One of the biggest problems for women who workout at home is to neglect one set of muscles and over-train another. This leads to muscle imbalance and eventual aches and pains.
No one would just do bicep work without also hitting their triceps. This causes muscle imbalance and eventual unexplained elbow or shoulder pain. Unfortunately, many women and men, who workout at home will neglect half their upper body and only do push-ups and neglect pull-ups.
Pushups or any type of pushing exercise targets your chest, shoulders and triceps – half your upper body. Pull-ups on the other hand targets your back, biceps and forearms – the other half of your upper body.
Most women already have tight chest muscles from everyday activities of computers, laptops, tablets, as well as, other activities that draw our shoulders forward like driving, office work, cooking, folding, etc. Our daily activities further contract our pec muscles, which become even tighter if we only do pushups. This is why it is important to work those opposing back muscles that draw our shoulders back.
Not all, but most women can’t do pull-ups, which is why it is smarter to do inverted pull-ups. Inverted pull-ups make it possible for women to get the same benefit of a regular pull-up. Inverted pull-ups are like knee push-ups…they make the movement possible so you can finally add that shape and tone to your back and biceps.
You will see people at the gym performing inverted pull-ups on a Smith machine, but not too many people have that equipment at home. Therefore, one option to help you do modified pull-ups would be to bolt a door-mounted pull-up bar about 30 inches off the ground. A second option would be a portable pull-up bar that gives you the advantage of setting it up in your living room or outside if you want.
The big takeaway for anyone who trains at home and has neglected half their upper body would be to give inverted pull-ups a try. Those two exercises are what real boot campers have been training with for years. Try them for 30 days and see if you don’t notice a difference in your workout as well as some of that unexplained upper back pain go away.
About the Author: Dr. Len Lopez is a nutrition and fitness expert. He is the author of “To Burn or Not to Burn – Fat is the Question” and creator of the “Work Horse Fitness Trainer.” He blends sports medicine/strength training with natural medicine to help create true health and fitness programs. To learn more visit www.workhorsefitness.com. read more →
It is so easy to say you’re going to start working out, but putting your words into action is another thing altogether. I was recently told by my doctor that I was as healthy as an ox, and that I just needed to lose the ox. So, I finally started a consistent workout. After all, someone had to stop making excuses and take my health seriously. Here are some tips I will share with you beginners who, like me, have only thought about getting your body moving.
1. Start with your water intake. Increase it, and cut out sodas and sweet drinks that make you sluggish. The general recommendation is (8) 8-oz. cups of water daily. I keep a personal plastic bottle filled and within reach. Your goal is to grab and go.
2. Put your tennis shoes and work-out clothes in the car. If you have to go home first, you may never leave. I love to swim, so I always have a swimsuit, towel, and flip flops in the trunk.
3. Schedule your time wisely. My favorite time to exercise is around my son’s soccer schedule: 45-minutes before the game starts, and during his 1.5 hour practice. Perfect!
4. Start slowly. Test classes, instructors, DVD instruction, and gyms. Don’t take a class that you find too intimidating or that bores you to death. If you don’t like the class or the instructor, move on to something else. You don’t want to get turned off before you get started.
5. Don’t feel like you have to do every activity that is offered, or the same activity all of the time. Change it up at your own speed. If I don’t feel like working on my arms, I focus on my legs one day and my arms the next.
6. You don’t have to do an activity for any specific length of time. Do what you can handle and try to go a little longer each time.
7. Don’t feel like you have to invest a ton of money: walk the dog, hit tennis balls against a wall, help your child practice a sport, ride a bike to your destination, or put your favorite music on and dance. What did you do when you were younger? Do that!
About the Author: Angela Russ is a mom-preneur, children’s author, public speaker, and award-winning artist/producer of interactive music for young children. She speaks nationwide on the subject of child development and is the sole-owner of the Russ InVision record label, on the web at AbridgeClub.com © 2013 Russ InVision. All rights reserved. read more →
Ugh – the boobs! When you’re a double D, a bra can make or break a workout. Go too tight and your shoulders and neck ache for days… go to loose – and… well… someone could lose an eye!
Usually, I double up. I wear a stretchy but tight sports bra under a top with a more structured built-in bra shelf. It works, but it’s a lot of sweat-soaking fabric layered all around my torso.
So, I was happy when Breeze Comfort asked me to try one of their sports bras – which they bill as “the most breathable” bras.
They sent me the Diva sports bra. It’s a halter top – which I thought was interesting. Most of my sports bras are racerbacks. But – I usually stick with halter tops for swimsuits since they offer pretty good support.
The Diva also has a wide elastic band at the bottom which really helps keep it in place… plus, with the lower neckline, the added fabric at the bottom helped keep it looking more “sporty” than blatantly “sexy”.
I wore the top to a body sculpting class where we do a lot of moving around, but not a whole lot of bouncing. Just as promised – it was noticeably more “airy” feeling. Despite a lot of sweat, the fabric didn’t lose it’s shape and the halter knot held tight where I had tied it.
I’ll wear it again to classes like that!
It’s the perfect level of support for yoga. The breathability that Breeze Comfort offers would really be great for those 95 degree hot yoga rooms! But, a knot at the back of your neck holding up the halter isn’t a great design for any back or shoulder poses. Thankfully, Breeze Comfort offers several different sports bra styles other than the halter that would work for a number of workouts, giving you the perfect fit for your exercise of choice. read more →
Most people think they need to spend hours at the gym to get their bodies in shape. I’m going to show you six simple exercises that require zero equipment and can be done anywhere. You will be seeing results in no time!
Exercises– We want to choose exercises that are going to work multiple muscle groups at the same time. This is a highly effective way to get your workout done quickly. By just using our body weight, we are going to be building lean and beautiful muscles-none of that bulky stuff we’re afraid of. Do this routine twice, a few times per week.
Do each exercise as many times as you can in one minute. Repeat the entire sequence two times. Add in some high intensity cardio sessions, and get ready to go shopping for your new clothes!
In & Out Abs
Side Plank Drops
So now you know the secret of how fit people really get fit. It’s easy, doesn’t take a lot of time, and anyone can do it. Don’t wait another moment to get started on your body makeover!
About the Author: Nationally renowned nutrition and fitness expert Kimberly Olson, CNC, CPT is the creator of FitKim, a nutrition and fitness blog that teaches people how easy it is to be healthy. She has completed her Master’s Degree in Holistic Nutrition, become a Certified Nutritional Consultant & ACE Personal Trainer, and travels nationally conducting public speaking events. She has been consulting clients for over ten years, and has developed a passion for combining nutrition and fitness.
Kimberly is the author of The FitKim Lifestyle: Food & Fitness to Get YOU Fit!, a complete guide to teach readers everything they need to know to live healthier, become more active and learn how to finally lose those stubborn pounds. She has been featured on Fox San Antonio, CBS Minnesota, ABC West Michigan, Yahoo!, YouTube, Houston Woman Magazine, O’Fallon Nutrition Radio and has reached Expert Author status on Ezine Articles.
She is currently working on two PhDs in Natural Health and Holistic Nutrition, as well as her next book, Cooking with FitKim. Kimberly resides in Austin, Texas with her husband, Scott, who is her official taste-tester. She can be contacted at Kim@FitKim.com for freelance and consulting inquiries read more →
Some of the best, most productive workouts can be done without any bulky equipment. So, whether you’re on vacation, stuck at home with a sick kidd-o, or just need to squeeze in a workout in your living room, here are a few sets to perform that will get your heart rate pumping.
Perform two to three sets of each exercise.
1. Run in place for 60 secs followed by Tuck Jumps (think cheerleader jump with both knees coming up to your midsection) for 60secs.
2. Plank, holding full extension on hands for 60 secs. Lift your right leg off the floor & hold for 10 sec. Rest & Switch to the left leg off the floor & hold 10 sec.
3. Push-ups to a frog jump (Perform a regular push-up and then jump your feet to the outside of your hands and then back to your beginning plank position)- 20 reps.
4. Squat Jumps (Squat down and then jump up landing back into your squat)- 20reps.
5. Alternating lunges with torso twists for 2 minutes. (Extend arms forward and twist over front knee.)
6. Tricep push-up with burpee (Start in plank position and keep hands close by your sides and elbows tucked in– think yoga chattarunga pose. Take a tricep push-up and then jump forward and stand up. To repeat, squat down to floor and jump back into plank)- 15reps.
Perform two to three sets of each exercise.
1. Core kicks for 30 to 60 seconds. (Sit, hands on floor behind you with fingers facing forward. Perform bicycle abs with legs lifted 4 inches off floor).
2. Leg lifts for 20 reps. (Lie down with legs at 90-degree angle and lift bum 1 inch off floor).
3. Timed twists for 30 to 60 seconds. (Sit while holding one weight or a medicine ball. Lean back with bent knees and feet on ground and twist side to side while dropping weight to floor).
About the Author: Melissa Farley is the founder and owner of FitTrition. Her extensive experience as a dancer, certified personal trainer, strength and conditioning specialist, and holistic health coach has allowed her to create a unique signature training style called the FIT method. Melissa trained as a private in-home trainer in New York City, in addition to NYSC, WSC, and Balance Gym. Melissa danced with the Joffrey Ballet and has also appeared in various commercials and magazines including: Sports Illustrated and GQ. Melissa’s mission is to inspire, educate, and build a connection between quality food and a quality life!! read more →
As a certified personal trainer I have seen the results of working with clients who have fitness goals they are struggling to achieve by themselves. So, if you are new to exercising it is a great idea to hire a personal trainer for a number of reasons:
1) You have no idea what type of exercise program you need to succeed.
2) When it comes to weights or machines you are completely lost.
2) You need someone to be your support system and hold you accountable.
3) You need someone who is knowledgeable about fitness so he/she can design a program for your specific needs.
4) Working with a trainer you’re less likely to get injured.
5) A trainer can also help you make better nutritional choices, which is key to getting fit and losing weight.
6) You need someone to push you past your comfort level and not allow you to quit.
7) You need support from your trainer to lift your spirits and give you words of encouragement when your feel down, lost or confused about the reason why you want, or need, to exercise in the first place.
8) A trainer will also be your cheerleader and pat you on the back when you start seeing the results of all your hard work.
Personal trainers aren’t just for newbies to the fitness world. Even experienced athletes use personal trainers mainly for the same reasons listed above. When an experienced fitness person or athlete needs to reach the next level, especially if they compete, sometimes they need a trainer who will up the pressure, the intensity and the difficulty of each workout, and push the client to excel.
However, when choosing a personal trainer, before you put out your hard earned money make sure the person is certified. Take some time to find out what experience the trainer has and a little about their background; why they got into fitness; what is their training style; how many clients they already have. Knowing this information will help you decide if that trainer is right for you or not.
Jillian Bullock, Jillian Bullock Enterprises, LLC
About the Author: Jillian is a fitness and wellness expert, health advocate, motivational speaker, and certified professional life coach. With over 30 years in the fitness business, Jillian, who is a former competitive martial artist, holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Wing Chun. She currently trains in boxing and mixed martial arts. Jillian is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and kickboxing instructor. read more →
If you’re tired of the humdrum of counting sets and reps, or running on a cardio machine for hours at a time, here are some great tips for ramping up your intensity and maximizing your efficiency in the gym:
1. Body weight circuits- these are great workouts if you’re on a budget or short on time. Easily done in the home with little to no equipment, you’re sure to get a sweat on by doing body weight squats, push ups, planks, etc. Try the 24 method where you move from 24 reps of body weight squats, then 24 split squats, and finally 24 jump squats…all in a row! Guaranteed fire in the legs, and this workout takes fewer than 5 minutes! Now that’s efficiency!
2. Negative Rest- an easy intensifying method, you create workouts where your work period is longer than your rest period. For example, if you’re doing four sets of push ups for 15 seconds, make the time you rest in between sets 10 seconds instead of something like 30.
3. Work Your Weaknesses- It’s human nature for us to want to highlight our strengths, but if we only focus on what we’re good at, how do we improve? Always make sure to highlight your weaknesses in your workouts, and you’ll soon be unstoppable!
The Super Bowl has almost arrived and some of you may be fearful of the temptation of what that this historic game will bring – especially those of you that have not been exercising on a consistent basis. This annual event usually escorts delicious dips, scrumptious heroes, mouthwatering buffalo wings, and enticing pizza pies.
Enclosed are three quick tips to help tackle that guilt of enjoying some of the gluttony that this big game provides. Score your own touchdown during the Super Bowl by trying these tips below!
1. Exercise before the big game – This might seem understandable if you are going to eat multitude amounts of food next Sunday, yet many people may pass on a workout entirely because they don’t have the time when a few exercises can suffice instead. Stick with body weight exercises for multi-joint and muscle fiber recruitment such as: push-ups, planks, and lunges.
2. Be active during half time – It might be hard to take a workout seriously while watching the Super Bowl, however, before the second half of the game begins, get up and start moving! Take advantage of the half-time show by cleaning up all the munchies and brewskies, reenacting your favorite plays with your family and friends, or even standing while watching those award-winning commercials will all help burn unwanted calories. Furthermore, engage with children if they are present. Children innately inspire activity, which can have you burning extra calories in no time!
3. Exercise after the big game – While I don’t naturally recommend working out on a full stomach, getting up and walking after eating all day can be beneficial in a variety of ways. If you can pull yourself away from some of the post-Super Bowl festivities, walking around your neighborhood or even around your home will make you feel less bloated than if you never exercised at all. Walking for 30 minutes would be a tremendous goal for a solid calorie burn and to make you feel less guilty about all that indulgent food you ate.
About the Author: Master Trainer Shaun Zetlin has successfully run his own personal training business in the New York Metro area. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Shaun here in the comment section below. For further information about this article or to learn about Shaun’s new book, Push-up Progression Workout for a Stronger Core, check out his website at: ZetlinFitness.com.
The treadmill is one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment in any health club and even home gyms. For some it’s an everyday thing, for others just when they want to do “cardio.” While walking on the treadmill is the most basic workout, there are plenty more workouts that you can do to produce great results.
Treadmills come with a of of options and most come with the ability to raise the incline. Raising the incline is a great way to do sprint intervals and increase your speed. With the incline set at a height that is high enough to force you to get your knees up, sprints should then be done for up to 10 seconds. Rest should be for a 3:1 work to rest ratio. This type of workout should last between 10 to 20 minutes.
Another great workout is to do intervals. There are two different types of interval workouts and both will get your heart rate up. One is to raise the the incline while walking for 2 minutes and then lower it back to flat for 1 minute. Typically this can be done for 30 to 45 minutes. The other workout is to run for 2 minutes and then walk for 1 minute. This workout can be for 20 to 30 minutes.
Any of these workouts is guaranteed to not only burn a lot of calories but also leave you dripping in sweat!
About the Author: Having been in the fitness industry for over 10 years, personal trainer Damien Johnson is considered an expert in his field. As a personal trainer he has worked with clients from all ages and levels ranging from children to celebrities to professional athletes. Damien has an undying passion for fitness, a thirst for knowledge and always wanting to be challenged which he then passes along to everyone encounters. He has appeared in newspapers and local radio speaking about the importance of health and fitness. As a personal trainer, coach, leader and motivational speaker Damien is an ambassador to the health and fitness community. His certifications include ISSA-Certified Personal Trainer, ISSA-Specialist in Performance Nutrition, ISSA-Specialist in Sports Conditioning, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, NASM-Performance Enhancement Specialist, NESTA-Master Trainer. read more →
We know that in order to see the results we want, it’s time to put in some Pretty Hard Work. So, we asked our guest bloggers to share the most challenging fitness classes with us. Let’s up the ante and get down to business!
As a martial artist, boxer, fitness expert, certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and kickboxing instructor I have found that clients tend to have the most difficult time keeping up with me in the kickboxing classes. Out of all the classes I teach, kickboxing is my favorite because it absolutely works the entire body and burns more calories than most other classes. Any time a person lifts their legs up, whether to do knee raises or kicks, that automatically makes the workout more intense. Add in cardio endurance and strength drills that go into my kickboxing classes and people walk away feeling like they definitely had one of the best workouts of their lives.
About the Author: Jillian is the CEO/President of Jillian Bullock Enterprises, LLC, a fitness, wellness and empowerment company. As a former competitive boxer and martial artist, (she holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Wing Chun), Jillian currently trains in mixed martial arts and boxing and is the creator of Fighting Spirit Warriors, a fitness for self-defense program for girls and women. She is also the creator of Elite Warriors Fitness, an exercise program for men and women.
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The Pretty Hard Work Store
- Dr. Len Lopez on Don’t Neglect Half Your Upper Body – Try Inverted Pull-ups!
- samac on How to Fuel Your Workout
- Tony Nguyen on 4 Tips for Those Who Can’t Stop Sweating After a Workout
- Quick Start Morning Workout | Iron Mountain Pilates & Movement Ltd. on Quick Start Morning Workout
- Where to Find Motivation to Exercise | Pretty Hard Work « Try Wellness on For Size on Where to Find Motivation to Exercise