FocusOn: Side Plank Variations

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Today’s FocusOn session is dedicated to variations of the side plank. The side plank is a very effective core strengthening exercise that heavily recruits the external and internal oblique muscles pictured below:
External and Internal ObliquesThese muscles contribute greatly to core stability and strength.  When coupled with a low body fat index, they also add to the appearance of a trim, well defined waistline.

Side planks can vary in intensity and complexity.  The video will demonstrate the more popular variations in increasing difficulty.

Side Plank Bridge
Stationary Side Plank
Star Side Plank
Side Plank Runner
Side Plank with Elbow Rotation

Remember to stack the elbow or the hand directly over the shoulder and to make a straight line from your head to your feet through your midline.

Start off with the basic side plank bridge and work your way up the ladder to create a strong, stable and visually pleasing waistline!

Stay Fit Forever!

Shut up and Squat!!

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“SHUT UP AND SQUAT!!”

As a trainer, you have no idea how many times I have wanted to say that to somebody.

It seems like there are so many excuses people use to justify why they shouldn’t squat. “It hurts my back!” or, “It hurts my knees!”, or the ever famous, “My doctor told me that squatting is dangerous!”.

Really??! Has your doctor ever seen one of these?

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The other thing I get a lot, especially from women is, “I don’t want my butt to get too big!” Tell me, do their butts look too big to you? Didn’t think so…

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The truth is, the squat is an essential functional exercise that everybody needs to learn how to execute correctly.  I don’t mean that you need to get out there and use a ton of weight, or put yourself in a dangerous position, but squatting, when done correctly forces you to learn how to use your hip extensors, your gluteals, your quadriceps and your core all at the same time!  What a great movement! One that you will use throughout your day, every day, for the rest of your life.

Whether it’s sitting down on the toilet, getting up from your favorite easy chair, reaching down to pick up your child or better yet, your grandchild, squats are what you’ll be doing. So you’d better learn to do them right!

My suggestion to you is to try and find a way to incorporate these into your workouts. Over the long run, you will notice more strength and more flexibility.  In general, they will make every day tasks much easier to perform.

So now, shut up and squat!!

Fit Forever,

Tony

Focus On: Abdominals – Vertical Plank/Crunch Combo

Just a note, these Focus On segments will be an ongoing part of the blog. In them, I’ll focus on a specific body part and illustrate, explain and demonstrate how and why the exercises work.

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Here’s a great, two part movement for really whacking your midsection, especially the Rectus Abdominus, commonly referred to as your “six pack”.

Rectus-Abdominis

The Rectus Abdominus is an important postural muscle. It also helps in
keeping the internal organs intact and protected. It also aids in creating
intra-abdominal pressure such as when you’re lifting heavy weights. It’s one of
the most “visible” core muscles when it’s not covered up with excess
body fat.

The two movements that I’m going to show you are the vertical plank and an
upper abdominal crunch with your legs elevated. Here’s a video demonstration of
how to perform the movements and what to pay attention to:

OK, that’s it for today! Try to incorporate this combo into your workout
and really concentrate on squeezing out the reps rather than using momentum. I
guarantee you’ll feel them, and they’ll go a long way into etching out your
very own six pack!

Let’s get Fit Forever together!

Tony