Tag Archives: exercise program

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:

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.

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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

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Shed Bra Bulge with these 6 Moves

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

As a certified personal trainer holding a strong base of female clientele, I am consistently asked how I train clientele to get rid of “Bra Bulge”. The first times I had heard this, as a naive male, I did not understand the question. After indulging myself into the term, I realized that this area between the armpits and chest just tends to be under toned and therefore, a bit flabby.  “Bra Bulge” muscle groups include the pectoralis muscles (chest), latissimus dorsi (back), triceps and biceps (upper arm), and deltoid (shoulders). When dealing with “Bra Bulge” this leads to a focused area that many female clientele want to target and tone.

So, from implementing a collection of exercises that will address this area of concern, here are my six exercises to turn “Bra Bulge” into a thing of the past.  Do each exercise for a duration of 30 seconds / repeat when only utilizing one side and complete 3 sets.

  • 1) Squat w/ triceps kickback
    • As you lower into a squat, press weights back for a kickback, then bend arms as you stand back up
      • This move works: glutes, quadriceps, triceps
  • 2) Dumbbell hammer grip rows with a bench
    • Lay flat down on your stomach on a bench, arms straight out down towards the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Hold weights in your hands. Perform a row by pulling the weights up to your ribs, forearms remaining perpendicular to the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades as hard as you can and actively opening the chest at the top of the movement. Return to base position. Repeat.
      • This move works: Latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoid, trapezius, rhomboids biceps brachii
  • 3) Hanging arm curl
    • Rest one foot, knee and hand all on the same side of a flat bench, and stand with the other foot flat on the ground. The arm that is not resting on the bench but should be hanging towards the ground, holding your weight. Make sure your spine is flat and parallel to the ground, chin tucked in, with your eyes trained on the weight. Perform a s bicep curl, bending the arm at the elbow and bringing the weight up towards your face. Pause for a second at the top of the movement, and then bring your arm back to starting position. Repeat.
      • This move works: Abs, hip flexors, and biceps
  • 4) T raises
    • Grasp a pair of dumbbells and stand tall with feet about shoulder-width apart and arms hanging down at your sides. Rotate your hands so that your palms are facing away from your body. Begin exercise by raising the dumbbells away from your sides to shoulder height so that you from a T-shape. Lower the weight back down to your sides. Repeat.
      • This move works: Trapezius, posterior deltoids, rhomboids
  • 5) Delt Raises
    • Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent. Shift your hips back as you lower your torso until you are parallel with the ground. Turn palms so they face one another, bend elbows and lift weights up to shoulder height. Repeat.
      • This move works: Posterior deltoid, lateral deltoid, levator scapulae, brachialis, biceps brachii
  • 6) Assisted pull ups with a platform
    • Step up and grasp bar with wide overhand grip. Step down onto assistance lever or platform. Pull body up until neck reaches height of hands. Lower body until arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.
      • This move works: Latissimus dorsi, teres major, lower trapezius, rhomboids, levator scapulae

It is my hopes that these 6 exercises deliver the results you have been seeking when it comes to shedding away “Bra Bulge”. Enjoy.

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

Sources:

Back Workout: 6 Moves to Blast Annoying Bra Bulge – By Amy Marturana http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/back-workout-6-moves-blast-annoying-bra-bulge

7 exercises to get rid of Bra Bulge – Amy Marturana – http://www.youbeauty.com/body-fitness/galleries/exercises-to-get-rid-of-bra-bulge#1

 

3 Distinctly Effective Transverse Abdomen Exercises on The Bosu Balance Trainer

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

The Transverse Abdominis is a flat muscle with transverse fibers that form the innermost layer of the wall of the abdomen and ends in a broad aponeurosis. It acts to compress the abdominal viscera and assists in the explusion of the contents of various abdominal organs (as in urination, defecation, vomiting, and parturition).

Body Action: Abdomen compression

Insertion:

  • Linea Alba
  • Superior ramus of the pubis

Nerves:

  • Intercostal nerves T7-T12
  • Iliohypogastric nerves T12, L1
  • Illoinguinal nerve L1

Origin:

  • Lateral one-half of the inguinal ligament
  • Crest of the ilium
  • Lumbodorsal fascia
  • Inside surfaces of the lower six ribs

Fitness Propelled’s 3 Effective Transverse Abdomen Exercises on The Bosu Balance Trainer

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpzQ_ME8XdM

Routine:
– Right / Left cross reaches w/ legs planted: 15 repetitions
– Right / Left cross reaches w/ alternating knee tucks: 15 repetitions
– Right / Left cross section pulses: 15 repetitions

Repeat 3 sets.

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Sources:

  • Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Human Movement – Lawrence A. Golding

3 Helpful Core Exercises for Runners

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

All runners would agree that having strong legs is essential for their sport, but integrating core exercises into your overall routine is a must as you look towards becoming a more competitive runner. Full body, core and hip-focused exercises are a must if you want to stay injury-free and run to your best potential (Jon-Erik Kawamoto).

In a recent study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Gottschall et al., 2013) examined the difference between isolation-type core exercises, like crunches, and compared them to integration-type core exercises that incorporated distal trunk muscle activation, like the pushup plank with alternating knees. The researchers found greater core muscle activation during the integration-type exercises and concluded “an integrated routine that incorporates the activation of distal trunk musculature would be optimal in terms of maximizing strength, improving endurance, enhancing stability, reducing injury, and maintaining mobility.”

 Let’s get started then and integrate some of these helpful core exercises listed below into our own routine.

Exercises:

1) Superman’s

How to: Start lying face down on a matt. Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off of the floor and hold this contraction for 3 seconds. Tip: Squeeze your lower back to get the best results from this exercise. Repeat about 10 to 15 repetitions with multiple sets.  

2) Russian Twists

How to: Grab a medicine ball, dumbbell, or weight plate and sit on the floor face up. Hold the weight straight out in front of you and keep your back straight (your torso should be at about 45 degrees to the floor). Explosively twist your torso as far as you can to the left, and then reverse the motion, twisting as far as you can to the right. That’s one rep. Repeat 10 – 15 repetitions, multiple sets.

3) Push-up plank with alternating knee tucks (to the abdomen)

How to: Go into the top of a pushup. Brace your abs and squeeze your butt to form a straight line from the top of your head to your ankles. Without moving your body, bring one knee into your chest. Do not round your back. Return the leg to the starting position and switch sides. Repeat 10 – 15 repetitions, multiple sets.

Sources:

Four Key Core Exercises For Runners – Linzay Logan http://running.competitor.com/2014/07/injury-prevention/four-key-core-exercises-for-runners_41874/4

The Crunchless Core Workout For Runners – Jon-Erik Kawamoto – http://running.competitor.com/2014/06/training/the-crunchless-core-workout-for-runners_78042/3

Google Images