Lower Ab, Leg Raises

This is a lower ab, leg workout that I have been doing a lot lately. These 4 exercises work a number of muscles but also target the lower abdominals (aka rectus abdominis) in particular.

As well as your lower abs, these movements also improve the strength and mobility of your hips and lower back, which is great for anyone who spends much of their day sitting at a desk.

Read more about why you should Not Ignore Your Core

The 5 Move Workout – Workout of the Week #50

This is a simple but effective workout that you can do at home. You just need a little bit of floor space and a pull-up bar… and some grit!

The moves are:

  1. One pull-up
  2. One push-up
  3. One squat
  4. Plank for 10 seconds (or choose a plank variation)
  5. Jog in place for 10 seconds (with high knees)

Don’t let the “single rep” part of this workout turn you off – the transitions are part of the workout and I guarantee with all the up and down in this workout, your heart rate will climb quickly!

It’s Not About the Gym or the Gear

Photo of an olde timey gym

Spoiler: There are only three criteria that need to be met in order for a movement to become exercise. Read on to find out more…

Before I went live on Facebook yesterday, I did some digging into the history of the modern gym in an attempt to understand where movement and fitness went wrong for us humans – a species that has been in existence since the Middle Paleolithic (about 200,000 years ago) and has risen to be earth’s apex predator – even before modern tools, housing and weapons.

History of the Gym

It was only in 1939 (the year my father was born) that Jack LaLanne (the olde timey fitness legend ) opened what is heralded as the first Health Club in Oakland, California. At the time, these clubs were mostly dingy, dusty, cellar-like places with a boxing ring, a heavy bag, and a few rusty iron weights strewn around the area. This is where (predominantly) men lifted weights or trained for particular sports (not just in pursuit of picturesque abs and pecs).

Continue reading “It’s Not About the Gym or the Gear”

Stair “step-up” Workout – WoW #49

Here is a great workout that you can do at home with a stair or any platform that can support your weight.

A step-up is a bodyweight exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gluteal muscles in the buttocks. This is what is considered to be a general lower body conditioning exercise.

You can do all of the variations in this video as a progression or choose the variation that is appropriate for your level of fitness and mobility.

Bridge Variations – Workout of the Week #48

The main target muscle in the Hip Bridge is the erector spinae which runs from your neck to your tailbone. Doing this exercise stretches and engages your hip abductors, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings. On the other end of the movement, the rectus abdominis, obliques, and quadriceps get a workout due to the need to stay stable.

If you are feeling adventurous, you also try adding the Marching Bridge and the Single Leg variation. But don’t get carried away, master the basic bridge before progressing.

A healthy balance of hip strength and mobility is very important to ensure everyday stability and also to prevent overuse and athletic injuries. Achieving this balance isn’t a problem if you keep it in mind, don’t sit too much for too long, and occasionally weird out your coworkers by laying down in the conference room and doing some of these hip bridges!

More hip strength info in my article called 3 Hip-Strengthening Exercises for Power and Mobility

Comfortably Uncomfortable

Photo of a finish line

Let’s try a little experiment. If I asked you to go out and run, swim or cycle right now with no further instruction, what pace would you go at?

Chances are that you would go out and run, ride or swim at what we refer to as a “comfortably uncomfortable” pace. A pace that makes you feel like you are getting some benefit from it but also a pace that feels achievable and sustainable.

There is a good reason that we humans default to working just on the verge of discomfort. In fact, psychologists even have a name for it: Manageable Difficulty or (more whimsically) The Goldilocks Rule.

The Goldilocks Rule says: humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Or, comfortably uncomfortable.

Continue reading “Comfortably Uncomfortable”