Tag Archives: core

Jul. 31.

Calisthenics, No Gym Required!


No excuses now! Calisthenics training is any exercise that uses body weight only. Calisthenics is one of two types:

  1. Without any equipment or apparatus.
  2.  With bodyweight equipment; example, any gymnastics equipment, TRX (suspension training) or a pull up bar.

What are the benefits?

  •  increase neuromuscular efficiency
  • increase dynamic core strength
  • increase endurance

What is neuromuscular efficiency?

maxresdefaultAccording to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, neuromuscular efficiency is the nervous system’s ability of properly recruiting the correct muscles to produce and reduce force and dynamically stabilize the body in all ranges of motion.




What is dynamic core strength?

jasminecalDynamic core strength is the body’s ability to use the torso muscles to maintain proper posture during movement. An example would be using the torso (all muscles but the extremities) to stabilize the body to complete movements such as a pull up or dip.







What is muscular endurance?

burpeesMuscular endurance is your body’s ability to overcome repetitive force for an extended period of time. Many body weight exercises can be progressed but for some exercises or the elite athlete repetitiveness is the only way to progress the movement.

If your up for the challenge of a calisthenics workout, come in today to put your body to the test!

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Apr. 21.

Ditch the Crunch for a Stronger Core

Ditch the Crunch for a Stronger Core

Preventative Abdominal Training

As a trainer at a public gym I often found myself trying not to watch others workout. Either they would be doing an exercise improperly for their kinetics, or would be doing crunches for hours or there would be another trainer putting a sedentary women in the squat rack on week one! All the above without proper core strength can cause serious injury.

First off, what are the muscles that are considered part of the core? Without a long list here is a diagram of all muscles considered as part of the core.

front muscles

 Notice it is not just the abdominal muscles!  Many of the core muscles are muscles that alien and stabilize the spine. Making sure a client has a balanced and stabilized spine before progressing into compound or abdominal exercises is vital for their health and motor functions.

How do we assess your spine? First we look at your squat form which can tell us a lot about your body’s kinetics; such as different imbalances or muscles that maybe tight. Second, we look for flexion (bending forward) or extension (bending backward) issues with your spine. Example, if you sit for long periods of time at a computer you maybe have extension issues. Meaning it does not hurt you to sit for hours on end but the moment you get up to stretch and reach backward, extending your spine you feel slightly achy or can not bend that way at all.

What are some exercises that engage the core with out the use of a crunch movement? A few exercises that are far safer and more effective for complete core strengthening and balance are:


Bird Dog exercise


Plank on palms/Plank on elbows




Reverse plank

All can be progressed as the exercise becomes easier.

Why should I avoid crunching? Crunches cause a strain on the neck and the spine because it is not made to do thousands of flexions over and over in that manner. Crunches may eventually cause disc bulges or impingement on nerves.

Should women do abdominal work? If she has worked on her spine stabilizing muscles and has good balance I would add in abdominal work. It is important to remember that abs are made by proper nutrition not abdominal work. The more abdominal work a woman does, especially weighted abdominal work it will cause her core to become thicker….and women, most of you do not want a wide profile! Also remember that posture is key to having a flat stomach! The straighter the posture, the more elongated the core will be.

Focusing on crunches before focusing on total core strength will result in injury eventually. The core is a strong muscle and can cause the spine to be pulled out of alignment if the stabilizers are not just as strong. When doing research on core exercises be creative and remember all but the extremities are part of the core!

Exercise can be creative, think outside of the box!

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Apr. 16.

10 Tips for Weight Lifting Beginners

 10 Tips for Weight Lifting Beginners


  1. Start Slow. If you do not regularly go to the gym, do not set yourself up for failure by planning to start going 5 times a week. Start with 2 and build from there.
  2. Stretch and foam roll. It is important to take care of all aspects of the health of your body and stretching and mobility is key if you do not want to be injured in the future.
  3. Limit your time! I know you may feel lost walking into a gym but wondering around is not very productive. Try to only give yourself 45-55 minutes to workout.  Each week you will get more comfortable and therefore can go into the gym with a game plan!
  4. Remember your core. Many people go to the gym and start with legs and arms and forget the most important part of the body! Your core, which is not just abs but everything but your extremities. If your core is not strong you will be more prone to injury.
  5. Find a balance. Its important to find a balance of exercises you enjoy with those you struggle with. Challenge creates change but it’s important to also enjoy working out!
  6. Do you. Do not be concerned with looking funny, stupid of feel like others are watching you do everything wrong. After studying exercise science over the years I have seen some of the fittest appearing individuals doing exercises completely wrong, actually making me close my eyes! So do not feel like you are the only one still learning.
  7. Lift smart. You may not be 20 anymore, take it easy! We have seen many older men hurt themselves in the gym, lift smart because your injury will show your age more than how much you can lift!
  8. Invest in a knowledgeable trainer if you are unsure. I know, of course I would add this tip! But I personally have hired trainers my whole life! If you are unsure about training or not gaining results it is better to invest than quit! Check the trainers certifications and portfolio. As a trainer I never thought a few months training a client could change their life but it’s been a blessing to see it happen over and over. I will always believe in investing in trainers or different sports experts, even for myself.
  9. Use dumb bells and free weights. Machines are not the best for your range of motions, joints, stabilizing muscles or maximum calories burned.
  10. Have fun!

More posts are to come next week on injury prevention, stretching, and strength training!

We all have to start somewhere

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