Tag Archives: exercise program

Slow Down… and Push Up

27 Oct

Oh, the push up. Love it or hate it, this exercise is pure gold. It strengthens many muscles at once, is extremely efficient when time is limited, can be easily modified for various injuries or strength levels and requires no equipment. Hooray!

In order to create the magical win-win for your body, it is muy importante to slow down, engage the abdominals and focus on bending the elbows to lower the body as opposed to collapsing into the shoulder blades. Shall we have a run at it?

1. Place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders (or place hands on the wall or railing for a modified version). Shift weight back into your heels, draw your belly button towards your spine, tuck your tailbone and keep your shoulder blades wide and head in neutral (see Figure 1). This is your starting position.

Figure 4

Figure 1: Start position

2. Inhale and slowly lower (2 counts) your entire body towards the ground as one unit by bending the elbows (the elbows will point back at a 45 degree angle away from your torso). Keep the shoulders wide and head neutral. Stop once your chest is about a fist distance away from the ground (see Figure 2).

Figure 5

Figure 2: Lowering position

3. Exhale and slowly push your body up as one unit to the start position.

4. Perform 10 reps or as many as you can do with proper form.

Using a secure wall, railing or table works well to modify the exercise (see Figure 3). If you would like to increase difficulty, you may slow the tempo down even more, increase reps to 20 or place your feet on an elevated surface.

Figure 2: Modified Push Up

Figure 3: Modified push up on secure desk

Regardless of what you do, be certain you have proper form and stop the exercise if you feel any pain. It is always ideal to have the expertise of a certified personal trainer to ensure proper form and programming are achieved for your unique needs and goals. And remember, before you start any exercise program, please get the A-OK from your physician.

 

For your customized exercise and nutrition program, please contact me at 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.

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Jungle (Gym) Fever

7 Apr

There is far too much Spring beauty outdoors to keep your sweet, tight cheeks lifting weights indoors. About time you spice up your routine with some jungle gym action. The routine is written for all levels, but I added an alternate exercise in parentheses if you need more of a challenge.

 

Truth: I’m not a fan of generic exercise programs (hence my words of caution you will read right…. NOW). It is extremely important to work with your doctor (to make sure you are cleared for exercise and do not have any orthopedic issues, etc.) and a certified trainer (like yours truly) who can properly assess and design an individualized exercise program for you that effectively reaches your goals while keeping your safety and needs numero uno.

 

Before beginning any exercise program, always check with your doctor and stop exercise immediately if you experience any pain, dizziness, numbness, etc. There are four things you need to execute with each exercise to ensure proper technique: 1) activate abdominals (as though someone was going to poke or punch you in the stomach), 2) lift your chest, 3) breathe and 4) drink water. It’s about to get crazy…

 

Equipment: jungle gym at your home or park, you (yay you!) and jungle boogie tunes never hurt

 

EXERCISE PROGRAM***

Warm Up:

Walk to the park or around your yard (at least 5 minutes)

Perform any corrective exercises or stretches you need

Bodyweight Squats–8 reps (Figure 1)

Modified Push Up on bench–8 reps (Figure 2)

Split Squat–8 reps each (Figure 3)

 

Bodyweight Training Circuit: perform 10 reps of each exercise in a row, rest for 60 seconds and perform entire circuit again for 3-4 more times.

 

1. Plank (or Plank with Arm Reach). Start in a neutral spine position with your elbows under your shoulders and your weight back in your heels (Figure 4). Hold this for 30-60 seconds rather than performing 10 reps (or Plank with Arm Reach: keep pelvis level and still while reaching one arm out in front of you at a 45 degree angle, set back down in start position and reach opposite arm. Perform 10 reps each side). Keep breathing.

 

2. Split Squat (or Bulgarian Squat). Start in a split stance with right leg in front and left leg back, legs hip width apart (or Bulgarian Squat: place top of the toes of the left back foot on a swing seat so it is elevated). Inhale, bend knees to lower your body, leading with the left knee towards the ground (but don’t touch the knee to ground) (Figure 3). Exhale, squeeze the glutes and push with the right heel to start position. Keep the spine neutral the entire time. Perform 10 reps, then switch to the other side.

 

3. Push Up (or Push Up with feet elevated on bench or swing seat). Start in a neutral spine position with your wrists under your shoulders (Figure 5). Inhale, squeeze your shoulder blades to pull yourself towards the ground, elbows pointing back at a 45 degree angle. Once your arms are level with your torso, exhale and push up to start (Figure 6). This can also be performed like the modified push up in the warm up.

 

4. Reverse Row (or Pull Up). Find a sturdy bar that is hip or chest height (or Pull Up: find monkey bars or a sturdy bar that is slightly taller than you). Place your hands on the bar shoulder width apart and position yourself underneath the bar where the chest is in line with the bar (or Pull Up: you will be hanging directly underneath the bar, knees bent if needed so feet do not touch the ground). Start in neutral spine/ plank position. Inhale, squeeze the shoulder blades and pull your chest towards the bar, moving the body as one unit and not braking at the hips or overextend the lumbar spine (or Pull Up: use your back muscles to pull your chest up to the bar until elbows are bent slightly past 90 degrees). Exhale and lower, straightening the elbows but still staying in a neutral spine/ plank position.

 

5. Squat (or Jump Squat). Stand with feet hip width apart. Inhale, sit back like you are going to sit in a chair, keeping knees behind and in line with second toe (Figure 1). Exhale, squeeze the butt and push through the heels as though you are pushing the ground away from you to return to start (or Jump Squat: push through the heels and jump) (Note: my arms are in a prisoner’s squat position. This is not the best position for those with shoulder issues, tight pecs, etc. Please keep hands on hips or folded at your chest. I simply posed like this because it was the best view to demonstrate proper technique in the photograph without blocking my lower body.)

 

Cool-down:

Walk back home or around your yard until your heart rate slows and returns to normal. Foam roll and stretch as needed.

 

***This program is designed for healthy individuals with no medical concerns. Always speak with your doctor before performing any exercise program. If you are new to exercise or haven’t exercised in a while (but your doctor has given you the A-OK), start with one set and build your endurance and strength from there. Optimal results can only be obtained with a customized exercise and nutrition program.

Figure 1: Bodyweight Squats

Figure 1: Bodyweight Squats

Figure 2: Modified Push Up

Figure 2: Modified Push Up

Figure 3 Split Squat (you can use the chair for balance if you are a new exerciser)

Figure 3: Split Squat

Figure 6

Figure 4: Plank

Figure 4

Figure 5: Start position of push up

Figure 5

Figure 6: Bottom position of push up

The 30-Minute Workout

30 Jul

Tight schedule? Busy juggling life or simply not ready to commit to a regular exercise program? Let’s remedy that, shall we?

Now, I’m not a fan of generic exercise programs (hence all of my words of caution you will read). It is extremely important to work with your doctor (to make sure you are cleared for exercise and do not have any orthopedic issues, etc.) and a certified trainer (like yours truly) who can properly assess and design an individualized exercise program for you that effectively reaches your goals while keeping your safety and needs top priority. With that being said, I don’t want to leave you hangin’ either. So, here is a simple program that you can do at home three days per week for 30 minutes with zero equipment to jump start your healthy habit. Hooray!

Before beginning any exercise program, always check with your doctor and stop exercise immediately if you experience any pain, dizziness, etc. There are four things you need to execute with each exercise to ensure proper technique: 1) activate abdominals (as though someone was going to poke or punch you in the stomach), 2) lift your chest, 3) breathe and 4) drink water. Let’s rock this!

EXERCISE PROGRAM***

5-Minute Warm-up: foam roll and perform any corrective stretches and exercises followed by 10 supine double leg hip bridges and 16 (8 each side) walking knee hugs.

20-Minute Resistance Training: perform three sets of 15 reps of the following exercises to fatigue with perfect form. Execute each exercise in a row, rest 30 seconds and repeat additional sets until you’ve performed each exercise three times.

1. Squat. Stand with feet hip width apart. Sit back like you are going to sit in a chair, keeping knees behind and in line with second toe (Figure 1). Squeeze the butt and push through the heels as though you are pushing the ground away from you to return to start. (Note: my arms are in a prisoner’s squat position. This is not the best position for those with shoulder issues, tight pecs, etc. Please keep hands on hips or folded at your chest. I simply posed like this because it was the best view to demonstrate proper technique in the photograph without blocking my lower body.)

2. Prone Cobra. Lie on your stomach with arms by your side. Squeeze your butt  and shoulder blades together and lift your torso off the ground, rotating palms away from your body so thumbs point to the ceiling (Figure 2). Hold this pose (yes, that butt and shoulder blades of yours stay squeezed!) for 1-3 minutes rather than doing 15 reps.

3. Lateral Lunge. Stand tall with feet together. Step out to the side and sit back into your right heel, keeping the right knee behind and in line with the right second toe. Left foot stays flat on the ground (Figure 3). Squeeze the butt and push through the heel of the right foot to return to start. Perform all reps then repeat on the left leg.

4. Push Up. Start in a neutral spine position with your wrists under your shoulders (Figure 4). Squeeze your shoulder blades to pull yourself towards the ground, elbows pointing back at a 45 degree angle. Once your arms are level with your torso, push up to start (Figure 5).

5. Plank. Start in a neutral spine position with your elbows under your shoulders and your weight back in your heels (Figure 6). Hold this for 30-60 seconds rather than performing 15 reps.

3-Minute Metabolic Training: choose an exercise that gets your heart pumping but doesn’t cause any pain such as jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, etc. Perform that exercise as fast as you can with good form for 30 seconds. Rest 30 seconds and repeat two more times.

2-Minute Cool-down: walk around until your heart rate slows and returns to normal. Foam roll and stretch as needed.

***This program is designed for healthy individuals with no medical concerns. Always speak with your doctor before performing any exercise program. If you are new to exercise or haven’t exercised in a while (but your doctor has given you the A-OK), start with one set and build your endurance and strength from there. Optimal results can only be obtained with a customized exercise and nutrition program.

For your customized exercise and nutrition program, contact me at 402-819-8970 or at Stephanie Bell Wellness.

Squat

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3
Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 6