Tag Archives: workout

Fitness Hues for the Blues: Are you choosing the right colors for your workouts?

By: June-Ellen Ottoson, Trainer – Fitness Propelled, AFAA Certified

pic -1  It has been said that color affects so many of our emotions. Study after study has been done to see what colors make us hungry, what colors evoke anxiety and how they work in restaurant and home décor. The same principles apply to your fitness attire. If you are feeling drab and unmotivated, then donning some drab gear is not going to make you feel like busting out some squats with vigor…it is going to make you feel slow and not shake the mood. All black workout clothes are a popular choice because they produce a slimming effect, and black can be a powerful choice as well, but if you are only choosing that shade to make you feel slimmer you might want to add a burst of color that brightens you up. Yellow, for example, can add a little sunshine and make you feel excited about working hard. Red is a bold color and can provoke feelings of strength. Blue is strong and can boost confidence and a feeling of power. Green is a color that can make us feel calm and is a great and popular choice for yoga. A colorful headband or hat is also a good choice, even down to your shoes and water bottle!!! Amp up your workout with an amped-up attitude and some color.

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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

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

3 Effective Core Exercises on The Bosu Balance Trainer

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

So, why use a Bosu Balance trainer? A Bosu trainer is a balance board that can be used with either side up. Both sides of it 1) the inflatable dome or 2) the flat plastic surface provides different challenges for your muscles due to the instability of the surface. This instability forces our muscles to recruit more muscle fibers and expend more energy while engaging in typically stable driven exercises such as squats, curls and core based exercises. When balancing on you the flat side of Bosu exercises might involve squats, pushups, sit-ups and lunges or when stand on the dome you might incorporate free weights for such exercises as arm curls, shoulder presses and core exercises.

Training on the Bosu Balance trainer carries over to your daily life, where balance is affected by motion. The Bosu trains your body for dynamic balance by coordinating the movements of your left hip and right shoulder, similar to the movement you make when walking. When your opposite hip and opposite shoulder move in a balanced manner, you are steady on your feet when walking, running, or playing sports.

Additionally as you train your balance on the Bosu, your muscles and the receptors near them, become more efficient at positioning your body in relation to the environment. Whether you know it or not you’re working on Proprioception which involves the awareness of your body in the space around you.

 

Fitness Propelled’s 3 Core Exercises on The Bosu Balance Trainer

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wso6NeO_FzY

Routine:
– Bosu ball sit ups: 15 repetitions
– Bosu ball reach through’s: 15 repetitions
– Bosu ball indiv. knee tucks: 15 r/l repetitions

Repeat 3 sets.

 

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Website: http://www.fitnesspropelled.com

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Sources:

Bosu Benefits for Muscles by Lisa M. Wolfe

3 Fast Twitch Muscle Exercises to Improve Running Performance

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

Improving running performance is multi-faceted; the aim of this article is to focus on exercises related to fast twitch muscle fibers and explains a general overview of their function.

Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers:

Type II fibers are involved in any activity that includes a quick explosive movement or the rapid development of power. Most common applicable example would be football players and track and field athletes.   Type II fibers develop more power then Type I or slow twitch muscle fibers because the Type IIx fiber can contract 10 times faster than the Type I fiber. The more adept you become at recruiting your Type II fibers; the more power you can develop. This leads to faster sprint times and decreased mile times for more focused short distance runs.

Two Types of Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers:

1) Type IIa (Fast Twitch, Oxidative-Glycolytic)

  • High number of mitochondria
  • Can use both fat stores and glycogen stores for energy
  • Resistant to fatigue and recover quickly
  • Good for fast, repetitive, low-intensity activity. Bodybuilders possess high numbers of Type IIa muscle fibers, and research suggests they play a big role in muscle size.

2) Type IIx (Fast Twitch, Non-Oxidative)

  • Low number of mitochondria
  • Large in diameter
  • Fast fatiguing
  • Good for high-intensity, large-power output, such as track/field events and power lifting.

Training for Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers:

There are a number of ways to increase your ratio of Type II fibers—heavy strength training, speed training, plyometric training and Olympic lift training. Training does a few things:

  1. Hypertrophy or growth of the Type II fibers, increasing their power output.
  2. Help recruit, put them into applicable use of Type II fibers faster.
  3. Change Type I fibers to Type II fibers.

Fast-Twitch Muscle Workouts:

1) Dumbbell reverse lunges with quick switches utilizing jumps:

Preparation:

  • Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides, with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Ensure you have at least a few feet of clearance behind you.
  • Start with your chest out, head up, and a slight bend in your knees.

Exercise:

Step backward with your right leg, landing on the ball of the foot, then bend both knees to lower yourself to the floor. (Make sure to step back far enough so your front knee is behind the toes at the bottom of the movement.) When your front thigh is parallel with the floor, extend your knees and hips to stand back up to the start position. Alternate legs with jumps or quick transitions every rep.

2) Box jumps w/ kettlebell:

Preparation:

  • Obtain a plyometric box between 12-36 inches, depending on your abilities.
  • Grab a kettlebell where you can do 8-12 repetitions rather quickly.
  • Ensure you have enough room to safely land and clear jumps. Preferably 5ft by 5ft.

Exercise:

Assume an athletic position, with your feet about shoulder-width apart, at a comfortable distance from the box. Start the box jump by quickly getting into a quarter squat while hinging at the hips to engage the hamstrings and gluteus. Place and keep your hands at the crest of the kettlebell, so both hands are holding the bell. Hold the kettlebell close to your chest, just below chin level. Then, forcefully extend your hips, swing your arms and push your feet though the floor to propel yourself onto the box. Focus on landing lightly on top of the box with your knees slightly above 90 degrees with your chest up. Hold for two to three seconds, stand tall, and step back down. Repeat.

3) Deadlift followed by a squat jumps

Preparation:

  • Set an Olympic straight bar on the ground and load it with appropriate weight.
  • Ensure your space is clear and that you have enough room to work.

Exercise

Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing straight ahead or slightly outward (no wider than 11 and 1 o’clock). The balls of the feet should line up under the bar. With knees slightly bent and hands gripping the bar slightly outside of legs, hinge forward from hips. With the bar close to shins, keep head up, eyes looking forward, chest out, and back flat. Inhale. Keeping the bar close to the body, exhale as you work to straighten the legs — drive through the heels, not the toes — and bring the weight up past knees. Keep core engaged throughout the entire movement (this helps protect the spine) and finish by thrusting the hips into alignment with the feet and squeezing your glutes. Maintaining a straight back, slowly hinge forward at the hips (allow knees to bend a little at the same time) and lower the bar back to the ground. That is one rep.

For the squat jumps, step back from your deadlifting bar, set your feet shoulder width apart. Lower yourself down to where hips / gluteus is loaded towards your rear. Bring your bottom to knee level and thrust straight up landing tall onto the toes then reset. Repeat.  

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Sources:

Josh Williams – 3 ways to develop fast-twitch muscle

Bill Rom – Workouts That Increase Speed & Train Fast Twitch Muscles

Anton Reid, Demand Media- How to Develop Fast-Twitch Leg Muscles

Google images

 

Empowering youth on the Autism Spectrum with a personalized exercise program

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

I have always believed in #Contributing which states: “giving something, such as money or time in order to help achieve or provide something” – (Dictionary.com). Through exercise, I knew it would be my medium to create a special bond with young men and women on the Autism Spectrum. Having a broad career of working with youth and young adults on the Autism Spectrum as an adaptive P. E. teacher for years and as a fitness professional with specifically designed fitness programs, that have delivered resounding results, I knew this would be my avenue towards “Contributing”.

Why make a difference through exercise? Exercising is my passion and when you do what you love, you never feel as if it is work. Even better, if you can share your passions with those who otherwise would not normally engage in “exercise”, it becomes that much more meaningful. This led me to create the “Personal Power Program”. Information on this program can be found @ http://fitnesspropelled.com/personal-power-program/1281766 .

The benefits of exercise and positive effects that it has on everyone are numerous but we are just beginning to learn the effects exercise has on those on the Autism Spectrum. Below are just a few of the reasons why we must engage our youth and young adults on the Autism Spectrum into a fitness experience that works for them!

– Exercise reduces problem behaviors such as repetitive behaviors, off-task behavior, mouthing, self-injury, disruptiveness and aggression in those with autism.

– Exercise increases the release of several brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These include endorphins and dopamine, which affect our brain’s functioning.

– Exercise can help the entire body, including the brain, function at its best.

– Exercise improves attention, concentration and organizational skills.

– After just 20 minutes of exercise children showed improved behavior, thinking skills and school performance.

By sharing, liking and connecting with Fitness Propelled, we can all #contribute towards a healthier and more meaningful tomorrow.

Website: http://www.fitnesspropelled.com

Follow us on Twitter @ FPropelled – https://twitter.com/FPropelled

Like us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/FitnessPropelled

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Sources:

– Daniel Coury, MD, medical director of Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network
– Google/images

 

3 Lower-Body Exercises to Improve Running Efficiency

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

Running is a total body kinetic chain exercise; however, we know that sustaining and enduring through a run, holds a primary focus on the core and lower body. Greater strength does equal greater endurance.  In order to build what is now commonly referred to as functional strength as applied to running technique we need to emphasize low body conditioning with a focus on lower back strength, core strength, and the gluteus.

Below are three exercises to add to your overall lower body strength training routine.

 Exercises:

  • Supine Core Ball Leg Lifts:

Why do it: Builds lower back strength; towards preventing back injury. Boosts core strength and efficacy.

How to: Start by lying in the supine position (on your back) on a workout mat. The legs should be straight and the palms should be face down under the buttocks. This will assist the pelvis with leverage as you initiate the leg raise. Next, with the feet together squeeze the core ball w/ your heels and inner thighs lifting the legs approximately 15 to 20 inches off the ground. Slowly lower the legs to the starting position and repeat the exercise. Emphasize breathing out as the legs go up.

 

  • Supine Core ball Figure-4 Glute Bridge:

Why do it: Your glutes help stabilize your hips while running. This exercise is designed to wake up your gluteus and create a backside that is both strong and supportive of the upper bodies load.

How to: Lie face up with your arms pressed into the floor by your sides, knees bent, heels on top of the ball. Cross your right ankle on top of your left thigh, turning your right knee out to the side. Press your left heel down into the ball and raise your hips up as high as you can (focus on using your glutes to lift your body, not your hamstrings). Hold for 1 count and then slowly lower. Integrate this exercise into your total rep/set progressions and repeat with the right leg.

 

  • Internal Rotation Leg Press:

Why do it: This move works your abs, hip flexors, gluteus, quadriceps, and inner thighs to help you develop strength that will support your strides.

How to:  Lie faceup with your hands behind head. Bend your knees 90 degrees and flex your feet. Internally rotate your legs, pressing your knees together and turning your heels out to the sides as far as you can. Brace your abs in tight and lift your upper back off the floor. Extend your legs out into a wide ‘V’ position at about 45 degrees, pressing out through your heels. Bend your legs and squeeze your knees back together, keeping your upper back lifted, to return to the starting position.

 

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Sources:

– Brendan Brazier – Endurance Training and Nutrition

– Jessica Smith – The Ultimate Strength Workout for Runners