Reclaim your waist with 5 simple moves

After you polish off your second side of fries and the guilt sets in, you finally resolve to go the gym to work on those flabby abs. If it’s been a while since you’ve hit the gym and you’re thinking about resorting to those old school moves of crunches and sit ups, stop now.

Instead, use the five easy moves below to work on your abs without your spine exploding.

1. Heel touch- Lie on the floor, bend your knees to 90 degrees and bring them towards your chest until they’re above your hips. Breathe out as hard as can while slowly lowering one heel to the floor. Alternate heels while keeping the low back in neutral during the entire exercise. Do this for one to two minutes.

2. Leg lowering- Lie on the floor and raise both feet towards the ceiling while keeping the knees straight. Slowly lower left heel towards the floor, without ever touching it, while breathing all the air out of your lungs. Breathe in on the way back up and repeat this for six-eight reps on each side.

3. Dead bug– Lie on the floor, bend the knees to 90 degrees and bring them towards the chest until their above your hips. Then extend arms towards the ceiling. Take a deep breath in and lower the right arm behind you and extend the left leg in front of you while breathing out. Return to starting position and alternating sides. Do six-eight reps on both sides.

4. Rollbacks- Get into the end of a sit up position with heels and butt on the ground. With fingers behind the ears, take your chin to the chest and slowly lower yourself towards the ground, one vertebrae at a time. Once your low back touches the ground sit up again and repeat this sequence for one-two minutes.

5. Knee to elbow- Stand tall with arms by your side, elbows bent at 90 degrees and palms facing each other. Raise right knee towards ceiling and meet it with your left elbow, then left knee, right elbow. Keep alternating sides until you do 20 reps on both sides.

Knee to elbow A

Knee to elbow B

Wrapping up

You can do this as a circuit or insert one or more of these exercises into your current routine.

Keeping your core training simple and effective and not crunching like a mad man will help strengthen the muscles of the core and keep your low back a happy camper.

I love training the core and if you want any more ideas you can send me an email.

Email- shanemcleantraining@gmail.com

 

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The best exercise you’re not doing

This is a series on exercises that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and outside of the gym. Today’s exercise is side planks with breathing courtesy of Matthew Ibrahim.

You should do this because–  it’s hard to convince anyone to do side planks, however, if you suffer from lower back pain, this is the perfect exercise for you because it puts less direct stress on your spine while strengthening your mid-section.

Makes your everyday life easier because– any exercise the encourages you to breathe correctly will help reinforce  proper breathing in your regular daily activities.

Form tips –  Watch the video. Make sure your elbow is underneath your shoulder and your body is in a straight line.  Do 5 breathes on each side daily or as part of your warm up.

 

Email-shanemcleantraining@gmail.com

Efficient training

When I was footloose and fancy free, I had all the time in the world to train and I acted accordingly.

And before you ask, yes, dancing was a part of my pre-workout but I was no Kevin Bacon.

Now being a much older dude with a wife, kids, mortgage and all the trimmings, the demands on my time have grown exponentially.  I imagine this has happened to you too, now that you’re all grown up.

Those meathead sessions of curls and presses are now a thing of the past because as you get older, you need to be smarter about your exercise time. However, you still need your exercise to be effective and that’s where training efficiency come in.

 

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There is nothing special or magical about these exercise techniques below. They’re just a way of reorganizing your exercise to suit your schedule while still getting the results you deserve.

When you do have more time, you can bust a move like Kevin Bacon all you want.

 

Kevin bacon

 

1. Density training

Density training is about increasing the amount of exercise (sets X reps) you do in a given amount of time. You’ll improve your ability to do more exercise in less time, which is also known as improving your work capacity.

Density training is a fantastic training method for fat loss. You get a better body and improve your fitness level all at the same time.

What’s not to love?

Instructions

This type of training is best done two-three days per week with 48 hours rest in between trainings. All the exercises will be done for time. The work rest periods are as follows:

Beginner (you’re just starting out) 20 sec work/40 sec rest.

Intermediate (you’ve been exercising for 6 months) 30 sec work/30 sec rest.

Advanced (you’ve been getting after it for a year or more) 40 sec work/20 sec rest.

It’s a five-exercise circuit (one after the other) using the movements below.

Note-These are examples only, you can choose any variation you want

1. Squat variation – BW squatGobletSumo or Barbell squat

2. Push variation- Incline push upPush up or Dumbbell bench press.

3. Single leg exercise- Reverse lungeForward lunge or Side lunge (Alternating sides).

4. Pull variation- Rack pullDumbbell bent over row or Standing cable row.

5. Core- Alternating side plankMountain climbers or Front plank.

You’ll complete two-four circuits (depending on how much you have in the tank on training day) for a total training time of between 10-20 minutes.

Training tips

*  Have all the equipment you need near so you don’t need to move much and to    save time between exercises.

* Keep track of your reps and weight to measure improvement.

*  Do as many reps as possible within your time frame with correct technique.

Choose a weight which allows you to complete all your reps with good form.

*  Choose different variations to keep things fresh.

2. Timed sets

 When you’re pushed for time but you still want to get your sweat on, limiting your time, reps and the equipment you use is a great way to train with a minimum of fuss and fanfare.

There’s nothing magical about the 8 minutes and 8 rep protocol. You can change it to 5 and 5, 6 and 6 or 7 and 7 depending on how much time you have.

Instructions

Complete each training as a circuit, resting as little as possible between exercises. Rest 30- 60 seconds at the end of each circuit and do as many rounds as possible within eight minutes.

Select a weight that allows you to complete all repetitions with good form. If you’re stacking trainings, rest 90-120 seconds between rounds and choose no more than three in the one session.

You can mix and match these to your hearts content.

Eight-minute legs

1AGoblet Side Lunge– 8 reps on each leg

1B. Goblet squats- 8 reps

1CSingle leg hip extensions – 8 reps on each leg

Note- Use either a dumbbell or a kettlebell.

Eight-minute arms

1A. Overhead triceps extensions– 8 reps

1BConcentration curls – 8 reps on each arm

1CTriceps pushdowns– 8 reps

Note-You will need access to a cable machine and dumbbells. Keep them both close.

Eight-minute shoulders

1A. Band pull apart- 8 reps

1B. Band shoulder press- 8 reps on each arm

1C. Band In/Outs- 8 reps on each arm (four front raises/four lateral raises)

Eight-minute chest

1A. Dumbbell chest flies– 8 reps

1B. Single arm chest press– 8 reps on each arm

1C. Incline pushups– 8 reps

Eight-minute back

1A. Dumbbell pullover– 8 reps

1B. Bent over reverse flies– 8 reps

1C. Single arm row– 8 reps on each arm

Eight-minute core

1AFront plank with shoulder tap– 8 reps on each side

1B. Side plank with hip dip– 8 reps on each side

1C. Reverse crunches – 8 reps

3. Complexes

A complex is a series of exercises done back to back where you finish the reps of one lift before going on to another and the barbell (or dumbbells) only leaves your hands or touches the floor when all the lifts are done.

Complexes are fantastic training method for fat loss and building muscle and will save you a ton of time.   However, these are not for the faint of heart. They may look easy on paper but when you’re neck deep in one, it’s an entirely different matter.

Make sure you’re familiar with all the lifts before attempting any of the complexes below and keep the weight on the lighter side for the first set until you feel confident enough to crush it.

Note-Please warm up thoroughly before attempting these.

1. The bear barbell complex

  • Power clean
  • Front squat
  • Push press
  • Back squat
  • Push press

Complex 8 (do 3 sets and rest 90-120 seconds between complexes)

 Dumbbell 7-7-7 complex

  • Overhead triceps extensions
  • Hammer curl
  • Overhead press
  • Bent over row
  • Split squat left leg
  • Split squat right leg
  • Sumo burpee

 Note- You can find more complexes here.

Wrapping up

Being short on time doesn’t mean you short yourself the benefits of exercise. Increasing your intensity and condensing your training will keep you looking, feeling and moving great.

And who knows? You may give Kevin Bacon a run for his money after all.

 Email- shanemcleantraining@gmail.com

 

New year’s fitness tips

Everyone likes a tip. A tip that is actionable and helps you reach your goal or  outcome you desire.

Diet tip

The best fitness tips usually revolve around consistency, efficiency and lifting tricks. Because let’s face it, if you have no consistency or no back up plan when life gets hairy, the best program in the world isn’t going to save you.

This New Year is a time to wipe the slate clean and look onward and upward in relation to your fitness goals. The following tips can be easy applied to any fitness goal you strive for and will help you have your best fitness year yet.

1. Schedule your exercise(in Google Calendar or whatever app you use), like you would with any important appointment. You’re less likely to skip your training, and this will help you develop consistency.

2. Use a different tool for the same job the shoulder press exercise can be performed with either a barbell, dumbbell, resistance band, kettlebell or cable machine. Each offers its own benefits which helps keeps things interesting and can help prevent overuse injuries.

You can apply this to many exercises such as rows, squats or chest presses.

3. Hire a coach shorten your path and increase your exercise knowledge by hiring a coach. Stop thinking and googling and let some one like me help your reach your goals.

4. Show intent the more tension you create when you LIFT, the stronger you are. Stronger is always better. Hold that dumbbell tighter, squeeze the muscles of your behind harder or brace your abdominals like your about to get punched.

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5. Improve your mobility get up and down from the ground by minimizing the use of your hands and knees. Do this a different way each time for 1 min. This doubles as warm up and cardio too. Did I mention it’s a challenge?

6. Drink some coffee having coffee 1 hour before training and some after your training helps you do more during your training and helps your recovery after your training. Don’t leave home without it.

7. Start and finish with abdominal work use planks at the start of your training to activate your mid-section before hitting the weights and planks at the end of your training to improve core stability when you’re fatigued.

8. Pause for strength a great way to increase  intensity without increasing the weight is to add a pause. This will keep the working muscle under tension longer, helping you get stronger and build muscle.

9. Reduce your base of support changing your body’s position in space is an underrated way of improving your balance and core stability. Try the half kneeling and tall kneeling positions while lifting. Your core will be pleased.

Tall Kneeling

Half Kneeling

10. Cut yourself some slack not every day is going to be your greatest day in the gym or in life. There will be days when you’re tired, sore or lack motivation to exercise and that’s perfectly normal. Put it in your rearview mirror,  don’t dwell on it and move forward.

11. Close your eyes when you exercise. Feel the movement and the muscles it’s working. This helps improve your balance and awareness of your body in space also.

12. Your body is a machine there is nothing wrong with getting your heart rate up on a cardio machine but using your own piece of machinery is a great change of pace and a lot of fun also.

Use some examples below to get your sweat on.

Concentric bodyweight training

Tabata squats (20 seconds work 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds)

Jump squat/jump lunge combo (start at 6 of each and increase in by one per round until you can’t go anymore)

Med ball slam and Kettlebell swing combo (start at 20 of each and go down by 2 each round until you get to two

13. Get a grip strengthen your fingers by holding two 5 or 10-pound weight plates together by your sides for a long as you can.

Wrapping up

If you doing the same old thing, you’ll keep getting the same old results and you don’t want that, right? Change it up this new year for  better results and a better body.

The scale and the mirror might just become your friends.

Any questions?

Email- shanemcleantraining@gmail.com

The best exercise you’re not doing…..

This is a series on exercises that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and outside of the gym. Today’s exercise is head nods.

You should do this because–  It is a simple and easy exercise that helps with your posture, upper back mobility, spine health and balance. It’s a big bang for your buck exercise.

Makes your everyday life easier because– it can help relieve neck/shoulder tension due to stress which in turn can help with your headaches.  If you have any problems with balance, this should be your go to exercise.

Form tips –  Press the tongue into the roof of your mouth to protect your neck and let your eyes lead the way. Do 10 reps daily.
If you need help with your training you can contact me here.
Email- shanemecleantraining@gmail.com

Winter training tips

The leaves are changing color, the winds are blowing and old man winter is starting to knock at your door. It’s that dreaded time when the temperature and your motivation to exercise drops faster than Usain Bolt winning the 100 meters.

You either cannot get out of bed to do your usual workout, the cold weather derails your outdoor exercise or your couch is just so comfortable that you and the couch have become one.

Hey no biggie, you say to yourself. You’ll drag out those comfy sweaters to keep those soft spots under wraps. Nobody will notice. However, one person will and that’s the only person that matters.

So put those oversized sweaters away and keep your motivation up and the scale down by following my winter workout tips. Your waistline will thank you.

1. Have a backup plan

 Let’s face it, there’s going to be times when going to the gym or outdoor exercise becomes almost impossible. Rather than just throwing in the towel and calling it a day, use the towel for this body weight circuit.

Use this has your back up plan.

Warm up

  1. Bodyweight squat 10 reps
  2. Incline push up – 5 reps
  3. Triple extensions – 20 reps
  4. Repeat once for a total of two circuits.

Concentric Body weight Training

1A. Triple extensions – 30 seconds

1B. Incline plyo push-ups- 6- 12 reps

1C.. Towel row 30 seconds

1D.. Single leg hip extensions 8-12 reps on each leg

Repeat this three times for a total of four circuits. Rest as little as possible between exercises and rest 1 minute at the end of each circuit.

2. Out of sight out of mind

If your danger food is in your house, you will eventually eat it. All those comforting carbohydrates that you’ll turn too when you’re either bored, hungry or cold, Just don’t buy them or throw them away.

If that’s too drastic, reward yourself after exercise when your body can accept extra calories. However don’t go crazy.

The same goes for those comfy sweaters. Pack them away. You don’t need to hide anything.

3. The world is your gym

During any holiday season when time and the weather is against you, it’s the time to get creative with your exercise. Think outside the gym. Here are some ideas.

  • Use cans of food for these arm and shoulder exercises.
  • Fill an empty milk jug to do these exercises
  • You don’t even need get off the couch to do this.

That’s just a few ideas. You’re only limited by your imagination.

Don’t let old man winter get in your way of your fitness. Get after it, have fun and smile and sweat.

If you need any help with your training, please contact me here.

Email- shanemcleantraining@gmail.com

Instant exercise upgrades

Remember how your English teacher told you to dot your i’s and cross your t’s?  Or your high school coach always telling you to move your feet? Sure you do, it wasn’t that long ago, right?

coach 3

These are called one per centers. One per centers can make a big difference to your result. The same goes for when you exercise. A few tweaks can have a big payoff.

Here are a few exercise upgrades that you can use right away in your own training. I’m all about making it easier. Trust me, I’m a trainer.

1. When bench pressing or doing push-ups, bring your shoulder blades together as you lower the bar towards you or your body towards the floor. This provides a stable base to press up from.

2. When you’re exercising with your hands on the floor, push them into the ground and then spread your fingers apart. This creates more tension in your shoulders, triceps and it’s also easier on your wrists.

3. When squatting, or deadlifting turn your right foot clockwise and your left foot anti-clockwise, while keeping your feet flat on the ground. This creates tension in your outer hips to prevent your knees collapsing inward.

As an added bonus, you get a better looking behind.

4. When the front plank is not doing it for you anymore, try the RKC Front plank. This turns a core exercise into a total body challenge. Creating more tension while you exercise will only make you stronger.

5. Wrap a towel around a dumbbell/barbell while lifting. This increases your grip strength as it demands more work from your wrists and forearms. Doesn’t everybody want their forearms to look like Popeye’s?

6. Do all your upper body lifts (dumbbell, barbells or machine) with one hand. This will help iron out strength imbalances between your left and right sides. In addition, you’ll get an unexpected core workout.

Your English teacher was right for a change. One per cent does make ALL the difference.