Happy Thursday to you,
We’ve had a few warmer days here in Oxfordshire this week so I’ve managed to get out into the garden and start preparing the vegetable crops ready for the spring.
Last year we barely bought any vegetables, managing to live solely off all the vegetables and fruit we grow in our garden.
There is a great sense of achievement that comes from growing your own food including knowing that it has not been sprayed with all those nasty chemicals.
OK, enough of my farming skills, let’s get down to some exercise…
Are you practicing or exercising?
It’s very important to distinguish what you are trying to achieve when you workout.
When you practice you are rehearsing a movement, you are trying to improve your skill and perform it correctly so you activate the right muscles and avoid injury.
When you exercise, you are pushing a perfect movement to the extremes, trying to force the muscles to adapt and increase motor recruitment.
What’s the biggest mistake I see?
People exercising when they should be practicing
In short, you should be exercising with the exercises that you have mastered and practicing with the exercises you haven’t
Let’s look at an example (actually a workout I did yesterday):
- Cross Body Clean & Press (1 Dumbbell)
- Forward Lunge (2 Dumbbells)
Rest and Repeat for a total of 3 circuits
Rest and repeat for a total of 3 circuits
The cross body clean & press is a complicated movement that requires a lot of practice and skill to get it right so you would choose to practice this exercise by using a light weight and take your time.
The Lunge is a simpler exercise that is foundational and hopefully has been practiced first with bodyweight so you could load this one up and work it hard providing your technique was correct.
The Get Up again is complicated so you would choose to practice this one with no weight, a cup of water, or maybe a light kettlebell, taking your time to get it right at every stage.
The One Handed Swing maybe mastered so you can push this exercise by using more weight and longer rep cycles.
Do you see the difference here?
Choose simple exercises that you have mastered to push yourself with and complicated exercises you haven’t to practice.
What happens when you push an exercise you haven’t practiced first?
You develop faulty movement patterns and cause injury.
Have a think about this the next time you exercise: ask yourself…
“Am I practicing or exercising?”
10 Minute kettlebell workout:
- Kettlebell Slingshot x 1 minute
- Kettlebell Halo x 1 minute
- Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift x 1 minute
- Kettlebell Windmill x 1 minute
- Kettlebell Swing One Arm x 1 minute
- Kettlebell Clean and Press x 1 minute
- Kettlebell Side Lunge x 1 minute
- Kettlebell Thruster x 1 minute
- Kettlebell Regular Row x 1 minute
- Kettlebell Reverse Lunge and Press x 1 minute
Here’s a nice 10 minute mini challenge workout that is fun and hits 600+ muscles in the body.
Spend 1 minute on each of the exercises dividing them into 30 seconds on each side or in each direction.
Try to take as little rest in between exercises as you can to challenge your cardio. You can use an interval timer (lots of apps available) that beeps at you every 30 seconds so you know when to change.
Perform the exercises slowly the first time you attempt the workout and then gradually build your reps as you acclimatise to the exercises.
As mentioned above you may be practicing some movements and really exercising with others.
Want 12 weeks of progressive workouts? See my latest programs here
This weeks question:
Q. “How’s the best way to train my core / ab muscles to prevent back problems?”
A. Firstly, I’m pleased you understand the correlation between a strong core and back problems.
You should take a well researched and scientific approach by focusing on spinal stability as recommended by top spinal doctor Prof. Stuart McGill.
Divide your exercises into 3 categories: Front, Side and Rotational.
- Front: Front planks, shoulder taps, slow mountain climbers, push ups etc.
- Side: Side planks, farmers carry’s
- Rotational: Cross body mountain climbers, bird dogs, renegade rows, wood chops
You can put together effective circuits as I do in my 37 core workouts like:
- front plank – 30 seconds
- side plank – 30 seconds each side
- bird dogs – 30 seconds each side
- Rest 60 seconds and repeat
I hope this helps.
P.S. Want more ready-made core workouts? See my latest programs here