If you’re looking for full body exercises, here’s one that’s simply a step beyond the ordinary, and those are Man Makers.
Okay, if you don’t know by now, I love training with bodyweight exercises. I do mix in weight training as well, but for the most part I prefer the impact that bodyweight routines can deliver. I can do them practically any place and at any time.
But when it comes to the superb Burpees, I have a love-hate relationship with them: They suck…but in a good way.
But sometimes great exercises can get a little boring. So one way I like to keep myself engaged is to spice up every go-to exercises with other elements. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding in more resistance, or dropping/increasing the rep count. I find it doesn’t have to take much to make a movement more challenging. And, sometimes looking for new reasons to keep you coming back is half the fun.
How to Tackle Man Makers
This exercise is a relatively new one with it’s roots stemming from the Crossfit Universe.
The goal of the exercise is to help build functional strength while putting emphasis on training for balance and coordination.
Here’s a video demonstrating how to do a round of Man Makers.
Here’s the sequence to perform one go-through of the exercise:
- 1-Arm Row (right arm)
- 1-Arm Row (left arm)
- Power Clean
Yes, in that order. And yes, that’s just one repetition. Now try stringing a few sets together. You’re sure to be sweating like a hog around Easter.
The key thing to observe here is that out of this eight-move sequence, you’re getting a full body workout. Both the upper and lower body are getting a bit of action, along with the core muscles too.
This helps because you should be pulling away from “train the abs constantly” mentality. It’s always more important to develop the whole body, rather than concentrate on you six-pack. A workout program like Reveal The Steel will help you maximize your strength development in every muscle group.
While dumbbells are generally used with man makers there’s nothing that says you can’t use kettlebells. Actually, if you don’t have hex-head-styled db’s that give you a flat base, kb’s might be the perfect solution. It’ll offer you more stability when attempting the pushup element in Man Makers. For a beginner this is important. But as you get more comfortable with this exercise rounded dumbbells are great choice for adding in a bit more of a challenge.
However, when you’re picking a dumbbell or kettlebell weight you’ll want to take how much can manage with a shoulder press and cut it to about half. This is specifically important if you’re just adding this into your exercise arsenal. As you build up your conditioning then, of course, it important to increase the weight load.
Once you feel man makers feeling less challenging, you can start adding in a few of the tips to further along your training.
The reason I like man makers is because they incorporate some of the best compound exercises all in a single go. So you’re benefiting from more than the amount of effort you’re putting into them.
How can you add them into your fitness plans?
They offer enough resistance to be the central part of your routines. Here are two examples of putting the ultimate burpee into play.
This first example is based on a typical Crossfit Workout of the Day (WOD):
Seven Rounds For Time
- 7 Man Makers
- 7 Pull Ups – chest to bar
Another routine would be to mix in some abdominal exercises into the mix. My buddy Troy Pesola at Cube Dweller Fitness has a great Kettlebell Man Maker Workout. His workout includes three sets of 10 reps, and then finishing off the routine with hanging leg raises. It’s some grueling stuff when paired together.
One of the things I like about traditional burpees is the simplicity because “sometimes simple is better.” With Man Makers, they give you that same kind of feel, but in return you’re getting a surprising strength-based workout.