Marta Montenegro: How Pairing Exercises can Improve Your Results

Why do dietitians recommend adding green peppers to a beef dish? One reason: the vitamin C in the veggie increases iron absorption of the meat. This is just an example of how foods can do wonders when paired together. But what about exercise? For instance, does a squat followed by a deadlift maximize results? And if it so what is the benefit? Here is a look at how pairing certain exercises can improve your workout outcome, enhance performance, and increase your health.

1. Deadlift  to Row + Squat to Press  = Lean Body Mass

Studies show that multi-joint exercises that recruit a large amount of muscle mass provide a greater anabolic response—such as increase in growth hormone, insulin like growth factors and testosterone—than exercises that work one muscle-joint at a time. Regardless of the gender, when looking to get tone and lean, the spikes of these hormones are important to improve the body mass/fat ratio.

Perform 3-4 sets, 8-15 reps, with short rest periods, 60 to 90 seconds. Use a weight that makes it hard to perform the last two reps.

2. Dumbbell Step-Up + Physioball Hamstring  Curl =  Run better

A study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal showed the hip extensors and knee flexor muscles (gluteus and hamstrings) showed the most increase in biomechanical load with faster running.

The authors mentioned some experimental data where the limit to maximal sprint seems to be related to how hard and quickly a runner can push off the ground. In other words, you need to get a strong gluteus and hamstrings (back of the leg) to run faster. The additional perk that if you achieve it, you’ll look good from behind.

The step-up makes the mark for this purpose as shown in a recent study that revealed  greater glutes activation when compared to other types of step-ups—side, diagonal, etc.  A hamstring curl on a physioball works the back leg muscles, but also other important hip stabilizers muscles, which makes it ideal to strengthen the core too.

3. Squat  + Deadlift = Core strength

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that trunk muscle activation was greater when doing free weights exercises, such as the squat and the deadlift, compared with doing core specific exercises on a physioball.

Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

4. Burpee  + Mountain Climber = Increase cardiovascular capacity

When you do brief, intermittent bursts of vigorous exercise, followed by periods of rest or low intensity exercise for recovery, you are in the high intensity interval type of training.

Martin Gibalba, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at MacMaster University, writes that even though this exercise protocol is extremely demanding you can get the same benefits or in some cases even more than traditional endurance training on improving cardiorespiratory fitness and health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Do each exercise for 60 seconds , rest for no more than 60 seconds, and repeat five times each.