I know you thought I forgot about you, but I didn't. Putting the finishing touches on my packing as I am headed out for a much needed week of relaxation. But I didn't want to leave you hanging without some more fuel for your arsenal.
Since this post is for Friday, that means it's time to share some solid exercises with you to make sure you're ready for the summer weather and lots of activity.
Way too often people believe they have to go to a gym to get a good workout. The two movements I share with you today prove you don't have to have a gym membership to transform your body.
Try them out and as usual, let me know what you think.
Just a few days ago, while waiting for my client to arrive, I watched a guy with low body fat (think lean), proceed to do his ab routine. He did the typical knee raises, crunches on knees using the cable, and a few others that are too difficult to effectively explain here. Let's just say it was an extensive routine, full of complicated and high level core movements.
But you know what?
Almost each and every ab/core movement he chose, he performed incorrectly. I was honestly concerned whether he was going to literally injure his spine throughout the entire routine.
Now, please understand I'm not being pompous or arrogant. The movements, by the way he was executing them, were literally putting his spine in danger. He maintained little to no stabilization in his mid section while performing each of his movements, and when he became tired (fatigued) his form became even worse.
Of course I commented respectively, "That's quite a core routine you have laid out for yourself. Those are some really advanced core movements". Beaming he responded, "Yeah, I just saw it in (fitness name omitted) magazine. They said it will give me a great core in a few weeks".
This is the exact kind of the thing that burns my you know what!
There are progressions to every movement/exercise. There is a starting level, and numerous levels in between leading to the more advance versions (simple versions to more complex versions). As in life, the goal is to start simply and slowly progress upward to more challenging forms and versions.
So you don't injure yourself. Do any movement, no matter how easy it seems, the wrong way long enough, and you will get injured. Just because someone has a 6-pack does not mean they know how to train their core properly. Having great genetics or good nutrition habits is what makes you lean. It doesn't dictate the quality of your core training.
And for goodness sakes, just because it's in a magazine doesn't make it the right way to train. Magazine articles are written to help sell magazines. Not necessarily to properly instruct you on the progressions of a certain movement/exercise. Be clear, it's to sell magazines.
I want each of you to succeed in having a strong stable core. And believe me when I tell you, you can't do it, build a strong core, if you're injured.
Start your core training movements utilizing the floor as your initial support surface. Then try moving to do single leg versions of something like hip raises, for instance. Then you would progress to a Swiss Ball, as this would provide even more challenge to your stability. From there you could move to suspension straps, etc. Now realize the above is merely a suggested guide as to how to properly progress your core training forward and not hurt yourself in the process.
It's more about how they function -- not just how they look.
No matter how you slice it, you really can't get around the necessity of training core. Whether you're dealing with knee pain, low back pain, or hip pain, chances are, at some level your core is involved. You would be amazed at how frequently I've used a bit of self-massage (rolling on Energy F/X Tube), some effective stretching, and solid core work to address all sorts of pain issues.
Yes, I know most of us only think about the vanity aspects of having a 6-pack to show off in the warmer weather, but it's bigger than that. Core strength is part of keeping your body in alignment (think car tires). If your core is weak, the structures that connect to it, for instance your hips, can't maintain alignment or stability. And if the hip can't maintain stability how will it keep your legs and knees in alignment when you sit for long periods, walk or run.
Remember, everything is connected.
Ignore training your core properly long enough and it's like ignoring putting oil in your car -- eventually you'll have to address it . . . . . or else.
So as promised here's another core movement to keep you progressing. This is a progression from last week's post. And of course if you've missed any of the exercises I've shared with you, or need some motivation, check out my You Tube Channel.
Had some technical difficulties yesterday. Can you say no internet or cable? Thank goodness they came and fixed it quickly.
Now on to the business at hand.
This month I'm sharing with you core exercises using the Swiss Ball. The purpose of the Swiss Ball, if you're not familiar with it, is to add increased instability. By adding increased instability to your training, you increase the functioning and efficiency of your core musculature.
And as you all already know, a strong core is one of the most important aspects of being fit. You can't truly call yourself in-shape if your core doesn't function properly. Because to be quite honest, all movement first comes from the core. It stabilizes your body just prior to any movement you do. And if it's weak, other muscles take over a job they are not meant to do. Now of course we all know what happens when you use the wrong tool for a job -- in this case possible injury.
So don't skip the important exercises. Train the muscles that matter as well as the muscles you can see.
Last month after sharing with you some very challenging exercise on the suspension straps, I promised to provide you with some new movements for core that you can do on the Swiss Ball.
Actually, as I'm sure you already know, getting results and providing an effective workout for my clients is all about understanding progressions. Meaning understanding how to go from simple to complex with any given movement/exercise. Unfortunately most people go for the most "interesting"-- usually meaning the more difficult progression of an exercise. Probably because it looks so impressive to observe. However you have to understand that it is probably being done by someone who has already put in the time doing the previous progressions.
Not following the order of easy to difficult is a good way to get injured.
In regards to the core, start off doing your movements from the ground (obviously a very stable surface). Then proceed to a more challenging version of the exercise by moving to the Swiss Ball (which provides some instability and increased challenge), then consider using the suspension straps after mastering the previous movements. That way you don't risk injury and can be sure you will keep making progress as well as keeping your routine interesting.
So by example, this is what a good challenging progression would look like (in the second video I show you all 3 options):
Now it's important for you to understand that there are literally hundreds if not thousands of progressions that could be followed. This is just an example of one way to do it (from the ground, to the Swiss ball, to the wheel, and then of course the suspension straps). The key is to not allow your ego to get ahead of your skills -- that's a recipe for injury.
Bottom line is to keep moving forward challenging yourself with different movements and types of equipment so that you can keep motivated and making progress.
Be sure to check back in with me next week for another new movement for core using the Swiss Ball.
Well here we are again on a Friday. Two weeks left in the year and it will be time to start with a clean slate. Time to apply all the things we learned about ourselves in 2010. It will be time to step up to the next level.
But right now it's time for the next installment on getting you ready for ski season. An opportunity for me to share with you the process that will keep you healthy for the entire season so you can enjoy what you love doing -- skiing, snowboarding or ice skating.
First we started with the all important self-massage. You have to get the muscles properly warmed-up, prepared, to work before you can do anything. Then last week I shared with you some important stretches to make sure you're flexible and your range of motion is improved. Ice, snow and generally unstable surfaces are nothing to play with. So now you should be ready for the next stage in your preparation for a heck of an active winter season.
This week I will share with you the next stage in training properly for a successful winter-fun season. The all important core/abs. That will be followed by some new movements such as single leg exercises, and a host of lunges to make sure your hips are flexible and stable in various positions.
So let's do a little review first shall we? Let's make sure the proper core work is being done so that that area is prepared to handle the challenging leg exercises that are to follow. I know, too many people like to just skip over this part of their preparation, believing that it is really not all that important. But let me assure you, a strong core is by far one of the most important pieces to being physically fit for any activity.
I thought about it for quite some time before I decided on this title. I look at it this way, you have an owner's manual for everything from your toaster, to your blender, cell phone, automobile, computer, and stove, etc. And let's be honest, how well you follow the owner's manual great decides how long that item will last. Either you follow the manual and have significant success or you don't and . . . .
Pretty much anything that has any value to you, you have an owner's manual for, right? But for some reason when it comes to getting out of pain or improving the quality of your fitness, people just tend to "wing-it". Then they wonder why they get the results they get. It's not by accident.
But there is so much information out there, how do you know what is good
information guiding you in the right direction and how much is just
hype and trends?
Check out today's video blog and know which is the right information that will help you quickly build your own manual.
Welcome to December! Not only are we in the midst of the holiday rush season for Christmas, it also happens to be ski season, or snow boarding as the case may be.
For many of my clients it's the time of year they've been looking forward to all year long. We've ramped up their training over the past few months to make sure they are in proper condition (think climbing a long flight of stairs and not being out of breath), have great balance and a strong, stable core. Remember, when it comes to winter sports or activities you are dealing with the added factor of instability because of the ice and snow. So your program has to be well rounded to avoid possible injury.
You'd be surprised how many times I've watch gym regulars come in on crutches from late December to early February talking about a fall they've taken; some on the slopes, and some actually in the parking lot on the way to the slopes.
I don't want that for you. So this month I want to make sure that each of you is ready for your winter activities, whether it's skiing, snow boarding or ice skating. Each of these activities deals with significant balance issues, having a strong and stable core, as well has having strong, yet flexible hips. So each week of the month I will share with you warm-up techniques, stretches, and exercises to make this season your best yet.
Funny thing about me, while I do largely focus on getting people out of pain through the use of self-massage and exercises, I happen to have also gotten really good at helping people avoid pain. Once you've figured out how to fix a certain problem, it's not long before it becomes clear on what to do to avoid that painful experience all together.
For those of you that have been following my posts for any length of time, you know I believe in a proper warm-up. And a proper warm-up is comprised of two specific elements: 1) self-massage of all the important areas, and 2) a flexibility routine to get your body fully warmed up.
I want to make an important note here regarding warming up. I know how much I despised it when I first started over 20 years ago. I really didn't see the value in it and quite honestly felt it was a waste of time. Well now after years in the business of helping people get out of pain and doing research, I can tell you warming up is worth every minute. In fact, in most cases injuries occur (minus of course impact injuries like being tackled or falling) due to a poor warm-up routine or no warm-up routine at all. The muscles have not been adequately prepared for activity (think of trying to stretch a rubber band you've had in the refrigerator all night and then pull it out of the refrigerator and start stretching it vigorously).
So today I will share with you some techniques you may or may not be familiar with regarding self-massage. Next week I will share with you some stretches to complete your warm-up phase. The following week will move into various exercises to make sure you are seriously ready to tackle the winter festivities.
First off, I do hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving celebration. It's a great time to reflect and give thanks for all the things you do have. A time to sincerely appreciate friends, family, and all of those people who have truly made a difference in your life throughout the year. It's also a great time to reflect on the how the year has progressed and what you want to keep doing next year, as well as the things you want to change.
I must be honest with you. I have yet to meet a person that trained their core too much. So I know this months exercises will be a great addition to your regular workouts.
Keep making your lists, keep making sure to put you on that list, and be sure to get your meals in every 3-4 hours. I promise it will make for a much more enjoyable holiday season.
Click on the video below to get your next core exercise. Let's make sure you're one step ahead of everyone else as this year comes to a close.
Here we are at week 3 of November. Time is certainly flying by. But truth be told, it's just a reminder that the holiday season is upon us. Right about now is when most of us begin to feel the time crunch of Thanksgiving quickly approaching us, hoping we don't over-indulge yet again this year. It's also the time when the Christmas shopping countdown begins -- becoming more frantic with each passing week.
But I know all of you have self-control. You aren't going to let the same thing happen this year that threw you off track last year. This year you're going to make sure you keep yourself on that long list of "things to do". This year you'll make sure to stop when your body says it's had enough. You'll wait a few hours and then go back if you still want more. This year you're not going to wait till the last minute to get your shopping done.
And since you've made those commitments, here is your next exercise to keep you on track. You use your core every single day of your life. There really is no "time-off" from keeping this all important part of your body in shape and functional. Besides, you already figured out back pain is really no fun.