Category Archives: Workout

Pull Ups, Rows, Squats and Booty Building

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written some great posts on Redefining Strength covering the differences between Inverted Rows and Pull Ups as well as posts on Squat Variations and workouts to build and strengthen your glutes.

Here are some quick summaries of the articles as well as links if you are looking for something fun to read this weekend to help you change up your workouts next week! (Or well “fun” if you happen to be a fitness nerd haha)

1. Booty Burners – So I’m OBSESSED with glute activation and strengthening and toning your glutes. Weird? Maybe. But I personally believe they are the reason many of us suffer from pain and the reason many of us can’t lift as much as we would like. I also think “Heck yea..Who doesn’t want a freaking amazing ass!?!”

booty-burners-glute-workouts

Anyway, I love glute work. And I think it is super important. Active glutes are strong glutes. They are sexy glutes. And they help make sure that the correct muscles are working so that muscles that can’t handle the load, like your hips and low back, don’t take over and get injured.

That is why I created Booty Burner Workouts. These workouts activate, strength and tone your glutes. And the best part is they are quick and easy and you can do them easily at home.

So if you happen to like working those butt cheeks, check out this Booty Burner Workout post.

2. The Pull Up vs. The Inverted Row – I was talking to a new trainer about pulling and pushing in different planes of motion and we got into discussing the difference between Horizontal Pulls and Vertical Pulls. This lead to us discussing the differences between Pull Ups (vertical pull) and Inverted Rows (horizontal pull).

the pull up vs. the inverted row

But not only did we discuss the differences. We also discussed how Inverted Rows can be used to build your Pull Ups even though they are a horizontal pull instead of a vertical pull.

Click here for more information about each move and some fun Inverted Row and Pull Up Variations!

3. Squat Variations – Squats are a great compound exercise to work your legs and core. But as much as even I love heavy barbell back squats, they can get a bit boring. Plus sometimes you have specific things/muscles you want to target, but you don’t necessarily want to skip your squat day.

That is why it is important to mix up the type of squat you do.

squat-variations

Want to work your core more? Try a front-loaded squat.

Want to build core stability? Try a unilaterally loaded squat.

Want to correct imbalances, work each leg independently and even improve your balance and core strength? Try a Single Leg Squat.

Want to target your inner thighs more? Want to target your glutes more? Want to get your heart rate up?

THEN MIX UP THE SQUAT VARIATION YOU USE!

Here are 30 Squat Variations to check out.

Hope everyone had a great week!

Do you use any of these moves? What are your workout plans for next week!?!

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A Ton Of New Exercises To Try

Here is another round up of some of the posts I’ve done on Redefining Strength. Some of these are MUST-DO MOVES while others are just some fun exercises to include to mix up your workouts in the New Year.

1. A Suspension Trainer is a great piece of home/travel workout equipment if you are willing to spend a bit more money. My personal favorite is the Jungle Gym XT because of the individual straps and nice foot cradle. Here are 10 Upper Body Suspension Trainer Moves.

10-suspension-trainer-upper-body-exercises

2. Have you ever used the Landmine? The Landmine is an often underutilized tool at the gym, but a great way to strengthen your entire core. Try these 13 Landmine Moves and get in a great full-body workout using the Landmine at your gym!

landmine-exercises

3. The PLANK. The Plank is a great exercise to strengthen your core after sitting at a desk all day. It is a must-do move if you suffer from low back pain. However, while the Plank looks easy, there is actually a lot of “form” involved in getting the most out of this move. Check out this post on Plank Form (and some fun variations!).

basic-front-plank

4. Want to make your workouts more fun? Maybe you should try including Monkey Bar Exercises in your routine. Plus they are a great way to get in a workout while spending some time in the sun. Try these 9 Monkey Bar Moves and strengthen your grip, back, lats and core!

monkey-bars

5. If you are taking on the December Glute Challenge, you may want to try some of these fun Glute Bridge Variations. Even if you aren’t doing the challenge, you need to include a few of these Bridges in your workout routine. Bridges are a great way to counteract the effects of sitting all day at a desk. They activate your glutes and open up your hips! Check out these 20 Glute Bridge Variations.

glute-bridges

6. If you want to become more coordinated and move better in every day life, you need to improve your mind-body connection. And you can improve your mind-body connection through Agility Ladder Drills. Agility Ladder Drills force you to learn a new movement and do it as quickly as possible. Learning a new movement and then forcing yourself to repeat it as quickly as possible improves your mind-body connection. It teaches your mind to recruit the proper muscles as quickly as possible, which helps you not only move well but also react quickly – both of which are important to moving better in every day life! Try these 30 Agility Ladder Drills!

agility-ladder-drills

A 30-Day Challenge Your Butt Will Thank You For

A small, easy, simple change can build toward HUGE results.

It’s because a small change has a low barrier to entry. It can get you started. And as you make it a habit and see even just the smallest result, that small change can transform your mindset and attitude.

And if your attitude changes, your actions will change as well. So that one little change can not only create results itself, but it can lead to huge changes in behavior and huge results.

That is why for December I want to do a 50 Glute Bridge Challenge.

glute-bridges

Every day for the month of December, I want everyone to do 50 Glute Bridges..Any type of bridge that you want. (And yes…I do realize there are 31 days in December and am calling this a 30 Day Challenge…)

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or even super tough. Just something to get the butt cheeks activated and help open up the hips.

Heck even a two-legged, bodyweight bridge from the ground can benefit us all.

No this quick 1 minute workout won’t burn a bazillion calories. No this won’t completely alleviate all your low back, hip and knee aches and pains.

But it is a start.

And you may find that when you get down and give 50 Glute Bridges, you also take a second to stretch….Oh and maybe roll out.

And then maybe the 50 Bridges turns into some planks or sit ups too…because what the hey…you’re down on the ground already anyway….

The point is, 50 Glute Bridges every day is EASILY doable for EVERYONE. And it is a step in the right direction.

Plus it gets you thinking about moving – about doing the right things. And even a little bit of movement can make you feel better.

I firmly believe too that movement breeds more movement. Just getting up to do the 50 Bridges will make you want to move more and will lead to bigger changes.

So I encourage all of you to join us this December and take on the 50 Glute Bridge Challenge. You can do any variation you want and even have fun making up some of your own.

bridge-variations

For a few posts about Glute Bridges to give you some variations to try, check out the articles below.

I hope you all join us and get ready to enter this New Year a little more active! Because even the smallest of changes can lead to BIG results!

(Shoot you may even find you want to work toward using heavier and heavier weight on those Glute Bridges as you progress through the month, which will really have some huge results!)

IMG_5135

More Posts….

So just to catch you up on some of the posts from Redefining Strength….

1. Burpees – We all love to hate them, but they are a great full-body cardio exercise you can do anywhere. Here are 10 Burpee Variations to try. And if you need a really quick workout option, try to do 50 burpees as fast as you can. Now there is a great workout in under 5 minutes!

burpees

2. Travel Workouts – Staying in shape while traveling can be difficult, especially when you are busy and don’t have access to the equipment you usually use. That is why it is important to have equipment you can easily bring with you and use in your hotel room. Here are three great tools, 30 exercises and a quick 15-minute workout to help you stay in shape while traveling!

travel workout total valgym

3. The Kettlebell Swing – Crossfit has made the American Swing super popular. But personal I HATE the American Swing. I think it is pointless and dangerous and I will never teach it. Sorry Crossfit. You have many good points but the American Swing is not one of them.

kb-swing

So if you want a beneficial kettlebell swing exercise to truly target your glutes, you need to learn the traditional swing. This hip hinge movement is one of the best to get your glutes activated and help you develop strength and power. Check out this post on how to do the kettlebell swing and basic variations.

4. WORK YOUR CORE – And no…I don’t mean do crunches. I wrote two different posts on core exercises using two different pieces of equipment – the suspension trainer and the sandbag – because working your core is important to become stronger, faster and prevent/alleviate pain and injury.

However, working your core isn’t as simple as doing crunches – it means working everything from your shoulders to your knees down your frontside AND your backside.

That is why these exercises are so wonderful.

core-exercises

core-training

What are your favorite burpee variations and core exercises? Are you a fan of the American Swing? How do you stay in shape while traveling?

The Posterior Chain Pyramid

Did this workout the other day and I must say…It was fabulous!

It uses one of my favorite moves the Barbell Hip Thruster. One tip though before you do thrusters…WRAP THE BAR WITH LOTS OF PADDING! haha

The Posterior Chain Pyramid

hip thruster

WARM UP
Roll out and stretch:
Hips
Quads
Glutes
Hamstrings
Back

ACTIVATION

Band walks or any quadruped moves, but make sure your glutes are feeling warm before you start the workout.

WORKOUT

Start with one rep of each exercise. The next round you do 2 reps…then 3…then 4…Up to 10 of each and then back down to 1. That means you are doing 100 reps of each exercise by the end of the workout. Use a challenging weight, knowing you will be doing 100 reps in total…That is LOTS of volume.

Also, rest only as needed but keep trying to move from one exercise to the next.

CIRCUIT:
Barbell Hip Thrusters
Airborne Lunges
Reverse Hypers
Cherry Bombs

COOL DOWN
Roll out and stretch:
Hips
Quads
Glutes
Hamstrings
Back

This is serious glute destruction. If you haven’t done high volume workouts before, don’t go as heavy. Pick a variation and weight that forces you to work but not have to spend lots of time resting.

You can either choose to finish the pyramid no matter how long it takes you or you can set a timer for 45 minutes and see how far you get in that time and try to improve from week to week.

If you feel your low back working and not your glutes, regress the moves and perform a core and/or glute activation exercise. You may also want to roll out.

Your low back shouldn’t be taking over when doing these moves.

What’s your favorite glute workout? Do you enjoy pyramids?

Happy Friday! It’s Tabata Time!

I feel that often Tabata style workouts are overused. And people string like 20 exercise together using the intervals and overdo it.

HOWEVER, occasionally, I think Tabata can be integrated into your training routine.

For instance, yesterday I added in a Tabata style workout to force failure and burnout.

It was a short quick workout, but boy was it a doozey. Not every workout has to be an hour to get results.

Actually as I’ve said before, often shorter workouts get you way better results than spending hours in the gym.

If you are interested in a full-body burn out Tabata Workout, try the one below!

Tabata Time Workout

Set a timer for 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest. Complete 8 rounds of those intervals on each exercise before moving on. Rest 1-2 minutes between exercises.

Make sure to complete as many reps in the 20 second intervals as possible. You do not get as much benefit from this workout if you rest during the work intervals. It is better to keep regress the move than to rest. It is all about doing as many repetitions as possible in the time allotted even if all you can do at the end is push ups standing against the wall.

The point is to reach failure and keep going!

EXERCISES:

20 seconds Push Ups
10 seconds Rest

1-2 minutes Rest

20 seconds Jump Squats
10 seconds Rest

1-2 minutes Rest

20 seconds Alternating Overhead Dumbbell Presses
10 seconds Rest

1-2 minutes Rest

20 seconds Rowing
10 seconds Rest

1-2 minutes Rest

20 seconds Balance Crunches
10 seconds Rest

Walk around and roll out and cool down.

As you fatigue, regress each movement so that you can keep moving the entire time. If you stop moving during the 20 second work intervals, you aren’t going to get as much out of the workout!

Because You Can Never Know Too Much

The moment you think you know everything, you are in trouble.

Because you can never know everything and the second you stop learning, you will be left behind.

That is why I’m constantly looking for things to enhance my training and workout routines. I always want to be learning and growing to make my workouts better and more efficient.

I mean…Why wouldn’t you want to be better?

Why wouldn’t you want to be more efficient or find something that works and makes your life even easier?

I would!

Here are some great exercises and tips to help you continue learning and growing this week!

1. Here are 10 Suspension Trainer Exercises to work your entire body. These exercises are all core focused and many of them will strengthen your backside. So if you are having neck, shoulder, back or hip problems, you need to try these suspension trainer moves.

suspension-trainer-exercises

2.I think one of the hardest areas of our body to work when we don’t really have any equipment is our back. Here are 5 Equipment-Free Bodyweight Back Exercises. All of these are must-do moves if you sit at a desk all day and want to remain injury free!

equpiment-free-back-exercises

3. The Deadlift is one of my favorite moves because it works your entire posterior chain, which, let’s face it, we all need to work because we sit way too much during the day. And the thing I love about deadlifts is there are a ton of variations to work your back and legs in different ways! Check out these deadlift variations.

deadlift-variations

4. Often when people want to work their core, they turn to crunches. And crunches can be “fun” but really, in general, they are pretty useless. This 30-Minute Core Workout, works the big muscles of your core and gets your heart beating to really burn some calories and create a strong core. It includes some of our favorite moves like the Turkish Get Up, Crawl with Pull Through and Sidewinders.

core-workout

5. If you’ve upped your mileage this summer or are training for a race, you need to make sure to take care of your body so you don’t get injured. These dynamic stretches for runners will help improve your mobility so that you stay injury free. These are quick and easy to do right before your run!

stretches for runners

6. Can you tell I’ve been very focused on upper back, shoulder and neck pain recently!?! Maybe because it is such a common problem since too many people sit hunched over a computer all day and then try to go workout without doing anything to first improve their posture (aka stretch and activate). Here are 5 great foam rolling moves you should be doing if you have a desk job.

foam rolling moves for upper back, neck and shoulder pain

7. And finally here are 25 Core Training Exercises. They are broken down by equipment so that you have bodyweight, slider, sandbag, and resistance band exercises.

core-training-exercises

What have you researched and learned recently to make you better? How are you constantly changing and growing?

The HANDSTAND

I love that feeling of mastering something new – of learning to move my body in a new way.

I love that feeling when something clicks and that new mind-body connection develops.

It is just so empowering!

And two fun skills I enjoyed mastering were the freestanding handstand and the one-arm handstand.

how-to-do-a-handstand

There is just something so fun about  handstands. There is also something ridiculously challenging about handstands.

With handstands we are required to balance on our hands. Doesn’t seem like it would be THAT BAD right!?!

But think about how hard it can be to balance on your feet…feet we’ve walked on and “balanced on” since before we were two years old.

Sometimes we can’t even do that.

And now we are asking our body to balance on our hands? Hands that we rarely, if ever, have required to move and hold us.

When you think about it like that, you come to realize why handstands are so difficult.

They require a mind-body connection that most of us have never worked on. They also require a great deal of upper body mobility as well as upper body and core strength and stability.

So if you’ve never done a handstand, how can you work toward one?

And even if you don’t care about ever doing one, how can you reap some of the benefits of handstand work such as a better mind-body connection and more core and upper body strength?

You can do one of these HANDSTAND PROGRESSIONS – Here is How to do a Handstand.

Whether you’re a beginner who’s never attempted a handstand or you’re so close but just can’t seem to take that last step toward the freestanding handstand, we have a handstand variation to help you out.

Many of these are great isometric moves you can even use to build core stability!

And if you’ve mastered the freestanding handstand and want to take on a new challenge, try these one-handed handstand progressions!

Anyone else love Handstands? What bodyweight skills have you been working to master?

Recovery Workout

Often when I say a day is a “recovery” day, they think it means easy and worthless.

But recovery doesn’t mean easy and it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! And it doesn’t even mean simply taking the day off.

Recovery can be active!

No recovery workouts may not be the most challenging thing you’ve ever done and no it won’t make you want to pass out and puke, but it may be even more important to your progress than any of your super challenging workouts.

Recovery workouts improve your mobility and stability to help you build a strong base so that you can lift more and work harder during your intense training sessions.

Below is one of our Recovery Workouts to make your body feel better and move better!

Recovery Workout

isometric-workout

WARM UP:
Roll out and stretch.
Here are some of our favorite stretches.

WORKOUT

Do both circuits below.

Set a timer for 5 minutes for the first circuit. Work at 60-75% of your maximum effort.

CIRCUIT #1:
Locomotion – Jog, shuffle, carioca, skip, backpedal, butt kickers, crawl…Move around at a steady, consistent pace.

Then grab some water and move on to Circuit #2.

Complete 3-5 rounds of the circuit below. Hold each pose for 30-45 seconds. Rest as needed between rounds.

CIRCUIT:
Warrior III
Scapular Wall Hold
Handstand Hold
Crescent Pose
Table Top Bridge

COOL DOWN:
Roll out and stretch.
Here are our favorite foam rolling moves…Especially if you have a desk job!

What is your favorite active recovery workout? How do you keep your body mobile and healthy?

SIDE NOTE: We love our barrels! Here are some great exercises you can do with this random awkward piece of equipment!

Partner Exercises, Workouts, Isometrics and More

Start your week off right with some new workouts, exercises and tips. Check out these posts:

Three Fun and Challenging Partner Exercises – Sometimes you need a good laugh as much as you need a workout. Try these partner exercises and have some fun as you get your sweat on!

partner exercises

Build Up Your Endurance Workout – Building endurance doesn’t have to mean running on a treadmill or elliptical for 30 minutes or more. If you get bored with steady-state cardio, but need to improve your endurance, try this circuit workout!

workout

The Superman Exercise – Often we get very focused on working the front of our core, our abs, because we want a six pack and we ignore our posterior chain. But the Superman exercise is a great way to work our backside and help us prevent and alleviate low back pain! Here’s how to do the move and other variations!

superman exercise

Circuit Training Workouts – Circuits are workouts where you perform one exercise after another back-to-back. They can help you build strength and burn fat. Check out these great circuit training workouts!

circuit training

Best Glute Exercises – I LOVE LOVE LOVE butt workouts. I love when my legs are sore and I especially love when my glutes are sore. Here are some of the best glute exercises…And you may be surprised to find that deadlift isn’t one of them. While I LOVE the deadlift, it doesn’t actually activate as many gluteal fibers as the hip thruster does!

best glute exercises

The Towel Taz – I love cardio exercises you can do anywhere with only very basic equipment. And the Towel Taz is just such a move. It works your entire core and elevates your heart rate. Check out these three basic Towel Taz variations. Grab a big blanket or towel and get moving!

towel taz

20 Isometric Exercises – Isometrics are a great recovery tool to help you improve your mobility and stability and prevent injury. Check out these 20 great isometric exercises and stretches to help you move and feel better!

isometric exercises

Have a great week and have some fun!

 

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