Really Tough Exercises for Your Elite Athletes

liYour athletes that have done the S.S.X. program for a year will need extra challenges. They can do 30-40 Push-Ups, they knock out Crunches like a machine, and do Pull-Ups in their sleep. They have made huge strength gains, but are hitting plateaus.  It’s time for a challenge.

These exercises should be performed only by the most advanced, in-shape athletes as they challenge balance, strength, flexibility, technique and willpower.  Allowing time for athletes to perform these as auxillaries in April & May are very powerful motivators for other athletes to step up their game.


Muscle-Ups take a tremendous amount of upper-body strength and explosiveness, combining a Pull-Up with a Dip. Kipping (using your body weight to create momentum) makes Muscle-Ups easier, so only the fittest of the fit can pull off a Non-Kipping Muscle-Up.

  • Hang from the bar using a false grip, meaning your thumb is on top of the bar as opposed to underneath it.
  • Perform a Pull-Up and generate enough force to drive your upper torso above the bar.
  • Push your chest out over the bar and turn your hands over. Your upper body is now above the bar, your elbows are bent and you have an overhand grip.
  • Push yourself up to straighten your arms and complete the Dip, keeping your chest out over the bar.


Muscle Ups
Muscle Ups


The athlete grabs the bar (palms facing face is easier) and swings his legs upwards so that the pull up bar is touching his knees/shin while the bottom of his feet are facing upwards towards the ceiling.  So his body is stiff, elbow & knee joints are locked.  He then pulls his body towards the ceiling, so the pull up bar touches his belly / lower chest section.  The legs & knee joints remain stiff during entire movement.

Pullup Reverse Rows

BOSU Ball Pistol Squats

The S.S.X. program has an entire spring progression of single leg exercises, staring with lunges, then 1-leg squats with back leg on the bench, then single leg squats while grabbing a bar, to the advanced unassisted Single-Leg Squats.  Single-Leg Squats aren’t easy, but many athletes can do them. Throw in a BOSU ball, however, and it’s a completely different story. BOSU Ball Pistol Squats are an extremely challenging exercise that will test their balance and punish their quads.

  •  Place a BOSU ball flat side up on the ground in front of you.
  •  Stand on the BOSU ball with one foot in the center and the other foot in the air in front of you.
  •  Lower yourself into a Squat, straightening your arms out in front of you.
  •  Keep your knee behind your toe throughout the Squat and keep your butt back.
  •  Once your thigh is parallel to the ground, push off your heel to return to the starting position.
  •  Add dumbbells or a weighted vest to increase difficulty.


Bosu 1 Leg Squat
Bosu 1 Leg Squat

One-Arm Push-Ups

One-Arm Push-Ups require technique, strength and balance. The width of your feet changes the difficulty of this exercise, so start with a wide base and become more narrow-footed as you progress.  The off hand is behind the back.

TRX Single-Arm Pendulum Swings

This exercise will crush your core. It requires technique, strength, balance and timing. It utilizes the TRX suspension trainer, and it’s a favorite of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Throw in a couple sets of Single-Arm Pendulum Swings at the end of your workout and you’ll have a shredded 6-pack in no time.

The TRX suspension trainer can be two ropes (pullup bands will not work) hanging from the ceiling or pullup bars.  There should be hooks or rings at the end to slip your feet in.

  • In pushup-plank position & each foot in each ring, bring your feet towards your elbows, so that your butt rises in the air. This is the warmup.
  • Then swing your feet to each side of your body, bending your knees into the rib cage while hands remain in the pushup-plank postion.
  • After a couple of swings, start shifting your weight so that only your hand away from the swinging legs is on the ground.
  • As your knees become even with your belly button, the hand nearest the knees should be in the air.
  • Return to standard Push-Up position before performing the movement on the other side of your body.


TRX Band Pushups
TRX Band Pushups

Pushup Roll Outs

This is another core-crushing exercise that will put both your upper and lower abs through the wringer. This should be done with a physio ball, but we have substituted a barbell with round 45 lb weights on each end and did the revese move.

  • Begin the exercise in a Push-Up position with your shins on top of the Physioball.
  • Push your rear end up slowly, letting the Physioball roll down to your toes. Keep your hands flat on the ground.
  • At the top of the movement, your torso should be nearly perpendicular to the ground, and your body should form a near 90-degree angle. If you can’t reach that position at first, work your way up to it.
  • Lower your rear end slowly and let the Physioball roll up your legs.
  • Continue past the starting position until your hips are above your head and the Physioball has rolled up to your mid-thigh. Use your hands to propel yourself backwards.
  • At the bottom of the movement, your body should almost form a straight line pointing toward the ground.
  • Use your hands to pull yourself forward and back to the starting position.

Barbell Pushups with Roll Out

An alternative is to keep your feet stationary while using the barbell.  Roll the barbell towards the feet as your butt rises in the air, until your upper body is 90 degrees perpendicular to the ground in a handstand postion.  Then roll the barbell back out away from the feet until you are in pushup postion.  Advanced move would be to let the barbell roll out past the head and then bring it back into a pushup position.

physio ball pike roll out
Pushup Roll Outs


Hand Stand Pushups

We usually have the entire class to these with feet against the wall or a partner holding their ankles….but our advanced athletes will do them unaided.


Pushup Rows

Put Hex Dumbells on the floor and grip the handles in pushup position.  Do a pushup and after rising up, “lawnmower” 1-arm row each dumbell so that body is stabilized on remaining arm.  Works Back, Chest, Triceps, and abs.


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