• Laura

Top 5 Big Exercises (And How To Build Up To Them)

The CoreWorx Library is now OPEN. I've been collecting our approaches to some of our favourite moves and how to build up to them and nail that technique.

Simply pick your move and work it through the training guide. All timelines are a guide based on training 2-3 times a week. Listen to your body, ask for help if you need it and most importantly, following the training.



List of Contents

1) The Press Up

2) The Pull Up

3) The Box Jump

4) The Squat Rack

5) The Deadlift


Number 1: The Press Up


Time Frame: For a complete beginner, 6-8weeks to build up to a full push up

Consistency: 2-3 times a week training

Starting Point: A Wall Press Up (Week 1-2)

Place your hands in line with your shoulders arms straight, step feet back so you can feel the weight of your body in your arms. Keeping elbows close to your side, lower towards the wall and press back. Nailed this? You can try one handed wall press ups.

Intermediate: Bar Press Ups (Week 3-8)

Click here to see our video on how to do this

End Goal: No Knees On The Floor Push Up

A good warm up round would be to do "Hand Release Push Ups". Lying on your belly, hands in line with your chest, elbows close to your sides. Feet together, core engaged. Push up from this position and lower back to the floor. Take hands off the ground and replace. Repeat.

When you feel strong enough, repeat the above without lowering all the way to the floor, keeping bum high and core tight. Thats a push up!

Next Challenge:

Make press ups harder by elevating you feet so you're on a decline, hand positions (staggered or diamond), feet on a foam roller or bosu ball, weight on your back or raise your hands on blocks or weights.


Number 2: The Pull Up


Time Frame: For a complete beginner, anywhere between 12weeks to 12months of being committed to practice

Consistency: 2-3 times a week training

Starting Point: Lat Pull Downs (Weeks 1-8)

Using our cable machine, get the attachment that looks like this

Alternate your training between a wide grip and a neutral grip (where the black grips are), sit on the floor or a bench, you are pulling the bar to your chest. Increase the weight as it becomes easier.

Approach The Bar: Dead Hangs to Negative Pull Ups (Week 2-12)

Hang from the bar by bracing your core using an overhand grip, keeping yourself still and solid. Hold for as long as you can. Repeat.

Once you feel confident you have your core braced, get a buddy or a bench to hoist you up to the bar so you have your chin looking over the bar. Very slowly lower yourself down. Get that buddy to jump you up again or jump up from a bench, hold and lower slowly.

Getting There: Banded Pull Ups (Week 8 onwards...alongside other upper body training)

Loop a big resistance band or two over the pull up bar. To start, use a big black and purple one together. Get a buddy to help you stand into the bands whilst holding onto the bar. Now pull up with the help from the band and lower. Repeat and as you get stronger, take away the bands till you are on the lightest one (the thin yellow ones here at CWX!)

Completed: A Pull Up

After this prep, you'll be ready to do a pull up alone! You can add a step underneath to help you if you need to reach the bar.

Next Challenge:

Make it harder by using a waist weight belt and add the weight. You can also pull up and lower for 3-4seconds and repeat. You can change to an underhand grip, wide grip or narrow grip. You can add in leg raises too.


Number 3: The Box Jump


Time Frame: For a complete beginner, roughly 6-8weeks

Consistency: 2-3 times a week training

Starting Point: Squats to Jumping Squats (Week 1-3)

Start off by nailing a squat. Feet in line with your hips, sit back like you're sitting in a chair, weight in your heels, knees over ankles and drive up. Got it...move to jumping is what it says on the tin....squat down and power up into a jump. Killer.

Get The Step: Step Ups (Weeks 2-5)

Start with a bench or small box. Start with the right foot and step onto the box leaving left on the floor. Power up from the right leg and glute, all the weight in your right leg. Lower the left leg back to the floor and repeat. Switch sides and go again.

Getting There: Broad Jumps and Tuck Jumps (Week 4-8)

Alongside your step ups, add in broad jumps (jumping as far forward as you can like long jump) and tuck jumps (where you jump to tuck your knees to your chest.)

Completed: Box Jumps

Now you're ready to chose a medium size box and jump on it. Simple as that....use a soft black one here at CWX.

Next Challenge:

Increase the height! You can then jump on and over and add in a burpee each side. Just cos.....


Number 4: Squat Rack


Time Frame: For a complete beginner, roughly 4-6 weeks

Consistency: 2-3 times a week training

Starting Point: Squats (Week 1-2)

Start off by nailing a squat. Feet in line with your hips, sit back like you're sitting in a chair, weight in your heels, knees over ankles and drive up.

Add Weight: Goblet Squat or Dumbbell Front Squat (Week 2- 4)

Grab one dumbbell and hold in front by holding one end with both hands like this. Squat and repeat. Increase the weight as you get stronger.

You can then build up to two dumbbells held in each hand and on your shoulders. Squat down!

Getting There: Empty Bar (Week 4-6)

Get a buddy to help you if you need to. Set up the J hooks (the part that holds the bar in place) just lower than your shoulders. Duck under the bar so the bar rests at the bottom of your neck. Lift the bar out of the J hooks and move back away from the hooks. Squat down just as you did with the dumbbell front squats, nice and low. Return the bar back into the J hooks.

Completed: Squat Rack

Thats it! Add weight each side as you get confident. Place your feet a little wider than your hips can help with depth. A good tip is to imagine you have a tail and as you squat down you push your tail into the floor rather than backwards to the wall behind you. This will protect your back and stop it from "hollowing" (A bit like a U shape...nono.)

Next Challenge:

Increase the weight and depth of your squat ! You can pause at the bottom of your squat for 3 seconds then drive up from building more strength in your squat.


Number 5: Deadlift


Time Frame: For a complete beginner, roughly 4-6 weeks

Consistency: 2-3 times a week training

Starting Point: Hip Hinge (Week 1)

A deadlift is a different move to a squat. Instead of "sitting down", deadlifts are more of a "hinge" movement. To practice this, you can get used to the hinge movement by doing Good Mornings whereby you have your hands behind your ears, knees stiff not locked, and hinge slowly forward from the waist, then power up to stand. You can also use a pole to check your back is straight and not curving during your hinge by holding a pole behind your back (one hand holding it over your should, other hand grasp further down behind the waist.)

Add Weight: Kettlebell Deads (Week 1-3)

Grab a kettlebell. To start you can place your kettlebell on something slightly raised like a yoga block or plate. Place your feet either side of the kettle bell, knees with a slight bend, but focusing on that hinge from the hips. Lift the kettlebell off the floor and squeeze your glutes. Lower slowly to the floor and repeat. Remove the raised block as you get used to the move.

Getting There: Rack Pull or Block Dead (Week 3-8)

Set up a bar so its about half way down your shins by setting the J hooks or safety bars to hold the bar. Hold the bar either underhand, overhand or alternate (one of each). Place your feet under the bar hip width apart. Drive up and hinge from the hips, lower back down and repeat. Another variation is to raise the bar off the floor or blocks or plates.

Completed: Deadlift

Remove the blocks or bars that are raising the bar so you can lift the bar directly from the floor. Roll your shoulders back, keep core tight, hinge up and thrust your glutes forward. Start light and build up. Another option is to use trap bar, less strain on lower back and easier to learn.

Next Challenge:

Increase the weight!


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