Kill 2 birds with 1 stone…or more
Yeah don’t literally try to do this! It probably won’t happen anyway…
So what do I mean with this statement ? Everyone has heard or used this saying (except the ‘or more’ bit) and it means to make your life easier and more efficient. This can also be used within the fitness industry believe it or not. All this means is that you do 2 or more exercises without having a rest in between, and no not supersets, tri sets, giant sets etc but I am talking about combinations!
Combination exercises are basically 2 or more exercises carried out without putting the weight down so the stress is always placed on your tissues. Example of a combination is a clean and press. If you break this move down you are in fact doing a deadlift in to an upright row in to an upward rotation of rotator cuffs then in to a squat and shoulder press. So this is definitely a combination exercise, but people take it as 1 move. Who would have thought a press up is a combination eh? Well it is! You push up which is basically a shoulder press and then let yourself almost hit the floor, almost remember not hit the floor, which is then your plank position. See it is a combination!
So now you know what a combination exercise is, so why are they so damned good for you?
Stress – Well in order to build muscles and get those washboard abs you want to put your muscles under a lot of stress so they break down, release certain hormones, enzymes get to work bla bla bla and you get newer, bigger and better carved muscles. Because in combinations you don’t put the weight down in between exercises, you are in fact using muscles continuously adding to the stress factor.
Grip strength – Believe it or not, you performing different exercises in 1 go really does improve your grip strength. When you lift a weight up, that weight is always moving within your hands which causes tension in those little tendons and muscles within your palms and wrists and this in turn breaks grip. So when you constantly train your muscles to hold a resistance for a longer period of time then you are in turn improving your grip for the heavier moves such as deadlifts and chin ups. Remember improving grip strength is extremely important when exercising and even for everyday lives but please use it for good use and not to choke someone out….
Endurance – Let’s be honest, this one is a given. YOU ARE PERFORMING LOTS OF EXERCISES IN 1 GO WITHOUT REST! Your endurance levels will increase tremendously, need I say more?
Variety – Now this is a good one to talk about. The good thing with combinations is that it you can vary whether you want it to be a full body exercise or not. If you just want to target say your upper body then you can carry out a move such as shoulder press in to a bent over row, so 1 press then 1 row then 1 press 1 row etc etc. Or you can be a machine and go from a press up to a deadlift to an upright row to a shoulder press to a back squat to a good morning to a lunge then back again ! I’ve just thought of this up on the spot so it doesn’t take a GENIUS to make these up! That’s why these combinations are efficient because you can make them interesting. Think of a salad, you don’t just chuck some leaves you found from trees on a plate, no no you make it interesting by adding lots of colours, herbs, flavours, oils, nuts etc. So the same rule applies with these bad boys, you make them fun and gruelling especially if you’re a PT training your clients 😀 You can go from a press up in to a mountain climb in to a jump squat ! Good luck people 😀
Core – Yes yes this is a massive core workout. Combinations are usually all free weights or bodyweight related exercises, all which need your core to be engaged so your core will be playing a massive part in this to improve strength, stability, proprioception, dynamic and static neuromuscular efficiency and the list goes on……..
Metabolic training – By killing 2 or more exercises in 1 go, there will be a massive build up of hydrogen ions which in turn causes cramping, inefficiency in muscle contraction and the rest. Now this acidosis state is actually a good thing, meaning that you are pushing your body to its limits so next time you’ll be able to push further and heavier. When you experience an accumulation of hydrogen ions, your liver and kidneys want to get rid of the waste products as quickly as possible to allow muscle contraction and when the build up overloads the excretion then you experience cramps, breathlessness and the inability to carry on. But over time when practising this extremely painful method of training (emphasis on painful) your organs, enzymes etc will work more efficiently to excrete the waste and allow muscles to work for a longer period of time. Caution though, please do not push yourself so far that you faint, start throwing up or looking white in the face, firstly it’s not a good look and secondly you don’t need to go that far to near death to improve your body! So please be careful when pushing your limits.
Time saver – Well this is a given, you do lots of exercises in 1 go so you save lots and lots of time in the gym 😀 Don’t really need to elaborate much on this one either. If you want a full body workout, yea crack on with your clean and press, floor to ceiling raises, etc etc.
Above are a few points why combination exercises are a good way to exercise. You can either carry out a whole session with these or add them to your programmes. They are very good ways of training and you can be creative with them. Remember though guys, when performing these, you can only go as heavy as your weakest exercise, let’s be honest nobody will do a clean and press with 250Kg on the barbell if their max deadlift is 250Kg! So you need to go lighter with combinations but this way you will be improving your strength and endurance and the rest of the pointers above. Again with everything else, I am not saying that you all must switch to this type of training and all look like you’re pulling shapes in the gym, but I am saying it is a good method of training. So if you haven’t tried them already, give them a go or if you have already, then mix it up and try varieties and maybe even go against the time to see how many reps you can do etc etc. They are good tools to have !
I presume you all know what I mean by killing 2 or more birds now! So get going and try some of these out!