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The holidays can be a very busy and stressful time.  We are consumed by travel, shopping, family, and eating which makes it difficult to maintain our usual exercise routine (if we had one to begin with). The combination of less activity, unlimited supply of high fat, high sugar, calorie dense foods, accompanied by higher stress levels is a recipe for weight gain.  While you can’t out exercise the kids’ Halloween candy or a pumpkin pie, extra energy expenditure in the form of intense exercise will help minimize the damage.  This exercise series will focus on ramping up your metabolism by incorporating time efficient workouts that use multiple muscle groups (the more used, the more calories burned) and keep you moving.

Try this last 20 minute workout on for size to help those pants fit this holiday season:

Butts and Guts

This workout is another simple one requiring only your body and 1 kettlebell (KB). Just like our Push/Pull/Jump workout in this series, we will use a timer. Pick a KB weight that 20 swings with will be very challenging. The two exercises are the KB Swing and  the Plank Jack. These two exercises compliment each other very well. While KB Swings work the grip, hamstrings, glutes, and entire back, Plank Jacks work the anterior core, hip flexors, triceps, and shoulders. This workout will run 15 minutes long. On the minute, for the entire 15 minutes, you will perform the prescribed reps of Plank Jacks and KB Swings. Whatever time is left for that minute will be used for recovery.

Advanced: 15 swings, 20 Plank Jacks on the minute for 15 minutes

Intermediate: 10 swings, 15 Plank Jacks on the minute for 15 minutes.

Novice: 10 swings, 10 Plank Jacks on the minute for 15 minutes

Click on the link below to see video demonstration of the Butts and Guts workout:

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS, Pn1

One of the biggest changes I have witnessed in my 30 years as a physical therapist has been the onset of old age postural problems in younger bodies. Every day, we help young people with complaints of upper back soreness, neck pain, and headaches related to postural stress.   On a recent trip to Manhattan, I was amazed at how many of the subway riders spent the entire trip slumped over, staring into a smart phone while the train subjected their spines to the damaging vibratory oscillations we work to eliminate in industrial work sites. Unfortunately, as is the case with prolonged sitting, you cannot exercise enough to “out train” the damaging effects of these poor posture habits. It appears the damage extends farther up the neck.

 

A recent article by Amy Cuddy in the December 12, 2015 edition of The New York Times entitled “Your iPhone is Ruining Your Posture—and Your Mood” reveals how poor postural habits can damage our mood, memory, and decision making skills. The number one reason people give for exercising is that it makes them “feel better.” Perhaps these positive feelings are related to the connection between mood and activation of dormant postural reflexes. I believe this is the scientific answer to why individuals fall into fountains and walk into traffic while using an i-device. This article demonstrates that correction of posture has more than just physical benefits. Ill-advised text messages and tweets will be less common as your reasoning and logic improve with a reformation in your posture.

To read the article, click on the link below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/opinion/sunday/your-iphone-is-ruining-your-posture-and-your-mood.html?_r=0

-Michael O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS

The holidays can be a very busy and stressful time. We are consumed by travel, shopping, family, and eating which makes it difficult to maintain our usual exercise routine (if we had one to begin with). The combination of less activity, unlimited supply of high fat, high sugar, calorie dense foods, accompanied by higher stress levels is a recipe for weight gain. While you can’t out exercise the kids’ Halloween candy or a pumpkin pie, extra energy expenditure in the form of intense exercise will help minimize the damage. This exercise series will focus on ramping up your metabolism by incorporating time efficient workouts that use multiple muscle groups (the more used, the more calories burned) and keep you moving.

Try this 20 minute workout on for size to help those pants fit this holiday season:

600 yard Sled Push/Drag

This workout seems very simple and, in concept, it is. If you don’t have a lot of time, and you don’t want to think too much about what you are doing in the gym, this is an excellent option. Simply load the sled with the desired weight, push it anteriorly for 30yards, and then drag it posteriorly for 30 yards. Repeat this for a total of 10 rounds and complete it as fast as possible. You should be able to finish in under 30 minutes. If you pick an appropriate load and complete this in 20 minutes, you won’t want to do anything else.

Loading Recommendations:

Advanced- add 2x Bodyweight to sled

Intermediate- add 1.2x Bodyweight to sled

Beginner- add 0.8x Bodyweight to sled

To view video demonstration of the Sled Push/Drag, click on the link below:

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS, Pn1

“Hamstrings” is the name given to the series of muscles on the back of the thigh that connect the pelvis to the lower bone of the knee. The hamstrings cross two joints, and like all bi-articular muscles, they are more prone to injury and create more difficulties when they become weak. Properly functioning hamstrings work at the knee like the reins on a horse. They tell the knee to slow down, speed up, turn in, and turn out. Lack of hamstring control at the knee makes you more susceptible to injury and pain problems.   At the pelvis, they work in concert with the gluteal muscles to produce hip extension and control the position of the pelvis. As anyone who has had a hamstring tendonitis will tell you, running, jumping, climbing stairs, and getting up off the floor suddenly becomes very painful.

Your friendly neighborhood gym has an answer in the form of a leg curl machine. Leg curl machines are designed to strengthen the hamstrings by bending the knee against a plate loaded resistance. While leg curl machines will make your hamstrings bigger, they produce little carry over to better functional performance. Leg curl machines do not train the hip extension component of hamstring function, and they completely separate the hamstrings from their functional teammates the gluteal muscles.

The saying in neurology is “What fires together, wires together.” Every time you perform an exercise, you neurologically reinforce the movement pattern of that exercise. It is like hitting “save” on your computer. If you reinforce faulty movement patterns with enough frequency and intensity, the pattern becomes your method of moving during stressful situations. Seated and prone leg curl machines reinforce a faulty motor pattern that will not save you from a fall, improve your performance on the field of play, or make you more durable.

Roller Leg Curl

With the Sorinex Roller Leg Curl, you can train the hamstrings to work at both the knee and the pelvis at the same time.   As in all aspects of locomotion, the gluteals and hamstrings fire together. Just like when you run or sprint, a strong core stability demand is necessary. If you get strong enough to perform the single leg version, a challenge of rotational control at the pelvis is created.

In the supine position, with the knees extended, place a Sorinex Roller underneath both feet. Contract the gluteal muscles and lift the hips off the floor. Tighten up the hamstring muscles and pull the sliders up toward the hips. Slide back out to full knee extension but keep the hips up off the floor. Keep the ankles pulled up into dorsiflexion throughout the exercise. Perform two sets of five to ten repetitions. As your strength improves, you can add resistance in the form of a band attached to the roller or a sandbag on the hips. The ultimate goal is to progress to single leg training. We travel through life one leg at a time.

To view video demonstration of the Roller Leg Curl, click on the link below:

-Michael O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS

The location of body fat is more important than the amount of body fat. Researchers have found that even patients who would be considered at normal weight faced far greater risk of death if they had a large waist. Since the mid 1990’s, we have known that body fat is not just an inert form of stored energy that Mother Nature created to carry us through a famine. Body fat is an endocrine organ that secretes hormones that turn genes on and off in cells throughout the body. Visceral fat, the kind stored in and around belly, is the hormonal driver of metabolic syndrome, the precursor to diabetes, elevated blood lipids, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. What this study demonstrated is that we can fight back by training to develop the muscle mass that fights off the hormonal effects of fat deposits.

Take the time to read the November 10, 2015, New York Times article by Nicholas Bakalar, “Beware the Beer Belly.” It presents recent, expansive research on “central obesity.”

So what do we do to avoid the accumulation of visceral body fat? The results of a study in the journal Obesity* clearly show that one form of exercise is more effective at preventing the most unhealthy type of fat deposits. The men that performed resistance training exercise gained far less belly fat than the men who performed cardio-based exercise. The cardio group gained nearly twice as much abdominal area fat as the weight trainers.

*Obesity

Volume 23, Issue 2, pages 461-467, February 2015. Mekary, R. et. al.

To read the article, click on the link below:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/10/beware-the-beer-belly/?_r=1

-Michael O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS

The holidays can be a very busy and stressful time. We are consumed by travel, shopping, family, and eating which makes it difficult to maintain our usual exercise routine (if we had one to begin with). The combination of less activity, unlimited supply of high fat, high sugar, calorie dense foods, accompanied by higher stress levels is a recipe for weight gain. While you can’t out exercise the kids’ Halloween candy or a pumpkin pie, extra energy expenditure in the form of intense exercise will help minimize the damage. This exercise series will focus on ramping up your metabolism by incorporating time efficient workouts that use multiple muscle groups (the more used, the more calories burned) and keep you moving.

Try this 20 minute workout on for size to help those pants fit this holiday season:

Throw/Lunge/Throw:

Stepping OH Medicine Ball Throws 10 reps

Lunge Step Throws 10/side

Rotational Medicine Ball Throws 10/side

Run through this circuit 5-8 times based on your fitness level. Try to complete it as fast as possible, with no more than 2 minutes rest between each round. You can add weight to your lunges, to make it more challenging. Make sure to focus on throwing the ball as fast as possible on your MB throws to get the most out of them.

To view video demonstration of Throw/Lunge/Throw, click on the link below:

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS, Pn1

The holidays can be a very busy and stressful time. We are consumed by travel, shopping, family, and eating which makes it difficult to maintain our usual exercise routine (if we had one to begin with). The combination of less activity, unlimited supply of high fat, high sugar, calorie dense foods, accompanied by higher stress levels is a recipe for weight gain. While you can’t out exercise the kids’ Halloween candy or a pumpkin pie, extra energy expenditure in the form of intense exercise will help minimize the damage. This exercise series will focus on ramping up your metabolism by incorporating time efficient workouts that use multiple muscle groups (the more used, the more calories burned) and keep you moving.

Try this 20 minute workout on for size to help those pants fit this holiday season:

Push/Pull/Jump

Push ups (Handstand, traditional, or on bar) 7 reps

Pull ups OR Rows (can be inverted) 7 reps

Squat Jumps 7 reps

Perform the Push/Pull/Jump circuit on the minute for 10-20 minutes depending on your fitness level. At the start of every minute, you will perform this circuit. Whatever time is left over will be used for recovery. This gives you an incentive to finish quickly so you get more recovery time. Keep in mind that the fatigue will be cumulative so, if it doesn’t feel too hard at first, just wait. By the end, you will have performed 70-140 reps of each exercise with a total of 210-420 total reps.

To view video demonstration of the push/pull/jump circuit, click on the link below:

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS, Pn1

While performing Turkish Get Ups or Med Ball Throws, I get the question, “What does that exercise work?” The answer is “My brain.” I quickly explain how optimal training activates your nervous system (brain) and improves how you move. An area of intense research is the impact exercise has on the aging brain. A study that utilized high-resolution brain imaging tests has now shown that consistent strength training improves brain health in the elderly. Furthermore, it appears that two sessions of strength training a week has a better brain bolstering effect than one session.

Read the October 21, 2015, New York Times article by Gretchen Reynolds, “Lifting Weights, Twice a Week, May Aid the Brain.” Then, get your scrawny medulla oblongata to the gym and do some pull ups.

To read the article, click on the link below:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/lifting-weights-twice-a-week-may-aid-the-brain/?_r=1

-Michael O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS

Whether you are trying to maximize bone density at a young age or simply maintain it at an older age, your choice of exercises will be the key to your success. Select exercises that allow for large amounts of force and power to be displayed. Also, choose exercises that effectively stress multiple muscle groups as muscle preservation is highly associated with bone density.

The last two exercises in our series of six are listed below:

Power Clean

The power clean is a great exercise to stress the bones of the feet, lower/upper legs, hips, spine, clavicles, and even arms to a smaller degree. Power Cleans are a great movement for improving full body power, but they are a bit more advanced. You should probably refrain from this exercise if you have under one year of weight training experience. This exercise offers some of the highest power outputs of any exercise.

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Split Squat

This is a good exercise for everyone, but especially for those who have low back issues (degenerative discs, bulging/herniated discs, etc.) and those at risk for osteoporosis often do. It places very little stress on the low back, incorporates a large amount of lower body muscles, works on balance and, most importantly, allows for very heavy loads to be used.

Click on the link below for step by step instructions and video demonstration on how to perform a power clean and split squat:

 

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS, Pn1

Ten million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis. An additional 18 million are at risk to develop it. An additional 34 million are at risk to develop osteopenia, or low bone mass. These ailments lead to higher incidents of fractures which lead to lack of physical activity and a quick decline in the fitness and health of affected individuals.

Last week, we talked about the vital role our diet plays when it comes to preventing osteoporosis by providing the needed nutrients to build and maintain strong bones. It should be noted that over half of our bone mass is accumulated during adolescence (12.5 years for girls and 14 years for boys) with peak bone mass being achieved in our mid 20’s. It is, therefore, very important for people of all ages, especially younger individuals, to incorporate appropriate activities and nutrition and not wait until we are in our 50’s and beyond to start trying to modify diet and activity.

In addition to giving our bodies the needed nutrients of calcium, vitamin D, and protein, the most effective way to stimulate our bone density is through activity. Ultimately, putting our bones under large amounts of force gives them the stimulus they need to get dense and strong.como

There are two main ways we can put stress on our bones where the requisite force is being absorbed or transferred which in turn stimulates bone density. One such way is through weight bearing exercises which force your body to absorb impact. These include walking (on hard surfaces), running, sprinting, jumping, and various upper extremity plyometric exercises. The potential drawback to some of these exercises is that they can be hard on your joints (knees, hips, back, ankles), especially for those with preexisting conditions in these areas. This type of training should be used 2-3x/week for 15-30 minutes.

The second form is that of resistance training. This can be done with machines, bands, body weight, or free weights. It has been demonstrated that free weight activities using barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells (especially at heavier weights/intensities) lead to greater force production. It would stand to reason, therefore, that utilizing primarily free weight exercises with moderate to heavy weights would be most effective at increasing/maintaining bone density. Resistance training should be performed 3-5 times per week for 30-60 minutes.

It should be noted that low/no impact activities such as swimming, water aerobics, yoga, elliptical trainers, and biking provide little stimulus for improving bone density. Also, even with the best training protocol, appropriate considerations must be made in regard to nutrition to be sure the needed nutrients are available to build up our bones.

Click on the link below to see video demonstration of one of our members in action:

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., OCS, CSCS

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