Muscle shaping articles


  • 30-30-minute Ultimate Sandbag Workout

    By Elizabeth Andrews

    Do you struggle to find time to train? When life gets busy, the first thing many people drop is their workout. “I don’t have time. I’m too busy.” Many people believe that unless they have an hour to work out they might as well just skip their workout and wait until they have time. The irony.

    Long-time fitness pro and educator Elizabeth Andrews blows this argument out of the water with a full-body workout using a 25-40 pound Ultimate Sandbag Power Bag that takes less than 30 minutes. Using Ultimate Sandbags (USB) not only humbles you, they also challenge your strength, stability, balance and mobility, while stressing the neuromuscular system and working the muscles in all planes of motion. In other words, you get a lot of bang for your buck! And you know what that means: Efficiency, with a high metabolic demand. A win-win!

    Lateral Lunge to Overhead Press With Single Leg Balance (10/8/6/4 ladder concept)

  • Booty-lifting Workout

    Nothing says well-defined glutes than the now infamous “Buns of Steel” videos from the ‘80s. This ultimate video collection of grueling, yet effective exercises led a generation on the road to a tighter, sleeker lower half. Strengthening, tightening and toning the glutes is still prevalent today, but with more emphasis on how good it is for the body, not just how shapely our glutes should look.

    Your glutes are the largest and strongest muscles in the body. They consist of three different muscles that work together to abduct, rotate, and extend the hip.

    -Gluteus maximus—the largest of the three main muscles
    -Gluteus medius—a pork chop-shaped muscle that sits near the top and outside of your hips
    -Gluteus minimus—a fan shaped muscle that is located underneath the gluteus medius

    To achieve a firm, strong backside, exercises for the glutes should consist of a variety of movement patterns that hit each one of the glute muscles. Squats, side lunges and step-ups are some of the best glute exercises and should be a part of everyone’s workout routine. But when you need a break from the traditional exercises, try this booty-lifting workout inspired by fitness, Pilates and “Buns of Steel” to start on your own road to a strong and sculpted rear end.

    Perform the following exercises for the suggested reps. Move through all five exercises, take a small break and repeat the exercises one more time. Focus on keeping your core and glutes active and engaged throughout all the exercises.

    Quadruped Series

  • Metabolic Training: The Workout

    Metabolic training is about getting the “biggest bang for your buck,” but is often misinterpreted as “work out until you puke.” The true definition of metabolic training is doing exercises that are geared toward improving the capacity of certain energy systems—in other words, almost anything! But metabolic training, in the traditional sense, is likened to interval training—bouts of harder work followed by important rest intervals. Metabolic training not only has the benefit of being fun and taking less time out of your day, but this type of training also increases one’s capacity for high-intensity exercise, offers a longer “after burn” (burn more calories AFTER your workout is finished), increases production of testosterone or growth hormone (helps maintain muscle mass while still burning calories), and enhances the ability to move more functionally.

    So what should be one’s overall goal with metabolic training? Safely completing a large amount of work in a short amount of time.

    The Workout

    The exercises below use many muscle groups and can be very high intensity. To ensure safety, regressions are listed for each exercise. Be sure to respect the rest intervals so that the anaerobic energy systems are always challenged!

  • Sun’s Out, Guns Out: Summer Arms Workout

    Here’s a quick “Gun Show” routine you can do before you lather up with sunscreen and head out. You will notice that it’s not just five variations of biceps curls. Using only “direct work” or “isolation exercises” is not the most effective way for building size or strength. In addition to a proper nutrition plan, you should include a combination of compound and isolation movements to get the best results.

    Circuit 1

    Full-body: Front Squat 3x5

  • Summer Boot Camp: Legs Workout

    The Summer Boot Camp series continues with workout number two—a leg workout that is going to test your strength, balance, speed and power. Maintaining strong legs is not only good for keeping mobility in the hips, knees, and ankles, but strong legs take you places! From everyday activities such as walking up and down stairs, to enjoying your favorite recreational activities like outdoor biking or running a race, a great pair of strong and toned legs will keep you active for life.

    This workout follows a sequence of three exercises performed for 30 seconds each, two times in a row, followed by two minutes of cardio. You’ll need a timer, a park bench or steps, and approximately 40 yards of open space to move. After a brief warm-up of light walking or jogging, get ready to blast every muscle in your lower body with a combination of strength, plyometrics and cardio exercises that will get those legs and glutes strong and defined.

    Set 1

  • 5 Variations of Traditional Bodyweight Exercises

    It’s good when exercise gets boring—that means you’ve been doing it often enough to get bored! Fortunately, you don’t need the latest equipment to keep the spark in your love of fitness. Many forget that they have two very effective fitness “tools” readily available to them at all times—your bodyweight and gravity—which allows you to exercise anywhere, anytime without any equipment needed. That said, because these moves don’t use the latest fitness gizmo or gadget, some people find that standard bodyweight exercises can get stale pretty quickly. Luckily for you, freshness has arrived—the bodyweight exercise variations below will engage your mind and bring a novel challenge to your body!

    Hand-dance Push-up

  • TRX Full-body Blast Workout


    Suspension training is not a new concept for physical therapists, athletes and military, but TRX launched it into the mainstream by making it widely available for the general population. The TRX Suspension Trainer was developed by an Ex-Navy SEAL who really wanted the best workout possible without having to lug around heavy equipment.

    Suspension training does it all. It improves muscular strength and endurance while simultaneously improving joint mobility and flexibility. Due to the unstable nature of suspension training,

  • 7 Not-So-Scary Halloween-Inspired Exercises

    Fit Life

    It’s finally here—that time of year when we embrace the ghouls, goblins, other spooky creatures and fun festivities of the night. While for some, the thought of bowls and bags of chocolate and other sweet treats may cause a bit of fright, have no fear this year! There’s plenty of fun to be had by adding these exercises to your workout on Halloween night!

    Warm-up: Frankenstein Walk

  • Summer Boot Camp: Arms Workout

    By Stephanie Thielen

    Summer is just right around the corner and that means it’s time to start strengthening and toning up for the season. In this three-part workout series, exercises for the arms, core and legs will have you looking your best and feeling confident in your swimwear, party dress and summertime attire.

    This Bikini Boot Camp series begins with a workout that is sure to tone up your upper body. Sculpted arms and shoulders balance out the lower body, helping to create the illusion of a slimmer waist and hips. This workout includes basic upper-body exercises with an added burst of body-weight movements to help you get tank-top ready.

    All you need for this workout is a set of dumbbells, approximately 20 to 30 yards of space and a timer. After a brief warm up, perform and repeat sets 1-3 and then complete the workout with the Upper-body Finisher, a multiple-exercise movement pattern that works the last bit of upper-body strength you have left.

    Summer Boot Camp: Arms Workout

    Summer is just right around the corner and that means it’s time to start strengthening and toning up for the season. In this three-part workout series, exercises for the arms, core and legs will have you looking your best and feeling confident in your swimwear, party dress and summertime attire.

  • Upper-body Wedding Workout

    A person’s wedding day is the most important day of their life. Not only do they want to look their best, they want to feel their best on this special day! Most wedding books dive into every little detail, from invitation fonts to the perfect color toenail polish, but breeze over the details of the ideal health and fitness plan.

    Having taken my trip down the aisle only a few months back, I’m thrilled to share with you a three-part workout series that you can share with your clients that are soon-to-be married.

    The Wedding Workout Part 1: Upper Body

    Upper-body Wedding Workout

    A person’s wedding day is the most important day of their life. Not only do they want to look their best, they want to feel their best on this special day! Most wedding books dive into every little detail, from invitation fonts to the perfect color toenail polish, but breeze over the details of the ideal health and fitness plan.

    Having taken my trip down the aisle only a few months back, I’m thrilled to share with you a three-part workout series that you can share with your clients that are soon-to-be married.

    The Wedding Workout Part 1: Upper Body