Showing posts with label nyc personal trainer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nyc personal trainer. Show all posts


How can running be good for your knees?

New research reported in the NY Times shows that running can actually be GOOD for your knees. In my experience, most runners experience knee pain and problems as a consequence of any of these three factors listed below. If you experience this type of pain, address these issues before they turn into a bigger problem.

Faulty alignment or movement patterns - The most common issues are feet that turn out and knees that move inward (knock knees). Your body is designed to optimally absorb the impact of running when your joints are properly aligned. If they aren’t, you will cause undue wear and damage over time. If you sit for long periods of time, I’ve got the corrective exercises and stretches to undo muscle imbalances that this causes at

Bad shoes - shoes need to be replaced every 3-4 months or 300-400 miles because the midsole loses cushioning. If you buy last season’s shoes at a discount store or website, the clock has been running on them, the midsole has started to dry and lose cushioning. Another factor is whether the shoe provides the right level of stability for you. Do you need a neutral shoe, a stable shoe, a motion control shoe? A knowledgeable salesperson or trainer can help guide you to the right shoe.

Prior injuries - This includes impact injuries, sprains, strains, twists, and the cumulative impact of the above. If you’ve had physical therapy, you probably need to continue some version of the program to prevent reinjury.

Contact me if you need more help, and visit for more information.


15 Minutes Can Get You Better Results and Reduce Your Risk of Injury

Thanks for your readership of my fitness blog. To show my appreciation, I am pleased to offer a complimentary fitness program review .  We will discuss your goals, fitness level, current program and results, and give you a chance to ask questions.  This is a must if any of the following apply:
  • you're just starting out or returning
  • you've been working hard but aren't getting the results you want
  • you've plateaued 
  • you've had an injury, medical issue, pregnancy
  • you're bored, routine has gotten stale
  • you aren't working with a trainer
  • you have a special event -- wedding, trip, beach, etc.
  • you've been a reader for some time and just have some questions
Please note availability is limited and we need to schedule in advance. 


What NOT To Do: The Six DO NOTS of Weight Loss

In this issue, six simple tips about the things that don't work and alternative that do to help you get the most out
of your efforts.  

1.  Don't Starve - Watching your calories is good, starving yourself and skipping meals actually works against
you. When you skip meals or reduce your calorie intake too low, your body thinks you're starving and goes into
"survival mode." It actually lowers your metabolism so that you burn less calories. Instead, plan on increasing
exercise and reducing caloric intake so that you have a daily "calorie deficit" of 500-1000 calories. At this rate,
you should lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week. The American Dietetic Association and American College of
Sports Medicine consider this level optimal for long term weight loss.

2.  Don't Do Just Cardio - Aerobic exercise is great for burning calories while you're doing them and for a
short time later. Strength training has the added advantage of building lean muscle - which means your
metabolism increases and you burn more calories ALL DAY LONG! Ideally, do a combination of both for
best results.

3.  Skip the Small Muscle Exercises - The larger the muscle, the more calories it will burn when you exercise.
Legs, Back and Chest exercises give you the most bang for the buck, while small muscles like shoulders,
arms and calves burn very few calories. Multi-joint exercises like those shown on the chart below give you
the biggest bang for the buck, and can hit smaller muscles in the process.

Skip These Small Muscle Exercises
Emphasize Big Muscles/Multi-Joint Exercises
Biceps, Triceps, Shoulder Press, Shoulder Lateral
and Front Raises, Calf Raises
Squats, Lunges, Pushups, Pullups, Chest Press, Rows,  
Lat Pulldowns, Hamstring Curls

4.  Cut the Down Time- Organize your strength workout into circuits so that you get more training volume
and keep your heart rate up by reducing idle time between sets. Examples of circuits include
lunge/pushup/pullup with no rest in between and chest press/row/squat. I've got some circuit training programs
on my website at  

5.  Don't Go in Without a Plan - It is proven that having a plan and schedule lead to better results. Where,
when, how often will you exercise and what will you do in every exercise session? Base your plan on goals
that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

6.  Don't Get Hurt - Overtraining, inappropriate exercise selection, and poor setup technique can lead to an
injury that derails your program - or worse. Give each muscle group a day off between strength training
sessions. Identify problem exercises for you with the mini-self assessment on my website Be careful with technique in getting in setting up weights or getting in and
out of machines. It is easy to get hurt grabbing for a weight in the wrong way or squirming in and out of a
machine without adjusting it properly.  If you've had a long break or are new to exercise, check with your
doctor first.

If you need help getting a safe, appropriate, efficient and effective program off the ground, I can usually get
someone on routine in as few as five sessions.  


Updated Exercise Programs and Progressions Page

Find links to15 different exercise and flexibility programs, including illustrated programs and a mini self assessment, visit  Feel free to contact me to schedule sessions for a more detailed and customized assessment and to personalize your program to your needs, goals and fitness level.


Beware the Hype

We're all trying to sell something and all having something sold to us. As a fitness consumer - OR trainer - the easiest thing can be to hitch onto the latest fad .  One year it was boot camps, now it is kettlebells, suspension training and crossfit.  There's a place for these approaches, the question is what do you need and why are they right (or wrong) for you?

Speaking of hype, another trend on the horizon is development of branded personal training programs. Right now, I can get certified as a trainer by PX90 or become a Biggest Loser Pro and have access to a huge marketing platform.To a large extent, these types of progams replace personalization with standardization.

It is smart marketing for these brands to generate more sales by selling trainer certifications. But buyer beware: Do these certifications guarantee quality and results to the consumer and trainer, or are they just a money making substitute for real knowledge and experience? Will personal training become yet another industry to fall casualty to national branding?


Dirty Secrets of Personalized Training

When you walk into a gym like NYSC's Wall Street location, you've got over 5,000 pieces of exercise equipment (really!) and more than 50 classes a week. How do you know which are right for you? And which may be wrong.
Whether you train on your own, with a friend or group or with a professional trainer, personalized training is about getting the right program for you. This article will share the "secret process" a personal trainer uses to personalize your training.  Try it on your own, or let me know if you need some help.

What's with the frightening picture of personal training presented on television?  Trainers behave like screaming drill sergeants who push and whip their clients through extreme workout programs that produce amazing results. It's like some secret dark art practiced by a cult of Adonises.

It usually doesn't work that way. Most of us in the real world of personal training follow a different approach. We design programs with careful consideration to avoiding injury, ensuring consistency and helping our clients meet their goals. And many of the best trainers aren't nearly pretty enough for TV.

Some people are on a mission to do every single exercise in the gym. Others do a very small list of the same exercises over and over again, sometimes for years and years. Then, there are those who follow a "one-size-fits-all program," a program that they've bought or pulled from the latest issue of a magazine or gotten from a friend.

When someone says to me "I've just joined and need someone to show me how to work the machines," my response is always the same: "Let's talk about the most important  machine in the gym. Your body. Let's find the right exercises for YOU."

You can't succeed until you figure out what it takes to get yourself to exercise on a regular basis. Will you make an appointment with yourself and keep it? Do you need an appointment with a friend so you don't cancel? Maybe a class? Or a written program to follow and log? Can you keep the commitment to exercise on your own? Do you get bored easily? Will you push yourself hard enough? If two weeks or more pass by and you've skipped your exercise appointment, your plan isn't working.

One surprising thing I've learned since becoming a trainer: most clients train because they just will not show up on their own without the threat of being charged for cancellation. Recently a few clients even told me how good they felt after buying a personal training package: "Now I know I will workout 2-3x a week for the next few months."

The same is true of those advertised programs. The logs and variation keep you coming back and keep it interesting. No wonder people get results.

In some cases the answer is obvious. Maybe you have a medical condition, are coming back to the gym after physical therapy, or participate in a competitive sport and need to improve performance and/or reduce risk of injuries.  For the rest of the world, a truly personalized exercise program can improve your physical condition, strength, posture, movement and athletic abilities. Incorrec exercise selection can exacerbate problems with posture and movement and will not produce the desired results, while sticking with the same program for too long will lead to you to plateau and stop improving. In some cases, this can lead to the same kind of repetitive stress injuries that you might associate with factory workers.

Your personalized program starts with an inventory of YOU, including goals, medical background, and issues that affect exercise.

1. What is your age and weight?
2. What are your goals?
3. What is your current program and exercise experience? If you've taken classes or worked with trainers before, what were the results, what did you like and dislike?
4. Do you have any current or past injuries, medical conditions, pain or sensitive areas?
5. What is your lifestyle: what do you do at work and for recreation?
6. How often can you work out and how much time can you spend?
7. Which exercises do you like and which do you dislike?
8. Do you have any problems with posture and movement?

The single most important part of any personalized fitness program - and the oneso often missing - is a Fitness Assessment. This is the one thing that allows the program to be personalized to YOU.

- your fitness goals
- your answers to the above questions
- your posture and movement
- your current performance level and abilities

Sometimes the assessment is based on testing; often it is based on your history and a simple "visual inspection." Many times, I've already taken note of a client's issues and have them perform tests to demonstrate and explain the issue and program rationale to them.

Among people I meet in NYC, the assessment usually reveals one or more of the following issues: Rounded Shoulders; Externally Rotated Feet; Knock Knees; Arched Lower Back.  If you've got these issues, there are certain exercises that are recommended to correct them, and other exercises that should absolutely be avoided.  Learn more about assessment and try assessing yourself with the mini-self assessment at

Once you've answered the above questions and completed your assessment, you should be able to explain why your personalized program and each exercise is right or wrong for you - right down to the number of sets, repetitions and tempo. This knowledge will transform your program and exercise selection into a carefully considered and highly personalized process.

Here are some brief examples of rationales that I might use:

The client is deconditioned and his goal is weight loss, so the program will focus on a) maximizing calories burned through cardiovascular training and working the large muscle groups (legs, back, and chest). It will also include stretches and exercises to minimize the risk that an injury will interrupt the program.

The client is a competitive runner who has been experiencing plantar fasciitis and pain in the iliotibial bands. The program will target the lower extremity postural distortion syndrome and include stretches for the calves and hip muscles (including the IT band and tensor fascia latae) along with strengthening of the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and anterior tibialis.

2 sets of 15 single leg biceps curl with dumbbells was selected because the goals include core strengthening and building lean muscle, and the client has a shoulder imbalance that makes barbell curls or preacher curls somewhat risky and less effective.

Incline chest press and overhead shoulder exercises are not included in this program due to the client's rounded shoulders and/or history of rotator cuff injury, common upper extremity postural distortions.
2 sets of 15 repetitions with :03 isometric contraction of rear flies and shoulder external rotation will strengthen the muscles that pull the shoulder back along with shoulder internal rotation with a :04 negative to help improve range of motion.

Side-Lying leg lifts (hip abduction) is included in this program because the clients knees tend  to move inward, i.e., they excessively adduct; the hip Adductor machine is avoided because the clients adductors are extremely tight and short; the hip abduction machine is avoided because it also works the piriformis (muscles that externally rotate the hip).

As you develop your own personalized training program, think about how you will progress the exercises over the next month, and over the longer term. Our bodies adapt to a program after about 4-6 weeks at which time the program produces diminishing results. Most people think of progression as simply increasing the weight or changing the specific machines or exercises, and overlook the opportunity of varying the training modality.

If you've been focused on stable training such as machines, lying on benches and/or sitting through your workout, try standing to increase core activation and target a greater cross section of muscle fibers. Once you've mastered that, progress to exercises on a single leg, with balance boards and balls. Then come back to a more intensive stable strength training routine. Or try plyometrics to increase power.
I've got some examples of progressions at

I know that not everyone shares my passion for exercise, but try to make the workouts as interesting as possible.  Develop a few good personalized programs and progressions that you can change at 4-6 weeks intervals or use "undulating periodization," where you vary the workout more frequently. This is the "muscle memory" secret of that popular "one-size-fits-all program" that you see advertised on television. Only better, because the program and progression is personalized for YOU.

So there you have it, the dirty secrets of personalized training. I guess they aren't so dirty after all though.  

Contact me  if you have any questions or want to set up some sessions to develop your personalized program, or visit for more information.


Will Yoga Wreck YOU?

This special report was prompted by your questions since January 5, when The New York Times Magazine featured this article: "How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body."

Before answering the question, here are a couple of analogies, corny or useful? You decide.

Exercise is a like a power tool. Learn how to use it and you can make something beautiful, use it improperly and you can cause damage.

Learning to use the gym is like learning a new language. It goes better and faster with repetition and as much professional help as you can get to master the basics.

Yoga isn't much different from any sort of group exercise class or exercise program, which I wrote about last February. If you carefully select the right exercises for you, do them properly, get rest in between workouts and don't overdo it, you've probably got very little to worry about and will see great results. Make wrong choices and you could be headed for trouble.

The idea that anyone can walk into a class and safely pursue an exercise program is questionable. Surely some people can, and class instructors are great with groups and love teaching classes.

When taking classes, it's wise to ask the instructor for assistance and recommendations when you begin, as you want to progress, if you have any injuries, or if you have difficulty with certain parts of the class. Sometimes this works, but those great instructors who teach classes or specialize in one training modality might not have the time, experience or education to help you with individualized assessment, program design and progression. In those cases, you may need to look elsewhere for help.

I've enjoyed taking classes and am a certified group exercise instructor. I rarely teach classes because I prefer to focus on careful, individualized exercise prescription, injury prevention, and proper form. It is not possible to do this for a group, everyone has different special needs or issues. This type of personalized approach can be a smart compliment to group classes or specialty training.

The group format encourages people to overdo it as they try to keep up with the class and impress the instructor. "There's enormous peer pressure in exercise classes. One-on-one training can be helpful in overcoming this," according to my client Jada Turco, MD, a psychiatrist and holistic practitioner with The Center for Integrative Psychiatry. "It gave me the knowledge and confidence to go into classes and decide which exercises weren't right for me and which to modify."

Bottom line: Make smart choices, know yourself and your limits, get professional input. Consider more individualized training to get the best results and reduce risk of injury

You Made the Resolution to Exercise, Now What?

Every year I'm encouraged to see hundreds of people who succeed in making fitness a part of their lives, and end up better for it. They enjoy a healthier lifestyle, feel better and look better, and hopefully live longer too.

The two biggest barriers I see people encountering are unrealistic expectations and maintaining consistency. It is easy to be discouraged when you don't instantly pick up new things, struggle with the effort, don't see results quickly enough, or find it difficult to work exercise into your schedule. But is there any question that if you do stick with it you will be better off?

Keep these facts in mind to keep you going:

Burn 3500 calories (or eat 3500 fewer) to lose a pound of fat.

Exercise at least 150 minutes per week to maintain health and body composition, preferably 30 minutes per day for at least 5 days according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

It takes about 16 exercise sessions over several weeks to increase the size of muscle according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

You cannot spot reduce <, according to the American Council on Exercise. Focus on aerobic and strength training to burn calories so that the body draws on stored fat.

See your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

How To Stick To Your New Fitness Program
6 Tips to Keep You On Track
Originally Published in January 2010

#1 make an appointment with yourself and stick to it. Adherence to the program is your biggest challenge, put your appointments in your calendar and don't cancel

#2 clearly define your goals, be realistic, and break them up into small, achievable pieces. This gives the opportunity for positive reinforcement along the way

#3 meet with a qualified professional to assess your needs and abilities, and develop a program that is appropriate for you. The exercises you did 10 years ago on the basketball team (or before your shoulder injury) are no longer appropriate

#4 don't overdo it. Start slowly - half of all new gym members have an injury in the first 6 months, the last thing you need is to get benched for a month or two

#5 be prepared to change your program after 4-6 weeks. Your body adapts to your routine during this time and will need an additional challenge for continued results

#6 keep it interesting and have fun. Whether it is a workout buddy, a class or a trainer that gets you interested and motivated, this is really important to keeping you coming back.


Jump Start Your Exercise Program

FACT #1 - The bigger the muscle, the more calories you will burn working it. And bigger muscles burn more calories at rest.
FACT #2 - Resistance training (weights or body weight) builds muscle fibers, Cardiovascular training increases blood flow into the trained muscles (oxygen supply) and can build one muscle:  the heart.
FACT #3 - You cannot spot reduce, so select exercises based on their overall effectiveness for best results.
FACT #4 - When resistance training, muscle repairs and grows when you rest, you need 24 hours off after working a muscle group.

For the next few weeks, the focus is on working the big muscles groups - the primary muscles of the Legs, Back, Chest.  The Arm and Shoulder muscles will get worked along with these larger muscle groups, but we don't need to emphasize them at this time. 

Resistance and Cardio training are done on alternating days.  Our goal is to get in 2 or 3 resistance training sessions per week, and cardio sessions on the in between days.  You need both:  doing cardio for your legs does not build muscle in your legs. Depending on your fitness level, the cardio days should include 30-60 minutes.  Yes, more cardio is better!

The new Jump Start Program includes circuits of Leg, Back and Chest exercises and lots of lunges.  (If you can't do lunges, substitute leg press or squats).  A quick alternative is the Hurry Up Program, which focuses on total body exercises, such as the chest press/lunge or lat pull own/reverse lunge.  Both are done circuit style with no rest in between exercises. 

If you haven't been to the gym for a while, see a fitness professional or doctor before beginning a new exercise program, and be careful not to overdo the intensity in circuit training.


Sweet 16 - Push Up Progressions

How many kinds of pushups can you think of?  A generic pushup is included in the new Jump Start Program - now some of you may pushups a bit challenging, others may find it boring or not particularly challenging.  

How do you make a push up harder?  Make it less stable so you have to use your deep core muscles more.  After all, a push up is a plank with an up and down motion. My own clients range from those doing "girl pushups" to those doing push ups on 2 stability balls or 4 medicine balls.  For an illustrated guide to 16 more different variations of the pushup from easier to harder click here. 


The Top 10 Exercises and Stretches for the Office Worker

Whether you've been lifting weights for years, playing sports, competing in marathons and triathlons, playing basketballs or soccer, or just starting out, most of you face the same challenge: transitioning from sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day to physical activity. (The same goes for many other occupations---cops, cab drivers, pilots, and judges are a few examples of people who tend to sit a lot face similar issues.

Proper conditioning can help avoid injuries, improve performance, and deliver better results. How? By correcting the postural distortions and muscle imbalances that office work creates.  Read on for the recommended exercises and stretches and links to an illustrated program.
The Problem:

Public Enemy #1 - The Chair Long periods of sitting can lead to tight hip flexors and weak core, including weak extended gluteals, tight and arched lower back and sagging abdominals. Over time, these imbalances can contribute to lower back pain, difficulty balancing, and less efficient movement.
Accomplices - The Keyboard and Computer Screen Leaning forward and working in front of your body for extended periods tends to tighten muscles in the chest and front of shoulder, overstretches the upper back, tighten the upper trapezius while overstretching the lower and middle trapezius, rhomboids. Breathing can become less efficient, the misalignment of the shoulder can lead to less force production in chest and shoulder exercises and increase the likelihood of shoulder injuries (especially to the rotator cuff).
It is a simple matter when you break it down: Stretch the muscles that get short (tight) all day long, and strenghten the muscles that get overly extended. For the most part, these muscles are on the opposite sides of the body. For example, chest/back or hips/glutes.
A Few Words About "Cardio":
Cardiovascular exercise is THE most important exercise you can do - but the definition is somewhat misused.   Exercise scientists and the government define "cardio" as anything that increases your heart rate, and recommend a minimum of 30 minutes a day. "Cardio" is not exactly the same as aerobic exercise - an activity is aerobic when your perform it for one minute or longer (at which point your body uses the aerobic energy system, fueled by oxygen).

Depending on your fitness level and goals, cardio could be brisk walking, stair climbing, dancing or running 5 miles. It could also be weight training. In fact, circuit training with limited rest between exercises can burn a similar number of calories and produce some of the same benefits as aerobic exercises. If you want to maximize your weight loss and conditioning, a trainer can assess you and give you a personalized target heart rate for your cardio training.

The trick with cardio is to find something that is comfortable for you to do and holds your interest. Your exercise and flexibility program can support your cardio training. Whether you're just starting out or competing in triathaons and marathons, you can improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.


And Now...The Top 10:
•Chest Stretch - Targets chest and front of shoulders; can improve posture and breathing and reduce risk of shoulder injuries
•Kneeling Hip and Quad Stretch - Targets hip flexors and quadriceps; can improve posture and reduce risk of low back and knee pain and injuries
•Calf Stretch - targets calf muscles and can reduce risk of knee and hip injuries and also help with Achilles tendon and plantar fascia
•Foam Roll Iliotibial Band - the IT band is difficult to stretch, and can contribute to many problems including knee pain and injuries
•Hip Abduction - Targets the gluteus medius and maximus; can indirectly help relax the IT Band and reduce the risk of knee injuries and low back pain and injuries.
•Rear Delt (Reverse) Fly - Targets rear deltoids, lower and mid trapezius and rhomboids; can improve posture and breathing and reduce risk of shoulder injuries
•Row - targets lats, rear delts and retracts the scapular, can improve posture and breathing and reduce risk of shoulder injuries
•Squat - Targets glutes and leg muscles, can improve posture and reduce risk of back and knee injuries.
•Leg Press - Targets glutes and leg muscles, can improve posture and reduce risk of back and knee injuries
•Plank - Targets the transversus abdominus and other deep abdominal core muscles, important for protecting the back and spine, and improving posture and breathing.

Visit for an illustrated program and 14 others that you can print and forward to friends.

The Fine Print 
These are typical exercises recommended for office workers, different exercises may be appropriate for you. Schedule your fitness assessment with a Certified Personal Trainer for your personalized recommendations. See a doctor before beginning any exercise program, and seek professional input if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, heart disease or any other medical condition. Proceed cautiously at your own risk.



Target the Weak Links with this Simple Program

You've probably seen or heard of some of these workouts, kettlebells and sandbags are the rage now.  Other versions may use heavy ropes, beer kegs, sledge hammers, or balls filled with water. The idea is to challenge your body, brain and muscles to produce force under different and more challenging circumstances, to get you out of your workout rut.  This workout, which I developed for a few of my advanced clients, uses typical gym equipment.  It is appropriate for someone who has been working out for a few years, and wants some integrated exercises to target the core, stabilizer muscles and wrists and forearms - the often neglected weak links.  If you've had any recent problems with wrists or elbows (ie, tennis or golfers elbow), these exercises may not be appropriate for you. 

Each exercise will use either a body bar or barbell gripped in the center to increase the challenge.  Warm up first, select a much lower weight that you would ordinary work with, and make sure that you allow adequate space between other members and yourself.  Begin the program at a weight where you can do 12-15 repetitions, and if you experience any discomfort at the joints reduce the weight or discontinue the program,

Single Arm Chest Press Using Barbell (or Body Bar) - grip barbell in center and exercise each side in individually.  Progression:  Single Arm Chest Press on Stability Ball Using Barbell.

Single Arm Bent Over Row Using Barbell (or Body Bar) - grip barbell in center and exercise each side in individually.  Progression:  Single Arm Bent Over Row Standing on one Leg Using Barbell

Lateral Raise Using Body Bar - grip body bar in center and exercise both Sides.  Progression:  Lateral Raise Using Body Bar Standing on One Leg

Single Arm Biceps Curl Using Barbell (or Body Bar) - grip barbell in center and exercise each side in individually.  Progression:  Single Arm Biceps Curl Standing on one Leg Using Barbell

Triceps Kickback Using Body Bar - bend over and maintain a neutral spine, grip body bar in center and exercise both sides. Progression:  Triceps Kickback Using Body Bar Standing on One Leg

You may experience Delayed Muscle Soreness for 1-2 days after starting this workout, because you are using muscles in a different way and activating more muscle fibers.  Try it, let me know how it works or if you have any questions.


If any of these points apply, then this is the workout for you..

- Stuck on the same machines or exercises for a while and aren't getting the results you want
- Advanced your program but need a few new moves to kick it up a notch
- Haven't been working out regularly and need to step it up

or maybe you're just looking for something different?

This workout is appropriate from the beginner/intermediate level and above, and is a total body exercise circuit.  That means you're using big muscles, a lot of muscles and you're working almost non stop to maximize results.  Warm up first, and select or set weights so that you can do two sets of 15-20 repetition of each exercise.  I've given you the basic exercises, and in some cases a progression to make it more challenging.

Single Leg Press - This is one of my favorite exercises for people who sit a lot.  Use about half the weight you normally would and pay extra attention to keeping the toe, knee and hip in alignment as you perform the leg press.  Push out through your heel and feel the fire in your glutes.

Scaption - This exercise is similar to a lateral raise but works muscles that help your posture in the shoulder area.  Use very light weights, hold them in front of your thighs in a thumbs up position and draw in the abdominal muscles.  Raise the arms in a V, maintaining a 45 degree angle, stop at shoulder height and slowly bring the weights down to starting position.  As you do scaption, you should feel the contraction between your shoulder blades.  Progression:  single leg scaption.

Pushups on a Bench - Face the bench so that the long side is in front of you, place your palms down on the bench spread wide, and spread your feet wide.  Pull the abdominal muscles tight and perform the push-up, and try to touch the chest to the bench.  It should be slightly easier to do a full push-up this way compared to on the floor.  Progressions:  Floor push-up; regular push-up with feet on a BOSU ball.

Squat with Cable Rope Row - Attach the rope handle to the cable machine at about waist level, grip the handle with the boots of each hand, and step back far enough to create a space between the plates.  Slowly squat down and as you rise back up pull the rope back into the row.  Progression:  Squat with Single Arm Cable Row.

Cable Triceps Pulldown - Attach the straight or easy bar to the cable machine at a high level, place palms up shoulder width apart and grip the bar.  Keep the elbows by your sides directly below the shoulder, and perform the exercise by pulling the bar down and resisting as it rises.  Progression:  Cable Triceps Pulldown on Balance Board.

Step Up Balance and Curl - Use a step or box and a pair of dumbells lighter than those you normally use for biceps curls.  Draw in your abdominals, step onto the box and balance on one leg.  The leg you're standing on should have a bent knee, the other knee should be raised, Perform one biceps curl in the position, step down and alternate.  Progression:  higher box; face sideways and work one side at a time.

This is the kind of workout that almost anybody can do, yet even the most advanced reader will find it quick, efficient and effective.


Training by the Numbers: Exercise Guidelines to Reach Your Goals

How much do I have to exercise? A minimum of 20-30 minutes a day or 150 per week, double that to see real change

How quickly can I lose weight? Figure on 1-2 pounds per week for safe, effective weight loss

How often can I do cardio? Every day, as often as you like - as long as you're not in pain

How often can I strength train? Give your muscles a day off to recover and grow; you can do a total body workout every other day or split the routine and alternate the muscles that work and rest

How long does it take to see muscle growth? It takes about 16 strength training sessions over several weeks to see an increase in size

How do I increase muscle size? 3-5 sets with weighs that you can lift in a range of 8-12 repetitions

What if I just want to tone? Try 1-3 sets with weights that you can lift in a range of 12-20 repetitions

How about getting really strong, like increasing my bench press? Usually you'll want to be doing 3-6 sets with a weight that you can lift in a range of 1-8 repetitions, with long rests in between

How often should I change my routine? At least every 4-6 weeks, because your body adapts and you'll hit a plateau

Which is the best form of cardio? For most people, the one you enjoy most

What should my heart rate be while exercising? The simple answer for most pregnant, healthy people is this formula: (220-age)x70-75%. Higher or lower levels may not produce optimal results

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