At Redefining Strength we use a variety untraditional training methods because they help us develop functional strength and make working out fun.
Our workouts should feel like play and they should challenge us to move in different ways.
Try some of these training methods and have FUN with your workouts while developing great strength!
The Towel Taz is a great full body conditioning exercise that forces you to move in every direction.
To do the Towel Taz, grab a bath towel,moving blanket, fleece blanket or whatever you have on hand. We use moving blankets at the gym. The bigger and heavier the towel, the harder the move will be.
Grab a corner of the towel in each and and start shaking the towel as powerfully and as quickly as you can up and down while moving quickly around from side to side, in a circle, forward, backward and every which way. Move quickly, taking only a few steps in each direction as you shake the towel.
Keep your chest up and do not round your back. You can shake the towel up and down and in and out. The quicker you move, the harder the move will be.
If you want to work your core, you don’t need any fancy balancing apparatus…You just need a tube filled half with water or sand.
Slosh pipes are tubes filled 1/2-2/3 full of water or sand. They get their name from the fact that, because they aren’t full, the sand and water “sloshes” back and forth as you move, making your body have to work hard to stay balanced and stable.
While traditional slosh pipes are longer to make your body work harder to maintain balance, Redefining Strength is one of the few places to also use short 2 foot slosh pipes in our workouts.
Using different sized slosh pipes allows us to use these awkward, unbalanced weights for a variety of moves – move that only using the longer slosh pipes wouldn’t allow us to do.
The Power Wheel is another great tool to work your entire core – from your shoulders to your knees.
It is the perfect tool to make many core moves more challenging. For instance, at Redefining Strength, we often use the Power Wheel to progress planks, crawling and even glute bridges.
While beginners may be able to do some of the Power Wheel exercises, they may find that with many of the moves they need to start with variations that don’t use the wheel.
Below are a couple of our favorite basic Power Wheel exercises.
- Power Wheel Glute Bridge and Curl – Place your feet in the straps. Lie on your back and bring the power wheel in toward your butt. Bend your arms to 90 degrees with your upper back and arms on the ground. Then drive through your upper back and your feet in the wheel. Squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight. Then slowly straighten your legs out without letting your butt lower toward the ground. Once your legs are out straight, pull your heels back in toward your butt, lifting your hips up higher. Do not hyperextend your back. Once you bring the wheel back in toward your butt, again straighten your legs back out.
- Power Wheel Plank – Hold a handle of the power wheel in each hand. Place the power wheel under your shoulders and set up on either your knees (beginners) or your toes (advanced). Push up into a high plank position on the wheel. Your arms should be straight and the power wheel should be right under your shoulders. Your body should be in a nice straight line from your head to your heels. Draw your belly button in toward your spine and squeeze your hips. Place your feet closer together to make the moves harder. Hold in that nice straight plank position. Advanced exercisers may want to do small rolls forward with the power wheel as they hold. Slightly roll the power wheel above your shoulders and then bring it back under your shoulders. Your body should stay in a nice straight line as you slightly extend overhead and then pull the wheel back.
When we are children, working out was something we GOT to do – it was play. Now working out is often something we feel we HAVE to do.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Monkey bars are a great way to put the FUN and PLAY back into working out. (And if you plan to do any sort of mud run or obstacle course race, they are an essential part of your training.
In our training programs we love to include monkey bars not only because they are fun but because they are a great way to develop upper body, core and grip strength in a functional way.
Whether you do the basic monkey bars or get more creative with skin the cats, monkey bars can be a great way to get in an upper body workout!
Another great functional exercise to develop upper body strength. It is also a great fun way to work on your lat and grip strength and improve your pull ups.
Worried you won’t be able to do rope climbs because you’ve never been able to make it to the top? Well we will show you how.
At Redefining Strength, we have a variety of rope climb modifications that we use to help people not only develop the strength, but also learn how to climb using their whole body.
We will teach you how to use your feet to assist your upper body while working on your upper body’s ability to pull you up the rope without the help of your feet.
If you plan to do any sort of obstacle course race, climbing rope training needs to be included in your workout routine. Even if you aren’t planning to, rope climbing is just plain old fun!
We most often use med balls as a tool to help our clients develop power or even build their cardiovascular endurance. That means lighter weight so you can do quick, explosive movements for a short interval or continuous quick movements for an extended period of time
Especially if you are working on power, you need to select a lighter ball so that you can move quickly. You still want the weight to be challenging, but if the ball is too heavy you won’t be explosive and therefore you won’t truly be working on your power.
You also need to use a lighter ball when working on your endurance. You want the weight to be challenging but light enough that you can keep moving at a quick and steady pace. If the ball is too heavy, your form will break down or you will need to rest.
Occasionally we will also use medicine ball drills for other cardio intervals. Again a lighter weight should be used.
Rarely do we use a super heavy weight for med ball drills since we almost never use them as strength exercises.
Want to work on your coordination and agility? Then add some agility ladder drills into your workout.
Often when people start using the agility ladder they just try to go through the ladder as fast as possible. But, while going as quickly as possible is important, you won’t get anything out of the drills if your footwork isn’t accurate.
Accurate footwork done as quickly as possible will improve your mind-body connection, which will improve your coordination. Coordination is all about how quickly our mind and body communicate so that we can respond and move quickly and efficiently.
Start out slow with some basic drills like the two-foot run or the ski and advance to harder drills from there, picking up speed as you become more comfortable with the movements.
Running isn’t your only cardio option.
Whether you want to do some sprints or work on your aerobic endurance, rowers can actually be a great cardio option!
The rowing machine or erg is a full body cardio workout that is such to get your heart beating in just seconds.
Even if your a runner training for a race, the erg could be a great tool to improve your leg strength and cardiovascular endurance without the strain and pounding of running. It will give your body a break from the stress of running while still helping you work toward your goals.
Make sure that when you use the rower, your body moves as one unit. If you are only using your arms or legs and they aren’t working together, you aren’t going to get the most out of the movement.
If you want to get in great cardiovascular shape, you need to try the rower!
Strengthen your legs and glutes while getting in a great cardio workout with the slide board.
The slide board is a fun and different way to get in a cardio workout while developing power and strength in your legs.
And unlike running and may other cardiovascular activities that make you work in the sagittal plane, the slide board works your body in the frontal plane.
The more you can move in each plane of motion, the more balanced and prepared for every day life you will be.
If you only move in one plane of motion, you may be strengthening your muscles but you aren’t strengthening movements.
And movements are what matter in every day life to keep us injury free.
So mix up your movements and train your body to move in every plane of motion to prevent injury by adding in the slide board to your cardio routine.
Weight isn’t the only way to progress an exercise or movement.
Valslides or sliders are another great way to progress exercises by reducing traction. You can place them under your foot when you lunge or under both feet when you do mountain climbers.
You can even use them to make crawling harder.
They can be used to increase the difficulty of a variety of exercises.
However, while sliders can be used to make exercises harder, they can also simply be used to change up basic moves.
For instance, on sliders you can change up the basic push up and turn it into a Fly to Push Up. Adding in the sliders can allow you to work the same muscle groups using the same basic movements but in a different way.
And there are even beginner variations for many slider moves so everyone can enjoy them and play.
At Redefining Strength most of our training is small group training because working out with others makes sticking to your routine and achieving success easier AND more fun.
Training with a partner is more fun and makes working out SOCIAL. Plus friends provide motivation and force you to push yourself harder. They also help hold you accountable and keep you moving forward even when your own motivation dwindles.
And if you do decide to workout with a friend, they may be all the equipment you need to get in a great workout!
Here are a few workouts using our favorite partner exercises:
A combination of a slam ball and sandbag, Slam Bagz are basically mini punching bags with handles that you can swing, slam and throw around.
They are both a great tool to build strength and to work on explosive power movements.
Working out can be empowering and it can help you release stress and let off steam.
And there really is no better, or fun, way to release some tension than by punching a bag.
Plus it is a great cardiovascular exercises that can also help tone and strengthen the upper body and core.
At Redefining Strength, though, we don’t only have Punching Bags for punching. They can also be used for a variety of other exercises such as bear hug carries and drags.
They are a great functional tool to build great full body and core strength whether you are hitting or dragging them around.
Sledge hammers and tires have become increasingly popular fitness tools – and part of that popularity comes from the fact that they are fun and functional.
Plus who doesn’t like feeling gnarly flipping a huge tire or slamming a heavy hammer?!? (It also is a great way to let off some steam!)
Sledge hammers and tires are great tools that together can work your entire body. Whether your swinging the hammer, flipping a tire or doing partner pushes back and forth, you are going to really work your core and develop great total body functional strength.
One of Redefining Strength’s custom pieces, our pulley system works your core, back and grip like none other.
If you are training for a mud run or want to be able to climb a rope or do more pull ups, this is a great way to develop the strength you need.
The Pulley System is a great piece of equipment whether you want to build strength, develop more power or even improve your endurance.
And with our Pulley System, you can do both straight pulls and lateral pulls. With lateral pulls you can really target your obliques.
Whenever you use heavy awkward weights, make sure your core is engaged to protect your back and that your form allows you to perform the correct movement patters.
Not only will correct form protect you from injury but it will also actually help you lift more since you will be using the correct muscles to lift efficiently.