Four Old-School Exercises That Still Get Great Results

Go around the world with Bulgarian Split Squats, Russian Twists, Romanian Deadlifts and Turkish Get-Ups to get a great full-body workout.

Stuck in a rut with your offseason or in-season conditioning program? The following workout comprising of four old-school exercises can provide a refreshing challenge. These workouts also happen to come from around the globe, as they are Bulgarian Split Squats, Russian Twists, Turkish Get-Ups and Romanian Deadlifts.

These go-to popular movements are tough but definitely worthwhile, delivering key sports performance-boosting rewards such as a stronger core, enhanced upper- and lower-body muscle mass, and improved endurance especially when done with minimal rest between sets.

Required Equipment and Recommended Guidelines:

  • Two moderately heavy (70-80% RM) dumbbells (or substitute a plated barbell for the Romanian Deadlifts)
  • One lighter (50-60% RM) dumbbell, kettlebell, med ball or weight plate for doing Russian Twists and Turkish Get-Ups
  • Bench, plyometric box or a sturdy chair for Bulgarian Split Squats
  • Exercise mat or soft surface for performing Russian Twists and Turkish Get-Ups
  • Sets/Reps: 3x10
  • Rest: 30-60 seconds between sets; 60 seconds between exercises.
  • Perform the workout on non-consecutive days for adequate recovery.
  • Alter the exercise sequence each workout for variety.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Technique: Hold both dbs at your sides and place your rear left foot atop the bench, box or chair and your right leg in a lunge position. Slowly descend until your left knee nearly touches the ground. Pause one second and return to the beginning. After 10 reps immediately switch positions placing your right knee atop the elevated object and do 10 reps.

Russian Twists

This exercise strengthens the oblique and additional abdominal, hip and lower-back muscles required for twisting/rotational motions for many sports. Core muscles are especially susceptible to injury when weak.

Technique: Sit on a mat or soft surface with your knees slightly bent and your feet on the floor while holding a lighter db, kb, med ball or weight plate with your arms extended at chest level. Do 10 fast rotations with the object from side to side. Advanced version: In successive sets make the exercise more challenging by performing it with your feet off the floor!

Romanian Deadlifts

Regularly performing this traditional exercise is excellent for building hamstring, hip and back size and strength—commonly injured muscle groups when weak.

Technique: Assume a shoulder-width stance holding the barbell or dbs with a pronated or alternated grip with the arms extended close to your body. Keep your legs just slightly bent to take the pressure off your lower back and extend your hips while slowly descending and keeping the back straight and not rounded. Pause at the bottom and feel the tension in your hamstrings and glutes, then slowly return to start position and do nine more reps.

Turkish Get-Ups

Turkish Get-Ups are particularly sports-applicable when having to rapidly rise from a seated or lying position and chase after an opponent.

Technique: Perhaps the most difficult of the four exercises described in this article since several muscles throughout the body are simultaneously involved during the movement (core stability required while utilizing, leg, hip, arm, back, and shoulder muscles), it is typically performed with a kettlebell, though a db may substitute.

Start from a supine position on the mat or soft surface while holding the kb or db in one hand with your arm extended above your chest. Bend the knee on the same side as you're holding the kb or db to 90 degrees while keeping your opposite leg straight. Lift the kb or db higher while rotating on to your opposite side keeping that leg straight throughout and pressing down on your right foot to lift your hips off the floor while pivoting the straight leg under your body to arise. Return to start position and repeat nine more times. Rest and switch hand positions with the kb or db and repeat for 10 reps. Rest and do two more sets per side with the kb or db in that hand.

Photo Credit: kali9/iStock