Want to Maximize Your Results? This is What You Need (Part III)

[editors note: the first few paragraphs are from part II of this series. Didn’t make sense to re write it]

Earlier in the week I started off this series with a post on using music to getting the right mindset for your training session. So, are you still listening to John Mayer (or techno music about abducting little boys) like my friend Tony Gentilcore? Or did you put on the, “Ruff Rider’s Anthem,” and hit a PR?

Today, I want to talk to you about getting the most out of your time with the best bang for your buck exercises out there…

OK. NOW, we can get to the post.

Let’s return to the idea of “Bang for Your Buck Exercises.” Personally, when I am reviewing other coaches/trainers/fitness enthusiasts program, I judge the program based on how much bullshit is in there. For example: calf raises, most everything done on a machine (leg presses, leg curls, circuit training), anything Tracy Anderson says, and anything that does not get you closer to your main goal (fat loss, hypertrophy, strength). That last one (anything that does not get the person towards their main goal) is the toughest one to judge.

There are a handful of exercises I put into just about every program I write, no matter the goal. I consider these to be the all around best exercises we have in our arsenal to maximize results.

The exercises included in this post will share a few characteristics:

  • Multijoint Exercises
  • Easy to Regress and Progress
  • Require Core Activation
  • Look Bad-ass

1. Trap Bar Deadlift


You might ask why I picked the trap bar deadlift over the straight bar or single legged deadlift. To be honest, it is simply because it is the variation that most people can execute properly and obtain great results. Put it this way, it is a lot easier to screw up a max effort straight bar deadlift opposed to a trap bar deadlift (and in the case of the video below, look like a jackass).


Another factor to keep in mind is that many of us humans are more internally rotated than we should be. The trap bar allows us to use a neutral grip making the exercise less stressful on your shoulder (specifically the shoulder capsule). And for those with preexisting shoulder problems, it gives us a variation that can be done pain free.

With that being said, the trap bar deadlift is simply the best all around lower body movement for strength and building an ass that would even make Jessica Biel proud.

2. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (RFESS)

Mike Boyle is 100% right. You need to work in the rear foot elevated split squat (or one of its regressions) into your programs. Let’s look at some of the benefits:

  • Much less spinal loading thank back squatting (depending on how you load it of course)
  • Easy to regress and progress (split squat, to reverse lunge, to rear foot elevated split squat, to single legged squat)
  • Can be done with minimal equipment (on the couch when the commercials come on for American Idol?)
  • Translates more to sports specific movements? (Is this still a debate?)
  • And, for those female clients of yours, will deliver glutes that their friends will be jealous of.

My favorite part of the RFESS is the eccentric component and how it translates to sports and everyday life (ever lose your balance?). It is all about deceleration; controlling your body in motion. A lot of this responsibility goes on the shoulders of our glutes. Hence why we see so many females with ACL and MCL tears. They tend to be quad dominate and their glutes and hamstrings are just not up to the task to slow them down when they want to change directions.

And yes, before the internet trainers start posting in the comments, the increased Q angle of the female hip plays a big role in this issue too.


Weak glutes on anyone are poison…And I just figured out a way to work in this video:


3. Sled Push

A large part of me wanted to put this first. Sled work is THE BEST form of conditioning known to man be it pushing it or pulling it. Sled work is also great for circuits and as a, “finisher” to smoke your legs.


I am not going to do a huge write up on this, Dave Tate did a great job of that already. Check it out here:


Look for part IV on the core later this week.


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2 Responses

  1. Lynda says:

    Thanks for explaining about the trap-bar deadlift, I hadn’t realized why it was preferred. Good article…I needed this as a pick-me up. Thanks Kevin!

  2. billy says:

    training the calf musculature is important to performance….just because mike boyle doesnt have any doesnt mean they arent vital in a program