By Michael Easter Men's Health
Adding Albert Pujols to a roster attracts attention. But a closer look at the Los Angeles Angels' lineup reveals an entire team of heavy hitters. The secret to their strength: "Explosive, multidirectional power and stability," says strength coach T.J. Harrington, C.S.C.S. He runs the Halos through workouts like the one below to help them dominate on the diamond. Follow their lead to build the body of a true athlete.
Do This: Perform the exercises as a circuit, doing 12 to 15 reps of each before moving to the next without resting. Once you've done them all, rest 60 seconds. Repeat the circuit two more times. (Discover more incredible, superfast fitness routines with the Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts.)
HALF-KNEELING ROTATIONAL CHOP
Attach a rope handle to the high pulley of a cable station and grasp the handle with both hands. With the weight stack to your left, kneel on your right knee; this is the starting position. In one movement, pull the rope down and past your right hip without bending your arms as you simultaneously rotate your torso. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do all your reps, switch sides, and repeat.
SINGLE-ARM CABLE ROW WITH ROTATION
Attach a stirrup handle to the low pulley of a cable station. Now grab the handle with your left hand and assume a staggered stance, right foot forward. Keeping your core tight and your lower back naturally arched, pull the handle to your left side and then pivot to your left. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Do all your reps, switch sides, and repeat. (Think you've tried every piece of equipment out there? Take a look at The Best Fitness Tool You've Never Used.)
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT WITH MEDICINE BALL
Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest with the top of your left foot on a bench behind you. Slowly lower your body as far as you can while lowering the ball toward your left thigh. Pause, and push yourself back up, lifting the ball above your right shoulder. Do all your reps, switch sides, and repeat, this time bringing the ball toward your right thigh.
MEDICINE BALL SIDE LUNGE WITH TOUCH
Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest, feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big step to your left, lowering your body by pushing your hips back and bending your left knee as you bring the ball down to touch your left shin. (Don't let your right foot rise off the floor.) Do all your reps, switch sides, and repeat, this time bringing the ball to your right shin.
ALTERNATING SHUFFLE PUSHUP WITH BAND RESISTANCE
Assume a pushup position with your hands shoulder-width apart and a resistance band looped around your wrists. Reach out with your right hand until the distance between your hands is about twice shoulder width. Now reach in with your left hand so your hands are once again shoulder-width apart and do a pushup. Repeat the process to your left. That's 1 rep. (Don't stop with these exercises. Check out The Best New Exercises for Every Part of Your Body.)
The Best Exercise You Aren't Doing
If you typically work out on two legs, you're not maximizing your gym time. "Single-leg training is the only way to develop balanced strength," says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. "Your legs move independently, so you should train them that way." The dumbbell stepup not only targets each leg individually, but also strengthens the stabilizing muscles throughout your core.
HOW TO DO IT
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm's length at your sides. Stand facing a bench or step and place your left foot on it. Press your left heel into the bench and push your body up until your left leg is straight and you're standing on one leg. (Keep your right foot elevated.) Now lower your body until your right foot touches the floor. That's 1 rep. Do 10, switch legs, and repeat.