Tag Archives: exercises

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

3 Challenging Core Stability Exercises on the #Bosu

2By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

In order to define our abdominal structure we have to challenge it. Emphasizing challenging core stability exercises on the #BOSU balance trainer is an excellent way to achieve such abdominal definition. Utilizing a #BOSU ball provides a versatile piece of fitness equipment that can be a great addition to any home gym. Developed in 1999 by David Weck, #BOSU stands for “Both Sides Up” or “Both Sides Utilized.”

With a flat platform on one side and a rubber dome on the other (resembling half an exercise ball), it can help you improve your balance and flexibility, sharpen your reflexes, and reshape your body.

As described in the featured article by the Health & Fitness Advisory:1 “The domed side is used for aerobic exercises and athletic drills, and when the BOSU ball is inverted, it becomes a tool for balance training that can be used by almost everybody.”

In the eighth video of our series of abdominal exercises on the #Bosu balance trainer, this video emphasizes the incorporation of supine stability exercises paired with an abdominal isotonic exercise .

Fitness Propelled’s 3 Core Stability BOSU Ball Abdominal Exercises

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE_eIs7d260

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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

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  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

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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

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  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

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  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

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  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

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Sources:

– Bodybuilding.com

3 HIT BOSU Ball Abdominal Exercises

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

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In order to define our abdominal structure we have to really work for it. Emphasizing dynamic core exercises on the #BOSU balance trainer is an excellent way to achieve such abdominal definition. Dynamic or “isotonic” exercise consists of continuous and sustained movements of the arms and legs which is beneficial to the cardiorespiratory system. When you couple a dynamic exercise with a stable or “isometric” exercise per say our push-up position, then your exercise routine’s difficulty dramatically increases. Isometric exercises are performed by the exertion of effort against a resistance that strengthens and tones the muscle without changing the length of the muscle fibers.

In the seventh video of our series of abdominal exercises on the #Bosu balance trainer, this video emphasizes the incorporation of a stable base exercise paired with its dynamic counterpart.

Fitness Propelled’s 3 HIT BOSU Ball Abdominal Exercises

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqhXHolfMDo

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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

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  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

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

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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.

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Sources:

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

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Training Your Biceps Effectively

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

I think it would be fair to say that many of us training fanatics are “Biceps” obsessed.   “Over the past several years , biceps exercises have ranked among the Top 10 most searched moves on Google’s annual Zeitgeist list” (Idea fitness Journal). With such an obsession over that bulging bump in our right and left arms, I felt it interesting to report on a study that examined the effectiveness of eight of the most popular movements used to work the biceps brachii.

The Study, conducted by John Porcari, PhD at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, compiled a listing of exercises that targeted the biceps. These exercises were the cable curl, barbell curl, concentration curl, chin-up, EZ curl (both wide and narrow grip), incline curl and finally the preacher curl.

Examining, 16 healthy female and male volunteers ages 18-24. Researchers set a baseline by having the subjects complete a one-repetition maximum (1RM) for each movement. Electrodes were fixed onto the biceps brachii, anterior deltoid and brachioradialis of each subject as to measure the total muscle activity via a wireless electromyography (EMG) machine. Then, subjects completed a maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) by performing an isometric one-arm cable curl. Finally, researchers randomly assigned four more biceps exercises for the subjects to complete in order to garner the data for their study.

The Results:

Compared to the rest, the concentration curl came out on top, eliciting nearly 90% MVC, with the preacher curl showing as the least effective. According to Porcari, it is important to note that when training the biceps, other muscles such as the anterior deltoid and brachioradialis can become recruited in the lift, effectively taking a portion of the load away from the biceps and hence reducing the effectiveness of the lift. This is where teaching proper lifting form while promoting each type of biceps curl is essential.

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Sources:

  • Idea Fitness Journal – September 2014
  • Picture from – onlymyhealth.com

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

 

 

 

 

Summer’s Here and the Heat is On: Summer Shorts Workout

Summer is quickly approaching leaving many people excited about the prospect of shedding layers of cold-weather clothing. This often means exposing more skin, especially if you enjoy wearing shorts. With the goal of helping fitness seekers confidently rock those short summer shorts, Fitness Propelled trainer Geoff Rubin recommends the following additions to your workout routine. These exercises are exceptional choices for targeting the muscles that contribute to toned, shapely legs, as all three exercise movements below, will work the hips and thighs. Add them two to three times per week to a program that also includes a balanced diet and you will feel stronger and look even better in your summer shorts.

Exercise 1: Stationary Sumo Squats

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Starting Position: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width (24-36″) with your arms by your sides. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Do not allow your low back to arch. Brace your abdominal / core muscles to stabilize your spine.

Movement: Drop into a wide-stance squat position (mechanics are similar to regular squat), lowering your body to a comfortable depth or until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your body weight rests on your heels. Feel free to position your arms where they assist you in maintaining balance. Return to starting position.

Sets / Repetitions: 3 sets of 20 repetitions

 

Exercise 2: Forward Lunge with Arm Drivers

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Step 1: Starting Position: Stand with your feet together, arms raised in front to shoulder height, and elbows straight. Pull your shoulders blades down and back without arching your low back. Brace your abdominal / core muscles to stabilize your spine.

Step 2:  Slowly lift one foot off the floor, balancing on the standing leg. Avoid any sideways tilting or swaying in your upper body and try not to move the standing foot. Hold this position briefly before stepping forward. The raised (swing) leg should contact the floor heel first, slowly shifting your body weight to the front foot. Plant the front foot firmly on the floor. Avoid any sideways tilting or swaying in your upper body and try not to move the foot.

Step 3: As you lunge forward, focus on dropping your hips downward toward the floor rather than forward. This will help control the amount of forward movement of your shinbone over your foot. Continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until your front thigh becomes parallel with the floor and your shinbone is in a slight forward lean. As you lunge, bend forward at your hips, reach your arms toward the floor in front of you. Keep your back flat and elbows straight. Your hands are reaching to a point somewhat below your front knee. This increases the load on your gluteal (butt) muscle group.

Step 4: Firmly push off with your front leg, working your thigh and butt muscles, to return to your upright, starting position.

Sets / Repetitions: 3 sets of 20 repetitions (Both legs)

Exercise 3: Side Lunges

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Step 1: Starting Position: Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart. Your hands are in a comfortable position to help you maintain your balance during the exercise. Keep your head over your shoulder and your chin tipped and slightly upward. Shift your weight onto your heels. Engage your abdominals to stabilized the spine. Pull the shoulder blades down and back. Try to maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.

Step 2: Inhale and slowly step to the right while keeping your weight into your left heel. Both feet are still facing forward. Once your right foot is firmly placed on the floor, begin to shift your weight toward the right foot, bending the right knee and pushing the hips back. Continue to lunge until your shinbone is vertical to the floor and your right knee is aligned with the second toe of your right foot. Your left leg should be as straight as possible and your body weight should be distributed into the right hip. The heels of both feet should stay flat on the floor. Your arms can be positioned where necessary to help maintain your balance.

Step 3: Exhale and push off firmly with your right foot, returning to starting position. Repeat the movement for the opposite side.

Sets / Repetitions: 3 sets of 20 repetitions (Both legs) 

 

Sources: ACE Exercise Library