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Saturday Morning Drill: 7 Planks for a Stronger Core

If you’re a fitness enthusiast of any degree, chances are you’ve found yourself elbows down, back straight, holding yourself up in a plank. Perhaps it was your personal trainer who put you there, a workout video that forced you to hold one for “just 60 more seconds” at the end of a difficult session, or you discovered their somewhat torturous nature on your own. Whatever the case you can be certain that you’ve been doing planks for good a reason: They actually work.

Planks are an extremely beneficial workout not only for your shoulders, front and back of thighs, chest, and back muscles running up and down your spine, but also your core. When your body weight is suspended, relying on your elbows and feet for support, your core muscles are forced to kick in and engage to hold you up. Try holding a plank for just 15 seconds and you’ll see what I mean. No matter how effective they may be, however, lest we branch out from the traditional plank we’re destined to get bored of the whole exercise altogether and travel back to a less-effective sit-up for a stronger core.

In this week’s Saturday Morning Drill we’re seeking to break you out of your plank comfort zone and guide you into more challenging variations, including a side plank that engages the oblique muscles and a knee drop that will have your abs screaming by the time you hit 20 reps. So get on your workout gear, pull up a yoga mat for elbow cushion and let’s get started!

View Saturday Morning Drill: 7 Planks to a Stronger Core Slideshow

 



The Golf Workout

golf workoutWell, it’s definitely summer time and that means golf season is in full affect. Golf originated in Scotland in the 12th century and has been very popular ever since. I strongly believe that golf is a game of mental toughness, natural ability or skill, and a little bit of luck. I play once or twice a year so I am definitely no expert, but I have trained my share of golfers and have had great success with them.
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Top 5 Back Exercises

back musclesThe “Back” is made up of three main muscles and several smaller ones as well. The main three consist of the Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, and The Rhomboids. The Trapezius is a diamond shaped muscle located near the top of the back and it helps with neck and shoulder blade movement. The Latissimus Dorsi (largest muscle in body) is located near the sides of the back (wings) and it is used for pulling the shoulders downward and toward the back. The Rhomboids are located in the center of the back and are used to squeeze the shoulder blades together.

Top 5 Back Exercises
cable lat pulldown weight training
cable lat pulldown with wide overhand grip

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Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down
cable lat pulldown weight training
cable lat pulldown with medium neutral grip

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Neutral/Close Grip Lat Pull-DownStanding Cable, Barbell, Dumbbell Shrug
cable shrug weight training
cable shrug

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Seated Cable Row
cable row weight training
seated cable row with medium neutral grip

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Low Back Extension
hyperextension machine back extension weight training
back extension on machine with arms across chest

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See the rest of Matt’s Top 5 Exercises for muscle groups like the shoulders, biceps and triceps.