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Lunges

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Add lunges to your routine to build powerful legs any Greek God can be proud of (apparently this is what many of you are striving to achieve).

So here is the technique broken down:

  1. For a barbell lunge, take the bar out of the rack/ safely clean and press the bar up to rest the barbell on the back of your shoulders, as you would a back squat
  2. Your feet should be just under shoulder width apart
  3. look forwards and engage your upper back by pulling your elbows back towards your sides, this will help with stability and form.
  4. Now lunge forwards (a big step), keeping your torso upright and your core braced, ensuring that your front knee does not go beyond the line of your toes
  5. You are looking to almost touch the floor with your back knee but do not goes as far as the floor
  6. Push back off your front foot powerfully, controlling the movement to start position.

The lunge is an exercise that can be done with bodyweight, holding dumbells, holding a kettlebell, even holding a log! So there’s really no excuses. Grab some form of weight and get lunging!

I recommend that you focus on controlling your breathing with this exercise to help keep a nice strong core. So exhale on the lunge forwards, and take a deep breath in when you step back.  Don’t forget to pause for a second at the deepest part of the lunge, and stand up tall when you have pushed back to the start position.

 

CC

Remember these are just hints and tips that I have found work for myself. Always use care and solid technique when performing any exercise.

Categories: Lower Body Exercises Tags:

Front Squat

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

The front squat is a very hard, total body exercise to master. When I say total body, I mean legs (obviously), core and your upper body to stabilise and hold the bar through the lift.

English: an exercise of thigh

Get the most from this exercise from following the correct technique:

  1. Either take the bar from the rack or power clean the bar into position – rest the bar on the front of your shoulders with our elbows up, pointing forwards
  2. Your feet should be shoulder width apart with your toes turned out slightly to the side
  3. Grip the bar with your fingertips, not your whole hand to help keep your elbows pushed forwards
  4. Squat down, bum past hips, keeping your core braced throughout the exercise to keep an upright torso
  5. Your knees need to keep in line with your feet
  6. Push back up through your heels powerfully keeping them elbows nice and high, exhaling on the effort

My advice for the front squat is to keep the reps low as your arms and middle to upper back will soon tire out from holding the bar in this fixed position. So try 5 sets of 5, meaning you need to go heavy to get the full benefits. Also remember to keep looking forwards and concentrate on keeping your back upright with your core braced. If your elbows drop in the move then this will cause the weight to pull your torso forwards. If you’re not strong enough to stay upright then this will put your spine out of position and you could end up hurting it so really concentrate and practise the technique. A  front squat can be performed with crossed arms (as illustrated above), but I prefer to use an open, underhand grip as it allows me to keep my elbows pushed further upwards.

Any questions, feel free to comment!

 

CC

Remember these are just hints and tips that I have found work for myself. Always use care and solid technique when performing any exercise.

Categories: Lower Body Exercises Tags:

Thruster

January 7, 2012 Leave a comment

The thruster is a cross between a front squat and an overhead press. It is one of those exercises that looks hard, and is harder to complete! But it is a brilliant exercise if you are short on time as it is a whole body killer! Use the thruster to build a strong core and shake up a stale routine.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. With the bar resting on the front of your shoulders, push your elbows up and forwards until they are around chest height
  2. Squat down with your core braced to keep your torso upright
  3. Pause at the bottom of the movement, then drive up through your heels
  4. Use this momentum and bring your hips forward to help drive the bar up overhead

With this exercise remember to breathe! This sounds really obvious but give it a go and you’ll find you are concentrating on the exercise so much that you will forget to have a breathing pattern. As with the overhead press, press the bar through at the top of the movement to engage your upper back. Really concentrate on engaging your core throughout the move to ensure a strict form and get the most from this exercise. Start off light untill you are confident with the movement pattern and then start adding the plates.

Feel free to comment if you have any questions and I will get back to you.

CC

Remember these are just hints and tips that I have found work for myself. Always use care and solid technique when performing any exercise.

Categories: Lower Body Exercises Tags:

Bench Press

January 7, 2012 Leave a comment

The bench press is many a mans bench mark.. So before you ask I generally bench 100kg (without a spotter). Come and spot me and we will have a challenge on our hands! But seriously if you want to out brag the guys hogging the bench, nail your technique to see them Kgs mount up:

 

  1. Grip the bar using an overhand grip with your shoulders slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
  2. Your feet should be flat to the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees
  3. Unrack the bar and lower slowly to your chest, do not bounce the bar off your chest!
  4. Once the bar is at chest level, powerfully press the bar back upwards

To steal a few kilos make sure that you keep a natural arch in your back, brace your core throughput the exercise and exhale on the effort (the press). Also keep your wrists strong by locking them so that your knuckles are facing the ceiling. As you press the bar try to keep your elbows from flaring out to the sides, use a nice strict form

Bench Press illustration

Image via Wikipedia

. My key pointer for the bench press is to activate your back muscles by pretending you are aiming to rip the bar apart from the middle. This “Pulling” on the bar brings your back muscles in to stabilise the exercise, meaning better form.

I’ll expect a few comments from some challengers!!

CC

Remember these are just hints and tips that I have found work for myself. Always use care and solid technique when performing any exercise.

Categories: Upper Body Exercises Tags:

The Deadlift

January 7, 2012 Leave a comment
English: an exercise of hip and thigh

Image via Wikipedia

The Deadlift is another one of those exercises that is perfect for torching calories and stimulating muscle growth. Plus if done correctly it is a killer! This exercise must be performed with very strict technique to protect your back, so pin back your ears and listen up:

 

English: an exercise of hip and thigh

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Approach the bar and set up – toes under the bar with shins close to the bar, shoulders should be above it with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Arms should be positioned just outside your knees with an overhand grip on the bar (use a mixed grip if you are lifting heavy)
  3. Keep your chest up as you drive through your heels to lift the bar off the floor
  4. As the bar is in motion, drive your hips forward and finish the exercise standing tall

For the deadlift, you need to keep a strong core as you perform the lift to really concentrate on your breathing to aid this, I find it easier to take a deep breath both at the top and bottom of the move so that you can exhale on the effort (upward lift and lowering the weight back to the floor). Also I find that keeping your head facing slightly upwards helps to keep my chest in a nice upwards position, keeping the spine in a nice natural shape.

 

If you have any questions, comment below and I will get  a reply back to you.

 

 

 

CC

 

Remember these are just hints and tips that I have found work for myself. Always use care and solid technique when performing any exercise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Lower Body Exercises Tags:

Overhead Press

January 7, 2012 Leave a comment
English: an exercise of triceps

Image via Wikipedia

The overhead press is one of the best exercises to work your shoulders. If you are striving for that V shape than this exercise is crucial for you!

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. With the bar resting at the top of your chest, keep your weight over your heels and stabalise your lower body by locking your knee
  2. Brace your core and press the bar upwards, keeping your elbows either in front or under the bar as it travels upwards
  3. Move your head forwards slightly to push the bar through the movement and lock out overhead. This will also get your upper back working.

I find that when I am overhead pressing there can be a temptation to let your elbows fall behind the bar as you are pressing, but you have to keep strict form and no allow this! I also find that bracing your core really helps to keep a nice strict form throughout the exercise.

 

CC

Remember these are just hints and tips that I have found work for myself. Always use care and solid technique when performing any exercise.

The Back Squat

January 7, 2012 Leave a comment
parallel squat

Image via Wikipedia

I believe this to be one of the best exercises for both building muscle, and torching calories as it is a massive compound lift that gets the biggest muscles in your body really firing – your legs. Training your legs not only burns more calories relative to training other body parts, but it also leads to increased growth hormone release from you body.

Here’s how to do it:

 

  1. Preferably in a squat rack/ squat stands, stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart with a barbell resting across the back of your shoulders
  2. Grip the bar with your arms just wider than shoulder width
  3. Take the weight of the bar and with your feet pointing slightly outwards, squat down aiming to get your hips below the height of your knees
  4. Powerfully, drive upwards through your heels.

So that’s the basic instructions for the exercise. Now I find that I can keep a more solid core by taking  a deep breath in before I perform a squat. I hold this breath through the squat, exhaling on the upwards drive. Also your knees should follow the line that your toes are pointing in, however they must not go over the line of your toes. Another tip that I like to share is to engage your lats to help keep your torso stable by pulling slightly on the bar as you squat down. Almost as if you were trying to bend the bar across your shoulders. Keep your head slightly above eye level and your chest upwards, nice and strong for balance and to keep your spine in its natural shape through the exercise. Go heavy on this exercise to see the best results, obviously starting with a weight you are comfortable with and working your way up.

Feel free to leave any comments on how you get on!

 

CC

Remember these are just hints and tips that I have found work for myself. Always use care and solid technique when performing any exercise.

Categories: Lower Body Exercises Tags:

Abs Session

October 18, 2011 2 comments

Yesterday I was asked to come up with an abdominals session plan for a friend. I put the following plan together for him and thought I would share it on here for those of you looking to test your abs.

Remember always use the correct form and technique when performing exercises, these are just my tips.

Extended Weighted Crunch – Perform a crunch holding a light weight in your hands with your arms extended out above your head. Do not raise your torso so that your lower back comes up off the floor as this will hyperextend the muscles and could cause injury/lower back pain.

Do 12 reps and four sets in total.

The next exercises should be performed in a circuit, resting for 1 minute after the circuit is complete. Do three rounds in total aiming for between 8 and 12 reps per exercise, without letting your feet hit the ground in-between exercises:

Lying Leg Raises – Lying on the ground, engage your core and lift your legs with a slight bend at the knee, until they are
In line with your hips. Do not curl up the bottom of your back, aim to keep your buttocks on the floor. Lower slowly to the start position, not touching the ground with your legs/feet.

Lying Leg Tuck – From the start position of the above exercise, brace your core and bring your knees in towards your chest, push your legs back out slowly to the start position, not letting your legs/feet touch the ground.

V- Sit – From the start position of the above exercise, bring your legs slightly into your body with a bend at the knee and raise your shoulders up away from the ground (raising using your core from the hips). This is the start position for a V-sit. Crunch to bring your knees and torso to meet in the middle, using your core slowly return to start position not touching the ground with your upper body or your legs/feet.

Body Dish (hold for 30 seconds) – From the start position of the above exercise, lower your torso slightly using your core, so moving from the hips. Extend your arms out above your head and your body should now be in a stretched out U shape. You should feel this working your core from the start. Using your core, hold this position. Do not let your legs or torso drop to the floor.

After your Circuits if your still feeling brave:

Plank – Resting on your forearms, palms facing the floor with relaxed shoulders, elevate yourself off the ground with your back straight engaging your core (a bit like a press up position). Do 4 holding to failure with 30 seconds rest in-between.

Side-plank – Lying on your side, resting on one of your forearms and the out sole of your foot, raise your torso off the ground to straighten your spine. Using your core, hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat for the other side of your body. This is one set. Repeat 3 times, resting for 30 seconds in-between sets.

Russian Twist – Feet on the floor, bend your knees to 45 degrees and raise your torso off the ground until this is aligned with your hips (your torso should be at about 45 degrees also). Try to keep your chest up and back straight. With a weight plate/dumbell/medicine ball etc, in your hands, rotate your torso using your core to bring the weight past your hips either side. Repeat for a total of 12 reps, so 6 each side.

Even though this Abs routine mainly relies on bodyweight, doing some of the exercises in a circuit means that it is fairly high intensity to burn some calories and really work your abs and core muscles to exhaustion. The static holds at the end ensure that you have worked your core muscles group down to the deep stabilising muscles. To progress add weights to the bodyweight exercises or try adding another round/set.

Remember to subscribe to my blog to hear about new posts as they are uploaded.

CC

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Get rid of those chicken legs without leaving your room!

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

This workout has been designed by myself to build up your legs and tone your core muscles, to help increase your leg strength. The workout uses supersets to keep the intensity up and burn some fat as well as building muscle. Using supersets helps to keep workouts quick whilst getting your heart rate elevated and hitting your muscles hard!

Aim to complete four rounds for each superset. For maximum benefit use the routine two to three times a week alongside your “rest of body” workouts.

Remember always use correct form and technique when completing exercises. These are just my tips and advice.

Superset 1 – Split Squat.
Stand with one foot in front of the other, raise your back leg onto a chair/bench. Keeping your core braced and back straight squat down. Alternate legs after you have reached the number of reps (10 per leg).
& Glute Bridge.
Lying on your back (ass to ground), legs bent at the knees and arms supporting you on the floor, raise your backside off the floor until your back creates a straight line. Repeat for 15 reps.

Superset 2 – Single Leg Reach.
Stand tall on one leg with the opposite arm raised overhead. Reach down(bending from your hips), and touch your toes of your standing leg with your raised arm. Repeat for 10 reps each leg.
& Box Jump.
Standing aside a box/bench/chair, grip the sides and jump across the box. Aim to jump as high and as fast as you can, as you jump back and forth over the box. Repeat for 20 reps.

Superset 3 – Turning Lunges.
Stride forwards with one leg to lunge, at the bottom of the lunge, twist your body so that your arms come across yourself to face the other side. Do 10 each leg.
& Sumo Squat.
Legs wider than shoulder width apart, turn your feet to point outwards (hence the word sumo), squat down with your core braced. Repeat for 15 reps.

Superset 4 – Box Step Up.
Raise one leg onto the box/chair/bench, with your core braced to hold your back and shoulders upright. With your arms by your sides, push up onto the box with the leg that is raised. Do 8 each side.
& Mountain Climber.
Lean against a wall/sturdy chair/bench/swiss ball with your arms outstretched in front of you. Raise one of your legs towards your mid section, keeping your core braced. Return to the start position and repeat with the opposite leg. Do a total of 20 reps (using a swiss ball may be harder as leaning against a wall will be easier so adjust the reps if needs be).

Training your legs releases a large amount of Human Growth Hormone in the body as they are one of your largest muscle groups. Resulting in full body gains.

What are you waiting for? Get squatting!

CC

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Bodyweight Circuit – Fat Burn

September 14, 2011 1 comment

The following workout is a bodyweight circuit that I have completed myself many times to shake things up a bit. It utilises the fat burning effect of circuit training. Circuit training keeps your heart rate high burning calories as well as working your muscles. This workout will also keep your metabolism raised for hours after the workout.

Keep to the REPS specified for each exercise and then move on to the next exercise with no rest in-between.
Aim to complete 3 rounds with enough rest in-between circuits to catch your breath. Take no longer than 20 minutes (excluding the warm up).

Remember this is just advice from what I have found helpful, always use the correct form & technique when performing exercises.

Warm-up – 5 minutes light jogging, every now and then alternate: changing direction dynamically, jumping up as high as you can, and bringing your arms down by your sides to touch the ground.

The Circuit:
Station 1 – Jump Squat
Feet shoulder width, lower your body down into a deep squat, keeping your shoulders upright and tense your core to keep a natural arch in your back. Explode upwards jumping off the ground. On landing, lower back into the start position. Do 15

Station 2 – Spider Man Press-up
As you perform a press up bring one knee up towards your elbow. Hold for 2 seconds, return to the start position and alternate sides. Do 10

Station 3 – Explosive Lunges
Start in a lunge position. Jump up in the air, as you do swap your legs as to land with the opposite foot forwards to which you started. Move your arms in the same motion as if you were running to help with balance on landing. Do 12

Station 4 – Alternate Leg Squat Thrusts
The start position is almost an olympic sprint start. Bring one leg forwards and at the same time push your other leg backwards, in a hopping motion. Perform this alternating motion as quick as you can. Do 40

Station 5 – Hand stand Press Up
Find a wall (maybe not a white wall with muddy trainers!), proceed to walk you feet up the wall whilst in a press- up position. Lower your body by bending your arms as low as you can. Push your body back to the start position. Do 6 – 8

Station 6 – Hanging Leg Raises
This exercise can be performed hanging from a pull up bar, door gym, door frame (if your brave enough) etc. If you have not got anything to hang off perform lying leg raises.

Hanging Leg Raises: Hanging from your chosen object, with your shoulders off lock and a slight bend at your knees, raise your legs up in front of you, pausing at the top of the movement and returning slowly to the start position, with your core engaged throughout. Do 10
OR
Lying Leg Raises: Lying on the floor with your legs outstretched and a slight bend in your knees, raise your legs upwards bracing your core throughout. Return slowly to the start position. Do 15.

Station 7 – The Plank.
Lying on the floor support your upper body on your forearms, with your elbows tucked in towards your body and your fists together. Hold this position for 60 seconds.
Too Easy? After 10 seconds, walk your legs out backwards as far as you can without breaking form. Walk yourself back into the start position. Do: To Failure.

CC

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