Guest starring exercises: a way to charge yourself before heavy lifting.
Today was back day. It went like this:
Pullups, 5x6-19. (19-9-8-7-6)
Push ups 5x20
2. Rowing, machine, 4x12 (+ 1 drop set of 7 reps)
3. Bent over dumbbell row, 4x12/side
4. Laying leg raises, 4x15-25 (25, 20, 15, 15)
What stood out for me with this workout session was the “guest starring” push ups, that was super-setted with the pullups. The effect was immediate and very rewarding. I got a fantastic all round pump – and even though it left me somewhat out of breath it still boosted my performance during the chins and the following rows.
What I mean by “guest starring” is that I allowed an exercise that didn’t target today’s primary muscle group, namely the back, to be a part of the workout – and that it did so in a manner that charged me with energy rather than draining me of it.
Push ups is an exercise that can kick start your whole body. As such it is an ideal guest starring exercise. Other exercises that I would deem well suited for “guest starring” are: lunges (body weight only), military presses, bench presses, squats, deadlifts. As you can see these are all exercises that involves many different muscle groups. By doing push ups today I got almost every muscle group in my body involved in a way that improved my overall performance during the rest of the workout.
The important thing about involving guest starring exercises is to keep it light. Very light. Lighter than you think.
When I suggest that you let the squat, the bench press or the deadlift to be guest starring exercises, I don’t mean that you should load up the bar and perform these exercises in your usual manner. Instead you use a warm-up weight – and when you perform the lifts you concentrate on charging yourself, staying true to the purpose of having a guest starring exercise. This kind of whole-body-exercises are energy draining if you push yourself while performing them. That is not the goal here.
In today’s example I wanted to be able to target the chest already tomorrow, the day after, so the numbers had to be kept low. I’d recommend you to keep any guest starring exercise at a maximum of 50 % effort. You’re not looking for exhaustion, maximum effect or reaching failure – on the contrary, you’re looking for improved overall performance. You want to come away from the guest starring exercise energized and alert.
Try having a guest starring exercise – it might help you break some PB:s by waking up your central nervous system before taking on the heavy weights. The next time you’re about to perform a heavy leg exercise, charge yourself by doing some push ups – or, the next time you’re bench pressing, wake your body up by doing some body weight lunges in between sets.
Do not be surprised if this habit lets helps you overcome some strength plateaus.
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This article was also written in connection to a recently finished back workout. This workout, however, was entirely different from the one I performed today. Here I performed as many as 8 different back exercises in one single workout session.