In recent years there has be a conspicuous re-emergence of more traditional training methods that were once considered crude and outdated. It is no longer surprising to walk through your local park and see both men and women taking part in boot camp fitness sessions, flipping heavy duty tyres and thrusting kettle bells above their head. It turns out that simple can often be effective.
The best way to achieve optimal fitness is to combine cardiovascular workouts with elements of strength training. Intertwining heart raising exercise with those that tax the muscles can improve metabolism, reduce body fat, increase posture and help lower blood pressure. So just what are some of these ‘old school’ training methods? I am going to guide you through my top five.
Created and used by the Russians predominantly from the 1940’s, kettlebells look like iron cannonball’s with a handle (avoid cheap plastic alternatives – bulk and lack durability). Kettlebells are my favourite piece of kit and can be used to perform almost any movement – from a squat, to a bicep curl, to a clean and press. The kettlebell swing is a very effective exercise to engage all key muscles and it will soon have your heart racing. Kettlebells are very useful due to their versatility and are inexpensive. You can use this great bit of apparatus at home, or in the gym.
A sledgehammer can be used to replicate the chopping action performed by a lumberjack (notoriously strong individuals) – and this movement is an excellent way to increase fitness. All that is required is a sledgehammer (acts as the axe) and a tyre (serves as the wood). Lifting a sledgehammer over your head and striking it down with force onto the tyre will require the utilisation of a wide range of muscles, notably the core and shoulders. Perform one to two minutes of continuous striking and rest. Repeat three times and you will most certainly feel that satisfying burn. Ensure the sledgehammer is not too heavy, so to emphasise more on endurance than solely strength.
An exercise brought back into fashion by mixed martial artists, who require functional strength and stamina. The tyre flip activates all of the muscles required for deadlift exercise- namely back, legs, core and shoulders. The tyre should be suitably heavy so that 10-20 flips is the maximum number that can be achieved.
Weighted Jacket Burpees
Weighted jackets are readily available for low prices nowadays, but if you do not wish to splash out on this additional equipment, a rucksack filled with books is a fair makeshift alternative. Weighted burpees are a great way of using your body and a little additional weight to get a plyometric workout, improving explosiveness whilst getting a good cardiovascular response. Drop down to the floor in a press up position, kick your legs back, bring them back and then jump as high as possible….and repeat until you can do no more.
Weighted Walking Lunges
Again using a vest, or backpack, weighted lunges are a fantastic way increase overall leg strength, core stability and endurance. Stride out and lunge forward, alternating legs are you go. Try and increase the distance you are able to lunge without a break, on each workout.
All very simple, but extremely effective exercises. One factor that these workouts have in common, is that they are compound movements, which incorporate several muscle groups to work in tandem. All require activation of the core and burn high amounts of calories whilst improving overall strength, stability and posture.
Most of the ‘old school’ workouts listed above can be performed at home, however using the services of a personal trainer is a great way to learn the correct form, gain some encouragement and get results.