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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?

Bodyweight Training – Some Must-Reads

I’ve become slightly obsessed with bodyweight training. I think it is something that anyone at any level can do while still being super challenging even for the advanced lifter.

A few weeks ago I took a workshop with Max Shank that went over Front Levers, the Planche, the Human Flag, Handstands, Back Bends and even more.

It was wonderful!

There are so many ways to regress and progress bodyweight moves to make them work for everyone.

Which is why  I was super excited when I saw this Bodyweight Training Book and Video bundle on Mark Sisson’s (The Primal Blueprint) twitter the other day.

Bodyweight training books and videos!!!!

BWMOVESsmall

 

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Bodyweight Exercises To Challenge Your Entire Body

I used to think that my strength was measured by the amount I could lift on the barbell.

But the weight you can lift on a barbell isn’t the only measure of strength…nor is it necessarily the best measure of strength.

I mean…What strength is great than the strength to be able to control your own body and be able to perform ANY move you want to!?!

There are so many bodyweight exercises out there that are challenging enough for even the advanced exercisers without adding weight.

Yet often the only ones I see people using are the pull up, push up and single leg squat.

Here are some great, more untraditional, bodyweight exercises everyone should be doing – 10 Untraditional Bodyweight Exercises You Need To Do.

sit thru

And below are a variety of other articles about bodyweight exercises. Some are great for beginners while others will challenge even the most advanced exercisers.

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Bodyweight Home Exercises – Best Lower Body Moves

A bit ago I did a post with the 10 Best Bodyweight Upper Body Moves and today I wanted to take a second and go over 10 of the best lower body moves.

Bodyweight exercises are great to have on hand this time of year – when we are traveling, busy with family and the holidays and generally a little bit lazier about going outside on the weekends because it is cold.

The 10 Bodyweight Lower Body Exercises below don’t require much space and can easily be done in the comfort of your own home! (Shoot…they could even easily be used to create a home workout that the whole family can do together while gathered around for the holidays!)

1. Single Leg Deadlift (with slow eccentric) – Stand on one foot with the knee of that standing leg slightly bent. Hinge over at your hips, sweeping the other leg back toward the wall behind you. Pretend you are driving the heel of that foot straight into the wall behind you. Lean forward with your upper body as you hinge forward, keeping the back nice and flat. Make sure that as you hinge, you are sitting into the heel of your standing leg. Do not lean forward and come up onto your toes. To stand back up, drive through the heel of your standing leg and squeeze your glute at the top. Try not to tap the other foot down at all or at least not till you are fulling standing. Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other leg. To make the move harder, slow down your hinge over. Take 3-5 seconds to hinge over before you quickly stand back up. You can even slow down the stand back up or hold for a second or two while hinged over.

2. Single Leg Deadlift Hop – Stand on one leg. Hinge over, pushing your butt back and leaning your chest forward. Swing the leg off the ground back toward the wall behind you. Keep your back flat as you hinge over. Hinge over quickly, bending the standing leg just a little. Then quickly drive back up to standing, bringing your chest up nice and tall. As you drive up, explode up off the ground and drive the back leg forward, bringing the knee up. Then land back on the same leg and hinge back over before jumping back up. As you hinge over and drive up, you may want to swing your arms as if running with the opposite arm and leg working together. Make sure that as you hinge over your weight is in the heel of your standing leg. You want to also drive off that heel to really power your hop up.

3. Balance Lunge – Place your back foot up on a table, bench, chair or box. Hop your front foot out so you are in a nice wide stance with your back foot up on the bench or table. Then sink down, dropping your back knee toward the ground. Really sit back into the lunge. Make sure you aren’t going forward and that your weight is in your front heel and your front knee is not going past your toe. You should feel a nice stretch in the front of the leg that is back when doing this move. Beginners may want to use a super low box or do the move from the ground as a split squat.

bulgarian split squat

4. Single Leg Squat – Choose a variation of the single leg squat that is right for you. Beginners may use a table or chair while more advanced lifters may use a doorway or a super low table or chair. If you can do a full pistol squat or use a plate weight to counter balance you, do that variation. Choose as hard a variation as you can do. To perform the basic single leg squat to a table, you will start by standing on one leg. Hold the other leg straight out in front of you. Lower yourself down until you are sitting on the table. Then driving off the heel on the ground, stand back up. Do not lean way forward or touch your raised foot to the ground. If you use a table, the more you allow yourself to sit down, the easier the move will be. The more you just lightly touch the table and come right back up, the harder the move will be. Also the lower the table you use or the lower down you go on any variation, the harder the move will be.

single leg squat

5. Towel Lunges – Side Lunges, Reverse Lunges, Curtsy Lunges…All can be made more difficult by putting a towel under the foo that is moving. For more details about the towel lunges, click here (and some other great towel exercises!).

towel side lunge

6. Skater Series –  You can do a hold, side touches or even backward touches. For the hold, place your feet no more than a couple of inches apart. Sink down as low as you can, sitting your butt back while keeping your chest up. This squat is very similar to the chair pose in yoga. Do not let your back round and try to sink as low as possible, getting as close to parallel as possible. Hold in that low squat. To do the touches, once you sink down as low as possible with your chest up, you are then going to tap one toe at a time out to the side. You should stay low in the squat and not shift your weight. Keep your weight centered over the standing leg. Straighten the other leg out to tap the toe to the side. Do not let your weight shift as you touch. All your weight is in the standing leg. Alternate toe touches to each side until the time is up. For the backward touches, you are then going to tap one toe at a time backward. You should stay low in the squat and not shift your weight backwards as you lunge back. Keep your weight centered over the standing leg. Straighten the other leg back and just tap the toe. Do not let your weight shift into the foot touching back as you touch. All your weight is in the standing leg as if you are holding the isometric squat still. Do not come out of the squat as you touch back.

7. Glute Bridge (Off Table/Chair) – Beginners should do a single leg bridge from the ground or even a two leg bridge if they can’t get their hips up as high with the single leg bridge. Intermediate exercisers may want to do a two leg glute bridge with their heels up on the table. The single leg glute bridge off the table is an advanced progression. To do the glute bridge off the table, place your heels up on the table. Your butt should be right against the edge of the table. Bend your arms to 90 degrees with just your upper arm on the ground. Lift one leg up and point the toe toward the ceiling. Do not bend that leg or use it to help you bridge up. Drive through the heel on the table and press your hips up as high as you can. Squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight as you bridge up. Hold for a second or two and then lower down. Complete all reps on one side before switching.

single leg glute bridge

8. Kneeling with Jump to Squat – This is an advanced move. It may be a challenge for many beginners to even do a step up from kneeling. To do the kneeling jump to squat, start on your knees with your knees about hip-width apart. Flex your feet. Sit your butt back and swing your arms back a bit so you are slightly hinged over. Hinge back and launch yourself from your knees up onto your feet in a low squat. Then stand all the way up. Once you are standing tall, step one foot back and come back to kneeling. As soon as you are kneeling again, hinge a little and jump back up to your feet. If you have a nice mat, you can jump back to kneeling, but this is not recommended unless you have a really nice mat.

9. Reverse Hypers – Lie face down on a table. Make sure your hips are right at the edge. Hold on to something in front of you if you want. Keep your upper body relaxed. Squeeze your legs together and point your toes out. Lift your legs to basically parallel to the ground, keeping your legs straight. Do not hyperextend your back and lift way higher than parallel. You do not want to feel this in your low back. Hold for 2-5 seconds and then lower down. Keep your core tight and really squeeze your glutes as you lift. If you don’t have a table to lie on, you can do this from the ground. Lie on the ground and relax your upper body. With your legs straight and heels together, lift your legs up as high as you can. Squeeze your glutes and get your quads off the ground.

hyper

10. Lunge Matrix (or part of it) – The lunge matrix basically tells you that you can lunge in every direction – forward, forward at an angle, to the side, back at an angle, straight back, back and crossed behind and even forward and crossed in front. If you think as yourself as lunging on a clock, you can literally lunge all the way around the clock. Sometimes I like to combine two or three lunges in a sequence. Or you can do a 360 lunge series, combining all seven and lunging around the clock!

lunge matrix

This is a backward angled lunge and a front lunge across.

curtsy to front angled lunge

This is a curtsy lunge and front angled lunge. Two other lunges in the matrix

Bonus Moves:

Of course any jumping moves are also great options to help you challenge yourself without any weight. Squat jumps, skater hops, split squat jumps, tuck jumps are all also great options!

What are your favorite lower body moves to do at home?

Bodyweight Home Exercises – Best Upper Body Moves

Recently I’ve heard too many complaints about people not being able to fit in their workouts.

And when I tell them, “Well just set a timer and do a 15 minute workout AT HOME.” (Because, let’s face it, all of us have 15 minutes we can spend working out especially if we don’t have to waste any time on travel!)

They tell me, “But I don’t have any equipment at home!”

Well that is no excuse! While I’ve written numerous articles with bodyweight exercises you can do at home, today I would like to focus on some of the best UPPER BODY moves you can do.

Many people can think of a ton of lower body moves to do (squats, squat jumps, lunges, chair step ups), they often can’t think of a variety of upper body moves to do.

So here are some great Bodyweight Upper Body Moves that you can easily do at home that will challenge everyone from the beginner to even the most advanced lifter.

There are honestly more than 10 listed here since I think we often forget about all the options out there and skip our workouts because we are bored doing the same 3 moves over and over again.

1. Handstands – Whether you are new to handstands and need to start with a modified downward dog or you can hold a handstand without any support, handstands are a GREAT upper body move. They work your shoulders, triceps upper back and core. They are also FUN and can easily be made to challenge any level. Go to Redefining Strength and download the bodyweight guide for more handstand variations!

handstand progression

2. Scapular Hold – If you’ve read more than one article on this blog, you know by now that I LOVE scapular holds or Batwings. These are a great way to work your back and improve your posture (and lessen neck and shoulder pain!). The basic variation of scapular holds is done against the wall. You can also do this against the ground if you are really up for a challenge; HOWEVER, progressing down to the ground isn’t really necessary if you really focus on activating the correct muscles while against the wall. The scapular hold can also be made into a dynamic move called the Corner Row. The corner row works the same muscles although I do find it challenges the core a bit more since you must hold your body in a straight line while moving. Both are essential for less pain and better posture!

corner row

3. Push Up variations (T-push ups, incline, close grip, wide grip, push up to fly, push up to dip, divebombers…) – Push ups can be made easier for the beginner (incline) or more advanced for the experienced exerciser (decline). They can also be made to focus more on the shoulders, chest or triceps. They are a great move to work your chest, shoulders and triceps as well as your core. Here are even more push up variations if you are bored with the ones you’ve been doing.

Towel push up

Remember the push up to fly!?!

4. Scapular Push Ups – A great push up variation to work your upper back. While you may only perform an inch or two of movement, this is a hard move that really works the lower traps. Great to improve posture and alleviate neck and shoulder pain! You can make this easier by doing it from your knees. You can also change it up by doing this move from your forearms instead of your hands.

scapular push ups

5. Crawls – Forward, backward, sideways, circles… Bear crawls, alligator crawls, crab crawls, gorilla crawls…All these crawls work your shoulders, triceps, core and even your quads. PLUS they are a great way to get in some cardio! With crawls I often hear the excuse that people don’t have enough room to do them, but all you need to be able to do is take a step or two forward and a step or two backward. And you can keep things interesting by mixing up the type of crawl you do. Shoot, sometimes simply doing crawls for your workout is enough!

6. Plank variations (plank with reach through, plank with reach out, plank holds, climbers) – Planks don’t just work your core. They are a great way to develop shoulder stability and work your upper body as well as your abs. Planks are more than the basic isometric hold we see done so often. They can also be a dynamic movement like climbers or plank with reach out.

hip hinge plank

7. Posterior Plank – A great move for your entire backside, the posterior plank works everything from the back of your shoulders down to your ankles. You can advance this move by doing a single leg variation or you can make it easier by bending your knees a bit instead of having them out straight. Every time I do this move, I can’t help but think of Flash Dance.

8. Towel Lat Pulldown – A great way to work on those pull ups even when at home without a pull up bar (although I do think a doorway pull up bar is a great investment!). This move helps work on scapular retraction and lat activation. It is also great if you have overactive upper traps and suffer from shoulder and neck pain!

lat pulldown

9. Towel Taz – One of my favorite cardio moves that also works the shoulders and can be done at home, or in your hotel room, with something we all have…A TOWEL. While you want to make sure you aren’t in a place where you can knock things over, you don’t actually need much room to do the Towel Taz. Flap the towel up and towel or press your arms in and out. Both will work your upper back, shoulders, triceps and core. (Plus if you move around quickly, your legs and cardiovascular system are going to get some great exercise as well!)

home workouts

Cardio in your home!

10. Glute Bridge with Reach – This move is a great way to work your back, butt and core as well as get a nice stretch in. It can be a great dynamic warm up and activation move as well as a challenging move to add to your workouts. Since I haven’t really ever mentioned this move before….To do this move, set up in a glute bridge. Drive through your heels and get your hips up as high as you can. Keeping your core and glutes tight, reach one arm across your body and overhead as if you are reaching for something over your shoulder and behind you. You will bridge up onto one shoulder, keeping your hips up. Come back to center, lower the hips down and then bridge back up and reach across and back over the other shoulder. Repeat alternating sides and rotating the core while in the glute bridge.

I will extend my arm a bit more and really bridge up on the one shoulder while keeping the other arm down by my side, but this gives you a basic variation.

So there are at least 10 Upper Body moves you can do at home….Maybe you can even use them today to help you stay on track this weekend….

How many of these had you forgotten about?

Fit in your workout even when you’re busy!

The other day I read a great post on T-rex to Tigress about trying not to feel guilty about skipping a workout.

While yes, we do want to create a routine and stick to it….while yes, we don’t want to constantly let ourselves off the hook and make up excuses to miss our workouts….We do also have to recognize that sometimes life is going to get in the way and that sometimes WE HAVE TO CUT OURSELVES SOME SLACK!

Sometimes our routine gets interrupted. Sometimes our body just gets worn out. Sometimes our mind gets completely fried.

Sometimes we just need a day off even if we’d made other plans.

And if our body or mind really needs the day off, there is no reason to feel guilty. The day off will help us recover and become re-energized to take on all the upcoming challenges.

That recovery day will actually help us reach our goals more quickly if we need it.

Nothing bad is going to happen to our progress, to our results, to our health or even our routine if we make an educated decision to take a day off.

HOWEVER, there are times when we aren’t able to make it to the gym because life interferes that we can still get in a workout – that we still really want to get in a good workout.

So if you decide that life has interfered yet you still really really WANT and NEED to get in a workout (and it wouldn’t be better for your body and mind to take the day off), here are a couple of great ways to get in a quick workout WITHOUT going to the gym.

1. GO FOR A WALK! – Even if your body and mind or worn down, a walk is a great option! Walks are a great form of active recovery and they give your mind a chance to relax and de-stress. Go for a short walk around your neighborhood or even meet up with some friends for a chat session!

hiking

We go for at least a weekly walk/hike. It is a great time to chat and de-stress and get in a little exercise!

2. DO A WORKOUT AT HOME – While it may not be what you originally had planned or even as tough as what you planned to do, IT IS STILL A WORKOUT. Doing anything is generally better than nothing if you can’t make it to the gym because of time or energy. Doing something keeps you in the routine of working out. And usually once you get moving, you end up working pretty hard! Keep a few go-to home workouts around to make it even easier to stay on track!

home workouts

Cardio in your home!

3. SET A TIMER FOR 15 MINUTES – Short on time so you can’t go to the gym? Short on the motivation to really put in a long, hard workout? Then simply do a short intense workout at home! At least once if not twice a week, my workouts are no longer than 15 minutes…and even though they are short, they are far from easy. Sometimes I find it is easier though to motivate myself to workout when I know it will be over quickly. Pick 3-4 moves and put them into a circuit. Do as many rounds as possible until the timer runs out! Heck, sometimes you can even just put a timer on for 5 minutes as choose one exercise and do it without stopping the entire time. Like 5 minutes of burpees. Or 5 minutes of bear crawls. It may only be 5 minutes, but if you do not rest and try to move as quickly as possible the entire time, you will be exhausted!

4. GO PLAY! – Working out doesn’t have to mean going for a long run or going to the gym and lifting weights. Working out can be playing with your kids at the playground or stand up paddling or surfing or hiking or any FUN ACTIVITY where you are moving. So next time your friend really needs to meet up to chat and you feel like you just can’t ditch her, don’t just go to dinner to talk! Take your conversation on the road and be active. Getting moving could be good for you both and may help you both de-stress! No it isn’t your planned workout, but simply moving will make you feel better and is good for your health!

Go do headstands on a paddleboard even if you do flip over and fall in! (which by the way I did...numerous times...)

Go do headstands on a paddleboard even if you do flip over and fall in! (which by the way I did…numerous times…)

5. DO YOGA…OR PILATES – While both yoga and pilates are tough workouts, they can also be good for recovery. I have a Yoga workout I can easily do at home on days when my body needs a break but I still want to move. Plus if you are stressed or tired, it can be easier to motivate yourself to do a workout that you know won’t completely slaughter you and that you don’t have to travel anywhere to do. You may even find that going to the gym to do a Pilates or Yoga class makes it easier to push yourself to go to the gym on a day when you wouldn’t for a more intense workout.

What all the tips above basically show is that something is better than nothing, especially if we are trying to keep ourselves on a routine to create new healthy habits.

Life is going to get in the way sometimes, but the best thing we can do is not stress or feel guilty when that happens.

Heck, sometimes you even just need the day off.

But whatever happens, it is best not to stress. And if you really do want that workout…Well…Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

How do you handle life getting in the way of your routine?

P.S. Thought it was interesting to read T-Rex to Tigress’s post since most of my writing about life getting in the way has been about diet. But life most definitely can get in the way of working out too!

Here is also a great post by 43Fitness about life getting in the way (AKA TRAVEL/VACATION) and how she handles it. Thought she had some great rules!

Wedding Week Part 1 – Wedding Weekend Workout

This past Saturday, I married my best friend. I married the person that, even when he makes me so mad I want to punch him, I still want to run to him to make it better.

I married a man who accepts me completely – He accepts me in all of my Type A-ness, which sometimes even includes an inability to let go of work (this is honestly the longest I’ve gone without posting since the inception of Man Bicep AND I have still texted clients who’ve told me to stop texting them and get back to my vacation.)

I just love what I do…And he accepts that because he is AMAZING.

He even accepted (and took pictures in fact!) that I needed to teach a little wedding bootcamp at the house the day before the wedding. Which was a TON of fun!

Taught everyone some new moves they could do at home with no traditional equipment. (Monkey Knuckles, one of my best friends and a client from Boston, was even there. Miss you Juliana!)

With the workout, we got a good little sweat going and had some fun in the process (plus I think we ended up cleaning the floor with our towel moves!)

Here is our fun little workout if you want to give it a try! (Wouldn’t usually do so many different exercises, but wanted to give them lots of new stuff to leave with!)

Wedding Weekend Workout:

bridal bootcamp

Post workout bicep pose!

Warm up (stretches for calves, hamstrings, glutes, hips, shoulders and back)

Circuit #1:

3 rounds:
8-12 reps Towel Glute Bridge with Curl (Do a single leg curl to regress)
3-4 Circle Crawls each way

Circuit #2:

3 rounds:
15-20 each side Towel Mountain Climbers (Do not use a towel under your feet to regress)
8-12 reps each side Single Leg Deadlifts (3 count lower down)
5-10 reps Gorilla Crawls forward

Demonstrating!

Demonstrating!

Circuit #3:

3 rounds:
8-12 reps each side Curtsy Lunge on Towel (Take out the towel to regress)
30 second Scapular Hold
8-12 reps Push Up (5 second lower to progress. Incline to regress)

Best move ever!

Best move ever!

Circuit #4:

3 rounds:
20 second holds
Front Plank
Side Planks
Plank Hip Dips (Hold front plank and rotate side to side touching the hip down on each side)

This is a great total body workout you can do with no equipment. The workout doesn’t take very long and you can also easily simplify it if you are shorter on time!

And the best part was, everyone was challenged no matter their fitness level or exercising experience!

Stay tuned for more wedding week posts to come shortly!

Pre-workout workout...practicing walking in heels

Pre-workout workout…practicing walking in heels…And in case you can’t tell…They are wonder woman heels!

My wedding heels.

My wedding heels.

 

Redefining Strength – Empowerment through exercise

So over the last year, I’ve thought a lot about what Man Bicep stood for in my life and the life of my clients.

It wasn’t about powerlifting. It most definitely wasn’t about running. And it wasn’t even about a specific diet.

It was about doing something….anything…that made you feel healthy and strong. It was about working out to feel empowered.

It was about taking on new challenges and feeling like you COULD do anything.

It was about redefining what strong really means.

And so I started considering what could really make us feel more empowered. And I began developing workout programs based around this principle.

I believe that working out can be an outlet, a release. I believe it can help us build confidence in a way few other things can. Overcoming physical challenges – lifting more or running further than we thought possible – is just about the most empowering thing you can do.

So I created “Redefining Strength.”

Right now the site has a few products that I’m giving away. I spent a lot of time considering what would be most helpful and supplement everything that I post here, on Man Bicep.

If you go over and subscribe, you will get 4 different reports. One is bodyweight exercises that can be done by beginners and advanced a like. They are basically exercises you can do anywhere and get a full body workout.

handstand progression

Handstand progression…I show you ways to progress up to one!

You will also get a list of 10 Simple Diet Changes. Be you vegetarian or Atkins dieter, there are tips on there that EVERYONE needs to follow.

I also spent a lot of time creating a foam rolling video library and cheat sheet. I believe that foam rolling is one of the most important things when it comes to moving well and feeling great. I even included some foam rolling videos that show you how to roll out even if you don’t have any of the fancy trigger point equipment.

And last, but not least, you will get a goal setting sheet. I debated about putting this one in since many of you will skip it. But honestly, goal setting is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

I know it’s cheesy. I know it’s boring and seems stupid. But trust me it’s worth the time if you really set goals that MATTER.

Goals that MATTER are what keep you committed even through the roughest of times. Goals CAN be motivating and keep us on course.

You just have to set goals in a way that don’t allow them to fall by the wayside like most people’s New Years resolutions!

So head over to Redefining Strength and check out those four guides and the video library. I hope it gets you as excited as I am for the programs launching in August!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at manbiceps@gmail.com.

Home Workouts – 10 Moves You Can Do With An Ikea Table

So yesterday when Ryan and I were doing some foam rolling stuff, I used a table for a couple of the moves.

It was just our little $10 Ikea table, but it was amazingly sturdy considering I put it together…Although that may be better than if Ryan put it together…Sorry Ryan…But it’s true…

Anyway, when I used the table, Ryan said to me, “I wonder if you could do a full body workout with just that table?”

My answer, “You totally could!”

Here are 10 moves you can do with just a cheap little Ikea side table! Love you Ikea! 🙂 (The moves are in no particular order)

1. Decline or Incline Push ups – You can make the push up easier or more advanced using the table. To make the push up easier, put your hands on the table and then perform the push up from your knees or toes. Doing the push up from your knees will make it easier than from your toes. To advance the push up, put your toes on top of the table.incline push up

2. Balance Lunges – The balance lunge is a great leg move to do if you don’t have weights. Place your back foot up on the table and hop your front foot out so you are in a nice wide stance. Then lunge down, dropping your back knee toward the ground. Really sit back into the lunge. Make sure you aren’t going forward and that your front knee is not going past your toe. You should feel a nice stretch in the front of the leg that is back when doing this move.

bulgarian split squat

3. Single Leg Squats – This table is a great way for beginners especially to start working on their pistol squats. It is also a great way to really correct imbalances since you are working legs individually. If the table is too low for you at the beginning, start with a two-leg squat to bench. Then progress to one leg. Beginners can completely sit down on the table. As you advance, try to only barely tap the table with your butt before standing up. Do not rely on sitting on the bench to stand back up.

single leg squat
4. Incline or Decline Climbers – These aren’t mountain climbers. With climbers you are working your shoulders and triceps. Beginners should start in a plank position with their forearms on the table. Next climb up one hand at a time until you are at the top of a push up position. Then climb back down to complete the rep. Advanced exercisers should do this move with their feet elevated on the table instead.

decline climbers

incline climber
5. Glute Bridge off table – A great way to advance the glute bridge is by putting your feet up on the table. You can do either a double leg glute bridge, which is a bit easier, or a single leg bridge, which is a bit more difficult. Start by lying on the ground with your heels on the table. Your butt should be close to the table. Arms are bent to 90 with elbows driving into the ground. Squeeze the glutes and drive through the heels, lifting your hips as high as you can in the air. Keep your core tight and glutes squeezed. You should not feel this in your low back. To make the move even more beneficial, hold each rep at the top for 2-5 seconds.

single leg glute bridge
6. Handstands – Handstands are a great upper body move. Using the table you can either do a beginner handstand hold or you can make the move more advanced by adding in a push up. To do the hold, place your feet on top of the table. Walk your hands back a bit and push your butt up towards the ceiling. Push off your toes to get as vertical as possible, creating a nice straight line from your hands, up your arms and core to your tailbone. If this is easy, add the push up in while holding this position. Drop your head down to the ground and then lift back up.

handstand push up
7. Plank Holds – Plank holds are a great overall core move and the table can be used to make the move easier and more difficult. Beginners can hold front and side planks with their hands on the table and feet on the ground while advanced lifters can have their feet on the table and hands on the ground.

decline plank
8. Lying Bat Wings – One of my favorite moves is scapular wall holds. When playing with the table, I realized you could do the same hold while lying face down on the table. Lie down with your chest on the table. Bend your arms to 90 degrees and then pinch your shoulder blades down and back. Try to bring them together you are pinching back so hard. Hold that move. Beginners can hold for 30 seconds. Advanced can hold for up to a minute. If you want to make it even more challenging, you could add weight to each hand…even if it is just in the form of a book.

lying bat wing
9. Reverse Hypers – A great move for the glutes and hamstrings and most easily done with a piece of equipment; HOWEVER, using a table is a PERFECT way to do reverse hypers at home. Lie face down on the table. Make sure your hips are right at the edge. Squeeze your legs together and lift your legs to basically parallel to the ground. Hold for 2-5 seconds and lower. You can do reverse hypers with either bent or straight legs. Both have their benefits. You should not feel either though in your low back. Keep the core tight and really squeeze the glutes.

hyper
10. Dips – One of the most common home exercise moves, dips can’t be ignored. Place your hands behind you on the table with finger tips hanging over the side. Beginners can bend their legs while more advanced exercisers can keep their legs straight. Drop your butt as close to the ground as possible, bending your arms to 90 degrees and keeping your back and butt close to the table. You could even make the dips harder by doing two push ups followed by two dips for 3-5 rounds. Talk about a way to smoke your triceps….

dips off bench

If you like these moves and have enjoyed other Man Bicep posts, I suggest you head over to my new site Redefining Strength for a sneak peek and a few great workout freebies, including a COMPLETE FOAM ROLLING VIDEO LIBRARY!

P.S. Thank you Ryan for an amazing post idea!

No Excuses – Workouts you can do ANYWHERE (in 30 minutes)

So I have a number of clients that travel and/or like to workout at home in between days when we train.

They don’t necessarily have access to equipment or even a ton of space although they can get outside or into the gym once a week for a little sprint session.

They are also generally short on time and need something they can either do quickly at before work or at the end of the night when all they want to do is eat and go to bed.

For these clients, I’ve developed 5 basic workouts that they can do ANYWHERE in only 30 minutes!

30 minute timer

A few of these won’t even take you that long!

These workouts include upper and lower body strengthening as well as cardio and metabolic training! You don’t need to do all five every week either.

One week you can do the lower body, upper body and cardio (or metabolic) workouts. And another week you can do the total body, cardio and metabolic workouts. And then a third week you can do the upper body, lower body and total body workouts!

You can really combine the five to help you reach any fitness goals!

Anyway, just a great guide to have if you are ever short on time and don’t have access to much space or equipment!

at home workouts

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