It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising!

Today’s post is brought to you by Harvard Health

It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising!

Exercise can ward off chronic disease and help you maintain your independence and mobility. But the older we get in the United States, the less active we are, according to a study published Sept. 16, 2016, in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers analyzed data from a 2014 national health survey, focusing on adults ages 50 or older. Over all, about 28% of those people had not exercised in a month. But inactivity increased with age: non-exercisers amounted to about 25% of people ages 50 to 64, about 27% of people 65 to 74, and about 35% of people 75 or older.

The good news? “It’s never too late to become physically active! We have research studies showing that changing from being inactive to active—whether occurring in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or even 70s—is beneficial for health,” says Dr. I-Min Lee, a Harvard Medical School professor. Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking. If you’re unable to meet that goal, remember that any physical activity will provide health benefits, so do what you can manage based on your ability and your doctor’s advice.

Exercise Tips for Beginners

There are a variety of simple exercises you can do to build strength without leaving your home. Below are a few examples Healthline.com recommends to help you get started on your new path to fitness.

Abdominal Contractions

To increase strength in abdominal muscles

Take a deep breath and tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold for three breaths and then release the contraction. Repeat 10 times.

Wall Push-Ups

To increase strength in chest and shoulders

Stand about three feet away from a wall, facing the wall, with feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward and place your hands flat on the wall, in line with your shoulders. Your body should be in “plank” position, with your spine in straight, not sagging or arched. Lower your body toward the wall and then push back. Repeat 10 times.

Pelvic Tilts

To strengthen and stretch muscles in the lower back

Take a deep breath, tighten your buttocks, and tilt your hips slightly forward. Hold for a three-count. Now tilt your hips back, and hold for three seconds. It’s a very subtle movement. Repeat eight to 12 times.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

To strengthen postural muscles and stretch the chest

Sit up straight in your seat, rest your hands in your lap, and squeeze your shoulder blades toward one another. Focus on keeping your shoulders down, not hunched up toward your ears, and hold for three seconds. Release and repeat eight to 12 times.

Toe Taps

To strengthen lower legs

Sitting in a chair and keeping your heels on the floor, lift your toes high enough that you can feel the muscles along your shin working. This helps keep blood circulating in your legs and also strengthens the lower leg. Repeat 20 times.

Heel Raises

To strengthen upper calves

Sitting in a chair, keep your toes and the balls of your feet on the floor and lift your heels. Repeat 20 times.

Knee Lifts

To strengthen thighs

Seated in a chair, with your arms resting but not pressing on the armrests, contract your right quadriceps muscles and lift your leg. Your knee and the back of your thigh should be two or three inches off the seat. Pause for three seconds and slowly lower your leg. Complete eight to 12 repetitions and then repeat with the opposite leg.

Shoulder and Upper Back Stretch

To stretch the shoulders and back

Bend your right arm, raising it so your elbow is chest level and your right fist is near your left shoulder. Place your left hand on your right elbow and gently pull your right arm across your chest. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the opposite arm.

Ankle Rotations

To strengthen calves

Seated in a chair, lift your right foot off the floor and slowly rotate your foot five times to the right and then five times to the left. Repeat with the left foot.

 

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Try this Do-Anywhere HIIT Workout to shake up your fitness routine!

Try this Do-Anywhere HIIT Workout to shake up your fitness routine!

If you are looking for a workout to shake up your normal fitness routine, you’ll love this High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout brought to you by HealthCentral.com.

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Health Fitness Revolution breaks down why HIIT workouts are so beneficial:

What’s not to love about High Intensity Interval Training? As it’s name suggests, the workout involves various intervals – usually of high intensity – ensuring you get a maximum benefit from your workout. HIIT boosts your metabolism while burning tons of calories in a short period of time. These are only a few of the many benefits you can earn through HIIT.

Here’s our list of the Top 10 Health Benefits of HIIT:

  • Helps build endurance – High intensity training adapts to the cellular structure of muscles which enables you to increase your endurance while doing any type of exercise. “Journal of Physiology,” posted a study where people participated in HIIT for eight weeks and the results showed that they had doubled the length of time they could ride a bicycle while keeping the same pace.
  • Burns calories and fat in a shorter period of time – HIIT is great if you have a limited amount of time to work out. Studies show that 15 minutes of high intensity interval training burns more calories than jogging on a treadmill for an hour.
  • Effective energy use – HIIT uses a system of work-hard-then-recovery intervals, alternating between high intensity workouts with short resting periods. Through interval training your body learns how to efficiently use the energy that comes from your body’s energy system. HIIT also helps remove toxic wastes from your muscles during the resting periods. Alternating between the exercises also helps you breathe effectively.
  • Boosts metabolism – The American College of Sports and Medicine said that High Intensity Interval Training helps you consume more oxygen than a non-interval workout routine. The excess amount of oxygen consumed helps increase your rate of metabolism from about 90 minutes to 144 minutes after a session of interval training. Thus the increased metabolism helps burn more calories at a faster rate.
  • Burn calories and fat hours after you leave the gym – When participating in such high intensity workouts your body’s repair cycle goes into hyper drive. This means in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout your body is still burning calories and fat whereas in steady-pace workouts, you may not.
  • No equipment necessary– HIIT workouts are extremely cost efficient because you need zero equipment! All you need is a little open space. HIIT workouts utilize your own body weight, so any workout that gets your heart rate up quickly such as plyometrics, high knees and jumping jacks can be implemented into a HIIT workout. In fact, weights can actually make sometimes make the workout less effective because your main focus in HIIT is getting your heart rate up rather than toning a particular muscle group.
  • Lose fat and not muscle – Steady cardio is often associated with losing muscle. HIIT workouts, however, combine weight training (the weight being your body) and effectively allows dieters to preserve their muscle gain while still shedding weight.
  • Choose your own workouts – The great thing about High Intensity Interval Training is that you don’t have to limit yourself to just running or biking. In fact, you can pick any cardio workout and make it an interval workout. You can bike one day at max speed for 30 seconds and take 45 second intervals in between and the next day you can switch it up to jogging or aerobics.
  • Good for heart health – They say that extreme training helps build extreme results. It’s hard for most people to push themselves to an anaerobic zone where you lose your breath and feel your heart pounding faster and faster. With interval training it’s easier to push yourself to that level because of the rest interval that comes right after you reach that point. This helps keep a healthy heart and helps blood flow effectively throughout your whole body.
  • Challenging – HIIT workouts offer seasoned workouts a new challenge and beginners a quicker way to see results. You are constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone therefore you can never get bored with your workout!

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8 Metabolism Secrets That Help You Blast Calories

Today’s post is brought to you by Health.com

8 Metabolism Secrets That Help You Blast Calories

Discover how to torch more calories every day and boost your metabolism in this complete guide to your body’s fat-burning engine.

Your metabolism

It’s no wonder metabolism is a subject of fascination and speculation: The process that turns food into fuel powers all that we do. “Even when you’re sleeping, your body requires energy for things like breathing and repairing cell damage,” says Donald Hensrud, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. The number of calories you need to perform such basic functions is called your resting metabolic rate (RMR)—and it can affect everything from your waistline to your energy level. Read on to learn how to keep your metabolism revved so your body is operating at just the right speed.

metabolism

Dieting can lower your metabolism

“Whenever you cut calories, your metabolism slows down, often by more than you’d expect,” says Kevin Hall, PhD, an obesity researcher at the National Institutes of Health. Studies have found that formerly obese people have a 3 to 5 percent lower RMR than people who’ve never had to lose weight. But such a drastic slowdown isn’t inevitable. Other research has shown that regular exercise can counteract the effect. And a gradual weight-loss strategy can help keep your metabolism humming. A good rule of thumb: Reduce caloric intake by no more than 500 calories a day, and torch roughly the same number through exercise. A 1,000-calorie daily deficit should help you lose about 2 pounds a week. greens

Chronic stress slows your burn

Wigged-out and gaining weight? No, it’s not in your head (unfortunately). Research suggests that when you’re totally frazzled, your metabolism stalls. One reason: Chronic stress stimulates the production of betatrophin, a protein that inhibits an enzyme needed to break down fat, per a University of Florida study. Other research found that women who experienced a stressful event the day before eating a single high-fat meal burned 104 fewer calories over the seven hours following the meal than their more chillaxed counterparts. “The stressed women also had higher insulin levels, which contributes to fat storage,” says study author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, a professor at The Ohio State University. These effects could lead to a gain of 11 pounds a year, she says.

stress

Intermittent fasting may help

For the most part, experts have advised against cleanses and other trendy fasts. But research now shows that alternate-day fasting—which entails eating without restriction one day, then consuming about 500 calories the next—can trigger weight loss without mucking up your metabolism. Women who followed this plan for eight weeks lost an average of 13 pounds, according to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago. “When we compared the change in their resting metabolic rate to that of subjects who lost weight by consuming 25 percent fewer calories overall, we didn’t see any differences between the two groups,” says study author Krista Varady, PhD.

What’s more, after the first few days, most of the women in the alternate-day fasting group didn’t report feeling hungry. But Dr. Hensrud cautions that further research is needed to determine the long-term effects of this strategy. If you’re tempted to try it, do so under a doctor’s supervision.

fasting

Lift weights the right way

There’s no question that strength training is a good way to combat the drop in metabolism that comes with age. But new research suggests that when you’re lifting weights, the ideal strategy is to go slowly. Resting for two to three minutes between sets may actually promote more muscle growth than a shorter rest interval, according to a U.K. study published this year. “The most important thing is to just do it, two or three times a week,” stresses Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body-for-LIFE for Women. To reap the most benefits, add your strength training to a HIIT workout (like a boot camp class), she says.

lift-weights-the-right-way

Protein is key

You’ve probably heard that the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. And you know protein is essential for muscle growth; it helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue that happens as you get older and when you cut calories, says Caroline Cederquist, MD, an obesity specialist in Naples, Fla., and the author of The MD Factor Diet. But the trick, she adds, is to divide your intake evenly throughout the day. “You can utilize only 4 to 6 ounces of protein at a time. If you consume more than that at one sitting, it will get stored as fat.”

Research backs up her advice: A 2014 study found that people who took in 30 grams of protein at each meal had 25 percent better muscle protein synthesis than those who ate 90 grams in a day in irregular portions (10 at breakfast, 15 at lunch and 65 at dinner). As for the best sources of the nutrient, study author Emily Arentson-Lantz, PhD, a scientist at University of Texas Medical Branch, suggests lean meats, seafood, legumes, eggs, dairy and nuts.

protein-is-key

You can blast calories all day long

6 A.M.: Work out. You can melt up to 20 percent more body fat by exercising in the morning on an empty stomach, according to a 2013 U.K. study.

7:30 A.M.: Have the right smoothie. Swiss research found that folks who consumed whey protein at breakfast burned more calories throughout the morning than folks who ate a high-carb meal.

11 A.M.: Refill your water bottle. In a German study, drinking 17 ounces of H2O increased metabolic rate by about 30 percent for more than an hour.

1 P.M.: Add some sweet red peppers to your salad. They contain a metabolism-boosting chemical called dihydrocapsiate.

3 P.M.: Take a call on your headset and go for a walk. Small bursts of activity like this can torch up to 350 calories a day, found Mayo Clinic researchers.

7 P.M.: Turn off your iPad before dinner. Exposure to blue-enriched light (the kind emitted by electronic devices) during the evening meal increases insulin resistance, according to a 2016 Northwestern Medicine study.

7:15 P.M.: Enjoy some carbs. A 2014 study showed that people who saved most of their daily carbs for nighttime burned more calories after lunch than those who ate their carbs early on.

9 P.M.: Turn down the heat. Sleeping in colder temps ramps up your body’s production of brown fat, a type that burns calories, per a study in Diabetes.

conshohocken restaurants, local table market fresh cafe smoothie

Certain health problems can affect your metabolism

Thyroid disorders: An overactive thyroid (called hyperthyroidism) can cause your metabolism to speed into overdrive, while an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can make it slow to a crawl. Fortunately, both conditions can be controlled with medication.

Prediabetes: This condition elevates insulin levels, which inhibits fat metabolism, explains Dr. Cederquist. But lifestyle measures such as exercise and a low-glycemic diet can help repair metabolism.

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: Neither condition affects metabolism directly, but both can make exercise painful—and not exercising enough can lead to muscle loss and a drop in metabolism, explains Dr. Cederquist.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: Women with this hormonal imbalance are at higher risk of developing insulin resistance, which can in turn impact metabolism. Possible treatments include birth control pills to regulate hormone levels and the diabetes drug metformin.

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30-Day Burpee Challenge

November’s Burpee Challenge is brought to you by 30DayFitnessChallenges.com

Why Burpees?

Burpees are a full body strength training exercise. With every rep, you’ll work your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs. Burpees burn mega calories and better yet, they speed up your metabolism so you’ll continue to burn calories long after you finish your reps. Burpees also require no equipment so you can do them almost anywhere!

 

How to do a Burpee:

  • First, stand up straight, then get into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
  • Kick your feet back into a push up position and immediately drop your chest to the ground.
  • Bow your chest up, then return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible.
  • Immediately jump up into the air as high as you can.

Burpees are all about speed, but if you go too fast you’ll burn yourself out after doing just a few reps.

how-to-do-a-burpee

 

This challenge is for all fitness levels. Remember: A little progress each day adds up to big results!

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Scully Company Wins 3rd Place in the Fit Company Challenge!

Scully Company Wins 3rd Place in the Fit Company Challenge!

Scully Company participated in the Fit Company Challenge in Philadelphia! As a team, we took on a variety of competitive strength and endurance exercises, ultimately aiming to Work Fit and Live Fit.

As a result of our dedication and training, we were thrilled to win 3rd place overall in our division as well as first place in two of the three challenges! We are already looking forward to participating in the next Fit Company Challenge scheduled for 2017.

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The Fit Company Challenge was an effective and easy way for us to get our office fit and feeling good! Open to all fitness levels, this event created the excitement and motivation we needed to get fit while also providing us the opportunity to work together as a team.

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10 Fitness Tips for Fall

Check out these 10 fitness tips brought to you by Livestrong.com to help motivate you as we ease into this beautiful Fall weather.

Overview

Autumn is a transitional time of year. The leaves on the trees change, it becomes darker earlier, and the temperatures cool down. It is a favorite time of year for many people. However, these same changes can also lead to stress for individuals who tend to fall off the health and fitness wagon during the transition. There are many enjoyable opportunities to remain fit, or even begin a fitness program in the fall that can work for everyone. Planning for seasonal changes, finding support from group exercise and embracing events and activities that the season has to offer are key factors in staying fit through the transition.

fall-exercise

1. Take Advantage of Autumn Activities

Autumn group events like pumpkin picking, corn mazes, haunted trails, and building leaf piles are active options that can also be fun bonding experiences for family and friends. Organize a weekend trip or local get-together with an autumn theme and plan to be active.

2. Get Involved in Community Events

With the fall season come many holiday-themed local fun runs and events. Look in the newspaper for Halloween runs, turkey trots and reindeer romps. According to a 1991 summary report by ERIC Digest, training for a specific goal such as a race increases adherence to an exercise program. Signing up with friends or family will hold you accountable for completing the training.

3. Head to the Trails

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year for getting outside. Grab a friend and find some local parks or trails to walk, run or bike and take in the view of changing leaves.

4. Dress for the Weather

When weather gets cooler, it can deter people from going outside to work out. This problem can be mediated by wearing wind-shielding clothing and dressing in layers. Proper attire and accessories (hats, gloves, etc.) that cut down on bulk but still allow for warmth make outdoor fitness more enjoyable as the chill of fall approaches

5. Drink Water

Stay hydrated even when the temperatures cool down. People often feel less thirsty when it is not hot outside, but staying hydrated is just as important in the fall as it is when the sun is blazing. When fall rolls around, remember to stay on top of your fluid intake to help with both exercise recovery and appetite control.

6. Drink Tea

Drink more tea to warm up for the cooler temperatures. Green tea and black tea contain antioxidants that help ward off diseases during flu season so you can remain healthy and active as the season shifts.

7. Avoid Holiday Candy

According to the National Institutes of Health, on average, non-obese adults gain about a pound a year around the holidays. In addition to creating unhealthy habits, accumulation of this weight over time can lead to obesity. Be sure to pack lots of healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day to help deter you from grazing on sweets that pop up in the office, at home or at holiday parties.

8. Turn Fall Chores into a Workout

According to Health Status, a 150-lb. person can burn 135 calories by raking leaves for 30 minutes. Turn outdoor chores into a game by setting small, achievable goals to help pass time and burn away fat.

9. Exercise Early in the Day

Try to work out in the morning or during the day. With the time changing and the sun setting earlier, it can feel as though it’s later in the day than it really is. This can make people more tired than usual. Getting into a routine of working out early will guarantee the workout gets done and still allow time in the afternoons and evenings to relax.

10. Vary Activities

As the weather cools down and summer ends, it can become difficult to stay motivated. Trying a variety of different activities and varying workouts will help keep a fresh spin on exercise and allow for confidence to build within a wide range of activities.

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Personal Trainer & Nutrition Consultant: Nicole Cunningham

Nicole Cunningham can help you get in shape, be healthier and become a stronger and fitter you! Nicole is our newest local resource for our resident’s of Riverwalk at Millennium and all ScullyFit Community Residents.

As a personal trainer for 7 years, Nicole has experience working with all ages and fitness abilities. She has worked quite a bit with kids who want to be active and improve in sports as well as the elderly who wish to stay strong and healthy as they age. Nicole has also helped people recovering from injuries who are trying to get back to their normal daily functions. She also has experience working with pregnant and post pregnant women, helping them return to their pre-baby shape.

Nicole attended NPTI (National Personal Training Institute) where she became a certified personal trainer and certified nutrition consultant. She has also gained a wealth of knowledge from her experience training as a division one rower at a big ten school and from her training at the Olympic training center while rowing for the United States national team.

Nicole’s goal is to help people lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. All of her workouts are individually created for each person based on their needs and goals. No two workouts will be the same.

Schedule an appointment with Nicole today! Get in shape, be healthier, become stronger and fitter!

Nicole can be reached by phone (707) 322-2689 or e-mail Nicolecunningham85@gmail.com

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30-Day Running Challenge

We are almost done our 30-Day Arm Challenge! My arms are burning, but they look fan-tastic!! June’s challenge is brought to you by Shape Magazine and is a 30-Day Running Challenge.

Whether you’re looking to run faster, increaseyour endurance, or just start running, learn how to be a better runner in 30 days with our #RunIntoShape challenge. This is a challenge for every fitness level.

30 day running challenge

 

Here’s How It Works

Check it out: Underhill devised this easy-to-follow, weekly schedule to help you become a faster, stronger runner. The good news? That doesn’t mean you need to hit the pavement every day! This mix of running, strength training, and—of course—recovery will keep your body primed to move all month long.

Visit the Shape.com site for a day by day guide to follow along with. Post a comment and let us know how your progress is going! Happy Running!!

 

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9 Essential Strength Benchmarks for Men

We have been wanting to add more Strength Training content for our male followers, and came across this excellent article from livestrong.com. Go to the link to check out the full article, but we share the highlights below. As we have mentioned in past posts, having goals is crucial to the success of every workout routine. Without a goal, you don’t have a measurable mark to measure success and accomplishments against. This article details some strength benchmarks so you can see how you measure up and where you need to strive for some improvement. The article notes that you should also keep in mind if you are over 45, or have less than two years of consistent training, aim for 80 percent of all the goals listed.

Benchmark Goal No. 1: 2 Minute Plank – Planks are a simple exercise in regards to complexity, but are challenging to the core. A strong core will enhance your ability withstand heavy weight while squatting, pressing and deadlifting. HOW TO DO IT: Simply set up in a push-up position, but instead of having your weight on your hands, place it on your elbows. Maintain a neutral spine from head to toe. You should be in a perfectly straight line. While performing, do not allow the back to sag. Flexing your rear end and quadriceps will create more stability while performing this exercise.

plank exercise

Benchmark Goal No. 2: The Barbell Bench Press for 1 Rep at 1.5 Times Your Body Weight – This is a good goal for bench pressing, or you can substitute this for 5 repitions at 85% of your body weight. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back, grasp a barbell at shoulder width or slightly wider, lower the bar to the mid-chest and drive the bar back up to full extension. Pull your shoulder blades together to ensure you have a good base of support and that you protect your shoulders. The elbows should tuck in slightly toward your torso at about a 45-degree angle. Grip the bar hard and try to “rip it apart” throughout the movement.

male doing a bench press

Benchmark Goal No. 3: The Standing Barbell Press for 1 Rep at Your Body Weight – A good goal is to press your body weight for 1 rep, or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. This move focuses on the front shoulders, triceps and core muscles. HOW TO DO IT: Grasp a bar about shoulder width, starting with the bar on the upper chest. Tense your whole body, and, without using your lower back, drive the bar over your head and slightly back. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and brace your abs while pressing.

male overhead press

Benchmark Goal No. 4: The Push-Up for 50 Full-Range Repititions – The tried and true push-up is a fantastic indicator of your upper-body strength and endurance. It is also a good guage of your relative strength and body composition. A good goal for most men to shoot for is 50 full range repetitions. 50 can be a lot, so be realistic in what you think you can do, and then create a plan to build from there.  HOW TO DO IT: Assume a standard push-up position, with your hands outside your chest. Lower yourself down to the floor, keeping the elbows tucked to about 45 degrees, the core tight, and the neck in a neutral position (don’t look up). Drive back through the floor without letting your back sag. To ensure adequate depth, place a toilet paper roll on the floor beneath your belly and touch your forehead to the floor on each rep.

push-up

Benchmark Goal No. 5: The Chin-Up for 15 Full-Range Repititions –  A fantastic goal to shoot for is 15 full-range repetitions. Trainer Matt Kasee emphasizes a high-training volume and improving your grip strength when trying to achieve this goal. “Back muscles can handle a lot of work. In order to knock out 15 body weight chin-ups, practice your chin-ups using various rep ranges at least 3 times a week with a heavy day, moderate- and high-rep day.”  HOW TO DO IT: To perform, start from a dead hang from an overhead bar. Aggressively drive your elbows down — focusing on pulling your shoulder blades into your back pockets — and pull yourself up over the bar until it hits your upper chest. Lower back down under control and repeat. Be sure to minimize any body squirming or flailing, and keep the repetitions strict and smooth.

chin up

Benchmark Goal No. 6: The Deadlift for 1 Rep at 2.5 Times Your Body Weight – Perhaps no other exercise indicates your full-body strength better than the deadlift. Period. Shoot for pulling 2.5 times your body weight for a single rep, or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. HOW TO DO IT: Walk up to a loaded barbell and align the bar with the middle of your feet (feet inside shoulder width). Bend over and grasp the bar. Pull your hips down, flex your lats, brace your core and grip the bar hard. Break the bar from the floor and pull — making sure not to round the back! — up until standing. Take caution not to hyperextend your spine in the top position.

deadlift

Benchmark Goal No. 7: The Barbell Squat for 1 Rep at 2 Times Your Body Weight – The barbell squat has long been heralded by gym rats as the “king of all exercises.” If you have a big squat, you’ll have slabs of muscle not only on your legs, but all over your body as well. A strong goal is 2 times body weight for a single rep or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. HOW TO DO IT: Place a barbell across your upper back, keeping the shoulder blades pulled together to create a strong base. Un-rack the bar, step back, set your feet slightly wider than shoulder and then push the hips back and descend to point just below parallel. Make sure to keep the weight on your heels and your spine in a neutral alignment. To finish the rep, stand up aggressively to full extension.

barbell squat

Benchmark Goal No. 8: The Barbell Hip Thrust for 10 Reps at 1.5 Times Your Body Weight – The hip thrust, which has quickly become a staple in the programs of serious strength trainees and athletes around the globe, is a fantastic indicator of your strength in the important “posterior chain” muscles: the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. A good goal to shoot for is 10 reps with 1.5 times your body weight. HOW TO DO IT: Roll a loaded barbell over your legs so it’s sitting across the front of your hips. With the knees bent and your back elevated on a standard bench, hold the bar just outside the hips and then thrust up until you are parallel to the floor, making sure to squeeze the glutes and not hyperextend the lower back.

hip thrust

Benchmark Goal No. 9: The Hang Clean for 1 Rep at 1.25 Times Your Body Weight – hile strength — the ability to produce force — is very important, power (or how quickly and explosively you can express your strength) is equally important. A good goal is to hang clean 1.25 times your body weight for 1 rep or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. HOW TO DO IT: Grasp a barbell at arm’s length and shoulder width apart. Keeping the chest up, push the hips back until the bar barely clears the knees. Explode and extend at the hip, knee and ankle, shrugging and pulling the weight up towards the chin. Allow your elbows to rotate underneath of the bar and catch it in a racked position.

hang clean exercise

Sooo… How do you measure up? Be sure to record your results, and continue to test yourself periodically to monitor your progress. As was mentioned at the beginning of this post, be sure to check out the full article at livestrong.com for further details and tips on how to best execute each exercise as well as video demonstrations.

 

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30-Day Arm Challenge

I came across this challenge at the perfect time, because a few days ago I was just thinking to myself “I really need to tone my arms more before summer”. Fitness Magazine has created what looks like an excellent 30-day Arm Challenge to get your guns blazing just before summer!

This arm challenge is broken down into four weeks: Week 1 is all about body-weight basics, Week 2 adds dumbbells, and Week 3 mixes body-weight and dumbbell moves to build can’t-stop-won’t-stop endurance. Week 4 combines body-weight ~flows~ with some weighted moves to tone your arms to perfection.

The first day of each week, you’ll only do one exercise. But on the second day, you’ll do exercises from both Day 1 and Day 2. On Day 3, you’ll do the exercises from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3, and so on. On Day 6 of each week, you’ll ditch the exercises from earlier in the week and focus on fine-tuning work, and on Day 7 of each week you’ll do a push-up challenge, so you can gauge your progress and start feeling strong.

The challenge details are listed below:

30 day arm challenge

 

The chart above shows what you need to do each day to follow along. Go to the Fitness Magazine site for video instruction on each move along with the number of suggested reps for each day. We will be starting this challenge May 1st and hope you will join along with us. Post your comments and pictures of your results on our ScullyFit Facebook Page or in the comments section below. Good luck!

 

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