Tag Archives: how to

How to Perform the Best Push-Up

The perfect pushup – although primarily considered a chest developer, its effectiveness as a core and shoulder stabilizer should not be overlooked. Mark Merchant and George Vafiades of As One Effect on BooyaFitness have broken down the move so you can get the best results.

How to perform the perfect pushup:

    1. Place your hands and feet on the ground. Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders in line with your chest, near your armpit area.
    2. Put your toes together and form your body into a straight line from head to heels.
    3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lower your body to the floor, allowing only the chest to touch. Lead with your chest and not your chin.
    4. While maintaining a straight body, drive through your hands and return to starting position.

Full push-up:

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Modified push-up:

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Eager to try the push-up? All of our bootcamp workouts feature the move!

How to Use a Foam Roller for Workout Recovery

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Foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release, is a form of flexibility training that uses your own body weight on a long, cylindrical roller to perform a self-massage. Foam rolling soothes tight muscles and aids in workout recovery while increasing blood flow and circulation. Overall, this leads to improved range of motion and encourages muscles to be elastic, healthy and function optimally.

So how does foam rolling work?

Underneath the skin, we are covered in soft connective tissue called fascia. Fascia connects the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels of the body, like an entire system of webs. Sometimes this underlying muscle tissue can become stuck from overuse, disuse, muscle tightness or injuries. When muscle tissue gets stuck, adhesions form which results in diminished muscle movement, pain and soreness. Foam rolling combines sustained pressure with gentle traction of the fascia that breaks apart scar tissue and knots.

It is beneficial to roll both before and after a workout to improve the range of motion for muscles, work out any imbalances present in the body, recover faster and prevent the buildup of scar tissue.

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Start rolling gently by applying moderate pressure to a specific muscle group with your body weight. Roll slowly and no more than once inch per second. When you locate an area that is tight or painful, hold the roller in place for 15 to 30 seconds. Remember to breathe and relax as much as possible. Gradually work your way up to two or three minutes on the most tender spots. If an area is too painful to apply direct pressure, shift the roller to the surrounding area and gradually work to loosen the entire area.

When rolling tight muscles, some degree of discomfort is likely to occur. It should be manageable but not unbearable. Listen to your body and roll with awareness to avoid injury.

There are many benefits to foam rolling:

  1. Injury Prevention: When people excessively exercise, muscles over-tighten and the possibility of injuries, inflammation and pain increases. When foam rolling is a consistent practice, muscles are massaged, fascia build-up is decreased and knots are prevented.
  2. Total Fitness: Being in shape is more than a lean body and cardio conditioning. Total fitness also includes the ability of the muscle to move through its full range of motion with ease. Flexibility training is key to lengthen tight muscles, tendons and ligaments.
  3. Improved Circulation: When muscles are less tense, there is an efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products at a cellular level which speeds up workout recovery. Better circulation means improved performance because muscles are being supplied with efficient blood supply.
  4. Stress Reduction: Foam rolling is a great way to lessen the levels of stress in your body, especially after a long day of work. By giving yourself a massage, tension is released and muscles relax. When combined with deep breathing, it has a calming effect on the nervous system.

Foam rolling is an easy and cost-effective way to increase flexibility in the body. With all of the benefits, it should be a staple part of your daily workout routine. Give it a try to roll away stress, tension and those pesky muscle knots.

How to Perform the Perfect Squat

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Today is a perfect day to get back in the gym and work on some strength training, and one of the ultimate leg-toning moves is the squat. Squats can be done a variety of ways target different muscles, but primarily they work on your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. They are also great for your core, as you need to use your back and ab muscles to stabilize your body throughout the moves. Additionally, muscle-building moves like squats are great for strengthening your bones.

 

In a traditional squat, you begin standing straight upright with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms out so they are parallel with the ground, and take a deep breath in. As you breathe, move your hips back and down, bending the knees as if you are sitting into a chair. Make sure to keep your back straight and chest forward as you lower your butt, and don’t let your knees go over your toes in the front. You can go deeper, but a good aim initially is to squat until your quads are parallel to the floor.

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Keep your core engaged throughout the move. Once you get as low as you want to go, pause, and then push back up through your heels. You should feel this in your glutes as you push yourself back up to your standing position. To make a traditional squat more challenging, you can add weights, either holding a bar behind your head or holding weights at your chest or to your sides.

There are ways to perform squats that work slightly different muscles. In the simplest way, you can spread your legs wider than hip-width apart and stand in a plié-like position with your toes facing slightly outward. This move works the inner thighs a little more, and it can also be made harder and more aerobic by adding a small hop while in squatting position. This is a great plyometric movement that can help burn fat while sculpting muscle. You can also do this move using weights, as with a traditional squat.

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Another variation on the squat is the split-squat. Split-squats are also called static lunges; to do a split squat, you stand with your feet one in front of the other, separated by a few steps (approximately 2 feet, depending on your size). Then you lower your body straight down until your front quad is parallel to the ground.

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This move requires more stabilization from the core. Again, once your front quad is parallel to the ground, you pause for a second and then push up through the front heel, engaging the front-leg gluteus maximus. You can make this move harder by holding weights in either hand. You can also make it into a plyometric movement by jumping straight up, switching legs mid-air, and squatting with the other leg forward. This jump split-squat move is much harder and requires more balance and use of stabilizing muscles, so I would only recommend it once you’ve mastered other squats and gained leg strength.

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There are tons of other ways to do squats, and with all squats you should be careful to use proper form to protect your knees. If you have any doubts, consult a professional at your local gym, and if anything ever feels painful, trust your body and stop.

Content has been approved by Anita Mirchandani, NASM CPT.