The Pike Roll Back: My Top Abs Exercise

Before I introduce you to some of the best abdominal exercises out there, let’s get one thing very clear: if you’re looking to show off your abs (i.e. get a six-pack), you need to watch what goes into your mouth (i.e. follow a clean diet that’s not excessive in calories). No amount of specific abdominal exercises can spot reduce the belly fat that’s covering up your muscles!

In other words, we all (anatomically) have a washboard, and exercise can make that washboard stronger and harder, but you won’t get to see that washboard until you take the laundry off of it (i.e. reduce your body fat by controlling your diet). Losing fat and keeping the muscle is the focus of my book: Strength Training for Fat Loss.

Assessing and Correcting Foot and Ankle Problems

Foot and ankle pain is a prevalent problem that fitness professionals encounter frequently when working with clients. This article illustrates the anatomy of the major structures of the foot and ankle, explains the most common musculoskeletal imbalances of these areas, teaches trainers how to assess a client’s feet and ankles, and provides four corrective exercise techniques that can be used to eliminate pain and improve function.

ABOUT THE FEET AND ANKLES
The feet and ankles are key parts of the body that act as shock absorbers when a person interacts with a contact surface such as the ground. They also help the body adapt to varied surfaces via side-to-side movement. Understanding the anatomy of these important body parts can help you know how to assess them for imbalances.

What is Bad Posture and How Do You Correct It?

Integrating successful corrective exercise strategies into client programs to alleviate their aches and pains is easy if you have a good understanding of posture. This article provides a brief explanation the most common postural imbalances and exercises you can use to correct them.

The downward pull of gravity places a tremendous amount of stress on your feet. If your feet are deconditioned (and most people’s are), they tend to flatten in response to this pressure (i.e., overpronate). When your foot overpronates, your ankle rotates inwardly over your foot toward the middle of your body. Your leg follows your ankle, causing both your lower and upper leg to rotate inward. These imbalances of the foot and leg cause the knee to shift inward also (i.e., medial knee displacement). Over time, these compensations can lead to excessive pressure on the knee and ankle joints, causing discomfort and dysfunction in these areas (see Image 1).

Is Age Just A Number: Training with older clients

As one of the largest populations, the baby-boomer generation will have an undeniable impact on the world. The over-65 crowd will almost double in size by the year 2030. Not to mention people are living longer and more health-conscious than ever, setting the stage for a generous influx of senior citizens seeking personal training services. Exercise is beneficial for every age group, but must be tailored accordingly for this population.

Before actually delving into any specific workouts, educate the client’s family about what type of program you offer. Print out your routines that you have planned and instruct the family so they may offer the best support possible. Ask your client and their family members what types of activities they currently engage in as well as possible activities they wish they were able to take part in. This will inform your workout program, focusing on exercises that are representative of your client’s most common activities.

Treating Fitness Clients Like Athletes –The Right Way Part 2

In Part 1 of this series I explained how our choices affect our athletic ability throughout life and how trainers need to be careful to not apply methods designed for athletes to fitness clients who do not have an athletic background.

This time we will go over the proper use of using programming often associated with athletes for the fitness client.

I touched on the “more is better” mentality of our culture in part 1, and how it often affects our fitness and performance development negatively.

If plyometrics are good, we might as well do more of them and alternate them with five more exercises to elicit even greater responses, right? Well, hold on there Mr. Give Me All You Got trainer. You need to step back and look at what is actually appropriate for the trainee and it turns out there are actual guidelines for optimal results for things like plyometrics as well as for reps.

Staggered Push-ups for Functional and Overall Strength

A staggered push-up is an anaerobic exercise that is a body weight movement performed in the prone position by bending your elbows at 90 degrees while your arms are used to help lower and raise your torso. The gravity and resistance that your body provides during this exercise creates functional and overall strength. Functional strength can best be defined as to effectively producing stabilization and movement to the body with daily activities.

The staggered push-up can be considered a “moveable plank” since the core is utilized for strength just as much as the upper body is during performance. Correct staggered push-ups should be performed with the upper body, torso, and lower body moving as one unit. Staggered push-ups are a tremendous exercise because of the multi-joint and multiple muscle groups they recruit during movement. Moreover and most importantly, staggered push-ups are a true test of strength, stability, endurance, and power.

Treating Fitness Clients Like Athletes –The Right Way Part 1

Ever watch a kid play in the park? If you have not ever taken the time do so, find a park and try not to look too creepy. You will notice that very few kids have flexibility, mobility or stability issues. They jump off of things and start sprinting at full speed at whim. You will find these kids all look pretty athletic. Sure, some may possess more natural ability to jump higher and run faster but, provided the kid is in good shape, most kids have the same athletic ability.

As we get older, our life choices either cultivate this athleticism or hinder it. Some of us stop running around and jumping strictly for fun and restrict it to when we play organized sports while others sit in front of a computer screen or a t.v. for entertainment and get stiff, immobile and lose kinesthetic sense as the years go by.

While we may all start out as athletes, most of us definitely do not stay like that. 

Not Everything Is Appropriate

The Importance of Stretching and Flexibility for You and Your Clients

Flexibility is one of the five essential components (Strength Training, Cardiovascular Training, Proper Nutrition, Flexibility & Rest) that we as fitness professionals preach to our clients, yet it’s frequently abandoned. Let’s all be open and honest here for a second. How often do you personally, or have you seen exercises, go through a routine and then decide to skip stretching for any number of reasons like:

You’re tired and want to go home
It doesn’t normally make you sweat
It doesn’t provide the immediate results that our society looks for
It doesn’t give you that workout pump
Or, honestly you don’t think that it makes that much of a difference

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