06-18-2014

Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

I actually got up to exercise today! I was going to run, but I felt like a zombie and didn’t want to force my body right out of bed. Instead, my mom and I walked a half mile to a steep hill, did 5 hill runs, then walked back home. A 25 minute workout to start the day ain’t so bad! I’ll be writing more about this later :)

Anyway, here are some great posts I found this week!

  • Green Bean Fries (East & Exercise By Amber) – Such a great idea for a guiltless side!
  • Enchilada Cups (The Lean Green Bean) – Another great idea – will have to make this for my next BBQ.
  • Dos and Donts of Running Your First Marathon (Runner’s World) – Runners, you have to read this one. Some of them made me actually laugh out loud!
  • Upper Body Workout Circuit (Jessie Loves 2 Run) – Lateral raises always get me…I so “feel the burn!”
  • Trigger Clothes (The Get In Shape Girl) – Very interesting. My “trigger clothes” are always jeans. They are just not comfortable and never fit right.

Do you have “trigger clothes?” or clothing that just doesn’t make you feel good about yourself even if it is your size?

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05-22-2014

My Top Back Exercises

It’s t-shirt and tank top season – which means it’s time to work those back muscles! Working my back is one of my favorite things to do. I always feel really strong while doing back exercises, and it’s a major muscle group which means you’re burning even more calories. I wanted to list out my favorite back exercises, in case you want to add some to your routine. Even if you’re already doing most of these, remember you can switch up your routine bu changing how many sets or reps you do, and increasing the weight you use.

Single Arm Bent-Over Dumbbell Row

Bent-RowSource

This is definitely my favorite. I love doing single arm exercises because you can focus on one side, and also strengthen any weaknesses you may have on one side. Start with whatever side you think you’re weaker on. Focus on keeping your core tight and your back flat. Also focus on squeezing your shoulder blade as you pull up…engage that muscle!

T-Bar Row

t-bar_rows copybigSource

I only really started doing T-Bar rows when I started the Get Swole program, but I love them. Talk about a full-body exercise! You’re really working your core and lower back because you’re lifting the weight while in a bent-over position. If you’re lower back hurts as you are pulling up, the weight is too heavy for you. Always remember to keep a flat back and core engaged. A good cue I give people during any exercise is chest up, shoulders back.

Seated Cable Row

Intense-20-Minute-Back-Workout-Seated-Cable-RowsSource

Another great back exercise that will have you out of breath. Once again you will be using your core to stabilize yourself. As always, remember, CHEST UP SHOULDERS BACK! ;) Also, make sure your shoulders aren’t up by your ears. Relax your traps. Don’t lean back either as you pull it in. Stay in a neutral position. If you have to lean back, it’s too heavy for you.

Inverted Row

modified-rowSource

The great thing about this exercise is that you can do it anywhere. You can use the smith machine bar, or any barbell, or you can use a ramp railing (which is what I usually do at the gym). Engage your core and don’t let your hips sag or go up too far (so that you have an arch in your back).

Pull-Ups

How could I not include this??? Pull-ups are a full body strength exercise, and I’m still working on bringing back my strength so I can do unassisted pull-ups. In the meantime, I’m focusing on the assisted pull-up machine and band assisted pull-ups, which is the picture below:

Band-Assisted-Pull-upSource

As you get stronger, you’ll be able to use thinner and thinner bands. Plus, using a band works your core as well because you need to use it in order to not swing forward as you pull up.

Single Arm Cable Pull Down

Single Arm Pull DownSource

We covered a lot of horizontal pull exercises, so we need some vertical pull in here too. I like doing single arm cable pulls because, as I mentioned with the single arm rows, you’re focusing on each arm at a time, which makes it a bit tougher than using both arms on something like a lat pull down. I like to do these sitting or standing. Pull with force, and then slowly  let it go. This exercise will also help you get stronger with your pull ups.

Here re two chest and back workouts using some of the above exercises. I like combining chest and back because they are opposing muscle groups. I prefer body split routines like this as opposed to full body, which I explained in this post about the benefits of both full body routines and body split routines.

Do one of the workouts for 3 weeks, then switch to the other one. This will help avoid plateau, and help you get stronger!

Feel free to change up any of the exercises, or how many sets/reps you do…this just serves as a starting point :)

chest-and-back-workout

Let me know if you try it out!

Do you like doing back exercises? Which are your favorite?

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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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01-16-2014

Torch Those Arms Workout

Last week I posted a quad & glute workout, so now it’s time for an arm workout!

arm workoutAll you need is a set of dumbbells. If you only have light dumbbells, you can make it more challenging by doing more reps of each exercises.

Burpees are thrown in there for a full body move, but also some good cardio ;)

For a full body workout, you could do the glute workout, followed by this arms workout.

Let me know if you try it out or have any questions!

What is your favorite upper body exercise? Recently, I’d have to say bench press, even though it is so challenging for me.

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01-02-2014

Upper Body HIIT Workout

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this workout a week or so ago.

Once a week, my brother and I are doing a high intensity interval workout that also incorporates strength. We are currently following a strength training program, but I will talk about that in another post!

This workout focuses on upper body muscle groups, but you will definitely still feel it in your legs during the cardio portions.

Directions:

Perform the first set of 3 exercises 2-3 times through. For each exercises, time yourself for 1 minute and count your reps. In between each exercises take a 45-60 minute break. Once you’re done with the first batch, move onto the second. Your break will be however long it takes you to set up for the second set of exercises – just don’t take too long ;)

My brother and I did each set of exercises 2 times through, and it took a total of 21 minutes. We were huffing and puffing by the end. It’s a short workout, but intense! For a longer workout, just add sets.

The reason you will count your reps is so that the next time you do this workout you can compare your numbers.

One last thing, make sure you focus on form. Yes, you’re trying to get as many reps as possible in 1 minute, but only with good form. For example, I went way slower on squat to curl than I did on barbell rows, because I wanted to get in good squats. Don’t sacrifice form for numbers.

Exercises:

Here are some YouTube links to show you how to do some of the exercises with proper form:

Tricep Pushups

Barbell Bentover Row

Box Jumps

Let me know if you try this workout or have any questions!

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