Are you wondering what the Man Maker exercise involves and if it’s as challenging as they say? If so, keep reading.
Ask any fitness enthusiast to name their least favorite exercise, and they’ll likely say Burpees.
This is not surprising, given that they are an intense cardio and total body training exercise that leaves all but the super-fit breathless after a few reps.
Many people give up on them. If you’ve persevered, mastered the exercise, and want to kick things up another notch, try Man Makers.
A full-body, weighted exercise suitable to include in circuit training or strength workouts, their pace is slow and steady. But be warned, they make Burpees feel like a walk in the park.
Each repetition involves three different exercises, including a High Plank, a Single-Arm Row, and a Thruster. These are done one after the other without a break in between while holding dumbbells.
The exercise is not for the faint-hearted and is not suited to beginners.
Read on to find out the primary muscles Man Makers target and how to perform them.
I will also include some modifications that will make the exercise a little easier for you when starting.
Table of Contents
What Muscles Does the Man Maker Exercise Target?
Man Makers offer a total-body workout and excellent cardio benefits. They make an excellent addition to circuit training, a HIIT fat-burning workout, or any workout during which you want to challenge yourself.
When done using the correct form, the specific muscles targeted include:
Upper body – The shoulders and upper back, lats, traps, deltoids, and rhomboids.
Mid body – Core, including the abs and lower back.
Lower body – Glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
How Many Reps Should I do?
Maintaining the correct form is imperative when doing the Man Maker exercise. If your form starts to suffer, stop.
Try 2 or 3 repetitions to start, building to 10 over time, and taking a day off between sessions.
Preparing for the Exercise
Before you attempt the Man Maker exercise, practice doing Burpees.
While Burpees are faster-paced, they will teach you how to transition from a plank to a standing position while keeping your core engaged.
The risk of injury to the lower back, in particular, increases if you don’t master Burpees before doing Man Makers. A factor in this is that Man Makers typically incorporate dumbbells.
Also, newbies tend to use their lower backs when lifting to a standing position instead of pushing through their heels and using their legs. For this reason, it’s wise to master the Squat before trying Man Makers.
Initially, you may want to break the moves into three distinct elements, familiarizing yourself with one before moving on to the next.
Beginners tend to lean forward, placing their body weight on their toes and neglecting to engage their glutes at the top of the movement.
By leaning back slightly, so your weight is in your heels and engaging your core and glutes at the top of the movement, you will benefit more from the exercise and help prevent injury.
Next, we will look at how to do the Man Maker exercise.
How to Do the Man Maker Exercise
1. Start by standing with a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Bend your knees and place the dumbbells on the floor parallel to each other, approximately shoulder-width apart.
3. Grip the dumbbells, engage your core and glute muscles, and with your back straight, shoulders directly over the dumbbells, jump both feet back, so you are in a High Plank position.
4. Do a Push-Up.
5. At the top of the Push-Up, do a Single-Arm Row.
To do this, bend your right elbow, and pull your right arm straight up above your back as high as you can before lowering the dumbbell to the floor.
At this time, your body weight will be supported by your toes, left shoulder, arm, and upper back.
Repeat this movement with your left arm.
6. Jump forward to a Squat position keeping your weight on your heels. Engaging your hamstrings and glutes to avoid straining your back; straighten your knees to lift your body.
7. With bent elbows close to your sides, lift your arms, and with your palms facing forward, bring the dumbbells to shoulder height.
8. Do a Squat, then jump up.
8. At the top of the last movement, press the dumbbells up, straightening your arms without locking your elbows.
9. Bend your elbows, lower your arms to your sides, then return to your starting position.
Repeat steps 2 to 9 for as many repetitions as desired.
Man Maker Exercise Demonstration
Placing the dumbbells closer together at the beginning of the Man Maker exercise will work your triceps muscles more.
If you place them further apart, there will be more emphasis on your chest muscles.
If you haven’t done Man Makers before, step your feet back, one at a time, rather than jump back.
You should also select a weight lighter than you use during strength training or use your body weight alone (no dumbbells).
This will enable you to keep your movements fluid. When you’re familiar with the exercise, add light weights, or graduate to heavier dumbbells if desired.
Using just one dumbbell is another option. To do this, swap the dumbbell between hands when doing rows and hold one end in each hand while doing the overhead press portion of the exercise.
If your wrists aren’t strong enough to hold dumbbells while doing the High Plank portion of the exercise, position your hands on your mat behind the dumbbells, picking them up only when you’re ready to do a Row and jump into the Squat.
For added stability, position your feet shoulder-width apart during the rowing phase of the exercise. Doing this will prevent your hips from swaying, enabling you to get more benefit from the exercise. It will also help to prevent a back injury.
Final Thoughts on the Man Maker Exercise
If you’re looking for a challenging exercise that targets the entire body and provides cardio benefits, Man Makers won’t disappoint.
If you haven’t exercised before, start with something less intense until you build some fitness.
When you’re ready to try Man Maker exercise modify your moves as outlined above.
Take things slowly by practicing the individual moves. Maintaining the correct form and controlling your breathing is more important than doing multiple repetitions with poor form and gasping for breath. If you can only manage one rep, start with that.
It’s also vital that you don’t work with a weight beyond your ability.
By following the modifications and tips above, you will get the most from the exercise and help to prevent injury.