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).
- While holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand up straight.
- 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
- 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.
- 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:
Definitely something to get that heart pumping!
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:
- 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)
- While inhaling, lower the bar allowing the elbows to flex
- Pause, bring the bar back up by extending the elbows and exhaling while doing so.
- Repeat the movement for the recommended amount of repetitions
- 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:
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?
As many of you may or may not know, I officially made it to the 100’s club on my bench press. It was tough but I feel so good knowing that I finally can bench 100 pounds! 😀 Hopefully within the next 3 to 6 months, I will be benching 10 or 15 pounds more. Nonetheless, I wanted to go over the proper form in performing a bench press. Many of you don’t think about form when doing it, but it is very important you perform this exercise correctly because you can injure yourself. I also recommend people have spotters, unlike myself in this video (which I should have used a spotter just in case) but I took a chance and it worked out but don’t take chances, because it could hurt you. Hopefully I will have the chance to hear all of you share your PR accomplishments in the bench press!
How to perform the bench press:
- Utilize a flat bench (lie back on it). Using a medium width grip on the barbell, lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with arms locked (starting position)
- While breathing in , lower the bar slowly to your middle chest
- Take a brief pause, push the bar back to the starting position while breathing out. Use your chest muscles when pushing the bar up, lock the arms and contract the chest – hold the bar for a second at the top and then come down slowly again
- repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions
- When finished, place the bar back in the rack
What muscles are affected?
- Front shoulders
For beginners, I recommend using a spotter and even more intermediate and advanced athletes, it is good to have spotter when lifting a new PR or unsure amount of weight. There are many different variations of the bench press and the hand placement – which I will go over in a future post. The important thing is, to use your chest muscles when pushing up, put less strain on the arms and really contract those muscles. If you don’t have a spotter, using a smith machine for beginners is another good idea… until you are more comfortable on the barbell or until you have a proper spotter. Everyone knows this is a fundamental exercise, where it develops upper body strength. If you have experienced previous injuries or conditions – please consult your doctor before performing this exercise.
- What is your bench press max?
- How many reps are you lifting for your max?
We discussed in a previous post about bodyweight walking lunges, this is the same concept except you have extra weight – the lower the better for beginners until you have perfected the form and technique of the lunge. In this particular video I was holding two 10 lb dumbbells for the sake of the video so that you could get an idea of the form.
Normally, I would be holding dumbbells or a barbell but I made a point to do them without extra weight to demonstrate the movement for beginners. I don’t like having to do lunges but I will admit that they are a great functional workout and because there is such a variety of them, it can always be changed to your liking and fitness level. As always, down below I will share how to do them properly and the muscles that are effected.
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- Feet shoulder width apart and hands placed on hips
- Step forward with one leg, making sure to flex the knees to drop the hips. Decent until the rear knee comes close to touching the ground, posture should remain upright and front knee stays above the front foot
- drive through the heel of your lead foot, extend both knees to raise yourself back up.
- Step forward with the rear foot, repeating the movement with the opposite leg
What muscles am I working on:
- lower calf muscles
- back muscles acts as stabilizer
- abdominal muscles act as a stabilizer
It is important to have strong core for lunges in order to keep your form. Many people struggle with lunges so if you are someone who does, start without using any weights and focus on form and technique. Lunges are a great functional exercise, much like squats. If you are more advanced you can use dumbbells or a barbell for added weight.
How many of you like doing lunges? any favorite types of lunges (which I will talk about in other blog post)
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:
- Sit down on the seat and place your feet on the front platform. (knees should be slightly bent – not locked)
- Lean over but be sure to keep the neutral alignment of your back and grab the v-bar
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- rear deltoids
- 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeat for the recommended repetitions
What Muscles Are being effected:
- Increases core strength
- Improves cardiovascular endurance
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.
I participated in the 22 push up challenge raising awareness for Veteran suicides.
I want to thank all of you who have served our country with massive amounts of bravery.
The above link is my demonstration of the kettlebell swing with a low weight and high reps.
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if you are interested in my blog post about this particular exercise, click here
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:
- 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.
- 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)
- Return to starting position breathing in.
- 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:
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.