This excellent exercise targets a variety of muscle groups.
“If you only have the time for one exercise, this should be the one you do,” said Gareth Thomas, a Los Angeles-based coach who has trained Ironman champions Chris McCormack and Kate Major. “This exercise targets so many muscle groups—it’s like squats combined with a shrug.”
The exercise is a repeated motion called “cleans” and looks something like Olympic weight lifting, without the body-crushing poundage or final overhead push. “Start with very light weights,” Thomas said. “Technique is absolutely critical, so get a trainer to watch you if you can.”
How to Do Cleans
Start with 10 repetitions and work up to 30 repetitions with light weights for an endurance strength workout, or five to 10 repetitions with heavier weights for a strength and power workout.
1. Begin with the barbell on the floor in front of you with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your toes underneath the bar.
2. Squat down to pick up the bar. Then, keeping your back flat, drive with your legs to a standing position.
3. As the weight passes your knees and your legs are almost straight, shrug with your shoulders to pull the bar up the front of your body to the top of your shoulders, keeping the bar as close as possible to you.
4. Slowly lower the bar down the body to waist level, then repeat.