Train for Fitness and Strength, Not Appearance


Power Cleans

The power clean is a traditional Olympic lift that works the gluteals, hamstrings, calves and lower back, along with the upper back and trapezius.

Performing the Power Clean: This exercise requires two pulls. Start in a position similar to the deadlift, but grasp the bar at shoulder width with both palms facing inward. Squat with hips flexed, head up, and arms and back straight.
Pull the weight up past your knees towards your chest while simultaneously driving your hips forward and lifting your shoulders. Pull the weight up as high as possible before bending your knees and catching the bar on your upper chest. Rest the bar on your fingertips with your elbows held high and out.

Grasp the bar again and return it to the starting position. The main power for this exercise should come from the legs and hips, not the arms.

Do 3 sets of 5 repetitions at 70% maximum weight.

Incorporating these exercises into your free weight workout routine help you build a solid foundation of basic strength on which to base your overall fitness program.

Kettlebell Swings

A century ago, the kettlebell was among the primary training devices used by powerful Russian weightlifters. This “cannonball with a handle” remains a versatile tool for building functional strength. Because the weight is below the handle, the kettlebell is unstable and more difficult to control than a standard dumbbell.

The body, particularly the core, must work extra hard to perform kettlebell exercises, burning more fat and building more muscle in the process. Nearly any movement can be performed with a kettlebell, but kettlebell swing is a good basic movement to begin building overall body strength, working the quadriceps, gluteals, core, shoulders, back, chest, and arms.

Performing kettlebell swings: Stand upright holding the kettlebell with your arms straight and down in front of you. Keeping your back straight, push your hips back and bend your knees into a semi-squat while swinging the bell backwards between your legs. Pause for a moment before swinging the weight up to eye level.
Perform 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions.

If you are new to free weight training, start slowly and build up. These exercises can result in injury or overtraining, especially if you are unfit or try to do too much. Remember that training quality is more important than training quantity.