The Underrated Full Body Exercise (that looks a little silly)

The Underrated Full Body Exercise (that looks a little silly)

I know it looks a bit silly….

And I’m not expecting you to go into the middle of your commercial gym weight room floor and start doing it…

But the Towel Taz is an amazing, and deceptively hard conditioning drill that can be a great way to mix up your cardio sessions without all the impact and even put an emphasis on your upper body and core.

It can get you moving in every direction and be done no matter your fitness level.

And it doesn’t require fancy equipment.

Heck you can grab your comforter or even a sheet off your bed if you don’t have a moving blanket.

But I do want to break down the benefits of this amazing move because it can be done without any fancy equipment and is deceptively humbling!

The first reason I love this move, despite how silly it looks, is that it can be used with a variety of intervals to achieve different conditioning benefits.

You can use a heavier moving blanket and easily gas yourself out with quick 10-20 second sprints.

Or you can even learn to use it for more aerobic capacity building longer interval durations of even 1-2 minutes.

But no matter your fitness level you can vary the intensity and intervals you work in to get benefit from this exercise.

And it can really be tailored to what you want to work on – whether you want to focus more on intense quick bursts or more endurance!

And unlike so many of the conditioning drills we do, it gets you moving in every direction while being a full body drill!

When you often think about cardio, our first thoughts are often of running or biking.

If we’re thinking about bodyweight interval workouts, we may start to consider the basic burpee or jump squats, which really still are moving us only in one plane of motion.

And while I think there are some great variations of these moves that can be used to twist and turn and work in every direction, the Towel Taz is a great way to do this without the impact of jumping!

You shuffle laterally as you shake the towel up and down.

Or side to side.

You can circle.

Move forward, backward.

You’re not just moving in one direction like we are with running and riding and your whole body is working.

There is a lot of freedom to the movement, whether you want to make it more core intensive, rotating side to side as you move around…

Or you want to make it more shoulder and arm intensive, shaking the towel up and down.

And it conditions not only your lungs, but so many of the muscles that pay off for other sports.

That towel becomes way heavier than you’d expect and you’re going to feel your arms and shoulders.

This can be a great drill to help keep your shoulders healthy, while improving your conditioning for swimming, not to mention any fight sport.

You may even be surprised by how much it improves your upper body lifts, improving the strength endurance of your shoulders.

And by moving in every direction, you may feel your agility and even reaction times to cut, twist and turn improve. You see your balance and stability improve from your ankles up to your hips.

It also will add diversity to your routine as so many of the cardio moves we do are lower body focused.

While no, we can’t spot reduce an area and just do a thousand tricep exercises to try to lose the bat wing, this move does come in handy for that little extra fat loss benefit when our lifts and nutrition are dialed in.

Studies have shown that more fat is mobilized from areas AROUND the muscle we work. We just then need to UTILIZE that mobilized fat…and a little cardio focused on those areas strategically may make that 1% improvement.

Do your upper body lifting session then finish it off with a killer 30 on 15 off series of Towel Taz while making sure your nutrition is on point, and you may be surprised by how much that helps with that last little stubborn bit!

The Towel Taz can also be helpful if you’re not able to do some of the higher impact conditioning drills or lower body cardio exercises.

If you’ve had a lower body injury and have to reduce impact, you may feel limited in your conditioning drills.

This move can be done seated if needed or even by stepping or quick cuts to move around.

Honestly, this silly looking move is well worth the stares you may get.

And can be a great option if you’re training at home and looking to mix things up.

It is incredibly functional in how it asks us to quickly engage muscles and have so many things work in unison in every direction.

No it’s not a functional movement pattern you will directly do in everyday life, but the benefits of the mind-body connection, conditioning improvements and strengthening in every direction really will have you feeling fabulous.

Now I just wanted to add some quick tips to implement this move….

Use a big and heavy towel. Moving blankets are ideal as they won’t whip you and they have some weight to really challenge your upper body and core.

Focus on quick movements of both your upper AND lower body. While you may shake the towel up and down, shuffle and step in every direction.

If you even swing the towel side to side, focus on walking forward and backward.

Force your upper and lower body to work independently in different directions but together!

Make sure you focus on that exhale as you shake the towel and focus on a speed that challenges you for the intervals of work you’re performing.

If you’re doing 20 seconds, max out.

If you’re using this for 1 minute, consider more of a 65-75% of your max effort pace to push yourself to feel out of breath but be able to work the entire time.

But as much as you may be shaking your head no at your screen, give this move a chance.

It’s humbled many an MMA fighter and you may be surprised by how much it improves your conditioning to even be able to lift more, run faster and cycle further.

You may even be shocked at how much you see improvements in your ability to quickly react and move in every direction!

What untraditional exercises do you love?

Want more workout and nutrition tips? Subscribe to my YouTube Channel…

–> Redefining Strength On YouTube


10 Mobility Lessons I Wish I Knew Sooner

10 Mobility Lessons I Wish I Knew Sooner

I’ve made a TON of mistakes.

Made excuses to skip my warm ups that lead to overload and injury.

Slacked on my mobility work, which led to improper recruitment patterns and pain.

Ignored aches and pains until it was too late and I couldn’t train the way I wanted…

I’ve learned far too many lessons the hard way…

But I want to help you avoid the same frustrations and pain…

That’s why I’m going to share 10 key mobility lessons I’ve learned to help you avoid making the same mistakes and move and feel your best no matter your age!

Because so often what we even blame on our age is simply previous aches and pains and training practices coming back to bite us in the butt!

Sooo the first mobility lesson I wish I’d known sooner was…

#1: It’s Not Just About Form.

I’d always prided myself on having good form. 

But good form doesn’t mean you’re always using the correct muscles.

Actually mimicking proper form may be leading to you overusing muscles not meant to carry the load and seeking out mobility from joints that aren’t really meant to provide that range of motion.

The more advanced we are too, the more we know how a move SHOULD look so we force that movement pattern, using whatever is needed.

And this can result in overload and injury just as much, if not sometimes even MORE than improper form. 

Because we’re forcing a movement we can’t actually perform properly!

So focus not just on form and how the movement looks but your recruitment pattern and what you feel working!

If you can’t feel the correct muscles working, you haven’t earned that movement.

Instead you need to regress to then build up or you need to swap to a different variation you can perform properly as you address the underlying mobility restrictions and muscle weakness! 

#2: The Point Of “Pain” Isn’t Always Where The Problem Started.

When we end up with a shoulder injury, we blame our shoulder. 

Back pain, we blame our back. Often we even think, “Oh this area is injured because it was weak.” And then we overwork the muscle further trying to rehab it. 

But this only perpetuates the issue.

Because often injury occurs due to overload.

Our back becomes overworked because our glutes or abs are weak or not being used efficiently during movements.

Or a lack of thoracic extension leads to us seeking out mobility and stability from our shoulder during the overhead press that it isn’t meant or able to provide. 

Issues elsewhere lead to the injuries.

Often where the pain is isn’t where the problem started.

And this is why, when we are addressing aches and pains we can’t get so focused on the aches and pains only.

We need to assess movements and how joints and muscles are working together.

Because limitations in mobility or instability at one joint, say your ankles, can impact your movements all the way up your body, resulting in overload and injury.

That ankle injury from years ago, may now be why you have knee pain! 

This is also why resting a previous injury isn’t enough.

Which is actually the next big lesson I learned…

#3: Resting An Injury Doesn’t Make It Go Away.

When we have aches and pains or injuries, we first turn to rest to help the pain go away.

While resting an area can be a key first step in recovery, it doesn’t change why the overload occurred in the first place. 

So if you just take time off till something feels better then go back to training as you were, you may just end up injured again. 

You haven’t taken time to address where the mobility restriction was. Or what muscle was weak and led to overload.

You haven’t changed your form or your recruitment patterns. 

And if you don’t address what led to the injury and overload, often you’re just going to end up injured again from doing the same things.

Now you may be thinking, “But I’ll just avoid those movements.”

But this isn’t really a long-term solution.

So many of those movements we do in everyday life.

And at some point, that weakness or mobility issue is going to pop back up.

Instead of just resting, we need to take things back to basics and include the prehab work needed to truly address what added up in the first place.

This can help us from falling prey to this injury becoming chronic so we can consistently train the way we want to see results!

Which is why you need to see prehab as a 3-part process.

And this is lesson #4, which has been the biggest game changer for me so that I haven’t had another injury sideline me and I’ve been able to nip aches and pains before they add up…

#4: Prehab is a 3-Part process.

Addressing an ache or pain means not only relaxing overactive muscles, but improving your joint mobility and even activating underactive muscles to improve stability.

There are multiple components to making sure muscles are working as they should be and joints have the proper range of motion.

Not to mention, the longer we’ve potentially ignored an issue, the more that has built up as we’ve compensated.

It’s why the process of foam rolling, stretching and activation was the biggest game changer for me and I’ve seen it have the biggest impact on my clients functional fitness as well.

It’s why I even had a client say to me “I’m moving better now than I did in my 20s and 30s!”

None of these components alone have the same impact.

The system as a whole is what makes each part so effective.

The foam rolling helps relax overactive muscles we may even tend to overuse. 

The stretching, especially dynamic stretching used prior to a workout, helps mobilize our joints and return muscles to their proper length-tension relationships. 

The activation then continues to help mobilize joints, stretching muscles through a process called reciprocal inhibition as it works to activate underactive muscles. This activation helps improve our mind-body connection to better use these muscles to carry the loads they should when we train and move. 

This process works together to help address all components needed to avoid us perpetuating the overuse, overload and injury!

But even as game changing as this process really was for me and as much as I credit this with even helping me be able to lift more…

You can’t out mobility work your other movements.

Your workouts have to complement the mobility work you’re doing.

Lesson #5: Strengthen Through A Full Range Of Motion.

You’ve done that prehab work to be able to move through a full range of motion and use the correct muscles…

But if you don’t now do the work to actually strengthen the muscles through the range of motion you’ve prepped your body to be able to handle, you won’t maintain it.

If you lift and do half squats after working on your hip mobility, you’re going to only have stability and strength through that smaller range of motion. And you’re going to tighten things back up. 

So basically it’s going to feel like all of your mobility work isn’t adding up and is a waste.

But it isn’t.

Instead, you have to check your ego, and use lighter weights to move through the full range of motion you’ve established with the 3-part prehab process. 

But it’s key that we do adjust the range of motion of exercises to build strength through the range of motion we want!

Now…The next big lesson I learned was oddly a mindset shift….and something I think we too often just ignore…

And it has to do with IMBALANCES.

Every notice one side is weaker? Or that you have stronger muscles around a joint causing restrictions? 

#6: Well, Those Imbalances Are Worse Than Inflexibility.

Feel like the tin man over gumbi? 

Honestly just being inflexible, while something you may want to work on isn’t as bad as we often make it out to be.

If everything is tight, you’re at least EVEN in how you can move.

It’s less of an issue if you can’t touch your toes than if you can’t touch your toes but you can do the side splits. 

This imbalance of muscle flexibility around a joint can lead to overload and injury as you have more movement and potentially less stability in one plane of motion.

It’s why you may need to do imbalance prehab work to address the issues, relaxing only specific muscles while activating others.

It’s why you may need to pay attention to including movements in specific planes of motion and even working specific muscles more! 

And it’s not just discrepancies around a single joint that we need to pay attention to but imbalances between sides.

If one side is mobile and the other isn’t? If one side is stronger?

This can lead to overload of the stronger side when the weaker side can’t keep up. 

Or it can lead to the weaker side becoming overworked and muscles compensating as it tries to keep up with your dominant side.

Imbalances need to be addressed.

Whether it is holding back our stronger side, doing more reps using rest pause technique on the weaker side or even ONLY including unilateral moves so the stronger side can’t take over, we need to make sure we’re addressing those imbalances. 

#7: Flexibility And Mobility Depend On Stability.

Ever move a joint through a bigger range of motion and then go to lift and find you can’t really move through even half of what you had been able to do with your own bodyweight? 

This may be an issue with stability!

Far too often the emphasis is put on flexibility and mobility…

We talk about stretching and mobilizing joints to improve our range of motion and squat deeper or press overhead properly. 

But part of what allows a joint to move through that full range of motion as we correctly recruit muscles to power the movement is STABILITY.

If a joint doesn’t feel stable, your mind is going to restrict the range of motion you can work through.

So if muscles aren’t strong enough, the joint movement may be limited or your active flexibility may seem a lot smaller than what you’re able to do in a static or passive position.

And too often we ignore this signal and push through with heavier loads anyway.

This is then what leads to aches and pains and us seeking out strength from muscles not meant to carry the load or a range of motion from a joint not meant to provide it.

This is why that activation component or even some lighter load work and isometrics…the stuff that doesn’t seem as sexy or hard, may be so key! 

We also don’t want to ignore this instability because it may hint that we actually aren’t properly addressing muscle tightness as well…

#8: A Tight Muscle Doesn’t Always Need To Be Stretch.

Pull a rubber band and stretch it out and it’s going to feel tight.

Decide to stretch it further because it feels tight and you’re going to snap it.

Muscles don’t just feel tight when they’re shorten.

They can also feel tight because they are overstretched.

This is why paying attention to joint stability and even lesson number 2 (that the point of pain isn’t always where the problem is) is so key.

Everything is connected.

So we need to assess overall postures and movements to really see what is going on over just honing in and looking at a muscle in isolation at times.

Our hamstrings are a prime example of this.

Too often they are tight from being overstretched due to tight hip flexors from sitting so much. 

This daily posture can make us feel like we need to stretch our hamstrings, when actually it is our hip flexors that are shortened and in need of stretching.

And due to them being overly lengthened and this overall posture, our hamstrings may also be overworked.

This can create instability at our hip and even our knee, leading to more issues and not just putting our hamstrings at risk for being pulled.

And if we were to just say “My hamstrings feel tight” and stretch them more?

We may even be making matters worse.

It’s why we need to truly look at how muscles and joints function together and our overall movement and recruitment patterns.

Too often we don’t ask ourselves, “What do I feel working?” 

Because if we did, we may notice our hamstrings compensating in moves for our glutes only further perpetuating the feeling of tightness!

And if you’re thinking, “But I don’t have time to address all these things…”

#9: 5-Minutes Is All You Need.

So often we don’t do anything because we feel we can’t do enough.

But if we can just commit to 5 minutes a day of mobility work and do that daily, that time will not only add up but the daily consistency will help results build. 

This is why you need to stop skipping your warm up! 

Which is actually what I was originally going to call this lesson.

But even when it relates to your warm up, you don’t need 15 minutes or a ton of time to prep your body.

That prehab process can be used efficiently to mobilize and activate what you plan to work that day!

Doing a little each day to grease the wheel pays off over letting things add up so you have to peel back each layer that’s built up.

So stop stressing about doing full recovery sessions more frequently even. Just focus on 5 minutes, even if that 5 minutes is an intentional warm up that you don’t skip! 

You’ll be surprised by how even that warm up helps you move better in your workouts to get more out of each session and strengthen through that full range of motion to actually make your mobility work add up even more! 

Which leads me to biggest and most important lesson of all…

#10: Rehab becomes Prehab.

Let’s face it…many of us have had aches and pains and injuries in the past.

Things that are “better” now…

So we get lazy about continuing to work on our areas of weakness. And then when we least expect it, aches and pains rear their ugly heads. 

This leads to us feeling frustrated that we can’t ever fully seem to get momentum with things.

But this is why rehab becomes prehab.

What we did to make things “better” needs to be done proactively to keep things working well.

Otherwise we default back into old recruitment and movement patterns. 

So instead of having to spend a ton of time being reactive or not training the way we want, keep in that mobility work as part of your warm up.

And if you do notice things popping up, don’t be afraid to step back and address those weak links.

Honestly, with all of these lessons, it’s really about being aware and being intentional in our training so we can address things before they really add up!

The more aware we are of how our body is feeling and our movements, the more we can modify and progress as we need to keep training consistently while feeling and moving our best!

Ready for workouts that have the prehab work done for you?

–> Check out Dynamic Strength


Stop Demonizing Exercises! 4 Myths DEBUNKED

Stop Demonizing Exercises! 4 Myths DEBUNKED

The comment section can be…interesting to say the least.

If you spend too much time there, you’ll find out there is only one way to do every move…but no one truly agrees on what that one way is…

But everyone definitely has an opinion. And only THEIR way is the right one.

There are lots of things we’re told will basically destroy us if we do them.

Lots of moves that are demonized and blamed for aches and pains.

But honestly…there really are no “bad” moves…just improper usage and implementation of them.

So often we include moves not right for our specific needs or goals. Moves we haven’t earned.

And then we get injured doing them and demonize them…completely avoiding them.

But what we don’t realize is that by doing this, we put ourselves at greater risk for injury in every day life.

So many moves we do in the gym can be a great way to strengthen muscles and movement patterns essential for everyday life.

It’s why instead of simply avoiding moves, we need to regress to progress and learn to retrain as many movement patterns as possible.

We need to understand why aches and pains and the issues occurred in the first place to find variations of moves we can use to move and feel our best.

The gym should be a place to learn to move well and become functionally fitter so we can be strong and independent till our final day on this planet.

That’s why I want to address some exercises I see demonized and break down how to include them and retrain them, such as deadlifts being bad for your back or squats and lunges being bad for your knees…

Or even jumping and high impact being dangerous for us as we get older!

So first…

#1: Deadlifts Are Bad For Your Back.

Deadlifts are a weighted hip hinge often blamed for lower back pain.

But they are an essential movement pattern we need to all know how to control if we want to avoid throwing out our backs when lifting something up off the ground.

They are often blamed for lower back pain because we aren’t properly engaging our lats to support the weight as we use our glutes and hamstrings to drive the lift.

We aren’t properly bracing and recruiting muscles so our lower back becomes overworked and tries to carry more of the load to lift than it should.

Part of this tendency to overuse and recruit the muscles of our lower back instead of our glutes is due to the fact that far too many of us spend too much time seated at a computer or driving in a car.

Tight hip flexors can result in postural distortions that lead to underactive glutes and synergistic dominance of our hamstrings and anterior pelvic tilt. Which leads to our lower back wanting to work when it shouldn’t.

But it isn’t just tight hips that lead to lower back overload and changes in our recruitment patterns.

It’s also our hunched over posture that can perpetuate the issue.

When we don’t have proper thoracic extension, we are going to seek out mobility from other areas.

In trying to straighten our spine for deadlifts and press our chest out, we may notice we compensate by arching our lower backs. This arch may contribute to more anterior pelvic tilt and perpetuate us not only overusing our lower back but also our hamstrings over our glutes.

So it is key we note our daily postures to address in our mobility work before we needed so we can better activate the correct muscles.

But this is also why we have to notice we are simply leaning forward and not correctly pushing our butt back as we hinge.

And we may especially struggle with a BARBELL deadlift of any kind.

With a barbell deadlift you have to keep the bar basically up against your body as you lift. This means engaging your lats and really pushing the ground away as you drive up to standing.

If you notice the bar drifting away or your butt coming up first as you go to drive up, you’re going to be shifting the load more to your lower back.

Starting out, to change this recruitment pattern and overload, a kettlebell or dumbbell works well as you can hold the weight in the center of your legs and even lower it down and back toward your heels.

But you won’t need to scrape your shins to keep it close and this lowering of the weight down and back can help us remember to hinge over and push our butt back as we lower.

So if you’ve been fearing or avoiding deadlifts due to feeling your lower back, try using a weight you can hold center instead and focus on lowering back toward your heels to help yourself feel your glutes and hamstrings loading!

#2: Sit Ups And Crunches Are Bad For Your Spine.

Your abs power spinal flexion.

Crunches and sit ups are simply that when done correctly – spinal flexion.

Learning to control this move so you can easily sit up from lying down is honestly essential.

So you want to train not only a spinal motion but the muscles that control it.

And these two moves are often great ways to really break down and control this movement without loads as they are more isolated movements, especially the crunch!

Only once you’ve mastered them do you want to move on to more advanced exercises.

Yet so often with sit ups you see people arching their back and relying on their hip flexors alone to sit up and do 100s of reps quickly.

It’s why those ab mats have become so popular.

Use this mat as a band aid to be able to do more reps than you can control properly and use the correct muscles to power.

And THIS is why sit ups end up backfiring in back pain.

NOT the spinal flexion.

But the lack of true ab engagement and ability to even posteriorly pelvic tilt.

The key is making sure you’re actually rounding using your abs to lift in a crunch or sit up.

When you think of doing crunches or sit ups, you should think about exhaling as you roll vertebrae by vertebrae up.

Feel your abs PULLING you up.

And don’t rush it to get in more reps.

If you find yourself struggling to not arch your lower back as you sit up or really use momentum, go back to that basic crunch or even consider a seated hinge.

Learning to control that c curve to your spine as you round back, can help you focus on that spine flexion to engage those abs.

#3: Squats And Lunges Are Bad For Your Knees.

Your knees are MEANT to bend.

And yes, sometimes reducing knee flexion to start is key based on our injuries and aches and pains.

But unless you never plan to sit down again, go up stairs, get into your car or put something in a low cabinet or shelf, you need to learn how to control knee flexion.

Because these are ALL knee flexion!

Practicing squats and lunges in your workouts can help you do just that.

RETRAIN that knee flexion and improve your range of motion in an environment where you can fully control the movement.

It’s why we need to start recognizing our workouts are a chance to learn to move well NOT just burn more calories!

Often squats and lunges cause knee pain because we lack the proper hip or ankle mobility to load muscles correctly and ultimately the knee bares the brunt of it.

While addressing both ankle mobility and hip mobility in our warm ups is key, we can also help avoid this overload by tweaking our form.

This is often why people use the cue, “Don’t let your knees go past your toes.”

A more vertical shin angle on lunging, can help you better load your glutes.

However, it is NOT bad for your knees to go forward and may even be necessary in deep squats based on tibial length.

The key is the loading during this and having the necessary ankle mobility to keep your heels down.

Even purposely having your knee go forward as you lunge can help you really target your quads.

You just need to be able to control this and build up.

So starting with that more vertical shin angle and even limiting your range of motion and instability can be key with both squats and lunges starting out.
If you can’t control the front lunge and keep your weight more centered and knee over your ankle as you are building back from knee pain, try a split squat. This stationary movement reduces the control needed and can help you also improve your hip mobility.

You can also easily control the range of motion you work through and really learn balance.

Same thing can go for the squat. You can control how much knee flexion you work through and the stability demands by just adding a box.

As you can load correctly and control the range of motion, you can always lower the height of the box or fully remove it.

The key is starting with the stability demands and range of motion you can truly CONTROL and then building up.

This brings me to the last thing I often hear demonized especially as we get older….

And that’s #4: High Impact And Jumping.

I’ve even heard clients say they were told not to lift heavy, which is in this same sort of exercise myth vein…

I call them the myths that actually lead to us getting old fast and moving old.

Because exercise is about ability.

You need to meet yourself where you are at due to fitness level, goals, injuries…

But just being a certain age shouldn’t stop you.

And honestly, often when we stop doing the things we did to get strong in the first place, we see decline happen faster.


While high impact is not right for everyone, learning to control landing mechanics while also working on power is essential.

There are so many ways to do this.

It is also key we realize where the risk really lies…

It isn’t in jumping up on the box…it’s jumping off of it.

So even just a tweak to include box jumps as part of your explosive work could be to jump up to a low box and STEP off to start.

And to work on landing mechanics to start, we don’t even have to leave the ground.

It can simply be doing a squat to quickly moving up onto our toes to lowering back down.

This learning to absorb impact through that foot motion and knee bend is key.

It can help us avoid injury, especially if you’re ever on a hike and having to step down off a big rock! Or if you slightly trip to catch yourself on a curb or stair.

The more we learn to correctly handle impact and our body mechanics for it, the more we help ourselves avoid risk of injury in every day life!

And that explosive work only further improves our mind-body connection to be able to react and respond quickly.

Stop demonizing moves and just avoiding exercises and movement patterns. Instead see opportunity in modifications to rebuild and retrain as many movements as possible.

Regress to progress and use your workouts as a chance to learn to move your best and develop that functional strength!

For more on form and modifications for these moves, check out the links below…

–> Deadlift Form

–> Squat Form

–> Lunge Form

–> Crunch Form

–> 7 Big Lies About Exercise And Aging

And if this was helpful, I’d love to cover other moves you want to learn more about in a future video. Comment with some moves you’re worried about or have heard people demonize so we can break them down and learn to retrain those movement and recruitment patterns!

The Best Bodyweight Exercise (Everyone Hates)

The Best Bodyweight Exercise (Everyone Hates)

Unpopular opinion…

I think Burpees are underrated.

You may be like, “WHAAAAT!? I see burpees in everything. They’re overdone!”

And while I agree they can be overused, misused and simply put in a workout just to make it harder…

I also think they aren’t given their due credit for being more than just a hard move, but an amazing full-body cardio move to improve your mind-body connection and functional fitness.

Burpees are an exercise that too often don’t get enough respect for being a move that has to be EARNED, but that can, and should, also be done in some form at EVERY age.

Yup…EVERY age…

That’s why in this video I want to explain WHY burpees can be so valuable to do even as we get older, but also why this move can be such a challenge and how we can break it down and modify it to fit our needs and goals!

And if you’re right now shaking your head saying, “NOPE! Burpees aren’t for me!”

I’d urge you to hear me out on WHY they can be so beneficial and then check out the modifications I share!

So…how and why are burpees so beneficial to include?

I’ll be the first to admit…I don’t like burpees.

They stink.

They’re hard.

They’re uncomfortable. 

They never seem to get easier…especially if we do them correctly with intention and focus.

And because they are a very advanced move, I’m very careful with how I program them into progressions for clients.

They are a complicated, full-body, explosive movement.

They challenge your mind-body connection, requiring you to perform multiple joint actions and engage muscle groups down your entire body efficiently in sequence to move quickly and powerfully.

Lose tension in one area and your burpee looks like the worm. Your push up becomes a belly flop. 

And not only do they require a strong mind-body connection and great full body strength and stability, they also require more MOBILITY than we realize.

To be able to jump your feet fully in close enough to your hands to jump up at the top, requires more hip and even ankle mobility than we recognize! 

But what makes them a hard and complicated movement we need to often regress to progress and truly EARN, is also what makes them a valuable exercise that I want every client to build up to as much as possible.

Breaking down the burpee to build up this movement will help you improve your ability to recruit muscles correctly quickly.

It will help you be able to engage muscles throughout your body in sequence to perform functional everyday activities that have us squatting and reaching and bracing all at once.

It will teach you to brace and stabilize while still reacting quickly.

And it will help you maintain the mobility to get down and up easily off the ground. 

While you may never do the exact burpee movement in every day life, it can really help us build functional strength through the fact we ask our body to do so many things as once and quickly.

That ability to engage things to stabilize and power movement FAST is what helps us react in everyday life to stay injury free and functionally fit.

It helps us react quickly to catch that glass when it gets knocked off the table.

To avoid slipping and falling when we trip on the curb.

It’s all about that mind-body connection.

And burpees are exceptional at helping us build that.

They are also a great move to improve our conditioning, especially when we are short on time. Working so many areas at once with this fast paced movement is going to get your blood pumping. And even just intervals of 20 seconds of work can be killer!

And while this may sound weird…

They even help us become more comfortable being uncomfortable which is truly invaluable to growth in life and success.

This ability to be comfortable being uncomfortable helps us conquer new challenges, which builds confidence. And the more confident we become, the more we will embrace learning and growth and rock those results as we get older!

Now if you’re starting to be sold on burpees and considering adding them in, you need to make sure you’ve truly EARNED the full variation.

And just because you can “do” a burpee, doesn’t mean that full variation is right for you…YET.

If your burpees look sloppy, like you’re a fish kind of flopping out of the water on dry land, it’s time to check your ego and regress. 

Build that core stability. Build that strength.

Build that mobility.

Regress to progress!

Get everything truly working together efficiently so you aren’t just working harder with this move, but actually seeing amazing full-body strength and conditioning gains from it!

So…How Can We Break Down And Modify The Burpee?

I want to break down some key modifications for this move based on some reasons why the burpee is so challenging….

Starting with the fact that it requires more mobility than we recognize.

Challenge #1: I don’t have the mobility to easily get down into the plank and stand back up.

I love using a bench or low box for clients starting out who may not yet have the mobility to easily step or jump back into a high plank and stand back up.

If you notice when you do burpees that you don’t put your hands flat on the ground or you can’t jump your feet in close enough to your hands to easily shift your weight back and stand up, using a bench or box will help. 

The incline helps create more “space” so you can more easily jump or step your feet into your hands.

This modification can also be key if you struggle with challenge #2…

Challenge #2: You don’t have the core stability or upper body strength.

The incline can also help reduce the resistance or load on your upper body and core as you move into that plank position and perform the push up.

Because the burpee shouldn’t be a belly flop onto the ground.

There should be a jump or step back into plank then a lower into a push up before you press back up and stand up.

By using an incline you modify the push up and plank, which can help you slow build that core and upper body strength.

As you build up, you can lower the incline slowly toward the ground, increasing the resistance and load on your upper body and core! 

And even starting out, if you don’t have a proper incline to use, try taking out the push up even and just focus on that nice plank position to start. Or even consider a knee push up variation. 

But focus not only on moving quickly but also proper form with each component of the move.

I mention this because SPEED and moving quickly with exercises has to be earned!

Which brings me to Challenge #3: Not having the neuromuscular efficiency aka the speed or power.

We can move faster while performing a movement correctly because we’ve built up that mind-body connection.

And that takes time.

To start, you may need to step with the burpee over jumping. 

Or you may need to slow things down.

I know often we don’t want to do that with the burpee because we are using it as a cardio move.

This is why modifying it to allow ourselves to move quickly and get our blood pumping is key.

BUT always modifying may also be why you feel “stuck,” unable to progress to a harder variation.

Sometimes we also need to progress and slow things down.

Then as we master that new movement pattern, we can slowly speed things up!

So consider including both burpees slightly broken down into components as you build up, removing the push up or only doing a half burpee without the jump up while also taking time to do longer intervals of conditioning work where you can slow things down to focus on the full movement! 

Now the final challenge I want to address and help you work around is…

Challenge #4: Modifying around aches and pains.

I’m going to tell you right now, the burpee may not be right for you in the starting phases of rehab.

But your goal should ALWAYS be to build back and retrain whatever movement patterns and exercises you can.

The key is to find ways to reduce mobility or strength demands whenever possible in that rebuilding phase.

If you have a wrist injury, that may mean using a bench to reduce the load on your upper body.

It may mean slowing down to place your hands on dumbbells instead to keep a neutral wrist position. 

It may even mean using an incline to modify into a forearm plank as you step back. 

But you want to find ways to embrace the components of an exercise you can train while avoiding overload.

Same can be said for knee or hip injuries. 

Maybe you remove all jumping and instead step back. Or you even use sliders to reduce impact more. 

Maybe you use the incline to give yourself space so you don’t need as much hip or ankle mobility to step back up and stand up.

Or maybe you even do a bulldog variation to target those quads more while putting less stress on your core. 

Again it is about considering what you need to eliminate, but what you can still do in a move to use as much as possible!

While the burpee may not be right for you at your current fitness level or phase of rehab…

While it may not be right for you YET…

I think too often we just demonize moves or write them off over thinking…

“How can I regress to progress?”

“How can I build back?”

We don’t break moves down, slow down the speed and RETRAIN movement and recruitment patterns to function optimally…

We just AVOID.

And this doesn’t help us stay functionally fit till our final day on this planet.

It honestly puts us at greater risk for injury in everyday life!

The more we can retrain and the less we have to FEAR movements, the stronger and more independent we will be till our final day on this earth!

So if you’ve been just hating on burpees, avoiding them thinking they’re hard and pointless…

Think again!

Find ways to include this amazing move in your workout routine using my tips to modify around your challenges and see your strength and conditioning improve dramatically when you’ve earned this killer exercise!

Ready for some fun workouts that will challenge you no matter your fitness level?

Take your training to the next level with my Dynamic Strength Program.


How Strong Is Your Mind Muscle Connection? (Take This Test)

How Strong Is Your Mind Muscle Connection? (Take This Test)

How aware of your body are you?

Do you think you have an amazing mind-body connection?

Well…here’s a test to find out!

I mention this because too often we’re doing the right moves yet not seeing the results we want.

And it’s because we’re going through the motions with our training, mimicking proper form.

But proper form doesn’t guarantee proper recruitment patterns.

Aka just because a move looks pretty doesn’t mean we’re using the right muscles or seeking out mobility from the correct joints.

And the more advanced an exerciser you are, the more you can easily cheat and compensate.

But this can lead to overload and injury and you not seeing the results of your training you want.

That’s why in this video, I want to take you through a quick test to assess your mind-body connection.

And I want to do this test for an area many of us actually struggle to activate correctly…


To do this test, you’ll just be performing what seems like an oh so simple move and is an essential basic…

The Bodyweight Glute Bridge.

To do this glute bridge assessment…

I recommend setting up your phone camera to film yourself from the side and even from the knees up on a second round through. 

This external feedback can then help you adjust form if you need to tweak things to get the correct muscles working.

As you perform this move, you are going to ask yourself 4 key questions at different points of the move to assess different muscles and even imbalances between both sides. 

If you have the camera running, you can verbally answer.

Otherwise you may want a piece of paper next to you to make notes on! 

Then set up as you normally would for the glute bridge.

I like to have clients place their feet flat on the ground at a comfortable distance from their glutes and bend their elbows to drive their upper arms down into the ground. 

Then you want to bridge up.

Pausing at the top of the bridge, ask yourself…What do I feel working the most? 

Lower Back – Yes or No?

Glutes – Yes or No?

Hamstrings – Yes or No?

Quads – Yes or No?

Relax back down.

Repeat the move a couple more times pausing to assess. Then record what you felt.

Then next, AS you bridge up, ask yourself…

What do I feel working FIRST?

Is it your hamstrings, glutes, quads or lower back? 

Write down which muscle you feel engage FIRST.

Next, as you repeat the bridge, assess both on the way up AND as you pause for a second or two at the top, to ask yourself…

Do I feel one side working more?

Yes or No?

And if yes, which side?

Even make note of whether or not you just feel one side MORE or if you ONLY feel one side truly engaging.

The final assessment you want to do, is focusing on WHERE you truly feel your lower back, glutes or hamstrings working especially.

Do you feel the top of your butt under your SI joint working?

Yes or No?

Do you feel in the meat of your glute working?

Yes or No?

Do you feel right under your butt working?

Yes or No?

Or do you feel the middle of your hamstring working?

Yes or No?

Make a note, yes or no for each.

Now let’s break down what this information helps you understand about your glute engagement…

This may come as no surprise, but what you should have felt driving this movement is your GLUTES.

However, many of us do feel our lower back or hamstrings working and even taking over for our glutes during this move. 

We even sometimes feel our quads trying to engage although we can also feel them stretching as the glute bridge IS a hip flexor stretch. 

But often we don’t fully realize what is driving the movement when we get caught up only trying to focus on form.

We even simply think, “Oh my lower back is just weak and needs to get stronger.”

But really this shows that other moves are taking over when our glutes should be engaging.

This means we need to address our mind-body connection.

So if you found your lower back, quads or hamstrings compensating, I want to share some tweaks to your glute bridge form you may want to consider. 

Especially if you felt under your butt or your hamstrings working, this can mean your hamstrings are synergistically dominant.

Yes…under your butt is often that hamstring origin area becoming overworked.

And sometimes it is us not realizing that it is NOT our glutes but actually our hamstrings working right there that can lead to hamstring tendinopathy or tendinitis. 

Not to mention our hamstrings constantly being overworked is why they perpetually feeling tight no matter how much we stretch.

And when they are constantly overworked this can lead to knee pain, hamstrings strains and pulls and even perpetuate your lower back issues. 

So making sure the correct muscles are working during a fundamental more focused movement is key so we can lift more and run faster and avoid injuries with more complex movement patterns.

I will also share some tips as well if you found that you had an imbalance between both sides. Sometimes this can mean we feel only one side working or that we feel our glute on one side but actually our hamstring on the other!

But first, how can you adjust your form if you don’t feel your glutes working like they should?

Here are 5 quick tips…

#1: Focus on maintaining that posterior pelvic tilt from the start and don’t get caught up in bridging higher.

This can help you make sure you’re using your abs to protect your lower back AND the posterior pelvic tilt engages the glute max.

Also, often in an attempt to bridge up higher, we arch our back at the top over extending our hips further, which overloads our lower back and can engage our hamstrings.

#2: Drive your knees toward your toes.

Focus on pressing through your entire foot and as you bridge up driving your upper arms into the ground, don’t push yourself backward.

Focus on driving those knees forward to help you avoid overusing your hamstrings.

This can even help if you tend to feel your quads working too.

#3: Focus on STOPPING the lift with your glutes.

So often in trying to work through a full range of motion, we stop engaging muscles to power the move.

Instead of trying to get a bigger movement, try and really squeeze your glutes hard to prevent yourself from being able to lift any higher. This focus on that activation of the glutes will make sure you’re driving true hip extension while avoiding anything else compensating!

#4: Pause and adjust.

At the top of the bridge, pause and then try little adjustments. If you move your feet in closer to your butt does that help? Or does moving them further away help you engage your glutes better? 

While technically moving our heels further away toward a straight leg glute bridge engages more hamstrings, you may find, due to hip tightness that having your heels in too close to your butt engages the hamstrings more or makes you arch your back or even feel your quads.

So as you hold at the top, assess what you feel working and play around with even your posterior pelvic tilt or trying to engage each side. 

Even put a hand on your glutes to try and give that tactile cue to feel them working to make that mind-body connection! 

That can allow us to get the positioning we need!

#5: Try other bridge variations.

Sometimes we need to first adjust the variation we use to recruit the correct muscles. Slight changes to our posture and positioning can really impact things and even tools can provide an extra stimulus to improve our mind-body connection.

Even doing a move we feel working our glutes correctly prior to the one we struggle with can help us established the mind-body connection in that second move.

Two great variations to try if you’re struggling to engage your glutes can be the frog bridge as the external hip rotation can often help. 

Or the mini band glute bridge. Pushing out on the band can help engage our glute medius which can help us better engage our glute max. 

The band can also sometimes help if you struggle to get both sides working together!

Now To Address An Imbalance Between Sides… 

I do want to note we will NEVER be perfectly evenly BUT we do want to note when one side isn’t pulling it’s weight.

When we have an imbalance this can lead to our stronger side taking over during other moves. This can lead to injury on that dominant side.

It can also mean that we risk injury on our weaker side if it is fighting to keep up. 

So we want to address imbalances as much as possible and be conscious of them.

This is where unilateral glute activation may be key. 

You may consider extra work for that weaker side, even swapping in something like the single leg reverse hyper to get that glute working. 

Or you may use something like the 80/20 glute bridge to help you focus on each side more independently. 

We have to recognize how challenging the full unilateral or single leg glute bridge is, which is why I recommend the 80/20 version instead.

If you can’t control the two-leg bodyweight bridge, there is a good chance your weaker side will continue to struggle with a full single leg variation.

But modify the move or even add in unilateral work to make sure you aren’t feeling other muscles take over for that weaker glute!

Bonus Tip:

And a final bonus tip, which can be helpful whether you’re addressing an imbalance or even just your hamstrings, lower back or quads engaging when they shouldn’t…

Foam Roll those overactive muscles PRIOR! 

The impact of foam rolling is short-lived, but by rolling that muscle that wants to compensate before you then do the exercise, you can help interrupt that mind-body connection so you can better engage the proper muscles.

Especially if you feel only the hamstring on one side, trying rolling that muscle prior to the glute bridge to relax it to make it easier to establish that mind-body connection to your glutes!

Just remember, changes to our mind-body connection and recruitment patterns won’t happen overnight.

Our mind and body will want to default back into patterns we’ve created over time that now feel natural.

But if we don’t work to address them in fundamental moves like this, we put ourselves at greater risk for injury when we lift heavy, run or cycle.

Not to mention we may not be seeing the improvements in our other training that we want because we aren’t using muscles as efficiently to power our training!

–> Download The Workbook Sheet

The Best Leg Exercise (You’re Not Doing)

The Best Leg Exercise (You’re Not Doing)

This squat is NOT for everyone.

Even modified it is a challenging movement.

But it is also an amazing unilaterally focused exercise and lateral movement that can improve your ankle and hip mobility and stability while helping you improve your leg strength.

It is a great accessory move to help you really improve your single leg squats!

This amazing and often underutilized exercise is the Cossacks Squats!

In this video I’m going to break down how to do it as well as ways to modify it.

But just remember to regress to progress if you haven’t done this before.

And just because this is an amazing move, it doesn’t mean every version of it will be right for you!

How To Do The Cossack Squat:

To do the Cossack Squat, stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width.

Then shift your weight to one side, bending that knee as you keep the other leg straight and rotate that toe up toward the ceiling.

You’re pivoting on that one heel as you transfer your weight more to the side you’re squatting down on.

Sit your butt down toward your heel, still driving down into the ground through your other leg out straight.

Sink as low to that side as you can.

You aren’t sitting back like a hip hinge or traditional side lunge but sinking into a squat which means your knee will travel forward over your toe. Just make sure that heel doesn’t come up.

Then drive back up, pushing through that full foot down and the heel of your other leg. Come back center with both legs straight then repeat, sinking to the other side.

To progress the basic bodyweight, you can hold a weight up at your chest. This, while making the move more challenging, can also help you better brace your core!

This move is HARD.

It is an advanced move that requires a good deal of mobility and strength.

And if you’re just starting out with it, you want to be conscious of those mobility and stability demands.

So I wanted to share some different ways to modify this movement to match your needs!

The first way to modify is to – Limit The Range Of Motion 

We always only want to work through the range of motion we can control.

Be conscious though as you limit how deep you sink into a squat that you don’t end up turning this into a hip hinge.

To even help give you a target, consider sitting to a bench, chair or box!

The second way to modify is to – Hold On For Assistance. 

Sometimes part of what limits our ability to sink lower isn’t just the strength of our legs or the mobility of our hips and ankles.

It’s even our core stability.

Holding on to a suspension trainer, doorway or pole, can help us brace that core better and reduce the resistance on our legs just a bit.

This can help us work through a bigger range of motion at times than we would be able to otherwise.

As you progress, hold on with even just one hand or a lighter touch before progressing to the third modification option.

The third way I like to modify is to – Use A Weight To Counterbalance. 

Often we think that holding a weight just makes the move harder.

But there is a difference between pressing the weight out as we sink to help stabilize our core and counterbalance ourselves and holding the weight in at our chest to load the move down.

By pressing a weight out as you sink, you can help yourself stay more stable and engage your core better.

This is a great final progression if you are able to work through a full range of motion but can’t yet fully do it with just your own bodyweight.

Now I just wanted to share a few key reminders so you can get the most out of this movement.

First…The Cossack squat is a SQUAT not a side lunge. 

This means you want to focus on squatting down not hinging over like we often do to load our glutes with the traditional side lunge.

You also want to make sure you do drive off that heel of the foot that is turned up to push back center.

And you are pivoting that foot up unlike a traditional side lunge.

Second…If you can’t keep your heel down, include some ankle mobility work in your warm up and only go as low as you can control.

While our hip mobility may be a limiting factor at times, too often we ignore the importance of our ankle mobility to sink deep and even avoid our knees from becoming overloaded.

Doing a calf foam rolling move,stretch like the single leg foot and ankle stretch and even an activation move like the plate weight calf raise, could all be great exercises to include in your warm up to help!

The final note I wanted to make is for those with knee pain.

This move may NOT be right for you although we do always want to build back to as many movements as possible.

If you do have knee pain and struggle with controlling active knee flexion currently, consider a side lunge with a hip hinge instead to still work on lateral movements and still strengthen your body in different plans of motion! 

If you’re looking for an advanced bodyweight exercise to challenge yourself at home or simply want to improve your mobility and strengthen through a full range of motion to even build up your pistol squats, try including the Cossack Squat in your workout routine!