Monday, June 16, 2008

The Lunge

Well back on track here with the final of the 5 common moves. Today I will cover the lunge. The lunge works the muscles of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip complex. There are numerous variations of the lunge by they all have the same basic form.

1) Split the legs roughly 30-36 inches depending on your height.
2) Drop the back knee directly down forming a 90 degree angle with the back leg and coming up onto the toe of the back foot.
3) The front leg also bends to about 90 degrees, but the front foot must stay flat on the ground.
4) Keep your torso upright. If you tend to lean forward it is due to tight hip flexors. If this is a problem for you spend some time on stretching the hip flexors and do some glute activation and strengthening exercises (bridges, adductor walks, RDL's).
5) Drop your back knee until it is one inch off of the ground. Some people believe you should not allow the knee to touch the floor. I do not totally believe this as long as you only touch it to the ground and do not bounce it off of the ground or rest on it. By bouncing it off of the ground you can damage your knee structure, specifically your knee cap, from the force your place on it by bouncing (aka. slamming your knee into the ground). Also, if you rest on it you will allow the tension to come off of the muscles and rested on the ground. This is not affectively and fully getting the most out of the exercise. However, if you only touch it to the ground gently, not resting on it you will be able to get a slightly greater range of motion, which will make the exercise slightly more challenging. It is your choice I am fine with either as long as they are both done properly.
6) Do not have both your feet in the same line. You are not being tested for a DUI by the state police. Keep your feet shoulder width apart.

As I said before there are many different variations of the lunge. But, the form is the same for all.

Well that concludes my lessons on form of the 5 common movements. I hope you are beginning to clean up your form and have found these posts useful.

Have a great day!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

5 Minute Fat Burning Workout

Saturday and Sunday are now my current off days from working out. I need these days to recover and build lean muscle tissue. But, you know what? Sometimes I still feel like doing something to get the blood flowing and help clear my head. Today was one of those days. So I did a 5 minute kettlebell complex workout. It was great, got my heart pounding and blood flowing. Another plus of this quick 5 minute workout was the intensity was high enough to help burn some body fat and will keep my metabolism running high for the rest of the day, which will keep my body in fat burning mode.

Here is what I did:

KB Deadlift - 5 reps
KB 2-Hand Swing - 5 reps
KB 1-Hand Swing - 5 reps each
KB Alternating Release Swing - 10 reps
KB Squat - 5 reps
KB 2-Arm Overhead Press - 5 reps
KB Deadlift - 5 reps
KB 1-Hand Swing - 5 reps
KB Clean - 5 reps
KB 1-Arm Overhead Press - 5 reps
KB Deadlift - 5 reps
KB 1-Hand Swing - 5 reps
KB Clean - 5 reps
KB 1-Arm Overhead Press - 5 reps
KB 1-Arm Snatch - 2 reps
KB 1-Arm Snatch (opposite arm) - 2 reps
Single Leg Burpees - 10 each leg.

This entire complex was done with just one kettlebell (KB) that weighed 20 kg. and each exercise was performed nonstop smoothly flowing from one exercise to the next.

Give it a try the next time you need a short workout.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Criticized and Misunderstood

I'm known for pushing my clients very hard in the gym and having them do some very unique training methods and exercises. My goal is to get them results and get them results as fast as possible. A lot of times I'll be training a client and someone else working out in the gym will come up to me and say, "I would never be able to train with you, you'd kill me!" Well, I wouldn't go that far. But, I will guarantee you that I will push you. 

You see many people make the false assumption that just because client A is flipping a tire, doing plyometric drills, or lifting heavy weight that I will have them doing the same thing. This is so not the case. Each workout and training session is different, because every client is different. It is still going to be challenging for everyone, but the intensity is relative.

For example, about a month ago I started a group training class. In this class we only use bodyweight, bands, slides, kettlebells, and balls. All exercises are done with just these pieces of equipment. Also, all of the exercises can be adjusted up and down in difficulty for each individuals needs. But, still some people watch and still think that it is too hard! Oh well, they are also spending 90% of there time sitting on a machine and working out.

I have also heard some people say my training is only for athletes and real hard core people. Really? I work primarily with fat loss clients. People seem to think that because I push clients and work them intensely that makes me hard core. Maybe, maybe not. But, you are not going to see fat loss results but taking your time, lifting light weights, sitting on machines, talking, and not sweating. What is done in one of my clients training sessions is what I believe and know to produce the best results. (In most cases I can produce the research to back me up.) 

My training is not just for athletes and hard core power lifters or whatever you want to call hardcore. I train to help people improve themselves. And I am more than willing to train anyone who is dedicated to their training. I do not however, have patience for clients who want entertained, to have a trainer to say that they have a personal trainer, are chronic cancelers, or show up 20 minutes late. These people are not into it. Training has not become important to them yet. At first some of these people I may be able to work with and get them on track, but others just don't really want to do it. It's not that I have anything against these people or don't like them. Most of them are very nice people, training is just not their thing. But, the reason I would rather not train these people is because they are not going to get results. If you are training a bunch of resultless clients that is not good advertising, even though it has nothing to do with you the trainer. I also feel like I am not doing my job when I'm training these type of clients. I feel like I am just being paid to entertain them and collect their money. That is not why I got into this profession.

I take my profession and career very seriously. When someone comes to me looking to train I tell them that I can get you the fat loss results you are looking for. But, are you willing to let me push you and follow the advice I give you. It is my job to push you past what you thought were your limitations and get you results.  Yes, I maybe be better in certain areas and have preferred niches, but all and all I want to help those who are serious.

How serious are you about your training? And why do you workout?

I know this was kind of a rant and scattered brained, but it was just on my mind.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, June 9, 2008


Pulling exercises target the muscles of your back, specifically your rhomboids, lats, and traps. There are three ways to pull: horizontally, vertically up, and vertically down.

Horizontal Pulls (Rows)
1. Start with your shoulder blades slightly retracted.
2. As you pull your arms back continue to retract your shoulder blades.
3. Once your reach the lower portion of your chest slowly release (protract) your shoulder blades and return to the starting position.
4. If you are doing a bent-over version, keep your back arched the entire time.
5. Do not pull with your lower back (the rocking movement many people do).

Vertical Pulls - Down (Pull-Ups)
1. Start with your shoulder blades slightly retracted.
2. As you pull your body up continue to keep pulling your shoulder blades together (retracted) and pull your elbows down and in to your sides.
3. Once your chin reaches above the bar or the bar reaches your collar bone, slowly release your shoulder blades (protract) until you return to the starting position.
4. If you are doing a lat. pulldown lean back slightly, but do not allow your body to rock back and forth.
Vertical Pulls - Up (Shrugs)
1. Start with your shoulder blades in a neutral position.
2. Pull your shoulders up and slightly retract your shoulder blades. Imagine that you are pulling your shoulders to your ears.
3. Continue to pull your shoulders up until you can no longer pull them up any higher.
4. Once you have pulled your shoulders up as high a possible, slowly release them down returning to the starting position.
5. Do not roll your shoulders, doing this will cause damage to the shoulder joint.
Lift with good form,

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pressing Form

There are two basic types of presses, horizontal and vertical. Of course, there are variations of each of these and in between angles, but the movements are basically the same.

Horizontal Presses: (Bench Press)
1. Grasp the bar/db with an overhand grip.
2. Once the object you are about to press is unracked and overhead pack your shoulder(s). This is achieved by pulling your shoulder blades together. Keep them pulled together during the entire lift. Doing this provides you with a more solid surface and base of support to push off of against the bench.
3. Plant your feet. Place your feet slightly behind or underneath your knees and drive your heels into the ground. This too will make your base of support more solid.
4. Lower the bar to just above your nipples. Let your elbows come in a little as you lower the bar. Keeping your elbows out places excess stress on the shoulder joint and risks shoulder injury.
5. Press the bar back up by pushing up and back, you should finish with the bar over your nose, and driving your feet into the ground and head back against the bench.
6. Never arch the back and butt off the bench when pressing. If you are doing this the weight is too heavy.

Vertical Press: (Shoulder Press)
1. Grasp the object to be lifted with and overhand grip.
2. Hand placement should be just slightly wider than shoulder width.
3. Lower the bar to chin or collar bone level, depending on flexibility. Again let your elbows come in slightly. Keeping the elbows out will place unnecessary stress on the shoulder joints and can injure the shoulder.
4. From chin or collar bone level press the weight back overhead.
5. Never press vertically with the knees locked and never press behind the head. Pressing with the knees locked does not provide you with a good base of support. And pressing behind the head opens up the shoulder joint too much and puts the joint in a compromised position. Also, if you have to lean back to press the weight, the weight is too heavy.

Lift with good form,


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Deadlifting Form

The deadlift is another great exercise for building strength, as well as burning fat. But, you must do it correctly. Many people injury themselves doing this exercise and because of that the deadlift has gotten a bad reputation. This is too bad because it's not deadlifting that has injured people it is poor form deadlifting that has injured people. 

If you learn how to do it correctly you will improve your overall strength and lessen your chance of injury. Many people hurt their backs bending over and lifting something heavy off the ground. This is because they have weak abdominal muscles and lower back muscles. Not to mention that they do not train this movement even though it is performed in everyday activities. One quick example would be bending down to pick up a small child. That movement is very similar to a deadlift and by incorporating the deadlift into your training you will be stronger with that and similar movements. And also, have a lessened chance of injury.

So here is how to do it:
1) Start with your feet shoulder width apart and toes point forward or slightly out and shoulder blades retracted (Keeping your shoulder blades retracted the entire time will keep your back flat. Rounding of the back puts excess stress on the lower back, which is how people injure their lower backs).
2) Set your weight back by pushing your hips/butt back. This will cause you to lean over at a 45 degree angle.
3) Continue to push your hips back and bending over at the hips. Slightly bend the knees, keeping tension on the hamstrings.
4) Once you have lowered yourself enough that your hands can reach the bar/object on the ground, forcefully push your feet into the ground, contract your glutes, and push your hips forward as you return to a standing position. While lifting the object be sure to keep you shoulder blades retracted to prevent any rounding of the back.
5) Do not do this exercise with straight legs (knees locked). This will also cause you to use your back and not your hips. Using your hips takes the stress of the weight off your lower back and thus prevents injury.

Lift Safe,


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Squat Form

Squatting is a movement that is done repeatedly each and every day. When you get up from a chair you squat. When you get out of your car your squat. So since this is a movement we do in many daily activities we need to train it in the gym. But, it must be done right or you will run the risk of in jury.

To properly squat you must:
1) Stand with you feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward or slightly out.
2) Set your weight back by pushing your hips and butt back.
3) Lean slightly forward breaking at the hips.
4) Drop your butt down as you continue to push your hips back.
5) Continue dropping down until you reach your desired depth (different squats have different depths anywhere from a 1/4 squat to a full squat where your butt is about 8 inches from the floor).
6) Keep your feet flat. Do not allow your heels to come off the ground.
7) Keep your back arched the entire time. Do not round your back.
8) As you lift the weight back up drive your feet into the ground and contract your glutes as you return to the starting position. Raise your body in unison. Do not straighten your legs first and then lift your up body.

If you will take the time to learn the proper form, the squat will become a great functional exercise. As well as a fat burning, muscle building exercise.

Focus on Form, Not Weight