Tuesday March 11, 2014
If you like complicated core exercises that make your head explode, this 360 Plank is the perfect move for you. And I can say with all honesty that it really will make your head explode. You've been warned.
You can actually blame this exercise on Patrick Goudeau, who presented it in his workout video, Hard Work Conditioning 2. The reason I totally stole this exercise is because it's actually a whole body move with a focus on the core. It involves a variety of exercises - Lunges, planks, rows - and it involves a variety of skills - Coordination, balance, strength, exploding heads, etc.
I've also provided an alternative exercise below for those of you who think this move is completely ridiculous.
Do you have any favorite whole body moves? Leave a comment and tell us about them.
360 Plank: Hold weights and lunge to the left (right leg is straight) taking the weight in the left hand down to the floor. You should now be in a runner's lunge with the right arm pulled up into a row. Put the right weight down as you straighten the left leg into a plank. Now pull the right weight up again into a row as you step forward with the same leg (that would be the right leg). Stand up and now you should be facing the back of the room, at which time you repeat the series again with your left lunge, plank row and stand. Complete 4 circles and then repeat 4 circles in the other direction.
Alternative: Modified Plank with Row: Get into a pushup position on the hands and knees, holding a medium weight in the right hand. Keep the torso stiff and straight. Pull the right weight up into a row, lower and repeat for 8-16 reps before switching sides.
Monday March 10, 2014
Whenever I meet with new personal training clients, most are a little surprised when I ask where they're planning to exercise when they're not with me. Now I know part of it is because they wish I could work them out every day--who wouldn't, right? But the other part is the fact that they're so focused on the results of their workouts, they haven't really thought about the actual execution of those workouts.
However, where you exercise is at least as important as how you exercise because, if you're not in an environment that works for you, the chances of success go down.
Take *Barbie, a client who spent a lot of money and time setting up her home gym. Treadmill, weights, bands, big TV with cable, speakers...the works. After all that work, getting her butt down there to actually exercise was like getting my husband to put his clothes in the laundry basket. That is, nearly impossible.
The major issues for her were that, first, her workout room was in the basement, a dungeon-like space that was never going to not feel like a dungeon no matter what color she painted the walls. Second, she worked at home and had a crazy busy job, so she had no motivation to workout with so much to do.
Turns out that for her, a gym membership was a better option, although these days she does manage to use her home gym once a week or so.
There are pros and cons for joining a gym or working out at home, but what it comes down to is finding a place where you'll actually do your workouts.
Thinking of your situation, have you found the 'right' place for you to exercise? If you had your druthers, where would you exercise? Vote in this week's poll and leave a comment telling us about your favorite place to exercise.
Thursday March 6, 2014
We're all pretty good at finding excuses to skip our workouts. For example, if you haven't alphabetized your CD collection...wait, I just transported back from the 90s and am back in the current century. If you haven't organized all the Apps on your iPad or watched every episode of "Breaking Bad," how can you possibly take time to workout?
You may be an expert at avoiding exercise but, today I want you to practice finding reasons to exercise. We're often so busy thinking of all the obstacles that stand in our way, we don't think about the fact that, deep down, we really want to exercise. Or maybe we just want to want to exercise? Not sure.
Here, I'll get you started:
- To lose weight - You already know that exercise, along with a healthy diet, can help you lose weight, something most of us wouldn't mind accomplishing.
- To feel good - This is a great reason to exercise because you can feel good in a variety of ways and at a variety of points during your workout and even during the rest of your day. You can feel good by getting some stress relief or by increasing your energy or just by knowing you did something good for yourself.
- To check it off your to do list - Doesn't it feel good to clear your to do list? Workout? CHECK!
- To prove you can - I have a client who tried and failed multiple times at exercise, something her husband regularly teased her about. After a year of working with me, she takes great pleasure in finishing every workout and singing the na-nanny-boo-boo song to her doubting husband.
- To beat someone else - If you're ever lying in bed, thinking about skipping your workout, think of all the people in the gym right at that moment who are working out. Don't let them beat you!
- To be able to say 'yes' when your doctor asks if you exercise - It just feels good.
- To be able to smile at the jogger passing you on the street - Instead of feeling guilty that you didn't do your workout.
Well? What reasons can you come up with to exercise today? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
What about you? What reasons can you find to exercise? Write them down and put it nearby when you need a boost to keep going.
Wednesday March 5, 2014
Yes, it's okay to want to have me arrested for using the phrase "super fun!' in the title of this blog post.
Moving on, I've been talking a lot about exercise boredom lately and about how we can change our workouts to make them more interesting and effective. One of my favorite ways to do that is by supersetting exercises. The idea is to put together two (or more) exercises that work the same muscle group and do them one right after the other with no rest in between. By doing that, you add intensity to your workouts and, of course, you save time since you cut out the rest periods - Although you do want to rest after each superset.
To try it yourself, all you have to do is choose at least two exercises that work the same muscle group, but work in different ways - Say, pushups and chest flies or overhead presses and front raises. Do them one after the other, rest and then repeat. You'll find this really fires up a whole bunch of muscle fibers you never knew you had.
Another option is to just follow the superset workouts I've put together for you:
Superset Total Body
What about you? Do you use supersets in your workout? Or do you have other techniques you use to mix up your strength training? Leave a comment and tell us about it.