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When it comes to working your body as effectively as possible, Rita Catolino firmly believes that “more is more” — at least when it comes to the number of muscles recruited with each exercise you do.
“In the old-school body-building world, isolation is the means to an end,” says Rita. This type of training is perfect when it comes to carving the bulky biceps and mushroom-cap delts that this demographic yearns for, she explains. But there’s a problem with this method. “We don’t work like that in life,” she notes. “We use our body as a whole unit, so it only makes sense to train it that way — to train for life.” That’s why Rita promotes workouts that incorporate full-body motions that won’t only make you look better, they’ll also make you feel and perform better, too.
Rita has put together an exclusive workout using just a bar, a couple of weight plates, and her secret training weapon: hardwood floor furniture sliders (folded towels or commercial Gliding discs can also be used).
Depending on her goals — fat burning or strength building — Rita arranges these exercises in one of two ways; choose the option that’s right for you.
Option One: Circuit Work
Arrange the exercises as a circuit, going right from one exercise to the next. Use an unloaded bar for the weighted exercises, aiming for 15 to 20 reps, and perform the last two exercises to failure. Rest for one minute after the last exercise, and repeat for a total of three or four rounds. Because you are working with light resistance, this workout can be done three times per week on nonconsecutive days.
Option Two: Straight Sets
Do three sets of eight to 12 reps of each exercise, working to failure and taking enough rest in between sets to recover. Use a heavy weight for the barbell moves, focusing on power, and perform the last two exercises to failure. If you are using a sufficient amount of weight, one or two times per week is the perfect frequency.
How To: Hold an Olympic bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip, and bring the bar to a racked position in front of your shoulders, as shown. Bend your knees, lowering into a quarter squat, then explosively extend your legs and push the bar overhead, pressing through your heels and using the momentum to thrust upward. You’ll need to retract your head as you press to clear a path for the bar; at the top of the move, bring your head through the space between your arms. Return to the racked position, and repeat.
How To: Wedge one end of a barbell in a corner. Hold the other end of the barbell (weighted, if doing Option Two) with both hands just in front of your chest, and space your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing out slightly. Sit back, lowering into a deep squat, with your glutes lower than your knees. Press through your heels as you stand, coming up onto the balls of your feet and extending your arms until they are straight. Lower your heels and arms to return to the start.
One-Arm Corner Press
How To: Stand with one end of an Olympic bar wedged in a corner (load the other end if following workout Option Two). Facing the corner, hold the free end in one hand at your side, and engage your core as you extend your arm to press the weight to full extension in front of you. When your set is done, repeat on your opposite side.
Barbell Hip Thrust
How To: Lie face up on a mat, place a barbell across your hips, and bend your knees to place your feet flat on the floor. Holding the barbell for support, press your hips up, squeezing your glutes as you move, until you reach full extension; ensure that your toes stay on the ground. Reverse, and repeat.
How To: Get into a push-up position, with a furniture slider, folded towel or Gliding disc under each foot. Press through your palms as you raise your hips, keeping your legs and back flat as you move. Hold for one count, then slowly return to the start.
Tip: Want to make this move more difficult? Try stacking your feet to increase instability.
How To: Start in a push-up position, with each foot on a furniture slider, folded towel or Gliding disc. Press your feet down firmly as you walk forward with your hands to travel across your workout space.