Exercise Ball Push ups

Exercise Ball Push Ups

Exercise Ball Push ups are just like the standard push ups except that they are done with your legs on an exercise ball. This exercise targets the lower chest and with some variation thrown in can even strengthen your core. Balancing your legs/feet on the ball can take some getting used to, but you will get the hang of it quickly enough.

Equipment
Exercise (Swiss) Ball

Preparation
Before you try this advanced form of pushups, you must be able to perform normal pushups easily. Place your feet on the exercise (Swiss) ball as described in the figure. Select a comfortable hand width that you would normally use to execute normal pushups.

Exercise Ball Push Ups

Execution
Step 1 – Keeping your legs on the exercise (Swiss) ball, perform push ups as you would when executing normal pushups with no elevation.
Step 2 – Perform this exercise for as many repetitions as possible until you cannot do anymore or based on your trainer’s recommendations.

Notes
1. Whatever you do, don’t hold your breath for any kind training but always take a deep breath before executing each repetition of the exercise.
2. Keep your back straight when you are executing this exercise.
3. You can vary the hand widths as you get more and more comfortable with this exercise where maintaining your balance will play a major role.

You can also add variation to the standard exercise ball push up by moving your legs around during the period between push ups. Here is a video that demonstrates what the push up looks like along with some variation thrown in:

Decline Barbell Bench Press

Decline Barbell Bench Press

The Decline Barbell Bench Press is very similar to the standard flat bench press. While it essentially works out the same muscle groups, it places most of the emphasis on your lower chest. This is usually done in conjunction with the flat bench press and inclined bench press to work out upper mid and lower areas of the chest.

Equipment
Free weight decline bench or bench press machine, Barbell (with suitable weights)

Preparation
As described in the figure, lie on your back using the free weight decline bench press machine with feet under leg brace provided, and hold the barbell with a grip that is slightly more than shoulder width apart.

Execution
Step 1 – Keeping the same grip, take the barbell off the rack, and in a slow and controlled motion, lower it to your chest.
Step 2 – Press the bar back to the start position quickly.
Step 3 – Repeat Step 1 & Step 2 for as many repetitions as possible until you cannot do anymore or based on your trainer’s recommendations.

Notes
1. To prevent injury, always use a spotter (an assistant) for any weight training exercise, in the event it gets too much for you they can help you put the bar back in the stored position.
2. Remember, the downward motion should be slow while the taking the bar back to its original position needs to be executed more aggressively.
3. Whatever you do, do not hold your breath for any kind of weight training but always take a deep breath before executing each repetition of the exercise.
4. Remember to not use a grip that is too wide but only a bit more than shoulder width.

Fun Fitness Exercises

Fun Fitness Exercises

Fun Fitness Exercises
I believe that fun fitness exercises, like the one’s I am about to describe below, are an essential part of keeping fit and healthy. Essential because, as time goes by, there is only so much variety you can create when working on in a gym, or even with a home based workout like P90X or Insanity.

Let’s look at my top five:

1. The Outdoors
Generally on average the majority of people very rarely experience the outdoors. When I say outdoors, even going for a walk or a jog would do. Ideally I’d recommend something a bit more adventurous like a hike or something that involves the fresh air of mountains. But, since that can be a little difficult, I’d say stick to walking, jogging outside, and if you already do, then try a different location. A change of scenery can do wonders.

2. Sign-up for a Martial Arts Class
This is also a lot of fun, and is fantastic for fitness levels as well. Sign up for a class, for something like Kickboxing, Karate or even Kung Fu. Take it slow though, as their pre-class fitness exercises can be a real killer. Adding this to your weekly routine could really give you the variety that you might have been looking for.

3. Workout with a Friend
While this isn’t really an exercise. Working out with someone else can be a massive boost and really help drive your workouts to the next level. Ideally workout with someone who is either at your level of fitness (so that you can egg each other on and generally motivate) or someone higher (whom you can use as a target to either match or surpass). The activities could be anything, from working out at he Gym to walking, jogging or running.

4. Yoga
If you haven’t tried Yoga, you must. From all of the exercises listed here, this is probably a must for everyone. Your body will gain a strength that no other exercise will provide. You gain balance and in a one and a half hour workout, will sweat and burn calories like you would not image. You will also exercise muscles that are normally very hard to hit.

5. Dancing
One of the more interesting fun fitness exercises. The best part is that it is a great way to meet new people. Especially of the opposite sex. Dances like the Salsa will get your working up a good sweat and its fat burning exercise that is low impact and you can go on for ages doing it.

34 Chest Exercises

chest-exercises.s600x600

chest-exercises.s600x600In this series, I have put together basic instructions on how to do 34 chest exercises. It covers everything from basic push ups to using free weights and a Smith machine. For the moment the instructions are only text but I will soon update them with images and video.

Update: Please note that I am redoing all the chest exercises, so stay tuned.

How to Tone your Arms

tones arms

tones armsMillions of people search for effective exercise methods that will tighten and tone their arms. However there are only a few who actually get the type of results that they are looking for. This may be caused by a variety of factors. Many of these factors may include improper training of the muscles. Although many people perform a variety of exercises they may not know how to effectively train. Before you begin a weight training regime you need to decide what type of look you want. Do you want lean muscle. Maybe you want to increase muscle mass. These questions are important because your decision will determine what methods you will use to train. Since in this instance we are look to tone the arms, our pursuit is in building as much lean muscle mass as possible. [Read more...]

Home Hamstring Exercises

hamstring

Because of day jobs, and sitting around for hours, our hamstrings can get much shorter, making them feel tight and quite possible injury prone. The hamstring exercises and movements described below, will help you develop well-toned, flexible and strong rear thighs and will relieve back pain in the process, this is especially useful for those of you who don’t have time to exercise as these are meant to be done from home. I will cover proper gym based hamstring exercises soon.

Leg Curls
Lay on your stomach on a bed, with your knees just over the edge. Cross your ankles, and contract the bottom leg’s hamstring to bend at the knee as you add resistance with the other foot. Take care to contract the hamstring fully. Pair this with the cyclist’s exercise for a good upper leg workout.

Chair Lift
Weight one foot with ankle weights, or with dumbell plates tied to a belt or strap. Place a chair with its back against a wall, and step your non-weighted foot onto the front edge of the chair. Stand up on the chair on the non-weighted foot, anchor the weighted leg’s knee behind the other knee, and bend the weighted one up to lift the weight. You can also free your knee and lift the weight straight up, thus sharing the work with the hip flexors.

Forward Bend
This essential stretch goes from painful to enjoyable with practice. Sit with your legs extended forward and bend from the lower back to reach your hands toward your toes. If your hamstrings are flexible you can hook two fingers around your big toes and move your elbows towards the floor, but it’s more important to keep your lower back straight than to reach farther forward. This stretch can be done standing as well.

Head to Knee Pose
Sit with legs extended forward, and bring the bottom of one foot to touch the opposite inner thigh. Reach both hands straight up to extend your spine, then reach forward towards your extended foot, keeping your hips square throughout.

Inverted Hamstring Stretches
Begin by laying on your back with legs extended upward. (One) Take hold of your toes, or the balls of your feet, with your hands. Straighten your legs fully and gently pull them downward, keeping your lower back on the floor as much as possible. (Two) Allow your knees to bend a little as you bring them down to touch your chest. Deepen the stretch by pushing your lower back towards the floor as you gently pull your feet towards your head. (Three) Gently hold the stretch as you move your legs apart a little, then release the stretch a little, straighten your legs, and pull them fully apart and down with your arms. (Four) Keeping your knees apart, bring your feet together in the center and interlace your fingers around the outsides of them. Pull your feet down toward your chest, and you’ve entered the Dead Bug Pose. This can also be done with feet apart, but I wouldn’t bend your knees past 90°. Following this you can proceed to the inverted glute stretches.

Countertop Hamstring Stretch
A simple and very effective hamstring stretch that can be done while you brush your teeth. Stand facing a sturdy shelf, chair or countertop, the optimal height of which increases with your flexibility. Place your heel on the furniture and bend forward over your extended leg. For an interesting variation, follow this stretch by unbending your torso and turning your hips 90° to move the stretch to your inner thigh, then turning your hips another 90° to face backward and move the stretch to your hip flexors.

Hamstring Stretch from Hero Pose
Assume the hero pose and extend one leg forward, keeping your hips level and balanced. Lean forward over the extended leg and touch your toes if it’s comfortable to do so. A version of this can also be done from a knee-standing position with the extended leg’s heel on the floor.

Please do these hamstring exercises with care, as you will be missing proper warmup which you would get from a standard workout. This is meant only for those of you who dont workout much and need some stretches and exercises that you can do at home for your hamstrings.

The Best Back Exercises

pull-up

Building your back muscles is a very important part of whatever work it is your doing. The best back exercises will play a significant role in your overall physique that you end up with. I learned the importance of back exercises, especially the pull up when doing P90x. While every muscle group is worked out once a week, the back always had two workouts.

Here are the best back exercises you can do:

There are various types of back workouts that are targeted at training the muscles of the back and surrounding areas.

Pull Ups: This has become a favorite of mine now. You need to grab the pull up bar with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Allow the body to hang freely from the bar with your arms fully extended. Using the lats, pull yourself straight upwards so that your chin is able to reach the height of the bar or above it. Lower yourself to the starting position with your arms fully stretched and repeat.

Lat Pulldown: Grip the lat pull down bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Sit down with your arms fully extended overhead. Pull the bar straight down either in front or behind your head. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Barbell Bent Over Row : Hold a barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder grip. Slightly bend your knees, bend over the waist in such a way that your upper body is slightly above being parallel to the floor. Pull the barbell straight up into your stomach. Lower the barbell back to the starting position and repeat.

Seated Cable Rows: Sit on a seated cable row machine with both feet flat on the foot board and bend your knees slightly. Grab the handle with both hands and pull it into your stomach while keeping your chest protruded outwards and your back straight. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Advantages of back exercises:

There are various advantages of exercises for the back. They help strengthen the back muscles and increase their durability. It also significantly changes the proportions of your entire body. Well developed lats create a classic V-shaped look, making your waist appear smaller. Strong back muscles play an important role in various sports and other activities that involve pulling actions such as gymnastics, rugby, judo, swimming, rowing etc.

A strong back also enables you to develop other muscle groups and helps you perform other day to day activities without having to exert much pressure. Weak muscles are often the root cause of several back problems such as lower back pain and stiffness. The muscles of the abdomen, back and hips support the spine collectively and are also known as core muscles. They are the spinal chord’s main defense mechanism against gravity. Various exercises enable you to strengthen these muscles and eliminate back problems. Strong quads as well as string abs also play a significant role in supporting the lower back.

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