The best exercise you’re not doing…..

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is spinal rotation
.
You should do this because– if you don’t use it, you lose it. The upper spine is built for rotation
Makes your everyday life easier because– When your spine moves like it should,this means less pain and better movement for your body
 Form tip – Keep an upright posture and use a pain free range of motion . Do 5 reps on both sides daily. Great work by Tim Anderson at Original Strength. 

A women’s guide to getting stronger……

Women have been told for far too long that less is more when it comes to their bodies.  Words like ‘slim,’ ‘toned’ and ‘skinny’ permeate through most women’s fitness magazines.

Celebrity trainers have a dazzling array of bodyweight and pink dumbbell moves that target the hips, waist and thighs so women can have their best spring body ever.

What are those heavy dumbbells or that barbells on the floor? If I touch one of them, I might turn into the Hulk.

hulk-2

Don’t worry, ladies, this will not happen to you because of a little thing called testosterone and your lack of it in comparison to men. (1) Besides, testosterone makes men do silly things and we need you to help clean up our messes.

Wishful thinking, right?

maid

Strength training has tremendous health benefits for both men and women, including but not limited to

  • Injury prevention
  • Plays a role in disease prevention (2)
  • Protects bone and muscle mass
  • Helps turn you into a calorie burning machine
  • Helps with better movement and less pain

Should women deny themselves the benefits of strength training because of a few myths that never seem to die?  The short answer is no, you shouldn’t because strong is the new sexy.

However, if you’re new to all of this, where do you start?

Start right here. Let’s look at the movements you’ll be doing to get stronger and why you’re doing them.  Then I’ll outline a program for you, so you too can get strong.

1. SQUATS

This is a movement we’ve been doing since we were babies. Yet somehow between childhood and adulthood, some of us lose the ability to execute this fundamental human movement correctly.

Why it’s important to train 

  • It’s a full body exercise
  • Gives you great looking legs
  • Develops core strength
  • It’s a movement you perform every day.
  • Builds lean muscle and burns a ton of calories.

This is what a squat should look like

Baby-squat
I rest my case
2. BENCH PRESS

The bench press is not only for the guys. A lot of women I know get a huge sense of empowerment hoisting weights above their chest. It’s a great upper body strength builder that helps build lean muscle on your chest, shoulders and arms.

Why it’s important to train

  • Helps build upper body strength, a weak point for a lot of women
  • A great compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups
  • Gives you a great looking upper body
  • To show the guys up

 

3. Row 

We tend to forget about the muscles that we cannot see. That’s not a good idea because we live in a society that sits too much while slouching forward. Overtime this can lead to upper back muscles that are weak and overstretched.

A weak upper back contributes to poor posture and back/shoulder pain.  The row helps strengthen the upper back, grip and gives you better looking arms.

Why it’s important to train 

  • Strengthens your upper back
  • Improves your posture
  • Helps give you a better-looking arms, shoulders and back

 

4. FARMER’S CARRY

How often do you find yourself carrying around heavy stuff? Once a day or a couple of times per week?  It’s something that we do on a regular basis when you think about it.  For example, when we carry shopping bags.

So why not train this in the gym? There’s nothing complicated about the farmer’s carry. Pick up some heavy weights and walk. However, it’s not easy and it’s a challenge you’re sure to enjoy. Or not.

Why it’s important to train

  • Works on your core, strength and cardio simultaneously
  • Has significant carryover to real life.
  • Gives you a vice like grip
  • Develops great looking shoulders and upper back.

YOUR PROGRAM

This 6 week, 3 day a week program below will concentrate on the movements described above with a few exercises sprinkled in to work on the thighs, triceps and core.

The trainings are divided into heavy, light and moderate to help you build strength and lean muscle.

If you unsure on how to warm up before you train, do this.

 

Training A – Heavy (Monday or Tuesday)

Instructions- Do the exercises one after the other, resting 2 minutes between each exercise. Try to go up 2.5 – 5 pounds each week while maintain good form. Click on exercises for video demonstrations.

1A. Squats (Sumo OR Goblet) 3 sets 5 reps

1B. Single arm row (Dumbbell OR Cable) 3 sets 5 reps on each arm

1C. Single leg (Split squats OR Reverse lunge) 3 sets of 5 reps on each leg

1D. Dumbbell bench press 3 sets 5 reps

 

1E. Farmer’s carry (20-25% of your bodyweight in each hand) 3 sets 40 yards

 

 

Training B- Light (Wednesday or Thursday)

Instructions- Use a lighter weight than training A because you’re doing more reps. Exercises 1 and 3 will be done as superset (back to back). Rest as little as possible between exercises and rest 60-90 sec at the end of each superset. Exercise 2 do both sets with as little rest as possible in between sets.

1A. Squats (Sumo or Goblet) 2 sets 15 reps

1B. Single arm cable row 2 sets 15 reps on each arm

2. X band crossover 2 sets 15 reps

 

3A. Overhead triceps extensions 2 sets 15 reps

 

 

3B. Push up plank 2 sets to failure

 

 

Training C Moderate (Friday or Saturday)

Instructions- Use a heavier weight than training B because you’re doing less reps. Exercises 1 and 3 will be done as a superset (back to back). Rest as little as possible between exercises and rest 60-90 sec at the end of each superset. For the Suitcase carry, rest as much as needed.

1A. Squats (Sumo or Goblet) 3 sets of 10 reps

1B. Single arm dumbbell bench press 3 sets 10 reps

 

2. Suitcase carry (25% of body weight in one hand) 3 sets 40 yards in each hand

 

 

3A. Single leg (Split squats or Reverse Lunge) 3 sets 10 on each leg

3B. Inverted or TRX row 3 sets 10 reps

Wrapping up

After this 6-week program, you’ll be stronger and more confident in and out of the gym because strong is the new sexy.

Do you need any more help getting started? Then I have the program for you, a 12-week online program that will help you get stronger and more confident in the gym.

This program includes

  • A through fitness assessment. This assessment lets me know where you stand and is the baseline against which we can measure your progress.
  • A Skype consultation to discuss your short-term and long-term goals. This will allow me to write a customized program and to answer any questions you may have.
  • 12 weeks of customized programming, broken into 3 4-week blocks
  • Regular Skype and email check-ins to see how your progressing and to address any concerns you may have.

Hurry, spaces are limited. Find out more and grab your spot right here.

 

 

 

 

The best exercise you’re not doing

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is back to wall shoulder flexion.
You should do this because– It reinforces good posture and works on the mobility of your shoulders. Which is important if you sit all day or have achy/stiff shoulders.
Makes your everyday life easier because– Having adequate  mobility of your shoulder region can lead to less shoulder and lower back pain.
 Form tip – Breathe out as you’re raising your thumbs to the wall. Do this daily for 10 repetitions.

Upper body workout for women

Who doesn’t want lean sexy arms and a slim midsection in no time? You can achieve both in just 15 minutes using just the cable machine. Just kick the men off and have some fun ladies.

Working your entire upper body in standing position is highly effective for activating all your core muscles. Using heavier weights combined with working one arm at a time, takes this to entirely different level.

Who said you couldn’t do more in less time?

INSTRUCTIONS

Do these exercises in order, doing six repetitions on each arm. Choose a weight that allows you to complete each exercise with perfect form. Rest for a little as possible between exercises and  for 60 seconds at the end of each circuit. Repeat the circuit twice for a total of three rounds.

Exercise One- Straight Arm Pull down

Stand, facing the weight stack and adjust the height of the handle so your right hand is waist height, with your arm straight.  Take a step back with your right leg. Pull the handle to your right hip and return to starting position.  That’s one rep. Do 6 repetitions and repeat on the other side.

 

 

Exercise two- High Chest Press Punch

Set the cable to just over your shoulder height. Facing away from the weight, right elbow bent at 90 degrees and at shoulder height with right leg back. Punch the weight by extending your elbow and return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat sequence on the other arm.

 

 

Exercise three- High Back Row

Using the same cable height as exercise two or a little higher if you wish, face towards the weight. Right arm extended and right leg back “pull” until your elbow is at 90 degrees with the elbow at shoulder height.  Slowly return to the start. That’s one rep. Repeat on other side.

 

 

Exercise four- Low Chest punch

Setting handle above waist height, face away from the weight right elbow bent at 90 degrees, upper arm by your side with right leg back.  “Punch “by extending your elbow and slowly reverse to starting position.

 

(Low the handle to around waist height and punch out. Have the cable underneath your arm)

Exercise 5- Low Back Row

Have the cable handle on the lowest setting and face towards the weight stack with right arm extended and right leg back. Pull until you upper arm is by your side (at 90 degrees) and right elbow not going past your torso. Slowly reverse to starting position.

 

 

Wrapping up

Do you need help getting stronger ladies? Then I have the program for you. A 12-week online program that will help you get stronger and more confident in the gym.

This program includes

  • A through fitness assessment. This assessment lets me know where you stand and is the baseline against which we can measure your progress.
  • A Skype consultation to discuss your short-term and long-term goals. This will allow me to write a customized program and to answer any questions you may have.
  • 12 weeks of customized programming, broken into 3 4 week blocks
  • Regular Skype and email check ins to see how your progressing and to answer any questions you may have.

Hurry, spaces are limited. Find out more and grab your spot right here.

 

Why you need a coach

It was the middle of July in the sweltering, unforgiving Texas heat and my football coach was making the team run 200 meter sprint repeats at the END of practice. As you can imagine, we were all thrilled and no one complained at all.

Cooper
If looks could kill

After a few intervals, most of the team was gassed and we still had a few more to go. When my turn came around, I took off sluggishly and the coach was none too pleased. He started to scream a few choice words in my direction.

It was nothing that bears repeating here because what’s said on the field stays on the field, just like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

However, among the expletives, he dropped a pearl of wisdom.

“Practice should be harder than the game, so the game is easy.”

That was all the motivation I needed. I sucked it up, dug deep and ran out my final intervals without compliant.

That’s the beauty of having a coach. The coach picks you up when you’re feeling down and makes you dig deep when you’re spent and can still see the good in you when nothing is going your way.

Being a personal trainer, I see the value of coaching from both sides of the fence. I coach clients in a one-on-one setting and I occasionally reach out to fellow professionals for advice when I’m struggling with a client or a new exercise concept.

Because there are times when coaches need coaches.

We can all benefit from having a coach in our corner at some time in our lives, whether you’re already a coach or you’re looking for something bigger and better in your life.

A little of Drill Sergeant Lou can be just what you need.

Officer
Come on, you can give me one more

If Sgt. Lou can’t convince you, here are a few more reasons why you should consider hiring a coach.

1. Coaches bring out your best

 I’m a believer that you already the tools inside of you to be a success. You weren’t put on this Earth to be ordinary, you’re put here to be extraordinary. You may feel like this is new age mumbo jumbo but bear with me for a moment.

Like a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client, you fail to look at yourself objectively. You’re either too hard on yourself or fail to see the good inside of you. You cannot see the forest through the trees. (This is all true for me, too.)

This just makes us human and not Sheldon Cooper.

However, do you know who can help you access those tools and bring out the best in you? A good coach, that’s who.

For example, after coaching my client Ellen for a few months in the art of deadlifting she became capable of this.

Not bad for a grandmother coming off three knee surgeries, If Ellen didn’t hire a coach, she would’ve never have realized what she was capable of. Now, she does. That’s one advantage of having a coach in your ear.

2. Accountability

 One of the reasons why people hire personal trainers is to provide them with accountability because they’ve made an investment of money and time in the pursuit of better health and fitness.  It always helps to have some skin in the game.

However, if they don’t show up, they’re wasting their money and the trainer’s time. This can result in one pissed off trainer. Trust me, you don’t want to upset the person who writes exercise programs for a living. Just saying.

Recently, I was struggling with my own training. I had no program and zero direction. If I didn’t feel like training, I didn’t. I had the dreaded case of do as I say, not as I do. I was accountable to no one and I realized I needed assistance because the mirror and the scale were looking dire.

In a moment of clarity, I reached out to coach extraordinaire Tony Gentilcore to write my strength and conditioning program. Now I feel accountable to Mr. Gentilcore because he has eyes everywhere (like a ninja) and I also report in every week.

A good coach will help keep you on the straight and narrow.

3. Distill information

 New information comes at us thick and fast in this 24/7 world. There always seems to be a bigger and better way of doing things and you may feel like you’re getting left behind.

Do you remember when this came out? I wish I could forget.

In the health and fitness universe, the crap, the lies and half-truths come from every direction.  What’s good or bad for you changes daily. However, rather than panic and make a radical change that you don’t need, consult a coach instead.

A good coach should always have your best interests at heart.

Wrapping up

 You cannot go through this life alone. At some stage, you’re going to need some help.  That’s what a good coach will do, help you be more awesome than you already are.

And who doesn’t want that?

Do you need help getting stronger, ladies? Then I have the program for you, a 12-week online program that will help you get stronger and more confident in the gym.

This program includes

  • A through fitness assessment. This assessment lets me know where you stand and is the baseline against which we can measure your progress.
  • A Skype consultation to discuss your short-term and long-term goals. This will allow me to write a customized program and to answer any questions you may have.
  • 12 weeks of customized programming, broken into 3 4-week blocks
  • Regular Skype and email check-ins to see how your progressing and to address concerns you may have.

Hurry, spaces are limited. Find out more and grab your spot right here.

Should women exercise differently than men?

There’ve been a few times (maybe more) when I’ve been shown up by a woman in the weight room.   Rather than being embarrassed by this, this inspires me to work harder because let’s face it, most men don’t like losing to a woman.

More and more women of today are mixing it up with the men in the weight room and are stepping away from the cardio machines. They’re also being celebrated for their athletic achievements on and off the field and not just for the way they look.

Strong is the new sexy. You’ll get no argument from me.

strong

However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Parts of the mainstream media and some celebrity trainers (I use that term very loosely) think endless cardio and lifting pink dumbbells are the only way to ‘melt’ those pounds off.

Women have been told for too long that building muscle is ‘bad.’ Instead, words like toning muscles, melting fat, and getting lean have been tossed about because women fear they will look big or bulky if they strength train.

Don’t worry girls, that will never happen to you because of a little thing called testosterone and your lack of it in comparison to men. (1)

women-bodybuilder
She’s had a little help

There are many advantages to building lean muscle, including

  • Increase in physical strength
  • Increase in calorie burn even at rest
  • Increase in energy
  • Increase in self confidence

Should women be excluded from these benefits? No, of course not. Let’s see why (in my opinion) women shouldn’t be afraid of muscle and the barbell.

1.  We do the same things

Despite the obvious differences (hormonal, body composition, organs, etc.)  between a man and woman, we still perform the same fundamental human movements everyday such as pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging and carrying heavy stuff around.

These are movements that we ALL need to get stronger in.

2.  Low weight, high rep myth

As I mentioned earlier, some women have bought into the high rep, light weight mentality because they believe lifting heavier weights will get them too ‘muscly.’ That’s quite ironic because training with low weight/high reps with minimal rest is one of the accepted protocol for muscle building, but I digress.

However, let’s get one thing straight before we go any further, ladies. Building muscle is extremely hard for males and females alike.

To gain a pound of muscle you need a 4500-calorie surplus above what you usually eat. That’s a lot of protein shakes and hamburgers. So, when you lift moderate to heavy weight with appropriate reps and eat like an adult, you’re not going to look like the Hulk.

hulk-2

Keep in mind that it only took the Hulk a few seconds to get huge

Of course, you can get bigger muscles from strength training but it’s not necessary a side effect as evidenced by numerous track and field athletes, sprinters and gymnasts.  These people need to be strong relative to their bodyweight to perform at their best.

Training with heavier weights and lower reps with sufficient rest, the muscles will get stronger but not necessarily bigger. According to the American Council on Exercise, most women will gain around 20 to 40 percent in muscular strength after several months of resistance training. (2)

That’s a big deal. No pun intended.

3.  Strong muscles, strong bones

Another consideration for why women need to strength train and not throw those silly pink dumbbells around is little thing called bone mineral density (BMD) and the issues women have with osteoporosis, particularly after menopause.

Our bones store important minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, and if we don’t consume enough of these minerals our body takes these minerals from our bones, potentially making the bones weaker.

Nobody wants that.

According to Wolff’s law on bone remodeling, bones will adapt to the loads under which they are placed. What does this mean? It means that lifting weights and taking the recommend doses for calcium will keep your muscles and bones strong for life, which is important.

There are also correlations that suggest that more lean muscle mass leads to a higher BMD and prevents the risk factors associated with stress fractures – another reason not to be afraid of muscle. (3)

Wrapping up

Lifting weights and getting stronger have great benefits for both men and women. Women don’t need to be afraid of picking up and putting down the barbell any longer. Besides, men need a little friendly competition in the weight room anyway.

Do you need help getting started, ladies? Then I have the program for you, a 12-week online program that will help you get stronger and more confident in the gym.

This program includes

  • A through fitness assessment. This assessment lets me know where you stand and is the baseline against which we can measure your progress.
  • A Skype consultation to discuss your short-term and long-term goals. This will allow me to write a customized program and to answer any questions you may have.
  • 12 weeks of customized programming, broken into 3 4-week blocks
  • Regular Skype and email check-ins to see how your progressing and to address concerns you may have.

Hurry, spaces are limited. Find out more and grab your spot right here.

Female fat loss myths

We’re all suckers for a good myth, like believing that the Loch Ness monster really exists or Elvis is strutting his stuff in a dive bar in Vegas somewhere. These myths are harmless, even fun.

loch-ness

However, Ladies, some myths can be harmful, especially when to comes to your fat loss.

The following three myths have been circulating for years and now’s the time to put them to bed, for good, so you can get the body you want.

1. Cardiovascular exercise is more important for fat loss then weights

Cardio should be included in every well balanced exercise routine. It has numerous health benefits (reduced risk for heart disease, reduced blood pressure) as well as burning calories.

However, when it comes to fat loss, cardio should never be the primary method, according to Scott Josephson.

“Keep in mind that the biggest concern when trying to lose weight is muscle loss. If you lose fat and lose muscle along with it, you might have a bigger issue to tackle. Less muscle mass equals’ lower metabolic function.

Fat loss programs should ideally concentrate on you controlling the ratio of calories in and calories out, as well as you doing everything in your power to prevent losing muscle”

Losing muscle will sabotage your fat loss efforts.  Lifting weights will prevent this while doing more cardio will not.  So Ladies, get off the treadmill and lift for a change. Your waistline will thank you.

2. “Ladies, you can tone and shape your muscles using this revolutionary method from…..”

thighmaster

 You’ve been feed this bunch of baloney for far too long. Just because this has been repeated over and over again by marketers try to sell you things doesn’t make it true. Listen again to the wise words of Josephson, who will set you straight once and for all.

“Generally speaking and despite what marketing tells us, there is no training system, method, or tool that will ultimately change the shape of a muscle since they are genetically determined. Our parents ultimately have more to do with our physique than just about anything else does.”

So from now on, concentrate on calories in and calories out and lifting weights two-three times a week, and never fall for that line again.

3. Lifting anything heavier than a pink dumbbell will get you huge

You may have seen those female bodybuilders and thought to yourself, “That’s going to happen to me if I lift heavy.” Stop that line of thinking right now. This is not going to happen for two reasons:

1. Those ladies eat, take supplements and train for years and years to get that look.

2. Females don’t have as much muscle building hormone testosterone as men do.

Fear not, Ladies. Training with heavier weights while maintaining a caloric deficit will help you burn fat, make your muscles stronger and help reveal the body you desire.

Now leave the treadmill behind and go mix it up with the men in the weight room. Flexing and admiring yourself is completely optional.