Man Makers – the name of a popular exercise laughed at by many of the nation’s female Crossfitters. Designed to put your cardio and strength to the test with an advanced flow of connected exercises that many people (man and woman) struggle with at the best of times on their own.
Man Makers essentially combine elements of the much-loved burpy, rows, push-ups and overhead push presses. The joy and what sets apart the so-called men are the connected momentum of the combined movements, which will mean engaging just about all of your muscles at some point in the exercise and keeping your heart rate up.
How To Do Man Makers
Before you attempt Man Makers it is wise to get your technique down to a T on the aforementioned exercises and to warm up beforehand. In terms of preparation, you can practice these at first without weights, but you will require weights for added resistance. We’ll get into that in more detail shortly, but for now, let’s stick with dumbbells.
- Begin in a standing position with a dumbbell in either hand.Squat down, and in a fluid movement place the dumbbells down parallel to one another and shoulder width apart. The width is something you can vary and experiment with later to determine which muscles you will target and which will bear the greater portion of the weight. For example, if your fists are closer together and your elbows are tighter to your body you will work your triceps harder. With the weights wider apart you will get a better chest workout.
- From this position (again, in one purposeful movement), hop your feet back together. This will take you to a push-up position. Beginners are often advised to set one foot back at a time if the jumping motion is too tough. Your shoulders should be directly over the dumbbells. Your wrists should be straight at right angles to the floor. Perform a push up by engaging your core and keeping your back straight. For beginners, lower your knees if your upper body strength isn’t where it needs to be.
- The next part, when you go down and back up to the beginning of the push-up, is to perform a renegade row. This means supporting your body weight with one arm still straight while the other tows back. Your core strength is put to the test here. Twist as you pull the dumbbell back to your waist and slowly lower it to the ground again. Then repeat on the other side.Next, hop or step your feet forward again. From the squatting position, rock back to your heels and take your hands off the floor.
- From here, push up with your legs as you would from the bottom of a squat. Engage your hamstrings and glutes so that your lower back doesn’t take the strain. At the top of the upward thrust, press the weights from your shoulders into the air. As you compartmentalize each exercise, consider this as a shoulder press, so keep your arms from flailing and feel your shoulders and triceps take the weight (as opposed to your neck and back). Bring your arms back down to the starting position and repeat.
Benefits Of Man Makers
There are many benefits to Man Makers. By combining several exercises in one you reap the rewards (and the toil) of each. This means that you target the muscles in each of those exercises with the added bonus of burning extra calories.
Essentially, Man Makers are highly efficient time savers for an all-in-one workout. They work your core, calfs, hamstrings, glutes, quads, posterior chain, biceps, shoulders, chest and back while pumping your heart. Of course, the benefits are yours to be had, but technique comes first. Once you have mastered your technique you can increase the amount of weight you lift and the number of reps so that you increase the calories you burn.
Man Maker Exercises
Dumbbell Man Makers
We mentioned earlier that you have several options when it comes to the different types of Man Makers. The most common involves dumbbells. Square shaped dumbbells, or at least ones with straight edges, will make it easier for you. Rounded dumbbells are a good way to progress the exercise as these will mean you’ll need to further engage your shoulders and core for stability.
As for the amount of weight, that is a matter of your personal strength and ability to perform the continuous lifts. It is, however, a good idea to use half the weight you normally would for any of the lifts involved.
Kettlebell Man Makers
Kettlebells will mean a different and more difficult hold on your weight. To balance and perform a push up while holding the handles of kettlebells will put your auxiliary muscles to work in helping to stabilize yourself. The handle will also mean that heavyweights will be an option when lifting them and perform the shoulder press element of the manoeuvre.
Dumbbells, however, also pose another advantage as they are secure in your grip, whereas you will need to factor in the ‘swing’ of moving kettlebells.
Barbell Man Makers
A barbell will allow you to lift the most weight while creating the most cumbersome obstacle of the three options. Because you are sharing the weight across the bar in both hands you will be able to press a greater amount over your head.
The routine as a whole will need to be altered to compensate for the diminished range of movement. You will lower with a front squat, the push up will require more stability as the bar attempts to roll, and you will need to perform a snatch to hoist the bar to the pressing position. Both dumbbells and kettlebells will mean that you are working on the strength of each arm for symmetry.