Tag Archives: Trainers

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.

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Sources:

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

Why Integrate heart rate training into your running program?

ImageBy: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled (CPT/CIFT/TRX II)

I am a runner; however I am not one with a strap tightly fastened across my chest. However, more recently as I progress in my running distances and pace, I wanted to garner an understanding of the basic rationale for wearing a heart rate monitor while running. Heart rate monitors are not essential tools for training, but when used properly, they can be a valuable training aid.

Wearing a heart rate monitor while running provides an indicator of exercise intensity. A heart rate monitor, therefore, allows you to monitor and control the intensity of your running. Starting runners often make the mistake of not sufficiently varying the intensity of their running pace. A heart rate monitor can help you accomplish this variation through monitoring.

To do this, you first need to determine your individual heart rate response to running intensity. Step one is to determine what is called your lactate threshold heart rate. Lactate threshold is a moderately high running intensity — the highest intensity that can be sustained without significant discomfort. At exercise intensities below the lactate threshold, your breathing is controlled. When you exceed lactate threshold intensity, there is a sudden increase in breathing rate.

Strap on your heart rate monitor and jog for two to three minutes at a very comfortable pace. Then increase your pace moderately and sustain the new pace for two to three minutes. Continue this pattern, noting your heart rate at each pace, until you reach a pace at which your breathing rate spikes. You are now above your lactate threshold. Your lactate threshold heart rate is the heart rate you noted at the preceding pace.

Heart rate-based training involves targeting different heart rate zones in different workouts. The most popular zone system is the following:

Zone 1

Active Recovery

<80% lactate threshold heart rate (LT HR)

Zone 2

Aerobic Threshold

81-89% LT HR

Zone 3

Tempo

90-95% LT HR

Zone 4

Sublactate Threshold

96-99% LT HR

Zone 5a

Lactate Threshold

100-101% LT HR

Zone 5b

Aerobic Capacity

102-105% LT HR

Zone 5c

Anaerobic Capacity

>106% LT HR

Each zone holds its own benefits and is appropriate for different types of workouts. Zone 1 is so light it barely qualifies as exercise, and is appropriate on days when you are especially fatigued from prior days’ running and for “active recoveries” between high-intensity intervals. Zone 2 is very comfortable and quite useful for building aerobic fitness, fat-burning capacity, and endurance. Running in Zone 2 more than in any other zone is recommended.

Zone 3 is just a bit faster than your natural jogging pace — that is, the pace you automatically adopt when you go out for a run without even thinking about the intensity. It is useful for extending the benefits of training in Zone 2. Zone 4 is a running intensity that requires a conscious effort to go fast but is still comfortable. It is close to the intensity that is associated with longer running races, and should be incorporated into your training in moderate amounts to get your body used to that intensity.

Zone 5a is your lactate threshold intensity. It is more stressful than the lower zones, so you can not do a lot of running in this zone, but it is a powerful fitness booster, so you will want to do some Zone 5a running each week. The typical Zone 5a workout contains one or more sustained blocks of Zone 5a running sandwiched between a warm-up and a cool down. For example: 10 minutes Zone 2 (warm-up), 20 minutes Zone 5a, 10 minutes Zone 2 (cool-down).

Zone 5b is very intense, but when incorporated into your training in small amounts it will elevate your running performance significantly. Zone 5b is too intense to be done in sustained blocks, so instead it is incorporated into interval workouts featuring multiple short segments of fast running separated by active recoveries. For example, you might run 5 x 3 minutes @ Zone 5b with 3 minutes @ Zone 1 after each Zone 5B interval.

Zone 5c covers everything between the fastest pace you could sustain for a mile or so and a full sprint. It is incorporated into very short intervals and should be used very sparingly in your training because it’s so stressful. You will not want to make the mistake of avoiding it, though, as it is a great way to boost speed and running economy.

The content above contains some basic guidelines for using heart rate to monitor and control the intensity of your running. The biggest limitation of heart rate-based training is that, while heart rate is a good indicator of running intensity, it is not a perfect indicator. Heart rate is affected by a number of other factors, including fatigue level, sleep patterns, psychological state, hydration status, and diet, which make it somewhat unreliable in certain circumstances.

For example, while heart rate tends to be lower at any given pace on a treadmill than it is outdoors, running at any given pace actually feels easier outdoors, and one can also sustain higher heart rates outdoors, possibly for psychological reasons. The relationship between heart rate and running intensity also changes continuously as your fitness level changes, so you need to repeat the lactate threshold test frequently to keep your target zones accurate.

Many experienced runners, including elite runners, train without heart rate monitors, instead they rely on a combination of perceived exertion and pace to monitor and control the intensity of their workouts. The success of these runners is proof that a heart rate monitor is not needed to realize your full potential as a runner.

The most comprehensive indicator of running intensity is perceived exertion, or how hard running feels. Perceived exertion attributes for not only heart rate but also all of the other physiological and psychological factors that influence exercise intensity. You will always want to pay more attention to how hard running feels than you do to your heart rate when running.

Heart rate monitors provide users with important data that can be used towards improving running intensity, duration and speed; just do not use it as an end all.

ImageSources:

Matt Fitzgerald -Running 101: Training With A Heart Rate Monitor

 

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3 Upper Body Strength Training Exercises That Improve Running Performance

ImageBy: Geoff Rubin, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

Our bodies interact as one integrated system. When emphasizing proper running form, we must look at the performance of how the entire kinetic chain is moving, from the toes all the way up. While running, your arms counterbalance the motion of your legs, resulting in saved energy. The swing of the arms helps drive the body forward so the lower body is not doing all the work. Having a strong upper body bolsters a runner’s form when fatigue sets in.

Incorporate the following exercises to build upper body strength in the weight room as to improve running performance. Many of the exercises below focus on unilateral or single limb exercises to replicate proper running form. They also emphasize balance at the shoulder joint, counteracting pronation of the shoulders from the blunders of a sedentary work environment.

1: Single Arm Body-weight Row

Image

  • How to do it: Use a TRX or barbells set at sternum height. Grab the bar/ handle with one hand using a neutral (palm facing in) grip. Walk your feet forward so that your body comes closer to parallel with the ground. Pull your shoulder back and be sure to keep your body in a straight line throughout the movement. Pull your chest to the bar keep your shoulders square the entire time.

  • How this helps: Rounded shoulders prevent proper running form by limiting the ability of the chest to expand. Incorporating more pulling exercises in your strength training program is one way to even out the chest by retracting and depressing the shoulders. This pulling exercise forces your core and upper body to maintain a square posture similar to the running motion.

2: Torso Rotation with Resistance Band

ImageHow to do it: Secure a cable or resistance band at waist height on your right side. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold the cable in front of you with straight arms—there should be tension in the cable. Brace your core. Maintaining an erect torso and without moving your legs, rotate your torso so that your hands (and the cable) move to the left while maintaining your original head position. Rotate back to the start and all the way to the right. Switch positions so the cable is on your left side, and repeat.

How this helps: Arm swinging requires movement and a level of rotation in your upper spine. Your body rotates like a pivot.” To ward off fatigue, “we need to make sure the thoracic (upper) spine is nice and loose.” – (Ali Gelani, M.S., CPT)

3) Alternating High Knees

ImageHow to do it: Stand in place with your feet hip-width apart. Drive your right knee toward your chest while keeping your left arm at a 90 degree bend as to connect the two sides and quickly place the leg and arm back to their starting positions. Follow immediately by driving your left knee toward your chest with your right arm bent at a 90 degree angle. Continue to alternate knees with the corresponding arms.

How this helps:  The action of running is a fluid forward progression with minimal trunk rotation. Incorporating the motion of high knees drives the hip forward contracting the quads while emphasizing a counterbalanced motion of the hands. This translates over to the pavement.

Let us be your one stop shop for fitness. Check out http://www.fitnesspropelled.com

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Sources:
Jeremey DuVall, M.S., CPT

NIKKI KIMBALL, M.S.P.T.

Ali Gelani, M.S., CPT

Trainer talk: What qualities do you look for in a client?

Often, trainers are on the end of selective eyes from our clients. Sometimes, we need to be a friend, a counselor, a motivator, a drill sergeant, etc.

Lets flip the script. What are three qualities you as a trainer, group fitness, physical education instructor, etc, look for in your clients in order to help them succeed in your structured exercise program?

Fitness Propelleds’ top 3 in no order:
1) Commitment
2) Positive attitude
3) Passion

What are yours?