It’s the Holy Grail of ultimate human performance – brute strength, lightning quick speed, and game-changing power – all displayed with jaw-dropping ease. Whether you’re a competitive athlete, weekend warrior, or “normal” mom, dad, or grandparent who traded in the Superman cape for Clark Kent clothes, we all want to look and feel capable of anything. Here are the 5 best exercises for ultimate human performance.
In no particular order…
- Olympic Lifts – Clean & Snatches & their variations: Ever tried to jump in slow motion? How about throw, sprint, jump, or make a sports play in slow motion?? Likewise, the Olympic lifts are impossible to complete in slow motion. They’re full body lifts that teach sport specific movements in explosive fashion with heavy loads.
- Banded (or chains) squats & deadlifts – It’s all about CAT, Compensatory Acceleration Training. First off, we’re ALL stronger at the TOP or END of a movement pattern. That’s (one of) the reasons you see so many people doing quarter rep squats with more weight than they can truly handle. Bands and chains get heavier at the top of the lift – more links of the chains or bands stretched farther – so they match our natural strength curve. This means more resistance where you are strongest. Second, the bands and chains FORCE you to move the load as fast as possible – other wise you’ll get stuck.
- Jumps – Jumps are the ultimate expression of power! Very few things simultaneously reveal ones strength to bodyweight ratio (power output) AND train the nervous system to recruit more high threshold motor units. And more muscle units recruited means more force produced – think about the old ladies lifting cars off grandchildren.
- Banded Kettlebell Swings – The KB swing is a great move by itself. But the addition of the band makes the eccentric (lowering phase) of the move faster. Why do we want that? Because the magic in jumping – and anything explosive – comes from how rapidly you can transition from eccentric to concentric phase. In other words how quickly can you lower and then raise. This is called the amortization phase – and he who spends the least time in this transition period produces the most power!
- Med Ball throws – These are awesome and unique. Medicine balls allow you to accelerate ALL THE WAYthrough the movement – unlike any other exercise. Even chains or banded barbell movements come to a stop at the top of the movement, and stopping requires deceleration. Medicine balls can be safely (for YOU and the equipment) thrown or slammed, allowing you to train your body to accelerate and explode through 100% of the movement.
Honorable Mention = Sprints & sled/prowler variations.