What S'mores Can Teach You About Crushing Your Workouts
Most workout routines consist of a series of individual exercises. But there are some extra benefits to be had sometimes by combining those individual moves into a kind of exercise sandwich.
In any properly planned workout routine, there are core foundational elements that need to be part of your program. Squats, deadlifts, and bench presses are all key elements of building a powerful physique. Great on their own, these moves can be even better when sandwiched together—like S'mores!
To help illustrate this principle at work, we've asked MusclePharm athletes to show their favorite stacked-exercise "S'more" protocols, each of which delivers maximum gain in minimum time.
Put these exercises together as demonstrated in the video links below, and you'll be in for some serious results.
Are you looking for an ultra-intense workout to finish off your leg day, or simply want to do a quick cardio session? If so, this sequence designed by MusclePharm athlete Albert Powell is a fantastic way to get it done.
Start by performing five barbell cleans, then move into five reps of barbell shoulder presses. Next, perform five sets of barbell front squats, then move the weight behind your head to do five reverse lunges on each leg. Just when you think you're about to die, finish off with five reps of back squats and then, just for fun, five push-ups with your hands on the bar.
"This is a great bundle of exercises," says Powell. "You'll see great benefits from being able to shift weight from your legs to your upper body, then back down to your legs. Being able to shift your weight like this is a good power-development exercise that's key to being a strong athlete in any sport."
Since this sequence uses so many major compound movements, you'll notice that your heart rate jumps, then stays elevated throughout to provide excellent cardiovascular conditioning.
"Make sure that as you do all the exercises in this sequence, you shift your weight back to your heels, never on your toes," says Powell. "Focus on keeping your core tight, so that you're balanced as you do these different movements."
Plyometric Superset Series
Sometimes, the best way to finish off your workout is with plyometrics. This plyometric superset sequence created by MusclePharm athlete Mike Kundla is a fantastic way to end any routine.
"Supersetting allows you to perform more exercises in a shorter amount of time, which can increase the efficiency and quality of your workouts," says Kundla. Shorter rest periods between sets deliver bonus conditioning benefits.
"Supersetting these two specific exercises will also help activate fast-twitch muscle fibers that aren't usually activated during traditional leg presses and extensions," he says. "You can easily switch up the intensity of either exercise by adding more weight to the trap bar or jumping on a higher plyo box."
For this series, perform trap-bar touch and go's with 48-inch box jumps. Do 10 sets of 3 reps each to finish off this workout.
Overhead Lunges Supersetted with Sled Pushes
If you're looking for another excellent finisher to your workout routine, look no further than this one, created by MusclePharm athlete Lauren Yates.
"These are awesome exercises to do on their own," Yates says. "But when your normal cardio routine is getting boring, they're also a great leg-day finisher to get your heart rate up."
Start this sequence with a set of overhead walking lunges, followed by sled pushes.
"Overhead lunges are great not only to work your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, but to help strengthen your core, balance, and stability," she says. "Sled pushes improve your cardiovascular health and add resistance to the sprint to help condition and strengthen your lower body. Combined, these two exercises make a killer conditioning circuit."
At the bottom of each lunge, push off the heel of your front foot to return to the starting position. This will help ensure you're working the muscles correctly.
"Remember to keep the weight above your head throughout the exercise, and keep your muscles tight at all times," she adds.
Clean and Press with Ab Roll-Out
This movement series will hit your upper body and test your core. Created by MusclePharm athlete B-Strong, this exercise can be done anywhere with a standard barbell.
Kneel on a mat, and position the barbell on the floor directly in front of you, hands on the bar. Begin rolling the bar forward, keeping your abs tight. Roll the barbell back to you, then pick up the weight and move directly into a half clean and press.
Remember to focus on your abs throughout the sequence, since keeping your midsection tight helps maintain proper spinal-column alignment.
"This combination of exercises makes for a great upper-body workout, engaging your core, shoulders, chest, and back," he says. "It's a great movement sequence to add to your workout."
So, the next time you're looking for a way to spice up your gym routine, try one of these four protocols. By sandwiching the movements together, you'll get more from each lift you do.