How to Lose Weight

In case you haven’t seen it yet, this is a really poignant short film. On the surface it’s about exercise, but it’s really about so much more. Many like myself find exercise important for a number of reasons like discipline, motivation, overall health–but one aspect of exercise that sometimes gets overlooked is its therapeutic power. If I’m ever having a bad day, all I need to do is hit the gym and in most cases I feel better. It gives me time, a place, and a reason to think about something else.

Three Exercises for Good Posture

Much of our daily life can be detrimental to our well-being. For many of us, sitting all day, stooped over a computer is just a daily fact of life. But as My Fox Atlanta reports, bad posture can cause everything from muscle and back pain, to headaches.

They talked to Kim Schaper, a certified personal trainer,  who helps clients dealing with these types of problems. According to Schaper, many of her clients in professional positions spend the majority of their day bent in unnatural positions. She shared three exercises that recommends for stretching out and strengthening muscles that support proper posture.

The first of these exercises is meant to help alleviate neck strain. Schaper recommends a strange looking, but very effective move to improve head positioning. Loop a towel around your head and with one hand, pull the two ends together in front of you. Next, simultaneously pull your neck backwards while pulling the towel away from you. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then repeat. Be sure to do this movement gently. If any pain is felt, you are probably pulling too hard.

The second exercise is meant to open tight shoulder muscles. Stand upright, with your back against the wall and your arms up and your sides. With the back of your arms against the wall, lift them straight above you before bringing them back to a right angle while keeping your arms and back against the wall.

While most of us stoop at our upper back and shoulders, the lower back and core are equally important to posture. To strengthen these areas, Schaper recommends lying on your back and tucking your knees upward. Your arms should remain at your sides, and you should lift your trunk up while holding your knees bent. Repeat lift and lowering your back and hips without stopping to rest on the floor.
Read more at My Fox Atlanta.

Erik Ledin – Getting the Most Out Of One Personal Training Session

Personal training is a great tool for those who can afford it and for those whose schedules will allow them to always meet when a trainer is available. For the rest of us for whom long-term personal Erik Ledintraining may not be in the cards, the folks over at Greatist have outlined some ways to make the most out of just one personal training session. Often gyms will provide new members with one or more free personal training sessions as a way of promoting your trainers. Here are just a few ways to turn such promotions to your body’s advantage.

Know Your Goals

Before meeting with a trainer be sure to know what you are looking for in your training regimen. Are you looking to lose weight? Build endurance? Just looking for a program that you can stick with? Whatever your goal, you want to have a clear idea of what it is so that you can articulate to your training what you looking for in your session.

Pick the Right Trainer

If you just ask for a personal training session, the gym will usually just pair you with a trainer whose availability fits your schedule. That is not the ideal way of beginning a training program. Do your research by reading trainer biographies and be sure to ask questions. You want to work with someone who is going to understand your goals and has a track record of helping people looking for the same results as you.

Ask Questions

Once you’ve chosen your trainer and are getting down to the business of working out, don’t be afraid to have your voice heard. Any questions that you have about machines or proper form should be a pleasure for your trainer to answer. So don’t be shy, particularly if you are not buying a training package because you will only have the one opportunity to have the question answered.

Take Notes

Your trainer is there to teach you something and you are there to learn. Do everything you can to commit what your trainer says to memory and that means taking notes. It worked in school and it works in the gym.

Check out the source article on Greatist for more tips.

 

The Leg Curl Debate

erik ledin leg curlA lot of people these days are very down on leg curls, and not without good reason. Basically, the argument goes that leg curls just are not functional because the hamstrings never function without the gluteal muscles in everyday life, so the supine hip extension with leg curl exercise, which uses the hamstrings and glutes together, is much more useful. This is all accurate, and anybody training for athletic activity looking for functional routines should use SHELC variations (pull-throughs, single-leg Romanian deadlifts, etc.).

But at the same time, it’s also true that any exercise that allows you to add increasing amounts of tension to a muscle will over time lead to muscle growth. And if you are going to do leg curls, you want to make sure you’re doing them right.

There are two ways to do leg curls. The first is where your ankles are dorsi-flexed and your toes are pulled towards your shins. In this position, the calves are free to assist the hamstrings in flexing the knees, and you are able to lift much more weight. However, if you use the calves to plantar-flex the ankle, your hamstrings are required to do all the work, and you cannot lift as much.

While the second way is correct, many people are used to the first way, and they tend to get cramps when they first make the switch. If this happens to you, this is because the neural pathways for the exercise have been established in your brain, and your body trying to get your calves to help out like usual. Rest assured, this cramping will decrease over time as you get used to the new form. A good way to ease yourself into the new form is to start by doing the concentric with your ankles still dorsi-flexed, and then the eccentric with ankles plantar-flexed. Then as time goes on, you can slowly start to do the concentric with the ankles plantar-flexed as well.