Menu

Category: Strength

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

I Tracked My Workouts With My Cycle for a Month, Here’s What Happened

You know how sometimes you do a workout and it feels great? Like, you are freakin’ Wonder Woman and totally unstoppable? via GIPHY And then other days — despite eating well, sleeping enough, not overtraining and keeping your stress levels down — your legs just feel like lead or you just have no energy? via […]


You know how sometimes you do a workout and it feels great? Like, you are freakin’ Wonder Woman and totally unstoppable?

via GIPHY

And then other days — despite eating well, sleeping enough, not overtraining and keeping your stress levels down — your legs just feel like lead or you just have no energy?

via GIPHY

Well, I decided to do a little sleuthing on my own. To see if — after reading this interesting article on Women’s Health — my hormones and my cycle played a role.

via GIPHY

Because that bad-workout-for-no-reason thing is not fun. And if there’s a hormonal reason, well, I’d like to get to the bottom of it so that I can work with my body instead of against it. Here’s what I found …

(And let us all remember that “normal” cycles can vary in length, so this was just my experience with my body — and just one month. I’m not a scientist. I just pretend to act like one on the internet.)

Week One

The science: Estrogen and progesterone are low and you’re on your period. But, despite the cramps, you’ve got a higher pain tolerance and your muscles recover more quickly.

My workouts: Over that first week I did a mix of workouts — a few hour-long Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) classes, a short but super hard HIIT session and a 90-minute OTF. Overall, I felt really great in the workouts — particularly early in the week. In the 60-minute OTF classes I had the energy and drive to go hard and the HIIT workout was tough but it felt good to push hard. The 90-minute OTF class though? I bonked hard at the half-way point and didn’t recover until almost the end of the class.

Conclusion: You really should work out when you’re on your period. Even if you don’t want to, it’ll most likely feel pretty good.

Week Two

The science: Testosterone levels are up and it’s easier to build muscle, so weight training is a good choice.

My experience: This week I did a CrossFit workout of push-ups and pull-ups mostly, plus a few OTF classes. And you know what? I crushed the CrossFit WOD and felt so solid and great. The OTF classes though? Although I generally felt good on the rower and when using dumbbells and the TRX, I had heavy tired legs when running. In fact, I’d never been more excited to get off the treadie in my life.

Conclusion: Yup, the science holds for me in week two. (Off to make a note to lift heavier this week of my cycle … )

Week Three

The science: It’s ovulation time! And, therefore, estrogen peaks, which can help your body to use fat for workouts. This make steady state cardio workouts ideal.

My experience: Let me first say that I generally ovulate a bit later than day 14, so take that into consideration, but I generally felt pretty “normal” this week. I did some Tabata early in the week and it felt good but not great (which makes some sense since Tabata is pretty much the opposite of steady state cardio), and my OTF classes (including both a 60- and 90-minute class) felt very doable but not fantastic.

Conclusion: For me, I wouldn’t say this week either lived up to the expectation or contradicted it. So, more study needed.

Week Four

The science: We all know this one well. It’s PMS time, baby. Progesterone drops and you feel like a crazy person. Although there’s no scientific reason not to work out, basically, you’d rather crawl up and watch TV.

My experience: Like the other weeks, I did a mix of CrossFit workouts and OTF plus some walking (I always enjoy walking when I’m PMSing). I did take an extra day off this week because I just didn’t feel like it but the workouts I did make it to felt okay. Like, I wasn’t super pumped but I was glad I did them. I found the short and mildly intense ones to feel best — not too tough and not too long.

Conclusion: Science has it right. PMS sucks and totally messes with your motivation.

Overall Thoughts

I’m already pretty aware of my cycle for fertility reasons, but this was pretty eye-opening when it came to my workouts. I’d never linked them before. And now, the next time I do a workout and wonder: why did that rock so much or suck so bad? I’m going to check where I am in my cycle. AND, depending on what my workout goals are, I’m going to hone in on my timing a bit more. Because you know what? Science is cool. Way cool.

Anyone else ever do this? Or will you try tracking your cycle and workouts together, too, to see if there’s any rhyme or reason for you? I plan to do it another month or two … especially to figure out week three! —Jenn



Source link

5 Ways to Sneak in a Quick Workout Over Lunch

I get it. You’re busy. You work full time, the house needs cleaning, grocery shopping needs to be done, etc. Where on earth do you find time for you? All you really need is 30 minutes a day. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re living in fast-forward like almost all of us […]


I get it. You’re busy. You work full time, the house needs cleaning, grocery shopping needs to be done, etc. Where on earth do you find time for you? All you really need is 30 minutes a day. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re living in fast-forward like almost all of us are, 30 minutes is almost impossible to spare.

Most employers allow a 30- to 60-minute lunch break. For those on the shorter end, I realize it’s a tight squeeze, but honesty 20 minutes is better than nothing. Here are some tips on how to sneak in a quick workout over lunch.

5 Ways to Sneak in a Quick Workout Over Lunch

1. Take the stairs. Almost every building has a stairwell. Toss on your sneakers, put in your headphones and get climbing! Before you know it, you’ve checked off your workout for the day.

2. Go for a walk or run. Everyone needs a little fresh air and some vitamin D. So get up, get out and get lost for a bit! If the weather creates an obstacle, find an inside loop to tackle. Some wellness programs even have facility walking maps available.

3. Lift. Keep a pair of hand weights in your desk and hit the nearest conference room for a strength training session. You can cover every muscle group by focusing on different movements. If the hand weights are too much, use your own bodyweight. It’s just as effective.

4. Do some yoga poses. Calling all yogis! Keep an extra mat in the office, hit that conference room and get your Namaste on. Invite others to join. Working out as a group helps keep you consistent and on track.

5. Try your employee gym or fitness classes. Some wellness programs are upping their game by offering employee gyms or fitness classes. If you’re lucky enough to have this opportunity, take every advantage.

And When Your Lunch Workout Is Done …

If you followed these tips then, CONGRATS! You snuck in a quick workout over lunch but actually need to go back to work now. How do you avoid not smelling like B.O. the rest of the day, especially if your employer doesn’t have a locker room? No problem! You care enough to work out, so you’re kind of a badass anyway, which means you don’t mind roughing it a bit. Wash your face (touch up that makeup if needed), lotion, spritz off with your fave body spray, reapply deodorant, toss on some fresh clothes and you’re off.

Oh, but you still need to eat? No problem for you with your on-the-go busy lifestyle. Pack a smart lunch and enjoy it at your desk or during your next meeting. This is life and neither is perceived as out of the ordinary (other than the fact that you’re a ROCKSTAR for kicking your to-do list in the butt!).

NO EXCUSES. Conquer today and every day! —Nichole



Source link

How Our Own Breakthroughs Are Going …

You guys remember this post? via GIPHY The one where we shared the different areas of your life that you can have a breakthrough in — and how the gym can actually help you get there? via GIPHY Well, we’re back today with a personal update on how our career breakthrough is going by getting […]


You guys remember this post?

via GIPHY

The one where we shared the different areas of your life that you can have a breakthrough in — and how the gym can actually help you get there?

via GIPHY

Well, we’re back today with a personal update on how our career breakthrough is going by getting Zen Barre certified (they offered us the chance to do it and we jumped at it!). Because, yep, we practice what we preach!

via GIPHY

Jenn’s Update & Workout Realization

So, I’ve been doing similar-type workouts for a long time now. Pretty much HIIT, running and CrossFit-style workouts. And they’ve done amazing things for my body, my fitness, my confidence and even my flexibility. But you know what I’ve been noticing now that I’ve been going through the online Zen Barre certification process and doing more barre workouts?

ALL THOSE TINY MUSCLES.

via GIPHY

Even though I’ve been regularly pushing myself at the gym, by actually slowing things down and really focusing in on some of those smaller supporting muscles I feel like I’ve taken things to another level — another more mindful and more aligned level. Because the one thing you can’t do in Zen Barre? Zone out or push through. It’s all about intention, control and that mind-body connection.

via GIPHY

I’m about halfway through the certification process and I can’t wait to see what else is to come. Talk about exciting!

Kristen’s Update & New Focus

It’s no secret that I want to be Wonder Woman, and generally, when I’m doing a tough workout (running, lifting heavy weights, etc.), my thought process is basically that Wonder Woman wouldn’t quit, and neither will I.

via GIPHY

However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, all that Amazonian training has been off the table for, well, close to two months now due to an injury. But the idea of just … not doing something that challenges me? Unthinkable. So having the opportunity to really focus on barre— which leads to many shaky, sore muscles but without the larger movements that I can’t currently do — has been amazing.

via GIPHY

Seriously, it’s so, so welcome. The timing couldn’t have been better.

I’ve always had a decent knack for workouts that involve smaller, targeted movements and lots of core — like Pilates — and getting certified as a Zen Barre instructor was just the nudge I needed to get back into that kind of low-impact exercise. And you’ll notice I said “low-impact,” not “easy” — and that’s on purpose. Just because a movement is slight doesn’t mean it’s not effective, and my sore glutes (and abs, and quads) are proof.

I’ve been hitting my local barre studio, partly as preparation for my Zen Barre certification, but also because, guys, it’s way more fun than I’d remembered. It takes a little getting used to, because when you’re using light weights for loads of small movements, ev-er-y-thing about each move matters, and there’s definitely a learning curve involved. But I’m picking up on it quickly and find myself looking very much forward to both my in person classes and my Zen Barre instructor certification training.

via GIPHY

Speaking of the certification, let me add that I’m nearly finished with the classes and tests — just prepping for the final exam now! And it’s been really illuminating. Even though I’m doing the coursework from home, I have access to videos of sample classes, which is super helpful because Zen Barre has a very specific format incorporating elements of ballet, yoga and Pilates with strength work targeting upper and lower body, and there’s not a Zen Barre studio near me (yet, anyway). Basically, they make it possible to learn allll about it, even if you don’t have the opportunity to attend a Zen Barre class during your certification. As someone who’s traveled far for some in-person trainings … let me just say I’m a big fan.

And, guys, you didn’t miss our 10-minute Zen Barre workout here did you? No equipment needed! Oh, and if you want to join us and get Zen Barre certified, too, you can actually save 20 percent with the code “fitbottomedgirls” here! —Jenn & Kristen



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

2018 Workout: 18 Moves, 18 Reps

What’s the best way to celebrate a brand spankin’ new year? With a brand spankin’ new workout, we think! And because — yep, it’s 2018 — we’re doing 18 different moves and 18 reps of each. via GIPHY Yes, if you do the math that’s 324 total reps, but don’t let that scare you. It’s […]


What’s the best way to celebrate a brand spankin’ new year? With a brand spankin’ new workout, we think! And because — yep, it’s 2018 — we’re doing 18 different moves and 18 reps of each.

via GIPHY

Yes, if you do the math that’s 324 total reps, but don’t let that scare you. It’s a challenge, but totally doable.

via GIPHY

Plus, you need no equipment except a chair or stair for the tricep dips! Please modify, take breaks as necessary and always, always listen to your body.

via GIPHY

So grab your water, your inner motivation and some tunes (here are some workout playlist suggestions), and let’s do this! (For an added challenge, start a timer when you begin — you’ll find out why below!)

via GIPHY

How long did it take you do? Jot that number down and see if you can beat it next time! —Jenn



Source link

10-Minute Zen Barre Workout (No Equipment Needed!)

Have you guys heard of Zen Barre yet? We mentioned in this post how Kristen and I are getting certified in it, and today we’re sharing a bit more of what a Zen Barre workout is like with this 10-minute routine you can do at home! Instructor Kasey put this 10-minute Zen Barre workout together […]


Have you guys heard of Zen Barre yet? We mentioned in this post how Kristen and I are getting certified in it, and today we’re sharing a bit more of what a Zen Barre workout is like with this 10-minute routine you can do at home!

Instructor Kasey put this 10-minute Zen Barre workout together just for FBG readers to give you all a taste of what you can expect in a class. As you’ll see, it’s a hybrid class featuring the best of barre, yoga and Pilates. And, the best part is, for this one you don’t need any props or equipment — just yourself. Try it!

10-Minute Zen Barre Workout

Okay, what did you think? Did you feel the mindful burn like we did? Be sure to check out where you can take a full Zen Barre class live here. And, if you want to get certified like we are, be sure to use the code “fitbottomedgirls” for 20% vff! Jenn



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

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

4 Ways Yoga Helps Your Regular Workouts

Are you one of those people who doesn’t do yoga because you think it’s not a good workout? You believe that flowing through a sequence of postures simply cannot bring you the same benefit that comes from a heart-pounding cardio kettlebell and interval-training routine? Or maybe it’s the sitting still part of yoga that drives […]


Are you one of those people who doesn’t do yoga because you think it’s not a good workout? You believe that flowing through a sequence of postures simply cannot bring you the same benefit that comes from a heart-pounding cardio kettlebell and interval-training routine?

Or maybe it’s the sitting still part of yoga that drives you crazy. Those long holds which constantly kick up a sea of emotions while sending your to-do list into a swirl around your brain is not your thing.

And you probably already have a friend or two who raves on about the amazing yoga class she just came from as a preamble to her ongoing attempt to convert you to the practice. Which gets a little annoying.

Well, don’t worry! I’m not going to try and get you to become a yogi. I’m only going to explain how including yoga in your regular exercise routine —like an add-on — will not only enhance your workouts, it will also make you happier in your life.

4 Ways Yoga Helps Your Regular Workouts

1. Breathing. Enter a yoga class and there’s a good chance you’ll hear an instructor counting breaths out loud. In fact, this may even be the scope of her instruction. Why? Because breathing is the foundation of yoga. In order to truly advance through the practice, you must be connected to your breath. It enables you to use your muscles more efficiently while allowing your body to move more fluidly. And guess what? The breath will do its magic outside of a yoga class. So if you’re a runner, connecting the breath to your stride will provide an even steadiness that gives you more control.

2. Stretching. You probably already know that your body needs a good stretch post-workout. And the five minutes tacked onto the end of class is fine if you’re looking to reduce muscle soreness. But in order to prevent injury, you want your muscles to be in tip-top shape so they are flexible and receiving optimum blood flow. Yoga as a cross-training exercise will help you do this. On your rest day, consider adding in a series of poses to lengthen your muscles, which will help keep them from pulling and overuse. Also, in conjunction with the contraction that comes from activities such as weightlifting, the stretching from yoga will give you a better range of motion. Plus, being more flexible (especially as you age) feels good.

3. Stabilizing and balancing. While you don’t need to stand on your head for 10 minutes a day, working on your balance is important for both your workouts and your everyday life. The muscles engaged while balancing help stabilize the rest of your body to prevent overuse that can lead to injury. Yoga as a balance practice teaches you to ground into your center, engage your core and lengthen the spine. So if you are a cyclist or Spinner, yoga teaches you to work from this center which will improve your form, posture and core strength.

4. Mindfulness. No need to get all fancy on this term, mindfulness simply means being present — which is the equivalent to keeping your head in the game. And this is the whole purpose of yoga: to stay connected to your body and breath throughout the practice (and in the rest of your life!). The discomfort that this can cause — like unwanted emotions — can be a turn-off to many non-yoga people. But really, this is key to living a fuller and richer life. If you can keep your mind present while you’re working out, you will have better results that can help build endurance and strength along with preventing injury. While most people probably do not want to pay attention to the aching hip on a run, if you use this discomfort as a sign to slow down, or even stop running, you could be protecting yourself from a muscle tear. On the flip side, if you feel a burning sensation in your quads, and you stay with it, you’ll push past your limitations which will thrust you across the finish line in the race.

Are you convinced? How do you think yoga could enhance your regular workout? —Elysha



Source link

We’ve Curated the Ultimate Yoga Playlist

We’re a week into National Yoga Month and you know how we’ve been celebrating? Well, yes, with yoga. That much is obvious. via GIPHY But also with MUSIC! Music that is amazing for yoga. (And, yes, you should totally do yoga to tunes for all of these reasons.) via GIPHY We put our own noggins […]


We’re a week into National Yoga Month and you know how we’ve been celebrating?

Well, yes, with yoga. That much is obvious.

via GIPHY

But also with MUSIC! Music that is amazing for yoga. (And, yes, you should totally do yoga to tunes for all of these reasons.)

via GIPHY

We put our own noggins together here at FBG, plus we reached out to you guys on Twitter and Facebook, to create one heck of an epic yoga playlist.

via GIPHY

Calming yet energizing and empowering but still self reflecting? With lots of new tracks but also some throwbacks? NAILED IT.

Yeah, bust out your mat, hit play and ENJOY this ultimate yoga playlist. With 20+ of our favorite tracks, we know we are.

Have songs you love for yoga that you’d add? Leave them in the comments and we’ll consider adding them! —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

The 20-Minute Workout That Had Us Burning at the FBG Retreat

We held our first ever live retreat earlier this month and, guys, it was AMAZING. Kristen and I will get into the hows and whys and ah-has and ALL of that in a later post (with deets on how you can get involved with fun stuff like that going forward — like here and here and […]


We held our first ever live retreat earlier this month and, guys, it was AMAZING. Kristen and I will get into the hows and whys and ah-has and ALL of that in a later post (with deets on how you can get involved with fun stuff like that going forward — like here and here and here), but for now, we wanted to share the 20-minute workout that had us FEELING IT. Both inside and out. ‘Cause you know that’s how we roll …

If you’re not familiar with the AMRAP style of workout, it means “as many rounds as possible.” So, it’s basically a circuit you go through as quickly as you can (albeit safely and with good form, obviously) for the time allotted — in this case, 5 minutes for each! And be sure to track how many rounds you get through of each. As you get fitter, challenge yourself to go faster and do more. It’s SO fun to see yourself improving!

And, as always, feel free to modify any moves that you’re not feeling that day, so squat jumps could be squats, star jumps can be jumping jacks, etc. Or, kick it up a notch by taking things to a single leg or adding weight when applicable. If you have a specific question about a modification for one of the exercises listed, drop it in the comments!

Try it and let us know how it goes. We all found it to be challenging but doable, which all made us feel pretty awesome afterwards. —Jenn



Source link

26 Hilarious Thoughts You Have During a CrossFit WOD

We did it for hot yoga and winter running. And now, behold, the 26 hilarious thoughts you have during a CrossFit WOD … Before Class I can’t wait to work out. via GIPHY Speaking of, I wonder what the WOD is today. via GIPHY Wait, THAT’S THE WOD?! Oh, sh*t, f*ck, sh*t. I might as […]


We did it for hot yoga and winter running. And now, behold, the 26 hilarious thoughts you have during a CrossFit WOD …

Before Class

I can’t wait to work out.

via GIPHY

Speaking of, I wonder what the WOD is today.

via GIPHY

Wait, THAT’S THE WOD?! Oh, sh*t, f*ck, sh*t. I might as well just go home and have a glass of wine instead.

via GIPHY

No, FOCUS. Think positively. I can do this. I can do this. I CAN DO THIS.

via GIPHY

I mean, hey, all my friends are here!

via GIPHY

It’ll be fun!

via GIPHY

The WOD Begins

Okay, why am I so nervous EVERY TIME the clock clicks down?

via GIPHY

Sh*t this is happening.

via GIPHY

Okay, okay, GOOOOOOOO!

via GIPHY

This isn’t so bad.

via GIPHY

Er, maybe I shouldn’t have started off so fast?!

via GIPHY

You can do it. You can do it. You can do it.

via GIPHY

Quiet your mind and focus, woman.

via GIPHY

Dammnit, why can’t I count?

via GIPHY

Still dying.

via GIPHY

Someone just yelled out good job, TO ME.

via GIPHY

Don’t forget to breathe.

via GIPHY

Almost done, almost done, almost done!

via GIPHY

After the WOD

Thank GOD that’s over.

via GIPHY

Yeah, we did it!

via GIPHY

Wow, I actually feel kind of good. And proud.

via GIPHY

Like, that was the best workout ever.

via GIPHY

Time to get my protein.

via GIPHY

And go home and chill TF out.

via GIPHY

The Next Day

I’m so sore I can’t sit down to pee.

via GIPHY

Better call my friends to see when we can do it again.

via GIPHY

Any resonate with you? LOL forever, right?! This is literally my experience every time. —Jenn



Source link

Your Illustrated Guide to CrossFit

We’ve written about CrossFit quite a bit. Because — especially for the beginner — there’s a lot to learn. Like, what the lingo means. The myths. The workouts. The gear. And, how to stay injury-free. And this infographic created by eReplacementParts with the foundational movements, WODs and benefits of CrossFit breaks it all down in […]


We’ve written about CrossFit quite a bit. Because — especially for the beginner — there’s a lot to learn. Like, what the lingo means. The myths. The workouts. The gear. And, how to stay injury-free. And this infographic created by eReplacementParts with the foundational movements, WODs and benefits of CrossFit breaks it all down in a really cool, illustrated way.


Source: eReplacementParts.com

Another benefit of CrossFit that I can personally attest to? Improved self confidence and an overall feeling of badassness. It’s my favorite benefit, in fact. —Jenn



Source link

The Essential CrossFit Outfit

  I remember when I first started doing CrossFit-style workouts, I pretty much wore yoga pants and running shoes to every class. But now? There’s SO much CrossFit-specific apparel and gear out there. And it’s hella cute and/or hella functional (or both!). Take these five products for example. They pretty much make up the essential […]


 

I remember when I first started doing CrossFit-style workouts, I pretty much wore yoga pants and running shoes to every class. But now? There’s SO much CrossFit-specific apparel and gear out there. And it’s hella cute and/or hella functional (or both!). Take these five products for example. They pretty much make up the essential CrossFit outfit!

CrossFitters take their workouts seriously. They take their PRs seriously. They do NOT take themselves seriously though. Case in point, the number of hilarious tanks out there. From dirty puns to carb jokes, apparel companies like Boxstar create inside jokes for you to wear in the box (and out).

Shoes for Double-Unders: Ropix Sonic

If you’re really serious about getting better at double-unders, then you might need to throw a pair of Ropix Sonic ($79) into your gym bag. Designed specifically for jumping rope, these are super lightweight and super low to the ground. While they can’t guarantee you a new all-time high DBU-in-a-row count, they certainly can increase your chances!

You got the funny tank and the right shoes, but what about your socks? While you want to keep a knee-high pair for rope climbing in your gym bag, those can get really hot for the everyday non-rope WOD. So try something high-performance yet fun like these Serena No-Show Tab socks from U-Sox ($9.90). The tab prevents chafing on your heels, and the light-weight and breathable mesh instep means that you can focus on your form and not your feet.

Yes, short shorts are the rage at many a CrossFit gym, but these RBX Active Vortex Capris ($29.99 — great price point, yo) give you more coverage and keep you cool with mesh panels. They also have pockets that fit your phone, which is hella convenient. Because we all know you’re going to brunch after that Saturday morning workout and it’s helpful to have a pocket for your stuff.

Okay, so you can’t wear these. But — believe us — once you try them, you’ll consider them an essential part of your workout. You’re probably already bringing water and some post-WOD protein powder to the gym, but on really hot days or for workouts that you know are going to take awhile and work up a serious sweat (Murph, anyone?), Bob’s Pickle Pops are a must! About a dollar a pop (or less if you buy in bulk), these are made from dill pickles and nothing else. Recent research has shown that pickle juice can be beneficial in helping counteract the effects of dehydration and cramping — so these just might help you to keep performing at your highest level. For a cool pickled treat, try them frozen!

What else goes into your perfect CrossFit outfit? —Jenn



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

Not Your Mama’s Water Workout

Summertime is the best time to hit the pool — but it’s also a great time to focus on your fitness. So why not combine both? That’s the goal of Melis Edwards, author of the new book Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Melis has more than 30 years of experience […]


Summertime is the best time to hit the pool — but it’s also a great time to focus on your fitness. So why not combine both? That’s the goal of Melis Edwards, author of the new book Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Melis has more than 30 years of experience as a running and triathlon coach, personal trainer, fitness instructor and athlete, and has participated in Ironman distance triathlons as well as the Western States 100-mile endurance run. Edwards holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a Bachelor’s in Health Education, and several teaching and training certifications. And she’s got a workout that you’re gonna want to try out the next time you have a chance to hit the pool!

Want killer abs, glutes and thighs? Hit the water!

Water workouts are not just for your grandma. I know, it can be hard to shake the image of a standard water aerobics class, but if you want a mega muscle burn and are tired of your same ol’ land-routine, try water. Now, we’re not talking the shallow end; this is going deep — the deep end of the pool. Working out in water allows you to push your muscles harder than you could on land and enjoy faster recovery times! This means you can work harder, recover faster, and do a kick a$$ workout in a shorter period of time. What’s not to love?

I suggest doing a water workout 2-3 times a week to change out your land-based training, and you don’t even need to know how to swim! Aside from a swimsuit the only equipment you’ll really need is a flotation belt. It might feel weird at first, but the belt will give you just enough buoyancy to really focus on your form.  

pool workout

A Workout for the Deep End of the Pool

Try for 3 rounds through of the following exercises, anywhere from 3 to 4 reps of each exercise. I like to aim for 15-30 seconds of each each at a 75-85+ percent effort, with a recovery 10-20 seconds between each rep. Change up the workout by switching the order of the exercises or create more intensity by decreasing recovery times. As you get stronger consider adding water gloves or resistance bells.

  1. Water Run with Resistance Bells: Long stride run works the entire bod … bells add an extra bang to your core. Keep your body vertical in the pool with a slight lean forward and move as if you’re running on land: opposite arm and leg movements. Don’t panic if your chin is in water, but obviously make sure you can breathe. Try to use a nice long stride to get the full benefit.
  2. Cross Country Uppercut: Broad sweeping motions with an upper punch takes your core, glutes and quads to a whole other level. With opposite arm and legs movement, drive your fist (palm up, like Rosie the Riveter) through an arm swing which starts from behind to the front of your body and crosses your midline, by about 4-6 inches. Moving your legs in a sweeping motion like a cross-country skier gives the  movement a torso rotation, activating your obliques.
  3. Karate Kick: Think of the movie Kill Bill and Uma Thurman knocking out two people with one motion; a kick to the front and back. Your quads, hamstrings and front shins (tibialis anterior) will thank you. Include a punch with your arms and your core will just not get a break. Your legs should stay bent as they travel under the body before each rapid kick. The quick interplay against the water resistance ramps the exercise intensity. Make it harder by throwing opposite punches (forward and back behind the body).
  4. Flutter Kick: Arms above, legs stretched out toward the pool bottom; core, quads and glutes have to hammer to keep your head ‘n shoulders above water. Think of propelling a paddleboard straight up; keep your arms straight up above your head to level up the difficulty.
  5. High Knees: The femme fatale is the High Knee; like playing hacky sack, but in the water. Think of running through tires, keeping your torso straight and pushing down with your heels. Arms above the head for an extra challenge; if you are not sinking for your life, you are not doing this correctly.  

Have fun- your body will thank you! —Melis

Workout adapted from Deep End of the Pool Workouts: No-Impact Interval Training and Strength Exercises. Check out www.hitmethodfitness.com for more info.



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