Exercise of the week- 1 arm Plank

I posted the plank a few weeks ago and this exercise is a progression on the plank which is great for core strength, and upper body strength. These are also especially good for those struggling with pushups as it helps build the stability and control needed to perform pushups correctly.

Muscles used

Primary: Pectorals, Rectus abdominus, Obliques

Secondary: Triceps, Deltoids, TVA, Serratus Anterior

Start

To start, begin in a pushup position. You should be prone and holding yourself up with both hands on the floor and on your toes. The feet should be about hip width apart and the hands should be about shoulder width apart. Like the plank, make sure that the shoulder blades are pinched together and the back is slightly arched.

1

Movement

Make sure to brace the abdominal area and slowly raise one arm off of the ground. Keep the arm straight and raise up until the arm is parallel to the ground. Make sure not to sway or shift the weight too much, ideally, the rest of the body should be stable while lifting the arm. Hold the arm in the air for 2-10 seconds, lower and lift the opposite arm. Alternate raising the arms for about 12 repetitions on each side. 2

The 5 best Pieces of In-Home Fitness Equipment.

With the busy lifestyle that we have today, working out at home is increasingly becoming the only option for many people looking to improve their fitness. Due to this, sales in home fitness equipment has been skyrocketing over the past several years. With all of the options on the market, it can be difficult to determine what to buy. Below is a list of the 5 best pieces of in home fitness equipment.

1- Powerblocks-Powerblocks are my all time favorite piece of fitness equipment. Essentially, having a pair of powerblocks is the equivalent of having a set of dumbbells that go from 5-90+lbs in 5 pound increments. It all fits in a space that is less than 2 square feet. Until you actually see these in action, it’s hard to appreciate the efficiency of this great device so below is a youtube video of how they work.

2- Physio ball- The physio ball is the most versatile piece of exercise equipment. It can be used on it’s own to work the core, the abs, lower body and the upper body. In addition, it can be used in combination with almost any other piece of fitness equipment. It can be used with barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, cable machines and almost anything else you can find in a gym. The element of instability can make traditional exercises far more challenging and interesting.

3- TRX Suspension Trainer– The TRX Suspension trainer is a very good piece of fitness equipment. It is a bit advanced so it’s not for beginners. What is great about it is that you can get a great total body strength workout using only your body weight. The TRX provides a very innovative workouts which are not only challenging but also train your body in a more functional way than traditional strength training.

4-Lateral Resistor– For a great lower body workout, nothing beats the lateral resistor. This can be used for all of the muscles in the legs and can be used with different levels of resistance. It can be used for strength training, endurance training and can target specifically the muscles in the glutes which can be very tough to get at.

5- Jump rope- When it comes to getting a good, intense cardiovascular workout, the jumprope is as good as it gets.  It builds leg strength, endurance, coordination and gets the heart rate going really fast. 10 minutes of jumping rope can be the equivalent of 35 minutes on a treadmill.

Ask the trainer: Back pain with abdominal work

Question– Hi, I’m 18 years old and I’ve been doing exercise for 2 months. I don’t have any difficulty but whenever I do crunches I get pain in my back.  I  really want to make my abs. A couple of weeks ago i felt that my belly was coming out a little so I started jogging and rope jumping and i have reduced it. I wanna do crunches as well to make my abs but I get pain. I know how to do it correctly but inspite of that i feel pain please tell me what should i do? thanks

Answer- It is not uncommon to experience back pain when performing crunches. The cause of the pain is usually one or more of three different factors: improper form; tight hip flexors/ low back; and weak abdominal area.

The first thing to look at in this situation is your form. Often times people make the mistake of sitting up too far when performing crunches. Your abs will be fully contracted once your shoulders are about 2″-3″ off of the ground. Anything more is simply working the hip flexors which could be the cause of the pain. This is why full sit ups are usually not good, because they work mostly the hips. As a general rule, make sure you are curling upwards (bringing the sternum to the pelvis) and that your shoulders are only coming 2″ off the ground. See the picture for assistance. Try this first and see if it helps.

curl

If you are using proper form, then the problem may be that you have tight hip flexors or a tight lower back. What happens with tight hip flexors is that they will pull the pelvis into a position in which our back is arched, causing low back pain. There are two things to try in this case in order to help fix the problem. The first thing to do is stretch the hip flexors an low back. Here is a link to a great hip flexor stretch: https://ryangeorgefitness.com/2008/11/28/exercise-of-the-week/

And this picture is of a good lower back stretch.

back

The second thing to do would be to take the hip flexors out of the equation all together. Instead of doing crunches with your feet on the floor, lift your feet off of the ground. See the picture below.

crunch

If those don’t work, you may need to build up your abdominal strength. In this case I recommend a couple of exercises to develop abdominal strength. First, try abdominal bracing. Abdominal bracing is basically a technique of tightening up the abdominal muscles. What you want to do is lie on your back with your knees bent. From that position, all you want to do is tighten the muscle as if you were bracing for a punch. Touch your stomach with a couple of fingers and make sure to feel for the abs tightening up. Start off by bracing and holding for 5 seconds at a time. Work your way up to the point where you can hold it for 20 seconds at a time. Once you can do this try again to do the crunches and focus on tightening the abs.

I hope this helps and feel free to leave feedback.

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