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October 13, 2022

Four Gym Hacks To Make Your Life Easier

Four Gym Hacks To Make Your Life Easier with Annie Miller

The gym can be intimidating even for experienced lifters. Today’s post sharing gym hacks should help mitigate some of that, or just save you some time and energy during your workouts.

These are largely based around my personal preference and experience but I do hope you find them to be helpful. Let me know which is your fav in the comments.

Four gym hacks:

  • Starting BFESS on ground

I am quite possibly the biggest fan and user of the Bulgarian Split Squat. I think it’s a largely unmatched exercise when it comes to singe leg bias lower body work. But the potential frustration and embarassment that comes with setting up for this exercise is also…unmatched. The hopping, the aimlessly reaching your leg back just to miss the bench, the falling over in between reps. Stop. Get yourself right, my friend.

Use this tip to get a SOLID base set up before you even enter your first rep. Mind you, this only applies if you’re using a dumbbell variation. Barbells need to be unpacked in the rack.

Set your DB’s on the floor. Find your footing and stance UNWEIGHTED, then lower down all the way until your knee is on the floor. Pick up your weights, engage core, and upper body, stand. That’s rep one. And you should be set.

  • Decline bench for hip thrusts

There are now wedges that you can buy for this same effect. They’re amazing but unless you have a home gym, you’re likely not lugging in your 4 foot foam wedge to the gym every leg day. So, try this if it’s available at your gym! If you don’t have access to a decline bench, you can also elevate your feet if the flat benches are too high. It’s all about those angles, FOR REAL. We want to feel the glutes working and get the best fiber recruitment. The set up 100% matters for that.

  • Scap pulls under barbell

If you’ve never done a scapular pull up, perhaps today is the day. Let this variation be your intro. A scapular pull up is simply the first segment of a pull up, separated from the rest of the movement. You start in a dead hang, and draw the shoulder blades down, while allowing them to rotate downwards, towards the spine. They can be rather challenging to control. Putting the feet under the body helps to take off some of the load, as well as possibly get into a more comfortable position. And if you don’t have a pull up bar, no problem. This is a fabulous variation for you.

  • Wedges for bench press

I discovered this gem of a hack in 2021 when I ordered these wedges for squatting variations. My bench is not low enough for my feet to be flat on the floor – I prefer this set up to having just my toes pulled under the bench. Toes pulled under or flat feet are both acceptable stances and set ups for bench pressing, I just feel best with my feet flat.

The leg drive in bench press is actually BACK towards the head of the bench – towards the traps. This energy and force is ideally transferred from the floor through the legs, up the body and into the barbell to press it off the chest. That happens PERFECTLY when my feet are on these wedges. Not saying this would be allowed in a gym and certainly not in a power lifting setting, but damn is it comfy at home. 

There are many more gym hacks, but these have been three of my favorites as of 2022. 

Have a different hack? Drop it below and help us out

Original Instagram post seen below:

Which is your fav? 👇👉starting BFESS on ground,👉decline bench for hip thrusts👉scap pulls under barbell👉wedges for bench press.Have a different hack? Drop it below and help us out 🤣

If you’d like to learn more about program design for strength, yes, and hypertrophy training over long term periodization, check out Pure PROgramming.

If you want to get strong, enjoy your workouts and make #educatedgains, then get on the Built by Annie waitlist. 

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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