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WOW: Couch Workout

Posted By Mark Sisson On May 23, 2011 @ 8:48 am In Workout of the Week (WOW) | 26 Comments

During commercial breaks, complete three cycles of:

15 Single Leg Hip Thrust, Each Leg
15 Overhead Presses
15 Bulgarian Split Squats, Each Leg
15 Bodyweight Rows

How-to:

Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat [7], lateral, forward, and backward leg swings (10 each leg).

Longtime readers and those who are familiar with my views on fitness will know that most workouts can be completed in fifteen minutes or less. If you push hard enough and involve enough body parts, you can get a great comprehensive workout in just fifteen minutes, which, coincidentally, is roughly the amount of time devoted to advertisements during the average hour long TV show.

“Huh? Television? Why, I’d have you know that I spend all my free time reading blogs, meditating, cooking, or immersing myself in nature. I’m not sure I even have a TV anymore!”

Yeah, right. You may not be staying up late watching crappy infomercials, but you’ve got a television and you know how to use it. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a little quality television. And this week, it’s required to complete the WOW: throughout the course of any hour long program, spend the commercials completing the aforementioned workout while utilizing your couch.

Let’s go over some of the movements, a couple of which may be new to you.

The single leg hip [8] thrust is a classic glute exercise. I’m not normally one to focus solely on a single muscle, but the glutes are such vitally important movers (responsible for hip extension, sprinting [9], and simply just holding our bipedal selves upright) that get underused and excessively lengthened throughout the course of a normal working day, that I think a hip thrust focusing on them is warranted. The best guy to go to for hip thrust instruction is Bret Contreras, also known as the “Glute Guy.” Here’s an instructional blog post [10] and video from the Guy himself. Basically, the hip thrust is done with your scapula resting against a bench (or couch), your knees bent, your glutes on the ground, and your feet flat on the ground in front of you. Push through the heels and engage your glutes to thrust your hips upward. Don’t overly extend your lower back. It’s in the hips. This is normally done with two feet on the ground and a barbell in your lap, but since we’re using bodyweight, use one leg at a time. To avoid helping your intended glute, let the off leg rest fully extended on the ground.

The Bulgarian split squat is a single leg squat with your rear leg elevated and supported by a bench (or couch) for balance. Place one leg on the couch behind you and the other slightly in front of you. The leg in front will be doing the work; the leg in back will contribute balance. Squat with the front leg, maintaining an upright torso. Push back up through your heel and be sure to squeeze your glute on the way up. Here’s a video example [11].

Bodyweight rows can be completed using a dining room table, like so [12].

A couple things to remember:

  • You can always modify the movements to fit your fitness level. Review the overhead press progression [13] and do the movement that you can complete. Feet up on the couch and torso vertical is a good option for this one.
  • No watching HBO or PBS to try weaseling your way out of commercial breaks. No Ken Burns epics that stretch for hours without a single break. I’m talking hour-long specials of your favorite bad sitcom or crime drama, or my favorite, Survivor (Boston Rob: Best ever?).

Variations:

You can add weight to the movements, as always. Keep a weight in your lap for the hip thrusts, weights in your hands for the split squats, and a weight vest on for the rows and presses.

What Are WOWs?

  • Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness [14] that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
  • In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWs replace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
  • Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook [14]. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive [15].

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[7] Grok Squat: http://www.marksdailyapple.com../../how-to-squat-properly/

[8] hip: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-regain-and-maintain-hip-mobility/

[9] sprinting: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-are-tabata-sprints/

[10] instructional blog post: http://bretcontreras.com/2010/03/hipthrust/

[11] video example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZlodHgCipk

[12] like so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYUxXMGVuuU

[13] overhead press progression: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-proper-overhead-press-technique/

[14] Primal Blueprint Fitness: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-fitness/

[15] WOW Archive: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-fitness/workout-of-the-week-archive/

[16] Learn More: http://www.primalblueprint.com/get-certified?utm_source=mda_footer&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=mda_footer_cert_text

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