“Deadlifts are a great exercise that anyone can do, regardless of how old you are, how big, or your fitness level. It is a great tool to teach overall body awareness, while maintaining stabilization in your spine. It can help increase full body strength, and muscle mass. Though assessment of proper technique should be taken before intensity and/or load is increased, a deadlift targets all the muscles responsible for your posture. It can help with improving and strengthening your core abdominals, postural muscles, as well as your posterior chain.
Starting with a weight that is safe and appropriate to your fitness level, can allow for a more focused approach to technique and form, which can help reduce injury and continue strength progressions. With proper technique and consistent improvement, load can be increased. There are many variations of deadlifts, and depending on limiting factors, such as health capabilities, the correct measures and exercise regressions should be considered for each individual’s exercise program and routine.”
The traditional bird dog is seen as a staple in many strength and conditioning programs for its ability to help create stability through the trunk and connecting the upper and lower limbs to one another. The most common mistake that I see is an overextended lumbar spine. To combat this, try using a glider on the back foot in order to get an adequate contraction of the glutes while minimizing extension of the lower back. This will help you keep a neutral spine throughout the movement.
Another variation that can be used that also adds a little bit of rotation at both the arm and the hip can be done by placing the hand on the back of the head while driving the elbow up towards the ceiling, and bringing the knee out to the side as if you were also lifting it towards the ceiling. Although slightly more advanced because it requires a bit more mobility in the shoulder and the hip, i find it helps to avoid some of that lumbar extension i mentioned previously.
A third variation to spice it up a little bit more is the bird dog row. This adds more of a rotational component as you fight to keep your body stable as the dumbbell pulls you to one side.
These days many of us have fallen in love with pushing exercises in our workouts. Exercises that train the chest, triceps, and shoulders, such as bench press and shoulder presses. However, without balancing it out with pulling exercises, it can lead to muscle imbalances.
Even with general pull exercises such as rows and pulldowns, the muscles in the upper back, lower traps, rear deltoids, and rotator cuffs are generally not targeted as much as they should be. The facepull is an excellent exercise to put in at the end of a pull workout to cover your bases.
The facepull is a simple, yet underrated pull exercise that is great for improving your posture, upper body imbalances, and to look better aesthetically. This is an exercise that most people overlook and generally don’t do enough.
The facepull can be done with a cable machine, or simply with a band. Use a rope attachment as opposed to bars as it will limit the rotation which is an important part of the exercise. Set the height high and so you have to pull the ropes down towards you. Come into a squared athletic stance without leaning backwards, and hold the end of the ropes with an underhand grip with the thumbs pointed backwards, this will allow for more external rotation versus other grips and heights. When pulling the rope, pull it down and towards the face, right towards the nose. Pull with the hands and not the elbows so that the hands reach back first, this is to ensure external rotation of the shoulders. Open up the chest and squeeze close the back.
Add this exercise to the end of your pull day workouts and try it out!
The feet and toes play an important role in making sure that your ankles, knees and hips fall in alignment. When working out, walking and going up stairs, there is a tendency for people to roll to the outside of their feet and lift their toes.
This results in a collapse of the knees and a shifting of the hips from side to side. A way to test for your big toes activation is by putting a band under your big toe and making sure to keep the band pinned down when performing squats.
There are 4 points of contact that you should have on your feet when standing, squatting, lunging and deadlifting; your weight dispersed evenly across your (1) heel, (2) forefoot , (3) big toe and (4) a little bit of weight on the outside of your foot.
When properly driving the big toe into the ground, it will become easier to engage the glutes and stabilize the knees and hips.
The feet and glutes work together to make sure that your lower half stay aligned. To properly activate your big toe, drive it into the ground, do not let the ball of your foot come off the ground. This will cause the foot to roll to the outside. Instead learn to activate your arch and lower leg to lift your arch upward and drag your forefoot and big toe back toward the heel maintaining contact with the ground.
Sciatica refers to back pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve. This is a large nerve that runs from the lower back down the back of each leg. When something injures or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, it can cause pain in the lower back that spreads to the hip, buttocks, and leg. There are steps you can take at home to ease the pain of sciatica. A heating pad or ice pack may be especially helpful. Apply the heat or ice for about 20 minutes every two hours. While sciatica is healing, try to remain active. Motion can actually help reduce inflammation and pain. Depending on your medical condition, certain exercises may not be recommended.
Try this: Reclined pidgeon pose will help improve flexibility of the hip and lower back which can give relief to your symptoms. Try going in and out of the stretch like you would an exercise. Try for 3 sets of 10 reps per leg a couple times a day.
It’s time we open up a topic that not too many of us want to talk about and thats aging! Yes I know, as much as we don’t like to talk about it, its going to happen its inevitable and like my favourite saying, ” there are 3 things we cant hid from in life” and thats Taxes, Death and Fitness, eventually we will break down and get weaker. However there is a way to prevent, prolong and ensure it doesn’t happen that fast. Ive listed a few different methods of exercise that helps different age groups and saved the best one (Strength Training) for last. Hope you enjoy this and if you do, forward it to a friend, co-worker or family member that you feel it can help.
Fitness and Aging
In September we celebrate grandparents, but the truth is we’re all getting older. And with age comes a natural decline in our bodies and our brains. While we can’t stop the clock, there are ways to keep your muscles active and your brain sharp. Exercise has proven to reverse age related declines in our bodies and minds.
First things first if you haven’t reached mid-life yet, maintaining an active lifestyle will ensure you’re able to get out of your chair when you’re 80. Studies have found that age related decline starts earlier than previously thought. At age 50 our balance, strength and endurance are already diminishing. By age 55 studies have found participants that did not engage in regular activity had thinking skills similar to those of a 90-year-old.
Here are few exercises and their anti-aging benefits.
You don’t need fancy equipment to implement this into a habit. Daily walking at least 30 minutes a day is proven to prevent or manage heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. It helps strengthen your muscles and bones and enhances your balance and coordination. If that’s not enough to get you up and moving, walking also helps protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, depression, colon cancer and even erectile dysfunction. If you’ve reached a point in life where it hurts to move, find every opportunity to take a few steps. Your health improves with every step you take.
If you suffer from joint pain jump in and swim. Swimming can help increase flexibility and reduce join inflammation. It’s other anti-aging benefits include lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as reducing your risk for heart disease and dementia.
Tai Chi is a strength training exercise that includes a series of flowing movements. The beauty of Tai chi is that regardless of age or physical capabilities it can be done by almost anyone. Tai chi helps build and preserve muscle while focusing the mind. It helps improve bone strength, joint stability, cardiovascular health and emotional well-being. Because it targets leg strength, flexibility, range of motion and reflexes it helps improve balance and reduces the risk of falling, which is a major concern as we age.
Research done with 125 amateur cyclists aged 55-79 had more muscle mass, less body fat and lower cholesterol levels compared to the 75 participants who were sedentary during the study. It also showed a younger immune system. The thymus glands that produces key immune cells called T-Cells shrinks at age 20 decreasing T-cell production. This same study found that the amateur cyclists’ bodies were producing just as many T-Cells as a younger person.
Strength Training (the Best of all types of exercise for any body type, any age, any level)
Starting at age 30 our body loses 8-10% of its muscle mass every decade, which also results in a decrease in your metabolism. Strength training using your own body weight or with light weights just twice a week can drastically cut those percentages to only 1-2% a decade. Strength training also decreases the risk of osteoporosis or bone fractures by increasing bone density and strengthening your tendons and ligaments. The improved muscle and bone strength decrease your risk of injury or falling and allows you to be more resistant to general aches and pains.
Despite your age or how you’re feeling it’s never too late to start. Our bodies were created to move so keep them moving. Incorporate cardio and strength training exercises into your daily routine to keep your body and brain young.
Until next time, remember that your ATTITUDE is Everything!
Not sure if you had a chance to read the article released a few weeks ago, but Participaction a non-profit group that promotes healthy living in Canada, gave adults a ‘D’ for overall physical activity and an F when it comes to moderate-to-vigorous activity, with the report finding just 16 per cent of adults get the recommended 150 minutes each week.
Now.. there are some factors against us.
It is the norm to work longer hours.
We have families and friends that need our social time.
We live in a beautiful country that unfortunately, is on average at 0 degrees or under a good 4-5 months of the year.
Depending on how you look at things ( growth mindset or fixed) , you will look at these items as barriers or hurdles to overcome.
When clients come in for their initial consultation and are willing to give fitness a shot, they always ask ‘how many times a week do I need to work out?’ I reply, anything you can do to start!
It’s about building the habit, not going 0 to 100 right away! Think about it. If you can commit to 1x/wk to start and you have been doing that for 4 weeks isn’t it easier to then add a second day or third?
The 150 minutes in a week can be broken into whatever you would like.
5 times of 30 minutes..
7 times of of 21 minutes..
3 days of 50 minutes..
If you remember my email last week it depends on the intensity your training at, so you can take shorter, harder spurts of exercise vs. long and steady to be more efficient.
Check out the article below and feel free to ask me any questions you may have with keeping fitness in your lifestyle!
I hope you have had a great week and are excited for the long weekend! Thanksgiving is an amazing time to catch up with family, relax and of course eat!
If you do have some time to hit the gym this weekend, below are some ways to make your weight training workouts harder, to shed some extra calories and/or get closer to those bigger arms!
Remember from last week, weight training can be applied to losing weight, fat loss or putting on muscle. It just depends on how you apply it!
***If you can’t hit the gym, scroll to the bottom for a mini 10 min workout if you feel like getting your move on at home after eating all that turkey!
Supersets alternate two or more exercises from set to set.
Example – 1 set of deadlifts ; 1 set of dumbbell rows; 1 set of deadlifts ; 1 set of dumbbell rows, etc.
Drop sets start with a heavier weight, then decrease the weight on subsequent sets.
Example – 10 reps with 135 pounds on deadlifts, 8 reps with 120 pounds on deadlifts, 6 reps with 90 pounds on deadlifts, and so on….
Rest/pause sets involve reps to fatigue, rest briefly, then do a few more reps, rest briefly, do a few more reps, and keep going until total failure.
Example – 10 reps with 100 pounds on squats, rack it, rest, 4 reps with 100 pounds, rack it, rest, 3 reps with 100 pounds
Circuits string two or more exercises together with minimal rest in between. The lifter typically rests for a longer period after each “round”.
Example – 8 reps of pushups, 8 reps of deadlifts, 8 reps of rows, 8 reps of lunges, 30 seconds of jumping jacks, rest.
Density training involves the lifter selecting a given time limit, then trying to do as many reps as possible within that time limit, for example 1 minute.
Example – Doing 5 pushups and 5 pull ups (super set) for 10 – 15 minutes with minimal rest.
Each rep has a “positive” or concentric portion (the portion where resistance is heaviest, as in the “up” part of a biceps curl), and a “negative”, or eccentric portion (the portion where one is simply resisting/controlling the resistance as it returns to the start, as in the “down” part of a biceps curl). Negative sets involve slow and controlled eccentrics, usually an assisted concentric.
Example – Jump up to a pullup bar so your chin is above the bar; slowly lower yourself down. Here, the jump provides assistance on the “up” part.
It’s tough to get good results if you just wander from machine to machine, or do the same things all the time.
You also won’t get good results if you choose the wrong approach for your goals (e.g. an endurance workout if you actually want to improve your maximal strength).
I remember when I started in the fitness industry , now over 10 years ago, I remember the recommendation for the ‘fat burning zone’ was to stay at 60% of your max heart rate. These were the recommendations provided and if you even see, some cardio machines still have that ‘target’ zone listed for optimal fat burning results.
Thankfully, exercise science has continued to evolve , rapidly, of course with the increasing knowledge of the all around benefits of physical activity but also, with the rising rates of obesity worldwide. Science doesn’t lie and thankfully this myth has been debunked!
You don’t have to be a science buff to understand this so don’t worry – It’s Friday and our brains are slowly starting to shut off so we won’t get into too much science detail!!
From a qualitative point of view, when you are training at 60 % of your max HR, you are still able to hold a conversation. When we think about just that for a second and for all the people that have lost pounds of body fat through their journeys, they can tell you that its definitely NOT easy and lots of sweat and out of breath moments are required! There isn’t complete non sense to this claim though. It is true, that at rest or lower intensities, our bodies do use fat as energy more vs in higher intensities.
So… The reason why working in higher intensity zones is more recommended nowadays HITT training – High Intensity Interval Training) is for two reasons.
1. Higher Caloric Expenditure :You burn more calories working in higher intensity zones which in turn, still applies to the calories in calories out rule that you need to be burning more then you are consuming
2. EPOC effect: Working in higher intensities, especially when applying load ( resistance training), forces your body to burn more calories at rest post work out (thus, increased fat burning). This is called the EPOC effect and stands for Excessive Post Oxygen Consumption. Due to the limited supply of oxygen able to get into your muscles during interval based training, your body lets a surge of it come into the muscle cell when you are done working out, for hours.
Now, the key thing is to not get turned off by this ‘higher intensity ‘ training. Consult a fitness professional and they can guide you to ensuring you start with the right capacity of interval training for you.
Today I wanted to touch on a type of training that, pound for pound is probably the most effective type of exercise. For many reasons that we will get to below!
Now, let’s start off. What is strength training?
Strength training is using muscular force against resistance. Muscles adapt to any type of resistance.
The resistance can be a heavy object, one’s own body weight, elastic resistance from bands, or other types of machine resistance from pulleys or hydraulics. The object could be a kettlebell, free weight, another person — anything that has mass.
Different types of equipment that can provide resistance :
TRX suspension training
Why is strength training so important?
-improving the ability to coordinate your moving parts
-improving how quickly you can generate force to move against the resistance
-building muscle tissue
-strengthening connective tissues such as tendons
-Improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity
-Maintains and enhances muscle mass
-Maintains and enhances metabolic rate
-Improves bone density
-Decrease chance of injury
-Improves ability to engage in daily activities
-Decreases bad cholesterol levels
-Enhances strength and endurance
-Enhances speed, power and agility
-Improves body composition
-Decreases blood pressure
-Improves aerobic capacity
When muscle metabolism is altered, it can contribute to the development of many chronic diseases. Maintaining muscle mass with strength training can help to prevent some of the most common health conditions, including obesity and diabetes.
Who can strength train?
In the past, strength training was primarily used by athletes to enhance performance and/or increase muscle size.
However, strength training is now recognized as critical to everyone’s health and fitness — regardless of gender, age, or ability. Leading health organizations, including the ACSM (American Council of Sport and Medicine) recommend regular strength training as part of one’s fitness regimen.
With a properly constructed workout program that is tailored to individual goals and skills, anyone can strength train: men, women, children, adolescents, older people and people with disabilities or movement limitations.
According to the Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging:
“Human aging results in a variety of changes to skeletal muscle. Sarcopenia is the age-associated loss of muscle mass and is one of the main contributors to musculoskeletal impairments in the elderly. Previous research has demonstrated that resistance training can attenuate skeletal muscle function deficits in older adults. Resistance training offers numerous benefits beyond improvements in muscle strength alone for older individuals. Several reports have demonstrated improvements in balance, functional mobility, stability limits, and fall prevention.”
So what should i do?
Firstly, it depends on movement quality. An assessment screen of an individuals movement is essential. Factors can be age, occupation, lifestyle and fitness/movement experience.
Ensure to get a professional to screen your movement quality and then provide the proper demand to meet your bodies capacity.
What is your Goal?
For strength and power, focus on complex, multi-joint, “movement plane” exercises such as squats, deadlifts, pull ups, rows, weighted jumps, etc. You can also use “functional” type exercises such as sandbag carries, sledgehammer swings, and tire flips.
**Volume, Intensity, Frequency and Type of exercises all are crucial
For muscle mass gain, you can use strength and power-type exercises (with medium loads) as well as targeted body part isolation exercises, such as biceps curls or triceps extensions.
For endurance (for sport or rehab), you can use strength and power-type exercises (with lighter loads) as well as targeted body part isolation exercises.
Many rehab-type exercises involve building endurance in specific body parts using very small movements (such as arm raises) with very light loads.
**1RM = 1 Repetition Maximum, maximum amount of weight that a person can possibly lift for one repetition
*sources from Precision Nutrition and the Journal of Clinical Aging
Stay tuned for more on strength training and how to make your workouts harder next this week!
Until next time,
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As Dimitri says, Attitude is Everything - and their positive attitude is sure to affect yours! 10/10 highly recommend!!
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