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Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand on a bench in front of you, and assume a staggered stance, left foot forward. Hold your elbow in as you row the wight to the side of your torso. Do 10 reps, switch arms and leg positions, and repeat the movement.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend your knees and lean forward so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides, bend your elbows, and hold your forearms about parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Simultaneously extend your arms straight back and rotate the weight so your palms end up facing each other. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length by your sides, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights to your shoulders, and then press them overhead until your arms are straight. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hooping Your Way to Better Health

Weighted Hula Hoops Offer a Fun Workout

Hula hoops are probably best remembered as a popular children’s toy in the 1950’s. But hoops have recently made a comeback for people looking to shake up their exercise routines.
hula hoop

What is Hooping?

Hooping is a form of exercise and recreation in which users hula hoop, dance, and perform tricks with personalized hula hoops.

Not just any old plastic hula hoop can be used for hooping. Customized hula hoops that are larger than traditional hula hoops are weighted with tape. The larger hoops move more slowly and easily around the body than traditional hoops, and are easier to use. Even people who have never been able to use a regular hula hoop enjoy the customized hoops for exercise and dance.

What are the Benefits of Hooping?

Hooping tones the core muscles, arms, glutes, and thighs, increases flexibility, and provides an excellent cardiovascular workout. In fact, hooping can burn over 100 calories in 8 minutes—equal to running a mile in the same time period!

According to Steve Jordan, an educator with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, "[With hooping,] you're building the body from the inside out with gyrating and core-stabilizing movements," (The New York Daily News, 7/21/04).

Some say hooping has helped improve their sense of rhythm. Others say the mental focus required when hooping relaxes them and even leads to a state of bliss.

Most important, hooping, like the hula hooping you remember as a child, is fun. And the more you enjoy a workout, the more likely you are to stick with it.

How Can I Start Hooping?

If you want to try hooping, look for a class in your area. Hooping classes are popping up at gyms throughout the country, and are attended by many age groups, from teenagers through seniors. In hooping classes, the teachers provide the hoops and guide attendees through the basics, eventually incorporating dance steps and tricks into the classes.

If you can’t find a hooping class nearby, join a “hoop group.” Magazine provides an online directory of hoop groups in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
If you prefer to hoop at home, there are many hoop fitness and hoop dance DVDs available, and hoops can be purchased online. It’s important to buy a hoop that’s the right size for you—standard children’s hoops aren’t appropriate for hooping.

Finally, you can also make your own personalized hoop following the instructions of hooper Jason Strauss.

If you’re bored with your workout and want to try something fun and different, hooping may just be the new spin you’ve been looking for.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Vibration Training

Efficient and Effective Workouts

The website claims the training method traces its’ roots back about 40 years to Russian cosmonauts. Scientists of the Soviet Space Program discovered that lack of gravity caused cosmonauts to experience significant losses in bone density and muscle mass. Russian scientists began incorporating vibration technology into their cosmonauts training and tracked an increase in bone density and muscle strength. After the success Russians experienced with the cosmonauts, Russian coaches began introducing vibration technology into the training regimens of various athletes and ballet dancers. After the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, NASA learned of vibration training and assimilated into astronaut training.
vibration training

What is Vibration training?

Vibration training involves a machine with a platform that vibrates between 25 and 50 times per second in three directions. The three directions cause instability that activates both voluntary and involuntary muscles. As the platform vibrates, the vibrations transfer to the muscles in contact with the platform. These muscles activate at the same speed as the platform enabling the muscles to recruit up to 95 percent of muscle fibers, compared to conventional resistance training which only recruits approximately 40 to 60 percent of muscle fibers. Physical conditioning improves by using vertical vibrations and various movements and exercises.

Strength and Conditioning Benefits

According to a recent article posted on, many athletes began integrating vibration training into workouts, as it enhances conventional strength and plyometrics training methods. It can also help with speed recovery and regeneration times. Athletes, coaches, and therapists using vibration training include the following.
  • Nike Oregon Project
  • RBS Six Nations Tournament

Health Benefits

As researchers continues: fits of vibration training, the commercial market became interested in adding vibration training to their workout routines. Pilates studios and health clubs offer vibration training in the form of 30-minute personal training sessions and group exercise classes. Power Plate (whole vibration machine manufacturer) finds many individuals prefer vibration training to other forms of training as a 30-minute session is the equivalent of a 90-minute workout. Further, there is little impact on joints and ligaments. The health benefits of vibration training are as follows.

  • Health and Safety Considerations Vibration training is safe for most individuals; however, individuals should always check with their physician before beginning any exercise program, including vibration training. Experts advise pregnant women and those with low-back pain not to use vibration training. Further safety considerations include overuse, improper poses/exercises, and frequencies that are too high. Vibration training is offered at some Pilates studios, vibration training studios, fitness centers, rehabilitation clinics; individuals also may train at home. For more information on vibration training and whole body vibration machines, please visit the American Vibration Fitness Trainers Association at

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Yoga Booty Ballet - Fitness Trend

A Yoga Student's Opinion About the Swerve Studio Fitness Craze

Physical trainers often recommend dance classes as a great way to change up your workout routine and still get your cardio in for the day. Dancing builds strength, endurance, balance and agility while you learn a few new moves.

Ever-increasing in popularity, the Yoga Booty Ballet workout was featured on MTVnews with Lillix, and is the subject of several “as seen on TV” style infomercials. A workout video series produced by “Beachbody” and hosted by teachers Teigh McDonough and Gillian Marloth, the co-founders of the Los Angeles studio “Swerve”.
yoga booty ballet
Teigh and Gillian are a great team, seamlessly swapping control of the class from one instructor to the other, with different enough styles to be able to demonstrate modifications to the more difficult movements.

The rest of the students featured in the background of the video are real students (i.e. these people are not Barbie-dolls!) which is heartening and encouraging to newcomers.

One thing that leaves room for doubt, however, is title of the series!

Where’s the “Yoga”?

They use the sanskrit words and the shapes and sounds of yoga, but they don’t penetrate to the heart of it – the spirit is missing.

Though Gillian is a trained Yoga instructor, and the Swerve studio offers Anusara Yoga classes and boasts of a close relationship with Anusara’s founder John Friend, it seems to be scratching the surface. They seem to be going through the motions of a workout routine that looks Yoga-ish at best.
For dancers, it’s amazing how gracelessly they move through vinyasa flows that should be slow and fluid with long, extended inhales and exhales. These, instead looked like they were doing jumping jacks while sitting on the floor.

Stretches that need to be held for several breaths in order to be truly beneficial are barely bounced into. They know all the new are words to say, but they are in such a hurry to get warmed up and start dancing that the yoga loses all of its meaning and benefit.

Anyone who thinks they are gaining familiarity with Yoga through the YBB series would be sorely mistaken.

Plenty of “Booty”, but obviously meant for dancers

The core of the workout is a peppy dance routine that builds incrementally like a Jazz class would. The addition and complication of each move one onto the next, the repetition of phrases of the routine, and the assumption that audience members already know the names of dance steps can be daunting.

To the uninitiated, this workout could be more frustrating than fun. To someone who has taken a few dance classes, this is a fantastic cardio workout that moves quick and keeps it interesting.

What about the “Ballet”?

Though there were a few of the French Ballet terms sprinkled through some of the body-sculpting portion, relatively little of the workout could be considered “Ballet”.

Those familiar with Pilates will recognize much of the emphasis on building core strength and the vast majority of the moves. Of course, the overlap of Ballet technique and Pilates movements extends back to the earlier part of the twentieth century when Joseph Pilates collaborated with many of New York City’s finest dancers to refine his own movements. The dancers, in turn, incorporated many of his techniques into their repertoires.

More Body than Mind

The key to Mind-Body workouts is a connection between movement and breath. The benefit is the presence of mind and the awareness of the moment.

The YBB workout is a great cardio routine, but it does not serve the purpose or meet the goals of a mind-body exercise.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the same result any “Fusion” routine has when it tries to incorporate Yoga as a warm-up and cool-down for another style of workout. It deprives the student of the benefits of really stretching muscles, and of getting to the quiet place on the mat, where we reach the soul of Yoga.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Kettlebells Swing Their Way Into Fitness

Fitter For The Future With Methods Of The Past

Kettlebells are not a new invention. They have a history with the Russian Military and sports people of the past and present. Kettlebells are so old that no single nation can lay claim to inventing them.
A kettlebell is like a cannon ball with a handle and can be found in a selection of weights - from 4kg-48kg.

Karls Ernst, born in Berlin 1846, was one of the first kettlebell lifters known by name. During the 1870s as a strong man, he appeared throughout Germany, Estonia and Russia. He became a father-figure for many famous personalities in the world of strength.

The Nature of a Kettlebell

Kettlebells are different from other forms of resistance equipment. Any weight will fight the gravitational pull of the earth, but with the kettlebell weight being suspended below the handle, this increases the pull away from the body - resulting in the lifter constantly fighting to control the kettlebell, as opposed to a barbell or dumbbell that can be "balanced" during an exercise. This makes the kettlebell unique, since your body's muscles are always working in order to simply control it.

When you swing the kettlebell you need strength, speed and co-ordination. At the bottom of a kettlebell swing it has been estimated that you would be pulling between four and seven times its actual weight.

Benefits of a Kettlebell

As well as improving strength and power, kettlebells can benefit rehabilitation, flexibility, fitness and even weight loss.

Increasing lean muscle mass is crucial if you want to burn the maximum calories possible in one workout and kettlebell training is a powerful tool to use in the pursuit of that goal. Kettlebell workouts are famous for burning fat away due to some of the total-body ballistic movements you can do - swings, snatches and cleans are some of the more popular base moves. As well as the big calorie burning moves, you can also strengthen your centre and get a rock-hard stomach with some of the core moves - seated russian twists, windmill and turkish get-ups are popular.

"I love kettlebells - I use them with all of my clients. The wide range of functional moves means I can find exercises to suit any of my clients, no matter their goal." - G. Kells. (Personal Trainer)
Kettlebell training takes skill and practice, but remember, anyone who decides to mix kettlebell training into their fitness routine should start with a light kettlebell until the technique is perfected - techique is essential.

Kettlebells can actually confirm that if we look to our fitness past , we might actually find the answers to get the results in the future.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Full Body Fitness

The only Exercise and Nutritional Program You Need

Visit the exercise/nutritional section of any bookstore or fitness related portal on the web and there will be a multitude of manuals, books, e-books, magazines, e-zines, video and audio items on the topic.

Selecting a fitness system

Some programs are designed by experts and supported with scientific findings. Others are created by individuals with deep pockets who have organized their data through experiences. With all the claims floating around, some creditable and others deserving further debate, deciding which exercise/nutritional system to follow becomes confusing to many trainees.
In addition to confusion, programs can become expensive. It is easy to spend hundreds of dollars on exercise/nutritional solutions that fail or lose appeal when newer products are marketed.

That is not to say that no system works. Some can produce magnificent results. But which one is best? Does one exist for everyone? The answer is a resounding yes! There is an exercise/nutritional system that works for every trainee who tries it.

Understanding fitness processes

To uncover this ultimate exercise/nutritional experience, trainees should become familiar with the Principle of Individual Differences. While any exercise/nutritional stimulus can produce similar adaptations for trainees, the rate and magnitude of change differs according to genetic predisposition. In other words, individuals working within the same system will achieve different results based upon their genetic blueprints.

Realizing individual differences exist in response to an exercise/nutritional stimulus should not be discouraging. There are numerous physical and physiological benefits for most anyone who exercises regularly and eats sensibly. However, genetic differences are a reality and the average trainee must realize that he or she may never become an elite athlete, bodybuilder, fitness competitor or brain surgeon regardless of the system followed.


Therefore, when searching for the ultimate exercise/nutritional solution it pays to be SMART. The acronym, applicable to goal setting, generally means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time sensitive. Readers interested in acquiring a hot New Year's physique applying SMART principles should read New Years Resolution Time. SMART can also be applied to exercise/nutritional solutions.

Specific refers to pinpointing one's goals. The trainee should ask whether a program is specific to his or her short and long term objectives. Just because a fitness superstar endorses a particular exercise/nutritional system does not mean that system is best suited to everyone's defined goals.
Next, does the system offer benefits that are Measurable in terms of change throughout progress cycles? The inability to measure or note change discourages some individuals from continuing onward before positive results occur.

Is the promised benefit from the exercise/nutritional system Achievable? For example, a trainee becomes sold on the idea of purchasing an expensive in-home training system using a high interest credit near its spending limit while the mortgage is three months late because his favorite millionaire athlete/actor endorses the product.

Can he or she really afford to buy the machine when the possibility of debt collection calls and foreclosure lurks so near? Maybe, if that individual thrives on extreme risk-taking, but a purchase under such conditions might be unachievable for most people.

Moreover, many exercise/nutritional systems simply are not Realistic for everybody. Take fad diets for example. Even though some fad-diet programs stretch logic, many people religiously adhere to such programs year after year. Weight loss is a process that is best achievable in small increments through sensible meal planning. Loose weight too quickly and there might be a bigger price to pay in terms of nutrient deficiencies, nutrient imbalances, illness and disease, loss of lean body tissue and more weight gain! Although some fad diet programs offer bites of credibility, many are unsafe and others are downright dangerous.

Finally, trainees should have Time objectives in mind when considering one exercise/nutritional system over another. Results should be obtainable within a reasonable time-frame. Any system without a basic time objective causes some trainees to develop beliefs that nothing works and eventually they quit fitness programs altogether.

The best fitness system

Then what is the exercise/nutritional system that works for every trainee who tries it? Well, the system that works for everyone is the one that gets results, meets goals over a reasonable time period, motivates, inspires, excites (at least somewhat), fits into lifestyles, increases confidence, improves health, is safe, realistic, adhered to and is most often backed by scientific data.

Thus, trainees stressing over which exercise/nutritional system to choose should remember there is no one size fits all system that works exactly the same for everyone all the time, but through education and some research, trainees can find a balanced system that works best for their unique body.
Always consult with your medical professional before starting an exercise/nutritional program.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Power Up With Plyometrics

System for explosive new performance in your favorite sport

Plyometrics is the method of training which enhances explosive physical reaction through powerful muscular contractions resulting from rapid eccentric contractions. These muscular contractions are achieved mainly through a variety of jumping, bounding and hopping exercises. This training relies on basic equipment such as steps, hurdles, medicine balls and jump ropes.
Whatever plyometric exercise you utilize, the underlying mechanism becomes the sretch shortening cycle: in each exercise, the muscle is rapidly stretched (or "loaded") before it is contracted. So plyometrics essentially builds elastic strength: a concentric contraction (muscle shortening) needs to occur immediately following an eccentric contraction (muscle lengthening) in order to achieve the desired dramatic increase in force. When muscle stretches in this manner, its elastic components store some of the energy and make it available during a rapid subsequent contraction.

Personal trainers often favor plyometrics to boost strength and speed, along with the balance, coordination and stability of their client's athletic performance. Notes Arizona based trainer Mark Francis: “I like to use the physio ball instead of regular machines and freeweight benches to incorporate stability in the trunk." Plyometrics requires having a good existing strength base and should not be done more than twice a week for a period of six weeks or less. With this in mind, some specific suggestions he outlines for the tennis player, for instance, run as follows:
  • The X-box jump. - difficult but effective. Similar to regular side box jumps, this exercise also requires an individual to jump off the front and back of the box in addition to the sides.
  • Do not attempt the X-box jump until totally comfortable with regular side box jumps.
  • The square cone drill. The athlete navigates four cones placed approximately 10 yards apart in a square with exercises such as side shuffles, backpedal and high knee runs, continuing for a set number of reps or a time period. Speed and agility should be the emphasis of this exercise.
Even if you have only recently begun a regular exercise program, you can include some plyometric movements. “A tennis player, for example, could add side box jumps to his leg workout, which should emphasize lateral motion and stabilization,” Mark points out. This basically involves an athlete jumping laterally on and then off a 10 to 12 inch high box. Again, the emphasis should be on control and decreased foot-to-ground contact time. Athletes from within the same sport can use the same plyometric movements no matter what their level in that sport: “What would change dramatically would be the intensity based on the individual's existing physical ability,” he observes. “
Generall “do’s and don’ts” for anyone getting into plyometrics:
  • Any session should take place a surface such as the grass in the outdoors or rubberized flooring indoors. Avoid concrete and wood.
  • Before any session, warm up--a five minute walk, calisthenics or low intensity hopping and jumping to elevate your core body temperature.
  • Perform the more complex plyometrics first since these require more energy, muscle synergy and concentration. “I always advise beginners to take their time and concentrate on form, not intensity,” Mark concludes: “It’s almost like learning to walk again, it can be very awkward doing some of these exercises, but the body soon adapts."

Monday, October 5, 2015

Boot Camps Boost Fitness, Burn Fat

Veteran Army trainer Guy Perreault of Seacoast Boot Camp Tells why

Fitness boot camps are a phenomenon. Health clubs have pre-programmed machines with built-in heart monitors, yet old-school options like flipping tires or squat-thrusting at 6 AM has impacted our fitness-frenzied culture like a medicine ball slammed on a mat-another boot camp staple.

For 20 years, Guy Perreault was Master Trainer of the First 179th FA Battalion of the US Army, responsible for the fitness of 400 soldiers. He brought the same techniques--straight from the Army's Physical Fitness Field Manual-to Seacoast Boot Camp, which he launched in 2006 in Portsmouth, NH.

His philosophy, "Hit it hard, hit it fast, be intense-make every workout count."
boot camp fitness

Perreault's program runs six weeks with four 45-minute sessions per week. "Enlistees" run, lift, do calisthenics, and use isometrics and offbeat exercises (e.g. swinging kettle bell weights) to work each muscle group, simultaneously building endurance. Repetitions without rest raise metabolism, which burns calories long after each workout.

TpxMuscle: What makes fitness boot camps so popular?

G.P. It's the toughness, the intensity. When you leave here, you feel like you've done something; it's 7:30 in the morning and you've done more of a workout than you've probably ever done before.

TpxMuscle: Why does this stuff work?

G.P. When you're working out, and you're hitting it hard for 45 minutes, running, using heavy weights, staying, that's going to increase your metabolism. You'll burn several hundred calories during you workout, and, more importantly, continue to burn them for the next 12 to 48 hours.

TpxMuscle: Do you see a similar cohesion in your fitness boot camps that you saw in the Army?

G.P. I really do. In the military, you get to know people a lot better because you're with them longer. But what I find in fitness boot camp is that everybody works out with everybody, they get to know one another, and no one wants to fail. They want to pass; they want to complete the workout and the course, and they want you to complete it, too.

TpxMuscle: What's the biggest misconception people have about boot camp?

G.P. A big misconception is that one must be in shape to attend, but you can come to boot camp at any fitness level. Another problem is unrealistic expectations. There's so much bad information out there, diets, infomercials, videos. People think they're going to look great in two weeks.

TpxMuscle: Do you think there's an information and gadget glut that distracts people from consistent exercise?

G.P. Even for me! The fitness community gets smarter all the time. I'll start reading or looking at something, get caught up and think, maybe that will be really good! But then I stop and say, think about what we're doing here. Often we get hung up on terminology and stop there. Someone will say, "I belong to a gym." I'll say that's great, but a gym is a building, a location. What matters is what you do when you work out.

TpxMuscle: Have you changed your program at all?

G.P. That's a challenge. I do a lot of tinkering with it. If I just ran a six-week program with new people all the time, I could use the same program, but I have so many repeats that I have to keep changing it. The program is always evolving, but we're still sticking with the basics, the manual, but what I change is the parameters such as time, how much running, what circuits I'll use.

TpxMuscle: Are you surprised by how many repeat customers you have?

G.P. Not anymore, but at first, yes. I just figured people wouldn't stay and stay and stay. I asked myself what keeps them coming back? I'm sure it's the intensity.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Who is the World's Best Personal Trainer?

personal trainer

If you are looking to build muscle, lose fat or just feel a little better physically, it seems like a fairly obvious step to search on the internet for information. Unfortunately, this is where the problems occur. Differentiating between some of the best trainers in the world and the 140-pound "trainer" with a great publicist but no real training experience is not easy. Following advice from the former is a great way to get set for consistent progress for years, whilst the latter will lead to frustration and stagnation. Here are three coaches who can be relied upon for great training advice.

Keeping it Simple with Dan John

Exercise can occasionally become a horribly complicated affair. Which one, how many, what tempo, concentric contractions, eccentric contractions, life is not easy for the trainee. Dan John has the gift of making it simple and communicating his ideas with humour. If you were to follow the advice of just one person for the rest of your training career, Dan John would be a perfect choice. He has written about everything from improving highland games performance to fat loss and his advice is easy to follow and produces results.

Losing Fat With Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is a coach based in Toronto, Canada. He is more of a specialist than Dan John in that his Turbulence Training protocol is based on losing body fat. He is also fairly heavily promoted all over the internet, which can be somewhat off-putting, but the fact of the matter is that he offers very good advice for those interested in losing body fat in the most efficient manner possible. Craig recommends a healthy diet based on whole foods rather than supplements (although he is not anti-supplements as such). His workouts are based on combining weight training and intervals to really rev up the body's metabolism and keep burning fat as fuel.

High Threshold Hypertrophy With Christian Thibaudeau

Christian Thibaudeau is a French Canadian coach who is currently one of the leading lights in hypertrophy training. His methods are extremely innovative, and probably not for the beginner. He associates various training methods with a particular peri-workout nutritional protocol. The supplements he recommends can be expensive, but are by no means necessary to profit from the training advice than Christian offers. He is also regularly present in his own section of the t-nation forum, so it is possible to ask him questions directly.

These three coaches are by no means the only choices available. Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 is a great programme, as is Doggcrapp. However, Dan John, Craig Ballantyne and Christian Thibaudeau offer solid advice which covers all areas of fitness.

Ultimate 30's Workout

Increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormone your body produces by working multiple muscle groups and keeping rest periods short. For cardio, your lactate threshold can still be increased throughout your thirties, so intervals are king to counter any loss of lung power.

Ultimate 40's Workout

Short, sharp shocks are the way to fire up your body in your middle years - which means you can forget long-winded weights workouts. Vary exercises, intensity and timings to keep your muscles guessing.

Ultimate 50's Workout

You may not be able to lift the heaviest weight, but that's okay. Instead, stretching and yoga should be part of your training, and body-weight moves can replace heavy workouts. Do three sets of 10 reps of the following exercises to protect your joints and maintain muscle mass and testosterone.