Muscle shaping articles

  • 6 BOSU Exercises for the Core

    The BOSU—which stands for both sides up—is a unique piece of fitness equipment that allows you to perform exercises on top of an unstable surface. Among its many benefits include the ability to make exercises easier or more challenging. Here are six great core exercises that will add variety to your current exercise routine. Perform each exercise for 10-12 repetitions.

  • Complete Core BOSU® Workout

    The BOSU® Balance Trainer, now a staple in nearly every fitness facility, has been around for nearly 15 years. While the product can be easily integrated into all areas of fitness, core remains the number one use for this popular piece of equipment. The unique design and unstable surface enables you to work your core in a variety of positions with comfort and appropriate challenge. Whether you’re looking for exercises to add at the end of a cardio class or you’re in need of a full core workout, the following 5 exercises will help you strengthen from the inside out.

    Double Crunch

  • Amp Up Your Workout with These Metabolic Drills

    It’s that time of year again…holiday parties, cookies, pies, eggnog, spirits, mass consumption. So, just in case you or your clients happen to overindulge at this time of year, here are a few metabolic drills that can raise your regular training drills to a higher level. Perform these exercises as timed intervals or for a specific number of reps, depending on your class structure or training goals.

    Shuttle Runs PLUS

    Place two cones about 5 to 6 feet apart (or more if you have the space). Run and touch each cone as fast as you can.

  • Balance Training for the Glutes and Abs

    Targeting the gluteals and abdominals in a training session is a popular goal for many fitness seekers, but what about training for balance? Do you regularly seek out strategies for improving balance in your exercise routines? Considering that balance training has been shown to reduce the risk of falls (especially in older adults) and improve dynamic balance in both athletes and non-athletes, incorporating this type of training could be a wise choice. In addition, many of the exercises used to train balance call upon the muscles of the hips and trunk to provide stability. This means you get the added benefit of strengthening the glutes and abs while you’re working to become more balance savvy. Plus, the various single-leg exercises that target the glutes in balance-training programs are beneficial for knee health because they promote proper alignment between the hip, knee and ankle.

    To experience these benefits, add one set of the following exercises at the beginning of your workouts, twice a week for at least six weeks (in other words, perform these balance exercises 12 times over the course of six weeks).

  • Train This, Not That: The Core Edition

    Why do you do core training? To get better abs? Support your back? Improve your athletic performance? Maybe all of the above! When doing any type of core strengthening, it is important to ask yourself why you do each movement, and to weigh the risk vs. benefit of the exercise you have selected. Unfortunately, people do various core exercises with the hope of shrinking their midsection, when in reality they could be putting pressure on various parts of the back. Let’s take a moment to review some common core exercises, why we do them and safer alternatives.

    1. Sit-ups

  • 6 Lower-body Exercises to Do Instead of Squats

    While the squat is an excellent exercise for enhancing both athletic performance and aesthetic appearance, when done incorrectly, it can cause discomfort in the low back and possibly injure the knee. If you are interested in strengthening your hips and developing an appealing backside, but want to reduce your risk of injury, try these six exercises that can help you achieve the results you want.

    1. Glute Bridge

    Performed on either a floor or bench, glute bridges use the hip extensor muscles in a position that is safe for both the back and knees. To increase the level of difficulty, place a weight across the bony part of the hips (the ASIS of the pelvis). For best results, focus on pushing your heels into the floor and lifting your hips up to the ceiling while keeping your low back stable. D two to three sets for 12 to 15 reps (or until fatigue), resting for 45 seconds between sets.

  • Reality Check: Are Planks Really the Best Core Exercise?

    By Jim Gerard

    Not long after working your core became the central focus of fitness training, the plank eclipsed the crunch (which had overtaken the sit-up) as the go-to core exercise. Also known as a front hold, hover or abdominal bridge, the plank is, at least in its basic form, a static, isometric strength exercise that could be called a pre-push-up. It involves maintaining a difficult, potentially arduous, position in which one’s body weight is held up by the hands or forearms, elbows and toes—often for an extended period of time.

  • Build Strong Glutes and a Pain-free Lower Back

    By Justin Price

    There are two things many of people have in common: They want to have nice-looking buns and, at some point in their lives, they will experience lower-back pain. The good news is that developing strong, shapely glutes can contribute to a pain-free lower back. In this article, you’ll learn why deconditioned and/or dysfunctional gluteal muscles and lower-back pain often go hand-in-hand. You’ll also learn which exercises build strong glutes and can help keep lower-back pain at bay.

  • Improve Your Stability and Mobility with These Functional Exercises

    Without function, we are unable to perform activities of daily living, leaving us dependent on others for assistance and unable to work toward other goals in health, fitness and performance. To remain functional with every day activities such as walking up stairs, using a vacuum or putting something on a high shelf, addressing muscular balance and range of motion within the fitness routine, while also including low-intensity cardiovascular efforts, is key. Within the ACE IFT Model, these two components are referred to as Stability and Mobility training and Aerobic-base training. It is important that both aspects are addressed for all populations, not just clients who are older or have injuries.

    When looking at the body from the ground up, it follows a pattern of stable and mobile joints, alternating as we ascend upward. To improve the function of the entire body, we start from the ground up by using exercises that will challenge the stability of joints that are meant to be stable, while increasing the mobility of joints that are designed to be mobile. By using this method, injuries can be prevented and function improved (or restored).

  • Super Charge the Biceps Curl

    Nothing says strength like a pair of strong and defined biceps. Everyone from bodybuilders and athletes to novice exercisers perform exercises for the biceps in their weekly strength-training routines, each striving for that athletic look the biceps help to achieve. Now, the biceps are not the strongest or the biggest muscle in the body, but you can’t argue the fact that biceps are one of the best “show” muscles.

    The biceps is located on the front part of the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow. Functionally, the biceps does one thing—it flexes the elbow joint. One would think that exercises for the biceps are pretty limited since they only move in one direction, but with more than 20 variations of the tried-and-true standing biceps curl, it’s easy to find a few exercises that are comfortable, challenging and best suited for you.

    In addition to dumbbells, biceps curl exercises can be performed with a variety of equipment such as the barbell, EZ curl bar, cables and resistance tubing. Which equipment you choose can also determine the type of grip you use. The biceps is a two-headed muscle, with a “short” head located on the inside of the arm and a “long” head located on the outside of the arm.