Essential Exercises for Women: Single Arm Dumbbell Chest Press

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jan 17, 2013 2:49:00 PM

Up in Arms!

In this month's edition of Essential Exercises for Women, we highlight a variation of a traditional exercise, the dumbbell chest press. By alternating sides and adding the stability ball, this exercise becomes much more challenging! By alternating the arms, you add a new dynamic to the move where you have to engage your core to keep the body stable. When doing this version, you may need to go lighter on the weights. You might also want to try it on a bench or floor before moving on to an exercise ball.


Lie down on a bench, step, or stability ball. (If using a stability ball, be sure that your upper back and head are on the ball!) Begin with the weights in each hand straight up over the chest, palms facing out.


Keep the left arm in place while bending the right elbow and lowering the arm down until it's at or just below the chest (the arm should look like a goal post).


Press the arm back up without locking the elbow, then immediately repeat the move on the left arm while keeping the right arm in place.

single arm chest press


Continue alternating sides, engaging the abs to keep the torso from moving.
Repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions on each arm.


Tips

  • Keep the abs contracted throughout the movement to protect your back.
  • Keep the motion slow and controlled -- try not to use momentum to lift the weight.
 
 
 

Main article body submitted by Pennie Waston.



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Topics: exercises for women, strength training, arm exercises, fitness for women, Strength training for women

Sculpt Your Lower Body -- Stability Ball Wall Squat

Posted by Angie Quehl on Dec 18, 2012 4:05:00 PM

Up Against the Wall!

When you use a stability ball between you and a wall to perform squats, it is called a wall squat. The ball helps you maintain proper form and can be used to challenge more advanced users. Wall squats may be done with or without hand weights for added resistance. Choose a ball that is the proper diameter for your height.

What's it Workin'?

The quads (aka the front of your thighs) are the targeted muscles during this exercise but many other muscles get a workout also. The butt, hip, calf, back of the thigh, low back, abs, and side abs are all used during this move. Done with or without dumbbells, you can also throw in some bicep curls with light hand weights and now you have a full-body movement! 

How's it Done?

Step 1

Starting Position: Place a stability ball against a wall and gently lean against it, positioning the top of the ball into the small of your back, but making contact with your tailbone, low- and mid-back. Your feet should be positioned 6 - 12" out in front of your body, feet hip-width apart with toes facing forward or turned out slightly.

Step 2

Pull your shoulders blades down and back. Do not allow your low back to pull away from the ball. Gently lean into the ball, as you shift your weight into your heels. Place your hands on the front of your thighs.

Stability-ball-squat-300x213

 

Step 3

Downward Phase: Inhale. Keep the tailbone, low and mid-back against the ball as you bend your knees, and begin to lower the body. Push back with your hips, allowing them to drop under the ball. The ball will glide down the wall with you as you lower your body toward the floor. Do not move the feet. Keep your knees lined up with your 2nd toe. Continue to lower yourself until challenged or until your thighs align parallel to the floor. Hold this position briefly.

Step 4

Upward Phase: Exhale and slowly push your body up away from the floor. Extend your hips to bring them back underneath your body. Continue pushing upward, returning to your starting position.
To help develop the foundations of good squatting form, emphasize dropping your hips down and slightly under the ball, and avoiding driving your knees down and forward.

Here are even more Booty Blasting Exercises... 

 

 

 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston

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Topics: exercises for women, abs exercises, toning, butt toning, Strength training for women

How to have a Fat-Blasting, Calorie-Burning Post-Thanksgiving Workout

Posted by Angie Quehl on Nov 21, 2012 11:45:00 AM

We have all been there. It's the day after Thanksgiving and you feel like you may have eaten the entire turkey by yourself. All that is on your mind is burning off those calories and fast!

Running Turkey 56072 resized 600

Because practically everyone has experienced a moment or two of over-indulgence, we thought we would bring you the perfect "morning after" advice on how you can have a calorie-burning, fat-blasting Post-Thanksgiving workout today and any day!

How to Make Your Workout Count!

You make the time to exercise, right? Take a moment and think about your workout…. Are you coasting? Doing the same old thing? Get the most from your workout by using the following tips.

  • Focus your mental energy.  If you're lifting weights, focus on that specific muscle group. Researchers saw a significant increase in muscle activity when people focused on what they were doing, compared to thinking about unrelated topics.
  • Pump up the volume. Listen to upbeat music while you exercise. Researchers found that personal music motivated weightlifters to complete two more repetitions on average than those who were not listening to music.  Try this Post-Thanksgiving workout playlist...
  • Keep things fresh.  Change your routine often. This will help you to avoid plateaus and will continue to challenge your body. Try new exercises and new intensities. Check out a Group Exercise class you haven’t tried before! Post-Thanksgiving Zumba anyone? 

how to make your workouts count
  • Stay nourished and hydrated. Pay attention to your food and your hydration levels. You'd be amazed how much being dehydrated can affect your performance even away from the gym. 

Main article body submitted by Pennie Waston. 

Want More tips on maximizing your workout?

Drop us a note in the comments sections as to what area of the bod you would like to see us tackle next or if you are in the Chantilly, Herndon, Fairfax, Centreville area schedule a free consultation with one of our wellness coaches. Already a member? Stop one of our certified personal trainers and ask...we are always here to help!

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Topics: exercises for women, fitness tips, fitness for women, exercise programs for women, personal training for women

The 5 WORST Fitness Habits on the Planet!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Nov 13, 2012 10:39:00 AM

bad fitness habits

Taking the time to examine the way you exercise can offer various differences in being safe and keeping the body well balanced along with better results. Here are five of the worst fitness habits you need to know about in order to make sure that you are maximizing your workout and preventing injury.

1.  Holding Your Breath During an Exercise – Breathing steadily in a regular manner has a lot of advantages. For example, inhaling and exhaling properly can help you exert more energy while doing some moves. It can also aid in the balanced production of lactic acid which is necessary for muscle build-up. With proper breathing, you can have a stable heart rate. The maximum oxygen level to the blood can be well-delivered with a full breath. This, in turn, will bring enough energy to muscles on the move.
 
2.  Sticking With the Same Exercises – Challenge is something that your muscles need to produce better results. Your muscles will simply adjust when sticking to the same workout routine and progression will be difficult to achieve.  Simply change up your exercises every week or two by increasing weight, adding sets and repetitions, as well as adding new exercises like Zumba, yoga, etc.  This will not only prevent injury and produce better results but will prevent boredom as well.
 
3. Fueling the Body – Properly fueling the body before and after your workout is essential for maximum results and recovery. The body needs glucose for fuel so if you are a morning exerciser, make sure you eat one hour before you exercise to give your body the energy it requires.  If your blood sugar is low, your body ends up stealing it from your muscles. Consuming a mixture of protein and carbohydrates will be optimal for exercise performance.

Drinking a protein shake with fruit is ideal. 
A post-workout meal is important for refueling the muscles.  Your muscles break down during exercise and giving your body proper nutrition after your workout is highly beneficial for muscle recovery and growth.  Try drinking a protein shake with fruit or making sure you consume both protein and carbohydrates within an hour after exercising.

4.  Bad Form – Safety is essential during your workout and the best way for you to be safe is to maintain the correct form. If you do not put serious consideration on proper movement and form then you are no longer attaining the best benefits that exercise can offer. Plus, with bad form, you are adding much risk of injury. Remember, slow and controlled is best when using weights.
 
5.  Slacking off on Stretching -  After a hard workout, the last thing most people want to do is stay and stretch.  However, flexibility is very important as we age in preventing injury and maintaining health for your body.  The next time you work out simply plan ahead and allow time for stretching all major muscles including hamstrings and lower back.

So how are YOU Doing?

Do not despair if you found that you were guilty of one (or maybe even more than one) of these bad fitness habits. The key here is to make changes so that you CAN get the results that you want. Instituting the help of a personal trainer and/or a nutritionist can be a tremendous help in answering the "what am I doing wrong" question many of us have when it comes down to our exercise program. So don't be afraid...go ahead and ask for help. we would love to hear the questions that you have! Drop us a note in the comment section or just click the button below and we will get to as many questions as we can.

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Topics: women's health, exercises for women, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, fitness tips, fitness for women, Strength training for women

Best Exercise to Ditch Arm Flab Forever!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Oct 5, 2012 1:15:00 PM

Train Your Tris!

how to get rid of arm flab

If I had a dollar for every time a client has asked me how to get rid of the flabby part of the back of their arm, I would be very wealthy! While there is no easy fix, there are many fabulous exercises that target the triceps and if done correctly, bye-bye flab!

A little background on the triceps. They are a “small” muscle, as opposed to large
muscles like the bicep. They are easily forgotten muscles. Most people think that if they
are working their arms, such as in bicep curls, they are targeting the whole arm. Wrong!
We are targeting the main, large group and forgetting our small little triceps in the back.

Tricep Extensions are a great exercise for women that target the triceps and this variation using the stability ball adds intensity
and challenges the core!

How to Do It:

1. To perform a triceps extension on a stability ball, get into a bridge position on the
ball. Holding your weights close to your sides, slowly roll from a seated position
onto your back until the ball is under your head, neck, and upper portion of your
shoulders. Keep your hips up by pushing through your feet and bending your
knees at a 90-degree angle. Pull in your abs to keep your back straight.


2. Fully extend your arms without locking your elbows straight up from the shoulder
point. Slowly lower the weight by bending your elbows until they are a little less
than a 90-degree bend. Fully extend your arms and repeat.

Perform 10 to 15 for general strength and stability training.


Precautions: During the exercise, don’t move your shoulders, and be sure to keep
your hips up. If you are having difficulty performing this exercise on the ball, move
to the floor! 

Article submitted by Pennie Waston.

Want More Arm Flab Fighting Exercises?

We would love to help you tame that arm flab as well as any of your other trouble spots! Drop us a note in the comments sections as to what area of the bod you would like to see us tackle next or if you are in the Chantilly, Herndon, Fairfax, Centreville area schedule a free consultation with one of our wellness coaches. Already a member? Stop one of our certified personal trainers and ask...we are always here to help!

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Topics: exercises for women, toning, strength training, arm exercises, Strength training for women

Women's Wellness: How Healthy Is Your Self Image?

Posted by Angie Quehl on Aug 13, 2012 12:49:00 PM

Everyone carries around a body image. Because we are thinking and feeling creatures, we reflect on and worry about the image we are communicating to others by our presence in the world. Most people want to project an attractive persona, but making peace with your body image is a difficult quest. So how’s your self-image these days? Are you feeling confident, or could your self-esteem use a boost?

positive self image women

Get Moving!

If you’re looking for a way to increase your self-confidence, especially in regard to your body image, maybe you should consider the many benefits of physical exercise. Did you know that the most powerful, magical effect of regular exercise is that it boosts your self-image? Getting a workout is a direct route to "feel good about me." The amazing thing is that it’s the exercise itself – and not necessarily the resulting improved fitness – that makes us feel better. So scheduling 30 minutes a day to walk or play a sport or do some Pilates is at least as much about giving our mood a lift as it is about building muscles.

It’s important to be consistent with exercise in order to gain the psychological benefits, but it doesn’t really matter what type of workout you do, or its intensity or duration. That means improved self-image will be the result even if the exercise is moderate. Whether or not you’re overweight, exercise is crucial to women's wellness. According to the Mayo Clinic, being active boosts “good” cholesterol and decreases unwanted triglycerides. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and helps prevent a host of other health concerns as well.

Exercise opens you up to the free flow of oxygen and nutrients to tissues and organs. With increased oxygen, your body takes on an overall feeling of well-being. It’s a fact that too many of us have negative body images. Because of poor self-esteem, health problems ensue, such as dangerous yo-yo dieting, smoking, drug use, and cosmetic surgeries.

Poor self-image is rampant especially among women, who compare their bodies to the unnaturally svelte figures of advertising and other media. But men, as well, are subject to fears and worries about their bodies. These perceptions can lead to a range of unhealthy lifestyles.

A Little Goes a Long Way

According to recent studies, even a small amount of exercise will improve self-image. It’s not so much a matter of how much more fit you are becoming; the greatest thrill is that your self-exercise for a good moodimage improves and so does your general outlook on life.  It has been proven, even, that regular exercise improves sexual function in older people, with men reporting less difficulty with erectile dysfunction and women noticing enhanced sexual arousal.

Apparently, it is critical that the exercise be regular. While you may feel great after the occasional excursion to the park, if you make it a daily occurrence you’ll not only feel great, but you’ll recognize improved self-confidence and optimism overall. Is 30 minutes a day more than you can handle? Do five minutes, then; or ten. Whatever amount of exercise you do will give your self-image a boost.

Be careful, though. You are likely to fall in love with your physically active self. Those five minutes will quickly become 20. Having a healthy self-image is just a fabulous place to be.

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Topics: women's health, exercises for women, Women's Wellness, fitness tips, exercise programs for women

How Regular Exercise May Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jul 16, 2012 12:11:00 PM

An Exciting Break Through for Women's Wellness...

Women of all ages and sizes have a new reason to walk, run, dance, and even garden for a few more hours each week. These and other activities- combined with a diet rich in healthy foods and vitamins- may offer a leg-up in preventing the most common type of cancer in women. A recent study published on the Cancer journal website reveals that women who engage in regular physical activity have a lower risk of breast cancer.

Promising New Research

The study was performed by a group of researchers, including Lauren McCullough, who is a candidate for her doctorate in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina. McCullough and her colleagues surveyed more than 3,000 women between the ages of twenty and ninety-eight years old. In the study, 1,504 women had breast cancer and 1,555 didn't. Each of the women provided a comprehensive picture of her physical activity by answering questions about her exercise levels over her entire lifetime.

The study revealed that women who exercise for just a few hours each week were at a 6 percent lower- risk for breast cancer than women who didn't exercise at all. The intensity level of the exercise didn't appear to matter- women who regularly gardened or complete household chores, still benefited from the less strenuous activities. The reduced cancer risk was even greater for those who were physically active and women who exercised between ten and nineteen hours a week showing a 30 percent lower- risk of getting breast cancer.

A Benefit for Women at All Stages of Life

In this study, the decreased risk for breast cancer was present for women of all ages and all sizes. McCullough was particularly happy about these findings. In the TIME blog Healthland, she says “I was excited by the results because as women tend to age, they get set in their habits, and think that if they haven’t been active their whole life- why start now.” She concluded that research reveals that regardless of the age at which women begin exercising- they can still enjoy positive health benefits from their efforts.

Extra tip: Spinner bikes, exercise bikes, and stationary 

spinning-771470_640

bikes will help master the basics
before getting into the hard stuff.

For overweight women with BMIS above 30, exercising gave them a similar risk for breast cancer as normal-weight women who didn’t exercise. While overweight women did see lower- risks of breast cancer with increased activity, Charlotte Lubuono from The Atlantic wrote that studies also reveal gaining a significant amount of weight, may cancel out the benefits that regular physical activity would have provided.

Overall Health is the Key to Prevention

The general findings of the study provide good news for women who are regularly active. But while the results show a positive relationship between exercise and lower breast cancer risk, Stephanie Watson of the Harvard Health Blog notes that the study doesn't prove exercising definitely reduces a woman’s breast cancer risk.

Many researchers believe that the prevention of breast cancer most likely results from a combination of factors, such as eating balanced meals, taking vitamins when necessary, and engaging in physical activity on a regular basis. Adopting an overall healthy lifestyle is not only a smart step in decreasing the risk of breast cancer but a wise move for preventing many of the most common diseases that affect women today. 

Where Should My Heart Rate Be?

UPMC_HeartRate_C1-000646-edited

Article authored by Leslie Luna.
Leslie is an avid gym-goer and writer of all things health and wellness. She is a freelance blogger and editor in the San Fransisco area. 

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Topics: women's health, exercises for women, Women's Wellness, health tips, fitness for women

Essential Exercises for Women: Get Tank-Top Toned!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jul 5, 2012 11:35:00 AM

Prepare to Go Sleeveless!

As the heat wave of the summer wears on, all of us may be turning to tanks, and shoulder-baring tops to try and stay cool. For our July edition of Essential Exercises for Women we have put together a move that is sure to make your shoulders, chest and upper arms look mah-vel-ous...Michelle Obama won't have a thing on you!

Push-up/Tricep Push-up 

This multi-jointed exercise targets the chest, shoulders and tricep as well as the abs when performed in the most extended position.

1. Start on your hands and knees, fingers spread, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips. Extend one leg back to rest on your toes, then the other, forming a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Keep the butt and ab muscles tight and the shoulders sliding down the back. Be sure the neck is in line with the spine (don't hang your head or jut your chin out.). A modified version would be to have the knees remain on the floor instead of extended out on the toes.

push up for women
2. Bending the elbows, slowly lower the body as far down as you can while maintaining proper form. Then, straightening (but not locking) the arms, come back to the starting position. Repeat to fatigue (strive for 12-15 repetitions).

tricep push up for women

Kick It Up!

For a challenge and more emphasis on the smaller tricep portion of the arm do the push-up with the elbows pointing back and close to your sides (as seen above). The triceps are a smaller muscle group so do not be surprised if this version is a little tougher.

Need Some Motivation?

How about even more of an incentive to give push-ups a try? Fact: Your shoulders and upper back tend to carry less fat than the rest of your body, so the right exercises can give this area a nearly instant makeover, says Ramona Braganza, a celebrity trainer who has worked with stars such as Anne Hathaway and Jessica Alba. 

 

Photos: Women's Health Magazine

 

Have Other Trouble Spots? We can help!

We have a full staff of personal trainers and exercise experts who are willing to answer any question you throw at us. Drop us your question in the comments section below or SUBMIT IT to us privately. 

If you are in the Chantilly, Centreville, Herndon, Fairfax area, schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our fitness professionals who can help you map out a plan for success.

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Topics: exercises for women, arm exercises, fitness tips, fitness for women, Strength training for women, exercise at home

Essential Exercises for Women: Get Beach Ready Abs Fast!

Posted by Angie Quehl on May 22, 2012 11:00:00 AM

 

adult-beautiful-brunette-1089164-445813-edited

As we stare down the barrel of the "unofficial start of summer" this Memorial Day weekend, we may not be exactly where we would like in terms of how we will look poolside or at the beach. Fear not...it is never too late to start working on those problem areas. In this month's edition of Essential Exercises for Women, we are focusing on the dreaded midsection. So let's all get ready to draw our belly button to our spine and get crackin'! Combine this move with regular cardio, a clean (or cleaner) diet including foods that will blast belly fat, and you could have a much flatter tum by the time the "official" start to summer rolls around in June!

 

Get on the Ball!

The exercise ball is an excellent tool to strengthen the abs and is quite effective for targeting the rectus abdominsi (that is the fancy term for a six-pack!). What makes this move a bit more effective than crunches on the floor is that the legs are often involved in floor crunches. On the ball, the abs do more work, but you still involve the entire body to help stabilize you throughout the movement, a nice bonus that floor crunches don't always offer. There is also the ability to bring the head and shoulders further back, increasing your range of motion as well as intensity.

best abs exercises for women

Here is the "How to":

  1. Lie on the ball, positioning it under the lower back.
  2. Cross your arms over the chest or place them behind your head.
  3. Contract your abs to lift your torso off the ball towards the ceiling, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips.
  4. As you curl up, keep the ball stable (i.e., the ball shouldn't roll).
  5. Lower back down, getting a stretch in the abs, and repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-15 reps.

VERY IMPORTANT TIP……

SLOOOOOOOOW DOWN!
You'll get the body you want faster by doing 10 slow repetitions instead of 20 fast ones. Moving slowly--two counts up and two counts down--allows you to use more precise form, which can stimulate your muscles better and make them stronger, says Rodney Corn of the National Academy of Sports Medicine. (The faster you go, the more likely you are to use momentum instead of your abs.) Your muscles should feel tired in 15 reps.

 

Beach Body 911? We can help!

If the thought of putting on a bathing suit makes you cringe, we can help. We have a full staff of personal trainers and exercise experts who are willing to answer any question you throw at us. Remember it is never too late to get started! Drop us your question in the comments section below or if you are in the Chantilly, Centreville, Herndon, Fairfax area, schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our fitness professionals who can help you map out a plan for success that extends way beyond the beach.

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Topics: exercises for women, abs exercises, fitness tips, personal training for women

Essential Exercises for Women: Jumping Power Lunges

Posted by Angie Quehl on Apr 9, 2012 3:00:00 PM

 BOSU Exercises

Have you ever spotted that odd-looking half-moon-shaped ball at the gym and wondered "What the heck is that?" This edition of Essential Exercises for Women showcases that little fitness gem called the BOSU Balance Trainer. The BOSU (stand for 'Both Sides Up' or 'Both Sides Utilized' meaning you can use both the rounded and flat parts) is a great tool to use to add variety and challenge to your workout and has many benefits; such as strengthening the entire body as well as adding unexpected cardio moves to raise your heart rate. These Jumping Power Lunges we are about to show you are a great example of you can get your heart pumping while challenging all of the muscles in your lower body!


Jumping Power Lunges


1. Face the BOSU Trainer and place the right foot in the center of the dome.

 

2. Lower into a lunge (the front knee should be behind the toe).

 

3. As you press up, jump up and switch legs in the air, landing with the left foot on the dome, right foot back.

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4. Continue jumping and switching legs for 10 to 15 reps. This endurance move will challenge the heart rate, strengthen the lower body and core.

 

This move may be a little advanced for some if you are unfamiliar with using the BOSU. If you are a BOSU balance newbie, we recommend starting with a basic lunge before adding in the jump in order to learn how to stabilize your foot on the trainer.

 

Other Great BOSU Exercises:

For the Beginner

 

To Improve Your Balance

 

For Your Arms 

 

For Your Abs 

 

If there is a specific area that you would like to address using the BOSU please drop us a line in our comment section or click here to submit your question through our site. Our personal trainers would be happy to help you!

 

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Topics: exercises for women, strength training, thigh toning, cardio, fitness tips

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