04-11-2014

3 Minute Ab Workout!

With abs, we tend to focus on reps. We do several reps of an exercise, then move onto another. But when was the last time you did some isometric holds? Trust me, these holds will get your abs burning as well!

Here’s the workout:

Ab WorkoutPhoto Credit: Arya Ziai via Compfight cc

1 set of this is only 3 minutes, but your abs will be shaking. Do it either once, or add on 2-3 extra sets depending on how you feel. For me, reverse planks are the toughest! I need to work more on my core.

What is your most challenging core exercise?

Are you able to do a handstand? I wish!

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04-03-2014

Welcome To The Gun Show Workout

Ready to strengthen those “guns?” 

Here’s a workout that focuses on your upper body, on small muscles (biceps and triceps) and big muscle groups (back) alike. You can use it as a finisher to your normal routine, or do this on it’s own. Repeat it 3-4 times through as its own workout, and finish up with cardio or abs if you’d like! You can find all my other workouts here, or hover over my navigation bar to get a breakdown based on what body part you want to work.

Arms workout

Photo Credit: beyondhue via Compfight cc

As always, here are some helpful YouTube videos for each exercise, if you’re not sure what the correct form is:

Tricep French Press (though you will be doing single arm presses)

Dumbbell Bent Over Row

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Let me know if you decide to try this out!

What is your favorite upper body exercise? Currently, I love to bench press :)

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03-27-2014

Speed & Agility Drill

This quick workout/drill was inspired by a video I saw on STACK’s “13 Fitness Challenges That Will Destroy You.” It’s the “Triangle Drill” video, and you’ll need a partner to help you out.

Speed and Agility Partner Drill

Photo Source: compfight CC

My brother and I were working out yesterday and I said to him we need to try this drill, especially because he is a soccer player and wants to improve. He has a game this weekend so I thought this was the perfect time to test his speed and agility and for him to see how he can get faster.

The video in the STACK article is done in an athletic facility with turf…not all of us have access to that. So here’s what we did:

We went into a training room in our gym, and set up 3 medicine balls in a triangle. You might think a room would be too small (we initially did too), but you will definitely be thankful it’s not bigger once you start! I talk about how we did the actual drill a bit further down in this post.

The instructions in the video stated:

The Triangle Drill Challenge is a variation of a drill we use to develop speed and reaction time. But the challenge component causes further fatigue and improves decision-making during high-pressure situations during a game.

How To: Perform the drill as demonstrated in the video below. Choose a work-to-rest ratio that simulates your sport. If you’re a football player, work for about 10 seconds and rest for about 30 seconds.

So we set up the 3 medicine balls, and I told him which ones were numbered 1,2 and 3. He had to do the work for 60 seconds, and then take a 60 second break while I went. I stood there and said random numbers while also taking a tally of how many times he touched each medicine ball.

FORM

In the video, the athlete simply (well, it’s not so simple) quickly shuffles/sprints to each cone. This is how we changed it up a bit:

Sprint/shuffle to each medicine ball, then keeping a flat back (proper form for anything), squat down and quickly tap the ball, squat back up then get back to the center and wait for your partner to yell the next number.

Start with doing 30 seconds of work, and work your way up to a minute. I was so beat by the end of a minute! You will work your legs, core, and your heart rate will be through the roof. We repeated it 3x. Yes, it’s only a total of 3 minutes but it’s hard! Do it for as long as you feel like.

BENEFITS

So, “Why should I do a speed & agility drill?” you may ask. If you play a sport, it will obviously help with your speed and agility (duh), and quickness of mental decisions. But even if you don’t play a sport, it will help you build explosiveness and quickness, which is important all around.

As a runner, I realized the hardest part for me was side shuffles and back pedaling. No clue how I didn’t trip over my own feet. This is a great exercise for runners because we are constantly moving in one plane. This forces us to exercise in other planes, which will help build core stability.

Did you play sports in high school or college? I played club lacrosse in college and remember doing similar drills – running backwards is so hard!

Let me know if you try it out!

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03-22-2014

First Week Of Crossfit Workouts

As I mentioned in my Get Swole update, my brother and I decided to try some Crossfit workouts for the next 4 weeks. I don’t belong to a Crossfit gym, so I looked for workouts that can easily be done in a typical gym.

I like the set-up of Crossfit workouts in that you start with strength moves, and improving on big lifts, and then move into conditioning (more like cardio).

I wanted to share our first week of workouts and see what you think! It was definitely a change from our normal routine but I really liked it.

Monday

crossfit wod

Tuesday

amrap crossfit wod

Wednesday

Off

Thursday

4 sets of 10

Barbell deadlift

T-Bar row

Conditioning:

50-40-30-20-10 (repeated 2x because we don’t know how to do double unders)

Jump rope

Crunches

Friday:

Ran 2 miles

Saturday (today):

Not sure yet!

We are obviously staying away from Olympic lifts like squat and clean, etc. because I’m not certified in Olympic weight lifting, so I can’t teach my brother and myself the proper form. Although I’m sure I can figure it out based on other exercises I have taught to clients, better safe than sorry!

I’m going to create my own “strength” portions based on what I want to get better at, but I look through the internet to find good conditioning WODS. So if you know any good ones, please leave a comment!

Have you tried Crossfit? What do you think of it?

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03-21-2014

Get Swole Program Review

Well, 16 weeks has come and gone…crazy! When my brother and I first started the Get Swole program we didn’t think we’d get past 4 weeks, simply because we had never followed such a long plan before. Well, besides marathon training.

Get Swole program

Here’s my most recent update about the plan. I have gained a lot of strength throughout these 16 weeks. Sure, I’m a personal trainer and could have made my own plan, but I wanted to try something new.

I was a little skeptical because a lot of the exercises are the same throughout the 16 weeks, BUT, each phase (which is 4 weeks), you change how many sets and reps you do. This keeps you from hitting a plateau, and also helps you to continue gaining strength.

For example, in Phase 1 of leg day, we started with 5 sets of 12 reps of exercises. In Phase 2, we moved to a pyramid phase, so leg day was exercises for 20, 15, 12, 10 and 8 reps (such as squats). Phase 3 was higher reps (3 sets of 15), and Phase 4 was 6 days of lifting (as opposed to 4), and lower reps (8 reps).

So even though we did a lot of the same exercises throughout, like bench press, barbell squats, leg press, and others, we were constantly challenging our muscles because we were switching the reps, which means we were switching up the load we were using.  If you’re doing less reps, you want to challenge yourself by making the weight heavier than if you’re doing 15 reps of an exercise.

I have looked through other bodybuilding.com plans but haven’t found one I like as much, mainly because it seems to focus on smaller muscle groups rather than incorporating the big lifts (squat, bench, pull-ups).

I really like this plan, and my brother and I plan on re-starting it and changing a few things. Currently, we are going to do 4 weeks of Crossfit workouts at the gym, in order to change things but, but afterwards we will go back to Get Swole.

Here are some of my numbers/how I have improved. I know this might be nothing to some people but it’s a big improvement for me! :)

  • Bench Press - Started: 45 lbs, Current: 65 lbs
  • Barbell Back Squat – Started: 30 lbs, Current: 100 lbs (!!) <– most I have ever squatted!
  • Leg Press – Started: 80 lbs, Current: 160 lbs
  • Leg Curl – Started: 30 lbs, Current: 60 lbs
  • Military Barbell Press – Started: 20 lbs, Current: 40 lbs
  • Incline Dumbbell Press – Started: 12.5 lbs, Current: 25 lbs

These are the exercises that are currently coming to mind but there a lot of others on the plan. Sadly, I didn’t make my goal of doing an unassisted pull-up (well,maybe…hmm I will try at the gym tonight), but I’m almost there! I can pull myself up half-way ;)

I’ll warn you now – leg days are killer. But so worth it. I was always dripping in sweat, but I love challenging myself with barbell squats. My goal was to hit 100 lbs by the end of the program, and I did it! Here are some baby quads :-P

And I think I got a little bit of bicep progress! I’ll admit, if I skipped any workout it was bicep/tricep day, but doing pull-ups and presses still helped make those areas stronger.

If you’re looking to gain some muscle and strength, I highly recommend checking this program out! I will say, I did not follow it to a tee. There were some exercises I left out, or changed, just based on what my brother and I could do at our gym, or what I thought was more appropriate for us. But feel free to contact me if you have any questions about that.

Don’t be afraid to lift heavy ladies! You will feel 100% more confident knowing how much stronger you got…and you will definitely not look like a man.

I’ll keep you posted on how these 4 weeks of Crossfit workouts go. So far, I love them! It’s totally different than anything I have done.

Do you like to lift heavy?

What is your favorite muscle group to work out? I think mine is leg day :)

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03-18-2014

The Stair Workout

Here’s a new workout video for you! All you need is a set of stairs – so this one is really convenient to do right at home, or even at work if you wanted to.

The video is only 8 minutes long, but it’s tough! I was so out of breath by the end. Feel free to repeat the video 2-3 times through for a longer workout. You will definitely feel this one in your quads and glutes!

Here are the exercises this video includes:

  • Step-ups with oblique crunch
  • Tricep dips
  • Soccer drill
  • Squat-to-step
  • Push-ups
  • Box jumps with a burpee (!!)

Check it out:

Let me know if you decide to try it out & what you think! I’d love to hear your feedback.

Have you ever used your stairs for a workout?

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03-14-2014

Fitness Friday – 10 minute workout!

TGIF! Who’s ready for the weekend? I’ll be spending today at the Blogging Concentrated 1-day workshop/conference in NYC, but I couldn’t leave you without a workout to kick off the weekend ;)

This is a 10 minute workout! Yes, it will only take you 10 minutes to complete. If you’re short on time or just don’t feel like spending an hour at the gym, then try this workout out.

There are a few ways you could do it. You could solely do the 10 minute workout (after a proper warm-up of course). Or, you could go for a run or do whatever you want first, then end with this. Or if you want to make it longer, simply do it for as many rounds as possible in 15 or 20 minutes. Challenge yourself!

This is also a bodyweight workout – which means no equipment! So…no excuses :)

10 minute workout!

We’re hitting legs, chest, arms, abs…burpees for cardio…this workout has got it all!

I’ll be heading to my Maryland tomorrow for my brother’s soccer tournament, so should be a fun weekend. I think we plan on visiting Baltimore for dinner or something. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Out of the exercises in this workout (squat, push-ups, dips, bicycle crunches and burpees) which is your least favorite?

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03-13-2014

My Top Workout Videos

I thought of this post because I recently tweeted about a video I did yesterday (that will be included below) that has me all kinds of sore today. I’m already sore from yesterday’s leg day, but then I did abs and it’s just total body soreness.

Sometimes, we may not have time to go to the gym to get a workout in, which is where these workout videos come into play. YouTube can be a great place to find exercise videos when you’re tight on time, or just want to do an at-home workout.

Top YouTube Workout Videos

Here are some of my favorite YouTube videos, which are also saved in a playlist on my YouTube channel if you’re interested. Please subscribe to my channel for updates on workout videos that I upload! :)

Jackie Warner 20 Min. Core Workout

This is the video I did yesterday after legs, and my entire core is sore. Abs…lower back…everything. It also includes cardio intervals that are abs-focused. I love doing this video because I hate doing abs, so following along with a video makes the time go by faster.

Jillian Michaels’ 6 Week 6 Pack Abs

Love that level 1 is available on YouTube. This one is an abs video too though there are other body parts worked as well. For example, she does a reverse lunge with overhead reach, squat twists, and other stuff. There are cardio intervals as well. I’d say this is a total body workout, and not 100% focused on abs like Jackie’s video…but it’s still a good one! You go through the sequence 2 times.

Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown

Does anyone remember ExerciseTV? I used to do this video all the time when I first started working out. I remember it being tough, especially because I was not as flexible as I am now. This is a great total body workout which uses yoga moves as its foundation. If you want a traditional yoga video, then this isn’t what you are looking for.

Yoga For The Hips

I love Chaz of Yogamazing. This is a quick video that I like to do after runs and workouts. You should check out his other stuff too! We all probably need more hip openers, so that is why I suggest trying this out.

Power Yoga For Weight Loss

I found Bryan and Rob’s channel only a few weeks ago, but I love this video. It is pretty challenging, and I realized that my balance is awful. I plan on doing this video more often to work on that. Trust me, you will be sweating during this! This video is 30 minutes, but they have other power yoga videos on their channel that are 45-60 minutes long.

Bootcamp Calorie Burn

No joke, this is one of the first workout videos I ever did! I made the effort to work out more senior year of college, and I would do this video in my room. This was also on ExerciseTV, so I’d also do it when I was home for break, along with Jillian’s 30 Day Shred. I miss ExerciseTV! They had some great videos. This is basically all cardio, but it will definitely get your heart rate up! The only annoying part about it is the girls in the back who are whooping and hollering the whole time. Watch and you’ll understand what I mean.

40 Min. Full Body Workout – POPSugar

This is another video I only recently found but it is a great total body workout. There is cardio, strength, and abs. What more could you ask for? You do need some dumbbells for this one. The POPSugar Fitness channel has a bunch of other workout videos as well.

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So there you have it. My favorite workout videos at the moment. Whether you want full body, abs, or yoga, there should be something on this list for you! And (shameless plug) I make workout videos regularly on my YouTube fitness channel too if you want to check it out ;)

Which of these videos do you want to try?

Do you have favorite workout videos? Please share in the comments!

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03-06-2014

Abs & Arms Workout

Ready to torch those abs and arms? Here’s today’s workout for ya:

abs workout

So for the abs portion, I want you to do 100 reps of those exercises. You can choose where you do 20 of each, or you can do 10 of one exercise, 5 of another, 15 of another, etc.

Here are examples of some of the exercises:

Reverse Crunch

Side Plank W/ A Twist

Opposite Arm/Opposite Leg Crunch

After you’re done with abs, move straight into arms. Do those exercises 2-3 times through depending on how you feel. Let me know if you try it out & what you think of the workout!

Do you like working out arms? I’m not a huge fan because I like working out bigger muscle groups, but do it because I know it will help on the bigger lifts.

What arm exercises do you like?

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03-05-2014

Glute Strengthening Exercises

We all know what kinds of exercises strengthen your glutes…but what about the smaller glute medius? This muscle is very important for hip stability and strength. If you’re a runner, then pay extra attention to this post ;)

I got the idea for this post when “The Strength Guys” wrote about foam rolling and strengthening weak muscles. I asked them about how I foam roll the outside of my hip/IT band area because it is really tight, and they suggested also strengthening my glute medius and hip external rotators.

glute strengthening exericsesBackground Image via Scott & White Healthcare

This concept isn’t new to me – I have gone to physical therapy a couple of times during marathon training and was told my hips are weak. As a personal trainer, I used to have clients warm up with a few of these exercises, and also incorporate them into their programs in order to strengthen the overall hip area. Now I just need to be better with doing it myself!

The Strength Guys recommended a few exercises to me, which I wanted to share with you. If you are experiencing any IT band pain, or your outer hips are really tight (try foam rolling, if they’re tight it will hurt), then try adding these into your training routine, or at least into your warm-up.

Exercises

Clam With A Band

 You can do these without a band too, but the band adds great resistance.

Fire Hydrant

I do these as a warm-up before leg days, but I like the added band resistance.

Lateral Step With Band

I had my clients do this as a warm-up before every session. Trust me, you will feel this one and instantly know if your glute medius is weak! Start with 5-7 steps on each side and work your way up.

Crouched Band Monster Walk & Sumo Walk

A variation of the lateral step.

Side Lying Leg Raise

Add a band for more resistance.

I highly suggest incorporating some of these into your routine, as a warm-up and as strength work. According to The Strength Guys, strengthening areas that have trigger points can help you rely less on a foam roller, and instead strengthen those areas so they become looser. But in my opinion, if a foam roller helps you feel better than incorporate that too!

I like to foam roll before lifting as a way to increase mobility temporarily, and I foam roll after to get out some kinks. But I do also try to work on weak areas…I just need to be better about focusing on my hips!

Do you do any of these exercises regularly?

Are you guilty of ignoring your smaller glute muscles?

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