FOOTWORK in the Dumbbell Game - Hybrid Exercises

Updated: Feb 14

I call it a 'hybrid exercise' when two or more exercises are combined into one.


If I can first make my students see how any given exercise is made up of smaller components that they are already familiar with, it makes it easier for them to understand its nature - and it then becomes a question of combining known parts into a new entity, rather than learning something entirely new from scratch.


The devil’s muscle clean into front squat is a hybrid exercise where the footwork is of particular importance. Some people, myself included, as can be seen in the first video, prefer to do the devil’s muscle clean with a wide stance, and to then switch to a more narrow stance for the front squat. Other people, like Mikkel in the second video, prefer to use the same stance throughout.


Now, don’t think to yourself "which is better generally?”, but ask instead, “what are the respective advantages of the two distinctly different styles - and which one would be better for me personally?”.


The optimal stance in the two movements making up the hybrid exercise is in my case so different that I really do have to change it to perform at my best and I, with that being the case, have practiced doing it with speed and precision.


Watch the video and notice how I change the stance by moving the left foot ONCE while pulling the dumbbells towards the shoulders - so as to not waste any time - but still manage to keep the legs completely straight when the dumbbells get to the shoulders; if the legs were not straight, but rather bent, it would no longer be a muscle clean, but a power clean.


Mikkel, on the other hand, makes the compromise of doing the first part of the movement more narrow and the second part of the movement wider than he would if he was doing any of them isolated - and with that compromise, Mikkel is able to keep the same stance throughout.


The advantage here is not that he can cycle the reps faster, but that he doesn’t have to deal with the headache of additional footwork - and as such, there is less that can go wrong.


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