Have you reached a point in your workout where you feel that simple movements such as push-ups or push-ups have become “too easy” for you? If you think this is the case, Coach Marcus Filly, a former CrossFit Games competitor and proponent of “functional bodybuilding,” has some news for you: don’t go above and beyond. He made a video that takes some of the most basic strength exercises to the next level of difficulty and intensity by making simple adjustments.
“My goal today is to show you how you can make the simplest things much more demanding for you,” says Filly. “There are several variables within training that you can manipulate to increase the difficulty and intensity of even the simplest exercises.” (Refers to variables as “leverage” in functional bodybuilding.)
To do this, it handles four factors: tempo, rest periods, load / tension, and position / range of motion.
He shares a giant four-movement push-pull-centered upper body set that is simple and then explains how he changes the variables in each set to increase the intensity. Training includes: push-ups, bench press with dumbbells, chest row with rings and push-ups.
Round 1: Warm-up
To warm up, start with “regressive” versions of different movements, such as banded pullups, a sloping surface for push-ups, light dumbbells for bench press, and a sloping position for rings and push-ups. He also used faster repetitions (no breaks) to get blood flowing to his muscles. From there, he delves into “work” sets.
Round 2: Add Tempo
To increase the intensity, Filly focuses this set on the tempo, performed with a certain cadence. In this case, it is a 3 second negative, with a pause at the bottom.
“For all the exercises, it will be slower on the descent, faster on the ascent,” says Filly.
He explains that in functional bodybuilding, it’s about knowing which “lever” to pull to adjust the intensity.
“With the tempo, slowing things down with a 3-second negative and a pause at the end of a repetition will add a new challenge to the next contraction of the exercise,” he says.
Round 3: Adjust rest periods and increase load
Now, Filly points out that she will add 30-second rest periods between each exercise, in addition to increasing the load by changing her body position.
“In the row of the ring and in the bend, I changed the position of my body. In the bend, I raised my feet. In the row of the ring, I moved my feet much further and raised them slightly, which put my body in a more horizontal position and made me have to bear more of my body weight against gravity, “she says.
He points out that it’s the same as adding weight, except that he didn’t have to add weight. He just had to change the position of his body.
“For pullups, you’ve seen me put my knees up, which changes the position of my torso, and the direction I’m in makes it a little more of a basic isometric exercise,” he says. “And finally, with the bench press with dumbbells, I lifted my feet off the ground. Raising my feet in this 90-degree position reduces the amount of stability and balance you get from your lower body when you’re in a hurry. So there’s a little more basic work. “
Round 4: Advanced range of motion and load
For the latter set, Filly notes that it was a 9/10 effort load for him, reaching the lower ends of his rep range.
“You probably noticed that I used the mechanical load for my pullups. I added a weight belt, 25 pounds more, the same position and the same tempo. For this last set, instead of push-pull, I went “Go straight from the pullups to my ring rows. My ring rows, I added a weight vest to make them harder,” says Filly. “I went from stretching to stretching, which definitely made it harder.”
In the bench press with dumbbells and push-ups, he played with wide range of motion.
“Not only did I do a traditional bench press, I did a quarter and a quarter repetition. At the bottom of each repetition, there was a slight rise of the dumbbells up. Then I went straight to my flex. There I also increased the range of motion using parallel bars, so that I could get my chest to fall deeper than my hands with each repetition, which means I was adding range to this final position of my flexion. Also, I added a resistance band to my body that added tension to the top of the press, which made me have to lock myself in harder than normal.
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