It's time to start moving away from 100% fat loss focused workouts. Today, we're going to start building a base foundation of strength. In the fitness world, it's common to see people focused on endurance and mass and the aspects surrounding them. Unfortunately, there's just not enough love for strength..
But to make efficient progress in any other area, you need a solid base of strength. You don't need to start competing in powerlifting, but spending a little extra time with big compound movements utilizing the lower rep ranges is a good starting point.
A) Squat 3x5: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nFAscG0XUNY
I'm sure most of you have squatted at some point. This is no different. Settle into a comfortable stance with toes pointed slightly out. Puff your chest out and keep your eyes forward. Start the movement with your hips, not your knees, by giving your butt a little push backwards. As you hit parallel, explode upwards.
B1) Walking Lunge 3x8/side: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0_9sJd9P8M0
Beginners should stick to dumbbells, while intermediate lifters can use a barbell. For a bigger challenge, use a front squat grip, but pay extra close attention to your posture and make sure you stay upright.
B2) Mountain Climber 3x30 seconds: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nmwgirgXLYM
Okay, this is more conditioning than strength. But remember that they're paired with walking lunges. Push yourself hard on these to increase the difficulty of your lunge sets.
C1) Cable Pull Through 3x10: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4oZ_0_bQcOg
It looks like a squat, but squats don't work your lower back like pull throughs do. Be prepared for some pretty intense lumbar soreness the next day. It's a tricky movement to pick up, but just remember to hinge backwards with your hips, pushing your butt back and bringing your back nearly parallel to the floor.
C2) Standing Cable Twist 3x10/side: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l6jZ5PTrpuY
There's just one cue you need for this movement: keep your elbows locked all the way through. The second you let them slack, your shoulders become the main mover instead of your core. To increase the difficulty, set your stance directly forward and don't let your hips help.
A) Bench Press 3x5: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rJX5MKacR6M
This is the upper body ego exercise...but not today. First, learn to arch and to always keep your butt planted on the bench. Before you unravel, tuck your shoulder blades. Take a deep breath, tuck your elbows, and lower to your chest. Explode up, letting the "spring" (your elbows) uncoil.
B1) Landmine Press 3x8/side: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ozcOvipzNmw
Lay a weight plate against a wall, flat on the floor. Set the end of a full-length barbell against it. Treat this movement just like a strict shoulder press - start with the bar tucked at your shoulder, knees slightly bent and feet pointed forward. Explode up, lock your elbow, and carefully drop back to the start.
B2) UH Low Row 3x8: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HN0CqpuruMY
Use this horizontal row to build your upper back, biceps, and forearms. The most important point to remember is to let your upper back and arms do the work. In other words, resist the urge to use your torso to jerk the weight back.
C1) DB Swing 3x12: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OopKTfLiz48
The video shows a kettlebell, but dumbbells work just as well. Remember to hinge your hips - that's where all your power comes from. Be careful to avoid rounding your lower back and don't bring the dumbbell any higher than face level.
C2) Pullup 3-6 sets: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VHt8ulfWtzY
If pull-ups are too difficult for you, go with heavy lat pulls instead. Or any other type of vertical row. If pull-ups are part of your New Years resolution, you can use a TRX or smith machine to slowly work into them, as seen in the video.
A) Deadlift 3x5: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ky5hs7uprTU
This hip-dominant strength builder is a full body exercise. Remember to start low, keep your lower back from rounding, and drive your heels into the ground. If you're not used to the Deadlift, start slowly. Or, if you're already deadlifting, switch to a different variation - the sumo Deadlift and snatch grip Deadlift are two options.
B1) Step Up 3x8/side: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SPFxUsCy7So
This lunge progression works many of the same muscles, but moves you vertically rather than horizontally. For box height, start in the 8-12" range. If you focus on nothing else, make sure you avoid hopping off your rear leg. Drive your elevated foot into the box and try to "step", not jump.
B2) Farmer's Walk 3x30-60 seconds: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PV5cqXK_Lgo
This part conditioning, part grip strength exercise allows you to train your grip for future heavy deadlifts, build muscle in your upper back, and jumpstart your heart rate all at the same time.
C1) Hip Thrust 3x10: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SEdqd1n0cvg
Similar to the bridge, this movement hammers the glutes. There are a few major cues to remember - squeeze your glutes throughout the entire movement, drive your heels into the ground, and finish parallel with the floor.
C2) Pallof Press 3x10/side: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nFspBRHke4w
You'll use the same starting position as the cable twist. But this time, there's no twisting. The pallof press is all about anti-rotation. In other words, preventing your body from twisting to either side. Use slow reps and try to maintain an absolutely straight line.
What You Need To Know: Each set is represented by alternating sets. On Day 2, perform all of your bench press sets with regular rest. When you move to the next exercise - the landmine - you'll perform one set of that followed by regular rest, and then one set of the UH low row. Repeat for the rest of the sets, then move to the next pair and do the same. To add some progression, make a slight change to the sets and reps - start with two sets of each exercise for the first1-2 weeks, then move to three sets, and finally to four sets before taking a week off and deloading.