Archive | Strength Training

Pink Dumbbells?

Ladies! Don’t Make These Mistakes at the Gym

Every Monday, I head out to see my client John. His apartment complex has a great gym. There’s a cable system, free weights, lat pull down station, benches, boxes, kettlebells, battle ropes, medballs and tubing. These are all my favorite things for a functional strength training workout.  Of course, the gym also has the requisite chest press, ham curl and leg extension machines, and some treadmills and ellipticals. The “requisites” are always busy. The functional stuff, not so much. Since selling my gym years ago and going out on my own as a trainer and strength coach, I rarely step into a traditional gym.  But when I do, I am ever vigilant.  Some of the crazy ass things I see […]

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How to Improve Your Balance- Part 2- Your Exercises

2 weeks ago I slipped on black ice. Ironically, the paint markings on a handicap parking spot were icy as heck, and as I stepped over it from my car….boom….. I went down hard. I twisted my knee underneath me, but besides some swelling and mild pain, no other injuries.  I feel very lucky. I have 2 other friends who fell this month and got seriously hurt. One broke her arm, the other broke her hip. These kinds of accidents are just that…an accident… but I wonder whether my good balance, flexibility and strength helped me and whether a lack of balance, strength and flexibility hurts others? The topic of balance becomes more and more important as we age. Now […]

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Try This! Half Kneeling Exercise Variations

I’m a big fan of using cable machines and functional training multi stations when at the gym. At home, I often use heavy elastic tubing to mimic the cable exercises I do at the gym. Either way, cable/tubing exercises afford a ton of varying positions, stances and postural challenges all while remaining closed chain and core strengthening. I love 1/2 kneeling variations especially, and will use this stance for rows, lat pull downs, presses, anti-rotation exercises, and even for shoulder exercises like overhead pressing or rotator cuff work. For example, try a 1 arm 1/2 kneeling chest press at the cable machine. Face away from the cable/tubing attachment with working arm on same side as knee down. Boy does this […]

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Strength Training Renegade Row

A Treatise on Strength Training

Are You Strong? Of all the things I educate people on, strength training is the most misunderstood aspect of fitness. While I think most people understand that strength is important for all of us, there is still much confusion about what improves strength, what does not, what exercises count as strength training, what do not. I’d like to clarify this and give some specific advice about getting strong. First- let’s just review what strength training does for you. Decades of great research and practical application demonstrates that: Strength is essential for the aging adult. Strength training improves leanness and physical appearance, more effectively than cardio. Strength training combats osteoporosis and improves posture. Strength training improves performance for all sports- running, […]

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Can You Be TOO Flexible?

I was asked by one of my clients the other day- Can I be too flexible?  I suppose if she was a circus performer, maybe no, but for us regular folks- absolutely!  Often, being too flexible creates more physical problems than being too tight. When the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body do not have the tension- i.e. strength – to hold the bones in proper alignment, you can get in real trouble.   There are many more hyper-flexible women than men. This may be partly because women typically did not perform strength training as a population until recently-20 years or so- and that would’ve helped to balance out our flexibility. But mostly, it‘s because, genetically, we are more flexible […]

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Five Easy Tips To Make Running More Fun

I’ve been running on and off for over 37 years. At age 52, I am starting to enjoy running again after years of dreading it. Why? Maybe it’s my age, my wisdom or just experience, but I really have changed my mindset around running. That, and the fact that I listen to my body now, rather than ignore it, has made running fun again. For the first 15 years I ran, it was because I “had” to, either to stay in shape for sports, or to stay thin. In my 30’s and 40’s I changed from running to aerobics and pounded myself into the ground in a different way. By age 47, I had alot of aches and pains and the […]

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The 10 Most Common Fitness Mistakes

Many of my personal training clients come to me with years of exercise experience, but, unfortunately, many of these clients have also gotten poor results or had chronic injuries that have set them back. Most of these problems are related to very common errors I see in the execution and planning of their exercise programs. 10 of the most common and detrimental exercise errors are: Not including functional strength exercises. Many fitness participants ONLY use strength training machines to build strength. We now know, without a doubt, that we need to include more bodyweight and free weight exercises to train the body to meet the demands of daily function- not just push a weight around while sitting at a machine. […]

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Strength Training for Women

The importance of strength training for women should not be underestimated. Once a practice reserved solely for competitive athletes and bodybuilders, strength training has gained incredible popularity over the last decade. This is due to the significant research devoted to the study of the benefits of strength training. It is now realized to be an essential part of any fitness regimen, and along with activities that focus on cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and optimal body composition, strength training insures a well-balanced, injury-free lifestyle. (Beginners see this article: Beginning a Strength Training Program.) Strength training has been proven to benefit all populations, from adolescent athletes to seniors. Women, in particular, see tremendous benefits from strength training. Traditionally, women relied on cardiovascular activity […]

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The Recipe for a Back Injury

80% of us will, at some point, suffer a back injury. Back injuries can range from mild muscular soreness to severe hip and radiating leg pain, but no matter the extent of the pain and injury, back injuries can be avoided with some self care and vigilance. Back injuries do have many common causes and “set-ups” that  you have control of.  With a little forethought, you can markedly decrease your frequency of injury, your pain level and your recovery time. Just after Christmas, I suffered a mild to moderate back injury that really surprised me. ME? A trainer!? Suffer a back injury? I should know better!  That’s what went through my mind when I could not get out of bed the day after I shoveled […]

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What Your Daughter and Malia Obama Have in Common

Mmm. Intriguing title isn’t it? Can you think of one thing both young ladies may have in common? Of course your daughter and Malia are great kids, getting older, becoming teens, playing sports. But, aside from this, can you guess? No? Well, suprisingly, it is a high risk for knee injury during sports. Last week, I was watching video of Malia and her family disembarking from a helicopter at The White House. As Malia was descending the stairs, her left knee caved in on each stair. This is called “medial deviation” and is a sure sign that Malia’s knees are not “prime time” ready. As a strength and conditioning coach, and a high school sports coach, I see knees like […]

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