Category Archives: exercise program

5 Dumbbell Exercises to Shape Your Back

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

The use of #dumbbells is a fantastic way to train one’s body. Dumbbells provide us with an ease of use, open options on ranges of motion and a thorough workout. Dumbbell training puts us in positions to use our whole body and not become reliant on machines or circuit training. Using dumbbells engage the exerciser to connect with each exercise and focus on form, positioning and the development of strength. In this blog post, I share 5 dumbbell exercises that are sure to shape your “back”.

Complete 3 sets with 15 repetitions of the 5 exercises listed below with 1:00 minute rest periods between sets.

1) Bent Over Row

016018

  1. With a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing your torso), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist; as you bend make sure to keep your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor.  The weights should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso.
  2. While keeping the torso stationary, lift the dumbbells to your side, keeping the elbows close to the body. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a second.
  3. Slowly lower the weight again to the starting position. Repeat.

2) Bent Over Rear Fly’s

019

Bent Over  Rear Fly’s

  1. While keeping your back straight and maintaining the natural arch of your back, lean forward. Let the arms hang in front of you perpendicular to the ground. The palms of your hands should be facing each other and your torso should be parallel to the floor.
  2. Keeping your torso forward and stationary, and the arms straight with a slight bend at the elbows, lift the dumbbells straight to the side until both arms are parallel to the floor.
  3. After a one second contraction at the top, slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Repeat.

3) Renegade Rows

021022023

  1. Place two dumbbells on the floor about shoulder width apart. Position yourself on your toes and your hands as though you were doing a pushup, with the body straight and extended. Use the handles of the dumbbells to support your upper body. You may need to position your feet wide for support.
  2. Push one dumbbell into the floor and row the other dumbbell, retracting the shoulder blade of the working side as you flex the elbow, pulling it to your side.
  3. Then lower the dumbbell to the floor and begin the dumbbell row in the opposite hand. Repeat.

4) Bent Over Row w/ Palm’s Up

019017

  1. With a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing away from your torso), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist; as you bend make sure to keep your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor.  The weights should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso.
  2. While keeping the torso stationary, lift the dumbbells to your with palms facing away, keeping the elbows close to the body. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a second.
  3. Slowly lower the weight again to the starting position. Repeat.

5) Lateral Raises

013011

  1. With your dumbbells stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells by your side at arms length with the palms of the hand facing you.
  2. While maintaining the torso in a stationary position lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and the hands slightly tilted forward. Continue to go up until your arms are parallel to the floor.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position. Repeat

Be sure to connect with us!

Sources:

– Bodybuilding.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.

Be sure to connect with us!

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

Be sure to connect with us!

Sources:

  • Google Images

6 Trapezius Exercises You Will Love

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

Posterior deltoids and trapezius muscles give us a broad-shouldered look, that leaves many in awe of such a finely sculpted upper back or the “V-tapered look.” The trapezius (traps) muscle is made-up of three separate regions. The upper portion of the trapezius is mainly responsible for shrugging your shoulders. The middle and lower regions are used during rowing exercises. Exercises that focus on the traps help to counterbalance the chest and front (anterior) deltoids. This leads to improved posture and reduces the risk of injury.

Trapezius6 Trapezius Exercises You Will Love

Upright Cable Row

up right cable row

  1. Grasp a straight bar cable attachment that is attached to a low pulley with palms facing your thighs. Grip the cable slightly less than shoulder width. Start with the bar resting on top of your thighs, your arms extended with a slight bend at the elbows and your back straight.
  2. Use your shoulders to lift the cable bar as you exhale. The bar should be close to the body as you move it up. Continue to lift it until it nearly touches your chin. While lifting the bar, your elbows should always be higher than your forearms. Be sure to keep your torso stationary and pause for a second at the top of the movement.
  3. Lower the bar back down slowly to the starting position. Repeat.

Kettlebell Sumo High Pull

kettle bell sumo

  1. Place a kettlebell on the ground between your feet. Position your feet in a wide stance, and grasp the kettlebell with two hands. To start set your hips back as far as possible, with your knees bent. Keep your chest and head up.
  2. Begin by extending the hips and knees, simultaneously pulling the kettlebell to your shoulders, raising your elbows as you do so. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. Repeat.

Dumbbell Shrug

Dumbbell Shrug

  1. Stand erect with a dumbbell on each hand (palms facing your torso), arms extended on the sides.
  2. Lift the dumbbells by elevating the shoulders as high as possible while you exhale. Hold the contraction at the top for a second. Emphasize arms extended at all times. Only the shoulders should be moving up and down.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back to the original position. Repeat.

Bent Over Lateral Raises

Bent Over Lateral Raises

  1. While holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with knees slightly bent and back arched forward.
  2. With palms facing torso, extend arms out to sides with the elbows slightly bent.
  3. Raise the arms until elbows are at shoulder height and arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Try to bring the shoulder blades as close together as possible when the arms are raised.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat.

Staggered Feet Face Pulls

face pulls

  1. Attach a rope to a cable machine and stagger your feet as in a natural walking position.
  2. Grab the rope with both hands and pull the weight towards your face.
  3. Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground, and your elbows higher than your wrists throughout movement.
  4. Slowly bring the rope back to the starting position. Repeat.

Superman’s With Dumbbells

Superman’s With Dumbbells

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms extended from your shoulders laterally, palms face down holding the dumbbells, and legs straight, toes pointed
  2. Engage your core muscles and lift your arms laterally and legs several inches into the air.
  3. Keep your neck stable and straight.
  4. Hold the move for a second or two and lower your arms and legs to the starting position. Repeat.

Be sure to connect with us & utilize our FREE fitness resources!

Sources:

  • Google Images
  • Bodybuilding.com
  • Men’s Fitness – Get That Bear Traps – “Jason Philips”

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:

Good am

  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

deficit dead lifts

  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

prone hip e.

  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

wood chops

  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

supermans

  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.

Be sure to connect with us & utilize our FREE fitness resources!

Sources:

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

6 Result Driven Exercises to Sculpt Your Back

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

The back is often forgotten about as a necessary section of the body to train. With a predominant focus on arms and abs, it is quite easy at times to forget about our back musculature. The real question at hand is why you would not dedicate equal time to focus on your back? A sculpted back showcases aesthetics and is also crucial for maintaining proper posture, muscular synergy and a well-developed core.   Not only does a workout program focused on our backs emphasize the points listed above, but back strength is functional. Functional back exercises range from rock climbing, loading heavy objects, and opening the door for your lovely date or marital partner.

Before getting started with our 6 Result Driven Back Exercises, let’s take a look at the anatomy of the back.

  • 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) Bent over barbell rows

6 Result Driven Exercises to Sculpt Your Back

Primary Muscles: Trapezius in conjunction with you lats, abdomen and gluteus.

  1. Hold a barbell in front of your body with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width.
  2. Tighten your core, straighten your back, and drop your torso down to 60º.
  3. Powerfully contract your back and biceps, and pull the barbell upwards into the top of your core. Hold for 1 second and return down to a full extension. Repeat.

2) Bent-over one arm dumbbell rows

Bent-over one arm dumbbell rowsPrimary Muscles: Middle back, lats, biceps, shoulders

  1. Place your left knee and left hand firmly anchored on a flat bench. Your left hand should serve as support for your body.
  2. Maintain a tight core and flat back, contract your lats and biceps, and slowly row the dumbbell upwards until it is above your torso.
  3. Hold 1s and slowly lower the dumbbell to a full extension — you should feel a stretch throughout your upper back. Repeat.

3) Renegade dumbbell rows

Renegade dumbbell rowsPrimary Muscles: Lats, deltoids, pectoralis major, rhomboids, infraspinatus

  1. Assume push up position with two dumbbells (neutral grip)
  2. While keeping your core tight and back flat, powerfully row your right arm up until it is slightly above your torso. Do not rotate your body.
  3. Hold the contraction for 1 second, return to the bottom, and repeat for the opposite arm.

4) Military Grip Lat Pull Downs

Military Grip  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 repeat.

5) T Bar Rows

T Bar RowsPrimary Muscles: Middle back, rear delts, traps

  1. Place a loaded barbell in between your legs. You can either use a narrow-grip cable attachment and place it under the bar, or directly hold the bar with a stagnated grip.
  2. Drop your torso down to 45°, tighten your core, and maintain strong posture, keep your lower back stiff and do not let it arch.
  3. Contract your lats and traps and pull the bar up into your chest. Hold the contraction for 1 second and slowly release the bar back down to the ground. Repeat

6) Back Extensions

Back Extensions

Primary Muscles: Erector spinae, iliocostalis, longissimus, spinalis

  1. Prop yourself up on a back extension machine with your arms crossed. You can also do this on a stability ball.
  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.

Be sure to connect with us & utilize our FREE fitness resources!

Sources:

  • Bryan DiSanto – 13 Killer Back Exercises To Chisel Out A Defined, V-Shaped, Undulating Back
  • Google Images

Continue reading