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Dumbbell Side bend

18 Jul

How to perform the exercise

1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand up straight.

2. Keep looking straight.

3. Bend to one side as much as you can.

4. Now bend to the other side without stopping.

5. Make sure you don’t stretch too much and hurt yourself.

6. Repeat steps 3 & 4

Exercise Tips

1. Keep your spine straight

2. Only move your upper body

3. Keep your arms close to your body

18 Jul

Superman

How to perform the exercise

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 to 6 inches off the ground (or as far as you comfortably can)

3. Hold for 3 seconds and relax

4. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg

Exercise Tips

1. You want to feel your back working, but not straining.

2. Stop the exercise if you feel any pain. You should use caution or avoid this exercise if you have a back injury.

3. Avoid this exercise after the first trimester of pregnancy.

17 Jul

How to perform the exercise

1. Assume a standing position while holding a dumbbell in one hand with a neutral grip.

2. Hinge forward until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor (or slightly above) and then begin the movement by driving the elbow behind the body while retracting the shoulder blade.

3. Pull the dumbbell towards your body until the elbow is at (or just past) the midline and then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position under control.

4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions on both sides.

Exercise Tips

1. Experiment with head position and see which option (looking forward vs. packing the neck) works better for you.

2. Fight the urge to use your opposing arm to brace against your leg or any other implement.

3. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the dumbbell into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through your spine.

4. Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the dumbbells throughout the entirety of each rep.

5. If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining under active, consider utilizing a false grip (i.e. don’t wrap the thumb around the dumbbell).

6. Don’t allow the head to put forward as you pull.

7. Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glen humeral joint.

17 Jul

T-Bar row

How to perform the exercise

1. Assume a standing position with the bar positioned directly between your legs.

2. Utilize a v-grip handle and place the bar directly in the notch of the v.

3. Hinge forward until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor (or slightly above) and then begin the movement by driving the elbows behind the body while retracting the shoulder blades.

4. Pull the bar towards your body until the plates touch your chest and then slowly lower the handle back to the starting position under control.

5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Exercise Tips

1. Experiment with head position and see which option (looking forward vs. packing the neck) works better for you.

2. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the bar into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through your spine.

3. Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the bar throughout the entirety of each rep.

4. Don’t allow the head to just forward as you pull.

17 Jul

How to perform the exercise

1. Sit upright on the bench and plant your feet on the floor or foot pads, knees bent. Extend your arms and hold the handle or cable. Move your shoulders back and down. Brace your core.

2. Exhale. Bend your elbows to pull the handle or cable, keeping your elbows tucked in and your back neutral. Pause for 1 second.

3. Inhale and slowly extend your arms, counting to 3.

Exercise Tips

1. Keep your elbows against your body during the pulling phase (except during the wide-grip row).

2. Avoid lifting your elbows up and out, which engages the biceps instead of the lats and rhomboids.

17 Jul

How to perform the exercise

1. Lie down with your chest placed on an incline bench angled at 45 or 60-degrees.

2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand extended at arm’s length and maintain a slight bend in your elbows. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor at the starting position.

3. As you exhale, retract your shoulder blades and lift the dumbbells as high as you can while keeping your arms perpendicular to the floor.

4. Hold the contraction for a couple of seconds and squeeze your middle back at the top of the movement.

5. While breathing in, return to the starting position with a slow and controlled motion.

6. Repeat for the recommended reps.

Exercise Tips

1. You can use a barbell to perform this exercise to target your middle back from a different angle.

2. The overhand grip while using a barbell or smith machine can bring variety to your workouts.

16 Jul

Pull ups

How to perform the exercise

1. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip and begin from a dead hang (arms fully extended, about shoulder width apart).

2. Pull up toward the bar by bending at the arms and clear it with your chin.

3. Pause at the top of the exercise and then lower back down under control.

4. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Exercise Tips

1. Keep the movement slow and controlled at all times.

2. Ensure the body is tight throughout the exercise and keep the torso straight.

3. Minimize ‘kipping’, rocking or swaying movements for strict pull-ups.

16 Jul

How to perform the exercise

1. Assume a standing position with the Barbell.

2. Hinge forward, inhale, and grab the Barbell with a neutral grip.

3. Stand up tall and ensure your spine remains neutral.

4. Contract the traps to elevate the shoulders. Squeeze hard at the top and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Exercise Tips

1. Looking slightly up while shrugging may enhance the contraction as traps help to control movement of the skull. This motion should be smooth and controlled, as a ballistic movement could result in a neck injury.

2. The traps tend to respond well to high reps and explosive movements (e.g. snatch grip high pulls) so program your accessory work accordingly.

3. Limit momentum and excessive jerking or bouncing of the weight. No one cares about how much you shrug.

4. Don’t allow the head to just forward excessively as you squeeze the traps, this can put the neck in a compromised position and result in an injury.

5. Adding a pause at the top of the movement can help to enhance the mind muscle connection.

15 Jul

Lat pull down

How to perform the exercise

1. Grasp the bar with a wide grip with an overhand, knuckles up grip. Other positions and grips are possible but start with this standard position.

2. Pull the bar down until it’s approximately level with the chin. Exhale on down motion. While shifting just slightly backward is OK, aim to keep your upper torso stationary. Keep your feet flat on the floor and engage your abs as you pull. The bottom of the motion should be where your elbows can’t move downward any more without moving backward. Be sure to stop at that point and do not go lower.

3. Squeeze the shoulder blades together while maintaining square shoulders.

4. From the bottom position with the bar close to your chin, slowly return the bar to the starting position while controlling its gradual ascent. Don’t let it crash into the weight plates.

5. Continue until you complete eight to 12 repetitions in a set. Rest, then continue to complete your program of sets.

Exercise Tips

1. If you have any wrist, elbow, or shoulder problems, talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if this exercise is appropriate for you.

2. Stop this exercise if you feel any pain or too much stress on your shoulder joints.

15 Jul

How to perform the exercise

1. With a dumbbell in each hand, rest the ball of each foot on a weight plate.

2. Keep your torso upright and rest your heels firmly on floor.

3. Press the balls of your feet into the weight plate and rise up on your toes as high as possible.

4. Pause, then lower back to starting position.

Exercise Tips

1. Squeeze your calves at the top of the movement.

2. Lower back to the starting position slowly to feel a full stretch in your calves.

3. Don’t bend your knees to provide momentum as you rise onto your toes.