Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Max(imus) Strengthening

So many reasons to strengthen and firm the glutes...they are a large, hard working muscle group helping you get up from your chair, walk, go up stairs or climb mountains. Strong glutes and hips can help in the prevention of back pain with good balanced muscular structure helping with core stability. And so many people aspire to firm their butt simply to look good in a pair of jeans! And remember building lean muscle tissue in large muscle groups such as the glutes equals more calories burned even while you sit on them!
The glutes include the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus; the maximus usually the main focus of an exercise program as this is the most visible and largest but all 3 should be included for good function and shape.

Your Glutes exercise program: (  Exercise Log )
  • Squats, leg press:  Higher foot position on the plate of the leg press focuses efforts more on the glutes. Wider and externally rotated stance will place more efforts on the hip rotators and inner thighs (bonus!)
  • Lunges: usually a love/hate relationship...Focus on long step into lunge postion to again focus more efforts on the glutes vs. quads.
  • Step ups : higher step activates more glutes, be sure to use a slow and controlled movement on the way up and down.
  • Bridges: so many variations including use of a therapy ball under back or legs, my favorite way to ramp up the burn is to add a elastic band around my knees to add an isometric hip abduction throughout the reps to include more glute medius activity.
  • Don't underestimate the benefits of some of the basics...include sidelying hip abduction leg raises, sidelying "clam shell" to target glute medius, minimus and deeper piriformis, and quadruped hip extension for some maximus.
  • Deadlift variations are also a good component to include for glutes but may not be best for a beginner without proper one-on-one instruction for proper form to avoid injury.
  • For even more exercises, Oxygen Magazine publishes a collector's issue dedicated to glute training with some great exercises and information. Check Glutes Summer 2010.

Other points not to be forgotten in our attempts to burn calories and firm figures...stretching needs to be a part of any exercise program to ensure good flexibility and mobility for proper mechanics of joint structures. Some key stretches for the glute/hip area include a hamstring stretch, piriformis (figure 4) stretch and ITBand stretch.  All stretches should be performed in a slow and controlled manner with steady stretch held for at least 30 seconds per stretch.

And remember to continue to follow a heathly eating plan with clean foods to make faster progress towards your goals. You can't expect all your hard work exercising to make up for a bad diet!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Limping around the house with a calf strain..spasm/knots/the works....but still hit the gym this morning...upper body (including the mind!) still needs its workout !Cardio on the other hand becomes more challenging!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Do your research!
Great post by a knowledgeable trainer! Give it a read! So much can be learned here...aside from the obvious training lesson...
Great example comes from this post...has long been scary to me who calls themselves trainers...I hear horror stories from my patients regarding what "their trainer" told them. Some patients are patients because of their trainer or at the very least are paying a lot of money to not reach their goals! Everyone had their own opinion and approach to things but sometimes... they're just wrong.   I try to approach the conversation gently and diplomatically so as not to state the obvious and offend but sometimes it just has to be said! Thank you, Tony Gentilcore!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home Gym

The benefits of a home gym space are many....
Your home gym is open 365 days a year/24 hours a day, you can fit in small workout when time allows, no excuse for bad weather/long commute to the gym....
So let's get a home started and quit making excuses! A home gym can be modified depending upon space and financial limitations. Start with a few simple inexpensive items and grow as your commitment and strength grow....
To get you started:
  • Elastic bands or tubing- so much versatility in the ability to perform exercises for every muscle, portable and inexpensive
  • Stability/therapy ball-again versatile and inexpensive (look around and don't pay more than $10), can be substituted for a weight bench for many exercises to add dynamic stabilty training to your program.  Also a great tool for creating an abs program. Use it as a desk chair for more core activity ("active sitting") and improve postural stabilty.
  • Dumb bells- again a versatile piece of equipment to add resistance to your training, cost can vary...small dumbbells to get started a few dollars but may be worth considering a larger investment initially to get a set of adjustable dumbbells (I like the Bowflex pair I purchase a few years ago but there are quite a few options out there), saves money long term and saves space, growing with you so you don't have to buy new weights with your increasing strength.
  • Good pair of sneakers- spend the time and a few bucks to invest in a good pair of sneakers!
  • A few extra items for variety....dynadiscs/stabilty discs, medicine balls
Start simple and don't let yourself get overwhelmed...your home gym and your exercise program will grow with you! Just be sure to start somewhere! Start with a positive attitude and remember consistancy is key so make it enjoyable and adopt exercise as part of the daily routine!
Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Adirondack Fitness

Just returned from another beautiful weekend in the Adirondacks! Did some hiking, found our way to the top of Bald Mountain and then climbed some more to the top of the fire tower at the summit.   The hike was challenging but the reward at the top was worth it, the views were beautiful and I felt more energized the rest of the day! My usual routine is heading to the gym in the early morning hours, after several days away from my organized exercise program I realized after the hike how much better I felt with an active start in the early morning. Renewed motivation for making fitness and activity a priority!