Friday, December 28, 2012

Rack Chins – Great Back Move

Pull-ups (chin-ups) are a staple to any fitness program.   They are solid compound moves.   However, the mass majority of people use momentum as a cheat to complete the move.   It is very hard not to.    

I recently stumbled upon rack chins as an interesting alternative.    I believe they are a great back exercise for all levels of lifters and fitness-seekers.  This move restricts momentum and is easier to progress in weight/intensity -- even for beginners. 

So what are rack chins????   You place a barbell in a rack or use a smith machine.   Place the bar mid-chest level.  Set up an adjustable bench with the head end closest to the bar at an incline (a 45 degree incline).  Sit down on the bench under the bar and push the bench back so that your heels will rest right on the edge of the bench.  You can vary you grip.   However, I suggest a very wide grip. Simply perform a chin up. Your hips should be lower than your feet even at the top of the rep.  Adjust the incline if needed to ensure feet are much higher than hips.  When you lower yourself at the bottom of the rep, really stretch.  Explode back up.  You have completed a rep.  As you advance, add weight by putting plates or dumbbells in your lap. 

Great back move !!

Stay tuned…….

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Leonardo da Vinci - Quote

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply.  Being willing is not enough; we must do.”  -  Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, December 24, 2012

Secret to Holidays and “Healthy” - PLAN

The most wonderful time of the year is back!   There are many office parties, family gatherings, religious festivities and gatherings of friends.  Healthy eating becomes challenging to say the least.

PLANNING is a secret to making it through the holidays without losing too much ground.   Simple things to implement:   Take low calorie appetizers to the parties.  Budget calories throughout the holidays, so you can have a small piece of those normally sinful dishes.  Burn extra calories in intense weight training exercise sessions.   Stay focused.  Get enough sleep (7-8 hours of sleep nightly).

Everyone makes mistakes or splurges a little -- even the most disciplined person.  If you go a bit overboard, simply get back on track.   

Remember, PLAN and have a positive attitude...

Stay tuned……………

Friday, December 21, 2012

Weight Lifting – Myth of Injury

One of the biggest myths regarding weight lifting is that it will certainly cause injury.   This is FALSE.   When weight lifting is performed correctly, it will not produce injury.   To the contrary, it will make the body more resistant to injury.   Bad form can always lead to injury, however.   In contrast, good form and lifting strengthens the muscles, joints and tendons and helps you be resistant to injuries.   This means that you are also preventing injuries from everyday activities (walking on ice, raking leaves, carrying objects, etc.)

LIFT weights in good form and regularly!!!  There are sooo many benefits.    Simply put your mind to it and as Nike says,  “Just Do It.”

Stay tuned…….

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr. - Quote

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” -  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fries - Alternative

Successful healthy eating can be challenging.   Some people feel it is too much of a sacrifice to give up those potato chips or French fries.   Some think they are being healthier when choosing sweet potato fries and then end up with more calories and fat than normal French fries.

There IS an alternative without sacrificing..    Butternut squash fries!!   I did not even think I liked butternut squash until recently.   Now I peel and bake my butternut squash into “fries” and “chips”.       I even make myself butternut squash chips nachos by adding some chicken, low fat cheese, scallions and salsa on top of the baked chips.    It absolutely gives the same texture and taste as sweet potato fries with sooo much less calories and carbs.

Try it !!!  

Stay tuned……….

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Laird Hamilton - Quote

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn't live between your own two ears.” -   Laird Hamilton

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Exercise - Reminder - WEIGHTS over Cardio

It is the holiday season and we all are likely to eat too much…    During this time of year, you are going to hear people saying that they are “hitting the treadmill hard tomorrow” in response to their gluttony.    I have always stressed and I want to remind you again - “cardio” is not the best answer.
Over-indulgent meals increase cortisol and insulin.  Aerobic training (in other words,  “cardio”) provides the least benefits to balancing insulin and cortisol.  Cardio is shown in study after study to increase cortisol production.  Cardio has its place in our fitness plans but should NOT be the answer when our bodies are already high in cortisol and insulin from our “holiday feedings."    Weight training is the best way to improve insulin sensitivity.   Lifting heavy weights in compound exercises like squats, deadlift, bench press, dips, and chin-ups are much more effective to get your body (and fitness plan) back on track. 

Stay tuned………….

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Socrates - Quote

“Let him who would move the world, first move himself.” – Socrates

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Partial Reps

Partial reps are great to help you work on the weak points of your range of motion.   Not all areas within the full ROM are equally affected.   Everyone has a “sticking point”.    Partial reps can be used to work on your sticking points and to increase overall strength.  

Do your partial reps sets after your complete full ROM workout.   For squats, set the safety bars in a squat rack at say 4-6 inches below full lock out.   Load 20-30% more weight than your max on the bar and squat down and back up for 4-6 reps.   Every week you do partial reps, set the safety bar down another couple of inches.   Soon you will be doing full ROM with the heavier weight.    

As for the bench press and partials, we use the bottom of the ROM.  Use a Smith machine or power rack and set the safety bars about 6 inches above your chest.  Again, use a heavier weight than your normal max and every week lower the safety bars until you reach full ROM with the heavier weight.      Be sure in all partial moves to not rest the bar on the safety bars or pause. You do not want to take tension off the working muscles.

Stay tuned………..

Monday, December 3, 2012

Exercising with a Cold

Winter time………   People coughing, sneezing and blowing their noses.  

It is ok to hit the gym and exercise when you have a cold (although it is not recommended if you are running a fever).   Exercising with a cold will not prolong or worsen your cold.   Exercising actually might make you feel better with the blood circulation and endorphins released by exercise.   When you train with a cold, remember to take it easy.  Your body is using energy to battle an illness.   So dial down your intensity level.   

Stay tuned……