Feel like you want to unleash your inner animal? We've all been there.
No matter what's stressing you out, intense exercise can help you blow off steam. However, certain exercises are more rage-friendly than others. Highly technical movements that require high levels of focus aren't exactly conducive to aggression. But simple, straightforward exercises that require nothing more than repetitive max effort? Yeah, those'll do the trick. Think of the printer scene from Office Space—that's the type of cathartic, savage release we're looking for. Recent research also suggests that quick bursts of intense, all-out exercise might be the most efficient way to train.
With that in mind, here are five primal exercises that let you unleash your inner beast.
* Be sure to warm up before launching into these intense exercises.
1. Med Ball Slams
Our society has shunned slamming—don't slam the cupboard, don't slam the door and certainly don't slam weights. That's precisely what makes Med Ball Slams so satisfying—it's an exercise that lets you slam stuff totally guilt-free. What's more fun than trying to throw a ball into the ground so hard that it burrows its way to China? Rhetorical question, because the answer is "nothing."
"I always say, 'the best exercise is the one that you'll do.' Something about throwing a ball down violently and repeating it is fun to do and can sometimes be therapeutic," says Aaron Bonaccorsy, a performance coach at STACK Velocity Sports Performance. Med Ball Slams are also a great exercise for athletic performance, because they train your core to transfer power between your upper and lower extremities.
How to Perform Med Ball Slams
- Find an area of solid ground where you know your slams will not cause damage. Cement or the floor of the weight room are good choices. Grass works, too.
- Grab a med ball (not too heavy, between 8 and 10 pounds should work).
- Assume an athletic stance and hold the med ball at waist level in front of you.
- Rise up onto your toes as you bring the med ball overhead.
- Explosively contract your abdominals and drive your chest down to slam the ball into the ground with as much force as possible.
- Retrieve the ball as it bounces up and go into your next rep.
- Your feet should remain in a good athletic stance throughout the exercise.
- Perform 3x6 reps with maximum effort.
2. Sledgehammer Hits
If slamming a ball is good, then smacking stuff with a sledgehammer is even better. Though this exercise might seem like nothing more than an excuse to act like a badass with a sledgehammer, the athletic benefits it confers are very real. That's why it's a major component of the training programs of many athletes, including Drew Brees.
"The whole body is working, and it's tremendous conditioning," says Todd Durkin, Brees's personal trainer and the founder of Fitness Quest 10. "When the hands come down, you want to generate some speed of movement. Stay tight in the core so that your lower back does not get hurt. Fatigue is good; pain is not good."
How to Perform Sledgehammer Hits
- Grab an 8- to 10-pound sledgehammer.
- Get into an athletic position and bring sledgehammer over your right shoulder.
- Explosively slam the sledgehammer into the tire.
- Repeat continuously until set is completed.
- Switch hands between sets.
- Perform 3x10 reps on each side.
3. Tire Flips
Wrasslin' a tire is an excellent way blow off steam—especially when it's a tractor tire that weighs several hundred pounds. Tire Flips have greatly increased in popularity in recent years, and we've seen a wide variety of athletes include them in their routines. Examples include All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt, motocross legend Brian Deegan and All-Star slugger Adrian Gonzalez. Tire Flips develop triple extension power and full-body strength, making them a particularly exhausting exercise. If you don't know of a facility with a tractor tire near you, you can always pick one up yourself.
How to Perform Tire Flips
- Assume an athletic stance.
- Squat and get a solid grip with your hands under tire.
- Drive through your heels and extend your hips, knees and ankles.
- Forcefully shrug your shoulders to bring the tire up to shoulder level.
- Keep forward momentum and push through the tire to flip it over.
- Perform 3x10 reps.
4. Rope Slams
All right, back to slamming. Rope Slams are perhaps the simplest exercise an athlete can do with battle ropes (also called heavy ropes). They focus on endurance and full-body power. The more you put in, the more you'll get out. Rope Slams are also super loud, because what's the fun in causing destruction on mute? If you can feel the entire gym rattling around you, you know you're doing it right.
How to Perform Rope Slams
- Wrap the rope around something immovable.
- Walk backward until there's little or no slack in the rope.
- Assume an athletic position with your hands at your sides, holding one end of the rope in each hand.
- Stand straight up and lift your arms in front to shoulder level.
- Immediately bend your hips and knees, and slam the rope into the ground.
- Stand back up and continue slamming until the set is complete.
- Perform 3x30-60 seconds
5. Sprint Intervals
Stressed out? Why not run away from your problems by doing some interval sprints. Sprint training builds fast-twitch muscle fiber, which benefits every athletic movement. It also requires your body to learn how to deal with an oxygen debt, increasing your cardiovascular endurance. Sprint training is often the more efficient, more beneficial form of cardio for athletes. In addition to building a higher percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers, it raises your lactic threshold, allowing you to power through crunch time with less pain and fatigue. Sprint training is also a form of high intensity interval training, meaning it continues to burn calories long after you've concluded your workout.
Exactly how to perform interval sprints is up to you, but here are some examples of different ways to structure your sprinting:
- 5 Brutal Sprint Drills That Push The Lactic Threshold
- Pyramid Sprint Workouts
- A Basic Treadmill Interval Sprint Workout