How often are you in the gym and find that the specific pieces of equipment you’d like to use are in opposite corners of the room? Ain’t that the worst?! You’re ready to move through a group of 2 or 3 exercises, and you have to maneuver through an obstacle course of equipment, shaker bottles, bros, and that one old guy that always seems to be stretching in the middle of where people walk. You end up frustrated, and it’s not all that unlikely that exercises are skipped because they’re inconvenient.
Most commercial gyms have cockamamie floor plans that aren’t ‘user friendly’, and this can make it tricky when creating appropriate programs for clients. Rather than have them bounce around the gym like human pin-ball, I try to make a point of selecting exercises that let them stay in one place. For example, if you’re front squatting in a power rack, you can also do chin-ups and push-ups in that power rack. You don’t need to move, and you’ll progress through your workout a little quicker.
Last weekend while in Delaware, I found myself in a totally brotastic gym loaded to the brim with weight and cardio machines, two half-racks, and a wee-bit of free space. After some quick modifications, I was able to deadlift and inverted row in one space, then move to another space for my accessory work. After some eccentric single leg squats and suitcase carries, I played horsey:
Swiss balls are developing a bad reputation in the strength and conditioning world after their horrendous abuse as ‘functional’ pieces of equipment. Balancing on unstable surfaces won’t really make you better at anything other than standing on unstable surfaces. If you plan on being a sailor, it might help, but for most people it’s just horseplay.
See what I did there?
Instead of horsing around with silly Swiss Ball exercises, I have a super-set for you that’s both effective and practical. You can perform each exercise back-to-back in one location, which means you have no excuse for missing either of them, and you’ll save time for both. The first one is a Roll Out, and the second one is a Supine Hip Extended Leg Curl, or SHELC.
For the Roll Out, kneel in front of the ball and get tall. Reach that head towards the ceiling, and your glutes and abs automatically turn on, like magic. Maintain that tension as you push your hips forward and roll out on the ball. Pause, and return to the starting position.
Ready for the SHELC? You just need to flip onto your backside, and set the ball at your feet. Create a bridge from the ball to your shoulders, again bracing your glutes and abs. Pull your heels towards your butt, pause, then slowly return to the supine bridge position. I’m not very concerned with arm placement, but you can create any number of snow-angel positions if it helps you stay balanced.
It’s a good idea to focus on getting tall and feeling your glutes during both exercises, making sure they feel ‘on’ the whole time. Depending on your overall training template, you can include this almost anywhere in your workout. I used it at the end of mine, but have also programmed it at the beginning of other workouts.
These are two awesome exercises for abdominal and posterior chain strength, and it’s hard to beat the convenience factor of this super-set. Grab a swiss-ball, find yourself a few square feet, and go to town. If you break this pairing out at the gym, let me know what you think!