Zercher Squats (Exercise How to)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpy4ADmlo1E

In dedication to my leg day today, let’s talk about the “Zercher Squat”.  How many of you have heard of this type of squat? How many of you have performed it? Well, in all honesty, I have only done it once before and it was utilizing the smith machine. I am no pro at this squat by any means, but it was worth giving a shot. Now depending on your fitness level, you will either be able to do this movement with little to no issues or will suffer and end up walking away from it – for me, I did it with minimal issues but it wasn’t the most comfortable movement in my opinion & watching the video link you will see why. 

If you are looking to go out of your comfort level and try something new, this will be something fun and unique to add to your leg day, but if you aren’t someone who can squat then this isn’t the right exercise for you. With this being said, let’s find out how to perform this exercise the proper way. 

 

How To Perform it:

 
  1. Set the bar on the rack that best matches your height (above the waist, below the chest)
  2. Lock your hands together, placing the bar on top of your arms between the forearm and upper arm
  3. Lift the bar up so that is rest on your forearms
  4. position legs shoulder width apart (after stepping away from the rack) with toes slightly pointed out. Maintain a straight back and keep your head up at ALL times. 
  5. Lower the bar by bending the knees, until you reach a 90 degree angle, while keeping the back straight (you will be inhaling at this time)
  6. Raise the bar as you exhale, pushing the floor with the ball of your foot.
  7. Repeat for the recommended repetitions

What Muscles are being worked on:

  • Quads
  • glutes 
  • hamstrings
  • biceps
  • strengthen abs
  • build traps 

Overall Opinion:

I feel as though this exercise will help build your front squat and can be useful in adding some variety in your workout, it takes some time getting used to the odd placement of the arms on the bar, but if you can get past that, you will notice it really works those lower body muscles. 

 

For beginners, I wouldn’t recommend, unless you have a professional around to guide you and if you do decide to do this movement, it is safe to use lower weight until you get the form and technique down. Also, if you have any prior injuries or conditions, make sure to speak to your doctor before getting started. 

 

If you are someone who will need padding for the barbell while performing squats, make sure to check this item out because it will be very useful for you

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DB Step Ups (Exercise How To)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPyrLw2xJl0

I have another exercise for you, one that many of you that probably have done or either would be interested in implementing in your workout program. The above video and link is of me doing this exercise, using a very low weight and low platform (for the sake of the video). 

 

How To Do DB Step Ups:

 
  1. While holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand up straight. 
  2. Place either the right foot or left foot on the elevated platform. Step on the platform by extending the knee and hip of the chosen leg, using the heel to lift the rest of the body up, the place the opposite foot on the platform as well. You will want to be exhaling at this time
  3. Step down with the opposite foot you step up on, by flexing the hip and knee of the leg that is opposite of you coming down while inhaling. Then allow the leg to meet the other leg on the floor side by side.
  4. You will repeat this on the right or left leg first and then switch to the opposite one for the same repetitions. 

This is a good cardio exercise as well as one that will tone those legs. I typically did this exercise for a whole minute or sometimes two minutes. 

 

What muscles are being worked:

  • Quads
  • glutes

Definitely something to get that heart pumping!

 

Fitness WonderWoman,

Shay-lon xo

Decline Smith Press (Exercise How To)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NFaQtUBYEk

Hey Bloggers!

Today is Tuesday, and this means I have some awesome workout videos to share with you and some exercise talk. The above video link is of myself at the gym the other day and I had to come up with an alternative to the decline smith press because the decline bench was in use by someone else – down below I will be explaining this exercise as if someone is using the actual decline bench. 

 

How To Do The Decline Smith Press:

 
  1. You will want to place the decline bench underneath the smith machine (make sure it is lined up in the center) & place the barbell at the height you can reach when you lying down and arms are fully extended. Use a pronated grip, making sure it is wider than shoulder width apart, unlock the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with arms extended (starting position)
  2. While inhaling, lower the bar allowing the elbows to flex 
  3. Pause, bring the bar back up by extending the elbows and exhaling while doing so. 
  4. Repeat the movement for the recommended amount of repetitions
  5. When finished with the set, lock the bar on the rack

Keep in mind this is going to seem awkward at first and if you aren’t used to it, use a lower weight to make sure you have your form and technique down. I like using the smith machine for the decline bench because it is easier to control. 

 

What muscles are being used:

  • Chest
  • Triceps

Overall thoughts:

I don’t implement this variation very often in my workouts, and while it isn’t my favorite, I still believe that it can be useful. However when someone does not have a decline bench, there are other ways to get it done depending on your comfort level, in my video, I am shifting my body in a decline but if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, you can use weight plates underneath the flat bench so that it is at a decline as well. 

 

Do you do the decline smith press or use a barbell? 

 

Fitness WonderWoman,

Shay-lon xo

Seated Low Row – YouTube Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FlM1BC5M7s

When it comes to a good back workout, we all tend to go towards the rows and for good reason, but have you thought about adding some variety to your workout and giving the seated low row a try? I am performing this workout in the link above to give you an idea on how it gets done. Take into consideration I am lifting a heavier weight but it doesn’t mean you will need to, just lift what you can lift but make sure to keep your form in check because I don’t want to see any of you hurt. 

 

How to perform the seated low row:

 
  1. Sit down on the seat and place your feet on the front platform. (knees should be slightly bent – not locked)
  2. Lean over but be sure to keep the neutral alignment of your back and grab the v-bar
  3. With arms extended, pull back until your torso is at a 90 degree angle from your legs. Back should be slightly arched and chest should be out. You may feel a slight stretch on your lats, this is the starting position. 
  4. While keeping your torso stationary, pull the handles back towards your torso until you touch the abdominal region (breathe out while performing this movement). Make sure to be squeezing your back muscles, holding that contraction for less than a minute then slowly go back to the original position while breathing in. 
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions. 

Keep in mind that there are many attachments that can be used, they all have certain ways to hold the handle, so be aware of this. 

 

Muscles Effected by this exercise:

  • Biceps
  • rear deltoids
  • lats
  • forearm flexors
  • middle back region

I don’t know how many of you love having a good back day, but when it doubt give this a try and really make sure to squeeze those muscles so you can really feel the muscles engaging throughout the movement. As always, be sure to contact a professional before starting this exercise if you have prior injuries or conditions that could inhibit you. 

 

Thanks for reading, be sure to like, comment, share and of course follow for more workouts! 

 

Fitness Wonderwoman,

Shay-lon xo

Mountain Climbers (exercise) – My YouTube Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3dDSiBavzo

Today I found myself doing of the many exercises that I do not like having to do, and that is mountain climbers. However, my program calls for them and I will not deny the power mountain climbers have when it comes to cardio and endurance training. I find that this exercise depending on the speed or the length of time you do them, can really challenge that cardiovascular system and not to mention builds some strength in those legs as well. I will be posting my workouts from yesterday and today so you have an idea as to what I have been up to. 

So without further ado, MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS!

 

How to perform mountain climbers:

 
  1. Begin in the push up position, weight supported by your hands and toes. Flexing the knee and hip, bring one leg until the knee is under the hip. Starting position. 
  2. Explosively reverse the positions of your legs, extending the bent leg until the leg is straight and supported by the toe. Bring the other foot with the hip and knee flexed. 
  3. Repeat for the recommended repetitions

What Muscles Are being effected:

  • Increases core strength
  • Improves cardiovascular endurance
  • thighs
  • butt

My overall thoughts on this particular exercise is, it looks easy and super simple but it does a whole lot – it definitely will challenge your endurance and cardiovascular system and you will feel it. While I am not a fan of this exercise, I recommend implementing in your workouts, you will see some good results from it. I would recommend talking with a medical doctor if you have prior injuries or conditions that could prohibit you from performing this movement

 

Let me know in the comment section, if you do this exercise. 

 

Fitness Wonderwoman,

Shay-lon xo

135 lb barbell shrug

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGVmNDL6EY

Happy Monday!

 

I recorded an exercise today and decided that I would make it another workout blog post. For some of you who have been following my YouTube channel and Instagram, you have noticed I have been posting more workouts – which is my goal so that when I talk about a specific exercise, I can have my own video to show as an example. Hopefully you have all heard of this exercise before; “barbell shrugs”, if not, you have been missing out on the fun. 

 

Lucky for you, I will be talking about barbell shrugs and you can use the above link as an example of how it is done or you can follow the steps below .. then at the end I will lend some helpful information, tips, and possibly share some thoughts on the exercise itself. 

 

How to perform barbell shrugs:

 
  1. Stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart. Hold the barbell with two hands in front of you using a pronated grip (hands will be wider than shoulders width apart) some people may find using wrist straps helpful ( I don’t use them, but they can be used to help with your grip) This will  be your starting position. 
  2. Raise your shoulders up as far as you can go as you breathe our and hold the contraction for a few seconds. (Refrain from lifting using biceps)
  3. Return to starting position breathing in. 
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions

A few things to keep in mind… 

  • Start with a lower weight to make sure you have the form and technique down
  • speak with a professional before starting this exercise if you have any conditions or prior injuries 
  • you may use dumbbells if you do not have a barbell available. 
  • make sure the movement is straight up and down – not to rotate the shoulders
  • slow movements all the way through, no need to be a speed demon.

What muscles am I working on:

  • Traps

I personally like this exercise, I know some specialist and professionals have argued that this exercise can be more dangerous than helpful but I believe if done correctly, it can be beneficial. 

 

Do you like this exercise? how much weight are you lifting for barbell shrugs? do you prefer to use dumbbells or the barbell for this exercise? want other ideas to help the traps grow?  Don’t like this exercise, let me know why in the comment section. 

Thanks for reading, be sure to follow, like, comment and share. 

 

Fitness WonderWoman,

Shay-lon xo

Box Jumps (exercise)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgPw3tEFZOY

The above video is me demonstrating how to properly do box jumps. Now as simple as they may come, there is a technique to them that can prevent injury. In this blog post, I will go over some key notes to take away from this workout and like all workouts, give you some informative information about the particular exercise. 

 

I personally enjoy doing box jumps, and for more advanced athletes, they are usually using boxes higher than myself (but I had to use what resources I had) – and for the beginners, I would highly recommend a much lower height to get the hang of things. I started  box jumps years ago as an athlete in high school, so this was nothing new to me, but it wasn’t until I started CrossFit that I was doing them more often & now I implement them in my regular workouts too. For those of you who do box jumps, feel free to add your own insight in the comment section and/or achievements of what heights you use for your box jumps, and for those of you who haven’t yet tried this, give it a go and let me know what you think afterwards in the comment section. 

 

How to perform box jumps:

 
  1. Choose a box of an appropriate height (beginners lower heights, more advanced athletes, higher ones) 1-2 feet in front of you, feet should be shoulder width apart and this will be the starting position.
  2. perform a short squat in preparing for the jump, making sure to swing your arms behind you. 
  3. “Rebound” out of this position, extending through the hips, knees and ankles. Make sure to jump as high as possible while swinging your arms forward and up. 
  4. You will land on the box with the knees bent, the impact will be absorbed through the legs, the step down and start again. 

Some key points I want you to keep in mind:

  • You want to land as quietly as possible. There is no need to be obnoxious and loud when landing on the platform. 
  • make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear
  • use a safe platform to jump on 
  • Jump high
  • Do not land with the knees caved in – land with them out
  • jump at a height that both feet can make it on the platform
  • landing on the platform in a deep squat position usually means the height of the platform might be too high for you; you should be landing at half a squat

Now personally I land on my toes while doing box jumps and make sure my heel touches last, but I have heard of athletes saying their coaches tell them to land on their heels and toes touch last and my opinion of that is .. it is awkward and I feel as though I will injure myself doing so and I was always taught toes first then heels. I would suggest my way but if you are being taught a different way then.. I won’t argue with you. 

 

Many athletes will have their heels half off the box when jumping because it is semi quicker than having the whole foot on the box, in my demonstration my whole foot is on the platform, not just half of it. Depending on who is coaching you and their tactics, it could be interchangeable. Some coaches care and others do not. 

 

What muscles are effected by the BOX JUMP? 

  1. Glutes
  2. Quads
  3. Hamstrings
  4. Calves
  5. Hip Flexors

Now this isn’t an exercise you need to implement daily, but it is always good to implement some form of plyos in your workouts, even when training as a runner. The box jump will focus on increasing your strength and muscle tone, builds upper body and lower body and when used as a form of cardio, it is beneficial to burning calories. Hopefully all of you will share your love for box jumps and be sure to leave comments, like, follow and share. Thanks for reading.

 

Fitness WonderWoman,

Shay-lon xo