Pilates Body Fitness: Points You Have To Know

Pilates Body Fitness: Points You Have To KnowPilates Body Fitness: Points You Have To Know by Gina G. Stewart

When you talk about pilates body fitness, a lot of things can come inside you mind. You can picture the sticks you are using, or the large balls you're squeezing and you can simply imagine yourself on the reformer table for the pilates exercise. There are also some things related to this exercise such as pregnancy, health conditions, and losing weight.

Generally, there are really a lot of things that you can talk about when you say the word pilates. Below are some of the most important things discussed together with a pilates body fitness program. Reading the items given below may help you know more about the exercise.

Pilates Body Fitness and The Benefits You Get

There are plenty of benefits which you can obtain from pilates body fitness program. Aside form losing weight, you can get a healthier and leaner body by doing specific pilates exercises. You can also obtain a good heart because some exercises are meant for cardiovascular purposes.

Some pilates exercises also benefit pregnant women. To sum it all up, there are actually a lot of advantages you get when you enroll on a pilates program. You just have to comply regularly with your pilates schedule so you can achieve the perfect body you want.

Pilates Body Fitness and Pregnancy

A lot of doctors say that exercise is one key to having a good and easy pregnancy. However, pregnant women are usually cautious about their condition because most exercises, except for walking, provide them with more stress. But with a pilates body fitness program, a pregnant woman can attain relaxation and at the same time exercise.

Specifically, it relaxes the body's pelvic muscles which aid the woman to a smooth and fast delivery of her baby. When you perform the seated leg exercise with a pilates magic ring, you can actually perform the Kegel's exercise which is recommended to most pregnant women.

However, you need to consult your doctors first before enrolling yourself in a pilates body fitness program. Additionally, you need to have a professional pilates fitness instructor to assure you of the right and proper exercise that you need to have.

Pilates Body Fitness and The Reformer Equipment

One of the most popular equipment used in the pilates body fitness program is the reformer tool. It has springs, ropes, and a gear system which help you meet the resistance you need. It allows for proper body positioning which basically helps you maintain or align your body the right way. If used properly, you can be assured of a good exercise that won't cause you pain or injuries later on.

If you love this article, you will also love another article written by this article's author on exercise bike parts and life fitness exercise bike.

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Walking Your Way To Better Health

Walking Your Way To Better HealthWalking Your Way To Better Health by Lucille Lathroppe

Walking is a part of everyday life for almost everyone, yet few people realize the potential health benefits they can receive by simply increasing the amount of walking they do throughout the day. You don't need to spend hours slogging it out at the gym to achieve your health and weight loss goals. Instead, try working a simple exercise such as walking into your daily routine.

If you've never exercised before, walking can provide an excellent introduction to working out. It's a simple activity that requires no special skills or gear. Walking promotes weight loss by offering a low impact way to increase activity for someone who isn't ready for more intense workouts. It's important for beginners to take it slow at first and gradually increase the length and intensity of their walks.

Take it slow. Start with some stretches and a slow warm up pace to get your body and muscles ready to work out and to reduce the possibility of injury. If physical activity hasn't been a part of your routine before, limit your first walk to about ten minutes and try to avoid exerting yourself too much on hills.

Plan ahead. Determine which days of the week you'll do your walking. Start with ten minutes a day on three different days. Evaluate how you feel at the end of the week. If you're not exhausted or sore at the end of your walk, increase your walking time by five or ten minutes for the next week.

Walk with a buddy. A walking partner will keep you motivated and will provide some exercise accountability. Plus, it's just more fun to exercise with a friend than by yourself. Choose a buddy whose fitness level is close to yours and challenge each other.

Don't give up. You may see immediate results as your begin your new routine, but after a few weeks those results may taper off. Kick start your efforts again by changing up your plan and making small adjustments to your lifestyle and diet. Healthier choices such as having an apple instead of a cookie can add up to big results.

Keep it low impact. Walking is easy on your muscles bones and joints because it doesn't have the jarring impact of running or jumping. Older individuals, people just getting started in fitness, and people recovering from an injury can all benefit from the low impact activity of walking.

The Weight Loss Plans website offers diet tips and tricks as well as reviews of some leading weight loss programs. Check it out at!

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The Right Way To Do Pilates Reformer Exercise

The Right Way To Do Pilates Reformer Exercise  by Wayne V. Sanches

Those who haven't tried exercising on a pilates reformer think that there can only be one exercise move done on the equipment. Well, that notion is wrong. There are several pilates reformer exercise movements which help you trim down and which tone specific body parts. If done continuously at regular intervals, the pilates reformer workout can help you attain the perfect body that you want to achieve.

Read on some pilates reformer exercise below and try doing the movements yourself. You can try asking your instructors about this workout and have them perform it with you so you can do it the right way.

Pilates Reformer Exercise: The Side Lying Leg Exercise

In a leg pilates reformer exercise, you have to position yourself on the carriage in a left side lying position. You can relax your head flat on the board or you can support it using both your hands. Next, you have to put your left foot under the foot bar in the highest position. Do the sidekick by raising your right leg and swing it in front of you.

Repeat the movement five to ten times on each leg. You can also raise both your legs as high as you can and go back to a normal position on the platform. This move also has to be done for ten times. This pilates reformer exercise can help you build stronger and leaner leg muscles.

Pilates Reformer Exercise: The Basic Mermaid Exercise

A basic mermaid move can be performed on a pilates reformer exercise. Lie down comfortably and straighten your spine to achieve a neutral position. You can place your hands on the back of your head or you can lie down flatly on the carriage. The right leg should be placed on the foot bar first and perform some "kicking" movements. After ten repeats, do the same move with your left leg. If done properly and if practiced at regular intervals, you can have longer and slimmer legs in no time.

Pilates Reformer Exercise: Getting Flat Abs

Getting flat abs can be achieved when you perform the pilates reformer exercise correctly. First, you have to pull your shoulders and grab the straps or ropes to bring your arms high in the ceiling. Raise your legs and make sure they are aligned with your hips.

The lower abdominal muscles will be energized once you do this movement. Breathe in and out while you are doing this exercise. Repeat it for several times until you feel your belly muscles tightening. If done continually for a month or so, you can get the flat abs that you desire.

If you love this article, you will also love another article written by this article's author on treadmills review and Vision fitness treadmills.

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Why Intense Cardio is Much More Efficient at Burning Fat

Why Intense Cardio is Much More Efficient at Burning Fat  by Luke Johnstone

For years, it was common knowledge that you had to stay in the target heart rate zone to efficiently burn fat. However, the last few years have seen a rise in the popularity of shorter, intense cardio workouts to burn fat.

Training in your target heart rate zone came about when it was revealed that lower intensity exercise (like walking) burns a greater percentage of fat calories during the activity. More intense work on the other hand burns predominantly carbohydrates. So people would try not to train too hard, because if they did, their body would switch from burning fat, to burning carbohydrates. What most people don't realise though is that you cannot rely on calories burnt during an activity to lose weight.

Calories burnt during the activity do little to help us lose fat. The critical component of successful fat loss relies on our metabolism and certain hormones flowing through our body. This is why shorter more intense workouts are much more efficient.

Training at a lower intensity burns calories only during the activity. As soon as you stop you will stop burning calories. This is because this form of training hardly raises your metabolism. Also longer, less intense cardio sessions hardly stimulate our body to release hormones which will help our fat loss progress. If done long enough though, you can actually stimulate a hormone that works against us…cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone which actually eats away at muscle. This is obviously a bad thing!

On the other hand, shorter, more intense cardio workouts release certain hormones, most importantly Growth Hormone. The amazing thing about growth hormone is that it helps us build muscle, and does its best to stop fat from storing on our body. We could eat as much as we want and we won't put on any fat. (However if you got an absolutely voracious appetite, you might, at worst very slowly put on some fat.) That's why if we got the hormones flowing in abundance in our body, an occasional pig out day, or binge isn't going to hurt our progress.

Another great benefit of intense training is that it raises our metabolism substantially, for up to 48-72 hours afterwards. Seeing how it keeps the metabolism elevated for up to 3 days afterwards, imagine what would happen if you did these cardio workouts every other day. Your metabolism would be like a fat destroying furnace!

A good real world example is to compare the difference in physiques between marathon runners and sprinters. Which physique would you prefer? How do you think they train? Marathon runners do hours upon hours of long distance running, whereas sprinters train intensely and explosively. No matter what training we do, our body works by adapting to the stress and making it easier.

So with all the training marathon runners do, cortisol will be running rampant in the body, destroying muscle. This is simply the body adjusting to the workload and making it easier for itself. Too much muscle will only hinder the athlete's performance (and joints mind you!). That's why marathon runners have very little muscle.

On the other hand, if we trained like sprinters, with short explosive bursts our body will actually want to keep muscle and burn fat. This is because we need our muscles to better perform the workouts we are subjecting the body to. Also, the body, when exposed to this type of training actually wants to rid the body of its excess fat. This is because the fat on the body is simply hindering its performance. Hence, this is why short, explosive training stimulates hormones like growth hormone which help us build muscle and burn fat.

Well then how should you train? It depends on your goals. Do you want to look like a marathon runner or a sprinter?

If you want to be as thin as a rake, go running for hours on end.

However, if you want that lean, muscular physique much like a sprinters, here are a few suggestions:

30-100m sprints: Set out a distance and sprint all out for the set distance. For recovery, walk back to the starting line. As soon as you get back, sprint again. I wouldn't do more than 8 total sprints in a workout. For example you could do 6 x 60m sprints.

Intervals: Pick an exercise you like, (running, swimming, cycling, boxing, skipping etc.) and give a near maximum effort (80-100% Max) for 20 seconds, followed by 40 seconds of rest or light exercise (40-60% of max). Repeat 5-6 times. No more than 10 reps is necessary. If you can do 10, focus on going more intense in each interval. I personally like doing these with shuttle runs over a distance of 10-20m.

10 minutes constant max effort: Pick an exercise (running, swimming, cycling) and go as hard as you can for approximately 10 minutes. Try to outdo yourself. You could do 10 minutes every time and try to beat the distance every time you do it OR you could have a set distance and try to beat the time every workout. I personally go down to the oval and time myself over 8 laps of the track.

In finishing, for maximum fat loss, I would recommend doing no more than 4-5 sessions a week. That equals, at most to 60-70 minutes of training time a week. I know it doesn't sound like much, but if you spend every single one of those minutes going as hard as possible, your metabolism as well as those hormones will melt the fat off your body in no time.

Luke Johnstone is a former long time yo-yo dieter who has struggled with his weight ever since he was a little kid. Fed up with dieting he decided to devise a plan which enabled him to eat more food everyday, eat whatever he wanted, 'pig out' a few times a week and exercise a total of only 90 minutes a week. He managed to get in the best shape of his life and now has a website to help others struggling with diets to lose weight. You can check it out at

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Learn These Five Sandbag Workouts for Great Health and Fitness

Learn These Five Sandbag Workouts for Great Health and FitnessLearn These Five Sandbag Workouts for Great Health and Fitness  by Jennifer James Cooper

Having a sandbag as a training workout material is a really versatile training workout apparatus which will be used to achieve a full workout for the body in a short amount of time. With a handful of plain drills, you would be assured to attain a really productive, head to toe workout.

Below are the 5 sandbag training workouts you ought to practice:

1. Sandbag Squats - It's just quite the same as a squat using a barbell, but here you utilize a sandbag as a substitute. Lift the sandbag to one shoulder, or you can certainly also position it on both your shoulders behind the head. As you're keeping the toes pointed a little forward. Afterward, bend your knees downward until they become equidistant to the floor, and then return to the beginning position. You could also squat a little lower; do what seems simple for you.

2. Sandbag Burpee Presses - Carrying the sandbag at waist height, place down the sandbag with your knees are approximately making physical contact with your elbows. Accomplish a push-up stance in a singular fluid activity, do a push-up, and then go back to the crouching posture. Be cautious when standing up while lifting the sandbag back to waist level. Bend a little as you're raising the sandbag to your chest. Elbows ought to be down, as if you're putting a big box on a console. Press the sandbag over your head, then back down to chest level, and then back to the beginning movement. Repeat for as many repetitions as necessary. Do it again as long as you can handle.

3. Sandbag Ruck - Raise the sandbag, place it on a shoulder, or behind the head on both shoulders. And then simply jog or walk. Perhaps you think it's pretty simple but actually, this pose is a torturous workout drill, depending on the size or weight of your sandbag. A treadmill could be made use of to monitor distance, or to increase the incline for additional difficulty.

4. Sandbag Push-Presses - Raise the sandbag up to waist level, and position the sandbag to chest level the same as in a sandbag burpee press. Bend your knees and then go back up similar to when you are making a small leap as you are pressing the sandbag over your head and then back down to your chest. The upward movement of your body will particularly assist in pressing the sandbag overhead. Repeat for as many repetitions as needed. Do it again as long as necessary.

5. Sandbag Get-Ups - Place the sandbag on a singular shoulder, as you're cautiously lowering your body into a sitting, then lying stance. While lifting the sandbag onto the shoulder, post the other hand on the ground including the opposite leg. Now stand up! This stance is expected to be laborious, and you certainly will be off balanced if you try to stand. After you reach your starting position, you have completed a sandbag get-up.

There are various sandbag training drills which prove to be very easy and highly efficient. military personnel, firemen, strongman, cross trainers, and combat athletes all use sandbag training as part of their exercise programs in order to get a competitive level of fitness and strength.

Jennifer James Cooper - Sandbag Training

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Fitness Program for Monday and Tuesday: Aerobic

Fitness Program for Monday and Tuesday: AerobicFitness Program for Monday and Tuesday: Aerobic by by Rebecca Marli

Maybe you can`t go to the gym every day but you may try these exercises at home and won`t take more than twenty minutes per day. The practice brings something different each day so you won`t get bored and is specially designed for each muscle group. The result of this workout is increased resistance to effort, a better coordination, and more flexibility.

Exercises for arms, shoulders, and chest:

Start with ankle exercises, then keep your arms straight with a two pounds weight in each hand, and do four series of eight rotations forward each and then do the same thing backward. Stay with your arms laterally bend, with your ells at your shoulders and bring your bend arms in front.

These exercises are meant to reduce the amount of fat in the belly and may also increase the resistance of back muscles:

Stay with your legs spread and a two pound weight in each hand. In this position, bend your trunk to the right, then to the left, in four series of eight exercises each. Stay straight with your legs easy bend, your arms crossed in front of the chest, the ells also bend, and twist your body to the right and left, in four series of eight exercises.

These exercises are specially designed to increase the strength of your thighs, hips, and shanks:

Keep your legs spread, your hands on your hips, and your knees easily bend. Raise and lower your heels from the ground, while you keep your back straight.

Exercises for your belly:

Lay on your back, with your hands at your neck, your legs a little spread, and lift your body while you keep the ells laterally. Stay on your back, with your arms around your body and slowly lift your legs at ninety degrees, and then lower them. Repeat this exercise in four series of eight exercises.

Exercises for your thighs:

Stay on one side, on your left arm, and keep your left leg bend upon the other and make four series of eight short lifts with your left foot, then change and repeat with the other foot.

After these exercises you should have relaxing exercises. For instance, cross your legs, take your arms to the back, and bend your body forward. Keep this position for almost eight seconds. Keep your legs stretched, bend your body forward and try to reach your ankles. Stay in this position for ten seconds.

(c) Project Weight Loss 2008. All rights reserved.

For free weight loss tools and diets, visit Project Weight Loss, a growing weight loss community featuring BMI Calculator, calorie counter, carbs counter, diet planner, workout planner, and many other weight loss tools.

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All Of The Truths Of Muscular Confusion

All Of The Truths Of Muscular ConfusionAll Of The Truths Of Muscular Confusion by by Corey Andalus

When you're thinking of which exercise regimen to adopt, it is normally essential to consider first both one's actual physical capabilities and limitations. Working with a professional personal trainer is a crucial move in identifying the forms of workout that may provide the utmost reward. An individualized technique is always best.

What is Muscle Confusion?

Even though there are certain exercises made around the approach, it is really a training principle and not really a specific workout. The idea could be applied in various ways, based upon the qualifications of the instructor. The plan is that the best advantage of working a particular group of muscles might be restricted with too much repetition.

The muscle groups may level, leading to further effort in that spot to become repetitive. The identical frame of mind is getting bored, impatience, or unbearable pain. Certainly, it is the major problem that keeps a lot of people from being focused. The nice thing about it is that this is easily avoided by applying concepts of proper moderation and activity modification into your exercise plan.

In the past, training had been based upon the belief of a severe work out. The result was that a lot of instructors became conscious of a fitness limit; the constraint of improvement for any given training. It became a point of frustration that many people figured just needed to be pushed through, and could have given rise to the expression, no pain, no gain.? Muscle Confusion was developed in effect to these issues, so that the muscles couldn't get a chance to adjust to a set exercise pattern.

Personal trainers may use many routines in order to work towards their customer's workout plan. Another concept is reciprocal muscle inhibition. It is the theory that the 2 parts to a muscle lever, the agonist and the antagonist, will not both be really working at the very same time. Whenever one side shrinks entirely, the opposite end should unlock.

For instance, whenever the quadriceps are contracted, or tightened, the hamstrings are forced to extend. This idea is often practiced to minimize muscle cramps, but can also be applied for purposes of Muscle Confusion also. This feels like a deep opening in the back of the leg, and is a wonderful way to prepare for toning routines.

Putting Weight Training to Cardio Workouts: Health And Fitness Benefits

Cardiovascular exercise stimulates the circulation of essential blood, oxygen and vitamins. Whenever blood moves thru the body, muscles glide better against different muscles and there is normally a feeling of warmth in the limbs. Important chemicals circulate, causing any where from a light to extreme state of euphoria. The unique supply of oxygen invigorates the mind and strengthens the entire body. Most of all, the stored metabolic waste materials are sent through the lymph system, which has a purifying result.

Although these are all ideal outcomes, they are best implemented if added to weight lifting. If cardio exercise is done alternately with weight training, it prevents the feeling of stress or excruciating soreness. The weight lifting will be easier on the joints since these will be lubricated by the cardiovascular warm-up. Muscles warmed by cardio exercises even respond better to weight training exercise.

Nowadays, wonderful personal trainers include many different exercising concepts to the routine both by changing the kind of exercise and introducing new ones. One week, they can concentrate a lot on stretching, lengthening, and yoga positions.

The following week they can shift the routine to highlight an entirely unique set of routines, such as weight training. This allows them to carefully plan your rest period in conjunction with a variety of load, that is placed on alternatively heavy and shallow muscle groupings.

HomeBodies is a great reference pertaining to personal training in NYC. NYC Personal trainers may come to your house or meet you at the gym. They will personalize a fitness program exclusively for you and help you attain the overall health, wellness, and workout goals you would like to realize.

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Build Your Legs and Torso at the Same Time

Build Your Legs and Torso at the Same TimeBuild Your Legs and Torso at the Same Time by by Sandra Prior

This plan will allow you to throw down a 45kg goblet squat in just six weeks. For all exercises, make sure that your upper body stays rigid so that your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings do most of the heavy lifting.

Forty five kilograms may not sound like all that much, but wait till you try it. Once you're able to bang out a few sets of 10 with this weight, you'll realize the full body benefits of squats.

Weeks One and Two

Hone your technique. Five days a week, do two to three sets of five to 20 reps of goblet squats. Use a light dumbbell, or even a heavy book.

Week Three

Do the following squat routines three days a week, resting for at least a day between sessions. You'll improve your technique and increase strength and muscle endurance.

Day One: Do a "rack walk-up": grab the lightest dumbbell you can find and do a set of 5 goblet squats. Return the weight to the rack and grab the next heaviest dumbbell. The exchange should take less than 20 seconds. Do another set, then keep moving on to heavier weights until you find a dumbbell that's challenging to lift but still allows perfect technique.

Day Two: Do the first day in reverse: a "rack walk-down". Start with the second heaviest dumbbell you managed on day one, doing a set of five reps. Move down the rack, lifting a lighter weight for each set of five. Aim for a total of 10 to 12 sets, resting for no more than 20 seconds between sets.

Day Three: Combine your workouts from days one and two. You'll start by moving up in weight, doing sets of five repetitions. When you reach your heaviest weight, work back down the rack. Rest for two days before your next squat workout.

Week Four

By now you should feel comfortable doing the goblet squat. You'll focus on building muscle and strength with the routines below.

Day One: Do two sets of 20 repetitions using a dumbbell that challenges you in the last five reps. Rest for two minutes between sets.

Day Two: Choose a weight that makes it difficult to finish 10 reps. Do three sets of 8 reps, resting 60 seconds between sets.

Day Three: Do a rack walk-up. Aim for three reps with each weight, stopping when you feel your technique beginning to falter.

Week Six

This week's theme is simple: if you can pick it up, you can squat it.

Day One: Do a regular rack walk-down, doing three reps per set with a heavy weight. Then do another rack walk-down, this time starting with a slightly heavier dumbbell. Rest for no more than 20 seconds between sets and for 30 seconds between walk-downs.

Day Two: Do a couple of light warm up sets of goblet squats, then do the rack walk-up twice. Do three reps per set and rest for up to 30 seconds between sets.

Day Three: Do a few easy sets to warm up. Then find the heaviest dumbbell you can lift - aim for 45 kg or more - and do the goblet squat.

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at

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Running Riot

Running RiotRunning Riot by by Sandra Prior

No matter what your fitness level, this program gives you everything you need to get moving, do a 10km � or just feel great.

Even if just the thought of running a road race makes you expire, you�ll be ready to go by the end of this program. Honest. Its 12 weeks that will change the way you think of yourself. The bonus? You�ll burn significant kilojoules, see an incredible boost in your energy, reduce the risk of disease and best, of all, feel great about yourself.

Stretch Moves

Glute Stretch

Lie on back and bend left leg, pulling left knee in towards left shoulder, keeping right leg straight. Place left hand on left knee and right hand on top of left ankle, gently guiding leg further towards shoulder for 2 seconds. Release and repeat for all reps, then switch legs.

Outer Hip Stretch

Lie on back and place left foot in center of a rope or rolled towel, straightening leg so ends of rope or towel are taut, with right leg straight on ground. Lift leg slightly off ground with knee locked, rotate leg out slightly from hip and use inner thigh to pull left leg across right leg. Use rope to assist and hold for 2 seconds. Release and repeat for all reps, then switch legs.

Inner Thigh Stretch

Lie on back and place left foot in center of a rope or rolled towel, straightening leg so ends of rope or towel are taut, with right leg straight on ground. Rotate left leg inward slightly from hip and use outer hip muscles to pull leg out, leading with heel. Use rope to assist and hold for 2 seconds. Release and repeat for half of reps, with heel leading, then rotate leg for half of reps with toes leading. Repeat with opposite leg.

Quadriceps Stretch

Lie on right side with both knees curled into chest. Place right hand on inner thigh, behind right knee, and left hand around shin or ankle of left leg. Contract abdominals. Keeping left knee bent, use glutes and hamstrings to push left heel behind you, left leg parallel to ground, then assist with left hand for 2 seconds. Release and repeat for all reps, then turn onto left side and repeat.

Lower Back Stretch

Sit on a mat with back straight, knees bent and feet on ground. Tuck chin down and contract abs to roll down and forward (legs may splay out slightly). Grasp sides of shins to assist for 2 seconds. Release and repeat.

Strength Moves

Single Plie Leg Press Machine

Sit with pelvis against pad, abs tight, right foot on plate, rotated out from hips, with left foot on floor. Press foot plate forward and release handles. Lower foot plate, keeping knee lined up with toes. Use inner thigh to press plate back up and complete set, then switch sides.

4-Way Hip Abduction

Adjust platform and roller and stand facing machine with roller on outside of right thigh, just above knee. Use outer hip muscles to slowly raise right leg out to side. Slowly lower. Complete the set, then switch sides.

Straight Leg Walking Lunge

Holding dumbbells at sides, stand with feet hip width apart, abs tight. Stride forward with left leg bending left knee so it�s aligned over left toes, back leg straight. Push off back leg and take another stride forward with right leg. Continue for 20 strides. Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.

Standing Cable Hip Extension

Stand facing low cable stack with ankle collar around right ankle, abs tight, chest lifted. Keeping leg straight, use buttock muscles to raise right leg back and up, going only as far as you can without involving torso. Slowly return to starting position and complete sets, then switch sides.

T-Bar Cable Row

Facing pulley with long bar attached, bend knees and keep torso straight as you bend down to grasp bar with an underhand grip. Use back muscles and rear shoulders to bring elbows back and in towards sides. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.

Rear Delt Fly

Sit at a rear delt machine, grasp handles at shoulder height and, with abs tight and chest lifted, use rear shoulder muscles to pull elbows out and back until aligned with shoulders. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.

Resisted Reverse Crunch

Hold a 1,5kg medicine ball between ankles and lie on back, knees bent at 90 degrees, hands overhead grasping a piece of equipment for stability. Keeping knees bent at 90 degrees, contract abs and pull hips up, curling pelvis in. Hold, return to starting position and repeat. Strengthens abdominals.

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at

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Stretch Away Stiffness

Stretch Away StiffnessStretch Away Stiffness  by Sandra Prior

Stiff hips are no fun, and can sideline your workout. Banish them with pigeon pose.

Muscles Worked

1. Gluteus Maximus
2. Gluteus medius hip flexors
3. Psoas Major
4. Illacus

How to do it

Kneel on all fours on a yoga mat, with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Slide your right knee forward until it�s close to your right wrist (your shin will be at a 45 degree angle to the front of your mat), and flex your foot. Extend your left leg behind you, with your toes pointed. Lower hips towards the floor, keeping them level.

Walk your hands forward, and lower your torso until you feel tension in the right side of your bum. Rest on your hands or forearms, or put your forehead on the floor. Hold for five breaths, then walk hands back to right leg. Switch sides.

Tip: If one hip won�t reach the floor, place a folded blanket underneath it so your hips are supported and stay level.

The Pay Off

You use your glutes and hip flexors (the muscles along the front of your hips) for nearly every daily activity. When you�re overworked, they can tighten up, making your lower body feel stiff and even leading to back pain. End every day � or workout � with this pigeon pose to help release tension in those muscles and lose that stiff feeling for good.

For Best Results

Repeat this stretch once or twice.
If your hips are really tight, stay on your hands when you lean forward. Progress to resting on your forearms and then to resting with your forehead on the floor. To make it more challenging, hold the pose for up to five minutes on each side.

Mistakes to Avoid

Don�t tighten up your shoulders. This creates tension in your upper body, making it more difficult to get into the pose.
Don�t rest your back foot on its side, which can strain your knee�s ligaments.
Don�t force yourself into position, doing so could strain your hips or knees. Instead, with each exhalation, sink a little deeper into the stretch.

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at

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