The Exercise Library – Real Anime Training

The Exercise Library

Use the search bar and the dropdown menus below to find exercise demonstrations below!

ContentExercise TypesMuscle Groupsdemo_tags_hfilterex_target_hfilter

CLEAN AND JERK

 

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DUMBBELL DEADLIFT

 

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POWER CLEAN

 

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POWER CLEAN AND JERK

 

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THE HANDSAW

 

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FRONT CARRY

 

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POWER CLEAN AND PRESS

These stretches are taken from Aikido and Japanese Jujutsu.  It’s much easier to just watch the videos than trying to read an explanation. Especially if you are new to these stretches, start slow and don’t try to do too much at once.

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AXE SWINGS

 

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BARBELL WALKING LUNGE

 

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CLEAN

 

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THE MOUNT PAOZU BARBELL COMPLEX

 

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BARBELL THRUSTERS

 

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POWER SNATCH

 

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STRAIGHT LEG SIT-UP

 

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SQUAT W/3 PUNCHES AT TOP

 

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SQUAT TO TOE TOUCH

 

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SQUAT TO CALF RAISE

 

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SQUAT TO SIDE LEG RAISE

 

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SQUAT TO REAR LEG RAISE

 

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SIT-UP TO MEDBALL TOSS

 

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PUSH-UP TO MOUNTAIN CLIMBER

 

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PLANCHE GRIP PUSH-UP

 

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OVERHEAD CARRY

 

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KNUCKLE PUSH-UP

 

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JUMPING JACK TO CLOSE STANCE SQUAT

 

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INCHWORM PUSH-UP

 

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CLAPPING PUSH-UPS

 

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FARMER’S STAIRCLIMB

 

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DUMBBELL BICEPS CURL

 

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SEATED CABLE ROW

 

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CABLE CURL

 

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DUMBBELL BENT OVER ROW

 

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BEAR CRAWL

 

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PENDLAY ROW

 

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BARBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

 

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FRONT RACK BARBELL WALKING LUNGE

 

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SQUAT W/DUMBBELL SIDE LATERAL ISOMETRIC HOLD

 

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FINGERTIP PUSH-UPS

 

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LANDING GEARS

 

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MANMAKERS

 

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DUMBBELL THRUSTER

 

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DECLINE SIT-UP

 

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BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT

 

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BANDED Y-PULL

 

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DEADMAN HANG

 

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COBRA STRETCH

 

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SEATED HAMSTRING STRETCH

 

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LATERAL HOPS

 

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SHOULDER TAPPERS

 

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DEADMAN HANG

 

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BUTTERFLY STRETCH

 

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INTERNAL HIP ROTATION SWING

 

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MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

 

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SCORPIONS

 

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SIDE BENDS

 

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SPLIT STRETCH

 

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TOE TOUCHES TO OVERHEAD REACH

 

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STANDING QUADRICEPS STRETCH

 

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TURNING NECK STRETCH

 

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PISTOL TO A BOX

 

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RENEGADE PUSH-UP

 

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SIT-UP TO SINGLE LEG GLUTE BRIDGE

 

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SIT-UP TO GLUTE BRIDGE

 

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SIT-UP W/3 PUNCHES AT TOP

 

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PUSH-UP W/FEET IN TRX/RINGS

 

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SQUAT TO BACK KICK

 

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SQUAT TO BAND PULL-APART

Perform a Standard Squat and, at the top of the squat, perform whatever number of Band Pull-Aparts is listed for that workout.

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SQUAT TO FRONT KICK

 

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SQUAT TO GOOD MORNING

Perform a Standard Squat with your fingers lightly touching your ears. When you come to standing, begin the Good Morning by pushing back into your hips with slightly bent knees and bend over with a straight back as far as your hamstrings will let you go. When you cannot go any lower with proper posture, squeeze your glutes to return to standing.

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SQUAT TO SIDE KICK

 

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SQUAT TO TRX/RING ROW

Leaning back against the TRX/Rings, you can decrease the difficulty of the squat.  Perform a Standard Squat and then perform a TRX/Ring Row by moving your feet closer to the attachment of the TRX/Rings and then leaning back against the handles to start the row. Maintain proper posture at all times.

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SIT-UP TO OVERHEAD REACH

This movement starts the same as a Standard Sit-up, but with your arms straight above your shoulders at the bottom of the movement. Perform the sit-up, as per usual, but maintain your arms as vertical as possible the entire time. When you get to the top, make sure your arms are directly over your shoulders and your upper back is fully extended. This may be difficult for your upper back to get into this position, but over time, your mobility will definitely improve.

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STATIONARY BIKE

The stationary bike is a very simple and easy exercise and a great place to start for beginners and people who have difficulty standing. You still want to maintain good posture and focus on duration before intensity.

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T PUSH-UP

Perform a Standard Push-up, transition your weight onto one hand, stacking your feet in the process. Hold the position for as long as listed in the workout and return to the Standard Push-up position to perform the next rep. After the next rep, transition your weight to the other side.  This is an exercise that needs to be done in even numbers, so that you don’t work one side more than the other. Move slowly, so that you can control your weight and don’t fall over.

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TRX/RING PUSH-UP

When using TRX or Rings for push-ups, you’ll turn your palms toward one another both for form and balance. Keep your core and glutes tight and make sure that you maintain vertical forearms at all times. To make the movement easier, press in more of an incline and to make it more difficult, try to get as close to the Standard Push-up position as possible, which you will likely have to use a box to do. Control the movement at all times in order to maintain your balance.

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TRX/RING ROW

Do your best in this exercise to keep a straight line from your head all the way down to your heels. Keep your glutes and abs tight, pulling through the elbows to activate the lats. To make the exercise more difficult you can move your feet closer to the wall, but eventually, you will have to use a box to keep from sliding all the way to the wall. The final difficulty level would be with your upper body directly underneath the TRX/Rings and your feet propped up on a box. This would require you to have the TRX or Rings strapped to something that is not in front of a wall, so that you can get into the proper position.

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V-UP

The goal in this exercise is to lift your legs and torso off the ground into the shape of a “V” while keeping a straight line from your shoulder to your hip and from your feet to your hip.  This might be difficult at first, so just do your best, even if you are only able to get your legs off the ground with an upper body crunch. This will come with time.

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WIDE LEG SIT-UP

For the Wide Leg Sit-up, lie flat on the ground with your legs spread out wide and your fingers lightly touching your ears. Contract your abs, think about driving your heels into the floor, and sit-up, doing your best to maintain your posture and not rounding at the lower back at all.  Sit up until your torso is completely vertical and then control your descent back to the ground.

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YTW PUSH-UP

The YTW Push-up begins in a Standard Push-up position. Lower yourself to the ground and then shift your arms to the shape of a “Y”, with your palms facing toward one another. Hold here for the allotted time listed in the workout before moving your arms straight out to the side of your body. Your shoulders and arms should form a straight line for the “T” position.  To move to the “W” position, bend at the elbows, so that your elbows are further down your body than the rest of your arm. You want to pull your shoulder blades together, while simultaneously pulling your hands back like you’re trying to reach behind you while still in the “W” position.

In all of these movements, think about squeezing your shoulder blades together and trying to bring your elbows behind your body.

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90-90 HIP STRETCH

This stretch looks a lot more complicated than it is. If you can get each of your legs into a 90 degree angle, it’s really just leaning from the hip over the top of the leg that is facing up. Once you need to switch sides, just shift your weight over, keeping your feet in the same place. Your legs will naturally go in the position that they need to for the other side of the stretch.

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ARM CROSSOVER REAR DELT STRETCH

It’s important, when performing this movement, that you don’t shrug your shoulders. You want to be able to stretch the back of your shoulder, but if you’re making up range of motion by shrugging your shoulder, then you’re not focusing on the appropriate muscles.

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ARM OVERHEAD TRICEPS STRETCH

The key points for this stretch are to point your elbow straight above your shoulder, avoid arching your back, and use the opposite hand to pull the arm toward the center line of the body.

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CALF STRETCH

You’ll really want to use your hip position as a guide to stretch your calf. Go ahead and put your heel on the ground and then use your glutes to push your hips forward, which will put additional stretch into your calf. You will want to make sure that you will keep both knees from collapsing in as you do this stretch.

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1ST, 2ND, AND 3RD WRIST STRETCH

These stretches are taken from Aikido and Japanese Jujutsu.  It’s much easier to just watch the videos than trying to read an explanation. Especially if you are new to these stretches, start slow and don’t try to do too much at once.

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FOREARM STRETCH

This is a very simple stretch. Hold your hand in front of you, fingers facing away, palm toward the ceiling, and, from here, grab your fingers using the other hand and extend the arm being stretched down in front of you, so that the elbow pit is facing out. Pulling up on the fingers will stretch the forearm and finger flexors.

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NODDING NECK STRETCH

This is a very simple movement, but if you have a neck injury, please get cleared from your doctor before attempting and, even then, be careful. Without looking to the left or right, look up toward the ceiling and then try to put your chin on your chest for this exercise.

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SEATED/LYING QUADRICEPS STRETCH

If you try to move directly into the lying position without working up to it over time, there is a very real possibility of you tearing a quad or hurting your lower back. So please ease into this one. If you get to the bottom and find out that you cannot get out of that position, roll to one side to get out of it.

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SEATED TURN-AND-STRETCH

Place the crossover foot on the outside of the knee of the straight leg and maintain as neutral a posture as possible. Touch the opposite elbow to the knee that is bent and use that point of contact to twist your body. You’ll feel stretch in your back and your hips/glutes. Make sure you move slowly and if you feel especially tight, try to take deep breaths in the position to help loosen up the muscles around your spine.

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SIDE-TO-SIDE NECK STRETCH

This is a very simple movement. Extend from the upper spine and pull your head back before beginning this exercise. Try to touch your ear to your shoulder on each side without shrugging your shoulders. Move slowly, feeling the muscles stretch and move. There should not be any strain or pain during the movement.

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SIDEWAYS WALL SPLIT

Getting into this position against the wall may cause more of a problem then you realize, because people’s hips and hamstrings can get so tight that they can’t even get close to the wall. Just do your best and try not to force anything.  The wall is really just a way for you to be able to stretch while keeping your posture but without having to fight it. It’s good when your legs are wide that you fight against gravity some. That’ll allow you to be able to increase your stretch and also help prevent the adductors from becoming overstretched.

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STANDING CHEST STRETCH

When you get into the position of the standing chest stretch, you will want to get your arm flat against the wall, with that same side leg forward. When you get into this position, pull the other shoulder back so that it stretches the arm against the wall even more. When you can get your shoulders perpendicular to the wall (or at least close) give the other variation a try, it which your upper arm will be parallel to the floor and the arm will be bent at 90 degrees, with your fingers toward the ceiling.

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STANDING HAMSTRING STRETCHES

These variations have an increasing amount of back involved in them, so make sure you move slowly when performing them. The last exercise is also called a Forward Fold, so if a workout lists that, it means the final “head to knees” variation of the standing hamstring stretches.

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PUSH-UP TO SUPERMAN

Perform a Standard Push-up and, at the bottom, place your hands on the ground above your head. From here, lift straight arms by contracting your shoulders and upper back and raise you legs as high as possible by flexing your glutes. You should not be moving from your lower back here. Lower your arms and legs and return to the bottom of the push-up position before completing the push-up by pushing to the top position.

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PUSH-UP TO DOWNWARD DOG

For this movement, you will perform a Standard Push-up and, at the end of the movement, you will push back into the Downward Dog position (how long you stay here will depend on the workout directions). Make sure that each rep is done with proper form and you don’t start going to fast and having them blur together into something that is neither movement.

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PUSH-UP TO REVERSE SNOW ANGEL

This exercise begins with a Standard Push-up, but as you reach the bottom of the movement, release your hands and place them on the ground above your head. From this position, lift from the shoulders and upper spine to raise your hands off the ground and squeeze your glutes to lift your legs off the ground. This position is very similar to the “superman” position.  From here, spread your arms and legs wide.  Your arms will sweep along the sides of your body and turn over so that your palms face the ceiling. Your goal is to get both hands stacked on top of one another over the top of your butt. At this point, your legs should be spread to the widest position you can get them. Reverse the movement to return to the “superman” position and then the bottom of the Standard Push-up position. Push from the ground to complete the rep.

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SPIDER-MAN PUSH-UP

The Spider-man Push-up will challenge your coordination and core strength!  Remember to maintain muscular tension throughout the body as you move. If you don’t control your muscles, you won’t be able to properly shift your weight to complete the exercise. This is not an exercise that you should do odd numbers of reps for, since you can to do 2 reps in order to do a rep on each side.

The form for your arms will be the same as a Standard Push-up, but the shifting of your weight to one side or the other will put more strain on one arm over the other depending on which way you’re leaning. For instance, if you look to the left and bring your left leg up to touch your elbow, your weight will be shifted onto your right arm. The movement should be coordinated so that when your knee and elbow should touch when you get to the bottom of the push-up and your feet should be completely together when you reach the top of the push-up.

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ELLIPTICAL

The elliptical is a fantastic replacement exercise for running if you are unable to take the pounding on your knees. I recommend this for people who have knee injuries and for anyone who experiences knee pain during long distance running.  You should not use this to replace all of your running unless you are specifically instructed by your physician not to run, as running is a fundamental human movement and you should do your best to train it, even if for short distances.

A positive difference with the elliptical is that you can modify the intensity with a push of button, but don’t start off with the highest intensity, as this should be primarily a cardio exercise, so start off with more duration than intensity.

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ROWING MACHINE

The rower can be a little difficult to get used to form-wise. When you first lock your feet into the straps and grab the handle with straight arms, you’ll start you pull by keeping your upper back posture stable and driving through the balls of your feet. Shortly after, you will be able to put your heels down and you should focus on driving through those instead of the balls of your feet. Next, your legs will come to full extension and you will begin your upper body pull.

Simultaneously lean back and pull through your elbows explosively to get as much power into the stroke as possible. In general, a longer and more forceful pull will be more efficient than a series of faster, shorter pulls. Once the handle touches your upper abs or lower chest, simultaneously lean forward and extend your arms. Once your arms are fully extended and you have a slight lean you can pull yourself back to the starting position by bending your knees again through contracting your hamstrings and pulling against the strap with the tops of your feet.

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PUSH-UP W/FEET ON STABILITY BALL

Putting your feet onto the stability ball can be a little difficult, so make sure that you’re putting them right on the top of the ball. If you have difficulty in this position, you can actually move the ball up your legs closer to your hips, but your goal should be to have your feet directly on the ball. Your form will be slightly different than a Standard Push-up, because it will be in a decline position. Your hands will be a little higher up on your chest at the bottom of the push-up, but you should still think about keeping your forearms vertical at all times. That will be a good guide to keep your form on point in pressing.

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PUSH-UP WITH 1/2 STABILITY BALL

To perform push-ups with the 1/2 stability ball, you will want to have your hands on the very edge of the flat with your fingers turned out away from each other. Your push-up form will remain the same as the Standard Push-up apart from that. Perform the movement slowly to begin with so that you are able to keep it stable.

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SQUAT ON 1/2 STABILITY BALL

This is a serious balance exercise if you aren’t used to working on your balance.

While standing on the flat portion of the 1/2 stability ball, you will likely be able to use the same stance as the standard squat.

On the rounded portion, your squat stance will be slightly closer than normal, but you should still focus on keeping your form the same as normal: hips back, knees out, chest up. If you try to move too quickly on either of these, you’re likely to get tossed off, so focus on getting your balance first and foremost. Both of these are great exercises to learn how to push the same amount through both of your legs at the same time.

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PULL-UP

To set up a pull-up, your hands want to be just outside your shoulders and you want to act like you are trying to bend the bar with your hands. This will externally rotate your arm and put your elbow into a much better position to pull.  Make sure that you are retracting your scapula (not allowing your shoulders to cover up your ears) and think about pulling through your elbow to activate your lats. Control the movement at all times and do not kip or swing to help you complete the pull-up. Your posture for the pull-up includes squeezing your glutes and abs, but having your toes pointed and hanging out just a little in front of you. The tension in your body will help prevent swinging and will also put you into a better position to pull.

DO NOT WING OUT YOUR ELBOWS!

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JUMP SQUAT TO DEADHANG PULL-UP

For this exercise, do not use the momentum from the jump squat to help you to get up into the pull-up. Jump to the bar, grabbing it in the same position that you will be doing the pull-up in, hang for a split second at the bottom of the pull-up position, and then perform a standard pull-up. At this point, control yourself back to the bottom of the pull-up position and then let go. Before starting the next rep of the exercise, make sure that you are at normal standing posture. Don’t use the momentum of your fall to go directly into the squat.

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MED-BALL SLAM

This exercise has three main parts: the lift from the ground, the lift overhead, and the slam.  The lift from the ground is all about the hips. It’s very much like a deadlift or a clean. Driving through the ground with your heels, squeezing your glutes to drive the hips forward, and gripping the ball tightly. As you stand, you will transition the ball overhead with a curl or by using the momentum from the lift to position your hands underneath the ball so you can press it overhead. From this position, sit back into your hips, flex your abs, and use your lats to throw the ball into the ground as hard as possible. In the moment that you throw the ball, your feet may come off the ground slightly. Stand up to reset your posture and proceed with the next rep.

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BOX JUMP

The box jump can be a very dangerous exercise. You need be sure of every jump before you attempt it. High repetition box jumps, especially at a high rate of speed, can easily lead to injury, either to one’s shins or because you take a fall.  The drive for the jump will come from your hips and to clear the box, you will use the height of the jump and raising your knees.  Land on your whole foot, not just on the ball. Land on the box in a squat position, stand up completely, and then step off the box. Alternate which leg you step off the box with each rep.

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TIRE FLIP

Flipping a tire is a like a combination of a deadlift, clean, and chest press. You really need to make sure that you are as close to the tire as possible, your shoulders are in front of your hands, and that you are driving from the hips.  If you are moving more slowly (due to the weight of the tire), drive your knee underneath the tire to support it as you transition to pushing the tire. If the tire is lighter, you may be able to lift it fast enough that you can transition to the press without using your knee at all.

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STANDING QUADRICEPS STRETCH

If you’re having trouble balancing during the position, holding onto something will help and is perfectly acceptable. Maintain proper posture and do your best not to arch your back while performing the stretch. Make sure that you’re not over stretching. There should not be pain when you stretch.

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ALL-OUT PUNCHING

For this you will definitely need to at least wrap your hands, but gloves are best so that you can hit the bag as hard and as fast as possible without the worry of tearing the skin on your knuckles. Keep your hands up and do your best to get your hips and legs involved in the strikes, so that you aren’t just arm punching the entire time. You will be a lot more likely to be able to put your all into straight punches than hooks or uppers, but you can throw whatever techniques you like.

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FULL POWER KICK

Proper technique comes before power, so make sure that you are familiar with the kick that you are throwing and that you are conditioned enough to throw a full-power strike to heavy bag without hurting yourself. If not, you can always build up to hitting the bag harder and harder over time. Work on expanding the number of techniques that you can hit the bag with over time.

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ARMY CRAWL

The goal is to try to move with your body as close to the ground as possible. If you’re going to practice an army crawl anywhere other than a mat, make sure that your wear at least long pants, as the ground can easily rough up your skin. The best places to army crawl would be sand, grass, or mud, if you are going to do it outside (although in mud is quite a bit messier).

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BURPEE BROAD JUMP

The burpee broad jump begin just as a normal burpee would up until you start to stand up. At this point, you will push back into your hips, swinging your arms back.  Then, driving through your heels and squeezing your glutes, throw your hips and arms forward to leap forward as far as possible. Land in a squat and come to standing to finish the movement. Be mindful that you don’t land on the balls of your feet in the jump or drive your knees far forward. It’s perfectly acceptable to do smaller jumps to begin with in order to get used to the movement.

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BURPEE

From standing, push back into your hips, while bending at the knee. With as flat a back as possible, put your hands onto the ground as if you’re going to start doing a push-up and hop your feet back so that your body is in the bottom of the push-up position.  This variation of the burpee will not have a strict push-up in it and it is perfectly acceptable to transition straight to the floor. You should try to control your decent so you aren’t just flopping down. To stand up, push your hands into the ground until you are able to hop your feet back to the starting position and jump with hands extended overhead before beginning the next rep.

Focus on doing a hip hinge here to put your hands on the ground and to stand back up. Make sure that you stand up all the way to finish out the movement.

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FOOTWORK

Practicing ways to move your body is very important, even if you aren’t a martial artist. There are types of footwork in lots of different sports and hobbies, so even if you’re not a martial artist, make an effort to practice the footwork that is useful to your life. And if there isn’t any, learning some basic footwork like advancing forward, circling, and bouncing is a great place to start!

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OVERHEAD SQUAT WITH DOWEL

At the top of the movement, the dowel should be directly over your shoulders and there should be a straight line front the dowel all the way to your feet. Your squat form should remain the same. The overhead squat will shine a spotlight on any of the faults you currently have with your squat, so focus on keeping your chest up, move with your hips first, and keep your knees out.  Your arms should be locked out, with your elbow pits toward the sky, and your armpits forward.

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PLATE OVERHEAD SIT-UP

The plate overhead sit-up is a way to load the sit-up that will also work the shoulders and upper back. At the top of the movement, your torso should be completely vertical with the arms locked out directly overhead. If you have poor upper back posture or shoulder mobility, this may be very difficult, so start out with a lighter weight. Your arms should remain perpendicular to the floor at all times and you should not lean your arms to your feet to use the weight to cheat yourself into the up position.

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WEIGHTED PUSH-UP (VEST)

The best option for weighting the push-up is with a weighted vest or perhaps a backpack. If you’re using a weighted vest, make sure that your hands and feet are elevated with plates, boxes, or parallettes that are tall enough for you to be able to perform the full range of motion of the exercise without the vest hitting the floor. The form for your push-up will remain the same, but you should remember that because there is more weight on the movement, it will require more tension throughout the body and that you should work to control the body throughout the full range of motion.

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WEIGHTED SIT-UP

Our version of the weighted sit-up may be slightly different than what you are used to seeing. Most weighted sit-ups involve placing a dumbbell or a plate on your chest while performing the exercise. This limits the amount of weight that you can hold, because it’s difficult to place that much weight up high on your chest and there is a very high temptation to use the weight as help in getting up by reaching ahead of your body to essentially pull yourself up.

Placing a DB on each shoulder will allow you to have control over the weight more, because each hand will be holding half of the total weight you are using, but 50# on your shoulders will feel much heavier than 50# on your chest because of its distance from your hips and you will not have the temptation to try to use the weight to cheat the movement. You may flex at the upper abs and spine, but try to keep your lower back posture in its natural position and once you sit up, end the position with your torso completely vertical. Focus on controlling the movement at all times.

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GOBLET SQUAT

The Goblet Squat is a great way to load bodyweight squat, as it can help correct some mobility issues over time by helping you force the body into good positions. Some cues here are to keep your chest high, move with your hips first, followed almost immediately by your knees, and keep your knees out as you move. The weight in the front like this should make it easier, but your goal here is to keep the torso as vertical as possible during this movement. A good test of this is whether or not both weights on the dumbbell are touching your upper body at all points during the exercise. If you find that you lose contact with the bottom part of the DB as you squat, that’s a good indicator that you’ve started to lean too far forward.

It’s okay, though. Proper form will come with time.

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WEIGHTED SQUAT (VEST)

The form for this exercise is very much the same as the Standard Squat. Using a weighted vest doesn’t make much of a difference to your form on this. The only thing that you might have to do it be mindful of your posture a little more, as you may be more inclined to round the back or lean forward with the weighted vest on because of a lack of core tension. Remember that any time you add load to an exercise, you will need a higher level of tension in the body to perform the movement with proper posture.

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SPRINTING

Sprinting is a bit of a different animal from jogging and running, because you’re going to be trying to increase your stride and focus on driving through your back foot.  Your chest is high and you are really using as much arm drive as possible to help move you forward.  The goal here is to squeeze as much speed out of your body as possible (90-100% effort), so at the end of a sprint, you should be out of breath and have to recover.  For recovery, focus on taking slow, deep breaths with a big exhale.

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SIDE SHUFFLE

Think about this as “foot replacement.”  You will lean your weight in the direction you want to move, taking a slight step in that direction, while driving off with the opposite foot, after which the driving foot will move in the direction of the foot that is currently on the ground. While this foot is in midair, you should have the momentum to take another step with the foot that is in front and the foot that is in the rear will land in the space the previous foot occupied. I recommend pressing stop and play on the above video so that you can see the individual pieces of the movement.

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BACKPEDAL

Be careful when you’re backpedaling! Make sure you’re in an open, flat, uncrowded area and that you pay attention to your surroundings. You’ll need to take smaller steps than you would during jogging, but foot turnover is still how you increase your speed for this movement. Stay on the balls of your feet and really use your arms to help your drive backward.

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RUNNING

Running encompasses everything above “jogging” and everything below “sprinting.”   Running progresses in the same fashion as jogging and, actually, if you speed up enough in your jogging, you’ll naturally turn it into running. You’ll likely have just a slightly higher stride length in running, which is normal, but don’t focus on increasing your stride for speed, as that will have you “over-striding” and actually hurts your running economy (efficiency). Chest up, shoulders back, forward lean to move forward, weight in the mid-foot, and foot turnover to increase speed.

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JOGGING

Jogging is just a step up from walking briskly. It’s the movement that your body naturally defaults to when you’re trying to go slightly faster than walking (as power walking is not an efficient movement).  Some key points to remember about jogging are to have a slight forward lean to your body and to catch yourself on the midfoot of the advancing leg as you move forward. You’re not really reaching with the foot that’s moving forward, it’s just landing directly underneath your hip as you fall forward. Think of jogging and running as controlled falling.

You’re leaning forward and picking up your feet to allow gravity to exert force on you before catching yourself with the next step. You move faster in these movements, not necessarily by having a longer stride (just the best length stride for your body), but by increasing foot turnover, i.e.- the rate at which  your feet make impact with the ground.

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B-SKIP

The B-Skip is a variation from the A-Skip. It has just the slightest difference of when the driving knee is at its highest point, the foot is pressed out and away from the body. It’s important to think of it in terms of a press so that you are extending the leg primarily from the hip instead of the knee. As you can see in this video, I am not so good at the B-Skip. I’m not properly driving my hands and I’m tucking my chin, because my body is mixing up a movement pattern from kickboxing with the A-Skip. You want to make sure that you keep your chin and chest up and really drive your hands (one forward, one back) on each skip.

You can always be an example. Even if it’s a bad one. 😛

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A-SKIP

The A-Skip is a hurdling warm-up and is slightly different than normal skipping because it has more of a knee drive in it. The rhythm of the A-Skip might take some getting used to, but the form should come with time.  You’ll want to try your best to keep your head and chest up during the movement.

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OVERHEAD SQUAT

The Overhead Squat requires a pretty large amount of shoulder and hip mobility to perform, that’s why it’s very important to start with a dowel first, before moving onto an empty bar. Keep your elbow pits pointed up and your armpits pointed forward, trying to maintain as vertical a torso as possible.  The Overhead Squat is like a magnifying glass on your squat form. If you have any issues with it, the Overhead Squat will make them extremely apparent, so make sure you focus on form and move slowly at first.  It’s possible to have a very strong back squat of several hundred pounds, but not be able to squat even the bar in this movement.  This is not about strength, so don’t be upset if it takes you a while to put any weight on the bar at all.

Apart from the mobility requirements, the Overhead Squat is very much a test of core stability.  Once you are able to squat your 1 to 1.5 times your bodyweight on the overhead squat (with good form) your core stability will be at an extremely impressive level.

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MEDBALL CARRY

The medball carry is a very simple exercise.  Depending on the weight of the medball, it can be used as a simple warm-up or a conditioning exercise. It is important to use good posture and hip drive to pick the ball up and maintain your posture throughout the length of the carry.

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PRISONER SQUAT

The Prisoner Squat is different from a bodyweight squat in that it requires a lot more mobility of the upper back and shoulders. It is very important that you do not pull on your head or neck during this exercise and that you try to keep your torso as vertical as possible. This exercise requires mobility in the shoulders, hips, and ankles to be performed properly, so do not feel bad if it doesn’t look perfect right off the bat, as it may take some time for you to build the necessary mobility.

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FRONT SQUAT

You won’t be able to lift as much weight with a front squat as you will a normal barbell back squat, but it’s actually a little more functional, due to the fact that you are more likely to carry and/or squat with something in the front rack position in the real world than you would on your back. Posture is one of the primary points of failure in a front squat, either from rounding at the lower back or from being unable to keep the upper back’s posture in its natural position. If you are new to the front squat, as with every exercise, form is more important than weight, so make sure that you are maintaining your posture at all times.

The other point of failure most often experienced is slightly more difficult to correct, as it frequently is a function of poor shoulder or wrist mobility.  Therefore, many people opt for crossing their arms over their chest in order to hold the bar up. Both positions are technically correct, but the second variation will not transfer to movements such as the clean. It is important to at least practice the basic front rack position in every front squat session.  It’s okay if you don’t stay with the basic front rack as weight is added to the bar, but the secret to improving mobility is putting the body positions that are ever-similar to the position you are trying to attain.

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DIVEBOMBER PUSH-UP

The DIvebomber Push-up, while being a strength-building exercise for the chest, triceps, and arms, is also a mobility to exercise for the hips and hamstrings. Form is very important, so move slowly and it’s okay if it takes you some time to be able to get all the way into any of the positions. You should not let your chest or hips rest on the ground at any time. The beginning position is very much like Downward Dog, while the ending position is like Cobra.  However, unlike the Hindu Push-up, you will press back into the starting position by using the same movement pattern, but in reverse.

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SLED PUSH

Whether you push the sled high or low, with bent or straight arms, your basic form should be the same. Focus on taking big steps, driving thought the glutes and hamstrings, keeping your core tight at all times. The more straight of a line along your body you can create from your hands to your feet, the more power you will be able to put into pushing the sled. Focus on form before trying to push a large amount of weight or trying to go fast.

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SLED PULL

Depending on how you pull the sled, you can work a variety of muscles. If you pull it forward, you will be activating more glutes and hamstrings.  Pulling the sled in reverse will be decidedly more quads than anything else, and if you pull it using your arms, your grip, arms, and lats will be more utilized.  Whatever the case, make sure that you are keeping good posture at all times. Good form is more important than speed or weight. However, with time, both of those will come.

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ONE-ARM CABLE CHEST PRESS

This is primarily a core workout and is a chest workout second. You will want to make sure that you keep your core tight and, whatever stance you are in, maintain proper pressing form. Keep your elbow close to the body and your forearm perpendicular to the ground throughout the entire exercise. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back during the exercise and control the weight, making sure to extend the arm fully at the end of the movement.

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LAT PULL-DOWNS

At the top of the lat pull-down, your arms should be directly vertical and in line with your body. Hands should be just outside the shoulders and you should pull through the elbows, tracking them in front of your body.  Do not think about pulling with your hands, as that will primarily activate your biceps, rather than your lats. As you reach the bottom of the movement, your wrists should be straight and the bar should be in contact with the top of your chest. Control the weight at all times.

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DEADLIFT

The deadlift is a very primal movement and is one of the movements in which human beings can pick up some of the heaviest weights that they can.  It activate nearly every muscle fiber in the human body.  Your starting position should be right up against the bar, followed by pushing back into your hips with a flat back. If you cannot reach the bar at this point, due to tight hamstrings, bend your knees slightly until your hands are able to grip the bar. At this point, you should lean back into your heels, so that if the bar was not in your hands you would fall over, keeping your shins vertical, but your shoulders in front of the bar so that the weight is not outside your center of gravity. Once you’ve leaned back into your heels and you’ve used your own weight to leverage against the bar, drive your heels through the floor, keep tension throughout your entire body, and squeeze your glutes to drive your hips forward to come to standing.

Make sure that you are not rounding your back during this movement. Your should imagine your upper body as a solid piece that doesn’t move at all, so the only movement you should have will be from your hips and slightly from your knees.

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CALF RAISES

Bracing the bar on your back, keep your core and glutes tight, and raise up onto the balls of your feet by flexing your calf muscles. Control your weight and don’t swing your hips forward to help get to the top of the calf raise and make sure that you control the descent and don’t just let yourself plop down from the top.

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BARBELL SQUAT

The barbell squat is one of the most important strength-building exercises in existence. When performing this exercise, try to get into a routine. Approach the bar the same way, feel it sit on your upper back in the same place, plant your feet the same way, stand up and walk it out.  You should ingrain every step of this into your body, so that when you are finally ready to squat, your body knows exactly what it’s doing.

Some key points:

  1. Move with your hips first, then your knees.
  2. Don’t drop your chest. Try to keep it facing forward.
  3. Control the weight the entire time and do not relax, even if you can sit all the way into the bottom of the squat.
  4. Keep your knees out. They should at no point fall in toward the midline of your body.
  5. Drive through the mid-foot, your feet driving down and away from you to activate your glutes and quads.
  6. Squeeze your butt!
  7. Breathing is important. Big breath at the top or on the way down and exhale on the way up, really squeezing your abs against your core (your Transverse Abdominis)
  8. Come to full standing at the end of the movement, squeezing your glutes to push your hips all the way forward.
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ONE-ARM CABLE ROW

This is primarily a core exercise and is a secondary pulling exercise. The main goal of this movement is to train anti-rotation, which is important for the ability to brace yourself against external forces. You will not need much weight for this exercise. Make sure you brace your core and pull through your elbow, controlling the weight at all times.

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FARMER’S CARRY

The Farmer’s Carry is a great workout for your entire body, but is primarily a grip exercise, in that the grip is frequently the weakest link in the chain that prevents you from continuing. Pulling your shoulders back and keeping your eyes forward, tighten your core, keep a soft knee, and do your best to take steps without bouncing. The less bounce, the easier it will be on your shoulders and grip.

You want to make sure you have a grip on the bar and are not using the ends of the weights to help you keep your grip.

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SINGLE-LEG HOPPING

Be very careful with this exercise if you are new to plyometric (explosive movements) or if you are prone to rolling your ankles. Maintain a tight core and focus on driving through the hips to drive off the ground and move the leg forward in landing. You want to think about it as if you you were still moving with the other leg. After you land with one foot, you will drive the other knees forward to shift the weight in your hips to move your body forward. Focus on landing with the midfoot and not doing any heel-to-toe movement.

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3-COUNT WIDE-LEG BEND AND REACH

Because this is a dynamic exercise, it will simultaneously loosen up and stretch the muscles of your hips, hamstrings, and glutes. You want to make sure that you’re pushing your hips back to move down, only bending your upper back to reach further if you have to. Try not to round the lower back during this exercise. You’ll want to keep just a slight amount of tension in the muscles as they move, so that you can get them to warm-up a little more, maintain posture, and the muscular tension will prevent your muscles from activating a stretch-reflex and trying to shorten themselves as you move.

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EXTERNAL HIP ROTATION SWING

This exercise is very good for warming up the hips for running or kicking. You want to focus on getting the leg up as high as possible without breaking posture and as the leg opens up, do your best to really squeeze the glute and pull your knee back as far as you can. Alternate legs as you do the exercise and don’t try to throw the legs back too hard, especially at first, so you don’t end up hurting yourself.

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JUMP ROPE

Jumping rope is an excellent exercise to develop rhythm and footwork.  At the very beginning, a lot of people jump twice in between each swing. To help stop this, you can jump rope on one foot to slow yourself down and also actively think about jumping at the same rate that the rope is moving. As the rope moves faster, you can jump faster. Don’t try to jump with your knees. Focus more on keeping your ankles/calves springy to move.

It’s good to try different types of footwork while jumping rope. Feet together, high knees, buttkickers, jumping jack leg movements, and twisting the hips while jumping with the rope are various ways you can train your footwork.  Give them each a try and see how they feel.

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LEG SWINGS

Leg swings are a great way to open up your hips for activities like squatting and lunging. You want to maintain a forward position on your toes, keeping your foot from turning out on both variations. You really want to maintain proper posture during this as well. Do not attempt to gain additional height on the swing by letting your hips move or flexing or extending at the spine. All of the movement should be where the leg-joint meets the hip.

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JOINT ROTATIONS

This video is used for reference in several workouts, depending on what joint rotation you need. Below you will find the time-stamps for the beginning of each one.

Ankle Rotation- 0:07
Knee Rotation- 0:25
Single-Leg Hip Rotation- 0:36
Hip Rotation- 0:49
Waist Rotations- 1:10
Shoulder Rolls- 1:29
Small Arm Circles- 1:38
Big Arm Circles- 1:44
Elbow Rotation- 1:55
Wrist Rotation- 2:08
Neck Rotation- 2:17

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SLEDGEHAMMER SWINGS TO TIRE

Proper distance for your sledgehammer strike is important both for being able to hit the tire with the most amount of force and to keep you safe.  If you miss the tire you risk hitting yourself, which will not end well. Start with a lighter hammer, like a 6-pounder, and work yourself up to heavier hammers as you become better at using them.

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HEAVY BAG KICKING

This is the time to practice all the kicks you know. Front, side, round, back, hook– whatever kicks you can think of. If you want to practice just a single technique for the allotted rep count or time or if you want to try to do as many different type of kicks as possible, go for it! You can kick for power, speed, accuracy, or even just try to go for more difficult techniques like jumping or spinning kicks.

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FULL-POWER PUNCHING

Your technique must be very, very good during full power punching to avoid hurting your wrist or shoulder. Before you throw the punch, focus on what the form should look like and then explode, driving your fist into the bag with everything you have.  If you find that you cannot do so with proper form, pull back on your power and hit only as hard as you can with decent form.

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JAB-CROSS

The Jab-Cross is the most common combination in boxing.  You’ll throw your jab out in order to find distance and set up the timing for the following punch to come out. Once the jab is on its way back, the cross (or straight) will launch out toward the target at the same time. The Jab-Cross (the 1-2), should be thought of as a single technique instead of two separate techniques.

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HEAVY BAG PUNCHING

This is the time to work on your making your technique, power, and speed flow together. It’s an opportunity for you to practice hitting without gloves in order to build the toughness of your skin and knuckles or with gloves to work on your ability to hit the bag harder without worrying about splitting the skin on your knuckles. It’s up to you if you want to polish your best techniques, brush up on some forgotten ones, or try out a new punch you’ve learned.  Remember! Hitting the bag is not just about your arms.  Punching is about your arms, upper body, hips, and legs all working in conjunction to transfer power from driving your legs into the ground and using it to transfer your weight through the kinetic chain of your body out through your hands.

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SANDBAG CARRY

Whether or not your using a heavy bag, a duffel bag or a ruck will with smaller sand bags, or even just a bag of sand from a hardware store, the principles of carrying the sand in the above video are the same. Posture and proper movement are extremely important when trying to move awkward weights, especially “live weights” like sand or water. If you move too quickly with the weight, it can shift and jerk out of your arms or pull you in a direction, so maintaining control over the weight is paramount.

Focus on not rounding your back or leaning too much to one side or another, as well as keeping your glutes and core tight as you move.

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ALL-OUT PUNCHING

It’s okay if your technique is not perfect on all-out punching.  This is primarily a conditioning exercise, so focus on keeping your hands up and hitting the bag as hard and as fast as possible.  You do need to be mindful of your positioning, because if you hit the bag incorrectly, you could hurt yourself during this flurry of blows. Think of this as a “sprint”-type exercise, in that you’ll be pushing yourself as hard as you can. You’ll need to take big, deep breaths with big exhales, because you’ll be blowing off all that excess carbon dioxide created from “sprinting.”

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FULL-POWER KICK

When kicking at full power to a heavy bag, it is important that you focus on your form. If you hit with the wrong portion of your foot, miss the back, or hyper extend your knee while trying to hit with your shin, you’ll be in a really bad position.  Be absolutely certain of your kicks and only throw the techniques in which you possess proficiency in.  Full power kicking is about developing striking power in techniques you already know, so don’t throw kicks that you’re just learning.

You may throw any type of kick for this exercise.

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STANDARD SQUAT

The Standard Squat is one of the most fundamental human movements that exists. To begin, stand with your feet just outside your hips, toes slightly pointed away from the midline of the body. Before moving, squeeze your glutes to push your hips into a neutral position and then lock that position into place by squeezing your abs. (Not super hard. Like a 2 or 3 out of 10)

Finally, make sure that your knees are not already falling in, which is more common with people than you realize. To make sure they stay out, I want you to think about “screwing” your feet down into the ground. So, think about your toes moving away from the midline of your body, but your feet stay planted. Your knees will automatically move out when you do this.

You are now ready to squat.  With weight in the mid-foot, push back into your hips slightly first and then bend at the knees shortly after. Your butt should be moving more back than down. If you think about your butt going straight down, you will move more with your knees, but if you think about trying to put your butt in a chair behind you, it will be easier to perform a hip-dominant squat. Your knees should be tracking in line with your toes as you descend as far as you can. You should at least be reaching tops-of-thighs-parallel, but ideally (as mobility improves) you may be able to get all the way down into the bottom of the squat with a relatively vertical torso.  It takes a lot of work, but you can get there with practice!

As you come out of the bottom of the squat, don’t bounce! Maintain muscular tension the entire time.  Focus on squeezing your glutes and keeping your knees in line with your toes and keep your chest up so that you aren’t bending over during the exercise. Mastering the Standard Squat is key to you being able to do many different exercises in Real Anime Training programs.

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STANDARD SIT-UP

The Standard Sit-up is a movement that trains the muscles of the abdominal area and hip flexors. To begin the movement, you will lie flat on your back and pull your feet up so that your knees are at a right angle. Your hands should rest lightly on your ears or cross over your chest during the movement and at no point should you pull on your head or neck.

To begin, press your heels into the floor, lightly squeeze your glutes and crunch up with the upper abdominals. From this point, sit up using the hip flexors, attempting to maintain a straight back in process. You should not be rounding the lower back.  At the top of the movement, your torso should be vertical before returning to the bottom position. Performing this movement correctly and safely will require control, so don’t so fast right off the bat. Make sure you have a handle on how to move first.

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CLOSE-STANCE SQUAT

To successfully perform a repetition of the Close-Stance Squat is rather difficult for most people due to a lack of mobility. However, even if you cannot get all the way into the bottom position, you can just go as far down as you can.

The Close-Stance Squat follows the same rules as a Standard Squat, toes pointed slightly out, knees out and not falling in, moving first with the hips and then the knees, and trying to keep the heel on the ground and press through the mid-foot.

Do your best to maintain your posture during the movement, but to properly perform this movement requires mobility in the body, so don’t become frustrated if it takes a while to get into the position.

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HINDU PUSH-UP

The reason that the Hindu Push-up is  both a movement used for muscular endurance (or strength, if you aren’t very strong) and mobility. If you are especially tight in the hips or shoulder, Hindu Push-ups will be very difficult for you to perform at the beginning, but as you practice, your mobility should improve greatly.

As the video shows, the top of the position has you pressed back into your hips, your butt up in the air, looking at your feet.  Both your arms and legs are extended, legs relatively wide and hands just outside your shoulders. As you perform the movement, you will sweep your body along the floor in an arc, almost touching the ground.  As your hands reach the position where they would normally be in the bottom of a Standard Push-up, press up, maintaining the curve of the spine and looking up toward the ceiling. Your hips should not be on the floor and you should be on the balls of your feet. To complete the movement and return to the start, press back into the starting position, but do not go the way you came. That is a different exercise called a Dive-Bomber Push-up.

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HINDU SQUAT

The Hindu Squat breaks all the rules of pretty much every other squat you’ll learn at Real Anime Training.  The Hindu Squat is very quad-dominant and is a fairly explosive movement. To begin the movement, start with arms extended in front of the body. Pull your arms back like you’re rowing, while breathing in and then your arms will reach slightly behind your back as you rock onto the balls of your feet. Descend quickly, with a little muscular tension, keeping your knees from collapsing in toward the midline of your body. As you hit the bottom of the Hindu Squat, maintain as vertical a torso as possible, swing your arms across the ground like a pendulum, and explode up forcefully to the starting position.

Hindu squats are made to be done in relatively high repetitions, so they are performed quickly and strung together, which is part of the reason for the swinging arms. If you are not used to Hindu Squats, you will find that your breath will likely go pretty quickly.

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SIT-UP WITH A TWIST

This exercise is, truthfully, not much different than the Standard Sit-up, but is beneficial because it trains the obliques, as well as the mobility of the spine. You want to do your twist with a fair amount of control, because it is possible to pull something if you twist too quickly, especially as a beginner.

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SUMO SQUAT

The Sumo Squat is much more hip dominant than a Standard Squat and you will not go below tops-of-thighs parallel at the bottom of the movement. Your upper body will have more of a forward lean to it, as well, than the Standard Squat.

It is much easier for the knees to fall in (Valgus Fault) toward the midline of the body in a Sumo Squat than a Standard Squat, so you have to make sure that you are focusing on opening up your hips and that your knees are tracking in line with your toes. At the bottom of the squat, your knees should be over your ankles, with your shins vertical.

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WIDE PUSH-UP

The Wide Push-up has less of a range of motion than the Standard Push-up and is slightly different in the sense that you will not be able to maintain a perfectly vertical forearm during the movement, but your elbows should still not be flaring out to the side but be slightly tucked in toward the body.

This variation of the push-up works more chest than the Standard Push-up, so might be surprisingly difficult if you are used to doing more triceps-dominant variations of the push-up. It is very important that you do this movement with the same J-Curve with which you perform other push-ups. Hands will be in the same line as your shoulders at the top and in line with the lower chest/solar plexus at the bottom.

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CLOSE-GRIP PUSH-UP

Close-grip Push-ups are very similar to the Standard Push-up, except for your elbows are tightly squeezed against your side. You’re really going to need to focus on rocking back onto your toes as you press, so that you can end the movement with the shoulder, elbow, and wrist in a vertical line.

You should still focus on maintaining a vertical forearm at all times during the movement and keep a neutral postural position during the full range of motion. This include keeping your scapula in a neutral position– it should not look like wings on your back, nor should your back look like a camel.

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DIAMOND SIT-UP

The Diamond Sit-up is a variation of the sit-up with the soles of your feet touching one another and hips open into a diamond shape. Apart from training the abdominals and the hip flexors, as a normal sit-up, it also opens up the hips and is slightly easier to be in the top position than the standard sit-up if your hips are especially tight.

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BAND PULL-APARTS

Band pull-aparts are a useful for pre-hab (making sure you avoid injury), postural correction, and for ensuring that you are not overdeveloping your anterior (front) deltoids more than your rear. A positive of the movement is that the resistance is easy to modify with various types of bands or by doubling-up the band to increase the difficulty. The technical difficulty of this movement, however, is fairly low.

You really want to focus on moving slowly with the band pull-apart, so that you control the band, instead of pulling quickly and then having it snap your arms back in front of you, because you’re missing the eccentric (lengthening) portion of the exercise.

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TOE TOUCHES

Toe touches are an extremely basic movement for the hamstrings and back. It is very important in this application that you do your best not to bend at the back, but focus on moving from the hips. Establish your standing posture first by squeezing your butt to push your hips forward and then squeezing your abs to lock that pelvic position in place. You’ll start with slightly bent knees, pushing back into your hips to bend over. Think about moving your butt back instead of your chest down, as that will help you focus on the appropriate muscles activating.

If you have especially tight hips or hamstrings, just move as far down as you can and then bend your knees a little more to complete the movement if you cannot reach your toes exclusively from bending at the hip. Learning this movement pattern will help you in later movements like the deadlift.

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HIGH KNEES

High Knees can be difficult if you are very overweight or have knee or ankle problems, so be mindful of that. The goal here is to try to get your knees up as high as possible, as fast as possible, while maintaining proper posture. You should not be trying to drop your chest or bend over at all.

When doing high knees, you’ll have a lot of bounce in your calves, instead of focusing so much on just using the hip flexors to raise your leg.  However, if you have to do the easier version, that’s not as much of an option, as the hip flexors will be doing pretty much all of the work. As you feel more comfortable, you can move faster and be more explosive with your knee raises.

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FRANKENSTEINS

Frankensteins can be difficult if you have particularly tight hamstrings and hips, so just try to raise your legs up as high as possible without bending your chest down or letting your lower back bend to make up the distance to your hand. It’s okay if you can’t reach your hand at the beginning. You’ll eventually gain more mobility and control over the muscles, so that it becomes much easier to tap your hands with your feet.

Your legs are straight, but not locked out. We’re looking for a soft knee here, so we don’t accidentally hyper-extend the supporting knee while the other leg is in the air. Don’t try to though your legs too hard, because you can very easily pull a hamstring if you aren’t quite warm enough yet.  I find that some days, especially if I’m sore, I’ll have to do a few reps at hip-height and then work my way up to my hands.

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JUMPING JACKS

Jumping Jacks are a very simple exercise, but can be difficult if you have knee issues or are especially overweight. If you have difficulty with the movement, you can do the arm motions with a side to side step instead for warm-up purposes. Maintain proper posture at all times. If you lack shoulder mobility, there can be a tendency to arch your back to get your hands over your head. Avoid that and go with as much of your natural range of motion as possible.

Personal pet peeve: Don’t clap. It’s unnecessary and it’s loud. Haha!

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LYING IRON CROSS

The Lying Iron Cross is a fantastic movement to get your lower back and hips loose for activity. Definitely focus on controlling the movement and do not just plop your leg on the ground from the top position. If you’ve never done this movement before you may be surprised at how difficult you find it to be, either because you are especially tight or your hips and legs are especially weak. Do the best that you can to maintain the form and, if you have an especially difficult time raising and lowering the leg, you can bend it 90 degrees at the knee and that will make it slightly less difficult to control the decent and ascent of the leg.

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BIG ARM CIRCLES

These circles are to be controlled. Do not swing your arms wildly like a helicopter. You’re trying to move your arm around your shoulder joint to warm and loosen up the ligaments and tendons surrounding it. With time, your range of motion should increase greatly. As in everything, maintain proper posture during the execution of this movement.

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HACKEY SACK

This movement is very important in opening up your hips and getting them ready for activities like running. Keep your posture solid and try not to reach with your hands. It can be difficult to not want to slap your foot with your hand, but you ideally want to just hold your hands at hip height and lift your foot as high as possible. This can be a very, very difficult movement if your hips are very tight.

Your knee should be at about 90 Degrees and when you get to the top of the movement, your shin should be parallel to the floor.

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SKIPPING

Not just for girls! Skipping is actually a relatively-intense form of exercise. It’s a beginner level plyometric exercise. Skipping, as a movement, is actually just walking with a little hop in between the step. You take a step and then hop with the same foot before taking the next step. Once you’ve got that, try to get the knee up on the leg that’s in the air before you take that next step.

If you are overweight, this might be difficult on your knees, so take it slowly.

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BUTTKICKERS

Buttkickers can be performed explosively or in a controlled fashion depending on your level of fitness or if your knees are capable of taking the impact of running-type motions. Your knee should remain directly underneath your hip during the entire exercise, which may be difficult if you have tight hip flexors, so you can flex your glutes to push your hip a little more forward during the movement. At the top of the movement, your foot should lightly slap your glute or just below.

Try to move relatively quickly as the goal here is to warm up the muscles and get the heart rate up. You can begin slowly and work your way up to faster. If you have to do the controlled version, focus on squeezing the glute and the hamstring as you pick the leg up off the ground.

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RUNNER’S LUNGE STRETCH

This can be a difficult stretch if you have very tight hip flexors due to sitting for extended periods of time, so ease into this if you need to. Plant your front foot, with your knee bent, and slowly slide your rear foot along the ground with your leg straight until you feel a stretch in the hip that is facing the floor. Try to sit in that position without your leg or your hip touching the ground. The shin of your front leg should be vertical or perpendicular to the ground and the posture of your spine should be neutral. You may support your upper body with straight arm on the inside of the foot that is planted on the floor. This can help ensure you maintain proper posture.

Make sure to do both sides.

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SEATED SINGLE-LEG HAMSTRING STRETCH

When a lot of people do this stretch, they will bend their spine to get their head closer to their knee. This is not stretching your hamstrings any more than it was and is giving you a false sense of how flexible your hamstrings actually are. Make sure that you sit up tall and that you are only leaning forward from the hip. You will find that you are not quite as flexible as you previously though you were.

From here, your goal should be to feel a slight stretch that gives a small sense of discomfort in the muscle, but not pain. Stretching should never hurt, but when we are trying to loosen up after a workout or stretch for flexibility, there does need to be some discomfort in the stretch.

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DOWNWARD DOG

This yoga position is great for building strength in the shoulders and upper back, while simultaneously working on the posture of the upper spine and stretching the calves, hamstrings, and hips. As you begin this movement, you may not be able to press all the way back into the position.  This will come with time and, eventually, you may even be able to put your heels on the floor while pressing back.

Do your best not to round from the lower back.

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STANDARD PUSH-UPS

The Standard Push-up is one of the most performed exercises in the world and, unfortunately, one of the most incorrectly performed at the same time. Starting out, your entire hand should have contact with the ground, your thumb and forefinger on each hand should form a “checkmark” when you look down at them and your hands should be just outside your shoulders.

Avoid winging the elbows out as you descend and instead focus on the elbow pits facing forward at the top and the elbows should move back toward the feet as the arm bends, maintain a neutral postural position throughout the entire movement, and maintain a vertical forearm at all times (your forearm should be perpendicular to the floor).

If you are unable to maintain the postural position, you should stop the set and perform an easier variation of the push-up, such as a knee-push-up or (more ideally) an incline push-up, such as with your hands on a counter-top.

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