Thursday, January 7

Exercise Glossary

On any exercise, it is important to remember that once you cannot continue with perfect form, your set is over regardless of the count. Push through the limitations that your mind sets, NOT those your body reaches. This is why you see gym rats watching themselves in a mirror. :)

Plank 
Support your body weight while on your forearms and toes. Hips should be 'tucked under' (toward floor) to take all pressure off the low back. Regression: Hold for X counts and bring knees down for X counts.
Should be felt in your abdominals/core.

Reverse Curl
Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Hands should be on the floor beside your legs. Curl knees up to your chest, raising hips off the ground. From there, straighten your legs and slowly lower hips, then feet,  to the floor. 
Should be felt in your lower abdominal (below the navel).

Side Plank
Support your weight laterally (on one side) on one elbow/forearm and the side of your foot with feet stacked. (To regress, feet can both be on the floor, one in front of the other.) 
Optional movement: Hip Tap – Lower hip to the floor and lift to start position. 
Should be felt in your obliques, the side that is nearest the floor. 

Crunch
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Hands should be at your sides. Bring head and shoulders off the floor in a slow, controlled motion with hands hovering just above the floor. Basic tempo should be two counts up, one count hold, two counts down (2:1:2). Progressions: fingertips behind the ears (and elbows out of your line of vision) and arms extended straight behind your head.
Should be felt in your abdominals/core

Dead Bug Reach
Lie on your back with arms and legs in the air (think 'dead bug'). With your head and shoulders off the floor throughout, extend one arm and the opposite leg toward the floor and return to start. The motion should be smooth and controlled with a tempo of two counts out, no hold and two counts back (2:0:2).
Should be felt in your core.

Power Ups
Lie on your back with your feet up in the air. Powerfully and explosively, alternately reach each hand up to touch the opposite foot without bending your leg. Work toward being able to touch the sole of your shoe.
Should be felt in your core. 

Hip Hikes
Stand with one foot on a stair or stable step stool. Keep the standing leg straight throughout. Drop the other foot down as far as your hip will allow. Then, bring that foot up as high as you can as if that hip is trying to touch your armpit. Slow, controlled motion.
Should be felt deep in the hip of the standing leg.

Pushups
It is very important that you practice this form until it is perfect. Otherwise, the targeted muscles will not be worked. At best, you'll be wasting your time; at worst, you'll hurt your back.
Support your weight with your hands/fists slightly wider than shoulder width apart and feet hip width apart. Your hips should feel 'tucked under' (to contract your abs thus protecting your back) and should be slightly higher than level. Lower your chest toward the floor by bending at the elbow. Your head should not drop/move out of alignment with your shoulders – watch this! It will happen as you tire. Mentally, focus on using your chest as you push up and don't let your hips sag. At first, don't worry about how far you can lower yourself but use form that, if you could lower all the way, your chest would touch first. Regression: Push up on your hands and knees. The alignment is the same, though. Don't shift your hips back to 'help' you back up.
Should be felt in your chest, arms and, somewhat, core.

Downdog Shoulder Press
From downward-facing dog position (hands and feet on the floor, arms and legs straight and hips high), lower your head from the space between your elbows to the space between your hands. Push back up to start position.
Should be felt in your shoulders and, to a lesser extent, core.


Plank Row
Begin in an altered pushup position (hands should be closer together than normal) with a 3-5 lb weight in one hand. Lift weight up toward outside of the chest and return. Complete a set on one side before switching sides. 
Should be felt in your lats (outside of your mid-to-upper back.)


Row
Grasp tubing or a band (securely anchored on a sturdy object such as a bedpost or a doorknob), pull your hands back toward your chest and return. Focus on your posture – shoulders should be back and down. Abs should be tight. Variation: Single-arm – Anchor tubing/band so that you can pull with one arm only.
Should be felt primarily in your lats (outside of your mid-to-upper back.)

Lateral Tricep Pushup
Begin lying on one side with the hand of the downside on your opposite shoulder and the other hand on the floor under your upper arm. From that position, push up until the topside arm is straight. Allow some rotation of your torso toward the floor as you push up. Return to start.
Should be felt in the backs of your upper arms.

Dip
Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench (preferably one pushed against a wall) with your hands on the seat of the chair on either side of your legs. Your legs should be outstretched and heels on the floor; move hips off the chair. Lower hips toward the floor by bending at the elbows; press back up. Regression: As you tire, walk the feet in a bit to ease the load so you can finish the set.
Should be felt in the backs of your arms.
Bicep Curl
Begin standing against a wall with your feet 8" from the wall and 5-8# weights in hands. Stand straight with shoulders back and upper arms against the wall. With elbows maintaining contact with the wall throughout, face palms out and lift weights until they are nearly level with shoulders. Return to start. All motion should be controlled. 
Should be felt in the front of your upper arms.


Fly
Begin lying on your back with arms outstretched and 3-5# weights in hand. With elbows remaining slightly bent throughout and palms facing upward, bring weights together over your chest and return to start. 
Should be felt in your chest and the front of your shoulders.


Lateral Raise 
Stand with shoulders back, abs tight and hands at sides, holding 3-5# weights. In a steady, controlled motion, lift weights laterally (out to each side) to shoulder height and return. 
Should be felt in your shoulders.


Lunge
Begin standing with feet together. Step one foot forward and drop hips down. In this position, both knees should be bent at 90˚ and shoulders should be aligned above the hips (meaning you should not be bending forward). The back knee should not be touching the floor. To return, push your weight off the heel of your forward foot and bring feet back together. Don't put your hands on your thigh to help you back up – that's cheating. ;)
Should be felt in the fronts of your thighs, primarily.


Side Lunge
Same principal as the lunge, only you're moving out to one side. Begin standing and step one foot out in a straight line away from the other. As the foot lands, bend that knee and lower your hips. The other leg stays straight (or as straight as possible). Push off the heel of that moving foot to return to start.
Should be felt in the front of your thigh and your glutes (butt).


Squat 
Stand with feet hip width apart. (It's not as far as you think, so check yourself!) Lower hips as if you're about to sit down. Work on doing this without leaning your torso forward -- shoulders should stay above your feet. Return to standing, pushing your weight through your heels.
Should be felt in your thighs and glutes.

Single Leg Squat
Stand on one foot with the other leg straight and extended. Squat as you would in a normal squat but keep the extended foot off the floor. Your balance may limit you more than your strength at first so work on your form in both respects. 
Should be felt in the thighs and glute on the standing leg and the front of the thigh on the other leg.


Glute Bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Contract your glutes (butt) and push hips up until you're in a straight line from shoulder to knee and lower. Fight to keep the glute contracted throughout the move. On the variations when you're doing this double-time, use enough control that you don't hyperextend your back as you push up. Progressions: Rather that full feet on the floor, lift the toes and push through the heels. Or lift one foot off the floor for a single leg version.


Squat Jump
Begin in a squat position. Jump straight up as high as you can and land in that same lowered position. You should not be in a standing position at all during the set.


Jumping Jack
It's the same as it was in gym class all those years ago... Progression: Hold 2-3# weights in your hands. 


High Knees
Running in place, lifting knees as high as you can. 


Burpee
Begin standing. As quickly as possible, squat down, place your hands on the floor and jump feet out behind you. Jump feet back in, stand up, lift hands in the air and jump straight up. 

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