All you have to do is Google it, and you’ll find hundreds of moves and variations of exercises for those ‘trouble spots’ that we all just want to send packing … However, we’re all different and those trouble spots are more than likely the last to go! So why spend hours upon hours in the gym trying to perfect these complex moves that you try so hard to do, that may not actually be beneficial to a total body workout? Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated! Especially when you’re trying to start or even continue to do so by yourself. To be honest; the more complicated an exercise actually is, often the less muscle engagement you have, therefore decreasing the effectiveness of the whole movement. Sometimes we’re so caught up in focusing on our trouble areas, that we tend to forget about the “old-school” exercises like push ups or squats, which have been around for years and years! And why? Because they work!
So, what are they?
As all members know too well, whenever a Rev-Coach demonstrates a squat they explain the term ‘functional movement’. We actually do it all day without knowing; picking up the kids, lifting heavy groceries, sitting in a chair and standing up or even hovering over a public toilet that isn’t the nicest. It’s a squat! Plus, squats actually strengthen the muscles around the knees and lower back.
So, let’s Perfect it!
Start off with your bodyweight until you perfect your form, then add weight…
- Engage your abs, which will stabilize your low back and help prevent back pain.
- Push your butt back, hinging at the hips first, then bend your knees to lower toward the floor. Allow your knees to travel forward. It’s ok if they move past your toes, but don’t go too far — your torso and lower leg should be parallel.
- Lower as far as you can without compromising this alignment, making sure the arches of your feet don’t collapse inward.
Rev-members know all to well that press-ups can done anywhere and at anytime! The best thing about them is that they can be modified in so many ways allowing to be practised from beginner to advanced, and even work multiple muscle groups at the same time!
So, let’s Perfect it!
- Go slowly to maximize your muscle engagement. For example; lower on a count of 3 or 4, then presses back up on a count of 1 or 2.
- Perform pressups, not pulses. Rather than banging out tons of reps where you only lower and raise an inch or two, focus on getting a good range of motion. Start at the top with your elbows almost locked and lower until your chest is about an inch or two away from the ground. Then push back up. Now that’s a real pressup!
- Modified knee pressups count and they actually help increase the range of motion. Once you can do 10 good knee pressups, try doing one or two regular pressups. Keep adding more as you gain strength, and soon you’ll be able to do a set of 10 with ease!
If you stopped doing glute bridges because you don’t feel them in your glutes but rather in your hamstrings, low back or front of your thighs — you’re them wrong! But that’s no reason to abandon this exercise because, when performed with good form, it’s an effective way to build that longed for stronger booty!
So, let’s Perfect it!
Think of it as peeling yourself off the mat, rather than lifting everything off the mat at once.
- Tilt your hips to reduce the space between your low back and the mat.
- Lift just your bum cheeks off the mat but DON’T lift your back just yet!
- …Now lift your lower back! J
- Finally, lift the middle of your back off the mat, which puts you at the top of the glute bridge.
- Return to the starting position, reversing through all four steps one at a time.
Try performing glute bridges like this; slow and steady for a week or two, and then return to your normal pace. Hopefully, by then you’ve retrained your body of the new technique of using your glutes.
Saving my favourite for last .. 🙂
Star Jumps or Jumping Jacks!
I now, I know; reminds you of your old PE class when you were 10 years old, or even a cheesy old fitness video when you were forced to do star jumps as part of the warmup. But there IS a perfectly good reason why, and not to just make you look completely stupid! This old-school move gets the heart pumping and temperature rising – which is exactly what you want!
Numerous star jumps include a rapid and big, range of movement in both the upper and lower body, resulting in almost every muscle working.
I’m not going to go through the steps of a star jumps – as I now more than anyone you won’t continue reading this blog, but why not mix these bad boys up a little and get that brain working as well by mixing up your arm and leg patterns, alternating between some or all of the following:
- Perform a basic jack, but alternate lifting one arm at a time.
- Give yourself a squeeze: As you jump your legs like normal, alternate between opening your arms to opposite sides and then crossing them in front of your body, almost like you’re hugging yourself
- Perform the leg movement of a normal jumping jack while moving both arms to the left and then to the right (rather than up and down). This way you have to fight the urge to rotate your torso.
- Rather than moving your arms and legs up and down along your sides, lift and lower them in front of and behind you. You can either move the opposite arm and leg together (Eg; your right arm goes forwards as your left leg goes backwards) or move the same arm and leg together (Eg’ your right arm and leg both go forward as both the left arm and leg move backward)
- Pretend you are holding a jump rope and, with bent elbows, move your arms in the shape of an infinity symbol. Then hop side to side, both legs to the left, then to the right, keeping your feet about shoulder-width apart.