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strength training



The No-Squat Lower Body Workout in Just 5 Moves

lower-body-workout-no-squats

I love squats because they are functional and efficient. Squats strengthen the muscles that keep us mobile and independent. Every time we sit in a chair or use the bathroom we are squatting. When we can no longer do those things on our own we are in trouble.

So imagine the challenge for those who cannot do squats as a form of exercise. I encounter people all the time who can’t perform a squat, because of injury or chronic conditions, include squats as part of their exercise program. It can be a frustrating situation for both client and personal trainer. While this does present a unique challenge it doesn’t mean they have to resign themselves to a lower body workout of machine driven exercises like the leg extension.

Machines can have their place in a strength training program; however, some of them do put the body in an unnatural position. They don’t mimic real world movements. We live in a 3D world and are meant to move in multiple planes. Strength training is most effective for most people with movements that mimic real life motions. Also many clients have limited equipment at home. By necessity, programs must be designed that utilize simple tools like resistance bands and their own body weight.

If squats are painful or have been forbidden by your doctor, there are still many exercise options for your lower body. Try this workout combination for an effective leg workout sans squats. Do 2-3 sets of each exercise, 10 – 12 repetitions per set.
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4 Effective Ways to Make Your Body Weight Workouts Harder

bosu workout

Strength training is a progressive thing: as you progress and grow stronger, the intensity and resistance of your exercises will evolve to continue to challenge you and keep those results coming. There are very specific variables that effect how hard an exercise is that you can use to increase that intensity incrementally. You can’t always just add more weight, so here are four other ways to ramp up the results of your body weight workouts.

How to Strength Train Without Weights

Change the angle: The steeper the angle of your body toward your exercising muscles, the harder the exercise will be. Example: elevate your feet during push-ups to make them tougher, or place your hands on a stair to decrease the angle for an easier modification of a standard pushup.

Decrease the stability: Reducing your contact with the floor instantly works more muscles groups to keep you balanced. You can do this by lifting one foot or hand off the ground, or getting off the floor completely with an unstable surface like a bosu, a balance board, or a stability ball.
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Workout Splits are Key to Creating the Physique You Really Want

workout splits

If you’re new to the gym this spring you’re quickly figuring out that fitness has a language all its own. You have the bootcamp class going for AMRAP while the guy at the squat rack is bragging about his one rep max. As you rest before attempting the next set of dips, another woman asks to “work in” on the assisted dip machine. She asks you, “Is it chest and tri day for you, too?”.

You stare at her thinking, “Are my triceps supposed to have a special day?”.

Workout splits, or how often you work a particular muscle group, can be one of the most confusing parts of a new strength training regimen. With the emphasis on high intensity programs in gyms and online training programs most people are training every muscle, every workout. The idea of a workout dedicated to just upper body or a specific muscle group seems foreign, even outdated, but making sure a muscle has adequate rest and attention is key to creating the physique you really want. Whether you’re new to the weight room or thinking about your first figure competition, there is a split that is right for you!
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The Hottest Fitness Trends to Rock Your Body in 2015

fitness-trends

Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys its membership of fitness professionals (myself included) to identify the top trends in fitness. The 2015 list was recently published with, in my opinion, only a few surprises.

What did surprise me on this list? Outdoor activities are #12! I see and hear a lot about running in fitness circles, but not much else. Most popular classes and activities take place in some sort of gym, be it a commercial one or the budget home gym you created in the spare bedroom. I would love to see more people get off the spin bike and on the bike path. Hiking is a new love of mine and, unlike the treadmill, it does wonders for your body and soul. Boot camps are last on the ACSM list at #20. They are still very popular in the Midwest so I am curious what group fitness trend will be taking their place. What are you seeing where you live?

Agree or disagree, here are five “big” fitness trends you can look forward to in the coming year.

1. Body weight training and High Intensity Interval Training came in #1 and #2, respectively, on the ACSM list. This worries me for two reasons. One, the high rate of injury that goes along with beginners starting at too high of intensity as well as over-training, and two, the level of burnout that often follows. I think body weight exercises are great. They can be some of the most challenging exercises you can do, but if proper form isn’t developed before adding the explosive intensity of popular programs like Insanity or P90X you may be asking for trouble.

Trend tip: Perfect your form on squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises slowly before adding weight or plyometrics. 

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The One Thing Women Are Doing All Wrong at the Gym

women wrist weights

When you think weight lifting, you think big muscle groups: quads, biceps, abs. When you think this way, you’re already on your way to injury. So many of us step up to the weight bar thinking we are ready to rock our reps without properly focusing on key joints and smaller muscle groups. A major area that most women don’t think about is their hands and wrists. It’s these very areas that cause a ton of post-lifting pain, especially for beginners who are just starting a strength training routine.

You should absolutely continue to warm up big muscle groups and major joints, but don’t forget the small stuff either! Weight lifting, when done improperly, can be dangerous, and women especially should take extra care to maintain the health of their hands and wrists. Proper hand and wrist care is important whether you are a regular gym fanatic or simply use your hands for daily tasks like working at a computer.

Try This: Yoga Poses for Computer Wrists

Experts from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recommend the following: 
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