Posts Tagged ‘Fitness’

As  all of my clients and regular readers know, I am a huge fan of exercises that involve multiple muscle groups.  If you’re a new reader, here’s why these multi-joint movements are so effective:

-Almost all sport-related and everyday activities involve more than one muscle group.  We rarely find true isolation of specific muscles outside of the weight room.  Multi-joint exercises are much more functional to sports and life.

-Mutli-joint movements force your body to work harder than isolation exercises.  This means that you’re going to kick up your heart rate and respiratory rate, so you’re improving your cardiovascular fitness at the same time that you’re improving your muscular fitness.

-For reasons mentioned above, a multi-joint exercise is going to elicit a much greater metabolic effect on the body that exercises that require less energy.  For instance, a chin-up, which requires movement in both the elbow joint and the shoulder joint as well stabilization throughout the core region, is going to have a much greater metabolic effect than a bicep curl, which only requires movement in the elbow joint.  This means you’ll burn more calories in a shorter period of time.

With all this in mind, one of my all-time favorite free weight exercises is the Zercher Squat:

Zerchers are a great exercise.  The exercise is clearly targeting the legs, hips and glutes, and by coming all the way down to at least a parallel position in your knees, your quadriceps go through a very long range of motion.  This is great for explosion in sports as well as overall leg strength. In addition to targeting the legs, Zerchers also require a great deal of work to be done by the core stabilizing muslces as well many stabilizing muscles in the upper, middle, and lower back.

With pre-season hockey training really heating up, I’m always looking for good single-leg exercises due to hockey being a very single-leg dominated sport.  My athletes do a lot of lateral movement, single-leg squats, and many variations of lunges.  One great single-leg exercise is the stationary split squat:

Once this exercise becomes easy, a common progression would be to move from the stationary split squat to a reverse lunge.  The reverse lunge on it’s own is a good exercise, but as soon as I put myself into a Zercher position on the bar, the reverse lunge got that much better:

A few things to note:

-My back stays completely vertical, perpendicular to the ground.  With the weight in my elbows pulling me forward, my core muscles were forced to tighten up in order to keep my back straight.

-My shoulder blades stay pulled together in my back, this challenges the stabilizing muscles of my upper back.

-I’m creating an active stretch in the leg that is stepping back while greatly challenging my single-leg strength.

Give this exercise a try.  I suggest mastering the stationary split squat before moving into any type of lunge, and you should also master Zercher Squats before you try adding a dynamic movement to the exercise.

Have a great day!

Adam Reeder, cPT
Adam@GetFunctionalTraining.com

Here in Cleveland, Ohio, we are running out of nice days.  Soon the temperature is going to drop and the snow is going to start falling.  As such, you’re not going to be able to get many (if any) outdoor workouts.  That’s why I wanted to post this video.  I’m asking everyone who reads this blog to get outside this weekend and do some physical activity!  It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, just do something- go for a run, take the dog for a long walk, or…you could do what I did:

Head up to a local playground, and experiment with some functional movements.  Playgrounds are filled with hidden ways to do tons of basic and advanced movements.  If nothing else, this can break up the monotony of going to the gym everyday.

In the video below you’ll find a full-body workout.  There’s a warm-up, two three-exercise circuits and a core finisher.  Each circuit should be performed with very minimal rest from exercise to exercise, and a one-minute rest between sets.  Perform 3 sets of each circuit before moving on.

1) Active Warm-Up: 2 minutes
-Band Assisted Split Squats- 10 on each leg
-Band Assisted Split Jumps- 10 on each leg
-“Trunk chops”- 8 in each direction (this exercise is great to get the core and the hips activated and working together before you start)

2) Circuit #1: 2-3 minutes
-Plyometric Jumps: I just found the most reasonable step height among the “stairs” of the playground. Perform 10 Reps.
-Atomic Push-Ups: Who needs an expensive suspension system when you have a good ole swing? Perform 10 Reps.
-Monkey Bar Pull-Ups: These monkey bars proved to be a perfect width and grip to really hit the lat muscles of my back. Perform 10 Reps.

3) Circuit #2: 3-4 minutes
-Elevated, Band-Resisted Split Squats: This is a great single-leg exercise that allows for tons of Range of Motion (ROM) and is great for improving the End Range of Motion (EROM) strength for the “down” leg, while also actively stretching the “up” leg. Perform 10 reps on each leg.
-Body Weight Dips: This was the toughest exercise to figure out, because this particular playground didn’t have the traditional monkey bars.  I ended up just finding a set of “stairs” that had a few parallel bars and it ended up working well, allowing for solid depth. Perform 10 reps.
-Band Rows/Step Backs: I finished this circuit with a pulling motion using the band.  Perform 10 pulls with feet stationary, and 5 to each side while performing a step-back.

4) Core Finisher: 3-4 minutes
-Swing-Ups- I went into this workout with absolutely no plan until I got to the park.  When I examined the park and noticed the height of the swing, I immediately thought it would be a great tool to get some core work.  For the “Swing-Ups,” I went into an elevated pillar position with my feet on the swing and my shoulders directly over my hands.  I held this pillar for 5-10 seconds, and then proceeded to contract my abs, lifting my hips into the air into a “mid-pike” type position.  I prefer this to a full pike position because there is an increased emphasis on holding the abdominal contraction when you stop before bringing your hips all the way over your head.  Once in the “mid-pike” position, hold for 5-10 seconds, repeat 5 times.  Perform the core finisher 3 times with a 30 second break between sets.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know how I feel about the “I don’t have enough time to workout excuse.”  Well, after this you can also add “I can’t pay for a gym membership right now,” to the list of invalid excuses to avoid physical activity.  Folks, for a FRACTION of the cost of a gym membership, you can purchase the only thing you need for a total body workout just like this one: a resistance band. If you’re interested in purchasing a band like you’re about to see, send me an email: Adam@GetFunctionalTraining.com

So again, get outside, enjoy the nice weather, and get a great functional workout!

Until next time,

Adam Reeder, cPT
Adam@GetFunctionalTraining.com
@TrainFunctional

For my first blog post, I wanted to write something that is somewhat different than what you will typically see here.  In most of my posts, you will find exercises, or videos, or nutrition advice.  This being the first entry, however, I wanted to address personal training in general as well as give you a feel for my philosophy towards training.

Today’s fitness world is flooded with devices, equipment, fads and tools that all promise to give you not only the best workout you’ve ever had but also the beach body you’ve always dreamt of.  The big problem that I have with this is that all too often, we as trainers get sucked into this type of marketing.  We end up looking for that “perfect toy” that’s going to make all of our clients thin and fit while making us the most well known trainer in town.  The goal as a trainer goes from making the best possible impact on our client’s lives to putting together a bunch of exercises that look cool or extraordinary just because it somehow makes us look “better” as trainers.

Too often we confuse challenging or intense with complicated and confusing.  We try to find things that nobody else has ever seen before, rather than the things that are going to be most helpful to our clients.

Well, I say that needs to end…. today.   Sure you may get a few people interested in training just because of all of your neat, new exercise toys, but the best way to build your own clientele through positive word-of-mouth feedback is VERY simple: help your client achieve positive results.  Whether you single-handedly made up the exercises or you pulled them off of JoeBlow’s YouTube account, your clients, and therefore the people that your clients will refer you to, do not really care where the exercises are coming from; they are interested in getting great workouts and producing great results.

Success as a trainer should not be taken from how many people say “Wow! I’ve never seen that exercise before!” or “Well he’s using the [insert training device/tool], it must be a great workout!”  We as trainers need to judge ourselves based on the improvements being made by our clients. By keeping personal training client-centered, we will be able to not only build our business in the most effective way possible, but more importantly, we will be able to truly have a positive impact on the lives of our clients.

I hope this has given you some insight as to how I approach training.  By no means am I saying that workouts should be easy, or that some more complicated exercises are not effective.  I’m simply saying that we as trainers need to focus our attention on making our clients better.   If that means doing an entire workout of body weight squats, push-ups, and pull-ups, then so be it.

Adam Reeder ACSM cPT
Adam@GetFunctionalTraining.com