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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!


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.


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.



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?

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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

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.

Read the rest of this entry

Summer Sprint Workout

I’ve mentioned this numerous times before, but the only running I enjoy doing is sprinting.

And when the sun is out, I love getting outside to workout.

battling ropes

So in honor of this beautiful Thursday, here is a great sprint workout to do outside!

This workout is also one of the few that I do that includes crunch-like moves. They are almost like an active break between the sprints.

The key with this workout is to go all out when you are working and make sure your take time to recover. Start with two or even three times the rest and work your way down to equal rest to work. Doing this workout with a partner is a great idea because you can rest while they complete all the exercises and then you can work while they rest!

Below is a video demonstrating all of the crawling and crunch exercises for the sprint workout.

Summer Sprint Workout:

Complete 3-5 rounds of each circuit. Beginners may need 2-3 times the rest while more advanced exercisers should keep an equal work to rest ratio.

Sprint Circuit #1:
3-5 rounds of the following 3 exercises. Do not rest between the 3 exercises! Rest once all three are completed!
4 cone suicide, 1 round (farthest cone should be about 50ft away from start)
Forwards Crawl, Backwards Crawl (down to farthest cone and back)
Cherry Bombs, 10 reps
Rest and repeat. These rest intervals should be as close to equal work to rest as you can make them although beginners may need more rest to start.

Rest for 1-3 minutes after completing 3-5 rounds of the circuit above. Then move onto the second circuit.

Sprint Circuit #2:
3-5 rounds of the following 3 exercises. Do not rest between the 3 exercises! Rest once all three are completed!
4 cone suicide,
1 round (farthest cone should be about 50ft away from start)
Lateral Crawls 
(down to farthest cone and back)
Plank Hip Dips, 10 each side
Rest and repeat. These rest intervals should be as close to equal work to rest as you can make them although beginners may need more rest to start.

Rest for 1-3 minutes after completing 3-5 rounds of the circuit above. Then move onto the third and final circuit.

Sprint Circuit #3:
3-5 rounds of the following 3 exercises. Do not rest between the 3 exercises! Rest once all three are completed!
4 cone suicide
1 round (farthest cone should be about 50ft away from start)
Circle Crawls, 3-5 circles each way (Beginners do 3, advanced do 5. Make sure to alternate directions each time or you will get very dizzy. Pretend your belly button is attached by a string to the ground and circle your hands and feet around that spot.)
Sit Thrus, 5-10 reps each side (5 for beginners, up to 10 per side for advanced)



10 Core Moves That AREN’T Crunches

In my workouts I rarely ever include crunches.

If I put them in, they are generally meant as sort of an active rest station. And I only use ones that are full body like the super crunches.

Here by the way are the super crunches from Saturday’s Bikini Workouts Post.

super crunch

Crunch up and reach outside your legs. Go back down and crunch up reaching one hand inside. Perform a third crunch reaching the other hand inside. That is one super crunch.

In general though, crunches are worthless and I don’t include them. But that doesn’t mean I think core work isn’t important.

Because it is! Heck I’ve even done another post about core exercises even though I did one pretty recently called 10 Core Moves.

If you want to work your core, do it in a way that has either some functional benefit OR that works a ton of different muscle groups at once so you get a big bang for your buck.

Below are a variety of great moves that work more than just your abs and are functional.

I’ve included both rotational moves that will help you be strong when lifting something and twisting and anti-rotational moves that will help you prevent injury when trying to resist a rotational force.

Some of these moves are very core specific and some actually are “focused” on working another muscle group but do A LOT to strengthen your core.

1. XT Strap Anti-Rotational Row – A great single limb movement that allows you to work each side of your back individually while also working your core. You can do this on the XT straps or even off a barbell in a rack. To do this move, place one hand across your chest and grab the strap in the other hand. Set up in a nice straight line, squeezing your quads, glutes and core. DO NOT let your body rotate. You want to move in a straight line as you row up and down. You are fighting your body’s desire rotate. You should move as if both arms are pulling instead of letting the side not rowing rotate open toward the ground. To advance (or regress this move), change the incline of your body. The closer you get to parallel to the ground, the harder the move gets.

anti-rotational row

2. XT Strap Rotational Row – In the other single arm row, we are fighting rotation. In this one we are working with rotation to row up. During this move, grab one strap in one hand. Reach the other hand up the strap as high as you can. Then rotate that hand toward the ground almost as if you are doing a hanging side plank. Keep your body in a straight line and don’t let the hips sag toward the ground. Keeping the core tight, rotate back to the start. To advance (or regress this move), change the incline of your body. The closer you get to parallel to the ground, the harder the move gets.

rotational pull

3. Mountain Climbers – I’ve shown these before on the towels. They can also be done simply on the ground to make them easier. Today, I did them in the XT straps, which creates a bit more instability. Put your feet into the straps and set up in a high plank. Run your knees into your chest without losing control so that your feet shoot out everywhere. You can also bring your knees across your body or to the outside of your elbow to hit slightly different areas of your core!

trx mountain climbers

4. Rotational Knee Tucks – These knee tucks can also be done as straight leg pikes, but for today I just showed the tucks. Like mountain climbers, they can also be done where you just bring your knees straight into your chest. However, they are a great rotational move so that is the one I showed today. Set up in a high plank with your feet in the straps. Alternate bringing your knees to each elbow. Try to really get the knees to the elbow or outside to really work the rotation. If you are a beginner, you may want to do this move on the ground by jumping your feet in and back. You can also do this move on the towels!

rotational knee tucks

5. Side plank – I showed a couple of variations of the side plank in my vacation workout a week ago, but you can also do one in the XT Straps. Using the straps creates a lot more instability so that you have to fight more to keep from rotating or collapsing. A great way to progress the side plank.

xt strap side plank

6. XT Strap “Ab roller” – Moves with this are great because they teach us to engage our core to support our back even when we are reaching for something. You can do this move on an ab roller. The bodysaw and the band pull below are two other moves that work the body in a similar way. To do this move, put each hand in a strap. Lean into the straps and straighten your arms fully. Bring them above your head and then back down to your shoulders. The closer to parallel to the ground you are, the harder the move will become. You should not feel this move in your low back. You should feel this move in your abs, arms and quads.

core reach

7. Band Stability Press – One of my favorite anti-rotational moves. You feel this all down the side closest to the anchor point of the band. You can also do this on a cable pulley machine. Step away from the anchor point as far as you can without allowing your body to rotate towards the anchor. Start with the handle at your chest. Push the band straight out from the center of your chest until your arms are straight. Do not let your arms go back toward the anchor. Then slowly bring your arms back in. This move looks easy, but when you try it, you realize how much your entire body fights rotating back toward the band hook!

band anti-rotational press

8. Band Rotations (Shoulder to Shoulder and High to Low) – These were some of my favorite moves in college. We used to do them a lot with medicine balls, which I loved. But since I can’t slam a medicine ball into the wall of my house….I do these with bands. Keeping your core tight and your shoulders down and back, rotate the band from side to side keeping your arms fairly straight. You can either rotate side to side at shoulder height or you can rotate the band down outside your hip. With both, make sure to rotate the back foot so that you are twisting your knee in a funny direction. With pulling the band down outside your hip, you will want to get more of a squat/lunge in than you will with the shoulder height rotation. Both are great, just different variations that target slightly different muscles.

band rotationsstraight arm rotations

9. Band Reach – So this is the move that works the body in a similar way to the ab roller. It reminds me of that extension at the top of an overhead medball slam. It helps strengthen that extension so that your core is strong at that range of motion and so that your lats are even working to help stabilize and generate power. Kneeling, allow the band to pull you back. Then using your lats and core, press the band back forward. It isn’t a huge range of motion, but you will feel your abs working to stabilize especially as you allow yourself to be pulled back!

kneeling ab reach

10. Front Squat – Potentially my favorite move on the list. The front squat works your legs AND your core. Any time you front load, be it a kettlebell, barbell or sandbag, you cause your core to engage to hold you upright. Seriously feel my core working so hard every time I do these. LOVE IT! Works a major muscle group, is incredibly functional and forces your core to really brace and stabilize during a functional movement!

kettlebell front squat

Bonus: Handstands, push ups, crawling, bodysaw on towels, climbers, Plank with Reaches (Out and Back or Underneath and Through), Sit Thrus

hip hinge plankplank on slider

sit through, planks, handstands

On top is the sit thru, on the bottom left is the plank with one-handed waves and on the bottom right is an amazing mom and her daughter doing handstands!

I didn’t take pictures of these moves because I just recently featured them in my towel workout or hotel room workout posts. But I did want to make note that these are also great CORE moves so that you could see just how many different great moves really worked your core.

And honestly, all these moves are only the tip of the iceberg. You can do farmers walks (especially unilateral farmers walks). You can hold at the top of a dip. You can do pull ups or use the battling ropes. Heck you can even do one of my favorites, Superman/Banana from P90x where you are rolling around on the ground! (One of the most fun ones by far!)

There are so many great core moves that have so much more benefit than crunches! So are you still going to waste time on upper or lower isolated crunch moves!?!


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