We all know that old gray-pubed guy from the gym who talks about the good old days while blow-drying his withered nut sack in the locker room.
Hell, maybe that’s you out there muttering…
“I could do that when I was your age.”
“Just you wait.”
“Back in the day, I’d walk four miles to school through snowstorms, uphill both ways.”
But the point is, no one wants to be the old guy, telling everyone how jacked, how athletic, and how great he USED to be.
Problem is, the majority of men do exactly that once they hit 25.
But let’s face it. We’re all secretly worrying about our health, and yes, our physiques.
Sure, now you have more responsibilities in life, including your family and career. But it’s still up to you to be capable of performing your best, both physically and mentally. You should have the ability to handle anything life throws at you.
That’s exactly what adding these simple exercises will help you do. You will Power up your training to ignite your athleticism and build your ultimate body. These exercises activate your nervous system to recruit fast-twitch muscles you’ve neglected. This means you’ll lift more weight and stimulate more muscle growth during workouts.
In time, you’ll recruit more muscle fibers with less effort, making it easier to jump, sprint, and be explosive both inside and outside the gym.
1. Hill Sprints
Have you noticed the lean, athletic physiques of most sprint athletes? Sprints, and hill sprints, in particular, are one of the best ways to stave off father time and boost performance both inside and outside the gym.
Sprints use major muscles like your glutes, quads, and hamstrings to generate insane amounts of force andpower. These muscle contractions create a hormonal environment like heavy lifting. Your body releases testosterone, growth hormone (the fountain of youth hormone), and improves insulin sensitivity. Altogether, this combination helps slow aging, increases muscle mass, and shreds body fat.
But, typical sprints are tough on your body. Instead of taking off in a sprint on flat surfaces, your best bet is an incline treadmill or hill.
The hill reduces the distance your foot goes to the ground, thereby reducing the impact of running. Running up a hill prevents over-striding, reducing the chance you’ll jack your shit up with a pulled hamstring.
Further, sprinting up a hill is tougher and hits your muscles harder than sprinting on a flat surface.
When you combine the hormonal environment that keeps you younger, leaner, and more athletic with the decreased chance of injury, hill sprints are a must.
2. Barbell Hang High-Pull
Cleans are a great exercise, but most guys struggle to rack the barbell on their shoulders.
In the best interest of your shoulders, elbows, and wrists, most guys are better off with the barbell high pull.
The high pull uses an explosive hip extension to generate force with your legs. Then shrug your shoulders and drive your elbows to pull the barbell between nipple and throat height. This forces your legs to develop power while challenging your traps, forearms, and shoulders to transfer force from the lower body.
The end result? You’ll build the ultimate power look: thick traps, strong forearms, broader shoulders, and a well-developed lower body, with the athletic prowess to boot.
Try 3-5 sets of 4-6 reps with 90-120 seconds between sets.
3. One Arm DB Snatch
The snatch is arguably the best exercise for building head-to-toeathleticism.
Problem is, most dudes sit all day finger blasting their iPhone or laptop and are left with the shoulder mobility of an iron rod this renders most guys incapable of performing overhead lifts, let alone snatches without a huge risk of injury.
To bridge the gap between athleticism and safety, use the single-arm dumbbell snatch. This lift builds powerful legs, a strong core, and stable shoulders.
Jumps boost muscle fiber recruitment and help you preserve explosive, fast-twitch fibers. As you get older, fast-twitch muscle fibers are the first to go both as part of the aging process and from a lack of use.
When you add jumps into your training, specifically before heavy lifting, you can recruit dormant muscle fibers, increase neural drive, and improve the efficiency of your nervous system. This allows you to activate and train more muscle during your workouts for faster strength gains. And when you activate more muscle fibers, you increase the number of muscle fibers you can fatigue to maximize muscle growth.
Over time, explosive movements make your body more efficient. They help you hoist huge weights, get more explosive, and recruit more muscle fibers. The key with jumps is optimizing technique.
First, it’s important to jump with maximum intent, whether you’re jumping onto a box, or with bodyweight.
Second, focus on nailing your technique. By practicing sound technique you’ll build muscle memory that automatically activates in more chaotic environments like jumping for rebounds during basketball.
Here are the points to keep in mind:
Feet should be flat when you land, rather than any anterior weight displacement, which forces you to tilt forward onto your toes.
Knees should be neutral, rather than in valgus or varus (diving in or diving out, respectively). This prevents shredding your knees and writhing in pain during your pickup basketball games.
Brace your abs. Don’t allow your back to round. Any weakness in the trunk position shows a power leak that reduces explosive power and opens the door for greater stress on the hips, knees, and ankles.
Head up, chest up. If your head and neck drop when landing you’ll lose trunk position and fold over. This leads to a breakdown in form from head to toe, decreasing performance and opening the door up for injury.
Pause and hold the position at the bottom of the jump to reinforce optimal landing position.
5. Daily Walks
Didn’t expect this one, did you? The majority of people are chronically stressed and always on the go. Stress is systemic. The stress you have from work, family, traffic, and yes, your workouts, all attack your body in the same manner, making it harder to perform at your best mentally and physically.
That’s where daily walks come in. By using low impact conditioning and destressing, you’re improving your recovery and overall health to make all other training more efficient. Simply going for a walk for 30 minutes each day is enough to stave off weight gain, improve your health, and give you the headspace necessary to perform your best.
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