As with so many other trades, the working life of a PT in 2020 was less a rollercoaster ride than a spell on a 60ft drop tower. Coaches and trainers have been forced to adapt to sudden changes in how they’re allowed to ply their trade: from setting up Zoom calls, to hosting Instagram Lives, to holding outdoor one-to-one sessions, and back again.
For the young trainers of Generation C, it was a ride that could easily have been derailed at the very start. These are the trainers who had just taken their first steps into their careers when the coronapocalypse brought the industry to a standstill. They were forced to adapt without the benefit of years of experience under their belts.
But adapt they have, and it’s our opinion that the future of the fitness industry is bright, with a new crop of young guns successfully mastering their craft under such adverse conditions. After all, smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors.
What follows are workouts made for those who have mastered adaptability. Our Gen C trainer Rory Allen has got your fitness covered – whether you’re training in your bedroom, back room or weights room.
Workout One: The Soul Searcher
Even with limited equipment and space, you can build strength by adapting staple moves. Set a timer for 10, 15 or 20 minutes and take on this full-body circuit in the AMRAP format (“as many rounds as possible”) to test your ability to perform at a solid tempo while fighting off lactic build-up. Log your score and beat it next time.
01/ Slow Eccentric Chin-up
You might need to head to the park for this one. By focusing on the negative phase of your chin-up, you’ll light up your biceps and lats while challenging your grip strength. Pull or jump up to the bar, with your palms facing towards you. Starting with your chin over the bar (A), lower yourself over 5-10 seconds (B).
02/ Narrow-grip Press-up
Target your triceps by tucking in your elbows – your arms and shoulders will thank you for it (though your sleeves might not). Start in a high plank position, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders (A). Keep your elbows tight to your ribs and lower your body until your chest hits the floor (B). With your elbows still tucked in, aggressively press yourself off the floor, fully extending your arms.
03/ Heels-elevated Air Squat
Raise your heels slightly on a weight plate, or even a thick book. This simple tweak will transform your squat into a quad-crushing pump fest. With just your heels on the object and your hands together, keep your chest up and your eyes forward (A) as you bend at your knees and sink into the squat (B). Driving from the front of your feet, stand tall, maintaining an upright position.
04/ Heels-elevated Air Squat (No lockout)
The blood will be well and truly filling up your quads after this pairing. Stick with the heels-elevated squats for another 15 reps but, this time round, don’t stand fully upright between each rep (A). From your bottom position, ascend just above parallel, before sinking down into your next rep (B).
Workout Two: Smooth and Steady
The kettlebell is the ultimate space saver. For this total-body workout, perform a move per minute in an EMOM format, resting for the remainder of each minute before starting the next movement. There isn’t much let-up, so keep your transitions swift. Choose between a 16-, 24- or 32-minute workout.
01/ Offset Front Squat
8 reps per side
Challenge the stability of your core and your ability to keep your chest upright by holding a kettlebell on one side while squatting. Swing the bell onto the front of your shoulder, with your elbow up (A). Descend into a squat, trying not to rotate your hips (B). Stand tall, pressing from the mid-foot, with your eyes looking straight ahead.
02/ American KB Swing
This functional classic, which relies on solid technical execution, taxes your nervous system, increases your heart rate and builds full-body strength. Gripping a kettlebell in both hands between your legs, hinge forward with your spine neutral (A). Push your hips forward, swinging the bell, before punching it up, finishing over your head (B).
03/ Chainsaw Row
8 reps per side
The dead-stop component of this exercise allows for a powerful, concentric pull and a strong, muscle-building contraction in the lats. In a split stance, start with the kettlebell on the floor (A). Trying not to arch your back, row the bell forcefully, leading with the elbow while keeping your torso low (B). Lower the kettlebell back to the floor, allowing a second to elapse before starting the next rep.
04/ Burpee over Kettlebell
With your glutes now well and truly taxed, it’s time to hit the deck and up the ante. Drop into a press-up position and lower your chest to the ground (A). Pause, then push away explosively. Hop your legs back in and jump into the air explosively, moving laterally over the kettlebell (B). Land and then repeat.
Workout Three: Dumbbell Devastation
This workout fatigues your posterior chain in every round, truly challenging you. Follow an E3MOM format (“every three minutes, on the minute”). Start a new round every third minute; do the circuit as fast as possible, before resting for the remainder. Do eight rounds: you’ll sleep well tonight.
01/ Staggered stance RDL
10 reps per leg
We usually test our hamstrings as a pair, but this unilateral variation loads each leg more effectively. With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with the toes of your back foot in line with the heel of your front foot (A). Shoot your hips back, lowering the dumbbells under control, keeping your back leg bent and your front leg as straight as possible (B). Push your hips forward and return to an upright position.
02/ Overhead Dumbbell March
15 controlled marches per leg Want to incorporate challenging carry variations but think you haven’t got the space? In which case, marches are your new best friend. Use a controlled swing and press to get both dumbbells stable and locked out above your head. Lifting one knee at a time, mimic a marching motion (A). Keep your core braced as you alternate legs (B).
03/ Devil Press into Thruster
You’ll only need to perform a few reps of this hellish movement combination and then you’re done. Drop and perform a burpee with your hands on both bells (A). Once you’re back on your feet, swing the bells back between your legs and use the momentum from your hips to swing and press them overhead (B). From this overhead position, lower the bells onto your shoulders and squat down with them (C). Finally, stand back up explosively, pressing the bells overhead (D) before returning them to the floor and repeating the sequence from the start.
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