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4 essential exercises for men

These four exercises have amazing benefits for men

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men's health

A short exercise routine for men

Strength, power, speed and muscle: Who doesn’t want more of those four things? I’ve designed this routine to target the entire body, enhancing sport and muscle performance. This workout is designed for men with intermediate to advanced fitness levels, but beginners can do it, too; simply use lighter weights. And always check with your healthcare provider before starting any new fitness routine. (Ladies, you can do this workout as well, of course; for the kettlebell moves, just choose a weight that’s right for your strength.)

You will need a kettlebell and an exercise ball to complete the moves. A kettlebell, used in the second and third moves, is an effective training tool for developing power through full-body functional movements. Choose one with a weight of somewhere between 16 and 20 kilograms (35 to 45 pounds); beginners should go with a lighter one, somewhere between five and 15 kilos (11 to 33 pounds). Kettlebell exercises generally involve a multi-joint approach that integrates several muscles at once through power-driven movements. Your kettlebell’s weight should be heavy enough to require you to use explosive power to complete the required repetitions. An exercise ball, used in the fourth move, helps provide an additional challenge for your core and joint stability.

The four-exercise sequence should be completed with a focus on maintaining accurate form for each repetition and on taking minimal rest between each exercise. Minimizing your rest calls for a higher metabolic rate from your workout, which translates to a greater overall calorie burn both during and after, as your body recovers.

One of the mistakes some men make in their approach to fitness is thinking it will take a large chunk of time. But this entire routine should be completed in just 35 minutes, including a five-minute jogging warm-up and a five-minute cool-down stretch. This quick and efficient workout will leave you feeling pumped, energetic and ready for the day. Once you complete all four exercises in a row, go back to the beginning of the sequence for a second set of each. As your fitness level improves, you can aim to do three sets in the same amount of time.

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Plyometric lunges

1. Plyometric lunges

Works: Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings

A. Stand with feet together and arms by your sides. With your right foot, step forward into a low lunge so your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your left knee is bent and almost touching the floor.

B. Use both legs to powerfully leap up, and switch legs in the air so you land with your left thigh in front and parallel to the floor and your right knee bent behind you. Your arms should switch positions, too (as shown), to help maintain balance and momentum. This completes one repetition.

C. Continue to leap back and forth, switching leg and arm positions, for a total of 10 repetitions per side.


Tip: Keep your posture tall and abdominals tight. Ensure you absorb each landing on the mid-foot and heel of the front leg-the back leg is merely for balance.

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2. Kettlebell clean & press

Works: Biceps, triceps, shoulders, abdominals, glutes, quadriceps

A. With feet shoulder-width apart, and holding kettlebell between your knees with your left hand, lower body into a half squat.

B. Quickly stand up out of the squat (still keeping knees slightly bent); bend your left elbow and raise kettlebell up, flipping it so it rests against your outer arm. Hold the position for one second.

C. Quickly press up the kettlebell so that palm faces forward, elbow fully extends and your arm ends up in line with your ear. Hold this top position for one second.

D. Lower kettlebell back to original position and repeat. Complete 10 repetitions on left side, then switch to right side for another 10 reps.


Tip: The kettlebell should be heavy enough that it is challenging to press up, as in (C).

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Kettlebell V-up

3. Kettlebell V-up

Works: Abdominals, triceps

A. Lie on your back with legs pointing up toward ceiling and arms holding kettlebell above you and in line with your chest.

B. Keep core tight as you slowly move the kettlebell above your head and drop it slightly toward the floor (without placing it on the floor), while simultaneously lowering your legs about 12 to 18 inches from the floor.

C. Exhale; raise legs and kettlebell back to top position, then crunch further upward, pushing the kettlebell in the direction of your feet.

D. Reverse this movement, slowly lowering limbs again to start position, ready for the next repetition. Complete 10 reps.


Tip: To ensure proper form, move very slowly on the way down, keeping your core tight and your lower back against the floor.

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Exercise ball push-up with pike

4. Exercise ball push-up with pike

Works: Chest, triceps, shoulders, abdominals

A. Put yourself in a push-up position with hands directly under shoulders and shins on the exercise ball.

B. Perform a deep push-up and return to the straight-arm position.

C. With straight legs, immediately pull your feet toward you, rolling the exercise ball from your shins to your toes and tucking from your waist so that your hips are raised in a pike position.

D. Return to the starting position and immediately drop into another push-up. Complete 10 repetitions.


Tip: Keep your abdominals tight throughout the exercise and don’t allow your hips to sag.


Brent Bishop has been featured on several fitness shows on TV, and is resident fitness expert on The Marilyn Denis Show.

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