Day 5: Strength & Power
This two-part workout covers the essential movements for functional strength — pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging — and adds powertraining to the mix. Explosive exercises like swings, box jumps, and sprints on the rower require the body’s largest muscles to fire fast and in concert. They increase muscle size, boost performance, and raise the body’s metabolic rate, to get you leaner.
Perform two rounds of the following without resting.
From standing, hinge at hips to walk hands out to a plank; do one push-up, then drop hips to floor to open chest. Return to plank, then walk hands back to feet and stand. That’s one rep; perform five.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding one 10-pound dumbbell at chest. Squat low, then stand and press dumbbell overhead. Lower weight back to chest and repeat. Do 10 reps.
Jump Squats to a Target
Stand under a target three feet above head. Squat low, then jump up to tap hands to target. Land soft; repeat. Do 10 reps.
WORKOUT (Part A)
Do three rounds of the following four exercises, resting 60 seconds between each round. You’ll use a descending rep scheme and gradually bigger weights. For round one, do 12 repetitions of each movement at a moderate weight and use a 12-inch box for box jumps. For round two, do 10 reps at a slightly heavier weight and use an 18-inch box. In round three, it should feel difficult to finish the final reps; do eight reps with heavy weights and use a 24-inch box.
Dumbbell Overhead Swing
Hold the middle of one dumbbell with both hands, and hinge forward from hips to swing weight between legs, keeping back flat and knees slightly bent. Explosively drive hips to propel weight forward and up, continuing until dumbbell is directly overhead, arms straight, elbows locked. Reverse the movement to return to start; repeat.
Trainer’s Tip: Your hamstrings should engage with each rep. If they don’t, you’re bending the knees too much.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, facing a box or bench. Bend knees to load legs and glutes, and, using arms to propel you, drive from heels to jump up and land with both feet flat on box. Step — never jump — back down, and repeat.
Trainer’s Tip: Aim to land in a quarter squat on the box. If you’re landing deeper, you’re standing too close. If you’re landing with your legs nearly locked, you’re jumping from too far away.
Dumbbell Bench Press
Lie flat on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand at sides, elbows lowered and tight to body. Shoulder blades should be in constant contact with bench, with feet planted on floor, a small arch in back. Press the weights overhead, locking elbows at the top, and then slowly lower back to start.
Trainer’s Tip: “The goal is to get the elbows as low as possible,” says Arnold. “So don’t worry about keeping the dumbbells out wide, where your hands would be in a barbell bench press. We want the elbows to almost scrape the outside of your chest on the way down.”
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended at sides with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Hinge forward at hips until back is at a 45-degree angle to floor. Keeping back flat, pull weights to sides, pause at the top, then slowly lower them back down.
Trainer’s Tip: Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top, imagining that you’re pinching a pencil lying on your spine in place.
WORKOUT (Part B)
Every minute for 10 minutes, row 30 seconds at a slow, steady pace, then 20 seconds at a moderately hard pace, and then all out the final 10 seconds. Keep track of the total distance covered during each minute, and try to beat that distance with each successive minute. (No rower? You can sub in any form of cardio — running, swimming, cycling.)
Trainer’s Notes: For the most efficient, powerful rowing stroke, think legs, core, arms. You should first drive out of your heels, then engage your core to lean slightly back, and last pull the handle to your chest to finish the stroke. Coming back, it’s the exact reverse: Straighten arms, hinge forward, and bend knees back to start.
To get the most power from every stroke, knees should be locked, torso leaning slightly back, and handle at chest.
This rower mimics the natural tension you’d get rowing on a lake or river. For other machines, set the resistance to 5 or 6.
Focus on Breath
Practice rhythmic breathing on the rower. Breathe out as you push back; breathe in as you return to the catch position.