April 21, 2024

Row for Upper Body Strength!

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Row for upper body strength!

Rowing strengthens your upper back, lower back, shoulders, arms and core. Master proper form without weight first, and then choose a light weight to begin adding load to your muscles. Maintain proper posture and control during the entire range of motion. Bend forward from your hips, keep your back aligned with your chin tucked into your chest. Hold the barbell slightly wider than shoulder width. Pulling your shoulders back, lift the bar toward your belly button, pause, slowly lower the bar until your arms are straight. Start with 10 reps.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.


Control your weight training!

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Slow down your weight training. Add pauses to reduce momentum!

When lifting weights, pause at the top of the range of motion and pause at the bottom of the range of motion. Adding in one to two second pauses reduces momentum during weight training. Reducing momentum means your muscles work harder instead of bouncing or swinging through your routine.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.

Increase your weights!

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Increase your weights!

Have you been lifting the same weights for months on end, or for even longer? Increase your weights to challenge your muscles! If the muscles are not stimulated or overloaded, there will not be a strength gain. Do a rep check during your next workout. If your goal is strength improvements and you’re regularly and easily cranking out 12 reps, increase your weight on the next set. Go to the next weight available and begin with 8 reps in good form. And remember, you can lift a different amount of weight on each set. Your muscles want to be challenged!


Practice Your Form

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Practice Form!

If you’ve been at the weight lifting game for awhile, doing a quality-control check of your form is always productive. It’s easy to pick up bad habits here and there, or to crank out a sloppy set every so often. Check your alignment, check your posture, check your speed, check your range of motion, check your stability. Here’s how to begin:

Perform your exercise without weight, or with half the weight you usually do. How’s your form?

Don’t want to waste time? Quality-control your exercises as a range of motion warm-up without weights. Stand in front of the mirror and check your form points. A few minutes of quality control every few months is time and effort well spent! You’ll improve your results, and decrease risk of injury through logging a high-quality workout!


Straighten Up Your Posture

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Row for improved posture!

A Standing Row is an effective strength exercise for your upper and middle back. Strong back muscles mean better posture! Here’s how to start:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold a weight in each hand. Bend forward from your hips. Keep your spine aligned, and shoulders back and down. Begin with both arms straight. Bend both elbows and pull the weights straight up to your waist. Slowly lower the weights back down to your starting position. Begin with 10 reps.


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.

Build Upper Body Strength

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Build Upper Body Strength with the Standing Shoulder Press

The Standing Shoulder Press strengthens your lifting muscles of your upper body, as well as your core. So if you’re having to lift and carry heavy items during the day, this exercise is for you. Choose a weight that allows a controlled 8-12 reps.

Begin standing in neutral posture with your knees slightly bent. Bend your elbows so the weights are in front of your shoulders, with your palms facing in. Pull your shoulders down and back. This is your starting position. Keeping your forearms vertical, push the weights straight up overhead so the weights are level with the top of your head, keeping your torso stable. Pause for a second to break momentum, and then slowly lower the weights to your starting position. As you build strength, lift the weights all the way overhead stopping just short of straight arm.


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

Weight Training Works!

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Weight Training Works!

You lift weights every week in the form of groceries, your children, your dining room chair, the bag of dog food, various items in and out of your car. Want to make your daily tasks easier? Start a weight training program. Lifting and carrying are required daily actions that can be completed with less effort by logging a strength workout as little as 2 days each week. Consult a Fitness Professional to outline a program specifically for you, as well as learn proper form and technique. Here are few other benefits of a weight training program you may not have thought of:

Shape your muscles. Muscles give your body shape and contour. You’ll look fit.

Builds independence and confidence. You’ll easily be able to lift and carry what you need, when you need without having to wait for assistance.

Decrease stress. If you’ve had a long stressful day, you’ll leave the muscle and mind tension in every repetitions and set. The result is a relaxed and total-body tension free you.

Improves body awareness. General awareness of posture and alignment will improve, especially if you’re working with free-weights, as you have to stabilize your body on every set.


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.


Are you lifting too heavy?

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Effective exercise is more important than load of exercise.

How heavy is too heavy? Regardless of the number of reps you’re logging or particular move you’re attempting, sometimes the weight is simply not safe or appropriate for you.

Are you lifting too heavy? Here’s how to know:

Unable to load and unload the weight properly. You should be able to lift the weights off the rack and move, with proper mechanics, into your starting position. The same applies to racking the weight after your set is complete.

Unable to maintain proper form. You should be able to stabilize your body against the weight throughout the entire range of motion.

Unable to control the speed of the exercise. You should be able to stop the move at any time during your range of motion. Controlling the weight, rather than using momentum, is key.


Beat Boredom with Circuit Training by Angelena Riggs

When it comes to lifting weights, doing the same old thing every day can get boring and make you tempted to skip workouts. If this is the case, give circuit training a try. Circuit training consists of taking 3-5 exercises and doing them consecutively with no rest in between. An example of this would be to perform push-ups, biceps curls, triceps dips and mountain climbers all in row, then rest for up to a minute before performing the same circuit 2-3 more times. Circuit training allows you to get more done in a shorter amount of time while keeping your heart rate up. Keeping your heart rate up for most of your workout means burning more fat the entire time spent working out. Add that to building muscle, and your body will be a fat burning machine.

There are endless ways to create circuits, even adding in plyometric moves or treadmill sprints to your circuits to log cardio while lifting weights. Choose the cardio machine you like the best and after each circuit do 1-2 minutes at a high intensity to get your heart rate up. Working out this way also makes the time fly by and keeps workouts interesting. If you don’t have hours to burn at the gym, circuit training is going to be the best thing for your goals and your schedule.

Here is a sample circuit training workout:

Squat with dumbbell shoulder presses- 15 reps

Seated on stability ball biceps curls- 15 reps

Plank holds- 45 seconds

1-2 Minutes treadmill sprints

*Repeat 2-3 times

Create the circuits that fit your weekly workout schedule. Stick with the same schedule for 4 weeks, and then change it up to keep from getting bored and to keep your body challenged!

Angelena is a mom, healthy living blogger at On Fire Fitness Healthy Living (www.OnFireFitnesspt.com), a NASM Certified Personal trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Her goal is to inspire others to take the steps to living a healthy lifestyle. Visit Angelena on Facebook and on Twitter.

Weight Training: Why You Should Start NOW! By Angelena Riggs

If you’ve never ventured to the weights section of your gym, then you are missing out! Weight training is the fastest way to speed up your metabolism and give you a tight tone look. Weight training isn’t only good for your appearance either it is so great for your overall health.

Here are the top 5 benefits when it comes to weight training:

1. Lose or maintain your weight. Wherever you are in your fitness journey, strength training can help you lose body fat or maintain the weight you worked hard to reach. When you add lean muscle your metabolism is revved up and helps to burn more body fat even when you are not working out.

2. You will look lean even if the scale doesn’t change. Muscle weights more than fat, but takes up less space. For example a woman who works out with weights may weight 150, and her friend who doesn’t also weighs 150, the woman who strength trains will look leaner and fit.

3. It maintains or improves your bone density and muscle mass. Studies have shown that weight bearing exercise is the best way to increase or maintain your bone density and muscle mass as you age. Both of these tend to decrease with age, the best way to slow this loss, you guessed it lifting weights! This will improve your quality of life as you age.

4. It is important for your mental and emotional well being. When you work out you are releasing endorphins which improve your mood. The more consistent you are with your workouts the more benefits you will see. Exercise is also a great anti-depressant and helps to improve your quality of sleep. Have you ever finished a workout and felt like you can take on the world?

5. It reduces your risk of injury and illness. Strength training helps to increase the strength of your connective tissue, muscle and tendons which improves your range of motion in every day life, thus leading to less injury. Regular strength training also helps to strengthen your immune system. Who doesn’t want fewer sick days?

Angelena is a mom, healthy living blogger at On Fire Fitness Healthy Living (www.OnFireFitnesspt.com), a NASM Certified Personal trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Her goal is to inspire others to take the steps to living a healthy lifestyle. Visit Angelena on Facebook and on Twitter.