Squat variations

Give them a go! 

When all else fails, squat it out. Today’s list will consist of a different variations of squats that range from very popular to “I never heard of this one”, but hopefully in the end, all of you will give some of them a go, and let me know in the comment section which one you prefer and why & which ones you don’t like — because not everyone likes squatting.

Barbell back squat:

This exercise can be done with high bar narrow stance or with low bar wide stance .. 

Barbell front squat:

(Front Squat) This exercise can be done using wrist or using the traps — depending on how you were taught and which way is more comfortable for you.
Barbell Zercher squat:

Barbell overhead squat:

Pistol squat:

Eagle Squat:

Goblet squat:

Jump squat:

Smith machine squat:

Plie squat:

Bodyweight squat:

Split squat:

Bulgarian squat:

Make sure to leave comments of your favorite squat variations & Follow me on social media:

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Circuit Training Workouts

In a world where being creative is a must if you want to prevent boredom, this is where I come in and enlighten your day and workout. I strive to help people find their wings in the gym, to find exercises and training modules that work best for them individually — because everyone is an individual. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle & bustle of trying to find a workout that gives you results, keeps you entertained, challenges you & at the very best teaches you something new about your body and your limits. Many people do the same thing in and out, don’t see results and don’t feel challenged because they are afraid to push themselves (coming from experience, this is due to many things) but once you hop over that obstacle, you find that there is so many options and not all of them are alike, which intrigues you enough to want to give it a go.  Well, if you are ready to hop over that obstacle today, I have something that might intrigue you enough to give it a go. 

 

Circuit training is a fancy term for doing an abundance of exercises (typically 2 or more that are high intensity) that require you doing them in a timed situation OR a high intensity exercise that is done (typically 2 or more)  without a break between for a certain amount of reps .. for example:

 

Example One:

 
  1. Burpees: 10 reps
  2. Jumping Jacks: 10 reps
  3. Push ups: 10 reps

Having to do these all without a break between, one after the other for a certain amount of rounds

 

OR

 

Example Two:

  1. Burpees: 30 seconds
  2. Jumping Jacks: 1 minute
  3. Push ups: 30 seconds

You are having to do these exercises within a certain amount of time — and recording your results, again this would require no break in between exercises. Another option would be.. 

 

Example Three:

Do 4 of these exercises within 20 minutes of time:

  1. Pull ups: 100
  2. push ups: 50
  3. burpees: 100
  4. Kettlebell swings: 150

Basically a lot of Crossfit athletes do these and have another term for it, but it is a form of circuit– the difference being you have 20 minutes total to finish the 4 of these exercises with the amount of reps– during my CrossFit class, we didn’t have a break between .. it was ongoing, sure I could stop and catch my breathe but I was trying to beat the timer, so I didn’t want to take long breaks if I wanted to succeed in the workout. Time was of the essence. 

 

Circuit training can come in all forms: cardio, strength exercises and a combination of both. You can also choose to use machines if you aren’t comfortable using free weights OR you can use body weight exercises (which means you can do them at home). Depending on your fitness level and the equipment available to you, it could be a fun workout to take on and you can change it up however you like to meet your needs. 

 

Pros of Circuit training:

  • Increases endurance
  • Increased muscular endurance
  • strength building 
  • can utilize weight machines, free weights or body weight
  • can be done at home or the gym
  • challenges you
  • lose fat while maintaining strength
  • Beginners, intermediate or advanced athletes
  • cardio, strength or a combination of both— depending on your goals

In my opinion, it is a great option for those of you who might need to turn up the fun factor in your workouts, need a challenge, want something new, great for partner workouts — where you both train together, and if you are new to exercise, it can help get you started in the right direction. I use circuit training more often than not, especially when I am doing CrossFit based workouts, or want to add some high intensity volume training. Definitely worthy of giving a go! 

 

Feel free to share, comment, like and follow!

 

Whats your favorite circuit training workout? 

 
 

Smith Machine Vs The Barbell

Hello fellow bloggers,

Today’s fun topic of discussion for all my fit crazed people is: smith machine vs barbell. Now for many of you; you have a preference and some of you choose to only one use or the other depending on your fitness level. 

If you are not aware of what a “smith machine” is, here is a link: Smith machine article , the particular article highlights why they enjoy using the smith machine. If you aren’t aware of what a barbell is, look at the image above. 

 

I’ll begin by expressing that I have used both the smith machine and the barbell and I have a  preference depending on the exercise I am doing at the time. I believe both can be useful for different reasons and depending on the person; so I am going to do a separate list of both with the pros and cons of each 🙂 

 

Smith Machine:

 
  • Good for de-conditioned persons
  • don’t have to use a spotter
  • light weight
  • typically found at commercial gyms
  • wide variety of exercises can be done
  • not recommended for deadlifts & Squats
  • plane of motion is fixed
  • not recommended for olympic lifts 
  • harder to develop stabilizer muscles
  • not functional – meaning because of the movement being “fixed” you aren’t using the same ROM you normally would have to during everyday activities
  • Good for safety
  • good for hypertrophy training
  • good for when someone has an injury
 

The Barbell:

  • Found in a lot of powerlifting, athletic and some commercial gyms
  • goes through full ROM
  • heavier bar
  • advanced athletes and intermediate athletes
  • need a spotter for the heavier weights
  • used for olympic weights, squats, deadlifts, etc
  • functional
  • non fixed plane of motion
  • strength,hyperstrophy and endurance training
  • allows you to use your stabilizer muscles
  • beginners should use with caution 
  • variety of exercises can be done using the barbell
  • can give you calluses on your hands 

Basically both list have their pros and cons. I find that the smith machine does well with my vertical leg presses — whereas I wouldn’t use the barbell for it because it wouldn’t be able to go through the plane of motion without hurting myself. The barbell is awesome for olympic lifts and deadlifts, whereas it is MUCH MUCH harder to perform these exercises on a smith machine because of the fixed motion. Now, there is another HUGE important factor to consider when utilizing the smith machine – Your strength from the smith machine does not transfer over to the barbell. This basically means those of you who are lifting 300 lb squats on the smith machine, most likely will end up lifting lighter on the barbell because the smith machine is lighter and offers less resistance than the barbell. Many times athletes will use the smith machine for a while and then when they decide to hop on the barbell, they realize they aren’t as strong as they originally thought. Keep this in mind while training. Otherwise, choose what works best for you, I think it is a good idea to implement both into a workout or to have a least one that is a preference but to know how to use the other as back up. 

 

Let me know which you prefer . 

 

Leave comments, share, likes and follow. 

 
 
 

Push Up Variations

Standard Push ups are fine, but when you want to spice things up:

 
 
  1. Wide grip push up (engages shoulders more)
  2. Close grip push ups (engages triceps more)
  3. Clap push up (works on explosiveness and power) – plyometrics
  4. One leg push up (engages the core more)
  5. Hand release push up (helps those who want to ease the tension in the joints)
  6. Spiderman push up (improves hip mobility and engages the core more)
  7. One arm incline push up (utilizing your chest more in an unbalanced state)
  8. Decline push up (works the upper chest and shoulders)
  9. Incline push up (lower chest and triceps more)
  10. on the knees (modified for those who can’t yet do the standard push up)
  11. Shoulder tap push up (good for improving balance)
  12. slow negative push ups
  13. Pseudo planche (hands pointed toward the feet instead of forward. focuses on shoulders and biceps)
  14. Corkscrew push up
  15. Diamond push up (focuses on the triceps)
  16. medicine ball push ups
  17. renegade push ups
  18. kettlebell push ups

Of course there are more, but I listed a reasonable amount. If there is one you would like to add to the list, leave it in the comment section! do you have a favorite push up variation? leave it in he comment box! 

 

Fitness WonderWoman

Shay-lon 

Rope Climbing (Exercise How To/CrossFit)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD0uO7JGdZU

I will be honest when I say not a whole lot of you will probably find time in doing this workout, or don’t go to a gym that offers a rope for this type of training BUT if you ever do get the chance to give it a go at a local CrossFit box or make something at home like this, I highly recommend it because it works multiple muscles and it is a lot harder than what these athletes make it out to be (if you are doing it properly). I realize there may be 100 different ways to climb a rope, but there is a technique that CrossFit athletes have to follow if they want to get it done faster and do it the right way with minimum injury. We were all kids once upon a time and that meant possible tree climbing and doing things without even thinking about how we are doing them, but as we got older and more cautious, we might not always take those same risk and that goes with rope climbing because even though the concept of climbing a rope doesn’t seem hard at all when you think about it, it is dangerous because if you let go – you could fall on hard ground and mess yourself up, you could slide down the rope and get rope burns.. I mean the possibilities are endless BUT it shouldn’t keep you from experiencing this fun activity! 

 

The above video I posted, is an older video but shares how rope climbing should be done, so those of you who need visuals, I have that there (keep in mind there are so many trainers found on YouTube, that most of them know what they are talking about if you need more tutorials) & for those of you who do better reading instructions, I will have them down below with much more information! 

 

How does one rope climb?

 
  1. Grab the rope with both hands above your head, pull down on rope as you take a small jump
  2. wrap the rope around ONE LEG while using your feet to pinch the rope. Reach up as high as possible with your arms while gripping the rope tightly
  3. Release the rope from your feet as you pull yourself up with your arms, bringing your knees towards your chest
  4. Then re-secure your feet on the rope, standing up to take another high hold on the rope, then continuing until you reach the top
  5. if you want to lower yourself – loosen the grip on the rope with your feet as you slide down using a hand over motion. 

So.. what muscles will strengthen because of it?

  • Lats
  • biceps 
  • triceps
  • delts
  • chest
  • abs
  • obliques
  • also if you are using mainly your legs , then you will use the majority of your leg muscles as well
  • forearms
  • grip strength

Beginner’s exercise?

Not necessarily because it is a more intermediate to advanced training but BEGINNERS SHOULD DO IT because practice makes better and it challenges you! nothing should stop you from doing something no matter what your fitness level is, because we ALL have to start somewhere & we all were beginners at ONE POINT! keep it safe and you will do fine!

 

Fitness WonderWoman,

Shay-lon xo

 

If you love CrossFit and want to share this post among your friends and family, please do! 

Add Some Pyramid training to your workout

Some of you might have noticed that I do some pyramid training in my workouts, and if you don’t know what that consist of then you probably want to know so you can implement it in your workouts. Now pyramid training can be done with beginners and advanced athletes alike, it isn’t complex and can make your workout a little lengthy at times but well worth it. I like describe pyramid as a way of increasing the weight as you go along – usually by 10 lb maybe 5 for beginners depending on your fitness level & more advanced athletes, sometimes 15 to 20 pound increases – but it has to make sense because you have to be able to do the number of reps associated with the weight. 

 

Typically my pyramid training is doing 1 set of whatever amount of reps for a specific amount of weight & each time adding more weight until you get to the end result. For example:

 

Bench press – let’s say I want to do 4 sets of this. My way of implementing the pyramid training would be to do:

1 x 10 = 100 lb

1 x 8 = 110 lb

1 x 6 = 120 lb

1 x 3-4 = 130 lb

 

I would start at the top and do lighter weights and as we work ourselves down to less reps, we add more weight each time. Now starting weight and ending weight will be up to you, because everyone is different, you should pick a number that you are comfortable with doing with the specific amount of reps. 

 

Another type of pyramid training is: descending pyramid training, which would be starting at a heavier load , and ending with the lighter load

. For example:

 

1 x 5 = 400

1 x 8= 350

1 x 10 = 300

1 x 12= 250

 

You start with less reps and more weight and work your way down to less weight and more reps. 

 

Another example of pyramid training would be: 

1 x 15 = 200 

2 x 10= 210

3 x 8 = 220

4 x 5 = 230

 

basically again you will start off with lower weights with 1 set but AFTER THAT, you end up having to do 2 sets or 3 sets or 4.. etc each set going higher in weight and less reps. 

 

This all seems confusing at first glance but keep it simple, no need to make it all technical and start with something easy until you get the hang of it.  Of course there are pros and cons of using this type of training like any other training, so let’s go over those. 

 

Pros:

 
  • Will include warm up sets 
  • good for those seeking strength gains
  • Includes a lot of volume

Cons:

  • Your warm up set can be taken to muscle failure quickly & you don’t want that early one because it will cause muscle fatigue which makes it more difficult to continue through the pyramid.
  • The last set might be the only set going to muscle failure and that might not be enough because in order to see growth you have to add more stress and reach muscle failure. 
  • This type of training in ascending order may not give you the maximal muscle size you are looking for

Hopefully this tidbit of information makes you more confident in your capabilities and gives you a reason to add some pyramid training to your workout! 

 

If you appreciate the information, be sure to like, comment, share and follow!

 

Fitness Wonder Woman,

Shay-lon xo

Man-Makers (Exercise How to)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMNnvhg1JcM

 

I call these WOMAN MAKERS! 😀 

It is probably obvious why I call them “Woman makers” instead, basically because I am female and I am cool like that; but don’t get offended men, because they are formally called “man-makers”. 

Now the majority of you are probably thinking “WHAT IN GOD’S NAME IS THIS” and I don’t blame you because in ordinary gyms, you don’t normally see this workout being performed BUT in a CrossFit gym, oh yeah this workout is being done like no tomorrow baby, lol. I would know.. just ask me how 🙂

If none of you have tried this particular exercise, look out because it is no joke and no easy movement and imagine having to do this timed (having to get so many done in under a certain time) – yes I was THAT person. I however, used about 20-25 lb dumbbells .. so that didn’t make my job any easier and some people use heavier than that and others go lighter – doesn’t matter because this workout isn’t easy. I will start by saying that this workout is performed differently depending on the CrossFit box and who is teaching you, so don’t be alarmed by the video up top, some people perform it this way and others add other things to it but this video will give you an idea on how to perform the movement, good luck 🙂

How Do You Perform A ‘Man-Maker’:

  1. Start with positioning a pair of dumbbells (that you know will be easy for you to do with this movement) in front of you, parallel to each other.  You will want to keep your back flat, bend forward, and squad down grasping the dumbbells. 
  2. Initiate the movement by kicking one leg back and the other so that you are in the push up position while holding onto the dumbbells. You will do a one-arm row on each side (bring the elbow up as high as you can)
  3. Hop with your weight forward and rise up by cleaning the weights (bring dumbbells up to shoulder level), descend into a squat, and explosively rise up, then press weights overheard to full arm extension. 
  4. you will lower the dumbbells back to shoulders, then bend over as you squat down to return the weights back to the floor in front of you
  5. Repeat for the recommended repetitions

As you can tell this movement can be highly difficult for beginners and with few steps, there is still a technique involved so that you minimize injury. The important part not choosing too heavy of dumbbells to do this movement because that can be the DIFFERENCE between hurting yourself and making it all the way through. 

 

What Muscles Are Worked:

  • Quads
  • obliques – to a lesser degree
  • shoulders
  • biceps
  • groin
  • chest
  • traps
  • forearms
  • abs
  • calves
  • middle back
  • triceps
  • lower back
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • hip flexors 
  • and outer thighs
  • lats

As you can tell it targets a lot of the body and muscles – because this exercise is considered a total body exercise and calisthenics workout. You really will feel this exercise throughout the body and while I don’t recommend beginners to do this exercise without first trying it with very low weight, I do recommend implementing it to your workout for those who need a good total body day! 

A good challenge with these is to see how many you can do in under 1 minute or under 2 minutes if you feel like a warrior 🙂 I had to do them within 2-3 minute ranges and on a bad day, sometimes 4-5 minutes intertwined with other workouts. 

 

Hopefully all of you are feeling extra adventurous and if so, I want to hear how many you did under that 1 minute or 2 minute 🙂 

 

Fitness WonderWoman,

Shay-lon xo