Most of your training probably consists of the big lifts and their variations. Good business. But sometimes it's nice to add a little variety to the mix.
Variety can break up the training monotony in order to increase motivation and mental engagement. It's also good to have a few tricks up your sleeve when you're stuck in a poorly-equipped hotel gym or working out in your garage. Combining some basic exercises can increase the training effect.
The problem with most combination exercises is that they suck. They rob part of the exercise to challenge the other. Barbell engines? You should be able to squat much more than you can push overhead.
But here are three combination exercises that actually make sense:
– Inverted Row + Leg Curl
By lifting your feet you have already increased your stake in both exercises because you are handling more of your body weight.
Your hamstrings can do more than just flex your knee – they also work synergistically with your glutes to stretch your hips. So during the series, don't just keep the tension in your glutes while doing the leg flexion. Your hamstrings pull twice the force to maintain this hip extension while you bend your knee.
From the torso perspective while you row, of course you smoke your lats and upper back, but during the leg flexion section, your lats must now contract isometrically so that your shoulders do not crawl into your ears, much like they are stressed in a deadlift to keep the bar from drifting forward.
You will emphasize all three muscle contractions of your entire back chain: concentric, eccentric and isometric. Try this for 2-4 sets of 5-8 reps.
2 – Chin-Up + Leg Raises
When you raise your legs while lifting a leg, use your hip flexors primarily, not your abs. When you lower your legs, you challenge your abs as you struggle not to expand your lumbar spine.
Your lats are actually also a core stabilizer, as they adhere to your sacrum, pelvis, spine and lower ribs from T6. Your core muscles are always challenged when you pull up. Lifting your leg while the lats are in a shortened, contracted position takes this challenge to the next level.
This also increases the time under tension for the pull-ups. Ideal for lat growth. Do 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps.
3 – Deadlifts with one leg + reverse lung
While reverse lunges dominate the rear chain as forward lunges, they still strain the quads. One-legged deadlifts hammer your glutes, hamstrings and adductors and challenge all three levels of movement.
If you only have a dumbbell or kettlebell and you want to hammer the slopes a little more, you can tweak this by simply loading a page to really challenge your ability to resist the rotation on your torso. Load them for 2-3 sets of 4-6 repetitions each.
10 more combination exercises to try out
The whole body burner