Inverted Towel Row (Reverse Push-Up)

Exercise Difficulty – Moderate to Advanced

Exercise Purpose – Strength

Exercise Tempo – Slow and Controlled through the entire range of motion

Repetitions – 5-8

Sets – 3-5

Primary Muscles Involved – Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids, Rear Deltoids

Equipment Needed – 2 Towels, Power Rack or Smith Machine, Stability Ball (Optional)

Exercise Set-Up

  • Lay on a mat with the bar positioned in the rack, above the chest
  • Position the bar ~3 inches from your fingertips while laying on your back
  • Place the towels slightly wider than your shoulders, secured around the bar
  • Legs should be fully extended with the heels in contact with the floor or stability ball for advanced lifters (as shown)
  • Beginners should bring their feet closer to their bum, flat on the floor.
    • The closer your feet are to your body, the easier it will be
  • With your hands on the towels, arms fully extended, bring your hips in line with your chest and ankles

Exercise Execution

  • Begin the exercise by pulling your chest towards the bar, bringing yours elbows out to your sides
  • Maintain a straight line from your ears all of the way to your ankles (if your legs are straight) or knees (if your knees are bent)
  • Pull your chest towards the bar until your chest makes contact with the bar, or the elbows are below the level of the torso
  • Control your body weight all of the way back to the starting position (arms at full extension)

Cues

  • Relax the neck
  • Imagine a string is attached to your elbows and it is pulling them straight down to the floor
  • Keep your chest up, shoulders back and as you pull towards the bar, breathe out and pull your belly button tight towards your spine
  • Keep your hips up

Step Back Lunge with Plate Extension

Exercise Difficulty – Moderate to Advanced

Exercise Purpose – Strength and Stability

Exercise Tempo – Slow and Controlled through the entire range of motion

Repetitions – 5-8

Sets – 3-5

Primary Muscles Involved – Anterior and Medial Deltoids, Quadricpes, Glutius Muscles, Hip Flexors and Extensors

Equipment Needed – Resistance (Plate, Dumbbell, Phone Book or anything that applies resistance)

Exercise Set-Up

  • Stand with your feet under your hips parallel to each other
  • Grasp your resistance and hold it at chest height with your elbows flexed and at your sides

Exercise Execution

  • Begin the exercise by taking an exaggerated step behind you so that your front foot stays flat on the floor and the front half of your back foot is in contact with the floor
  • As you step back, extend the resistance straight out in front of your body at chest height
  • Extend the resistance away from you until the elbows are completely straight and your back knee should be within 1” from the ground
  • Return to the starting position by driving the middle of your front foot down into the ground, returning the resistance to your chest, bringing your feet back under your hips
  • Begin the next repetition by stepping back with your other leg

Cues

  • Relax the neck
  • After your step, lower your hips straight down towards the ground making sure your front foot is flat on the floor
  • Try to achieve a smooth and fluid movement so that the lunge and plate extension are occurring at the same time
  • If you cannot keep the resistance at the chest level at full extension, it is too heavy for you
  • Breathe out as you step back and extend the resistance away from your body

Instability Push-Up

Exercise Difficulty – Advanced

Exercise Purpose – Strength and Stability

Exercise Tempo – Slow and Controlled through the entire range of motion

Repetitions – 5-8

Sets – 3-5

Primary Muscles Involved – Anterior Deltoids, Pectorals, Triceps

Equipment Needed – Anything to add instability (Stability Ball, BOSU Ball, Medicine Ball, Balance Board, Exercise Mat)

Exercise Set-Up

  • Lie down on your chest
  • Add a measure of instability under your hands or feet
  • Position your hands under your shoulders with your elbows back to your sides and your feet narrower than your hips
  • Use your toes as your pivot point with the knees straight
  • Modify/Regress the exercise by using the knees as the pivot point

Exercise Execution

  • With your core engaged, push the ground away from you keeping a straight line from your ears all of the way down to the ankles (or knees if using the regressed version of the exercise)
  • Push your body all of the way up until the arms are fully extended, with the hips in line with the spine
  • When lowering yourself back to the floor, allow the elbows to come back to the sides and slightly out
  • Do not let your hips drop and do not push them up towards the sky
  • Lower yourself until either your upper arm is parallel with the ground or your chest touches the ground

Cues

  • Maintain an engaged core with strong hips and a proud chest
  • As you push yourself away from the ground, breathe out and pull your belly button in towards your spine
  • Do not rest on the floor or in the up position, perform as many repetitions in succession as possible

Squat to Overhead Press

Exercise Difficulty – Beginner to Advanced

Exercise Purpose – Strength and Stability or Muscular Power

Exercise Tempo – Slow and Controlled through the entire range of motion

Repetitions – 3-8

Sets – 3-5

Primary Muscles Involved –Deltoids, Quadriceps, Glutes

Equipment Needed – Resistance (Dumbbells Preferred), BOSU Ball Optional

Exercise Set-Up

  • Place your feet hip width apart with your chest up and shoulders back
  • Position the resistance at shoulder level with your elbows pointing down towards the ground
  • Assume an athletic stance with your knees soft, hips back, chest up and shoulders back and your ears in line with your shoulders

Exercise Execution

  • With your core engaged, initiate the movement by shifting your hips behind you and begin to lower your bum to the floor as if you were trying to sit in the chair
  • Your weight should be distributed through the middle of the foot the entire time with the chest up and the shoulders back
  • Keep your elbows pointing down towards the ground and lower your body into a position where the knee has tracked forward over the foot, the hips ae back, the chest is up and the shoulders are back.
  • Once you reach a position where the thighs are parallel with the ground or your body weight shifts from the middle of your foot to either the front foot or heel begin pushing the ground away from you and return to a standing position
  • As you begin to straighten your legs and bring your hips forward, push the dumbbells straight up over your head with your upper arm in line with your ears
  • Push the dumbbells up until the arms are at full extension but not forcefully extended

Cues

  • Maintain an engaged core with a proud chest
  • As you push yourself away from the ground, breathe out and pull your belly button in towards your spine

As per my previous post, functional exercise is extremely beneficial for people of all walks of life and abilities. Not only are the exercises challenging, they tend to bring variety to your workouts and will stimulate further growth and development. You’ll find these exercises to be functional from the perspective that they link the mind to the muscle and recruit muscle fibers that normally are not engaged during traditional resistance training.

It’s a great add to any workout routine.

Nicholas J. Petrella

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