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Deadlifts are another keystone exercise that you really should master. They’re also the exercise in which you’ll likely lift the most weight, so they’re fun!
- Place a barbell in front of you, and stand behind it with your shins touching the bar, with your feet hip width apart. Keep facing directly in front of you for the entire movement.
- Lower yourself down, grabbing the bar just wider than your feet. Either have your palms facing backwards, or have one forwards and one backwards. This reverse grip helps prevent the bar from rolling, which may be an issue as you lift heavier weights.
- Whilst holding the bar, squeeze your shoulder blade together and tighten your core. It is essential that you keep your spine in a straight, neutral position. Do not bend it when performing a deadlift. The deadlift is quite a straightforward movement, the difficulty comes in because you can easily injure your lower back if you’re not careful.
- Squeeze your legs and power up through your heels. Raise the barbell against your shins, keeping it close to your centre.
- As the bar raises to the level of your knees, move them back to continue lifting the bar up to your thighs. Squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement, but not leaning backwards (this is bar form).
- Slowly lower the bar back down again, pushing your knees forwards as the bar passes lower than them. This is one rep.
Swimmers are a great way to work your whole body whilst giving your lower back a workout.
- Lie on your stomach and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can, raising both legs off the ground.
- Reach forwards with your arms, keeping your palms facing downwards a few inches above the ground.
- Lift your alternate arm and leg up into the air, squeezing all of the muscles from your shoulders down to your glutes. This is one rep.
- Repeat with the other arm rapidly.
Bent Over Row
Rows are a great way to tone and define your back.
- Put one knee on a bench, with your lower leg lying flat along the bench.
- Place your hand on the same side as your knee on the bench whilst leaning over. Your hand should be directly below your shoulder.
- Hold a dumbbell in your other hand, placing it on the bench.
- Tense your lat (the large muscles down the sides of your back) on the same side as the arm holding the dumbbell. Slowly raise the arm holding the dumbbell so your upper arm is parallel to the floor, and your elbow makes a 90 degree angle.
- Let the dumbbell come down slowly , rest it on the bench if you need. This is one rep.
- Repeat on the other side.
Plank Glute Kickback
To mix in some glute exercises with your abs, as well as upping the difficulty, try some glute kickbacks.
- Whilst in a standard plank position, tense your glutes one at a time, raising your leg slowly and holding for 2-3 seconds at the top.
- As you’re resting on one less limb, the plank will become more difficult to hold also.
- Repeating once with each leg is one rep for this exercise.
This is a great dynamic movement to hit your whole body whilst working to tone your arms.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of you. Place your feet shoulder width apart and squat down. This is your starting position.
- Tense your glutes to explode up, using some of that momentum to raise the two dumbbells over your head in front of you. As you do this, twist to the side by tensing your obliques (side abs).
- Slowly reverse the motion, bringing your hands back down and squatting into the start position ready to do the same on the opposite side. This is one rep.
Flutter kicks are a simple way to give your hip flexors, lower abs and quads a workout.
- Lie flat on your back on the floor or on a bench.
- Lift both feet an inch or two in the air.
- Tense your lower abs to raise one leg.
- Alternate between raising each leg, lowering them to 1-2 inches above the ground. A flutter kick with both legs counts as one rep.
Bent Over One Arm
These lat raises are a great way to work the centre of your back more.
- On your hands and knees, hold a dumbbell in one hand.
- Put your weight on your hand without the dumbbell.
- Tense your lat on the side holding the dumbbell, raising your arm until it is straight out by your side.
- Slowly lower it back down. This is one rep.
- Repeat on the other side.
Burpees are a tried and tested killer endurance combo.
- Stand standing in a neutral position.
- Squat downwards, placing your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart.
- Shoot your legs backwards into a high plank position.
- (Optional) perform a pushup from the high plank position.
- Squat upwards explosively, jumping into the air with your hands above your head.
- Land with soft knees to avoid injury. This is one rep.
- Start on your hands and knees and place your forearms on the floor, with your elbows directly under your shoulders.
- Raise your torso off the ground, having that balls of your feet touching the ground as shown.
- Brace your core and squeeze your glutes, whilst keeping your back in a neutral position without any curvature. Your hips should be level with your shoulders.
- Hold for as long as you can! Try to extend this time to improve your core strength.