Menu

Category: Strength Training

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Legs

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the barbell. Often, it’s just my first instinct on strength days at the gym to just head to the barbell platform and get to work. But as I’ve pointed out in the past few posts of this series, that’s not always possible. We have so many […]


It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the barbell. Often, it’s just my first instinct on strength days at the gym to just head to the barbell platform and get to work. But as I’ve pointed out in the past few posts of this series, that’s not always possible.

We have so many fitness tools available to us nowadays, each with its pros and cons, so it’s important that we remain open-minded about the tools we use to get stronger and fitter. Besides, why limit ourselves when there are so many fun and creative ways to move our bodies?

There’s a place for everything in our gym routines, dumbbells (here are our fave ones to use) included. So this week, I’ll continue my mission to revive these unassuming pieces of equipment by talking about some simple ways to work your legs.

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Legs

As I mentioned in my previous post for your glutes, using dumbbells will force your whole body — especially your legs — to stabilize differently than with a barbell. The weight distribution is completely different and there’s a ton more movement that you have to control, which translates to far more demand being placed on your stabilizer muscles — super awesome if you’re someone who’s prone to injury.

Additionally, using dumbbells to perform single-leg work (as I’ve included in the circuit below) will also help you create better balance in your body. Since we all tend to have one leg that is stronger than the other, by working each leg independently we can start to bridge any strength gap between lefty and righty.

Check out this circuit for those days when you wanna hit your legs hard:

Check out this video or below to see a demo of each move featured in this post.

Have I convinced you yet to revisit the dumbbells? If you’re shopping for dumbbells to use at home, we love these so much that we’re an affiliate. —Alison



Source link

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Shoulders

Last week, I was in the mountains of Western Massachusetts at a yoga retreat center assisting my teacher Sage Rountree in some trainings for seven days. It was a dream come true, but also potentially nerve-wracking since I was less than a month out from my first CrossFit competition. I’d been to this facility in […]


Last week, I was in the mountains of Western Massachusetts at a yoga retreat center assisting my teacher Sage Rountree in some trainings for seven days. It was a dream come true, but also potentially nerve-wracking since I was less than a month out from my first CrossFit competition.

I’d been to this facility in the past so I knew that I’d be without my usual playground of barbells, kettlebells, and workout buddies. Uh huh — I’m a little spoiled. But what better time to test my workout creativity than this new challenge?

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Shoulders

Speaking of this upcoming competition, one of the lifts that we’ll be trying to max out at the event is the barbell strict press. I love this lift and do it often, but I’ve been stalled out at 95 pounds for a few months now. Being the problem-solver that I am, I’ve been brainstorming ways to get over that hump and finally break into the triple digits.

So I took this trip away from my comfort zone — to the land of no barbells — as an opportunity to mix up my training a bit and try a different approach. Armed with only dumbbells, I worked my shoulders hard and here’s what I realized: Dumbbell work is a super effective way to compliment your barbell training. Using dumbbells puts a different demand on your muscles, particularly the stabilizer muscles. So it adds a new layer of challenge, which will ultimately lead to new adaptations in muscle strength.

Also, dumbbells force both sides of your body to work equally. In life, we use each arm to perform different tasks. This, if left unchecked, leads to muscular imbalances that may contribute to shoulder injuries down the line. However, when you work with dumbbells, each side of your body must support an equal amount of weight and neither side can do the work of the other. The benefit is that those sneaky little imbalances are exposed and you’ve got a golden opportunity to work on correcting them.

In short, dumbbells can make you stronger when you pick up that barbell again — just what I needed. And guess what, shortly after I got home for the trip, I nailed that 100-pound strict press!

Here are the best dumbbell moves to keep your shoulders strong and healthy:

And if you’re jonesing for a kick-ass shoulder day, try this workout out:

Check this video out for all the exercise demos.

How do you like to give your shoulders some love? Share in the comments below! —Alison



Source link

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Glutes

My friend, and fellow CrossFitter, Sam, recently went on a work trip that involved a hotel stay. When she arrived, she posted on her Instagram story a sweeping view of the hotel gym she had to work with for the length of her stay. Needless to say, it wasn’t her usual set-up … essentially, her […]


My friend, and fellow CrossFitter, Sam, recently went on a work trip that involved a hotel stay. When she arrived, she posted on her Instagram story a sweeping view of the hotel gym she had to work with for the length of her stay. Needless to say, it wasn’t her usual set-up … essentially, her options were a few pieces of cardio equipment and some dumbbells.

For those of us who are used to the convenience of having a full gym nearby that provides all the fitness (kettle)bells and whistles, this sort of situation can be somewhat disconcerting. But it certainly doesn’t have to be — it’s totally possible to get a great workout with just dumbbells.

With so much awesome fitness equipment out there, we’ve gotten a little away from the basics. Let’s breathe life back into this old faithful fitness friend, shall we?

In my last post, we covered the best dumbbell exercises for your chest. This time, we’re focusing in on your booty.

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Glutes

When it comes to working your glutes with dumbbells, there are some serious advantages. Dumbbells force you to stabilize differently than with a barbell. Because only one arm holds the weight, there tends to be more movement that your body is required to control through the full range of motion, translating to more functional strength.

Through combining dumbbells with single-leg work, you can also create more balance in your body because each side of your body has to be able to work independently. If each of your glutes can perform well solo, they’re better able to perform better in concert with each other.

So, without further delay, here are the best ways to boost your glutes using only dumbbells:

Put them into a workout and you got …

And if you want a visual of what each move looks like, check out this demo video.

What are your favorite dumbbell exercises to strengthen your booty? Share them in the comments. And check out our fave dumbbells here!Alison



Source link

6 Ways to Make Old Exercises New and More Effective

Getting in a routine at the gym is fantastic … until it’s not. On the one hand, knowing what you’re doing — and being able to do it with confidence — rocks. via GIPHY But on the other hand, getting comfortable with what you’re doing can lead to complacency. And that’s not the way to […]


Getting in a routine at the gym is fantastic … until it’s not.

On the one hand, knowing what you’re doing — and being able to do it with confidence — rocks.

via GIPHY

But on the other hand, getting comfortable with what you’re doing can lead to complacency. And that’s not the way to improve your fitness. Gotta keep those muscles guessing!

via GIPHY

So today, we’re sharing a few tips for mixing up your workouts without reinventing the wheel from Bryan Forsing, a certified personal trainer from Anytime Fitness.

1. Try supersets.

“Supersets are great for burning more calories, without adding weight,” says Forsing. In case this is Greek to you, a superset combines two exercises using opposing muscles, done back-to-back, like a bicep exercise followed by triceps, or a leg extension followed immediately by a leg curl. And yes, immediately means no rest in between the exercises!

2. Add a move.

Got your plank nailed down? Add something to increase the level of difficulty or number of muscles worked. “Try kicking up a traditional plank by adding a move such as a one-arm row, a leg lift, hip tilt, or leg twist,” says Forsing. Or, if you’re used to doing a straight crunch on the stability ball, try going to the side to hit your obliques. Lift one leg to decrease stability. You get the picture — be creative!

3. Move your feet.

Sometimes, just a slight change of stance will really change up the muscles worked. Take, for example, calf raises. Try them with your feet facing straight ahead, and then try at an angle — both facing outward and in. Feel the difference? A key here, though, is to continue to focus on safety, so always keep your knees aligned without going out over your foot. The same safety rules that apply to a basic move still apply when you change your position.

4. Switch it up.

Adding weight, instability or even reversing a motion can all be great ways to mix things up. “Variations of standard lunges, such as adding a barbell or trying out a reverse lunge are great for restarting that muscle burn, says Forsing, suggesting that beginners start in a forward position with no added weight, then add a barbell behind the neck, keeping the head back — making a double chin will help hold your head back. “Now you’ve changed your center of gravity to activate your core,” he says.

5. Walk the other way.

“Going in a backward motion on an elliptical or trying out a direction change on the treadmill is an effective way to activate your hamstrings and glutes,” says Forsing. Go forward for about five minutes, then back for about five, maybe 15 to 20 min total. You can throw some sideways steps in there, too!

6. Add variety.

If you have a standard cardio routine, try varying your intensity, speed, incline, or interval length on the treadmill, or build a simple circuit using a few machines, suggests Forsing. But remember, if you’re switching machines, you should transition quickly to maintain an elevated heart rate. Change speed, intensity, incline on the treadmill, do intervals with hard efforts, then easier ones.

If you have a regular circuit — either cardio or strength — that you go to, change it up in anyway you see fit. “Even just do everything you’ve always done and do it backward,” says Forsing. “It changes which muscles fatigue first,” and that changes how hard different muscles work in the beginning of the workout and at the end.

Are you good about changing up your workout? I am with most things, but if I’m leading myself in a yoga flow, I really struggle to change up the order. I’m just so used to what I always do! Kristen



Source link

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Chest

It’s amazing to me how much fitness equipment is out there now. Just yesterday, I had a call with a start-up company that has designed a new piece of equipment which they’ve asked me to test drive. On one hand, I love all the enthusiasm and innovation in the fitness industry. On the other hand, […]


It’s amazing to me how much fitness equipment is out there now. Just yesterday, I had a call with a start-up company that has designed a new piece of equipment which they’ve asked me to test drive.

On one hand, I love all the enthusiasm and innovation in the fitness industry. On the other hand, it’s no wonder so many people feel lost and overwhelmed when it comes to working out.

If you like all the whiz-bang fitness gadgetry, no problem — and rock on with yo’ bad self. But if you feel completely bewildered by the huge number of options out there, listen up. If you’ve read my posts on this site before, you probably already know that I’m a huge fan of simplicity. So I’m revisiting the good ol’ dumbbells.

Over the next few weeks, I’m gonna give you the best dumbbell exercises — including a workout — for your every part of your body. Feel free to use each as individual workouts or mix and match them to get a total body workout.

The Best Dumbbell Exerises for Your Chest

My biggest complaint about working my pecs on chest day is that I need a spotter for the barbell when I bench press. Dumbbells are a great option for those days when I find myself at the gym without my trusty workout buddy, Liz.

Dumbbells provide a ton more ways to work your chest muscles than just your traditional bench press would and just by changing the grip (which you can’t do with a barbell) you can challenge those muscles in a completely different way. I used a box to lie back on but you could use anything really — a bench, a stability ball, etc.

So, without further delay, here are my favorite ways to strengthen my chest using only dumbbells:

Put them into a workout and you got …

And if you want a visual of what each move looks like, check out this demo video.

What are your favorite dumbbell chest exercises? Share them in the comments. And get our fave dumbbells here!Alison



Source link

Podcast Ep 67: Nike Trainer Alex Silver-Fagan

Nike Master Trainer and strength training expert Alex Silver-Fagan is our special guest is this episode and she is on a mission to get more women to lift heavy weights (woot!). Alex, who is also the author of Get Strong for Women, turned to strength training after exploring a career in bikini competitions — an […]


Nike Master Trainer and strength training expert Alex Silver-Fagan is our special guest is this episode and she is on a mission to get more women to lift heavy weights (woot!). Alex, who is also the author of Get Strong for Women, turned to strength training after exploring a career in bikini competitions — an experience she found dispiriting to say the least. 

In this lively discussion, Alex talks about how to advance your strength training program, the super quick (and super sweaty) HIIT workouts she turns to when she’s short on time time, and her weekly workout regimen which is no joke! Alex is serious about her training — but don’t be intimidated, because at the same time, she’s like your fun, down-to-earth workout BFF who will have you grabbing that heavier set of dumbbells in no time flat!

(Know what else you can do in no time flat? Find The Fit Bottomed Girls Podcast on Spotify! Listen here.)

Our favorite quotes from this ep:

Podcast Episode 67 Highlights With Alex Silver-Fagan

  • The real deal on bikini competitions and why she doesn’t think they are healthy for women
  • Her top reasons why women should pick up heavy weights (and why the fear of get bulky is unfounded)
  • Knowing how much weight to lift and advice on doing so properly
  • The exercises women should — but often, do not — do
  • Her current favorite workout trends
  • Key pieces of workout equipment you should have at home
  • Plus, the FBGs discuss the dangers of “Fitspo” posts on social media and how to avoid “the comparison trap”

Get the ep with Alex Silver-Fagan here or below!

Get more info on our podcast here and be sure to subscribe on iTunes so that you never miss an episode!

What are your favorite strength exercises? —Margo

Want to sponsor the show? Yay! Drop us a note at advertising@fitbottomedgirls.com and let’s make the world a healthier place together!



Source link

A Workout From the Bench

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been on the bench. I’m on the injured reserve. I’m showing up in street clothes to the big game. And, obviously, I am not thrilled. via GIPHY (Accurate AF, Julia. You truly get me.) I managed to separate my pelvis at the gym — how exactly, I don’t know, and no, I’m […]


Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been on the bench. I’m on the injured reserve. I’m showing up in street clothes to the big game.

And, obviously, I am not thrilled.

via GIPHY

(Accurate AF, Julia. You truly get me.)

I managed to separate my pelvis at the gym — how exactly, I don’t know, and no, I’m not pregnant (even though, as Erin learned a few years back, it’s a common injury for women who are expecting because your hormones are relaxing all your ligaments and tendons and stuff). I can legitimately say that it’s the most severe pain I’ve ever experienced, and although my chiropractor quickly moved things back into place, plenty of damage was done. Recovery is similar to what you’d do for a bad ankle sprain — rest, ice, gentle movements to keep it loose, and time.

However, it’s worth noting that the seemingly gentle, easy exercises I’m doing are … well, my booty is sore! And yes, I’m coming at this from a less fit place than usual, but I figured it was worth sharing what I’ve been up to because we all get injured from time to time, and it’s nice to find something that gives us a bit of a burn, right? So the following is a workout that incorporates some movements that don’t seem to bother me, plus a few of my physical therapy exercises.

(As always, it’s best to warm up first — do what works well for you and feels good, using caution if you’re injured! If it feels good to do more, go for it, and if you need to cut back on reps or time, that’s fine. When you’re trying to recover, listening to your body is key.)

It’s almost funny to look at this compared to other workouts I’ve done and loved, because I truly enjoy pushing my limits and feeling badass and strong. But I never want to experience that pain again if I can help it, so if the experts say give it time, that’s what I’m going to do. And I hope that by sharing this here, it’ll be a good reminder to a few of my fellow badass workout pals that going all out isn’t always the quickest road to your strongest self — sometimes you’ve gotta take it slow and easy in order to get back to where you want to be!

Anybody got a “road to recovery” story they’d like to tell? Maybe something about coming back and being better than ever, or lessons learned? —Kristen



Source link

5 Mistakes to Avoid to Get Your First Pull-Up

The strict pull-up … it’s the holy grail of bodyweight exercises. More and more women are adding them to their fitness goals and for good reason — pull-ups do great things for your posture and they’re super empowering. The problem is we’re not really sure how to get there. It’s not a movement that we’ve […]


The strict pull-up … it’s the holy grail of bodyweight exercises. More and more women are adding them to their fitness goals and for good reason — pull-ups do great things for your posture and they’re super empowering.

The problem is we’re not really sure how to get there. It’s not a movement that we’ve grown up with the way our male counterparts did. Our first attempts often involve gripping the bar, pulling with all our might, and then getting frustrated when we go nowhere.

But rest assured, it is possible to get there with focused work and a few adjustments.

The Reasons Why You’re Still Struggling with Pull-Ups

1. You don’t use your core. You might have been under the impression that pull-ups are a back and upper-body exercise but they’re actually a whole-body exercise. Everything must be tight and turned on, especially your core. Without your core, your arms are pulling dead weight … good luck with that. I see so many people attempting pull-ups with their knees bent — and they struggle and struggle and struggle. Bending your knees is keeping you from really engaging your core enough to help your poor arms out.

The Solution: Be in a hollow body position while you’re hanging from the bar. Either cross your feet at the ankles and squeeze your legs together or skip the cross and just squeeze those thighs together like you mean it. Think about zipping up the center line of your body and stay tight the whole way up and down. Practice on the floor by doing Hollow Body Holds and Dead Bugs.

2. You don’t activate your lats enough. Most of us live a forward-oriented life which causes our upper back and shoulders to round forward for most of what we do during our days. This position leaves our lats overstretched and weak, which makes it difficult to turn them on when we want to use them. Activating doesn’t sound as sexy as strengthening but, trust me, it’s way sexier (and critical) because you can’t have strength without activation.

The Solution: Work on actively turning on and using your lats. Try Ring Rows and Inverted Rows. Also, spend time working with Face Pulls, Resistance Band Pull Aparts, and Barbell Rows (check those out below). Focus on engaging the larger muscles of your back to initiate the movement.

3. You only ever use band assistance. This is the most common mistake I see. The first few inches of pulling from the hang position (the bottom of the movement) are the hardest. So many people turn to bands for a boost because bands provide the most assistance at the bottom of the movement (since tension on the band increases as it’s stretched away from the anchor point). For this reason, bands aren’t very effective at getting you strength there at the bottom where you need it most.

The Solution: While band-assisted pull-ups certainly have their place, don’t only do them. Mix it up and try:

  • Scap Pull-Ups (aka Lat Pulls): Grip the bar with your arms fully extended. Without bending your elbows, squeeze your shoulder blades together on your back. Hold there for several seconds at the top, then release and repeat.
  • Flexed-Arm Hangs: Use a step to grip the bar with your chin over the bar and hold there by squeezing your back muscles (not by scrunching up through your shoulders) while maintaining the hollow body position.
  • Slow Negatives: Either use a step or jump to get your chin over the bar then slowly lower yourself all the way until your arms are fully extended. Try not to just bail out toward the bottom where it gets hard — fight through those last few inches so that you build up the strength there at the bottom.

4. You don’t let yourself struggle. Often we get hung up by thinking that in order to get stronger, we need to be doing sets of 10-12 reps — which forces us to pick an assistance option where that higher number of reps is possible.

The Solution: Instead, try different rep schemes like 5 sets of 3-5 reps resting 2 minutes between sets. Go with options that are more challenging and do more sets (higher volume) of less reps. You should be able to complete all reps with good form but the last one or two should be very challenging. Let yourself struggle a little.

5. You don’t do enough pull-ups. Spoiler alert … in order to get better at pull-ups, you need to do more pull-ups. Seriously, you’ve got to work on them a lot. The more consistent you are, the faster you’ll get there.

The Solution: Try committing to 30 minutes of pull-up accessory work three days per week. If you’re serious about nailing that first one prioritize it, commit, and make it happen.

Do you have pull-up goals? —Alison



Source link

The 12 Days of Christmas Bodyweight Workout

Is it just me or do the holiday songs seem to come on a little more fast and furious every year? Now, I love me some holiday tunes —  I actually look forward to them for most of the year — but after about a week or two of them being like EVERYWHERE I start […]


Is it just me or do the holiday songs seem to come on a little more fast and furious every year? Now, I love me some holiday tunes —  I actually look forward to them for most of the year — but after about a week or two of them being like EVERYWHERE I start to get a little tired of it.

So maybe this year we should change things up a bit. Maybe change up the words a bit. Maybe turn a holiday favorite into a workout … say what?! Now we’re talking. I mean, come on, we’re FBGs — we can turn anything into a reason to workout.

So, here’s how it goes: the workout flows just like the song does – start with the first day and climb up through the 12th day, each day repeating all the days that came before. Instead of getting French Hens and Maids a Milking, you get Broad Jumps and Reverse Lunges.

Ready to do this? Alright, let’s go!

I promise you’ll never think about this song the same way once this workout is done. Enjoy! —Alison



Source link

6 Moves for Enviably Strong Arms

I love my arms. And (clearly) I’m not afraid to say it because I work really hard for them. But it’s not just the way they look — I love how freaking strong they are. When I first started working in the fitness industry, I was told my arms were too muscular on several occasions […]


I love my arms. And (clearly) I’m not afraid to say it because I work really hard for them. But it’s not just the way they look — I love how freaking strong they are.

When I first started working in the fitness industry, I was told my arms were too muscular on several occasions (as if that’s an actual thing). Now, times they are a changing. And thank goodness for that. I love to see that strong women are getting the positive attention they deserve.

I believe we all have the right to be anything we want to be. Each of us has the right to train our bodies to in a way that makes us happy. And you know what makes me happy? My big, strong arms.

So today I’m sharing with you my big six moves for a super strong upper body. These secret weapon exercises will get your arms working in all directions to build functional strength on all planes of movement — which means you’ll not only look strong, you’ll actually be strong.

The key is consistency and increasing resistance. I cannot stress this enough: don’t be afraid to go heavy. You’ve gotta challenge those muscles if you want them to grow.

How Many Reps?

Always start with a good warm-up.

When working with the barbell, do a set or two of 10 reps with a light weight (recommend 50 percent of your one-rep max, if you know it). From there, gradually build — increasing the weight by 5 percent every round until you can no longer complete the full set with good form.

Also, I recommend mixing up the rep counts you use. Sometimes I do sets of 10 (lighter weight), other times I do sets of 3 or 5 (more weight), and about once a every four to six weeks, I go for a one-rep max (lots of weight).

My Big Six for Enviably Strong Arms

1. Resistance Band Pull Aparts. Hold a resistance band out in front of you at chest height with your hands shoulder-width distance apart, palms facing down. Fully extend your arms extended. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the band apart with control. Slowly return to start position.

2. Shoulder Press. Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Grip the barbell in front of your shoulders with your hands just outside your shoulders. Engage your core and tighten up your belly. Drive through your heels and press the bar straight up until your arms are fully extended overhead with the bar over the center of the body. Lower the bar with soft knees and hips to absorb the shock.

3. Pull-ups. Grip the bar just outside of your shoulders, palms facing away from you. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your feet slightly out in front of your body, legs straight to keep your core engaged. Initiate the movement by drawing your shoulder blades down and back then pull your chin to the bar. Feel free to scale as needed (using a resistance band or machine for assistance).

4. Bench Press. Lie on a flat bench with your eyes directly under the bar, feet flat on the floor. Lift your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Grip the bar with neutral wrists. Unrack the bar and move it right over your shoulders, arms fully extended. Lower it to your mid-chest and press the bar back up above your shoulders. Be safe — have a spotter nearby when handling heavier weights on the bench.

5. Reverse Grip Barbell Rows. Stand holding a barbell, palms facing forward. Bend your knees slightly and hinge slightly forward from your hips. Keep your back straight and your head up. Squeeze your mid back and draw your elbows back close to your body to lift the bar up to your belly. Slowly lower the weight by straightening your arms.

6. Face Pulls. Loop a resistance band around a sturdy object (or stand facing a cable pulley machine) at eye-level with a palms-down grip. Step back until your arms are fully extended in front of you, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart and your knees bent. Engage your core, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your elbows back, bringing the band (or cable handles) right in front of your face with your elbows high. Slowly release to starting position.

What are the strength moves you swear by? —Alison



Source link

Push, Pull & Twist Countdown Workout

Everybody has workouts they love and workouts they hate and workouts they love to hate. And everybody has their go-to workout for when they’re time-crunched at the gym. Today, I’m sharing one of my faves with you. I’ve written countless conditioning workouts in my time but this is the one that I reach for time […]


Everybody has workouts they love and workouts they hate and workouts they love to hate. And everybody has their go-to workout for when they’re time-crunched at the gym. Today, I’m sharing one of my faves with you.

I’ve written countless conditioning workouts in my time but this is the one that I reach for time and time again. I usually find myself pulling it out on days when I’m not sure what to do with myself and am in need a quick shot of badass.

I love it for it’s simplicity. It’s only three moves that require very little set up and space. Some days I go lighter and faster. Other days I load up the resistance and push myself to dig deep. And that’s the other thing I love about it — it’s totally customizable.

I even use it as a benchmark workout for myself. I keep track of how long it takes me to finish it and what weights I used. Over time, I’ve watched my times decrease and my weights increase. So cool to see the progress in action.

I’m not gonna lie to you though, this countdown workout is tough. The one thing you’ve got going for you is that the reps are reduced as you move through the rounds, which, as you can imagine, is so much better than the alternative.

If you don’t have access to a rower, feel free to run instead or use any other form of cardio that works for you. While I used a barbell for my push presses and a medicine ball for the twists, you could easily use dumbbells for either or both of these moves.

Push, Pull & Twist Countdown Workout

To make it even easier to save and share, here’s a graphic for you!

What are your go-to moves for unleashing your inner badass? —Alison



Source link

This Bodyweight-Only Workout Is Great When Traveling

The morning of the eclipse, I woke up with the desire to move. We had traveled to a friends’ house in Columbia, Mo., to see the total eclipse, and I hadn’t really planned on fitting in a workout, but I really, really wanted to the moment my eyes opened that morning. (Side personal thing I’m […]


The morning of the eclipse, I woke up with the desire to move. We had traveled to a friends’ house in Columbia, Mo., to see the total eclipse, and I hadn’t really planned on fitting in a workout, but I really, really wanted to the moment my eyes opened that morning.

(Side personal thing I’m just now realizing: I tend to like to work out the morning of any any milestone-esque day. The day I quit my full-time job to do FBG … the morning I found out I was pregnant with Gwen … before I did this speaking engagement. A good workout clearly just sets a good tone for a good day — which is even more important on the big days, ya know? You know.)

And so I did! I only had workout clothes and a pair of running shoes — no equipment and I wanted to do some cardio and some strength training, all in about 20 minutes. Here’s what I did!

Travel Workout 1: 12-Minute Tempo Run

It’s pretty self-explanatory: just go out and run or walk fast at a faster-than-normal pace for 12 minutes.

It gets you nice and sweaty — in not a lot of time. And then, if you want more …

Travel Workout Two: 8-Minute AMRAP

For this one, you set a timer for 8 minutes and then see how many times you can get through this circuit (AMRAP = “as many rounds as possible”):

  • 12 walking lunges (do 12 on each side)
  • 10 plyo squats
  • 10 plyo side lunges (also called super skiers)
  • 10 push-ups

This one will get your legs burning like whoa, get your heart rate up and still work your upper-body and core with the push-ups. Talk about a full-body travel workout! AND, you have just 8 minutes to see how many rounds you can get, so push yourself. (Obviously, it’s made a touch more challenging after that 12-minute tempo run!)

After doing this, I felt great. Totally accomplished and energized. After a quick shower, I grabbed some food and water, and was treated to this later that day — alongside a glass of wine because balance. (Although the photo does it no justice — my phone simply couldn’t capture the ring!)

Thanks, Mother Nature. YOU ARE SIMPLY AMAZING.

Wanna follow along live during more of our workout and life adventures? Follow us on Instagram at @FitBottomedGirl! And tell me what your eclipse experience was! I expected it to be cool, but, guys, it was, like, mind-blowing cool!Jenn



Source link

A Mini Band Strength Circuit You Can Do Anywhere

My clients ask about travel workouts all the time. And can you blame them? I mean, why put your training on hold just because you’re hitting the beach or going to a work conference? In the past, I’ve given them body weight workouts like this deck of cards workout but lately I’ve been getting creative […]


My clients ask about travel workouts all the time. And can you blame them? I mean, why put your training on hold just because you’re hitting the beach or going to a work conference?

In the past, I’ve given them body weight workouts like this deck of cards workout but lately I’ve been getting creative with mini bands. (These are our fave mini bands — so much so that we’re an affiliate and you can save 15 percent on them with code “AFBG15” now through Sept. 30, 2017!) And why not, they’re super easy to pack, take up no space in your luggage, and provide just that little bit of extra resistance.

And you know what? They’re so versatile that there actually aren’t many exercises you can’t do with them. After playing with my bands for a while, I discovered the possibilities are endless.

Check out this awesome strength circuit that only requires you to pack two mini bands for your next trip — taking up less space than a pair of socks. So no more excuses to ditch your strength training while you travel.

Mini Band Strength Circuit Workout

And here it is in a handy dandy graphic! Feel free to save and share!

Do you take your workouts on the road with you? If so, what’s your fave? And be sure to check out more of our free video workouts here—Alison



Source link

Podcast Ep 41: Jaret Grossman of Muscle Prodigy

If you are looking to gain some muscle (and according to this insanely popular post from our site, many of you are!), get ready to learn how to get lean and strong with today’s guest Jaret Grossman of Muscle Prodigy. Jaret amassed more than 30 million views on YouTube by producing an inspiring video every […]


If you are looking to gain some muscle (and according to this insanely popular post from our site, many of you are!), get ready to learn how to get lean and strong with today’s guest Jaret Grossman of Muscle Prodigy. Jaret amassed more than 30 million views on YouTube by producing an inspiring video every day for a year, and he continues to offer his best tips for getting into top shape without spending hours in the gym (hallelujah!).

Jaret began his own physical transformation in high school, starting out as a skinny 90-pound member of the wrestling team and eventually becoming a three-time All-American wrestler at Bryant University. He talked with us about best strategies for building muscle and getting the most out of your workouts when you are crunched for time.

Some of our favorite quotes from Jaret in this ep are …

Podcast Episode 41 Highlights With Jaret Grossman

  • The common mistakes newbies make when creating an exercise program
  • The one exercise that he finds changes his body the fastest
  • Why women shouldn’t fear about bulking up by adding weights to their workouts
  • Tips for figuring out the best workout to suit your lifestyle
  • Maximizing your workouts when you are crunched for time
  • The benefits of Tabata workouts
  • Why the “calories in vs. calories out” paradigm is a fallacy
  • His favorite pre- and post-workout snacks, plus common nutritional mistakes

Also in this episode, Jenn, Kristen and Margo discuss their favorite muscle-building exercises.

Get more info on our podcast here and be sure to subscribe on iTunes so that you never miss an episode!

What are some of your favorite muscle-building workouts? Tell us about it in the comments below!—Margo

Want to sponsor the show? Yay! Drop us a note at advertising@fitbottomedgirls.com and let’s make the world a healthier place together!



Source link

That Time I Went to the Gym But Came Home and Lifted Wine Bottles Instead

I recently joined Planet Fitness. I’ve been struggling with my exercise regimen recently, so I was excited for the option to have the personal trainer there create a workout for me. The trainer and I met a few weeks ago to create my plan. We decided I’d do 2-3 days per week of cardio for […]


I recently joined Planet Fitness. I’ve been struggling with my exercise regimen recently, so I was excited for the option to have the personal trainer there create a workout for me.

The trainer and I met a few weeks ago to create my plan. We decided I’d do 2-3 days per week of cardio for 40-60 minutes. I have that covered with my weekly indoor soccer games, so that’s perfect for me. On non-cardio days, at least twice a week, I would do the strength workout he designed. I was nervous for this because I’m not used to using anything other than cardio machines.

My first try went like this …

I started with 5-10 minutes on the stair climber, which was great. I’m comfortable with that. It’s like cardio on steroids. It definitely gets my heart rate going. And from way up there, I could scope out the next stuff I needed to do. This was important because it was really busy that evening.

After that warm-up, it was time to move on to the weight machines. I’m less comfortable with them, but it’s a “judgment free zone,” so it doesn’t matter if I stand and look at the pictures on the machines a little longer than necessary to fully understand what to do. But first, I had to find an available machine I was supposed to use. That was pretty challenging considering how packed it was (at 8:30 p.m. on a Tuesday). Almost every machine was taken.

I could pick out most of the machines I needed. I spotted the leg press, but it was busy. I moved on to the glute extension. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was supposed to alternate my sets between leg presses and glute extensions. That didn’t happen. I did three sets of 10 reps on each leg at the glute extension machine. I went back to the leg press when it was free.

I tried to go to the hip adduction and abduction machines next, but I didn’t realize I sat down where a girl already had her things. She was about to wipe the machine down, so I moved on. I came back later and did two sets of 15 on each machine. Again, I didn’t realize I was supposed to be alternating sets. I did them consecutively.

I moved on to the lat pull down machine. And, yep, you guessed it, I was supposed to be alternating. This time should’ve been with the chest fly machine, but I couldn’t find it. I did three sets of 12 reps on the lat pull down.

I gave up on finding the chest fly machine and went to the free weight section. But I panicked. I had never used free weights on the gym floor before. I had used them in group classes, but that always includes a lot of guidance. I watched one girl who looked really serious for a while. I got more nervous.

I knew I was supposed to do three sets of 10 curl and presses, three sets of 10 tricep lifts, and three sets of 10 front raises. I had to check with my fiancé Evan, who has an exercise science degree and much more experience weight lifting than me, before I went to the gym to make sure I knew what each of those movements was. I did. But when it came time to do them, I chickened out. I wanted to be efficient and use both arms at the same time, but I didn’t know if that was normal. And it was crowded. And I had been there for a long time already. And I was tired, but mostly, I was intimidated.

So I left.

I decided to finish my routine in the comfort of my own home. I thought we might have free weights, but I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t find them when I got home, so I improvised. I grabbed the only things I could think of that were shaped the same and were kind of acceptable in weight: wine bottles. I weighed them on my kitchen scale. They were only 2.5 lb each, but hey, they got the job done.

I did my curl and presses, my tricep lifts and my front raises. I finished out with two sets of planks for 30 seconds each and 30 v-ups (a crunch with legs extended in the air).

I felt pretty silly for getting scared and leaving the gym, but I was also pleased with myself for finishing the workout, even if it meant sort of making it up.

I went back later that week and did the full workout. Evan helped me through it. I now know what to do for next time, and I definitely know to avoid the busy times to feel more comfortable. I don’t think I’ll need to use the wine bottles again, but in a pinch, they’re better than nothing.

Have you ever had a first-time-at-a-new-gym experience like this? Ever lifted wine bottles? Do tell! —Megan



Source link

How to Keep Your Metabolism Burning Long After You Leave the Gym

Love the feeling that comes with a really great workout? Hey, us, too! And today, in this guest post, Brent Frayser — a media relations representative for Orangetheory Fitness and a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in  business administration — is telling us how to get our burn on both in […]


Love the feeling that comes with a really great workout? Hey, us, too! And today, in this guest post, Brent Frayser — a media relations representative for Orangetheory Fitness and a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in  business administration — is telling us how to get our burn on both in and out of the gym, all day long. Brent was born and raised in the South and is very outgoing, with a strong sense of determination. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, coaching baseball and football, and spending time with family and friends. Read on for his best metabolism-boosting tips!

To stay in good shape, most people need to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. But, most people do not have a lot of time to spend in the gym. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to stay active and get that metabolism going, even when you’re away from the gym!

Do High-Intensity Workouts

My first tip is to do high-intensity workouts. High-intensity workouts, such as those that are done in classes by Orangetheory Fitness, make your body work as hard as possible during a shorter exercise session. When doing a high-intensity workout, you will likely only have to exercise at a high intensity for 20 to 30 minutes, five days per week. This is much shorter than some workout routines that suggest doing more than one hour of exercise at a time at a lower intensity.

Lift Weights

Another tip that can keep you burning is to lift weights. The process of lifting weights can be intense, which leads to short bursts of hard activity. This process alone is considered a high-intensity workout. But, lifting weights regularly will help you to build lean muscle mass, which burns far more calories than fat. This means that the more muscle you build by lifting weights, the more you will burn fat once you are away from the gym. You should focus on lifting weights at least twice per week, hitting the major muscle groups (legs, back and chest).

Find Time to Move

Think outside the gym and find time to move during the day. While you will burn the most amount of calories during a good workout, most people can still find a few times throughout the rest of the day to bump up their activity. Ideally, you should find a way to go for a quick 5-minute walk or do another task, getting your heart rate up every hour. While these mini workouts may seem small, they really add up by the end of the day!

Stay Hydrated

One of the most important tips is to stay hydrated, both during your workout and afterward. All adults should try to get at least 64 ounces of water on a daily basis. This can help to prevent short-term dehydration, which has been shown to slow your metabolism. Furthermore, drinking water can help prevent you from feeling hungry, which can help you avoid snacking during the day.

Nail Your Nutrition

It’s also important that you follow a healthy diet. Focus on eating plenty of whole grains, proteins, and fruits and vegetables. This will give your body plenty of fiber, which will keep you feeling full and energized. Furthermore, avoid eating added sugar and processed carbs, particularly during the first hour after you have completed a workout.

What’s your favorite way to burn … and burn … and burn? Brent Frayser



Source link

Workout I Did: Murph

My cheatsheet … I’m an athlete not a math-lete. This year, for the first time, I joined my CrossFit community at CrossFit Become in completing Murph. If you’re not familiar, “Murph” is one of CrossFit’s hero WODs — intentionally challenging workouts each named for fallen soldiers to honor their sacrifice in defense of our freedom. Murph is performed by […]


My cheatsheet … I’m an athlete not a math-lete.

This year, for the first time, I joined my CrossFit community at CrossFit Become in completing Murph.

If you’re not familiar, “Murph” is one of CrossFit’s hero WODs — intentionally challenging workouts each named for fallen soldiers to honor their sacrifice in defense of our freedom. Murph is performed by CrossFitters around the world on Memorial Day weekend.

“Murph” the Soldier

This WOD is named for Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy who was killed in action at age 29 on June 28th, 2005, in Afghanistan during a reconnaissance mission. Lt. Murphy was later posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous and selfless acts which ultimately led to the recovery of the one surviving member of his SEAL team and the remains of those who were lost on that day. The story of his team is portrayed in the movie “Lone Survivor”.

“Murph” the WOD

As I mentioned earlier, hero WODs are intentionally very tough and as you can tell from the write-up above, this one’s no different. This type of workout is known as a “chipper” in CrossFit — meaning that the reps are high and you “chip” away at it. It’s all about patience, determination and grinding it out.

There are many ways to attack this WOD. Many athletes do the three bodyweight movements in mini-sets, specifically 20 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats (the rep scheme of the benchmark WOD “Cindy”).

I opted to attack each set in sequence rather than breaking it up into mini-sets. I rationalized that decision like this: I expected the pull-ups to be the hardest for me, followed by the push-ups, but I wasn’t worried at all about the squats. So it made logical sense to me at the time to knock out the most problematic movements first so that the WOD got easier for me as I got more and more fatigued. But, that’s not really the way it played out.

First and foremost, I didn’t wear the weighted vest — chuck that in the “Goals for Next Year” bucket. My first mile was pretty quick, then I took a couple of breaths before diving right into the pull-ups. I made it through the first 65 and then realized I needed to change up my game plan.

At that point, I was only able to bang out a few at a time and the time it took to recover enough to get a few more reps was killing me — especially since I had a one-hour time cap because I was coaching the second heat of Murph. My new plan was to stick with the pull-ups until just before muscle failure, then bang out a few push-ups just to keep the count going so I wasn’t killing so much time just standing around.

Before I knew it, the part I dreaded the most was over and I was on to the push-ups — which ended up being the real killer. Now, I’m pretty strong with push-ups so I really wasn’t expecting it to suck as bad as it did — but it turns out, 200 push-ups is a lot of work.

I was pretty solid until around my 90th push-up, then the breaks I needed to take to gather arm strength got longer and I was regretting not breaking it up into small sets and trying to plow through them in sequence. It was a very long, slow march to 200 as I sprinkled a few sets of squats in there to keep the rep count rolling. Words cannot express how happy I was to be done with the push-ups.

From there, it was fast and furious plowing through the squats, and I was out the door for the final mile. I returned exhausted but feeling really accomplished with a time just under 55 minutes.

Would I do this WOD again? Absolutely (albeit with a very different strategy). As with all chipper workouts, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the shear number of reps still remaining. But every rep is another step closer to completion. You’ve just gotta stay focused and keep moving. In that way, it’s a lot like life.

And the fact that this WOD honors Lt. Murphy and all the brave service members who selflessly defend our freedom and safety made the work so totally worth it. I consider it a privilege to honor them in this way and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Ever completed Murph? —Alison 



Source link

How a Professional Snowboarder Strengthens Her Core

Professional snowboarder Spencer O’Brien is a six-time X Games medalist, Olympian, FIS World Champion, TTR World Champion, Winter Dew Tour Champion and five-year veteran of the Canadian National Team. Whoa, that’s quite the resume, right?! But get this. She first learned to snowboard at age 11, and then turned pro just five years later at […]


Professional snowboarder Spencer O’Brien is a six-time X Games medalist, Olympian, FIS World Champion, TTR World Champion, Winter Dew Tour Champion and five-year veteran of the Canadian National Team.

Whoa, that’s quite the resume, right?!

But get this. She first learned to snowboard at age 11, and then turned pro just five years later at the age of 16. Her career hasn’t been without hardship though. In 2013, O’Brien was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis — just two months before the Sochi Winter Olympics. While dealing with pain and overcoming obstacles to identify the right course of treatment, O’Brien has kept kicking butt in the sport of snowboarding.

And today, we have the workout that helps to keep her core strong and her snowboarding tricks ON POINT.

Spencer O’Brien’s Core Workout

  1. Diagonal plank matrix, 3 x 12: Start in forearm plank position,. Reach out with your left hand, then your right, keeping your torso square. Then push up to full plank and do two mountain climbers. That’s one rep!
  2. Plank arcs, 3 x 6: Spencer’s tip: “Keep your torso square and your bum down.”
  3. Stability ball V-ups, 3 x 12. If you don’t have a ball, you can do these on the floor.
  4. TRX diagonal mountain climbers, 3 x 10: Make sure to do 10 on each side!

Spencer’s Core Workout Video

Kick-ass, right?! Right now Spencer is training to represent Canada at the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Games Olympics in 2018 in the Snowboard Slopestyle and Big Air disciplines. We wish her so much luck! —Jenn



Source link

Keep Your Back Healthy With These 5 Exercises

Since last fall, I’ve been going great guns on my daily yoga practice. One month turned into three and then nine. On top of that I walk my dog every day; 3.5 miles is the norm. This routine seems to meet all of my physical and mental needs. I think I look pretty good and […]


Since last fall, I’ve been going great guns on my daily yoga practice. One month turned into three and then nine. On top of that I walk my dog every day; 3.5 miles is the norm. This routine seems to meet all of my physical and mental needs. I think I look pretty good and more importantly I feel good.

That was until I threw my back out, and no, it did not happen in yoga. I was bending over to pick up a stick; a freakin’ stick!

The doctor said I had overextended my sacroiliac joint due to an anatomical imbalance in my posterior chain. The sacroiliac joint, or SIJ, is the part that connects your sacrum to the pelvis. (You have two, one on each side of your spine. Put your hands on your low back and stretch to find it.) In laymen’s terms, he was nicely saying that while my core strength and flexibility were excellent (thank you, yoga), my backside could use some work.

Ouch.

5 Muscle-Strengthening Exercises for the SIJ

Balance, as always, is key. The SIJ is a finicky little bugger; it needs to move, but just a little. To hit that Goldilocks zone you need to have strong glutes and hams, good core stability and muscle flexibility, plus hip mobility. In other words, you’ve gotta have it all!

The following exercises are recommended to keep the SIJ stable and in good working condition:

1. Bear Crawls. Reciprocal or alternating movements (like the bear crawl) guarantee that both sides of the body put in the same effort.

2. Glute Bridge with March. If you sit all day, your whole body will love this hip-stabilizing exercise.

3. The Plank. On your elbows or with straight arms, do all the planks to strengthen your entire core.

4. Dead BugThis exercise works on coordination, strengthens the core and corrects muscle imbalance.

5. Squats/Split Squats. Our glutes are the strongest muscles in the body; they surround the SIJ and keep it and the pelvis stable.

As we age, we lose muscle mass and function; it starts in our thirties. Even if you work out every day, you’ll still lose some! It sucks, but it’s a fact of life. It’s estimated that 25 percent of all low-back pain is caused by the SIJ. Work these exercise into your regular routine to keep your back strong and pain-free.

Is your workout routine balanced? Since my injury, I have continued with my daily yoga (the benefits are too great to stop), but have added two days of strength training to my routine and have been pain-free ever since. —Karen



Source link

20-Minute At-Home Body-Weight Workout

Got a busy job? A busy life? Haven’t found a gym you love? Dude, home workouts can be AWESOME. You can do them when you want, in whatever you want (PJs … undies … shoes or no shoes … anything!) with no drive time to factor in. AND, with this 20-minute workout from Quill, you don’t […]


Got a busy job? A busy life? Haven’t found a gym you love?

Dude, home workouts can be AWESOME. You can do them when you want, in whatever you want (PJs … undies … shoes or no shoes … anything!) with no drive time to factor in. AND, with this 20-minute workout from Quill, you don’t even need equipment — just your body!

Great for beginners or intermediate exercisers, it’s a fantastic series of moves that will target all the major muscle groups of the body while also getting your heart rate up. For an extra cardio boost, we recommend repeating the jumping jacks between every move and resting as little as possible during the full workout. Try it!

What’s your favorite body weight move? I love me some push-ups. Always a challenge! —Jenn



Source link

Our Fave Tracy Campoli Arm Workout

Looking for an arm workout that you can do at home with some light dumbbells in about 15 minutes — something that won’t get you too sweaty but has you feeling the burn? This Best of Arms Workout from Tracy Campoli is the ticket, yo. You’ll work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back … the whole […]


Looking for an arm workout that you can do at home with some light dumbbells in about 15 minutes — something that won’t get you too sweaty but has you feeling the burn?

This Best of Arms Workout from Tracy Campoli is the ticket, yo.

You’ll work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back … the whole arm situation. And while there are some moves in here you know and love (hi there, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks), there are other ones you probably don’t normally do, like Raise the Roof!

So what are you waiting for? Lift it and flex it, girl!

While we also love lifting heavy, it’s crazy how just light dumbbells can have you really, really, burning, right? Gets me every time. Also, if you love Tracy Campoli, be sure to check this workout she did just for FBG—Jenn



Source link

The 9-9-9 Workout

They say it’s your birthday … via GIPHY Number 9 … Number 9 … via GIPHY Beatles fans, get the hints? In case you missed it, we’re celebrating our nine-year birthday this week! (You can see all the special posts here including — yes! — AWESOME giveaways.) And, of course, we’re going to celebrate with […]


They say it’s your birthday

via GIPHY

Number 9 … Number 9

via GIPHY

Beatles fans, get the hints? In case you missed it, we’re celebrating our nine-year birthday this week! (You can see all the special posts here including — yes! — AWESOME giveaways.) And, of course, we’re going to celebrate with you in the best way we know how: a killer workout. A workout that’s all based on the number — you guessed it — 9.

Here’s the basic idea: 9 moves. 9 reps. 9 rounds. Whether you’re an exercise newbie or been working out like a beast for years, you can do this workout and take it as fast or as slow as you need to (and, of course, modifying as necessary, too — taking high-impact moves to low-impact, push-ups from the knees, walking instead of jumping back for the burpees, etc.). It’s full-body and bodyweight only, so it’s a great one to do at home, when traveling, at the park — wherever!

Be sure to warm up with five minutes or so of marching or jogging in place and cool down with some stretching and more walking once you’re done.


The 9-9-9 Workout

9 moves, 9 reps, 9 rounds

  1. Jacks
  2. Squats
  3. Mountain Climbers
  4. Lunges
  5. Burpees
  6. Sit-Ups
  7. Push-Ups
  8. Plyo Jumps
  9. High Knees

How fast did you do it? And when are you going to do it again to try to beat your time? —Jenn



Source link

Essential Strength Training for Runners

Most runners avoid the weight room like the plague. As a coach and runner, I’ve heard (and given) all the excuses. Look, I get it. With all that running it’s tough to find the time to squeeze non-running workouts into the schedule. And besides, to get strong at running all you need to do is run, […]


Most runners avoid the weight room like the plague. As a coach and runner, I’ve heard (and given) all the excuses. Look, I get it. With all that running it’s tough to find the time to squeeze non-running workouts into the schedule. And besides, to get strong at running all you need to do is run, right? Well … no.

So let’s talk about why you, my fellow runner, should be lifting.

Why Strength Training?

In order to run healthy and strong, you must have a well-balanced and efficient gait. In other words, your gluteus maximus, hip flexors, quadriceps and hamstrings must all do their job well and not be forced to do the job of any other muscles.

In addition to building you a better gait, strength training can help build all the helper muscle groups that keep you running tall, breathing well, and feeling powerful. Your core and gluteus medius have the job of stabilizing your hips, keeping them from shifting side-to-side, which is terrible for your joints, wears you out faster, and can lead to increased post-run muscle soreness. Also, strong arms and shoulders are necessary for a powerful arm swing that will propel you forward and balance out the movement of your legs.

Obviously, if you wanna run strong, you’ve gotta strength train each of these key running muscles so they are strong enough to keep you going. But if you wanna run healthy, you’ve gotta strength train to ensure that each muscle is strong enough to do its own job so that other muscles don’t have to pick up the slack. For example, if your glutes are weak, other muscles may try to do more than they are capable of and ultimately become strained from overload.

When it comes to injuries, the problem isn’t always the sport either. Sure, running is a repetitive motion using the same muscles to perform the same tasks over and over and over, but it’s often our lifestyles that cause the real problems. If you spend an hour a day running and 7 hours sitting in a chair at your desk, odds are your body will adapt more to the sitting than the running. Over time, the muscles and tissues of your body start to weaken and tighten around the shape of how you sit. This creates serious muscular imbalances, which can leave you prone to overuse and injury.

But don’t worry, there’s still hope. This is where a solid, sport-specific strength training plan comes in. It restores balance to your running muscles so you can keep running strong.

8 Essential Moves for Runners

1. Deadlifts. Do it for your booty and hammies, ‘nuf said.

2. Single-Leg Squats. In running, you only ever have one leg on the ground at a time so you might as well squat that way. Squat to a box or do pistols (unassisted or TRX-assisted).

3. Bulgarian Split Squats. Sorta like the staple lunge only better because the weight in the legs is offset. Put your back leg on a bench or in a TRX for bonus stability points.

4. Clam Shells. Trust me, your knees and IT band will thank you.

5. Renegade Rows. Builds upper body strength to help power up those hills and increases your core’s ability to resist rotation, which keeps your back and hips happy.

6. Pull-ups. I know, it seems mean but seriously nothing makes your posture better.

7. Plank. Because your core can never be too stable, and if you’ve already mastered the regular plank, try these and keep your core guessing.

8. Side Plank. Obliques and outer hip support for days. If it’s too easy, try lifting a leg or do them with your forearm on a Bosu or other unstable surface.

I recommend 2-3 strength workouts per week for runners, depending on where you are in your training schedule. To make it more schedule-friendly, you can break it into two separate workouts by doing the odd-numbered moves and even-numbered moves on non-consecutive days as two separate workouts.

Aim for 3 sets of each. As far as number of reps, I suggest mixing it up every 2-3 weeks, alternating between a few weeks of heavier weight/lower reps (using a weight that is challenging to do for 5-8 reps) and a few weeks of lower weight/higher reps (using a weight that is challenging to do for 10-15 reps). It’s a great way to keep your body challenged and break up the monotony.

Ready to hit the gym? —Alison 



Source link

The Workout That Keeps One of Canada’s Most Powerful Women Strong

You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy! But, how does one of Canada’s most powerful women — Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition, and a champion of women and girls on the international stage — fit in time to work out, five to seven days a week? Well, it’s not easy. But it is fun. We’ve […]


You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy! But, how does one of Canada’s most powerful women — Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition, and a champion of women and girls on the international stage — fit in time to work out, five to seven days a week?

Well, it’s not easy.

But it is fun.

We’ve been following Rona on Snapchat (@Rona.Ambrose) and she’s kind of awesome. Okay, really awesome. I mean, look at some of these Snaps!

And not only is she living proof that all it takes is a commitment, planning and a good attitude to make time for workouts, but also her reason for doing so is enormously inspiring and resonates deeply with us:

“Representing and standing up for Canadian women and families every day is a passion of mine. And just like them, I work hard to find balance in my life,” Rona tells us in an email. “Working out is such an important part of keeping my life somewhat ‘normal.’ Even though my job is 24/7, I love it!”

And, guys, we have her workout!

Rona Ambrose’s Workout

A few notes before you begin! Rona uses 12- and 15-pound free weights for this workout, and the butt challenge is straight out of Cosmo magazine (you know how we feel about a good butt challenge!). In between days of doing this workout, Rona says she loves to going skiing, hiking and snowshoeing. (Man, we need to visit Canada more often!)

Warm up: 10-20 mins running on treadmill to warm up

Full-body move: 15 reps of dumbbell clean and press

Cosmo’s Butt Challenge:

  • 15 reps x 3 sets: squats
  • 15 reps x 3 sets: lunges on each side
  • 15 reps x 3 sets: donkey kicks
  • 15 reps x 3 sets: dead lifts with free weights
  • 15 reps x 3 sets: glute bridge

Ab work:

  • The hundred
  • Leg raises
  • Bicycle kicks
  • Scissors

Bonus: 20 reps of bicep curls with dumbbells

I mean, if she can fit it in, we all can, right? Right!Jenn



Source link

Getting Swole: What Makes Muscles Grow?

Have you heard? Muscles are totally in right now! And it’s a trend that I’m absolutely loving. More and more women are getting serious about strength training and I couldn’t be happier about it. We should all be paying far more attention to our muscles. Each of us is made up of about 650 muscles […]


Have you heard? Muscles are totally in right now! And it’s a trend that I’m absolutely loving. More and more women are getting serious about strength training and I couldn’t be happier about it. We should all be paying far more attention to our muscles.

Each of us is made up of about 650 muscles — pause to let that sink in — that’s 650 individual muscles all designed to serve a unique function to allow us to move, stand, eat, talk and breathe. All day long they do their respective jobs and you don’t really have to think much about it, but it’s amazing when you do think about it. We really are magnificent creatures.

Our bodies are also incredibly adaptive. They learn to deal with stress using the least amount of energy possible. In other words, your body becomes remarkably efficient at dealing with your routine. At this very moment in time, you’ve got exactly the right amount of muscle tissue to deal with your everyday life. So if you want to create change, you’ve gotta shake things up.

Wondering how to pack on more muscle? Pull up a chair.

The Science in Plain English

If you want your muscles to grow, you’ve gotta give them a reason, meaning that you need to apply stress to your muscles that is  greater than what they’re used to dealing with — either by adding more weight, moving through a bigger range of motion, doing different exercises, taking less rest breaks or adding more reps. Every time you apply a new or bigger stress to your muscles, they’re forced to respond and adapt.

When a muscle is stressed beyond its current capability, the individual fibers that make up the muscle are damaged. This triggers an inflammation response and your immune system activates special cells in the muscle called satellite cells, which move into the damaged area, multiply and then fuse themselves to the damaged fibers. These newly repaired fibers are stronger and more resilient than the old ones — think of it as your muscle’s insurance policy to avoid future damage just in case you ever decide to stress it out like that again.

These new thicker fibers are what makes the muscle grow is size. The greater the stress, the greater the damage and the greater the potential for muscular growth. Notice I said “potential” for growth.

This system is awesome assuming that you help the repair process along and allow it to complete before you damage those fibers again. Your ability to grow bigger and stronger muscles is very much dependent on your ability to recover and regenerate the damaged muscle tissue.

Regeneration and repair only happen when you rest and consume the building blocks (carbs and amino acids from protein) needed by your body to fuel the satellite cells and grow new muscle tissue.

The repair process peaks around 24-36 hours after the damage was caused and may continue for as long as 72 hours after — this is why post-workout muscle soreness can take a day or two to show up.

The Bottom Line

In order to accomplish muscle growth, the rate of tissue repair must be greater than the rate of tissue damage. So it’s not all about the workout — in fact, if you’re working out hard, you need to be recovering even harder. Muscles don’t actually grow during your workout — they’re only damaged. Muscle growth only occurs when the muscle is repaired.

Without proper rest and the necessary nutritional building blocks, your muscles will break down and you’ll lose muscle despite your best efforts in the gym. Skeletal muscles are the most adaptive and resilient tissues in your body but they need your help.

Keep in mind that too much stress or insufficient repair will likely lead to injury — and nothing kills goals faster than injuries. So push yourself but be smart about it and follow a progressive overload program where the stress is gradually increased over time with adequate rest and nutrition for muscular adaptation and growth.

Who’s ready for some post-workout jerky and a nap? —Alison



Source link

5 Strength Exercises Tall Women Need to Do

Meet 5-foot-11-inch tall Lauren, PR coordinator at tall women’s wear retailer Long Tall Sally. Today she’s talking about tall-specific workouts (yes, it’s a thing!) and a game-changer in activewear for taller women. I don’t function properly if I don’t work out. On a good week, I’ll head to the gym four times. I love the […]


Meet 5-foot-11-inch tall Lauren, PR coordinator at tall women’s wear retailer Long Tall Sally. Today she’s talking about tall-specific workouts (yes, it’s a thing!) and a game-changer in activewear for taller women.

I don’t function properly if I don’t work out. On a good week, I’ll head to the gym four times. I love the discipline of classes: HIIT for calorie burning or Pilates for de-stressing after work. Fitness for me isn’t a goal; it’s a lifestyle.

Growing up tall, I had a tendency to hunch. (It’s kind of tough in school being one of the “tall ones at the back.”) Now, age 24, I still struggle with shoulder tightness and weak knees — two classic tall girl pressure points. Turns out I’m among the 63 percent of tall women who slouch and the 55 percent who have knee pain.  And, it turns out that there are exercises and fitness tips specific to tall women — who would have thought?!

Here are five exercises designed to help target these tall girl “hotspots” — and ones that I wish I’ve been doing all along! Never too late to start, right?

5 Exercises Tall Women Need to Do

1. Standing Rear Fly. Super easy to do at home with simply a resistance band, this helps those of us (like me) who sit all day long at a desk, opening up the front of the body and strengthening the back.

2. Standing Back Extension. Hinge back at your bra strap with your palms facing outward, giving a great stretch to the back and shoulders and improving your posture and back health. I’ve started doing this one while waiting for the bus, at home and even at the office. It feels great!

3. Chest Hug. Not quite as easy to do on the run, but it still requires no equipment! Simply lie down and hug your knees into your chest to stretch out the entire length of your spine. This is extra important for tall women, as most experience lower back pain.

4. Bridge. Lots of women know this from gym classes and yoga, and it’s a great fit for tall women to open up quads, hip flexors and the chest.

5. Squats. This wins the “all around award” as squats target every muscle group, including your core, and are great for long legs!

There’s more tall-specific fitness advice over at Long Tall Sally’s new #TALLERANDSTRONGER campaign, including workout videos, tall “gym hacks” and clean eating tips. Plus, check out MPG x LTS, the new line of tall fit performance wear. Designed in collaboration with activewear experts MPG Sport and tall-fit perfectionists, Long Tall Sally, this collab offers longer rise leggings and true-fit tops that have changed my life. No more mid-workout tugs or thong flashes from this lady. Game changer!

lauren-760

As most tall women know, it can be tricky finding gym gear that truly fits. My top piece of advice for anyone over 5’8” or with a longer torso: please try a tall fit sports bra. I haven’t looked back since I made the leap, as the longer line means it won’t ride up!

And, for Fit Bottomed Girls’ tall readers, enjoy an exclusive 15 percent off all activewear at longtallsally.com using this code at checkout: FGB15. Offer valid until March 31, 2017.

Where my tall ladies at? —Lauren



Source link

8 Booty Exercises To Build, Shape and Lift That Butt

There is a lot to be gained from daily exercise that goes well beyond a good physique. For starters, there’s your health, physical and mental. Lose either one of those and it won’t matter how good your butt looks in your jeans. Commitment to a fitness program also builds self-confidence and promotes creativity. It can […]


There is a lot to be gained from daily exercise that goes well beyond a good physique. For starters, there’s your health, physical and mental. Lose either one of those and it won’t matter how good your butt looks in your jeans. Commitment to a fitness program also builds self-confidence and promotes creativity. It can improve your sex life, your quality of sleep, your memory, and, well hell, it can be just plain ol’ fun.

But sometimes, I’ll admit, it is all about that bass.

If your backside could use a little work, (and whose couldn’t?) take your pick of the following booty-targeted exercises from a variety of types of workouts and build, shape or lift to your heart’s content.

Weight Training

If you want to add size to your butt, you’ve got to go heavy.

The Squat: Hands down the best exercise to build mass. Train smart and slowly work your way up in weight. Do full squats (parallel or lower) and use a wide stance to activate more muscle fibers.

The Hip Thrust: The hip thrust seriously activates the glutes, stretches the hip flexors and corrects muscle imbalance at the same time. If you are unfamiliar with the hip thrust, start with a glute bridge and work your way up.

CrossFit

Crank up the intensity and burn fat while you build muscle with these functional moves.

The Walking Lunge: This unilateral move requires balance. Drive through the front foot and only use the back foot for support. Hold a weighted ball overhead for more challenge.

Burpees: You hate ‘em, but your butt (and your whole body) loves ‘em. Make it harder by doing a tuck jump at the end.

Classic Barre

If you are looking to shape your booty, Barre exercises will give you a high round butt.

The Foldover: This exercise emphasizes correct posture and alignment to successfully isolate the glutes. The leg variations (turned out thigh, pointed toe) work the entire hip. Bonus: the standing leg is building bone density and working also!

The Pretzel: The small controlled lifts of this deceptively easy looking exercise target the gluteus medius like nothing you’ve felt before. When you do it right (don’t worry, you’ll know it), you’ll see immediate results.

Yoga

Get a butt that defies gravity with this ancient practice.

Chair Pose: Utkatasana firms the butt, strengthens the ankles and tones the core simultaneously. To make it more difficult lift up on the balls of your feet as you sit your butt down on your raised heels.

Warrior Three. Virabhadrasana III strengthens and lengthens the entire backside of the body while it improves balance and focus. Let the lift of the back leg guide your torso to perpendicular (instead of vice versa) and hold for five breaths.

There is ample opportunity to work your booty throughout the day: squeeze your cheeks while you brush your teeth, take the stairs and walk more often. Keep in mind that genetics and the width of your hips play a part in the shape of your butt so don’t get too caught up in the way it looks. Remember, you’re already perfect the way you are.

What’s your favorite booty-shaping exercise?  —Karen



Source link

Surprising Lessons from the Weight Room

I recently wrote about my experience hitting the heavy weights at the gym. How I got fed up with feeling intimidated and outnumbered over there and vowed to get comfortable with the heavy stuff. If you’re looking to do the same this year, may I also recommend my accompanying post with tips on how to […]


I recently wrote about my experience hitting the heavy weights at the gym. How I got fed up with feeling intimidated and outnumbered over there and vowed to get comfortable with the heavy stuff. If you’re looking to do the same this year, may I also recommend my accompanying post with tips on how to feel much more comfortable among the big dudes and big barbells.

Like I said in those posts, I’ve done pretty much everything in my fitness life. From yoga and Pilates to a Tough Mudder and a half marathon, I’ve dabbled in everything. I’m a dabbler. But I’ve never taken weights too seriously when I wasn’t working with my own personal trainer. That’s why I wanted a concrete workout program that I could use to help me get over my lifting anxiety, so I turned to a book we’ve reviewed before: The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I’m over a month in to the program, and I can even more wholeheartedly recommend it to the person who wants to step off the treadmill to make the most of his or her gym membership (yep, I think even the dudes can benefit from the book).

One of the first surprises for me was how quickly my strength progressed — and how I had not been pushing myself by not picking up the heavier dumbbells. Because my focus had been on running over the recent months, I hadn’t been lifting anything other than my 2-year-old. I progressed quickly from 7.5-pound weights for dumbbell shoulder presses to 17.5 pounds — a weight I don’t think I’d ever picked up before for that particular exercise. I was also a bit surprised at one of my weaknesses — grip strength! Using heavier weight for exercises like step-ups does more than just tax your lower body; it taxes your grip too. Sometimes my forearms would be crying uncle well before my glutes were.

The book emphasizes following it by the book (har har), so if you’re tempted to add moves to make your workout more difficult, resist that urge. Likewise, they say that if you want to skip the rest periods to speed up your workout, go for it, but they let you know that you’re deviating from the written workout. I heeded their recommendation and do my 60 seconds of rest between exercises, which feels really, really odd to me. Standing around waiting for the next move instead of rushing on isn’t something I’m used to. And okay, I may not give it the full 60 seconds each time, but I give it a good 30- to 45-second college try for the times I don’t do the whole minute of rest.

Another thing I love is the online following this book has. There are numerous forums that pop up when you have questions about any of it, so there is almost always someone who has asked the same question you’re wondering about the program (see grip strength above). In a way I feel like I’ve found a bit of a workout home in the book, and there are a great many sequels that will give me a place to go when I’m ready to move on.

Now I’ll just have to figure out how to scale back the lifting when I have to scale up my running for my next half marathon. Always something to figure out… —Erin



Source link