For the best workouts possible, test yourself now and again by repping out on an exercise until you hit the wall. We’ve got a warm-up move that readies the body for any major lift, enabling you to crank out more reps than normal before burning out. It can also help you reach new plateaus, blast through an old rep range, and set a new personal record.
1 PLACE A MEDICINE BALL on the floor and lie down next to it on your left side. Reach your arms out in front of you, resting your left on the floor and sandwiching your other palm on top of it. Bend your right hip and knee 90 degrees and rest that knee on the ball (your thigh should be parallel to the floor).
2 KEEPING YOUR HIPS perpendicular to the floor [A], begin pressing your knee into the ball, trying to drive it into the floor—you’ll feel your core activate. At the same time, raise your right arm off your left, rotating it to your right side in a wide arc.
3 CONTINUE UNTIL your arm is resting on the floor with your shoulders level—do not let up the pressure your knee is putting on the ball [B]. That’s one rep. Perform 1–2 sets of 6–10 reps on each side. If you can’t touch your shoulder to the ground while maintaining pressure on the ball, rotate only as far as you can—but keep pushing on the ball no matter what.
Why It Works: “The movement prepares the upper back and shoulders to move in unison while at the same time firing up the core to stabilize the pelvis,” says Joe Stankowski, C.P.T., a trainer in Wilmington, Del. Since so many multijoint exercises require the hips, back, and shoulders to work together to produce force, it’s a useful way to prep your body before every workout, and doing it can help you squeeze out a few more reps than if you had just done a normal warm-up alone.