August 4, 2020

Pushups= Total Body Strength

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Pushups for total body fitness!

Do pushups for total body strength and fitness. Core, upper body and lower body are all under constant tension to perform a pushup properly. Do pushups with your hands on a step, bench or the floor. Your legs can be straight with your whole body up off the floor, or place your knees on the floor to reduce abdominal muscle tension. Despite requiring no additional equipment, performing pushups properly calls for practice and awareness. Be mindful not to adapt two commonly seen compensating patterns:

Don’t hunch your shoulders! Keep your shoulders away from your ears. Drop your chin to your chest to keep your neck aligned with your spine.

Don’t sag in the middle. Pull your belly button up to your spine. Keep your leg muscles tight with your hips in line between your shoulders and your hips.

*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.

Ab Tuck and Crunch

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Ab Tuck and Crunch

If you’re looking to challenge your abs, try this move. Begin lying flat on the floor, next lift up your upper body with your arms in front of you for balance. Then, lift both legs up off the floor to your starting pike position. Next, exhale and pull both knees into your chest while stabilizing your torso in the incline position. Inhale and return to your staring pike position. Repeat 10 times.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise. This exercise is for those without injury concerns.

Up for an Ab Challenge?

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Plank with Knee Ups!

Up for an ab challenge? Take your planks up a notch by adding this simple move. Begin in a regular front plank. Next, bend your right knee and bring your knee toward your chest. Maintain neutral spine and pull your belly button up. Then, extend your right knee, kicking your leg straight out behind you. Repeat 10 times, then release to your front plank. Next, repeat the same motion bending your left knee toward your chest. Do 10 times. Control your entire range of motion and maintain proper form.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.

For Core and Cardio- Meet Mountain Climbers!

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Mountain Climbers!

If you’re looking for a multi-beneficial exercise to add into your routine, meet Mountain Climbers! With core and cardio benefits, mountain climbers challenge the stabilizing muscles of your abdominals as well as require many muscles to work together at the same time resulting in elevated heart rate. Begin with 10-20 repetitions, adjusting the technique to your desired intensity. Mountain climbers are for intermediate exercisers, without injury.

Here’s how to get started:

Begin in a plank position on the floor. Place your hands flat on the floor, directly below your shoulders. Place your toes on the floor, with your body straight and parallel to the floor. Maintaining proper spinal alignment, hop your right foot up toward your right hand, briefly touch your right foot (toes only) to the floor. Next at the same time, return your right foot to starting position and hop your left foot up toward your left hand, briefly touch your left foot to the floor, then return to your starting position. Repeat alternating until all reps are completed.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.


Plank for a strong core!

Get Fit Quick Tip:


Strengthen the many layers of your core musculature by adding Planks into your fitness routine.

From a prone position, place your forearms on the floor with your elbows directly below your shoulders. Tuck your toes under and lift your body up off of the floor so your body is parallel to the floor. Pull your shoulders down into your body. Pull your belly button up. Tuck your chin into your chest to maintain spinal alignment.

From the basic plank position, many options exist for progressions:

Alternate lifting your right foot, then your left foot up of the floor.

Lift and hold one leg up off the floor.

Perform a plank with your hands on the floor instead of your forearms.


*Always consult a physician before beginning exercise.

Core Combo by Sarah Johnson

Combining moves at the gym is a great way to target specific muscles groups, as well as saving time by sticking close to one piece of equipment. Try the following quick core-strengthening combination during your next workout. (Perform exercises at your own risk and always consult your physician before beginning exercise.)

Utilizing the Cable Machine:


Plié Squat & Row: Move bar down to the bottom of the pulley.  Stand with feet wider than shoulders, toes turned out.  With an overhand grip, pick up the bar and bring to waist height.  Squat towards the floor, keeping your back straight and chest forward. As you stand up, push with your heels and squeeze your gluts and inner thighs.  Pull the bar to your chest.

Pull Over Leg Chase:  Place the bar about two feet from the floor on the cable machine.  Lay on your back, with your head at the end closest to the machine.  Bring your feet off of the floor, knees bent.  Grasp the bar over your head, and as your legs straighten and extend away, “chase” them with the bar, keeping your arms straight. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago

Core Moves: Easy as 1-2-3 by Chanda Fetter

We’re all busy, busy, busy, so here are three great go-to exercises to strengthen your core. 

No more excuses, strengthening your core is a necessity!  It allows us to stand taller, have a stronger spine with less low back and neck discomfort.

Plank  – This is one of the all time best core exercises.  The idea is to contract your core muscles while holding a prone neutral position.  Planks can be done on your elbows, hands.  A general modification to keep your knees on the floor, just make sure your weight shifts into the abdominals as opposed to hips or shoulders.  You will want to tighten your abdominals and make sure to keep your legs sipped together as one.  Other variations include side planks, dynamic rotation or even adding a pike.

Sitting V with Trunk Rotation – Grab yourself a 5-10 pound medicine ball, bag of potatoes or even fruit.  Sit up tall with your feet on the floor, knees bent and hinge back from the hips to engage your abdominals.  If possible wedge your feet under something for added stability.  Be sure you don’t hinge back too far as you don’t want to over recruit your hip flexor muscles, nor do you want to load your lower back.  Stay at a safe angle that allows maximum recruitment of your abdominal wall.  Take your weight and rotate side to side making sure to stay evenly planted on your tail.  While you are performing this exercise be sure to tighten your abs and breathe deep.  Know that this exercise can be performed with just your body weight as well for less intensity by simply crossing your arms on your chest.   Perform until you find fatigue in your abdominals then rest for a few breathes and repeat 3x.

Superman/woman – Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead and legs reaching long out of your waist.  Lift opposite arm and leg while lifting chest slightly off the ground.  As your limbs lift, your chest lifts, and they go down, your chest lowers back down.  Once you get the hang of that try lifting all four limbs off the floor and hold for 15-30 seconds.  General reminders are to lengthen out of your spine and inhale, then exhale and lift your chest off the ground to find a position just beyond neutral.  You’ll want to be sure you pull the shoulder blades down your back so you’re not taking weight into your neck and shoulders.  Keep your gluts relaxed and feel the muscles along the sides of your spine tighten and you extend your back.

Chanda Fetter
IMX Pilates Studio & Fitness Center, Owner
IMX Pilates Master Trainer

3 Core Mistakes by Chanda Fetter

Having worked in the fitness industry for over twenty years, one of the biggest deficiencies I’ve seen in people’s training is working the Core. Most neglect it all together, others just do the exercises improperly.  Either way it leads to bad posture, low back pain and countless other problems, all which could be eliminated. Remember your core essentially makes up all the muscles between your hips and your ribs both front and back!

Keep the following  in mind the next time you’re working your core:

Core is MORE than just Abs – The language I use with my clients is “front core” and “back core.” Owning a Pilates studio I see people with back problems all the time, I hear the same mistake over and over again. There is a misconception that working your Abs is working your Core.  If you neglect to work your spinal muscles but continue to work only your abs, there will be a drastic muscle imbalance created thus resulting in more back pain, tight hip flexors and even tension to the neck.  So evaluate your workouts and make sure to include “back core” exercises into your routine!

Slow Down – It pains me to walk through the training room and see people rapidly moving through their sit ups. If it hurts more than it helps, don’t do it! Moving too quickly through your motion adds stress to the spine, recruits too much hip flexor and tends to skip over the deeper abdominal muscles.  So just slow down a little and let your muscles define your range, not your momentum.

Be nice to your neck – Neck pain should not be felt during abdominal work. What most people neglect to address is the Lats. Often times when doing crunches people round the head forward too far and pull on it, or when in a plant the weight of the head sinks and adds stress to the neck. By simply pulling your shoulder blades down and engaging your Lats, the tension is pulled out of your neck and shoulders and allows for a much more enjoyable experience with core work.

Chanda Fetter
IMX Pilates Studio & Fitness Center, Owner
IMX Pilates Master Trainer