Train Smarter, Not Harder: Feel-Good Strength and Conditioning Workout
Train smarter, not harder: Time isn’t kind to ego-fueled workouts. It’s time to invest in feel-good training.
Gone are the days of running yourself ragged working your mirror muscles. The new age of fitness welcomes sessions that maximize efficiency, reinforce proper movement patterns, and blend mobility with strength. This workout is like getting a full car service for your body. The warmup inspects tightness and triggers warning lights if major muscle imbalances appear so you can grease those joints and execute the workout at maximum capacity. Remember, this is guiding you to train smarter, not harder, and part of that equation means getting your body moving in the proper range of motion before you add weight, so don’t skip the warmup.
The routine, courtesy of Ariel Foxie, CPT, covers multiple movement patterns (squat, hinge, press and pull). You’ll improve muscular endurance, aerobic capacity and overall strength.
Do once at the end of a weekly strength routine. If coming off a training hiatus, start with fewer sets and/ or lighter loads. Perform supersets, following tempo cues when noted. The four-number sequence indicates: eccentric (lower), pause, concentric (lift), pause. Rest 20 sec. between exercises and 45 to 90 sec. between supersets. Warm up by foam rolling for 2 to 3min., then perform 6 to 8 reps each of the following:
- Single-leg Glute Bridge (shown)
- Seated Shoulder Openers
- 90/90 Hip Switches
- Modified Pigeon Forward Fold
- World’s Greatest Stretch
- Lying Leg Swings
The Workout to Train Smarter, Not Harder
1A. Back Squat 3/0/3/0
With barbell across traps, bend at hips and knees to lower for a count of 3. Go as far as you can without losing the arch in your low back. Immediately extend hips to rise, pushing knees out, lifting for a count of 3, then go immediately into next rep. 8 reps
1B. 90/90 Switches With Hip Extension
Sit with knees bent and feet flat on floor, wider than shoulder width, holding a wall ball. Keep chest high, then drop legs right, creating 90-degree angles with knees. Hinge forward over right thigh, then press your right knee and ankle into the floor while raising into a hip extension. Twist torso over right side for a deeper stretch in left hip flexor. Hinge and lower hips back onto ground. Rotate torso and lift knees back to center. Switch sides. 4–6 x 8 reps
Hang from the bar with hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing away. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, to start. Lower for 3. Immediately pull up for 1, hold at the top for 1, then repeat. 8 reps
2B. Landmine Hinge to Press
Stand perpendicular to landmine with feet wider than hip-width apart. Hinge at waist, grab the landmine with a mixed grip (outside hand should be underhand) while pulling slack out of the barbell and creating tension in hamstrings. Keep the bar close to your body, then drive hips forward and squeeze glutes to stand. Before full hip extension, pull the barbell up and transition grip for press. Pivot rear foot and leg inward, and drive through ground as you press the landmine overhead using outside hand. Reset and repeat all reps on one side before switching. 3–4 sets x 8 reps
3A. Trap Bar Deadlift
Stand within a trap bar (hex bar) with feet at hip width. To start, hinge at hips and grasp handles, then drive through heels, extending through hips and knees to stand, keeping the arch in your low back. Lower for 3, pause at the bottom for 1, then explode up. Pause for 1, then repeat. 8 reps
3B. Dumbbell Bench
Sit on the end of a flat bench, resting a pair of moderate to heavy dumbbells on thighs. Lie back and “kick” weights up, guiding them over your chest, palms facing away. Lower dumbbells to sides of pecs for a count of 2, then immediately press up for 2, squeezing pecs at top. 3–4 sets x 8 reps
4A. Battle Rope Slams
Hold the ends of battle ropes with a handshake or overhand grip. Come into a squat position, then generate power from the ground up to extend arms overhead as you slam ropes onto the ground. 20 reps
4B. Assault Bike
Work at a low to moderate rate of perceived effort on bike. If tired, work 4/10. If feeling strong, work 7/10. 30–40 sec.