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In the next five years, I believe people will start to embrace smart training – exercising more for longevity and less for the fun of sweating it out. Of course, new fads will come and go, but more people will opt for intelligent, affordable training with reputable coaches. If you’re a fitness professional, be far-sighted and adapt to the situation. If not, you’ll be caught in an ecosystem of stifling competition with those who are better versed in the science of the industry. Change your approach right away to stay ahead of the trend.
Corporate gyms will also have to embrace change (as they’ve already had to in recent years) while boutique gyms will need to constantly upgrade the quality of their employees. This has always been true, but will be even more pronounced in the next five years. If you’re in the fitness industry, the next five years will spell options, perhaps confusion, but also the opportunity to seize a bigger piece of the pie if you play your cards right.
If you’re reading this, you’re someone who understands the value of a healthy lifestyle. If you’re ready to train smart, the best place to start is at the beginning.
The sturdiest of buildings are built on solid foundations. Similarly, your body needs that foundation of strength and mobility to keep you moving – and living – well. So before you jump straight into a fitness programme, I recommend assessing your base fitness level to make sure you’re exercising safely. In my first Power Read ‘A New Take on Fitness’, I’ve outlined how you can go about assessing yourself. Ideally, you’d get yourself assessed by a fitness professional who would then design a balanced workout catered specifically to your body’s unique needs.
Once you’ve assessed yourself and double-checked any concerns with a doctor or physiotherapist, you’re good to go. All you need to do now is to master the basics.
Tempo training is very useful in establishing how much control you have over your body. Assuming you can squat within reason, can you take 5 seconds to control the movement from a standing position to a squat? If you don’t have this kind of motor control, you’ll find your knees knocking together as you squat down. Tempo training is a measure of this control: whether you can take a few seconds to perform a movement in perfect form without collapsing. When you’ve mastered this, you can add load.
Let’s take the example of a tempo 4011:
These are the exercises that will be covered:
Get down on all fours with your arms straight, hands below your shoulders, and your knees bent 90 degrees below your hips. Only your hands and toes should touch the ground. Keeping your back flat, crawl forward moving opposite hands and feet in unison - right hand and left foot, left hand and right foot.
Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes pointed slightly out. Pin your elbows to your ribs and hold the weight right under your chin. If using a dumbbell, hold it vertically so that your wrist is touching the bar and your hands are cupping the top end of the weight; for a kettlebell, grip it by the horn, right-side-up. Keeping your arms close to your chest and elbows pointing down, bend your hips and knees to lower your body as far as you can. When you're in your deepest squat, pause, then drive through your glutes, legs, and heels to stand back up to the starting position.
Grip the rings in either of your hands, and step your feet out from you such that you’re hanging from the rings, facing away from the floor. Your elbows are extended, and your body is in a straight line. Now, bend your elbows while keeping your core engaged, lifting yourself up until your chest touches the rings. Keep your body in a straight line as you slowly lower back down, straightening your elbows. Aim to find a foot position that enables you to finish the complete set while maintaining a perfectly straight body position and control.
Stand balancing on your right leg and hold a dumbbell with your left hand in front of your thigh. Keep your eye gaze ahead of you. Sit your hips back, and allow your right knee to bend slightly. Your left leg should be straight and in line with your body throughout the rep. Keeping your back flat, continue to bend at the waist until the dumbbell is at about mid-shin height. Drive through your heel and push your hips forward to stand up to the starting position.
Lie down with your face towards the floor and eye gaze at a point slightly ahead of you. Position your hands shoulder-width apart, or a little bit wider. As you bend your elbows and lower toward the ground, your elbows should be at about a 45-degree angle to your body. If this doesn’t feel too comfortable, adjust your arms a little either towards or away from your body, but always close to a 45-degree angle. Spread your fingers apart. Keep your core engaged and your back flat such that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Keep your core engaged the whole time.
This is simply a Bear Crawl, except you would move backwards instead of forwards.
Simply hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand, going as heavy as you can manage for a given duration. Grip tightly. Square your shoulders, and don’t crane your neck. Always make sure your ears are in line with your shoulders. Keep your core engaged, your back straight, and don’t flare your ribs. Once you’ve got your form right, simply walk, carrying the load.
This is an isometric hold. With your palms facing down, grip the rings and keep your body in a straight line, facing the floor, almost like an elevated pushup. Keep your core engaged, elbows straight, and hold this position.
Begin in a standing position with a kettlebell held with both hands. Keep your back straight and allow your arms to hang perpendicular to the floor, with the elbows pointed to your sides. Start by flexing your hips, slowly pushing your butt as far back as you can. Think about your hips moving horizontally rather than towards the ground. Your knees should only partially bend, and your weight should remain on your heels. Drive your butt back as far as you can. When your hips cannot perform any further backward movement, pause, and then slowly return to the starting position.
Hold the dumbbells by your shoulders with your palms facing forwards and your elbows out to the sides and bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your feet hip-width distance apart, with a soft bend in the knees, and brace your core. Without leaning back, extend through your elbows to press the weights above your head. Then slowly return to the starting position.
Lie facedown on a bench, with your chest and torso resting against the surface. Your legs may extend beyond the bench behind you, and keep them in a straight line. Keep your chin slightly lifted. In either hand, grip dumbbells, and hold them close to your chest. Keep your elbows pinned to your ribs, and they should be pointing towards your legs, not splayed out to the side. Hold this position.
To do a Sorenson Hold, lie face down on a bench and lock your ankles between the support bars. Your legs should be supported by the bench with your upper body extended over the edge. Hold your upper body parallel to the floor, with your arms folded against your chest for as long as you can. Write down this number, and note down how far away you are from the 2 minute minimum.
Use a dumbbell or kettlebell. Pin your elbows to your ribs and hold the weight right under your chin. If using a dumbbell, hold it vertically so that your wrist is touching the bar and your hands are cupping the top end of the weight; for a kettlebell, grip it by the horn, right-side-up. Keeping your arms close to your chest and elbows pointing down, take a long step forwards as if performing a lunge. The heel of your back foot should be raised. Keeping your torso straight, lower slowly until your back knee almost touches the floor, then push back up. Switch between legs.
Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Brace your abs as if you were about to be punched in the gut. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Now raise your right arm straight above you so that it’s perpendicular to the floor. Reach under and behind your torso with your right hand, and then lift your arm back up to the starting position. Switch between sides.
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