This is what you can do in the gym, Part I, Push pull combos


This is me, walking away from my third set of rear foot suspended lunges yesterday, after successfully completing all ten reps on each side. I felt good about my accomplishment.


Have you ever had that feeling? Tackling something challenging and then celebrating the fact that we did it is part of the love hate relationship many of us have with training.  


So often we’ll say, Oh my gosh, I hate doing “these”. “These” can be whatever exercise you’re about to tackle. But then when you’re done you feel SO good that you did it!  

Most of our real [FIT] life’rs have

 these moments during their training sessions. There are usually those one or two exercises that they know are going to be extra challenging. That’s why most people hire trainers. To make us do the certain exercises that we know are going to help us but are just hard enough that we probably would never do them on our own without someone telling us to.


Heck, some of us hire a coach because we know we’d never go to the gym, ever, without that added accountability. And then most people also just have NO clue what to do when they get to the gym. Having someone create a training program FOR you eliminates a lot of the guess work. You don’t have to worry if you’re doing the right exercises or if you’re doing them properly. And then there’s all this other stuff like rep ranges and how many sets should you do? It’s a lot to figure out.


Some of our real [FIT] life’rs go away for the winter months and we give them a program design to follow while they’re gone. real [FIT] life’r Johnna had her last at home session yesterday. She won’t be back until the spring so we gave her a training program that she can use to keep her progressing until she returns. Just before leaving she mentioned how much better she feels walking into a gym by herself when she has an actual program to follow. Johnna said her workouts are much more enjoyable and she actually looks forward to each one because she has numbers to follow and improve upon. The last time she was away, she was working out in a gym in Florida, program and clipboard in hand and writing in her numbers as she went. Another woman asked her if she was a trainer! Clearly Johnna looked like she knew what she was doing. 



When you walk into a workout knowing you have a plan, it improves your outlook from start to finish. You walk in ready to go, and ready to work on the tasks that have been pre planned. It’s a much different feeling from just walking into a gym and winging it.



I want to share that experience with all of you. This series, “This is what you can do in the gym” will take place over the next month and in each part I will share with you different exercise pairings that you can use to create your own program design. I want you to walk into a gym and actually feel like you know what you are doing! 


If you’re interested in delving into this even further, you can check out our upcoming 8 Week Workshop at real [FIT] lifeDominate the Gym in 8 WeeksThis Dominate the Gym 8 Week Program will give you great workout programs that will keep you motivated, learning new things, and finally seeing the results you want. This is the perfect program for you if you’re ready to take your workouts to the next level and learn how to make the most of your gym time. ‚ÄčYou’ll never walk into a gym and feel like you “don’t know what to do” ever again.

Now let’s get started with today’s lesson. There are lot’s of ways that you can break down a workout program. This series is going to primarily focus on a total body format. Depending on how many times a week you want to strength train, you could perform a total body program 2 – 3 times a week. Recovery days in between your strength training days are recommended. Recovery is an important part of the training process as well.


And if you’d like some more great tips on how to get the results you want in 2018, I suggest you read 6 Common Workout Myths that are Holding You Back by going here.


Push Pull Combos


 In today’s segment, I’m showing you two different upper body combos that utilize the two motions of pushing and pulling.


Our first combo, the inverted row and push up combine one exercise for the chest and one for the back. The row primarily works the back and the push up primarily works the chest. If you perform both of these correctly, you’ll also be utilizing a LOT of core stabilization. 


The second combo I’m demonstrating is a Single arm overhead press (push) and a Split stance single arm bent over row (pull). The overhead press primarily works the shoulders and the row primarily works the back. Both of these movements also engage the core muscles in a BIG way if you do them with correct form. 


Let’s watch the how to video here:

 Reps and sets

You’re probably wondering, “how many should I do?”


In case you don’t know the difference between reps and sets, lets quickly talk about that! 


Reps are the number of times you perform an exercise within a single set.


For example, let’s say that on my first set of Single arm bent over rows, I row a 26lb kettlebell 8 times on my right side and 9 times on my left side. Each individual row is a rep. So I did 8 reps on my right and 9 reps on my left.


Sets are the number of times you perform an exercise for however many reps. A set can consist of one single exercise, a pair of exercises (like our push pull combos) or a series of exercises (like a circuit).


So the first time I perform my Single arm bent over rows on each side and my Single arm overhead presses on each side, that is one set.


Each time I go back and repeat that combo, that’s another set.


Here’s what your chart may look like when you log your workout. In this program, I am alternating exercise 1a. and 1b. for 3 sets.


(The @ sign means “per side”. SA = Single arm, OH = Overhead, BO = Bent over)


1a. SA OH Press 8 – 12 reps (kettlebell)

Set 1  10lbs/12 reps@ 

Set 2   15lbs/11 reps@

Set 3   18lbs/10 reps,R 9 reps,L  (left side felt a lot weaker)


1b. SA BO Row 8 -12 reps (kettlebell)

Set 1  15lbs/12 reps@

Set 2  20lbs/12 reps@

Set 3  26lbs/10 reps@ (watch torso on row, don’t twist while rowing. They felt really hard)


You could log your workouts on a workout chart or in a notebook. It really doesn’t matter as long as you take thorough notes and keep them with you every time you train. Don’t think you’ll remember what you did for weight, etc, the next time you perform this program because you won’t.


As for rep range, if you’re a beginner, or if your goal is fat loss, I recommend a higher rep range most of the time. This could be 6-15, 8-12, or 6-10. 


If you have a range to use make sure you use the whole range. Don’t solely shoot for the higher end all the time. 


You’ll also see that I made notes for myself on the sample log. It’s your workout log. Make any notes that will be helpful for you next time.


Okay, so those are our lessons for today. We’ll be building upon this so stay tuned! Next segment we’ll learn a couple upper/lower body combos. 


 See you soon!


Jeannine Trimboli

Founder, real [FIT] life


“Helping people live happier, healthier, longer, stronger lives,

one lift at a time.”


real [FIT] life is launching 2 Amazing 8 Week Programs in January



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