Exercise Upgrades, Another TV Appearance, and Bonding with Men's Health
A few week’s back, I was contacted by one of the editors of Men’s Health to appear on some local New York news and represent the magazine. To say this is an honor is an understatement in the extreme.
I appeared on WPIX11’s Wake-Up Workout alongside Jen Ator, Katie John and Guy Egan (all for Men’s Health) and WPIX correspondents, Linda Church and Dr. Steve. The segment, titled “Battle of the Sexes” was set up to discuss two new books being released simultaneous by Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines. Appropriately called The Men’s Health Diet and The Women’s Heath Diet, respectively, both books were written by Stephen Perrine and the editors of each magazine, respectively.
As I mentioned in the video, we can look at this as an “upgraded” version of the classic squat, but it’s worth noting that they are very different animals. A traditional squat is fantastic because it’s calorically expensive, works numerous muscle groups, and helps to develop core strength.
The overhead squat does all of those things as well, but has the additional benefits of heavily engaging the muscles of the upper back. Like many people, I sit at a computer quite a lot (Hey, those episodes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand won’t watch themselves), and so despite my generally active lifestyle, I am at risk for developing a weakened upper back area. This can lead to a “round-shouldered” effect.
That’s not a good look. And aesthetics notwithstanding, this can be a recipe for creating and exaggerating unhealthy kyphosis or rounding of the back, as well as increasing the propensity for shoulder injury.
While there are certainly a number of exercises you can (and should) be doing to to counteract this (rows with scapular retraction, for example), the fact of the matter is that we always looks for exercises that have a lot of bang for the buck, so to speak.
The OHS is one such exercise. You’ll work your legs, core, arms, shoulders, and again, prevent weakness in the upper back.
The main drawback here is that you obviously cannot use as much weight with the OHS as you can with a traditional squat or a front squat.
Given that, this has a lot more benefit as a full body exercise which you can use in fat-burning workouts. Unless you’re working your way through learning olympic lifts, I wouldn’t go too heavy here.
Seriously, one of my all time favorite exercises, the push press is simply one of the best all-around pressing exercises you can do. It’s like an overhead press, but 9.3 times more awesome. Instead of simply pressing the weight overhead, use leg-drive and complete explosion.
Here is how I explain it to my clients: Imagine your belly button as the “center” of your body. When you perform the movement, think about exploding outwards and driving your arms and legs away from the “center” with equal force. Try to actually leave the ground when you do this.
Because of the explosive nature of the movement, you can use considerably more weight, which not only burns more calories, but will also help you build more strength and, of course, more muscle.
These two exercises, although difficult, will help take your training to the next level. They are challenging, fun, but most of all, effective.
For your next workout, give either overhead squats or push presses a try, and let me know what you think!