My first-ever interaction with my friend Roy Cohen was quite memorable: An email regarding my blog that made me laugh and raise my eyebrows and even squirm a little. But I like people who get to the point and I love people who can make me laugh.
So we became friends, and Roy also became a mentor who helped me grow in my weight lifting and writing passions. I learned that Roy is an experienced and down-to-earth personal trainer (and blogger) – the kind of trainer who revels in the human body as an engineering marvel and is driven to share his knowledge with others.
Lucky for me, we met in real life and he generously poured out his vast know-how on technique and form. I’m sharing some of this here and will continue in future posts.
Functional Training and Then Some
When you do the full-body, functional exercises that Roy relies on, you’re getting a workout in and of itself. These exercises train you to move in a way that puts the least amount of stress on your body in the most efficient way possible – transferrable to daily life, where most injuries occur. These exercises also burn more calories because they get your heart right up there.
For example, while shoulder presses are effective for developing your delts, how often do you press something overhead repeatedly in the real world? To add functional training to standard weight-lifting exercises, Roy uses the full-body movements as well adding a two-second pause at the contraction to strengthen the stabilizer muscles and provide a fantastic burn. This takes much more practice than you would think… we’re all in such a hurry!
You also won’t see him lifting the heaviest weight he can hoist; instead he focuses on performing exercises with precision form and feeling the muscle down to the last fiber. I was shocked, actually, at how much harder exercises are when you perform them this way.
I’d been considering trying some power moves and settled on learning the barbell clean and press with Roy – not a power move in the traditional sense but a whole-body exercise that requires some technique. The link provides a very good demo of the exercise (but start with low weight for this and all new exercises until you perfect the form).
Roy also showed me his favorite full-body move, the overhead squat. This one will kill your shoulders in addition to burn up your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. In fact, this exercise uses your entire body as you move through multiple joints. Roy uses a low box or bench for the squat – briefly touch it with your backside before pressing up.
Speaking of full-body exercises, be sure to check out this video for the Step, Curl, and Press. It’s another of Roy’s favorites and appears low key but will burn you up from top to bottom.
Further Calorie Burn and Muscle
I’ve talked about supersets aplenty and Roy uses them copiously. A superset is two exercises back-to-back with no rest; this counts as one set. There are many varieties, such as pairing opposing muscles groups (back and chest) or the same muscle group (back and back). Some examples:
- Assisted Pull ups with Bent-over Cable Rear Delt Rows
- Barbell Deadlifts with Push ups
- Single-leg Squats with Step Up to Balance
And if you’re serious about building muscle and getting lean, do a superset with a full-body exercise in between, such as the overhead squat described earlier.
Integrate these exercises into your routine by themselves, in a split routine, or in any way you like!
I have much more to share and will get that info out in future posts. In the meantime, do you have any favorite full-body exercises to share?