Do I need someone else to help me reach my fitness goals? Point blank no you really don’t. As a fitness instructor I love helping others push themselves to reach their desired results. However, as someone who prefers to do things on her own, I completely agree with those who prefer to take the D.I.Y. route to fitness. The issue stems from the fact that because exercise can do so much to the body, without proper knowledge of alignment or how to properly execute a move, you run the risk of injuring yourself. That’s why I believe in most situations a fitness professional is truly relevant and necessary. The reason why I say most situations is because a lot of people who attempt intermediate to advance moves do so without knowing the proper way to do it. Yet as a former college student, I definitely understand the lack of wanting to pay someone else to show you something that you can easily teach yourself. The beauty of the recent fitness explosion, is that there’s plenty of resources available to show you how to develop your own fitness routine. However, with this availability it’s still important to read up on the proper way to do it. I’m all about empowering others to do things themselves, so here’s another gif installment that allows you to take your fitness game to the next level. It is a bit wordy simply because you don’t always know the proper alignment required for a move by looking at a 2 sec clip. I highly suggest focusing on the the proper alignment and placement of each move prior to trying it yourself.
Let me know if you try any of these moves!
Whenever I teach a cardio class I always break down every move into three levels. Level one being the easiest. This gif would be a level 3. If you wanted to take it down to level 2 I would leave out the dubbells but keep the push up into a one armed extension. Level 1 would be a simply plank without a push up but still keeping the one armed extension. You want to make sure your back is as flat as a board no matter which level you choose.
I consider switch lunges to be somewhat of an intermediate move. Simply because if you don’t have proper alignment for a regular lunge it’s not going to be pretty when you start adding a jump in the middle. Switch lunges should be fluid, knees in line with the ankle and your core engaged to stabilize yourself.
This is great for your obliques, core and legs. You want to make sure that once your leg is extend out, your entire body mimics a straight board. You want your hips in line with your shoulders. So really focus on not pushing the hips forward and rounding the back.
This is something I do during my plank sections for my cardio classes. The trick that you have to be mindful of is keeping that back as straight as possible. When you’re lifting up to straight arms you want to avoid sticking out your butt and becoming a mountain. This move isn’t easy, especially if you’re holding it for a minute or more. Remember to breathe through it, keep that core engaged and avoid shrugging those shoulders up toward the ears. This is something we all tend to do when we’re getting fatigued or losing focus of our alignment.
There’s been an anti-crunches movement lately in some fitness circles. When I had to do crunches as a dancer I felt like it was a useless exercise and truly ineffective. Since becoming a fitness instructor, I do think that crunches can be beneficial in strengthening your core so you’re able to do more challenging stuff. I also think it’s effectiveness is dependent upon the move you are doing. Straight up and down crunches can cause more problems then it should. For instance, you can really pull a muscle in your neck from improper crunches. If we’re not focused, we have the tendency to hold tension in our neck as we’re lifting up during the crunch, so instead of using our abs, we’re instead lifting up by yanking our neck upward. Anywhooo sorry for the tangent. This is one crunches exercise that allows you the double duty of leg and ab workout.
Ok let me start this by saying this move is NOT a squat. Whaaaat!? Yes for real it’s not a squat. This is a plie because your knees and toes should be facing outward toward the corners. In a squat your knees and toes would be facing forward and you would definitely not go as low. A squat is as if your sitting down in a chair. Some people consider a plie and a squat the same things, they both get your butt tight. But due to the different placement of your feet, I don’t consider them the same thing. I would consider a jump plie an intermediate move, again because your alignment is crucial. You want to make sure your spine is straight up and down and that your knees don’t roll forward over your ankles. They need to be facing outward the entire time and in line with the ankles to be effective.
This is another move I do for my plank challenges. I call them plank jacks. I personally have bad wrists so I always encourage my participants to do this on their elbows if they aren’t ready to take it to full straight arms. The same rules for a plank still applies. You want to keep that core engage so your back is flat as a board. One issue that I see a lot of people making with this move is the tendency to sink into their lower back when they start getting tired. This really kills your back and can lead to serious lower back injury. The way to prevent this is keeping those abs engaged and stabilizing your lower back.
If the plank jacks aren’t your thing, try simple leg lifts in the plank position. Keep those abs engaged and keep your focus outward to avoid tucking that chin in. This can also be done on the hands with straight elbows.
I had a client this week that had no problems with doing planks but couldn’t manage full push-ups. If you also have issues with upper body strength and doing full push-ups (as in without the knees down) this move is a great way to tone up those arms and build up your upper body strength.
You ever see those funky half ball things in the gym and stayed clear because you didn’t know what the hell to do with it? Well looky here. In this move, in my opinion you get an extra ummpfh from using the stability ball as it forces you to really engage your core as you try to maintain your balance. If your using weight like the above, you want to make sure your back stays straight and yes your butt is meant to stick out.
This is definitely an advanced move but something that would be a major goal WHEN (not if) achieved. How beast would you look doing this in the gym?
Once you’ve mastered the planks this is definitely something you need to try. But remember you’re sinking into your shoulders NOT your lower back! Keep those abs engaged or your going to really screw up that lower back.
Sometimes a little motivation never hurt. ESPECIALLY doing planks. It took me a while before I could stop doing a load groan before doing planks.
Do not forget to stretch following your workout!!! I’ve read some recent articles questioning the validity of full on stretching BEFORE your workout and in my personal opinion I think proper warm up moves will suffice. However, stretching following a intense workout allows you to knock out some kinks that you may otherwise have issues with the next day.