Category Archives: athletic conditioning

6 Must Include Total Body Medicine Ball Exercises

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

In our exploration of multiple pieces of equipment to use while adopting a more #Functional approach to training, medicine ball exercises are an excellent resource. Available in varying sizes and weights, these weighted spheres can help improve muscular power and sports performance. Medicine balls can be thrown and caught making for explosive movements that can improve overall athletic ability.

When choosing the correct medicine ball weight, pick a ball that is heavy enough to slow the motion, but not so heavy that control, accuracy, or range of motion loose control. Set a goal of 10 to 15 reps—or as many as you can do with good form.

Below are @fitnesspropelled 6 total body #MedicineBall exercises.

1) Squat with overhead press

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Stand with feet together shoulder width apart, holding a medicine ball in front of the chest in both hands. Lower down to a squat and on the return to a standing position reach the medicine ball straight overhead into a military press. Repeat.

2) Lunge with a twist

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  • Engage your core, standing hip width apart with shoulders relaxed. Holding a medicine ball a few inches in front of the chest, step forward into a lunge with the right leg. Extended arms, reach the medicine ball to the right, rotating the torso at the same time. Maintain the lunge and return to center. Come to standing, then lunge with the other leg (and rotate to the left this time).

3) Rolling push-ups

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  • Start into #High-plank with a medicine ball under one hand, and lower the chest toward the floor to perform a push-up. Return to #high-plank and roll the ball to the other hand. Repeat.

4) Wall Pass

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  • Find the nearest med ball-safe wall. Stand about 3 to 4 feet in front of it, holding a medicine ball with both hands. Get into an athletic stance, with a slight bend in the knees, and the core engaged. Bring the ball to the chest, and firmly throw it at the wall and catch the ball on its return. Repeat at a steady, yet quick pace.

5) Triceps extensions

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  • Stand in a comfortable stance, with the core engaged. Hold a medicine ball in both hands with the arms extended overhead, inner arms grazing the ears Bend the elbows, lowering the ball behind the head until the arms form a 45-degree angle. Squeeze the triceps to straighten the arms, bringing the ball back to the starting position. Repeat.

6) Roman twists

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  • Sit on a gym mat holding a medicine ball in both hands. To start hold the medicine ball out in front of you with straight arms. Twist the torso to the left and then to the right, reaching and planting the medicine ball on the floor toward each hips side. Repeat.

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References:

25 Must-Try Medicine Ball Exercises – BY NICOLE MCDERMOTThttp://greatist.com/fitness/25-must-try-medicine-ball-exercises

Include these 5 Functional VIPR Exercises into Your Workouts

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

Exercising options and varieties have never been more full of options. Creating new and diversified exercise programs are becoming the norm as people are consistently seeking new ways to achieve their optimum levels of fitness. With all these options, comes exploration, so in this article let’s do a quick exploration on what #ViPR training is. #ViPR (“Vitality, performance and reconditioning”) is that rare thing: a seemingly faddy piece of equipment that actually works. “With the #ViPR, every exercise can become a core exercise, a balance exercise and an agility exercise,”. #ViPR is a round looking hollowed tube with two hand grips on one side and one long hand grip on the other. There are no attachments and it allows for optimum movement sequencing.

Below are Fitness Propelleds 5 #ViPR exercises to get you excited about including #ViPR training to your exercise regimen. 3 sets for 30 seconds per exercise with a 1 minute rest per set.

Squat with ViPR through the legs

11-11-2  Holding the ViPR with a shovel grip horizontally in front of you, descend into a squat with the ViPR through your legs. Then, stand and drive the ViPR vertically upward to the start point. Repeat.

Squat into a double-forward drive

22-12-2  Holding the ViPR in a neutral grip, horizontally in front of you, descend into a full squat, lowering the ViPR to the floor. Stand up and step forward into a dynamic lunge, driving the ViPR forward on the same side. Return to standing and repeat the drive on the opposite side.

Front squat to overhead press

33-1  With a shoulder-width overhand grip, bring your elbows forward so your palms are facing upward and the ViPR is resting on your front shoulder muscles. With a neutral spine, lower yourself as if sitting in a chair behind you. Keep your elbows high as you lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause then push back up to a standing position and perform an overhead shoulder press.

Lunge with lateral rotation

44-14-2  Keeping your chest up high and back neutral, rotate your torso and then return to a upright split stance, repeating all reps on the same side before alternating legs.

Core rolling ViPR plank and press-up

55-15-25-3  Laying the ViPR on the floor vertically, place one hand on the end of the cylinder and one on the floor while in the plank position. Make sure to place the hands under the shoulders. Roll the ViPR underneath the opposite hand, hold again in the plank position for 10 seconds and then do one (super slow) press-up.

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5 Must Include Upper Back Stretches

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

In our previous posts we have taken a look at some incredible #Muscledeveloping “Back Exercises”. Be sure to check them out @ https://fitnesspropelled.wordpress.com/ . This post will address some upper back stretching exercises that are designed to restore flexibility to the joints and muscles of the upper back. Be sure to incorporate a targeted stretching routine to your workout regimen.  Below are five #UpperBackStretches that you will want to include into your flexibility program.

1) Shoulder Blade Squeezes 

Shoulder Blade Squeezes Begin sitting or standing tall with your back straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard and far as possible pain-free. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 – 15 times.

2) Extension in Sitting 

Extension in Sitting  Begin sitting tall, with your hands behind your neck. Gently arch backwards and look up towards the ceiling until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain-free. Repeat 10 – 15 times.

3) Rotation in Sitting 

Rotation in Sitting  Begin sitting tall, with your arms across your chest. Keeping your legs still, gently rotate to one side until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain-free. Repeat 10 – 15 times to each side.

4) Side Bend in Sitting 

Side Bend in Sitting  Begin sitting tall, back straight, hands behind your head or neck. Gently bend to one side, moving your elbow towards your hip until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain-free. Make sure you do not lean forwards. Repeat 10 – 15 times on each side.

5) Flexion in Sitting

Flexion in Sitting  Begin sitting tall, with your hands behind your neck. Gently bend forwards allowing your elbows to move towards your thighs. Move until you feel a mild to moderate stretch pain-free. Repeat 10 – 15 times.

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Sources:

Upper Back Stretches – Basic Exercises

http://www.physioadvisor.com.au/8110950/upper-back-stretches-upperback-flexibility-exer.htm

Super Bowl of “Back” Exercises

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

With an incredible Super Bowl XLIX now behind us, we may now focus on our own epic battle of crowning the “2” most effective back exercises. Our earlier posts set up this discussion, so if you’ve missed them and haven’t commented, check out………

From all of our readers comments it was clear that we narrow this match-up to “2” back exercises, that will compete for the @FitnessPropelled “Best Back Exercise”. The match-up is between the #Deadlift vs #Pull-Up’s.

Deadlifts

01-fitness-motivation-sexy-women-deadlifting The deadlift is a compound movement that works a variety of muscles groups:

  • The grip strength (finger flexors) and the lower back (erector spinae) work isometrically to keep the bar held in the hands and to keep the spine from rounding.
  • The gluteus maximus and hamstrings work to extend the hip joint.
  • The quadriceps work to extend the knee joint.
  • The adductor magnus works to stabilize the legs.

The deadlift activates a large number of individual muscles, in particular the back being:

How to do it:

  1. Make sure that your feet are hip width apart.
  2. Bend at the hip to grip the bar at shoulder width, allowing your shoulder blades to protract.
  3. Lower your hips and bend knees until your shins contact the bar.
  4. Look forward, keep chest up and back arched, and begin driving through the heels to move the weight upward.
  5. After the bar passes the knees, aggressively pull it back, bringing your shoulder blades together as you drive your hips forward into the bar.
  6. Lower the bar by bending at the hips and guiding it to the floor.

Pull-ups

index A pull-up is an upper-body compound pulling exercise. The pull-up is performed with a palms facing forward position.

  • A pull up is a closed-chain bodyweight movement where the body is suspended by the arms, gripping something, and pulls up.
  • The wrists remain in neutral (straight, neither flexed nor extended) position, the elbows flex and the shoulder adducts and/or extends to bring the elbows to or sometimes behind the torso.
  • The knees may be bent by choice or if the bar is not high enough. Bending the knees may reduce pendulum-type swinging.

The pull up engages numerous individual muscles. Again, with a focus on the back the pull up targets

How to do it:

  1. Step up and grasp bar with wide grip palms facing away.
  2. Pull body up until chin is above bar. Lower body until arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.

Which of these two top notch back exercises gets your vote and why? Leave your comment below…..

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Sources:

  • Bodybuilding.com
  • Wikipedia.com

6 “Back” Defining Exercises

back By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

When looking from behind and we see the structured anatomy of a well-defined back, we cannot help but want to see that individual’s front side holds in store. In order to acquire such features it takes a fitness artist’s touch to cultivate such a sculpted look.

Let’s take a look at the anatomy the #FitnessArtist must sculpt.

  • The lats and trapezius (aka traps) span the largest area, running from the base of the neck all the way down to the hips. They make up the bulk of the back’s muscle mass and generate the most force. The traps are not just the humps on top of your shoulders, they also dominate the inner part of the upper back.
  • The rhomboids, infraspinatus, and teres are smaller muscles that run diagonally across the width of the upper back. Aesthetically, they add definition and distinct cuts behind the scapula (your shoulder blades). They are typically targeted while working the lats and traps (via rows, pull-ups, etc.).
  • The erector spinae runs vertically in columns along the vertebrae and makes up most of the muscle in the lower back. It is a critical element in all-around core strength.

Exercises: (3 sets for 15 repetitions), progression set add weight, reduce rep #.

1) Pull-ups w/ weighted plates

Pull-ups w. weighted platesPrimary Muscles: Lats, posterior deltoids, rhomboids, infraspinatus, elevator scapulae, etc.

  1. Secure weight belt around hips and add desired weight.
  2. Step up and grasp bar with overhand wide grip.
  3. Pull body up until chin is above bar. Lower body until arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.

2) Core ball prone extensions w/ weight plate

Core ball prone extensions w. weight platePrimary Muscles: Erector spinae, iliocostalis, longissimus, spinalis

  1. Prop yourself up on a core ball holding a weight plate with arms crossed to secure the plate.
  2. Without arching your back, slowly bend your torso forward until it forms a 45º angle with your legs.
  3. Squeeze your lower back and raise your body back up to starting position. Repeat.

3) Lat pull downs (narrow, wide, palms facing grips)

Lat pull downsPrimary Muscles: Lats, trapezius, posterior deltoids, middle back, erector spinae

  1. Find a lat pull down machine with interchangeable clips. Place two hand grips on it.
  2. With palms facing one another, lean back 70 degrees and pull down sliding your hands alongside your rib cage, then out wide to 90 degree hinges, then palms facing you narrow pulls. Repeat.

4) Single arm cable rows

Single arm rowsPrimary Muscles: Upper back, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, etc.

  1. Sit on a secured bench and grasp cable stirrup with one hand. Straighten lower back and position knees with slight bend.
  2. Pull cable attachment to side of torso, slightly twisting through waist. Pull shoulder back and push chest forward during contraction. Return until arm is extended and shoulder is stretched forward. Repeat.
  3. Continue with opposite arm.

5) Weight plate lifts

Weight plate liftsPrimary Muscles: Posterior deltoids, upper back

  1. Choose a weight plate and stand with your feet around shoulder width apart.
  2. Hold the weight plate with your palms facing one another at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. Let the weight plate rest on your thighs. Straighten your back, tense your mid section and pull your shoulders back, taking the weight off your thighs and holding it about 5 inches from your body. This is the starting position.
  3. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise the plate up until your arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Pause, and then slowly lower the plate back to the starting position. Repeat.

6) Bosu ball loaded push-ups

Bosu ball loaded push-upsPrimary Muscles: Pectoralis major

  1. Lie prone on floor with hands slightly wider than shoulder width placed on the dynamic side of a bosu balance trainer.
  2. Raise body up off floor by extending arms with body straight.
  3. Keeping body straight, lower body to the bosu ball by bending arms to 90 degrees and then hold your weight for 15 seconds. Repeat.

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Sources:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/

– GoogleImages

3 Exercises to Boost Your “Oblique”, Ab Centered Workout to New Heights

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

imagesDespite the cold, we are all still seeking a defined abdomen. Throughout our sculpting process we work the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus as well as the often forgotten about obliques. In our newest video we showcase 3 “Oblique” centered exercises that will help you transform those love handles into a defined lower abdomen. Why focus on “Obliques”? Performing the correct oblique exercises, improves the form, function and definition of your core muscles.

Obliques (internal / external) serve as stabilizers, and are engaged in almost every compound lifting movement and almost every physical activity. This pair of muscle is located on each side of the rectus abdominis.

External obliques run diagonally downward and inward from the lower ribs to the pelvis, forming the letter V. You can locate them by putting your hands in your coat pocket.

  • External obliques originate at the fifth to twelfth ribs and insert into the iliac crest, the inguinal ligament, and the linea alba of the rectus abdominis.
  • The external oblique muscles allow flexion of the spine, rotation of the torso, sideways bending and compression of the abdomen.

Internal oblique muscles are a pair of deep muscles that are just below the external oblique muscles. The internal and external obliques are at right angles to each other.

  • Internal obliques attach from the lower three ribs to the linea alba and from the the inguinal ligament to the iliac crest and then to the the lower back (erector spinae).
  • The internal obliques are involved in flexing the spinal column, sideways bending, trunk rotation and compressing the abdomen.

Fitness Propelled’s: 3 Exercises to Boost Your “Oblique” Workout on the Bosu Balance Trainer

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwykHkwvwl0

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Sources:

  • Google Images

6 Must Do Exercises for a Well Defined Lower Back

lower-backBy: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

Including lower back exercises into your overall workout program are the cornerstone for building an impressive physique and prolonged functional fitness. With a focused approach on the lower erector spinae, the section of muscle that covers the thoracic spine promotes good posture and a pain free lower back. Before we get into the 6 exercises that will forever be included into your lower back program, let us look at the anatomy of the “Lower Back”.

                                                Lower Back Anatomy
The Erector Spinae muscle actually consists of three columns of muscles, the Iliocostalis, Longissimus, and Spinalis, each running parallel on either outer side of the Vertebra and extending from the lower back of the skull all the way down to the Pelvis. The Erector Spinae provides resistance that assists in the control action of bending forward at the waist as well as acting as powerful extensors to promote the return of the back to the erect position.

For more information on the iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis please visit: http://www.musclesused.com/erector-spinae-2/

6 Exercises for a Well Defined Lower Back

1) Stiff Leg Barbell Good Mornings:

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  1. Set up a bar (with sufficient weight) on a rack that best matches your height.
  2. Step under the bar and place the back of your shoulders (slightly below the neck) across it.
  3. Hold on to the bar using both arms at each side and lift it off the rack by first pushing with your legs and at the same time straightening your torso.
  4. Step away from the rack and position your legs using a medium, shoulder-width stance.
  5. Keep your head up at all times and maintain a straight back.
  6. Lower your torso forward by bending at the hips until it is parallel with the floor.
  7. Elevate torso back to starting position.

2) Deficit or Incline Deadlifts

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  1.  Start by standing on a platform, 1-5 inches in height.
  2. Make sure that your feet are hip width apart.
  3. Bend at the hip to grip the bar at shoulder width, allowing your shoulder blades to protract.
  4. Lower your hips and bend knees until your shins contact the bar.
  5. Look forward, keep chest up and back arched, and begin driving through the heels to move the weight upward.
  6. After the bar passes the knees, aggressively pull it back, bringing your shoulder blades together as you drive your hips forward into the bar.
  7. Lower the bar by bending at the hips and guiding it to the floor.

3) Prone Hip Extensions on a Core Ball

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  1. Lie on your stomach on the core ball. Place hands (or elbows and forearms) on ground. Legs extended, toes touching floor.
  2. Extend hips by contracting gluteus muscles and lifting your feet up and off the ground.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise.

4) Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian split squats

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length next to your sides, your palms facing each other.
  2. Stand in a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right. Set your feet 2 to 3 feet apart.
  3. Place just the instep of your back foot on a bench. When you’re doing split squats, the higher your foot is elevated, the harder the exercise.
  4. Your front knee should be slightly bent.
  5. Brace your core.
  6. Drop on your planted foot bending through the waist, keeping your core braced and trunk tall. Return to standing and repeat for your set number then switch legs.

5) Wood Chops with Medicine Ball

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  1. Start with the feet a little wider than hip distance apart, keeping the knees slightly bent, and bring the medicine ball to your left shoulder.
  2. On an exhale, pull abs to spine, and “chop” the ball down diagonally across your body toward your right knee.
  3. Emphasize the rotation stemming from your torso.
  4. Control the ball back up to the starting position. Repeat for your set number and change sides.

6) Alternating Supermans

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  1. Lie face down on a mat with your arms stretched above your head (like superman)
  2. Raise your right arm and left leg about 5-6 inches off the ground
  3. Hold for 3 seconds and relax.
  4. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

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Sources:

  • 3 Exercises for A Strong Lower Back -by Mehmet Edip
  • Musclesused.com
  •  Google Images