Category

Core

Group fitness class using resistance bands for functional training exercises

6 Functional Training Exercises EVERYONE Should Have in Their Routine

By | Core, Personal Training Vancouver, resistance training, Upper back

Whether it’s increasing our strength or aiding in mobility, functional training plays a crucial role in the maintenance of our bodies and can help to increase and maintain bone density as we age. The whole premise of functional training is that you perform movements that aid in your everyday life, from walking up the stairs without being in pain, to having the strength to carry groceries from the car to the house. With this in mind, we’re looking at 6 functional training exercises that everyone should be adding to their weekly routines, to make sure we can move for many years to come.

Why is Functional Training Important?

Aside from the immediate health benefits, the main goal of resistance or functional training is to reduce the impact of ageing. That is, to increase:

All of these components work together to build and maintain physical mobility. There are now countless studies confirming this relationship, and evidence that functional training can help regardless of your current age.

For example, this study analysed a group of more than 40 elderly women, with an average age of 69, during a 1-year progressive resistance training program. It showed “significant strength gains in bilateral bench press (>29%), bilateral leg press (>19%), and unilateral biceps curl (>20%)” at the end of the 12 month period.

Similarly, this study considers the efficacy of resistance training in treating or preventing sarcopenia and osteoporosis. In order to properly counteract these conditions, the study states that “bone tissues must be exposed to mechanical load exceeding those experienced during daily living activities. Of the several exercise training programs, resistance exercise (RE) is known to be highly beneficial for the preservation of bone and muscle mass.”

“Exercise training has been recommended as a promising therapeutic strategy to encounter the loss of bone and muscle mass due to osteosarcopenia.”

Hong and Kim 2018

Furthermore, this study has shown that the level of bone loss in a postmenopausal woman increases with age. On average, this loss is around:

  • 0.6% per year for the 60-69 age bracket
  • 1.1% per year for the 70-79 age bracket
  • 2.1% per year for the over 80 age bracket

This means that you can expect to lose more than 5% of your mineral bone density before you hit 70, and more than 15% by the time you hit 80.

“Strength exercise seems to be a powerful stimulus to improve and maintain bone mass during the ageing process.”

Gómez-Cabello et al 2012

What is Functional Training Exercise?

Functional training exercises and routines are designed to equip you with the strength, balance and stamina to face any daily challenge. Generally speaking, functional training programs will include some form of resistance training, as this is where the most benefits are derived. Functional training exercises include:

  • Compound movements. That is, they incorporate the larger muscle groups, more than one muscle, and more than one joint, e.g. squats
  • Movement in a number of directions e.g. forward and back, side to side
  • Strength training
  • Balance components
  • Free weights, to better simulate real-world conditions such as lifting a heavy box over your head or being able to stand from a seated position without having to support your own body weight.

When it comes more specifically to increasing muscle strength and bone density, this study explains that there are two types of exercises that are effective:

  1. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises. That is, the limbs are bearing the weight of the exercise. For example, walking, stair climbing, volleyball, and jogging. Whilst these steady-state aerobic activities to not directly increase bone density, they do have some propensity in reducing their wastage.
  2. Strength and resistance exercises. The importance of these exercises is in the load or resistance (e.g. lifting weights), whereby the joints are pushed against the resistance. For example, free weights, machines and bodyweight exercises.

However, the same study states that for these exercises to be effective the resistance must be more than that experienced in ordinary, everyday activities. They are also muscle/bone specific. That is, functional exercises that target the quads will not increase bone density in the shoulders. For this reason, among others, we recommend these 6 functional training exercises to make sure you are maximising the anti-ageing effects of resistance training.

1. Deadlifts

Deadlifts engage some of the largest muscle groups in the body, whilst combining core strength and balance components to boot. Working with the hips, knees and ankles, deadlifts help to build strength throughout the lower and mid-body, and as long as they are performed correctly can help to increase your flexibility too. From a functional training standpoint, deadlifts help you to lift heavy items from the floor, using your legs (the largest muscles in the body) as a stable anchor.

Deadlifts can also be performed by holding kettlebells at your sides, which effectively simulate shopping bags!

2. Squats

Squats are one of the best functional training moves you can add to your routine, particularly if you add some resistance in the form of free weights or a barbell. They engage almost all muscle groups in the legs, hips and core, and can also hit the upper body when resistance is added.

They are particularly useful as a functional training tool as they simulate a number of real-world scenarios, such as standing from a seated position. They also train the muscles that we need to climb stairs, and the stabilisers we use to pick items (and ourselves) up off the floor.

Modification to get more core engagement

Modification weighted goblet squat

3. Lunges

Lunges are more or less one-legged squats and tend to hit the same muscle groups and stabilisers. In the real world, lunges help to simulate walking where there is additional resistance, such as walking uphill or upstairs.

If an ordinary lunge has become too easy for you, adding a dumbbell can help to strengthen your core, glutes, quads and hamstrings. They can, however, be hard to master, so if you need more advice reach out to our qualified team, or join our perfect posture program!

4. Chin-ups/Pull-Ups

So far we’ve covered the lower body, but developing strength in the upper body is just as crucial to our functional fitness. Chin-ups and pull-ups are vital resistance exercises for engaging the arms, upper back and core, as well as putting our joints under load to improve ligament strength and flexibility.

They are also effective functional training exercises as in most cases your bodyweight is more than enough resistance to have a positive impact. Of course, as you get used to the movement you can always modify it to reduce the resistance and ensure you’re still targeting those muscle groups without adding too much strain to the body. These movements engage a lot of the upper body muscles and help to develop our ‘pull’ strength.

5. Push-ups

Another body-weight exercise with vast benefits is the classic pushup. In the real world, developing the strength across the chest, arms and upper back required to correctly perform a pushup allows us to literally lift ourselves off the floor if we ‘have a fall.’

Again, this movement targets the upper body, but unlike pull-ups, push-ups help to develop our ‘push’ strength, allowing us to effectively move or push a load/resistance.

6. Weighted Carries

Loaded or weighted carries are exactly as they sound- you pick up a weight or resistance, and carry it. These movements can help to simulate carrying luggage or shopping from your car to your house, or even picking up and carrying the kids!

Depending on the load, they can be one of the most functional training exercises available, as they engage almost all muscle groups in the body. You can perform weighted carries with kettlebells, sandbags, weight bags or dumbells, and the resistance doesn’t have to be particularly heavy- just as long as it is enough to stimulate and fatigue your muscles, you’re doing it right!

Man holding child at the beach

Functional training exercises are useful in real-life situations

This month we are gifting away 10 spots for our perfect posture program!

Join us here and learn how to move your body efficiently through exercises that can enhance your everyday life. Use the promo code ‘firstmonth’ when you go to checkout to get it for FREE!
The perfect posture program is designed to engage the right muscles for daily movements and provides a structured program that you can follow at home with minimal to no equipment.  First come first serve so get in quick!

How Can I Join The Turnfit Family?

If you’re looking to improve your functional fitness, or for more information about our programs, packages, or resources please don’t hesitate to reach out and connect:

Call: 778-887-0660
Email: info@turnfit.ca
Website: https://turnfit.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TurnFitPersonalTrainers/

We’re always available to help you improve your health and fitness goals!


About Turnfit Personal Trainers

Turnfit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day.

With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the 2019 Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver. 

It’s our mission to help you to build the skills, and mindset, it takes to feel successful in all areas of your life.

For more information, please visit Turnfit.ca, join our communities on Facebook and take advantage of all of our FREE content by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

We look forward to hearing from you!

-David Turnbull

Woman performing a one-arm dumbbell row

Muscular Power or Strength? How to Train for Both!

By | Core, fat loss, resistance training

When you step into the gym, it’s time to work. Regardless of whether you’re trying to improve your physique, lose weight, or just open that damn jar, the way you train can affect your abilities both on and off the floor. However, the option doesn’t have to be between training to improve power OR strength. There are plenty of ways to effectively improve both, to make sure you can achieve your athletic goals.

Power or Strength Training- What’s the Difference?

There are a lot of crossovers between power and strength training. Both are forms of resistance training, however, the adaptations they create in the body, and the goals of that training are varied.

Strength training refers to your body’s ability to produce enough internal force to move an external object. When it comes to training in the gym, this ‘external object’ is usually some form of weight (dumbbell, barbel etc…). However, it can also be targeted with bodyweight exercises, where the resistance to overcome is your body against gravity.

The generation of this force is a result of your muscles, joints and connective tissues working in synergy. Over time, the repetition of these movements gives your muscles the chance to repair, adapt, and strengthen, thereby increasing the internal force you can generate. 

Training for power, on the other hand, still involves resistance but is almost exclusively about the speed of the movement.

When training for strength the rest in between sets tends to be longer, and the goal may be to beat your 1 rep max. Whereas training to increase power may use less resistance but aims to generate that force more explosively, in the shortest amount of time. 

In doing so we are able to train our muscles and tissues to consistently produce fast and efficient movements. As an example, a power training program may include short sprints, box jumps and plyometrics, designed to improve your takeoffs, jump height, and movement speeds.

Plyometrics help to build explosive muscle power

Plyometrics help to build explosive muscle power

So Should I Train for Strength or Power?

The ultimate answer is dependant on your circumstances. However, the choice doesn’t have to be whether to train for strength OR power. The best programs are designed to maximise both forms of training, as each one can enhance the other. 

Second, enhancing the body’s ability to move resistance, in any form, is beneficial. Not only does it improve your strength and help you to tone, but resistance training:

  • Increases bone density, and reduces that bone density loss as we age
  • Reduces the risk of injury by protecting joints
  • Can improve stamina and endurance
  • Improves mobility and balance
  • Can improve mental health issues and reduce stress
  • Drastically reduce body fat by improving your body’s metabolic processes.

How to Train for Increased Strength

Whilst there are many benefits to strength training, the primary goal is- you guessed it- to improve your strength. That is, your ability to generate an internal force, and overcome (or lift) resistance. 

In order to do this, we aim to keep the body in a ‘guessing’ state. We do this by regularly changing the movements and loads used. However, regardless of the lift, typically strength training programs will establish your 1 repetition max. This is the absolute most weight you can lift for 1 rep, depending on the exercise. 

Then, this figure is used to calculate your training loads, which is usually around 85% of your maximum. Generally, these resistance loads are used in slow, low repetition sets like a 5 x 5 or 5 sets of x 3 repetitions type programs. The key is to also lengthen the rest period between each set, to ensure your muscles are recovering and able to perform again.

By the end of your allotted program time, you should see improvements to your 1 RM max, and can, therefore, establish if your strength is increasing.

Biologically, training for strength actually causes micro-tears in our muscles- but don’t worry- this is a good thing! When our body recovers and makes use of the protein and other nutrients/supplements in our system, these tears reknit and repair stronger and healthier. This is how your body and muscles adapt to the resistance and, therefore leads to your strength and muscle mass increases. 

Some of the key points to take note of in a strength training program include:

  • Slow and controlled eccentric movements (the down phase)
  • Heavy resistance (85-90% of 1 RM max) but low repetitions
  • Longer rest periods between sets

How to Train for More Power

Training for power isn’t necessarily more complicated, but it does give you more options. Remember that training for power is more about overcoming resistance at speed, so choosing which body parts to train, and why, are dependant on your athletic goals. For example, a sprinter would focus on improving their ‘leg power’ whilst a shot-putter may focus more heavily on upper body power.

Training for power can also target a number of types of movement. For example, a power program may include:

  • Plyometrics e.g. box jumps, speed squats. Typically the resistance used is your own body weight or light resistance like medicine balls
  • Ballistic movements e.g. kettlebells, scissor jumps, jump squats. Ballistic exercises tend to be more explosive, and require a fuller range of motion. 
  • Dynamic movements e.g. bench press, barbell squats, clean and jerk. Dynamic movements use the most resistance in power training, but is less than the 85%> used in strength training. Generally, dynamic power lifts will use between 60-75% of your 1 RM max, so that you can perform the lifts quickly, but with control. 

When it comes to sets and repetitions in power training, they are similar to strength in that you will still use low reps (4-6), and around 5-6 sets. Remember the goal here is to generate that explosive power, so even though the resistance is less, the movements are performed more quickly. Over time your jumps will be higher, your joints will become more mobile, and your range of motion will increase. 

Training with ropes can help to build more explosive power

Whether you’re training for power OR strength- developing coordination and mobility is key for both!

Can I Train for Strength and Power?

The great news is that yes- you can! In fact, any balanced resistance training program will be a combination of both, with some endurance and HITT training to boot. Whilst you may lean more towards one or the other depending on your athletic goals, the two are complementary. Improving your strength will increase your power, and increasing your power will also aid in boosting your strength.

Rather than be caught out with the latest gym fad, the best way to achieve your goals is with a personal trainer. Not only has research confirmed this to be the case, but it is also the best way to ensure that you are performing your movements correctly and that your training programs actually align with your goals. 

At Turnfit, our dedicated team of trainers and wellness professionals aren’t just gym motivators. As some of Vancouver’s top personal trainers, we offer a full suite of health and lifestyle training and benefits.

Our studios are back open! 

If you’re ready to get back in the gym or to try it out for the first time, our Vancouver personal training studios have begun to reopen! Each member of the Turnfit family receives/has access to:

  • On-going health consultations
  • Nutrition Programs
  • Programs and training advice suited to your goals, and capabilities
  • Access to TurnFit’s community
  • Goal consulting

Thanks to the expertise of our team, we also offer and include: 

  • Fitness Competition Training
  • Injury and rehab training
  • Online personal training via the Turnfit app!
    -This means you don’t even need to be in Vancouver to take advantage of our at-home personal training packages.

For more information about strength and power programs, or to see how Turnfit can help you to meet your health and wellness goals- reach out and connect with us! 


About Turnfit Personal Trainers

Turnfit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day.

With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the 2019 Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver.

For more information, please visit Turnfit.ca, join our community on Facebook and take advantage of all of our FREE content by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

We look forward to hearing from you!

-David Turnbull

woman stretching

Brush up on Body Alignment With These 6 Tips!

By | Core, Feet, Glutes, Hip, online personal training

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget why we exercise. Of course, you know it’s good for you, and obviously there are plenty of physiological and psychological benefits to boot. But one thing that is often forgotten about is the most basic of all- exercise helps us to move! It moves your blood, greases up those creaky joints, circulates our breath, and ultimately keeps us active and mobile as we age. Whilst all physical activity is beneficial, there are better ways to move. Understanding and maintaining the correct body alignment can also build our focus and awareness, and helps us to stay calm and grounded throughout the day!

What Is the Correct Body Alignment?

From the moment we are born we learn how to move. First, we sit up. Then crawl, and once we’re up and on our feet it’s almost impossible to stop us again. As a child, your body is naturally aligned and your bones more flexible. BUT, as we age every injury, niggling pain and misstep causes us to overcorrect, and can actually move us further and further away from a normal, natural posture.

Have you ever been to a specialist citing back pain, to have them tell you it’s coming from your legs? Maybe your hip goes out every now and again, your knees give you grief, or an old sporting injury is limiting what you can do. Realigning your body, and reminding it that there is a way to move naturally, can take away all of those aches and pains, and help you reach your other health and wellness goals, faster!

You Can Talk the Talk, but Can You Walk the Walk?

woman walking on beach

Reforming and correcting your body alignment is a process. It starts by first admitting that there are ‘better’ ways for your body to move. Once you have discovered this, it’s a matter of showing (training) your body how to move in a pain-free and more beneficial way. The human body is incredible and adaptable, once you show it a better path it will gravitate towards it until it becomes a normal part of your physical self.

You can start by asking yourself this- do I walk properly? It may seem ridiculous, you’ve been walking since you could stand on two feet, how could it possibly be wrong? Again- you have been walking your whole life, but an imbalance can lead to compromise, and before you know it the simple act of walking can be taking you further from the correct body alignment. Check out this article from our friends at Baseline Health for more.

Needless to say, getting the basics right can make a huge difference to your joints and mobility. It can also help you to step up your training, improve your results and reach your fitness goals faster.

6 Simple Ways to Realign Your Body

Retraining your body into the correct shapes doesn’t have to be dull. There are plenty of ways to improve your body alignment while exercising, giving you the benefits of both. So, other than walking, let’s take a look at some simple ways to improve and correct your alignment:

1. Warm-up and Warm down

Most of us know the importance of warming up. It’s crucial to any form of exercise and can keep you moving longer. However, the warm down is just as important and is often disregarded at the end of a workout. The slow cooling down after exercise can help to regulate blood flow, but more importantly, it reduces muscle tension which may pull you out of the correct body alignment.

2. Build a Strong Foundation (core)

Your core is the powerhouse of the body. It relates to your entire midsection, from your glutes to your hips, abs to the lower back. Without a strong foundation (core) to move from, your body is more likely to overcompensate with a particular muscle group. This can lead to a tilted pelvis, tight hamstrings, poor upper body posture and more. So, train your core muscle groups, and especially your booty, to help realign your posture.

3. Wear the Right Shoes

Good posture and alignment begin with your feet. Not only are they our contact point with the ground, but they can also impact every other joint or muscle in the body. Creating and maintaining a healthy posture, therefore, begins with the feet and ankles. Properly fitted shoes lay a solid foundation for your posture and the alignment of the spine. They can also reduce ankle, knee and hip pain, and align your body for exercise.

4. Yoga

One of the best ways to improve your body alignment, whilst also building your mental awareness and resilience is yoga. It can help to improve your flexibility, train muscle groups and strength without force, and improve on your core strength and stability- all of which are crucial to realigning your body. Yoga and other meditative practices can also help you to build your awareness and pay attention to your body. This mind/body connection can help you to identify when and where your pains are from and take corrective actions in the moment.

5. Go Slow

Realigning your posture isn’t something that will happen overnight. Like all good things, it will take time. After all, you’re trying to re-train years of bad habits or compromises.

Similar to yoga, other practices that focus on awareness, and the slow movement of muscles and joints can also be beneficial. Low impact activities like Tai Chi can help you to improve your balance points and focus. They can also help to build strength and stability in your core, and realign your spine.

6. Train With a Qualified Personal Trainer

Recently, research has proven that training with a qualified personal trainer will improve your health and fitness results. However, the benefits go much deeper than this, as a qualified personal trainer:

  • Can teach and/or correct your form and posture while exercising
  • Will explain which muscles are active and which are at rest in a certain movement. This can help to build your mind/muscle connections, and determine if you are compensating with the incorrect muscle group.
  • Can help you to implement small changes each week, which will lead to drastic corrections of your body alignment and posture over time.

At Turnfit, our team of qualified personal trainers have the knowledge and expertise to help correct your posture and realign your body. In normal circumstances, our team is on hand to show you in person how to implement the small postural changes required. However we have also developed our own health and wellness app to help improve your alignment from the comfort of your home, and with regular video coaching calls, we can help you to correct your form before it becomes a bad habit.

How Can I Join The Turnfit Family?

If you’re ready to improve your habits, body alignment and health, you’re only one step away.

Click here to learn more about our packages, and choose the one which best suits your needs. We will send you an invite to download the Turnfit app and set up a time to complete your FREE video assessment call.

Then, make sure you join our community on Facebook for up to date information, access to the team, and a whole host of other free resources, training programs, boot camps and more!

Don’t forget- you can help your friends and family to stay healthy, and earn up to one-month FREE membership when you refer 4 friends– the best part is they can start with ANY package!

For more information about our programs or packages, or about any of our resources please don’t hesitate to reach out and connect:

Call: 778-887-0660

Email: info@turnfit.ca

Website: https://turnfit.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TurnFitPersonalTrainers/

We’re always available to help you improve your health and fitness goals!


About Turnfit Personal Trainers

Turnfit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day.

With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the 2019 Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver.

Every trainer at Turnfit is committed and relentless in our pursuit to help you reach your health and wellness goals. It’s our mission to help you to build the skills, and mindset, it takes to feel successful in all areas of your life.

For more information, please visit Turnfit.ca, join our community on Facebook and take advantage of all of our FREE content by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

We look forward to hearing from you!

-David Turnbull

Training your booty can improve your core, strength, and flexibility

Build Your Booty and Boost Your Health!

By | Core, Glutes, Leg, Lower back

The booty is in! And yes, if you want to be on the front page of magazines it’s going to take a long time to build it. But even basic exercises that build your booty can improve your posture and range of motion. Did you know they can also increase your flexibility and energy levels, and quite literally putting the spring back in your step? Training your booty can improve your core, strength, and flexibility

Today we’re going to look at the muscles that make up the coveted booty, why they’re so important to our physical wellbeing, and how you can use these simple techniques to keep your booty engaged throughout the day- not just in the gym!

Is the Booty Really All It’s Cracked up to Be?

Booty, bottom, bum. It doesn’t matter how you refer to it, the fact is that the booty comprises one of the largest muscle groups in your body. Learning the proper techniques to strengthen and build these muscles are the key to increasing your power, improving your posture and giving you the dynamic strength it requires to keep moving all day long.

Breaking Down the Booty

Your backside is actually comprised of 3 separate muscles, with a few tendons and ligaments thrown in for good measure. We have the gluteus:

  1.      Maximus- this is the largest muscle in the body, and controls our thigh extensions (like when rising from a squat/sitting position), or generating the power and drive we use to run. 
  2.      Medius- controls the movements of the hips and external rotators, as well as the movement of your upper leg, like being able to lift your legs out to the side of your body (abduction).
  3.      Minimus- this is the internal rotator of the hip, which along with the medius helps in lifting your legs away from your body, but also controls the inward rotation of your hips.

When it comes to building that peach-shaped butt, however, you need to take into account the supporting muscle groups too! That means to really accelerate your results (and to do it safely) you need to actively engage the quads, hamstrings, core, and stabilizers. You also need to perform movements that support a full range of motion- that’s why building a bouncy butt is so good for you in the first place!

When you train these large muscle groups properly, the body releases positive endorphins. This can help to regulate fatigue and give you more bounce in your step every day! At the same time, they can help to facilitate improved rest and rates of recovery– two vital components in maintaining physical homeostasis. The flow-on effects from these improved states of being can also make it easier to manage:

  • Stress
  • Weight
  • Motivation

Convinced it’s a good move to get moving?

Correct form is more important for your booty than heavy weights

Correct form is more important for your booty than heavy weights

Give Your Butt a Boost With These 5 Exercises!

Before we get into the exercises themselves, let’s take a moment to really emphasize a few parts:

1. Building your booty takes time. Because of this, it is very easy for people to quickly increase the resistance level and try to shortcut their way there. You need to remember that to really build your backside you need to also strengthen the muscle groups around it. Namely your quads, hamstrings, lower back, core, and adductors.

Change exercises and repetitions often to keep things fresh. Otherwise you’ll slow your results and potentially increase the risk of strain and injury.
So step one, go SLOW, and use the correct form.

2. A simple way to increase the resistance level, rather than with weights, is to use a booty band. Trust us when we say they really do work!

3. Once you have the movements and posture correct, you’ll begin to notice other ways to engage these muscles throughout your day.
You can train your booty almost every time you walk outside!

If you take the time to learn the correct technique, you will learn how to engage these muscles all day long! 

Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also find opportunities to perform the same movements throughout your day. Whether it’s something simple like standing or sitting or converting your new butt-lifting power into better choices- like taking the stairs instead of the escalator- you can revel in the fact that you’re doing your body a huge favor! 

Now that you understand the importance of these muscles and using the correct technique, let’s dive into 5 simple exercises so that you can build a boss booty!

1.     Squats/ box squat

 

2.     Hip thrusts

 

3.     Walking Lunges (with or without dumbells)

 

4.     Step-Ups

 

5.     Leg lifts/clams

 

Bonus! 

If you’re looking for something more challenging, or simply wanting to change up the movements you can do at home, try adding bands into the mix! As a bonus, we’ve included a few bonus exercises for you to try.

Banded Kneeling Squat

Banded hip hinge

Squat lateral Leg Slide

Ready to commit to your health? Contact us now for your free consultation, and train from the comfort of your own home with our online courses! Take me there!

The best Core Workout Is NOT A 6 Minute Ab Routine

By | Blog, Core

 

It’s time to get one thing straight- a strong core has nothing to do with having washboard abs. Your core is the center of power and energy transfer in the body. It is literally responsible for getting you out of bed, helping you to bend, stretch and balance, protecting your spine and keeping you upright. Better yet, you can improve your core strength regardless of your fitness level, and once you learn to engage it properly you can keep it working throughout your day, regardless of the activity!

Check out our full blog article on free health tips, tricks and hacks to getting the core of your dreams.

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Planks are a great way to train your core

Why Your Mid-Section Should Be the Core of Your Workout

By | Blog, Breathing, Core

It’s time to get one thing straight- a strong core has nothing to do with having washboard abs. Your core is the center of power and energy transfer in the body. It is literally responsible for getting you out of bed, helping you to bend, stretch and balance, protecting your spine and keeping you upright. Better yet, you can improve your core strength regardless of your fitness level, and once you learn to engage it properly you can keep it working throughout your day, regardless of the activity!

Planks are a great way to train your core

Why Is Training Your Core so Important?

The core is possibly one of the most neglected parts of a workout routine. Sure it can take a while to build the strength and will-power to actually enjoy working on your abs, but these aren’t just ‘mirror muscles’- they’re the powerhouse of the human body. Not only do they literally help you stay upright, but they also control movement from and around your pelvis, and are the connector between your upper and lower body- transferring energy and force between them. 

If you don’t take the time to build your core stability you are more than likely going to compensate with other muscles, which can very quickly lead to back and neck pain but can also cause pain and discomfort in your hips and knees. 

When we use the term ‘core’ we’re referring to all of the muscles around the mid-section. These means your:

  • Abdominal muscles
  • External and internal oblique muscles 
  • Lower back muscles
  • Pelvis and hip flexors
  • Glutes
  • Pelvic floor muscles
  • Diaphragm

When you consider these muscles are imperative in balance and stabilization, as well as the control of movement, side flexion, and most importantly- breathing- we can answer emphatically that yes, training your core is important! 

Strengthen Your Core and Stabilize Your Body

Before we dive into some of the exercises you can do at home to begin (or continue) building your core strength, there are a few key lessons to understand before you get started.

1. Engage Your Core

To strengthen your core muscles, you need to actually engage them. It sounds simple, but all too often we see people using momentum or incorrect form, and greatly increasing the risk of injury, pain, and discomfort.
 

2. Use the Magic Formula

There is a magic formula for all exercises that engage your midsection. Using a 2-2-4 formula, the primary focus of these movements needs to be on the eccentric contraction (usually the ‘down’ phase of a movement) in order to fully engage and work the core.

In order to do this, we perform movements with two seconds concentric contraction (the ‘up’ phase), a two-second pause at the top (make sure you keep that core switched on!), and a 4 second ‘down’ phase, to really focus on the mind-muscle connection and get the most from each rep.

 

3. Don’t Forget to Breathe

The breath, especially properly timed breath, is imperative in any workout. Deflating the lungs at the right time can help you to fold, whilst inflating them can help to brace your lower back and spine and lift you back into position.

Of course, learning to use your breath to brace your body is an important step to fully engaging your core, but training your core isn’t all just sit-ups and crunches. Learning to consciously control your breath and working your diaphragmatic muscles can reduce stress, lower body fat, and help power you through your workouts. 

Build Your Core from Your Lounge Room

Now that you understand the importance of starting right, let’s look at some exercises you can do at home to help improve your core strength, balance, stability, and range of motion. 

Bird Dog

Wall Sits

Dead Bug (with or without bands)

Russian Twist

Mountain Climbers

Plank

Plank Twist

Bonus: Use Your Breath to Engage Your Core

 

With the right technique, you can perform these movements anywhere, anytime.

But the hardest part is staying on track, and staying accountable! That’s why we’re giving away 1 month of free online personal training

Simply use the code ‘firstmonth’ at checkout, or get in touch with us at info@turnfit.ca to find out more 🙂 

How to do a 4 Point Kneeling Position

By | Blog, Core, Shoulder

How to perform a 4 Point Kneeling Position with TurnFit Personal Trainers and guest Kennedy Hindley

This position is a prerequisite to some of the more advanced movements. Ensuring you have your positioning correct, means you will be more efficient and reduce the risk of injury.

Steps
1. On all fours, your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders and knees directly beneath the hips. Your arms should be fully lengthened but avoid locking your elbows. Your hands are pushed into the ground.
2. Your spine should be in a neutral alignment. Make sure your spine is straight. Adjust your hips and neck as necessary. It is often good to have someone else check that your spine is completely straight.
3. Press your hands into the ground and rotate your elbows forward.
4. Pull your shoulder blades into your back pockets.
5. Hold.

NOTE: Your chest and the front of your shoulders should be open without tension in the neck area.

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How to do a Weighted Banded Psoas March

By | Blog, Core

How to perform a Weighted Banded Psoas March with TurnFit Personal Trainers and guest Kennedy Hindley

This exercise adds weight and complexity to a foundational core stability and strengthening program. A more advanced version of the psoas march, it protects the lower back while engaging the hip flexors. People with tight hip flexors will benefit from building up to this exercise and using it to keep their hip flexors strong and flexible for better movement.

Steps
1. Lie face up. Bring our legs to tabletop position, knees bent and lower legs parallel to the floor. Place a band around your feet.
2. Fully extend your arms above you in line with your shoulders while holding a plate.
3. Breathe into your lower abdomen to stabilize your lumbar spine.
4. Move the feet outward creating tension while holding a plate. Tuck your chin in to raise your head to look at your feet.
4. Brace core while you reach one leg out against the banded resistance as though you will straighten the leg but not allow it to touch the floor.
5. Bring it back to the starting position.
4. Repeat alternating legs.

NOTE: Do not allow your rib cage to lift as you move your leg. Maintain contact of your back to the ground.

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PHONE: 778.887.0660

How to do a Dead Bug Lateral Pallof Press

By | Blog, Core

How to Perform a Dead Bug Lateral Pallof Press with TurnFit Personal Trainers and Guest Kennedy Hindley

This exercise will help strengthen and stabilize your core, engaging each side of your core. By keeping your lower back on the ground you are minimizing pressure on the back.

Steps
1. Loop the midpoint of a resistance band around a pole or squat rack, about 2-3 feet off the ground.
2. Lie on your back 2 or 3 feet from and facing sideways (lateral) to the anchor point of the band, and clasp your hands together around the band. Arms bent hold the band right next to your rib cage.
3. Make sure you have a neutral alignment of your spine along the ground. Breathe, drawing air into your lower abdomen.
4. Raise your legs so that your hips and knees are both bent 90 degrees. .
5. Press your arms away from your rib cage. Keep your back in contact with the ground.
6. Move your arms back down.
7. Repeat.
8. Face the other way and repeat.

NOTE: During this contralateral movement, think about moving your arms back and forward in the middle of the shoulders without rotation.

——————————- LEARN HOW TO LIVE A HAPPIER & HEALTHIER YOU ———————————–
*** Try our app, first month FREE: https://turnfit.ca/online-training/ ***
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PHONE: 778.887.0660

How to do a Glute Bridge Pallof Press

By | Blog, Core, Glutes

How to Perform a Glute Bridge Pallof Press with TurnFit Personal Trainers and Guest Kennedy Hindley

This is a great combination exercise that engages your core, especially your obliques, and your glutes. Another excellent ab and booty exercise.

Steps
1. Assume a supine position and attach a handle to a cable stack at chest height.
2. Bridge your hips to an extended position, hold the handle to your chest and allow the knees to remain bent with the feet flat.
3. Press the handle vertically to extension as you exhale.
4. Return to the starting position as you inhale.
5. Repeat, maintaining the glute bridge the entire time.
6. Do the same on the other side.

——————————- LEARN HOW TO LIVE A HAPPIER & HEALTHIER YOU ———————————–
*** Try our app, first month FREE: https://turnfit.ca/online-training/ ***
Train anywhere, any time.

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Connect with us:
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PHONE: 778.887.0660

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