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?
Today, I am going to introduce you to a new exercise. I know this video might come off intimidating because this guy is “huge” in size, and normally I would try to use a female in order to make women more comfortable or Scott Herman (but I didn’t necessarily agree with his teaching of this particular exercise 100%) and didn’t want to confuse any of my readers. Not saying he is bad, because I do respect his videos and many of them I follow his instructions when I forget or when I am trying something new at the gym. Anyways, this exercise can be done at the gym and/or at home if you own dumbbells, or weight plates. This particular video is demonstrating the exercise using dumbbells.
Personally, this exercise burns the hell out of my delts every time, like no matter how little the weight is (I have decreased it) and it still burns the same, so this is something that you don’t need high weights in order to feel the results, If you do decide to use higher weights, keep in mind that your form/technique should not stray, if you notice you cannot keep your form/technique or you cannot keep controlled – that is a sign to decrease the load or do minimal reps ( just saying because I know some of us want to look like bosses at the gym lifting heavy, but lifting heavy with bad form does not get you gym cred from me; no matter how big your muscles are) and I try to not embarrass myself; so if I am struggling with a heavier weight, I have no problem sucking up my pride and decreasing my load.
First off, hands up if you have performed this exercise and your neck started to hurt? Raise your hands if you have performed this exercise and did it incorrectly? Raise your hands if you have heard different ways to perform the exercise and you’re confused? lol. That is a lot of people and no reason to be ashamed because different trainers will teach their clients different ways of performing an exercise, not everyone on YouTube knows what they are doing, and not everyone is born with exercise knowledge instilled in them – this is why we have people with degrees and certifications and experience (hopefully trusting they know what they are speaking about) – some don’t. So don’t be ashamed, it is a learning experience for everyone at some point. No matter what your situation is, there is a proper way of doing the exercise and the problem is many people disagree with what muscles come into effect and which don’t and which should be doing what and really .. IT SHOULD BE WORKING THOSE SIDE DELTS.
If you are feeling neck pains, it could be for multiple reasons, one being you are using a high weights and putting more stress on your neck. It is possible to work the rear delts the more you lean forward, and that is fine if that is your goal at hand, but if you want to work the side delts, then leaning too far forward will not do the job. Like Seth mentioned in the video, hand placement also makes a difference because you will eventually hit your shoulder in different areas depending on the positioning of the body and where your hands are placed on the dumbbell. – if you want to hit your side delts then place your hands in the middle of the dumbbell, and have a straight back (less leaning forward)- a little lean is okay though.
Now we could go into depth and make you read a textbook worth of information, but I don’t want to and you don’t need to.
- Stand with straight torso and dumbbells by your side with palms of the hands facing you (starting position)
- While maintaining the torso in the stationary position, lift the dumbbells to your side with a very slight elbow bend (although I don’t bend my elbows because it helps to keep the emphasis off my elbows when I am doing the exercise) P.S I have seen and heard of people swinging their torso back and forth, but I don’t do it and I think it is unnecessary personally but if that is your thing, then don’t do it excessively- because the exercise needs to stay controlled. Exhale as you execute this movement
- Lower the dumbbells back down slowly (to starting position) as you inhale
- Repeated for recommended amount of reps
Let me know what you think of the exercise, and how much weight you use. Hate it? love it? never have done it? I want to hear it.
Do you have hops?! lol.
No I am kidding, but seriously, do you have hops? If so this is one exercise that will test that but no worries, no competition. If you don’t have hops, this is still a good exercise for you to implement into your regular routine to have some variation and working on different muscle groups, not mention explosion.
From watching the video that I provided you, you would assume this exercise is “easy” and doesn’t take much to do, but let me correct you by saying, form and technique is needed if you want to avoid injuries. It is also assumed that like Scott, I have a 6 pack and women probably gawk at me and men envy me or the other way around, but I hate to disappoint you, I actually look better than this dude Scott and my hops carry me to the next planet. LOL. #sarcasm
How do you perform a “Jump Squat”?
- You can either choose to cross your arms over your chest or do what Scott is doing and hold your hands together, OR you can put your hands behind your head, whatever works best for you. – typically just hold my hands like Scott.
- Position feet at shoulder width apart, with back straight and head up – don’t want a rounded back
- Keeping your back straight and chest up, you will squat down as you inhale, until your upper thighs are lower to the floor,
- Using the ball of your feet, jump straight up into the air as high as possible, using your thighs as “springs” (exhale during this portion of the movement)
- When you touch the floor again, immediately squat down and jump again
- Repeat for the recommended repetitions.
Why should I “jump squat”?
- Develop explosive power
- Increase your heart rate
- Builds strength
- Helps with weight loss
- Maintains mobility and balance
- Can be used as a plyometric exercise, which can help reduce injuries if done correctly.
- works on the quads, hamstrings, core, glutes and lower back
Make your Jump squat more challenging:
- Use dumbbells
- wear a weight vest
- do more reps
- use a barbell – although this is more advanced and not recommended if you have no experience, people tend to have too much weight and end up hurting their joints when using the barbell
- The use of a sandbag
- Medicine balls
For beginners, using the TRX can be helpful and be a little easier to manage a jump squat, I have found that in my opinion, jump squats were easier using the TRX. Again, this is an exercise you will want to consult with your doctor before performing. I hope you have all enjoyed learning about the jump squat, feel free to share this!
Hello bloggers and readers alike,
I have decided to do another exercise post today, one of which is a bit more difficult for a beginner, so I would highly recommend as a beginner to get into habit of holding it 5 seconds at a time and as you your fitness level increases, increase the length of time. I know for one thing, this is an exercise that is popular among athletes, I remember having to watch the football players do this exercise every morning while I was a strength and conditioning coach intern at the University. This was not one of their favorite exercises to do and they were told to hold it as a team for about 15-30 seconds, and trust me it is difficult to do if you haven’t done it before, but for those of you who may be advanced athletes or fitness persons, please feel free to challenge yourself and use a weight plate in both hands or using one weight plate and switching it back and forth between the two hands, around the body, etc. Many different things can be done if the basic superman is too easy for some of you.
I am aiming to speak on the basic superman, but again I will list some alternatives to challenge yourself if you wish at the end, and any modifications that can make this exercise any easier for my beginners. Let’s get started.
Superman- how is it done:
- Lie straight and face down on the floor and/or mat, Arms fully extended in front of you (starting position)
- Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off the floor, and hold this contraction for two seconds. Exhale during this movement,
- Slowly begin to lower your arms, legs and chest back down to the starting position as you inhale
- Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions
When performing this exercise it is important to know that you will need to use your back muscles to help hold you up, do not perform this exercise if you have back injuries or had back injuries, and have not done a proper warm-up. Consult with your doctor first to prevent further injury, and consult with a fitness specialist if you need instruction on form/technique.
Modifications made to make it easier:
- If lifting both arms and legs are too difficult: you can lift alternate legs and arms at one time.
Do you want a challenge:
- hold your superman for 1 minute at a time
- do more sets
- use weight plates in either or both hands
- using a weight plate or medicine ball, pass them back and forth between each hand
- using a weight plate or medicine ball, pass them behind you (pass to the left or right hand, hand it over your back to the other hand and repeat)
I have done the more challenging one where I used the weight plate in my CrossFit class and it was no joke, took me by surprise.
- Strengthen the upper and lower back
- also strengths the glutes and hamstrings
- using different variations you can work your core muscles
- This exercise has been known to cause back issues if not done correctly and if done excessively
- some scientist have gone to prove that it might have minimal significance on the back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Small ROM (range of motion)
Nonetheless, if you are beginner, start off with 1-2 seconds, maybe even 5 second holds, if you are natural and pro at this exercise, challenge yourself if necessary and like I always tell people, there are ALWAYS better options out there, so don’t rely on just this exercise, go out and explore others. Not every exercise I mention do I implement in my workouts, do I love, do I recommend, do I agree with and not every exercise I mention should be done by all populations. This is when research and asking questions should be done before jumping into an exercise. My goal is to talk about each and every exercise I have done, haven’t done, seen done, researched, etc. I may never get to all of them but it is one hell of a goal, not to mention doing this means I can come up with ideas for myself or clients. Thanks for reading, please share, comment, like.
Your fitness blogger,
Also take a look at this youtube video performing the exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCQ-FY_bj9E
Happy Monday bloggers!
Today’s blog will be talking about another exercise that I enjoy doing while at the gym, hopefully many of you have tried it and enjoy it as much as I, but if you don’t, that is okay too! The exercise I am talking about is the seated leg press. The reason I like this exercise is because it works different parts of the lower body with the adjustment of the feet, it is easy to use and normally most gyms have it (there are different types of these machines, they don’t all look alike). Nonetheless, I usually make this one of my many “go to” machines when I am working my lower body. Depending on what you are trying to target, you can make it so you are targeting the glutes, hamstrings or quads. I think it is good to work them all if possible, obviously being sure to not over-train. Many people in the gym are always trying to do high weights on this machine, which is quite easy to do, but people need to be sure they aren’t putting strains on their knees intentionally in order to lift more weight. Most importantly if you are new at using this machine, be sure to ask questions and make sure you understand the placement of the body so that you don’t get any injuries. Personally I would highly recommend to anyone who does this exercise, to do a warm-up exercise (leg extentions, dynamic stretching, etc) which will help to prevent injury. I would be most interested in learning who all likes this particular exercise and who all isn’t a fan of it, so share! 🙂 Btw, this exercise can also be good for the calves, depending on the placement of your feet as well.
How to do a leg press?
- Using the leg press machine, sit down on the machine (make sure to adjust the seat to your liking, normally the number 3 is about average), Place your feet on the platform directly in front of you (depending on what you are trying to target, either you will place your feet higher or lower or in the middle of the platform in a shoulder width apart stance) Sometimes people will have a wide base of support or narrow as well depending on what they are trying to target as well.
- Depending on the type of leg press machine you are using, you will lower the safety bars holding the weighted platform in place, and press the platform all the way up until your legs are extended in front of you (do not full extend them to prevent locking your knees and causing injury, have your knees slightly bent)
- As you inhale, slowly lower the platform until your upper and lower legs make a 90 degree angle.
- Pushing with the heels of your feet, and using the quads, go to back to your starting position as you exhale.
- Repeat the recommended amount of repetitions.
The good things about the leg press:
- Strengthens the leg muscles
- strengthens the knee and hip joints
- Can be used for strength or hypertrophy
- Minimizes your need to balance the weight
- Most machines have something that helps from keeping the weight from squashing you if you are lifting heavy and fail to complete the rep
- The machine provides lower back support
- Makes it easy to strain the knees if done incorrectly
- Back injury can occur if one lowers the knee to close to the abdomen (causes the back to round)
- expensive to purchase for your home gym
- May not translate well to real world activities, or sports (lack of functionality)
- Lacks the need for balance- means it is easy to have one leg doing the majority of the work, causing one leg to be bigger than the other
- False sense to safety if not done correctly, it can cause injury
I would recommend if you do a leg press exercise, then you should also implement more functional workouts as well (i.e lunges, squats step ups). I always do myself so that I can get the best benefits from the exercises, especially if you are noticing some imbalances in your leg strength. It is very important to do this exercise with good technique and form to prevent injuries. I have seen so many people add heavy weights and not do this exercise correctly, which in the long run is not good. I know people love showing off and being able to lift heavy weights, but it isn’t worth your safety, you can do lower weight and higher reps, or just start with 15 lb and work your way up. If anyone has any questions or concerns about the leg press machine, feel free to ask me! Again would love to hear from all of you, your opinion on this machine/exercise. Thank you for reading!