Even for the most experienced athletes, the gym can be an overwhelming place. With thousands of exercises, stretches and gym “toys,” where do you even begin to choose which ones to perform? To help cut through some of the confusion, we reached out to members of the Under Armour Training team to learn their favorites.
Nate Costa, owner of the Under Armour Performance Center powered by FX Studios, says the sled is a staple for both he and his clients. “The beauty of the sled lies in its ability to be used by all populations and for any type of goal. FX has a training philosophy that helps structure each training session: Move Better, Move Faster, Move Stronger and Move Longer. The sled can be used for any portion of this training model.”
Michael Piercy, owner and founder of The Lab Fitness, loves the heavy ropes because, he says, they are a “metabolic monster!” The ropes are a great tool for allowing clients and athletes to get their heart rates up without the need for running or jumping.
TRX Suspension Trainer
Todd Durkin, internationally recognized motivational speaker and owner of Fitness Quest 10, favors the TRX Suspension Trainer when working with his elite athletes and clientele of all levels. He likes that the TRX straps can be used anywhere for any fitness goal.
No need for anything fancy, says Rich Hesketh, athletic developemnt coach at DECAMAN Athletics in Calgary, Alberta. He loves the versatility of dumbbells. According to Hesketh, dumbbells are “one of the most, if not the most, versatile equipment choices” because they can be used for just about any type of movement. “They are multijoint and multidirectional, and with creativity can challenge every level of fitness with load, range of motion and athleticism.”
TRX Rip Trainer
Shana Verstegen, Master Instructor for the American Council on Exercise and fitness director of Supreme Health and Fitness, recommends the TRX Rip Trainer. “This tool incorporates much of what is lacking in our current workouts: rotation, asymmetrical load, speed and power,” she says. “This tool can be useful for all levels of fitness, is all-core, all the time, and offers a major calorie burning blast with just a short workout.”
Single-leg, Single-arm Dumbbell Hang Snatch to Lunge
Hesketh uses this exercise for his running, jumping, throwing and gliding (skating) athletes due to its adaptability for sport-specific training.
TRX Squat Row Combo
Marc Coronel, owner of Open Mind Fitness and a Trigger Point Master Instructor, loves this simple yet effective TRX Suspension Training exercise because of the way it activates the posterior chain through squatting and scapular retraction in the row.
Tim DiFrancesco, former head strength and conditioning coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge, likes the farmer’s walk exercise because “it's total body, including core, and super functional given that it's done while walking.”
Landmine Reverse Lunge to a Press
According to Costa, “The landmine reverse lunge to a press is a great way to incorporate both single-leg and single-arm training into your program. This movement is very demanding on the body in that it forces you to stabilize with the core while transmitting force from your legs, through your torso, into the arm and then into the barbell. By using the Landmine attachment, you can kill two birds with one stone and build some killer upper-body strength and some lower-body power in a very unique way.”
TRX Power Pull
Kari Woodall, former collegiate swim coach and owner of BLAZE Fitness, likes the TRX Power Pull because “it challenges the core and body in 3D. This unilateral exercise loads and challenges the posterior chain throughout the movement, which means the core is continuously activated while working to overcome imbalance and asymmetry.”
Seated Straddle Stretch
Verstegen took a cue from the gymnastics world in selecting her favorite stretch. “Hips, adductors and hamstrings are tight on most of us. Holding this static stretch at the end of a workout can improve hip mobility and feels great.”
TRX Forward Lunge with Y Fly
Hesketh recommends the TRX Forward Lunge with Y Fly because of its ability to lengthen the frontal facial line. In other words, it’s a great stretch for the shoulders, chest and hips.
TRX Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Like Hesketh, Woodall believes the anterior chain needs to be lengthened and mobilized. Her variation of this stretch involves “using a widened stance to open the hips and deepen your stretch. It's a great way to lengthen the anterior chain while making it dynamic with the sweep for added shoulder mobility.”
Power Band Shoulder Traction
“The ability to traction the ball and socket joint can give relief from adhesions and open the shoulder joint,” explains Hesketh. “The step back and release of the shoulder blade off of the ribcage gives a stretch in the lower latissimus dorsi in a unique way as well. I have many clients (including me) who have found relief from shoulder and neck impingement pain by doing this stretch.”
The Drop Squat
DiFrancesco stays functional with his stretch selection. “The drop squat is a great hip mobility exercise. It targets the posterior/lateral glute muscles and the hip joint on the front leg. The dynamic nature of slowly stepping into this position will also help to build strength and stability through the hip on the front leg.”