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Simple Bodyweight/Barbell Combos for Amazing Strength Part II — The “Chaser”

Danny Kavadlo Hybrid Strength Combos Part II
Bodyweight and barbell exercises can be combined in many ways. In this three-part series I examine different applications in which one can successfully combine barbells and calisthenics for the best possible results. Last week we discussed push/pull supersets. Today we focus on lower/upper body combos, specifically a concept known as the chaser.
Whenever we perform a lower body exercise followed by an upper body exercise (or vice versa), we get many of the same benefits we got from the push/pull supersets we discussed last week. For example, we can accomplish more in less time, get some sort of peripheral cardiovascular effect and improve our conditioning. Changing things up can also help one avoid mental plateaus.
In all lower/upper superset combos, the exercises are performed back-to-back, with little rest in between. After one set of both exercises is completed, then a proper one-to-two minute rest is taken, after which the exercises are again repeated in succession. This opens us up to almost limitless combos, as just about any lower or upper body exercise is fair game. A lower/upper "chaser" refers to a specific approach regarding exercise selection and sequence.
The idea is that by following a big compound exercise that involves full physical, mental and spiritual commitment, you can bang out a flurry of reps of an exercise that requires a shorter range of motion, simpler movement pattern and/or lesser energetic demand.
To get the most from this system, the first exercise should be damn close to maximum training load. Complex barbell lifts require the greatest exertion. You want to harness this energy surge and immediately chase it with a simpler exercise. That’s why barbell and bodyweight combos work so well here. Bodyweight training is by its very nature the simplest form of strength training available.
Here are my favorite barbell/bodyweight chaser combos. All of them employ classic barbell lifts combined with basic bodyweight basics. These combos employ some of the most fundamental exercises from Part I, so refer back to last week for exercise descriptions if needed. After warming up, each combo can be performed with heavy weight 3 to 5 rounds in a single workout. Do not do COMBO A and COMBO B in the same workout. Take a day of rest or active recovery in between. Although the following combos are simple, they are not easy.

COMBO A • Deadlift w Push-up Chaser

Danny Kavadlo Deadlift Pushup Chaser
Overview: A deadlift is a full body pulling exercise that incorporates just about every muscle in the body. The push-up is an upper body pushing exercise.
Why it makes sense: Executing high reps of push-ups sometimes comes easier after the huge energy expenditure of heavy deadlifts.
Trainer talk: I suggest this combo when deadlifting very heavy— as high as 80% of 1-rep max or more, so make sure you are warmed up first. Try going close to max reps on the push-ups every time.

COMBO B • Barbell Squat w Pull-up Chaser

Danny Kavadlo Barbell Squat Pull Up Chaser
Overview: A barbell squat is a lower body pushing exercise. The pull-up is an upper body pulling exercise. Both require full-body muscular engagement of the entire body for safe and effective reps.
Why it makes sense: After performing barbell squats, you will be super-charged for a single set of pull-ups. This combo works your entire body and accelerates your heart rate.
Trainer talk: I suggest going for a max effort of pull-ups, whether that means one pull-up, twenty pull-ups or anywhere in between. Pull-ups may be performed using an overhand or underhand (chin-up) grip.
We can also take the same barbell exercises and switch the chasers. Like the above combos, I encourage you to warm up and then use heavy weight for 3 to 5 rounds in a single workout. Do not do COMBO C and COMBO D in the same workout. Take a day of rest or active recovery in between.

COMBO C • Deadlift w Pull-up Chaser

Overview: This is a lower/upper double pull, but really it’s a full-body maximum pulling combo.
Why it makes sense: Supersets do not need to incorporate opposing muscle groups (more on that next week). In a case like this, two exercises are combined to emphasize many overlapping muscles including lats, abs and grip.
Trainer talk: Try to hold your chin over the bar for an additional 30 seconds after your final rep for an additional challenge.  

COMBO D • Barbell Squat w Push-up Chaser

Overview: This is a lower/upper double push that requires a surprising amount of core engagement from the lower back, glutes and abs.
Why it makes sense: Squats and push-ups are the quintessential movements are strength training. They always compliment each other.
Trainer talk: Try to hold the top position of the push-up for an additional 30 to 60 seconds after your final rep for an additional challenge.
Next week, I’ll discuss bodyweight/barbell combos that recruit three exercises in the same circuit to target one muscle or muscle group. Complete programs combining calisthenics and free weights (as well as programming, structure, diet, recovery and more) can be found in my newly released publication from Dragon Door, Hybrid Strength Training.
See you next week!