gym Class Approach

Remember the days in gym class when you used to run outside doing laps? What followed next were burpees, maybe some push-ups, sit ups and about 30 minutes of a sport.  If you think about it you were probably in decent shape and so were the rest of your classmates.  So why not apply the same techniques now to get fit?

Because you are going to be outdoors the best approach should combine bodyweight workouts along with your cardio.  Instead of doing steady state cardio like going for a long jog, instead do interval training as this will burn more calories and have you looking lean faster than if you were to do long cardio sessions.

Cardio Outdoors

Most of us have a high school or college campus with a track, well why not use it? You can easily run sprints for 2 laps on a track by doing the following approach:

Begin with a 5 minute warm up of jumping jacks and running/ jogging in place.  Alternate between one minute drills of each exercise.

Lap 1

  • Jog for 100 meters
  • Run at 80 percent of your maximum speed the next 100 meters
  • Jog for 100 meters
  • Run at 80 percent of your maximum speed the next 100 meters

Lap 2

  • Jog for 100 meters
  • Run at 80-90 percent of maximum speed for 100 meters
  • Jog or walk for 100 meters
  • Run at 80-90 percent of maximum speed for 100 meters

This workout follows principles of HIIT/ Interval Burst Training and will help you burn fat more effectively than if you were simply jogging for over 30 minutes

Sprinting at the Park, Lake or Beach

If you do not have access to a track or prefer a lake, beach, or park you can follow the same drill.

Simply estimate a distance of 100 meters in a straight line and jog or walk one way then follow that with a quick sprint the opposite way.

If you find it difficult to estimate a distance of 100 meters do the following;

Jog in a straight line for 60 seconds and mark off the ending point.  This will serve as your guideline between your starting point and end point.  Perform the same drill as the track workout.

You could technically do these drills on your neighborhood street, especially if you live in a neighborhood absent of traffic, preferably staying on the sidewalk.

You can also do hill sprints if you live in an area that has hills simply jog/ walk for one minute and sprint for one minute. Do this for a total of 15 minutes.

Outdoor Bodyweight Workout

After a 5 to 10 minute break from your cardio follow this with the following workout.

This completes one set.

Move continuously from one exercise to the next without resting.

Repeat cycle three more times for a total of 4 sets.

Rest 30 seconds between sets.

If you have access to a pull up bar you can finish with 3 sets maximum number of reps per set.

Do this workout twice or three times per week on non consecutive days for best results.  Try to stay active by going on a jog or walk on your off days and maintain a healthy diet.

You can use the outdoor workouts samples I have outlined to turbo charge your fat burning to a new level.  Hopefully this workout sample will help you take your fitness plan beyond just a gym.  Try this to switch it up or to get started on your goal of looking fit and d feeling healthier.

Burpees Exercise: Lose The Fat In One Simple Move

“OKAY CLASS, LET’S DO THIS! BURPEES EXERCISE ON THREE! ONE, TWO…”

That was the drill every morning in middle school. I hated it.  I know everyone in my physical education class hated it, but we did not have an option.  All we wanted to do was play basketball, softball or flag football, but not this.

At the time I did not understand just how valuable an exercise this was.  I mean, who would think that an exercise that requires you to move quickly from a standing position, do a push up position and back up could be so valuable?

Build Athleticism Using A Simple Exercise

In order to becoming athletic or simply get fit it takes doing a lot of cardio or lifting weights- or so we are told.  We have become used to hearing that it takes expensive equipment in order to get in shape but sometimes the smallest and simplest techniques can get us in shape as fast.  If you look at programs like Jason Ferruggia’s “Renegade Bodyweight Bodybuilding” you will find that all it takes to get in shape is your body alone.  A burpee exercise is one way to get in physical conditioning in a short time.

Bodyweight workouts are often not even mentioned in gyms and are rarely talked about in fitness magazines.  However, these workouts are also an excellent way to do strength-training workouts without having to spend money and they can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Burpees Exercises- A Full Body Exercise To Lose Fat

The burpees exercise is a simple exercise that only requires your body and nothing else.  There is no need to use equipment, yet it gives you cardio and strength training benefits like very few other exercises can.  Here you will find a sample workout using burpees.

In order to do a burpee you have to follow this sequence:

  • Begin in a shoulder wide stance
  • Quickly move in to a squat and crouching position with your hands on the floor
  • Kick your feet back in to a push up position and perform a push up
  • Bring your legs in together at the same time back in to the crouching position
  • Explode up and jump as high as you can (similar to a bodyweight jump squat)
  • Land in the same shoulder wide stance
  • This completes one repetition

Note:  the movement should be done without stopping and each repetition is performed non-stop, moving from one repetition to the next.

Do as many burpees as fast as possible for a period of one minute.  Rest for two minutes and repeat the minute sequence 4 more times for a total of 5 sets of burpees.  However, if you cannot do 5 sets that is fine.  You should be able to do a challenging 3 sets and build up to 5 over time.  Do this workout twice a week allowing 72 hours between workouts.

This exercise is an excellent total body workout.  As you can see the push up will work the triceps and chest muscles.  The explosive jump and landing will work on your thighs and hamstrings along with your calves.  The leg tucks and subsequent jump also works your abs/ core region.

If you are a beginner or simply find this sequence challenging you can eliminate the jump in the burpee as well as the push-ups.  If you can perform push-ups I definitely recommend that you keep them.

For an example of a burpee you can see the following video by Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training (turbulencetraining.com).  In this video he incorporates burpees at the end of this bodyweight routine.

Why This Exercise Works So Well

The best way to burn fat and keep lean muscle is by doing burst training or interval training along with strength training. As you can see, this workout combines the two.  Rather than do long cardio sessions you can get better results by doing short bursts of cardio broken up by short rest periods.  In the 15 minutes that it takes to complete this exercise you will get more benefits than if you were to take a jog for over 30 minutes.

How To Make This Your Workout Routine

If you do not have access to a gym, do not have the money, time or you want to switch things up a bit here is my sample weeklong workout.

Monday:  Sprint Workout (15 minutes followed by 15 minute jog or walk)

Tuesday:  Burpees & Abs/ Core Workout

Wednesday:  Rest

Thursday:  Sprint Workout (15 minutes followed by 15 minute jog or walk)

Friday:  Burpees & Abs/Core Workout

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

What I have outlined is a simple workout you can try.  If you are interested in a complete bodyweight program you can follow a more structured and complete program like Jason Ferruggia’s “Renegade Bodyweight Bodybuilding.”

As you can see a burpees exercise can be a great way to burn fat and get lean if you are new to working out or if you are looking for a different way to get in shape.

Feel free to comment below and join in the discussion.

Kettlebell Workout Routines- Pick Up Some Steel And Chisel Your Body

I won’t lie; kettlebell workout routines are something that has been foreign to me for most of my training career.  Yeah, I know, you are either nodding at me in disbelief or you are skeptical of what these little steel balls have to offer.  Don’t get me wrong, I have tried them in the last year or so and I have been impressed by how a small piece of equipment can take you far in getting in shape.

Trendiest Piece of Equipment In Roman Times

Kettlebells haven’t been the most popular equipment tools believe it or not.  Although there has been a growing popularity, the use of kettlebells was mostly at an “underground” level.  Even though we see it talked about more and more in magazines and on fitness shows, it has been in the past 2-3 years that kettlebells have seen an increase in exposure and popularity.  These days many celebrities use them as their primary purpose for getting fit, one example is Daniel Baldwin.  Yes, Daniel Baldwin from “Celebrity Rehab.”

Kettlebells are believed to have gotten their early incarnation at some point in the Roman era and in Ancient Greece but truly became a more popular fitness tool in Russia in the early 1700’s.  However, it is tough to use the old days as a way to measure not only their popularity but also their effectiveness.

Kettlebells In Sports

One of the primary reasons for the increase popularity of kettlebells is the use of this equipment by athletes in various sports.  MMA fighters use them more and more in their training in order to work on their explosiveness and power.  Football players have been seen using in their training outside of the gym and it is also becoming a staple in the training of the U.S. Army, Special Forces and other government agencies.

(Lance Armstrong performing kettlebell routines)

Why Kettlebell Workout Routines Are A Favorite With Athletes

Kettlebells are excellent in developing strong hips, hamstrings, shoulders and a strong core, all muscle groups that are important in sports performance.  Because of the quick and explosive movements needed to carry and swing the weight this requires the body to use its fast twitch muscles for explosiveness.  The development of fast twitch muscles is important in developing lean muscle and in burning fat.

Ketllebell Routine Example

One of the best kettlebell workouts I have seen is one done by Craig Ballantyne of turbulencetraining.com.  Craig always uses creative workouts to spark muscle confusion and is an expert at applying burst training workouts in burning fat.  In the example below he shows an excellent kettlebell and bodyweight workout using very limited space.

(Check out more of Craig Ballantyne’s Kettlebell Workouts)

The 10 x 20 Kettlebell Workout Bodyweight Exercise Circuit Breakdown

1) Squat With Kettlebells – 20 reps
2) Pushups (Hands in Front) – 20 reps
3) Kettlebell Swings – 20 reps
4) Walking Lunges – 20 reps per side
5) Single Arm High Pulls – 10 reps per side
6) Mountain Climber – 20 reps
7) One Arm Kettlebell Swing – 10 reps per side
8) Close Grip Pushups – 20 reps
9) Kettlebell One Arm Row – 10 reps per side
10) Stability Ball Leg Curls – 20 reps
Rest 1-2 Minutes and then do it 2 more times

As you can see, performing this circuit is pretty simple and can be performed in a limited space.  This type of workout is excellent at burning fat and  can be done by either men or women.  I have done this kettlebell circuit and have found it quite challenging but is really worth doing because of its fat burning benefits.

It may be hard to believe that a simple piece of iron can get someone in top shape but do not underestimate its capabilities.  This simple tool provides anyone the ability to be creative with a workout and can get anyone to look athletic.  Just follow the example of many athletes and try to incorporate kettlebell workout routines if you want switch things up and burn fat and get a lean and ripped body or try Craig Ballantyne’s Kettlebell Program.

Try it and see what you think.  Feel free to comment below.

Bodyweight Jump Squats: A Perfect Exercise That Builds Muscle And Burns Fat

When it comes to gaining muscle and burning fat one of the best bodyweight exercises are jump squats.  Although it is a rare exercise to see in any gym they are an extremely effective way of turning your next muscle-building program in to a cardio workout.

Although bodyweight workout routines are not very popular among typical gym goers, and anyone looking to lift weight, when these exercises are done right they can be a great complement to weight training or they can work independently and as effectively as any other strength training workout.

Benefits of A Jump Squat

  • Build Athleticism
  • Stimulates Fast Twitch Muscle Growth
  • Builds Explosiveness
  • Builds Strength and Speed
  • Builds Power
  • Is A Plyometric Exercise

Why Bodyweight Squat Jumps Burn Fat And Make You Lean

As you can see from the list above there are many benefits with this exercise.  When performing this exercise you are helping trigger muscle growth through explosive movements.  In order for the legs to adapt to explosive movements it has to adapt by creating lean muscle.

A simple bodyweight squat only forces the legs to carry the weight of the body through repetitive movements.  By adding a jump the legs have to carry the weight of the body plus get it to forcefully lift off the ground and land.  This exercise improves vertical jumping ability and helps increase speed as well.

When we add a jump to a squat it not only forces the muscles to work but also gets the heart rate elevated the same as any cardio workout.  When we combine both the muscle building and cardio benefits together the fat burning abilities increase greatly.

Make It Twitch For Strong Muscular Legs

You have probably looked at a football player, soccer player, basketball player or any other athlete who requires jumping in their sport.  Their legs are very muscular.  Due to the explosive nature of these sports their legs develop a higher degree of fast twitch muscle.  Fast twitch muscles are what give the body a leaner and muscular appearance.

Compare the legs of athletes who do movements and workouts in short bursts with those who train for endurance like a long distance or marathon runner.  Someone who exercises for endurance or distance has a thinner looking physique, as they do not require fast twitch muscles in order to be explosive.

In order to increase and stimulate fast twitch muscle growth the best way to do so is through burst training and plyometric exercises.

How To Perform A Jump Squat

If you have ever seen or performed a traditional squat using weights then you will know how to perform a bodyweight jump squat.

  • Begin by standing with feet shoulder width apart
  • Lower your body at the hips into a seated position
  • Jump as high as you can
  • Do not land with feet straight but rather come down to the seated position on landing

Weighted Jump Squats vs. Bodyweight Jump Squats

Although many athletes perform a weighted version of this exercise using dumbbells or barbells this is not something I see necessary or ideal for the typical person.  Athletes use weights in order to increase the load and demand on their legs.  However, for the average person it can be risky on the lower back when adding additional weight.  Simply use a bodyweight version of this exercise and you will be fine.

At What Point In Your Workout Should You Perform This Exercise?

These exercises can be done before beginning your leg workout, also as a warm-up doing lower body plyometrics workouts or at the end of your weight training.  There really is no ideal or perfect method. If you are doing weight training for your legs it may be best to leave the jump variations until the end as you may find yourself taxing the muscles too early which could affect quality of your weight training.

A Workout That Combines Squat Jumping For Fat Loss And Muscle Growth

The following is a workout I began practicing several years ago that incorporates weight training for legs, jumping squats and interval cardio that develops strong legs and also burns fat very effectively.

Deadlifts- 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions; rest 1 minute between sets

Squats- 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions; rest 1 minute between sets

Leg Press (optional)- 3 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions; rest 1 minute between sets

Sprint running for 15 minutes in the following sequence

  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute

Jump Squats- 3 to 4 sets of 10 repetitions

Rest 30 seconds between sets

The above workout sequence has been a favorite of mine for quite some time.  It is challenging on the legs but forces the muscles to grow through a combination of explosiveness and bursts of activity.  This workout should only be done once a week in order to allow the legs to rest and recover.

For a strictly bodyweight version of this routine you can simply eliminate the weighted squats, deadlifts and leg press and only perform the sprints and bodyweight squat jumps twice a week.

Include jump squats regularly in your lower body workouts and you will find that it is not only a fun exercise but also great at building lean muscle, burning fat and building athleticism.

Feel free to comment below and join in on the conversation.

Do An Athletic Workout And Get the Body You Deserve

Summer is right around the corner and it looks like it’s crunch time again. Just about everyone and the cat is wondering how they are going to get an athletic body in time for the warm weather.  Although everyone looks for a quick fix, the best way to achieve a great body is by adding an athletic workout as part of your fitness regimen.

(Photograph courtesy of Robert Benson)

Around this time of year and the holidays you start hearing about a new fat loss method being called a miracle cure.  Fad diets become all the rage at least once a year (see The Dr. Dukan Diet), and other times the infomercials take the airwaves (wait, do we even use airwaves anymore) with some new gadget promising ripped abs.

I know everyone looks for an easy fix, especially when it comes to fitness.  The truth is there are easy steps you can take today that will get you one step closer to getting in shape but the results will not come to you overnight.

An Athletic Workout Is The Best Alternative To Getting Fit

This may not sound like the most appealing thing to do.  I mean, when we think of an athletic workout we think of hard work and sacrifice to achieve an athletic type body.  Well, getting fit is never an easy task but it also does not have to time consuming to the point of sacrificing a part of your social and family life.

If you have ever bought a piece of fitness equipment from an infomercial hoping to get 6 pack abs or a ripped body, then you probably know by now that got you absolutely nowhere.  Maybe you tried some diet and that also got you absolutely nowhere.  Perhaps you have been doing long cardio sessions and you still have the same body type you had a year ago.  What gives?

Time to do an athletic workout!

What a good athletic workout consists of:

Interval Type Cardio

Strength Training

A Good Diet- For a good diet plan check out Eat, Stop, Eat

Sounds easy enough.  This is not about reinventing the wheel.  These three simple steps can get you closer to your goals in less time than other approaches out there.

Let’s Break It Down

Interval Type Cardio

There is not escaping it.  In order to look fit you have to include cardio in your workouts.  You can’t avoid cardio but you also cannot do TOO MUCH cardio.  Get rid of long cardio sessions if that is what you have been doing.

Cardio sessions should consist of short burst training (also referred to as HIIT).  Your cardio should be broken down in to brief yet intense activity.  This can be done using sprint workouts or simply imitating a sprint.

Choose your favorite cardio exercise and perform a sequence like the following

  • Jog for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for one minute
  • Jog/ walk for 2 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute

Continue with this sequence for 15 minutes

Do intervals 2 or 3 times a week on non-consecutive days

This type of cardio workout is more effective than your typical long cardio sessions. This type of cardio is key to get a swimmer’s body or a gymnast body or that similar to an Olympic sprinter.

Strength Training

Strength training can be done with weights, bodyweight workout routines, kettle bells, resistance bands training, and machines. It does not matter as long you like the equipment you are using.  You can even use a combination of equipment if that is your preference.

  • Do not perform exercises on consecutive days:  it is fine to workout on consecutive days, just not on the same muscle group.  This is one problem that is all too common.  I think most of us have been guilty of it especially when we first started working out.  For example, doing chest and arms on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is a recipe for failure.  Instead break up your body and work on them on different days.
  • Allow about 5 to 7 days between workouts for each body part:  It is best to allow sufficient time between workouts.  So if you did arms today then do not perform this workout until a week from today.
  • Do multi joint movements:  It is fun to do biceps curls and triceps extensions and leg extensions but chances are you won’t see sufficient changes in your body unless you perform multi joint movements. Athletes focus on these types of exercises to get in shape.

Examples of these are: push-ups, bench presses, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, shoulder presses, lat pull downs.

  • Do not spend longer than one hour in the gym: the time you spend combined between cardio and strength training should not exceed one hour.  If you spend longer than this your body will begin burning out soon after that.  Eliminate those 90 minute or 2 hour sessions.  Once you hit the 1-hour mark it is time to call it a day.

A few days ago I was talking to my friend and he wanted some tips on putting on muscle and getting an athletic body.  I outlined a plan that I think will work for him and may is good for someone who is serious about looking in shape.

Sample Athletic Body Workout Plan

Day 1: Chest and Triceps

  • Bench Press
  • Incline Press
  • Fly’s (optional)
  • Triceps Overhead Extension
  • Triceps Pull down

Perform 4 sets of 5 repetitions

Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets

Day 2:  Back and Biceps

Pull Ups (as many as possible per set)

Rowing

  • Lat Pull Downs
  • Barbell Biceps Curl
  • Dumbbell Biceps Curl (optional)

Perform 4 sets of 5 Repetitions

Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute

Day 3: Legs

  • Squats
  • Leg Presses
  • Calf Raises

Perform 4 sets of 5 Repetitions

Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets

Day 4: Shoulders

  • Military Press/ Shoulder Presses
  • Lateral Raises
  • Upright Row

Perform 4 sets of 5 Repetitions

Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets

For cardio do intervals at least twice per week with moderate paced cardio on the other days if needed.

Total time with weight training and cardio combined should not exceed one hour.  In fact, the weight-training portion will only take around 20 minutes per day at the most.

This workout was outlined for him as he has been working out consistently for a couple of months and he was performing in the range of 10 repetitions.  Because he has gotten his body accustomed to working out I felt comfortable with switching it to lower rep ranges.

However, he was working out each muscle group too often and felt he had to move to targeting each muscle group once a week immediately.  Also, he could have probably done a 3 days a week approach but he is already working out at a gym 4 days a week so this gave him a chance to work on weights on those days without doing muscle overkill.

So there you have it.  Feel free to try this athletic workout to get an athletic body.

Comment below if you have any questions, suggestions or other tips you want to share.