By Travelle Gaines
Many athletes today continue to make a big mistake in their daily training routines — lifting more weight than they can comfortably handle.
Although it is alright to set goals and work up to benching 300 pounds, or squatting twice your bodyweight — starting out by lifting just your own bodyweight is a good place to begin in the gym. Always remember, good form with little weight is always better than bad form with a lot of weight.
To help you kick start your training, I put together a number of exercises that you can do with a little free time, a med ball, and an open room.
Med Ball Slams:
How to: With a weighted med ball you feel comfortable with raise the ball above your head with both hands and explosively slam the ball into the ground. Using your quick reaction time, catch the ball on its way back up and repeat.
Benefits: This exercise works on your explosiveness, and reaction time, and upper body strength. Imagine being a basketball or volleyball player loading up to block a shot or spike a ball, and all of the force you have going into the ground — this is the exact force you should put into your med ball slams.
Med Ball Push-Ups:
How to: With a med ball placed on the floor, go into a push-up position and place your hands on the ball and stabilize it so it isn’t moving around or wobbling. Once stable, slowly move down and then back up with normal push-up form while keeping the ball still. Once you accomplish this, you can move to one armed push-ups, or alternating arm push-ups.
Benefits: This exercise is great for building upper body strength, and if you alternate between the two — and one-armed versions you will consistently work different muscles and see results. The med-ball push up also helps you gain more stability.
Med Ball Squat:
How to: While holding a med ball out in front of your chest with both hands, squat down into a normal squatting position and then explosively come back up and repeat.
Benefits: This is a total body exercise that works muscles all through your body and is easy to do at home with little equipment or space.
Med Ball Squat To Press:
How to: While holding a med ball out in front of your chest with both hands, squat down into a normal squatting position and then explosively come back up before raising the ball above your head and repeating.
Benefits: The med ball squat to press is a total body exercise that will help put you in a great position that you will constantly see on the playing surface. For example, making a play while off balance, going up for a big catch in football, or even making a diving block as a goalie are all game situations the med ball squat can help you prepare for.
Med Ball Single Leg Squat:
How to: While holding a med ball out in front of your chest with both hands, squat down into a normal squatting position and then explosively come back up while only using one leg.
Benefits: The single leg squat will work on total body strength and also help you with balance as well.
Making sure you consistently are working out with correct form and not lifting more weight than you can handle is extremely important in getting to where you want to be athletically. You would be shocked at how many of the bigger athletes — especially the linebackers and centers I train — who have no desire whatsoever to move a lot of weight. That’s just the reality of it.