Here’s What You Need to Know:
- The best predictor of long term success in getting and maintaining a strong, healthy body is consistency.
- Injuries do happen, but a intelligent and well executed training program can prevent most from ever happening.
- Certain exercises are better than others than training the body to be strong and resilient.
I talked to 10 Coaches, Doctors, and Athletes with different and unique perspectives about what exercises they use with their clients to ensure higher quality of movement, and a higher quality of life.
Bulletproofing Exercises From THE BEST Coaches In The Game
Carson Kemp: Sandbag Cleans, Carries, and Holds
These teach full hip extension, and they make the whole body work to hold positioning.
Sandbag training offers some of the most effective functional movements you can do, which comes in handy when you’re moving your friend out of their apartment on the 25th floor.
Carrying a sand bag will challenge your will to live, as well as your core in all planes, your back and your posterior chain. Try doing this with different grips, like bear hugs, over the shoulder, or overhead.
BIO: Carson is a US Army Ranger, Crossfit Coach and Flexibility Physiologist who prepares his clients for real world activities while maintaining a focus on movement quality and execution. You can see more from Carson HERE
Jason Ferruggia: One-Sided-Super-Slow-Mo Farmers Carry
This was taught to me by Dr Mark Cheng. It requires a lot of balance, stability, and control.
Take 3 seconds per step. Maintain perfect posture through the entire walk.
BIO: Jason is a strength coach out of Santa Monica that’s been helping dudes become the strongest version of themselves since 1994. You can read more from Jason HERE
Negar Fonooni: Pull-Up
One of the most crucial movements we can do in the gym is the pull-up. Since I work exclusively with women, I find this to be especially important.
As women, we’re often told that pull-ups aren’t something we can attain.
Pull-ups are one of the myriad things we’re told are simply not for us—a challenging movement in a sea of limitations that society has placed upon us.
We’re told at every turn who we can and can’t be and what we can and can’t do. For me, becoming committed to a pull-up practice, and encouraging my clients to do the same, is almost an act of defiance against a societal construct that serves to keep women small and unassuming.
And sure, pull-ups are incredibly challenging. They require a degree of upper body strength that may not come easily or naturally. We have to work diligently and patiently to obtain them.
But when women get over that bar, they understand that it means so much more than a feat of strength. Indeed there is great freedom and strength in the act of getting over the bar, but it goes so far beyond that. There’s something so deeply empowering about doing a pull-up, and it’s a feeling that I want for all women.
BIO: Neghar is a writer, coach, and lightworker from Venice, CA. She’s been working in the fitness industry for over 16 years and is passionate about empowering women through strength, as well as helping them find their own unique magic. Neghar just released her “Pull Up Queen” Program HERE
Dr. Cameron Call: Plank
My favorite bulletproofing exercise is a plank. While it’s pretty straightforward, holding the a plank, either on your elbows or in a push up position, takes strength and endurance in your abs, back, and importantly your core.
Plank exercises uniquely work your glutes and hamstrings which are huge instigators of low back pain. When done correctly a plank exercise supports proper posture and can improve balance.
I recommend my patients try doing a plank exercise of some sort multiple times a week.
BIO: Dr. Cameron Call is clinic director at The Specific Chiropractic Centers in Phoenix AZ. Dr. Call specializes in restoring nervous system function so individuals can function optimally and live life to the fullest.
Nate Palmer: Suspension Trainer Bulgarian Split Squat
This exercise is a beast, and not just because it’s from the Eastern Bloc.
By using the suspension trainer with a rear foot elevated split squat, you’re decreasing the stability that you normally get with a bench.
STBSS’ are awesome for working the tear drop muscle inside of your inner thigh (the VMO) , and the glute medius, both whichare integral for low back and knee strength, which is an area many people have pain.
They also stretch the quads and the hip flexors of the back leg, so you’re actually getting more flexible as you get stronger and better looking.
Lastly, these are amazing for building stronger legs and glutes without the spinal loading you get from squat movements, so if you’re coming back from an injury and still want to train hard, these are mandatory on leg day.
BIO: Nate is a coach, writer, and adventurer who believes that short intense bodyweight workouts are the elixer of life and longevity. Catch up with Nate here.. on this website! Or check out his minimal home gym solution: Bod In A Box
Todd Bumgardner: Balance Beam Walking
I’m going to go with balance beam walking drills. People underestimate how useful they are for creating stability at the foot, ankle, and hip, and how much that transfers over into better position, and better movement with everything else that we do.
Balance is something that if we don’t use it, we lose it, so adding in drills where the feet, ankle, and knees all have to work synergisticly to maintain balance is crucial to lower leg health.
This is especially true for runners and hikers.
BIO: Todd Bumgardner is a strength coach with a passion for learning from the best coaches in the world, lifting heavy stuff, and helping you live a bigger stronger life. More from Todd at www.strengthfaction.com
Max Shank: Core Magic
Core magic is something I discovered while trying to teach someone how to keep the abs engaged during a deadlift.
In order to keep the abs tight, I had to physically push on them throughout the movement. This was not an ideal vantage point for coaching the rest of the movement, and I certainly couldn’t apply this tactic to more than one person at a time.
Then I remembered my Front Lever progressions from Ultimate Athleticism and the answer hit me like a ton of bricks…
A simple dowel pressed into the abdomen with straight arms will activate the core and lats, providing a stable center of gravity, which will allow free movement of the hips without compensation.
Try adding this element into warm up drills like glute bridges and lunge varations before your next lower body day.
BIO: I champion an approach to training that emphasizes health, fun, and a lifetime of sustainable progress. My programs outline straightforward, practical methods that allow a beginner to make steady, yet dramatic progress – while providing strategies for even the most accomplished athletes to take their abilities to the next level. Read more from Max HERE
Dr. John Rusin: Loaded Carries
Loaded carries for the win.
Make sure to use the strength metrics of loaded carries
- 50% BW for 30 sec in rehab
- 100% BW for 30 sec in general fitness.
- 200% BW for 30 seconds in elite strength sport.
BIO: Dr. John Rusin is one of the leading pioneers in the development and implementation of the hybrid model of strength and conditioning based physical therapists in the fitness industry and rehabilitative based medical communities worldwide. You can get his tried and true FHT Program HERE
Lee Boyce: Prowler Pushes/Drags/Tows
These exercises literally involve the whole body and can correct improper running or sprinting mechanics since they force the body to get on side with physics to move the load more efficiently.
For people with joint issues they’re a superior alternative to unloaded runs or other forms of weight training.
BIO: Lee is a strength coach who works with clients and athletes for muscle, strength, and sport performance, and I’m based in Toronto, Canada. I’m also an internationally published fitness writer who’s regularly featured in many of the world’s largest publications, like Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Oxygen, Esquire, The Huffington Post, Men’s Journal, and T-Nation. You can read more from him HERE
Kimberly Hangartener: Adductor Magnus Release and Activation
As a society, we live in external rotation. You’re probably doing it right now. This can make the Adductor Magnus is tight and weak.
Most of the time muscles are either tight or weak, but in this case, it’s both. Traditional strength training doesn’t work inner thigh, and often even if we do those muscles aren’t strong enough to do anything, and instead the quad will take over.
If you’ve ever felt like your low back was bothering you during a squat or a deadlift, give this drill a try before your next lower body day.
- Inhibit -Roll the inner thigh with a lacrosse ball or something similar while sitting down.
2. Lengthen – Stretch Adductor Magnus by standing on the ground with one leg straight and the other leg placed on a box or bench, with the knee bent. Now bend forward at the waist like an RDL. You should feel the stretch in the inner thigh. Hold 60 sec ea.
3. Activate – Activate with the side lying adduction drill. Lay on your side on the ground with the TOP leg bent and pulled close to your torso.
Lift the bottom leg now as high as you can without letting the toe turn out or in. Maintain a slow tempo – 3 seconds up, 3 seconds down.
BIO: Kimberly is a trainer out of Phoenix AZ who is dedicated to helping her clients live a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. With more than 18 years of experience in the fitness industry, she uses her knowledge to keep her clients working hard, staying injury free, and living their best life. More from Kimberly HERE