Keeping exercise simple

 

Do you remember the scene from The Matrix when Samuel. L. Jackson told Keanu Reeves he would show him just “how deep the rabbit-hole goes”?

Sometimes a personal trainer has to be like Jackson.

matrix
At your own risk

On the surface, exercise is simple. You strap on a pair of shoes and run. You grab a dumbbell and do a few curls.

However, as you go further down the rabbit hole, exercise becomes more and more complex.  Supersets, giant sets, circuits, mobility, core stability, breathing and metabolic training. Confused yet?

Exercise terminology is complicated and the methods are numerous.

Exercise can be overwhelming for the general population looking to get fit and healthy. It’s not a lack of information that’s stopping them, its information overload. Paralysis by analysis.  The rabbit hole just looks too deep.

So where do you start?

You start by keeping it simple.

A great coach named Dan John has broken down exercise into 6 movements which are

  1. Squat
  2. Push
  3. Pull
  4. Hinge
  5. Carrying something heavy
  6. Groundwork

Although there are many other exercise movements, these are a great place to start.

I’m assuming you’re at different places in your fitness journey, so I’m breaking the first 4 movements above into beginner (you’re new to weight training), level 2 and level 3 exercises.

For the carry part, you’re on your own

1. Squat

 

Beginner- Stability ball squat ( add weight if necessary)

 

Level 2 – The body weight squat

 

Level 3 – The Goblet squat

 

 

2. Push

 

Beginner – Incline push up (Use a height where you’re able to do 8-12 reps)

 

Level 2 Dumbbell bench press

 

Level 3 – Push up

 

 

 

3. Pull

 

Beginner- Standing single arm cable row

 

Level 2- Kneeling Lat Pull-down

 

Level 3 – Inverted row

 

4. The Hinge

 

Beginner- Swiss ball hip extension

 

Level 2- The Stick

 

Level 3- Dumbbell Romanian deadlift

 

5. The farmer’s walk

 

 

6.  Groundwork (include in your warm up)

 

Crawling

 

Rocking

 

Rolling

 

For example, a beginner circuit would look like this.

  1. Stability ball squat
  2. Incline push up
  3. Single arm cable row
  4. Swiss ball hip extension
  5. Farmers carry

Instructions

 

Be honest on where you are in your fitness journey and choose the appropriate level of exercise for you. Try to keep on the same level for exercises 1-4.

For the carry, choose a weight that allows you to do the distance specified and use some of the groundwork moves in your warm up before get after it.

You will do the exercises as a circuit (one exercise after the other with little or no rest in-between) 1-5 (in order), then resting and repeating for a specified amount of circuits.

You will train 3 times a week, and you’ll rest 48 hours in between trainings.

What is your goal?

 

You’ll start by sticking to one goal. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make is chasing too many goals simultaneously.  You’re more likely to have success if your stick to one goal, so decide if your goal is

  1. Fat loss
  2. Lean muscle gain
  3.  Getting back into shape

So take a moment to decide before you read on. This has a huge bearing on which style of training you will choose below.

Putting it all together

 

1. Fat loss

 

Day 1– Complete 8 reps (select a weight that allows you to do 8 reps) of each exercise 1-4 in the circuit fashion explained above. If doing the standing single arm row, do 8 reps on each side. For farmer’s walk do 20 yards and then walk back for 20 yards for a total of 40 yards.

Each set will take you 1 minute to complete and each circuit 5 min to finish. Do a total of 4 circuits in 20 minutes.

Day 2 – Choose a lighter weight (when using resistance) than day one. Do as many reps of each exercise 1-4 as you can in 30 seconds (single arm row do 30 sec on both arms) and do the farmer’s walk for 30 sec total.  Rest for 30 seconds at the end of each exercise.

Again each circuit will take you 5-6 minutes. Rest 60- 90 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do a total of 3 circuits.

Day 3 – Do 15 reps of each exercise 1-4 in a circuit fashion. For the farmer’s walk, do 20 yards there and back for a total of 40 yards. Rest as little as possible between exercises and rest 60 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do a total of 3 circuits.

2. Muscle

 

Day 1 – Do 6 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (heavier than usual) that allows you complete each rep. The farmer’s walk do 20 yards there and back for a total of 40 yards. Rest as little as possible between exercises and 60- 90 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do 4 circuits.

Day 2 – Do 10 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (5-10 pounds lighter than day 1) that allows you to complete each rep. For the farmer’s walk, do 20 yards there and back for a total of 40 yards. Rest as little as possible between exercises and 60- 90 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do 3 circuits.

Day 3- Do 15 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (5 pounds lighter or the same weight as day 2) that allows you to complete each reps. For the farmer’s walk, do 30 yards there and back for a total of 60 yards. Rest a little as possible between exercises and 60-90 seconds at the end of each circuit. Do 3 circuits.

3. Getting back into shape (perfect for those just starting out)

 

Day 1- Do 15 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight that allows you to complete each rep. For the standing single arm cable row, do 15 reps on each arm. For the farmer’s walk, do a total of 20 yards. Do 2 circuits, resting as much as you need between exercises and circuits.

Day 2- Do 12 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (5 pounds heavier than day 1) that allows you to complete each rep. For the standing single arm cable row, do 12 reps on each arm. For the farmer’s walk, do a total of 30 yards. Do 2 circuits, resting as much as you need between exercises and circuits.

Day 3- Do 10 reps of exercises 1-4 with a weight (same weight as day 2) that allows you to complete each rep. For the standing single arm cable row, do 10 on each arm. For the farmer’s walk, do a total of 40 yards. Do 3 circuits, resting as much as you need between exercises and circuits.

Wrapping up

 

Do this training for 6 weeks in total. If you need more than 48 hours to recover between trainings, take it. When the current level of an exercise becomes easier, go up a level. When the weight becomes less challenging, go up by 5 pounds. Don’t hold yourself back.

Keep this simple and the results will come.

Any questions or need you need help with your exercise programming? Contact me here. No question to great or small.

Is online personal training for you?

coach
Credit- steptucson.com

Personal training is often viewed as a luxury. The buff guy /attractive female trainer taking care of their wealthy client is a cliché sometimes portrayed on television and other mainstream media. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Rising health care costs and the obesity epidemic, combined with affordable gym memberships, have led to a rise in everyday people hiring personal trainers. For example, people who

  • Want or need to lose fat
  • Are in pain/injured and cannot afford physical therapy/rehab
  • Are looking to remain active in their retirement years

However, after a while personal training can become expensive. On top of finding time to exercise due to the demands of work, family and the occasional sickness, exercise can get pushed to the bottom the to-do list.

Also, if money needs to be trimmed from the budget, personal training costs can be the first to go. Does any of this sound like you?

If you want the expertise a trainer provides but cannot afford the price tag then online personal training  can be a solution to those problems. Other advantages of online training are:

  • Reduced price but not a reduced service
  • Training on your own schedule, whenever and wherever you please
  • Individualized exercise programming
  • Accountability and motivation
  • Taking the confusion out of your training in this era of information overload

Having a coach in your corner can take your training and results to the next level.  A personal coach working just for you is something you need to experience because it’s very empowering.  If you’re the type of person who

  • Knows his or her way around a gym
  • Is reasonably tech savvy
  • Likes being told what to do
  • Has a busy work schedule
  • Wants results yesterday

Then online training is the right fit for you. It just so happens that Balance Guy Training loves online training and my website can be found right here.  If you’re interested in online training, you can contact me through my website or  here

Your results are just a click away.

How to improve your posture

My posture use to suck.

However, nobody one tells you that your posture is bad – not your coworkers, your local GP or even your chiropractor.  It’s like having a booger up your nose that no one tells you about. People stop, stare and snicker instead.

Only a true friend will tell you, “Hey, you’ve got a booger up your nose!”

Lucky for me, I was set straight by a few friends and now I have much better posture.

But what leads to poor posture?

We live in a look down society. We look down at our smart phones, tablets and computers. We also sit too much and move too little, which is a recipe for disaster when it comes to our upper back strength and posture.

 

Don’t be this lady.

For every inch our ears are forward from our shoulders (forward head posture) you increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds. (Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3)

This is bad stuff indeed. It can lead to the muscles of the upper back getting weak and inhibited. Further down the track this can lead to rounded shoulders and ape-like posture.

apes

Upper back strength also plays a huge role in the big lifts such as squats, deadlifts, chin ups and even the bench press, so this is a big deal for hardcore gym goers as well.

So how do you go about building upper back strength and improving posture?

Exercises like bent over rowschest supported rows, Lat pulldowns and pull ups all work great. Doing twice as many of these as pressing exercises is a must for healthy shoulders and good posture.

In addition, consider the following two exercises. Not only do they build upper back strength, the KB rack walk will challenge your core and lungs.

1. KETTLEBELL RACK WALK

Kettlebells are not just for swinging. Holding the bells in the rack position correctly takes a fair amount of upper back and anterior core strength.

Walking with the kettlebells racked only adds to the excitement.

 

Training suggestions

Pair this with any movement were the upper back takes a prominent role.

For example:

1A. Bench press, any pulling variation or back squats

1B. Kettlebell rack walk 40 yards.

Or try this little finisher.

Kettlebell rack walk 40 yards.

Do one walk every minute on the minute.  If one walk takes you 40 seconds, rest 20 seconds before you start your next walk. You can unrack the kettlebells if desired or keep them racked for an extra challenge.

Do five-ten walks or until your upper back is screaming at you.

2. High rep band pull-aparts. 

Be warned that these don’t tickle, but pull- aparts directly work the muscles in your upper back as well as your rotator cuff and posterior deltoid.

When done for high reps, this helps improve your muscular endurance (important for posture and holding your head up) and provides nice little muscle pump for your shoulders.

Who isn’t up for that?

 

Training suggestions 

On your off days, try to get in 100 reps in a day, doing at least 20 reps at one time. As you get more proficient, do less sets and more reps.

On your training days, this makes for a nice filler exercise while resting between sets on your big strength movement for the day. For example:

1A. Bench press, squat, deadlift or pull up

1B. Band pull a parts 20- 30 reps.

 

WRAPPING UP

Showing some love to the muscles you cannot see will help improve your posture and lead to a better looking and performing body.

Who doesn’t want that?

Need help with your posture or exercise routine? Contact me right here

 

Get a grip

get-a-grip
We all need a better grip

Your everyday life requires grip strength and endurance. Think about it, how often do you

Pick up something from the ground or overhead and then carry it?

Carry in groceries from the car?

Open a new jar?

Rip open a cardboard box or a packet of your favorite indulgence?

It goes without saying the lifting barbells and dumbbells also require high levels of grip strength. At times it can be the number one limiting factor. You can either grip it or you can’t.

So doesn’t it make sense to train such a vital skill? Hopefully your answer is yes.

1. FARMERS WALK 

Picking up a heavy weight and walking with it sounds simple enough but it’s a real challenge. This full body exercise not only trains your grip but works on your cardiovascular fitness and mental toughness.

This underrated exercise always deserves a prime time spot in your exercise routine.

 

Training suggestions 

Pairing this with an exercise that doesn’t require a ton of grip strength is ideal. For example:

1A. Bench press, squat, shoulder press or hip thrust.

1B. Dumbbell farmers walk- 40 yards.

 

Or you can include this in a core training superset. For example:

1A. Side plank or Front plank variations 30- 60 seconds

1B. Dumbbell farmers walk 40 yards.

After this, opening a jar will be no big deal.

 

2. PLATE PINCH 

 

Did you know we have 34 muscles that move our fingers and thumb? That’s a lot of muscles to neglect.

Our fingers can be incredibly strong – strong enough for some people to climb mountains, while supporting their entire weight at times by a few fingertips.

We give all our other body parts some love (hello, biceps), so why not our fingers?

Training suggestions 

Save this exercise for the end of your training, when you’re looking for some extra bicep work. If your biceps/forearms look anything like mine, do this tri-set two to three times per week.

1A. Dumbbell biceps hammer curl 15- 20 reps

1B. Barbell wrist curls 15-20 reps

1C. Plate pinch (with 5-10 pound plates) to failure on both sides

Repeat this circuit three times with minimal rest in between exercises.

 

 

Wrapping up

Grip strength plays a big role in our everyday lives so it makes perfect sense to train this in the gym. If you’re lucky, you’ll start to get a better handle on things also.