Category Archives: Rehabilitation

Amped-up plyo

Hop outside, get your heart rate up, and strengthen your entire body.

Most plyometric exercises will help improve your speed, power, and reaction time. But this new workout from Dan Daly, a Tier X coach at Equinox Columbus Circle in New York City, takes the explosive moves further.

Daly incorporated single-leg training to enhance your balance and core stability, lateral movement to get you comfortable working in multiple planes of motion, and extra resistance to create more force, increasing the power-building benefits.

Plus, the routine hits multiple muscle groups. “People often default to lower-body moves, but this technique is really useful all over,” says Daly.

Start with a 10- to 20-minute warm-up. First, roll out your muscles with a foam roller, then do a light stretch and perform some dynamic exercises, slowly upping your intensity until you feel fully prepped.

Then, complete all the reps of the first exercise at a high intensity, followed by 1 minute of active recovery; repeat 3 times, and then move on to the next move. Once you’re finished, stretch out the muscles you just worked.

For best results, you should perform this workout no more than twice a week.

Ball slam with lateral shuffle

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a medicine ball with both hands in front of chest, elbows bent by sides. Lift ball straight overhead, stretch, and then quickly slam the ball down to the ground as you shuffle to the left and back to center just in time to catch the ball. Do 5 reps; switch sides and repeat.

Lateral hop to chest pass

Stand with feet hip-width apart and staggered (left foot in front of right), knees slightly bent, holding a medicine ball with both hands in front of you, elbows bent by sides. Quickly hop out to right with right foot, moving left foot behind you, as you lower ball to outside of right hip. Immediately pivot and hop left foot out to left, as you rotate torso through center and perform a forward chest pass, tossing the ball over to your left. Do 5 reps; switch sides and repeat.

Kettlebell Clean to Forward Lunge

Kettlebell clean to forward lunge

Stand with feet hip-width apart and staggered (left foot in front of right), knees slightly bent, holding a kettlebell in front of your right shoulder, elbow bent by side, left arm extended out to side. Bring left arm forward, then back as you hinge forward from hips, swing kettlebell between legs, and then explode off your right foot into a forward lunge and clean (swinging kettlebell back up in front of shoulder). Do 5 reps; switch sides and repeat.

Single-Leg Lateral Depth Jump

Stand on a low step (or box), with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended by sides. Bend knees slightly, and then hop sideways to the left off the step, landing on your right foot, with left foot lifted. Immediately bound out to left, landing on your left foot, with right foot lifted behind you. Do 5 reps; switch sides and repeat.

Lunge Pivot to Chest Pass

Stand to the right of a step (or low box) with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a medicine ball in front of chest, elbows bent by sides. Lunge forward with left leg, immediately pivot and turn toward step, then lunge forward with right leg, placing foot on step, as you use both hands to pass medicine ball to someone in front of you. Do 5 reps; switch sides and repeat.

Plyometric Push-Up Kick-Through

Ball Slam with Lateral Shuffle

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a medicine ball with both hands in front of chest, elbows bent by sides. Lift ball straight overhead, stretch, and then quickly slam the ball down to the ground as you shuffle to the left and back to center just in time to catch the ball. Do 5 reps; switch sides and repeat.

For full article written by Lindsey Emery visit https://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2018/08/amped-up-plyo

The Last Fitness Frontier: Chronotyping

 

This is an excerpt from Life, Awakened – a series of articles that promote harnessing the power of sleep for those in pursuit of an active, healthy lifestyle.

 

“You’ve found the workouts that work best for you. You’ve pinpointed your perfect eating plan. But if you haven’t identified your chronotype to optimize your health and fitness, you may be missing an important piece of the puzzle.

“Your chronotype is your genetically pre-determined sleep schedule,” explains sleep expert Michael Breus, M.D., author of The Power of When. “By knowing your chronotype, you know your personal natural hormone schedule. Being aware of when your hormones are at the right level for a particular activity (i.e. workouts) will give you a significant advantage.”

Joseph Geraghty, a Tier X manager at Equinox Sports Club Los Angeles, agrees. Determining your ideal time to sleep and exercise will make you most productive in all aspects of your life.

Indeed, this October three scientists—Jeffrey C. Hall, Ph.D., Michael Rosbash, Ph.D., and Michael Young, Ph.D.—were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the body’s circadian rhythm, which controls biological clocks that govern eating behavior, metabolism, and, of course, sleep. Using fruit flies (which are known to have similar circadian rhythms to humans), the team of researchers discovered the clocks’ molecular mechanism. “We found that when we manipulate sleep artificially, if we induced it in some cases by tightly regulating their circadian clocks, we could extend sleep and life span in those flies.” In other words, the scientists were able to understand how our biological clocks regulate all of our behaviors, particularly sleep.”

How to Identify Your Chronotype

Your chronotype is determined by the PER3 gene (which stands for period circadian clocks 3) and new research shows that it varies widely among people and even changes a bit throughout your life. And while scientists used to think there were just morning or evening types, recent research has found that there are actually four chronotype categories. Most people should have a good idea of which category they fall into simply by identifying with the following patterns. (If you’re not sure, though, you can head to your doctor or try an at-home test you can mail in for a full analysis. “Your chronotype can be determined with blood or saliva analysis,” notes Breus.)

 

HIGH ENERGY IN THE A.M.

Often called Larks or Lions, these naturally early risers are ready to go before dawn, tend to be most productive between 10:00 a.m. and noon, and their energy declines throughout the day. Bedtime should be around 10:00 p.m.; workouts should be in the morning and late afternoon.

 

HIGH ENERGY IN THE P.M.

These people—whom scientists sometimes call Owls or Wolves—naturally stay up late and sleep in later. Their energy spikes when the sun goes down. Bedtime is likely around midnight; workouts should be in the evening, when they tend to be most productive.

 

CONSISTENTLY HIGH ENERGY

About half of all people fall into this category: Energy ebbs and flows predictably with the sun so they’re most productive in the daytime and have less mojo at night. Bedtime should be around 11:00 p.m. and workouts are best in the early to late morning. Overall, these people (Breus calls them Bears) are most alert from late morning (but they’re not as energy-charged as morning types) to early afternoon and most productive just before noon.

 

CONSISTENTLY LOW ENERGY

If you wake with minimal noise, sometimes feeling unrefreshed after sleep, and experience fogginess off and on during the day, you might naturally have lower energy, a category that Breus calls Dolphins (because they sleep with half their brains still awake). Athletes who identify with this type should aim to work out about 90 minutes after rising for the day. While they tend to be most alert in the evening, their energy comes in unpredictable spurts throughout the day.

And while they’ve identified these types, scientists are still investigating why you’re a certain chronotype. There are different theories, but an important one: Research indicates that levels of melatonin—the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle—varies widely in people and can change as you age, based on diet and lifestyle.

How to Optimize Your Chronotype

Geraghty has witnessed the effect of adapting your fitness routine to your genetic type first-hand: “I’ve seen people shift when they exercised based on their chronotype—and their energy, focus, and productivity have gone through the roof.” Science agrees. As does Suhas Kshirsagar, M.D., author of the upcoming book Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life: How to Harness the Power of Clock Genes to Lose Weight, Optimize Your Workout, and Finally Get a Good Night’s Sleep. Understanding the body’s circadian rhythm will help you set a daily schedule that allows you to get the right amount of sleep, eat the right foods at the right time, and get enough daily exercise to keep you focused and fit,” he says. His top tips to sync up with your chronotype:

  • Unplug from electronics by 9:30 p.m. Research has shown that blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and screens messes with your circadian rhythm and lowers the levels of natural melatonin in your system.
  • Go outside. “We get far too little natural light during the day. This confuses and delays the natural circadian rhythm and puts you in the path of insomnia. Take an outdoor walk; you will be able to fall asleep easier at night if you get more natural light during the day,” says Kshirsagar.
  • Make lunch your largest meal. “Eating late at night could contribute to insomnia and interfere with your body’s ability to produce serotonin and necessary hormones for the next day,” says Kshirsagar. “Moving your largest meal to the midpoint of the day erases all of these problems for all chronotypes.”

In some cases, people struggle with adjusting to their natural chronotype—say, people who have to travel across time zones regularly and suffer from jet lag. Breus often prescribes different variations of light, melatonin, caffeine, and napping to patients to help them adopt their natural schedules.

“Sleep is the entry point—If you can fix your sleep to adapt to your chronotype, you can make better decisions with nutrition and have more energy during your workouts so you see better results,” Geraghty concludes.

For full article please visit https://www.duxiana.com/news/the-last-fitness-frontier-chronotyping/?utm_source=Furthermore&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Outbound&utm_campaign=FM_Chronotype

This is Your Brain on Exercise

This is Your Brain on Exercise

Getting fit is often seen as a way to get body-wide benefits inside and out — from a leaner and stronger physique to better cardiovascular health. But another organ surprisingly also sees plenty of advantages when you work up a sweat: your brain.

“Your brain is wired to respond positively to exercise,” says Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, author of “Habits of a Happy Brain.” “When you exercise consistently, your brain gets even more efficient at making and releasing the natural chemicals that keep you upbeat, like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.”

That means by working out, you’re basically creating your own anti-depressant. But that’s just the start. Here’s a look at some of the ways exercise can literally change your brain, plus the benefits you might see as a result.

BETTER MULTITASKING

Cardiovascular exercise has been associated with better cognitive function and studies note that when people do high-intensity activity, they tend to increase brain volume. With more volume comes a better ability to complete complex tasks, according to Matthew Capolongo, a NASM performance enhancement specialist and a coach at New York-based Professional Athletic Performance Center. He notes that this can include problem solving, information processing and multitasking.

Consider taking a HIIT class before your next big, multitask project at work — it could make your brain operate better as a result.

IMPROVED MEMORY AND LEARNING

According to a recent study, it only takes about six weeks of aerobic exercise to increase the size of your hippocampus, the part of the brain that’s largely responsible for memory formation and learning activity.

In addition to increasing the size of the hippocampus, exercising can also change what’s happening in this area. The hippocampus has the unique capacity to generate new neurons every day — up to 700 of them, according to neurologist Majid Fotuhi, MD, chairman of Memosyn Neurology Institute. Unfortunately, most of these neurons don’t survive unless they have support from the body to grow.

Exercising not only increases the production of neurons, Dr. Fotuhi notes, but also helps those young neurons thrive. That can be a significant boost for memory. In fact, he adds that somestudies have suggested that walking just a mile a day might lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by nearly 40 percent.

SLOWER BRAIN AGING

Like the body, the brain ages and can show signs of deterioration along the way. But exercise can slow the process, according to a recent study.

Researchers asked 1,228 men and women about their exercise habits, then tested their cognitive abilities, including reasoning, thinking speed, memory and organization. They followed up five years later with the same tests on about half the study group.

They found those who did more physical activity during the five-year period scored higher on the cognitive ability tests than those who were more sedentary. One possible link, the researchers suggested, is exercise can lower risk factors that impair blood flow to the brain, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

Not only does staying physically active lower the chances you’ll deal with those other chronic issues, but it also confers brain benefits along the way.

EXERCISE = BRAIN POWER

The advantages of exercise in terms of brain health may be helpful to keep in mind — no pun intended — if you’re struggling to stay on track with your goals or hitting a plateau. Remember that even if you’re not seeing physical results right now, your brain could be bulking up in the background and making huge improvements that will serve you well into the future.

For full article by Elizabeth Millard, visit https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/this-is-your-brain-on-exercise/

5 SURPRISING WAYS TO USE THE TREADMILL

treadmill, exercises, full body, workout, fitness,

For all you treadmill junkies…..

Sometimes, mileage simply doesn’t matter.

There’s a reason it’s nicknamed the ‘dreadmill’: The cardio machine, though reliable, can seem to some to be a bit dull, a bit one-dimensional. But according to group fitness instructor and full-time treadmill coach David Siik, this machine is what you make of it, and a little creativity is all that it takes to take your treadmill session from boring to body-changing. Watch the video to see him demonstrate these moves during a late-night rooftop session, and then follow the tips below to integrate them into your own repertoire.

(1) Side Shuffles: “I recommend people keep their speed between 2.5-4.0. Going too slow actually makes it more difficult for a lot of people. Starting out in a fast walk, grab onto the front of the treadmill with your left hand and turn clockwise into the shuffle. Hold on until you feel comfortable and eventually you’ll be able to use no hands, which is better for your form. Just keep your shoulders up pushing off with the leg on the back of the treadmill. It also important to do both sides the same amount of time as the push-off leg does more of the work.”

(2) Plank With Push-Offs: “On a Woodway treadmill, get into DYNAMIC MODE. Push the ON button and before doing anything hold down the + and the – speed buttons simultaneously until the treadmill flashes and beeps (you will feel the belt disengage). You are then ready to start. With your feet on the floor behind the treadmill, get into a plank with your elbows on treadmill, or get into a straight-arm plank with hands on treadmill (this will be a slight incline plank). Then get up onto your hands if not already (into a push-up position with feet still on floor) and begin pushing the treadmill forward, like a bear crawl. Be sure to keep the length of push very small and compact. This is a very advanced exercise and requires good shoulder strength and stability. An easier way to do this is to drop to your knees, put one hand on side of treadmill and simply push the treadmill forward 5 times with one hand, then switch and push off with other hand 5 times. First-timers should try it this way. You can alternate between a short set of push-off crawls and stationary incline plank.”

(3) Mountain Climbers: “Set the treadmill to Dynamic Mode. This is the reverse position from the plank set above: Your feet are set about in the middle of the treadmill with your hands on the floor in a push-up position. Make sure your arms are straight down underneath your shoulders. Gripping the belt with your toes, begin mountain climbing, pushing the treadmill away from you.”

(4) Pike: “Set the treadmill to Dynamic Mode. Again, this is the reverse position from the plank set above: Your feet are set about in the middle of the treadmill with your hands on the floor in a push-up position. Make sure your arms are straight down underneath your shoulders. Gripping with your toes, simply pull the treadmill backwards as your hips raise, eventually rising to top and into pike position. If you have good stability and strength you can hold at the top for a few seconds and gently return to first position (pushing the treadmill forward as your body straightens back out). This is also a great opportunity to do a few decline pushups after you return to straight arm plank.”

(5) Self-Propelled Sprints: “Get into Dynamic Mode again. Add a little incline of 3-8%, grip the handles in the middle of the treadmill and begin running while pushing/holding onto the treadmill with the hands. Be sure to keep your shoulders up and your body closer to front of treadmill (instead of extending your arms and compromising your back). I recommend a person does only 30 seconds or less of sprinting, then walk it out, then repeat as desired. They are very difficult and simulate pushing a sled, as you must push you own body weight! An important thing to remember is that the more incline you keep, the easier you actually make it (gravity helps you move the treadmill). The most difficult way to do this is on a 0% incline.”

For full article by Sheila Monaghan please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2013/10/treadmill-moves

DO THIS NOW: DEEP WATER RUNNING

deep-water running

The fittest bodies don’t resist this unsung hero of training.

What do dancers, ball players, pregnant women and runners all have in common? They utilize the pool. Specifically, they take advantage of the cardio and cross-training benefits of deep water running. “Ballerinas, basketball players—I’ve had them all in my pool,” says deep water running coach and founder of Blue Ocean Swimming, Robert Valentin. 

Unlike shallow water running, where athletes run across the bottom of the pool, deep water running offers no impact whatsoever. In fact, you don’t even want to move from your initial starting spot. “With deep water running, the goal is to stay stationary,” explains Valentin. “Instead of mimicking land running motions in the water, in deep water running you run with a straight leg. You want your body to be really tall; your core should be tight, shoulders in line with your hips, knees relaxed and toes pointed like a ballerina,” says Valentin. “People naturally close their fists, but you want to keep them open. This allows you to get the most resistance possible.” 

A typical deep water running session consists of four gaits: a four-foot stride “power walk,” three-foot stride “run” (which simulates running on flat ground), a two-foot wide “uphill” and a one-foot wide “downhill” (quick flutter kicks). Think of your hip as the centerline: You’re trying to move your arms and feet past the centerline, forward and backward, depending on the stride length. Meaning, a two-foot stride would require moving your arms and legs two feet back and forth past your hip. 

Constantly fighting against the water’s resistance while trying to stay tall and increase your cadence during each gait is anything but easy. “Deep water running quickly reveals imbalances,” says Valentin. “Any weakness in your core, glutes, hamstrings or hips will translate to the pool. You’ll find yourself drifting forward, backward or from side to side.” To combat this, it’s essential to wear a flotation device, which helps keep you afloat, making it easier to maintain proper form. 

 

For runners in particular, “not only can you get your heart rate up just as much as on land, but the cooling effect of the water also helps you recover faster,” says Valentin. Fighting to keep good posture in the pool will also carry over to the concrete. “You’re fighting the resistance of the water, just imagine how that would benefit you when you’re up against air.” 

Below, Valentin shares a sample workout:

Warm Up:

1 minute power walk (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

45 seconds flat run (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

30 seconds uphill (count and increase the same cadence every 15 seconds)

15 seconds downhill (count and maintain the same cadence every 15 seconds)

Set #1:

Uphill 45 seconds x 15 seconds rest, repeated four times (increase each set’s cadence number by 2)

Repeat above set going downhill (1-foot strides, hands sideways, slicing past the hips)

Set #2:

1 minute flat run x 30 seconds uphill x 30 seconds downhill, repeated twice (hold a steady cadence on the 1-minute runs and get faster every 10 seconds on the 30-second run)

1 minute power walk recovery

Set #3:

50 seconds uphill (getting faster every 10 seconds) x 10 seconds rest, repeated three times

Cool Down:

Easy power walk

For full article by Brianna Wippman please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2016/12/deep-water-running

WHY GRIP STRENGTH (REALLY) MATTERS

grip strength

It’s one of the strongest predictors of good health.

For years, there were a half dozen or so strong predictors of how likely someone might be to develop cardiovascular disease, including whether he or she carried weight in the midsection versus in the legs, if there was a family history, if he or she smoked, and the list, they say, goes on.

But relatively new-ish research suggests there’s one more pretty significant predictor that we shouldn’t overlook: grip strength. In a study published in the Lancet, researchers found that grip strength is a simple and powerful way to predict one’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease. (The study also showed that grip strength is an even stronger predictor of death than systemic blood pressure.) Physicians and researchers reason that if one’s grip strength is weak, it’s very likely other areas of the body—read: your heart—are weak, as well.

Which is not good news for most people including Millennials, who, according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Hand Therapy, have significantly weaker hand grips than their 1985 counterparts. (Participants for the study were under 30 years of age for men and between the ages of 20-24 for women.)

Like many conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, weak grip strength can be improved through simple and consistent exercise. “Grip strength goes beyond simply being able to hold a dumbbell for a longer set of reps,” explains Matt Delaney, a Tier X coach at Equinox’s Columbus Circle location. “Improving your grip strength can serious change your overall health for the better.”

Beefing up your grip strength is relatively easy, says Delaney. “You can easily incorporate strengthening exercises into your regular gym routine.” For example, Delaney recommends Farmer’s Walks or walking lunges with dumbbells or kettlebell swings to increase grip strength while exercising. Or, he adds, work it into everyday tasks. “The same tools you use in the gym, you can also mimic in real life. Carrying grocery bags to your car as opposed to using a shopping cart is similar to carrying dumbbells. Or, something as simple as carrying a laundry basket up and down the stairs can help bump up grip strength over time.”

Increasing grip strength can also significantly improve your workout intensity, adds Delaney. “When you have a stronger grip, you can hold onto a pull-up bar longer, which means you can crank out more pull-ups.” It also equates to being able to hold heavier weights during exercises like walking and static lunges or squats as well as Farmer’s Walks. “Grip strength is one of those small but often overlooked things that you can improve that can affect your health in major ways.”

For full article by Blake Miller please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2016/11/grip-strength

THE DECK WORKOUT

deck workout

Do this strength-and-mobility sequence (from fitness manager Ted Gjone) at your summer share.

Squeezing in cardio on your summer share is a breeze—running on the beach, swimming in the ocean and biking down the boardwalk are just a few available options. But if you also want to strength train while you’re on holiday, you should look no further than your own body and that beautiful deck behind your house. “This workout is comprised of functional, performance-based movements that test your balance, improve your mobility and strengthen everything you want (shoulders, back, arms, abs, glutes, legs) without the need for any equipment,” says its creator, Ted Gjone, fitness manager at Equinox Brookfield Place in New York City.

Perform this workout as a circuit, moving from one exercise to the next with little or no rest between each, two or three times a week. Start with as many reps as you can (aim for at least 8 per exercise), and then increase that number as you progress. Do 2 or 3 sets total, with 1:00 to 1:30 minutes rest between each.

1. Bulgarian Split Squat

Stand in front of lounge chair (or bench) with feet hip-width apart, hands fisted under chin, elbows by sides. Place ball of right foot on top of lounge chair behind you, and then squat down, keeping back tall and bending knees until right knee taps ground; push through your heel to return to start. Do 10 to 15 reps, switch sides and repeat.

2. Pistol Squat

Stand on a short wall (or bench), balancing on your left foot, with right leg hanging off the side and arms extended at shoulder level in front of you. Keeping chest up, abs engaged and shoulders down, squat, bending left knee, as you begin to lift extended right leg straight out in front of you. Slowly return to start, lowering your arms down to sides, and kick right leg slightly behind you. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch sides and repeat.


3. Skater Hops

Stand with feet hip-width apart, elbows bent by sides. Jump over to left with left leg, lifting right leg slightly behind you as you swing right arm in front of you; left arm behind you. Immediately jump right leg over to right, swinging left leg and right arm behind you; left arm in front. Continue jumping from side to side for 20 to 30 reps total (10 to 15 each side). *Note: Start with smaller hops, getting bigger as you go.


4. Staggered Push-Ups

Start in push-up position (legs extended behind you, abs engaged, back flat), with your hands staggered—right hand in front, under shoulder, left hand back, with fingertips in line with right wrist. Bend elbows behind you, lowering chest toward floor, maintaining a straight line from head to toe. Push back up to start. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch hand positions (left hand in front; right in back) and repeat.


5. Superman Back Extension with Arm Variation

Lie face-down with arms extended overhead. Keeping gaze down and core engaged, slowly lift both your arms and your legs toward the sky (as if you’re flying like Superman). Once you reach your maximum height, extend arms out to sides at shoulder level, and then send them all the way behind you, lifting chest even higher. Reverse motion back to start. Do 10 to 15 reps.

6. Single-Leg Bridge

Lie face-up with right foot on the edge of a bench (or short table), left leg extended diagonally toward sky and arms extended out to sides with palms up, hands in line with hips. Press into foot and squeeze glutes as you lift hips toward ceiling, until you form a diagonal line from shoulders to toes. Lower back down to start. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch sides and repeat.

7. Dead Bug with Straight Legs

Lie face-up with legs extended over hips, arms extended over shoulders. Engage abs as you slowly lower right arm and left leg toward ground, keeping both straight (like a dead bug). Return to start and immediately repeat on other side; lowering left arm and right leg. Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps each side (20 to 30 total).

For complete article by Lindsey Emery, please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2016/07/deck-workout

IN DEFENSE OF BASEBALL PLAYERS

medicine ball, baseball, workout

Sluggers are not slugs—this is their intense workout secret.

In the fitness industry, there are many misconceptions about the sport, says Tim Geromini, C.S.C.S., a strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Performance, who regularly works with professional baseball players. “Baseball has historically not been looked at as a sport that trains with the same intensity as others.”

But Geromini takes a contrarian’s view: “Baseball players are extremely hard workers,” he says. Don’t believe him? Take Mike Trout’s need for speed; Bryce Harper’s insane balance and strength; or Jose Altuve’s fierce dedication to an exercise routine.

The sport is no walk in the park: “Throwing a baseball is the single fastest motion in all of sports,” he says. And an exercise program designed to help you sprint fast or react quickly isn’t enough. That’s why top trainers incorporate something else: medicine balls.

“Medicine ball training, when done correctly, is the biggest thing we can do in a gym setting that replicates a baseball player’s movements on the field,” says Geromini. The technique can work for you, too. After all, the goal is similar: “to be athletic, explosive, and powerful.”

To get there, complete the below workout from Geromini—which will challenge your core, arms, glutes, shoulders, and hips—before your typical weight lifting session twice a week. Leave a few days in between sessions.

Day 1:

(1) Overhead Medicine Ball Stomp to Floor: Using an 8- to 12-pound medicine ball, reach arms straight overhead, get tall, keep your core tight, squeeze your glutes, and slam the ball as hard as you can to ground. Complete 3 sets of 8 reps.

(2) Supine Bridge March: Lay on your back, legs bent, feet flat on ground, lift to a bridge position with butt in the air. One leg at a time, lift knee toward head and squeeze butt, switch legs. Complete 3 sets of 6 reps per side.

(3) Rotational Medicine Ball Scoop Toss to Wall:
Using a 6-pound medicine ball, stand a few feet from the wall, arms down by side. Load into back hip as if you are swinging a bat, and rotate through upper back. Throw the ball against the wall as hard as you can with arms down (a scoop motion), finishing as if you swung a bat. Complete 3 sets of 8 reps per side.

(4) Mini Band Side Steps: Place a mini band above your knees. With feet underneath your hips, take a step out with your left leg making sure you press out against the band and your knees don’t cave in, your right leg follows. Repeat each direction 8 times. Complete 3 sets per side.

Day 2:

(1) Recoiled Rollover Med Ball Stomp to Floor: Using an 8-pound medicine ball, start with arms by your side. Lift the ball overhead by rotating around your side like a windmill. Once you reach the highest point, get tall, squeeze glutes, slam ball as hard as you can. Then do the same on the other side. Complete 3 sets of 4 reps on each side.

(2) Bird Dog: Start in a quadruped position (on your hands, knees, and feet) with your back flat. Raise and straighten your right arm and left leg in the air without letting your body shift to the side or your back to arch. Come down and do the same thing on the opposite side. The goal of the exercises is to keep your core tight and squeeze your glutes. Complete 3 sets of 8 reps per side.

(3) Rotational Medicine Ball Shot Put to Wall: Using a 6-pound medicine ball, stand a few feet from the wall, arms up at shoulder height (think like a shot putter). Load into your back hip as if you are swinging a bat, rotate through your upper back, and throw the ball against the wall as hard as you can. Try to reach for the wall at the finish. Complete 3 sets of 8 reps on each side.

(4) Bear Crawls: Start on all fours on the ground (in a quadruped position). Lift knees off the ground and crawl forward with the right hand and left leg, then the left hand and right leg. Picture having a pot of coffee on your back—don’t let it spill. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps.

For full article by Cassie Shortsleeve, please visit http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2016/07/medicine-ball-baseball-workout?emmcid=emm-newsletter&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email-member&utm_campaign=1025&cid=-Furthermore_102510252016

The real (and surprising) reasons healthy movement matters. It’s not about busting your butt to get a gym body. It’s about being capable, confident, and free.

To most people, healthy movement = exercise. As in cardio, crunches, and fitness models. But moving your body is about so much more, like improved thinking, stronger relationships, and expressing your purpose in life. 

When most people hear healthy movement, they think exercise or fitness or looking better or weight loss.

Sometimes, vanity.

Often, fitting into social norms.

“The man” telling you what to do (or how to be).

Moral righteousness packaged as 6am Hot Detox Spin-Late Pump class or an entire weekend of Instagram-worthy self-punishment.

But healthy movement is actually more interesting, liberating, and, frankly, crucial than all that.

In my years as a health and fitness coach, here’s the most important thing I’ve discovered: Developing a body that moves well is the ticket to a place where you feel — finally — capable, confident, and free.

We are all, literally, born to move.

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It’s no secret: Human life has become structured in a way that makes it very easy to avoid movement.

We sit in cars on the way to work. At work we sit at our desks for much of the day. Then we come home and sit down to relax.

That’s not what our bodies are built for, so creaky knees, stiff backs, and “I can’t keep up with my toddler!” have become the norm.

Sure, if you can’t move well, it may be a sign that you aren’t as healthy as you could be. But the quality and quantity of your daily movement — your strength and agility — are actually markers for something much more important.

In my line of work, you watch a lot of people lose a lot of weight. The results would shock you — and I’m not talking about how they look on the beach in their bathing suits (although there is always a big celebration for that).

Most often, the thing people are most excited about after they go from heavy and stiff to lean and agile is this feeling that they’re now living better. They notice they’re:

  • more energetic and young-feeling,
  • able to do things they’ve been putting off for years,
  • empowered,
  • proud of their lifestyle, and
  • free from many of the anxieties and limitations that held them back for so long.

They’re happier, but not just because they wanted to look better, and now they do. They’re happier because their bodies now work like they’re supposed to. They can now do things they know they ought to be able to do.

As humans, we move our bodies to express our wants, needs, emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Ultimately, how well we move — and how much we move — determines how well we engage with the world and establish our larger purpose in life.

If you move well, you also think, feel, and live well.

It’s proven that healthy movement helps us:

  • Feel well, physically and emotionally
  • Function productively
  • Think, learn, and remember
  • Interact with the world
  • Communicate and express ourselves
  • Connect and build relationships with others

We don’t need “workouts” to move.

Shocking secret: There’s nothing magic about a resistance circuit, the bootcamp class at your gym, or the latest branded training method.

Our ancestors didn’t need to “work out” when they were walking, climbing, running, crawling, swimming, clambering, hauling, digging, squatting, throwing, and carrying things to survive. Nor did they need an “exercise class” when they ran to get places, danced to share stories or celebrate rituals, or simply… played.

“Working out” is just an artificial way to get us to do what our bodies have, for most of human history, known and loved — regular movements we lost and forgot as we matured as a species.

We may not hunt for dinner anymore, and we may opt for the elevator more often than not.

We may move less. But movement is still programmed into the human brain as a critical aspect of how we engage with the world.

Therefore, to not move is a loss much, much greater than your pant size.

What factors determine how your body moves?

While there are universal human movement patterns, our specific movement habits are unique to us, and to our individual bioengineering.

Basically, the human body amounts to a sophisticated pile of interconnected levers:

  • Muscles are attached to bones with tendons.
  • These tendons connect to two (or more) bones across a joint.
  • When a muscle contracts, or shortens, the tendons pull on the bone.
  • That contraction and pull causes the joint to flex (bend) or extend (straighten).

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How you move is determined by the size, shape and position of all of those parts, along with anything that adds weight, like body fat.

If you’re a tall person with long bones it may be harder for you to bench press, squat, or deadlift the amount of weight your shorter buddy can, because your range of motion is much bigger than your friend’s, so you have to move that weight a longer distance with much longer levers.

(This is why there aren’t many super-tall weightlifters or powerlifters, and why great bench pressers usually have a big ribcage and stubby T-Rex arms.)

But you can probably spank your short friend at swimming, climbing, and running.

If you’re bottom-heavy and/or shorter, you may not be able to run as fast as your taller friend. But you may have exceptional balance.

If you’ve gained weight in your middle (or if you’re pregnant), you may have back pain. That’s because the extra belly weight pulls downward on the lumbar spine (lower back).

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When the lumbar spine is pulled down and forward (“lordosis”):

  • The pelvis also tips forward (“anterior pelvic tilt”), which pokes the tailbone back and the belly forward — aka Donald Duck Butt.
  • The upper/mid back may round to compensate (“kyphosis”).

The downward pull can also affect all the joints below (the pelvis, hip, knee, and ankle).

Conversely, it also works in the opposite direction, where, say, ankle stiffness can affect movement in the lower back.

If you have wider shoulders (“biacromial width”), then you have a longer lever arm, which means you can potentially throw, pull, swim or hit better.

If you have longer legs, then you have longer stride, which means you can potentially run faster. This is especially true if you also have narrower hips, which create a more vertical femur angle (“Q-angle”), allowing you to waste less energy controlling pelvic rotation.

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Some variations in movement, we are given by nature and evolution. Other variations, we learn and practice.

If you’re a woman who’s top-heavy, you may have developed a hunch in your thoracic spine (upper and mid-back), whether from the physical weight of your breasts or from the social awkwardness of being The Girl With Boobs in middle school.

Or, if you got really tall at an early age, you may have developed a habitual hunch to hide your size or communicate with hobbits like me.

Yet the structural engineering remains important. Especially if we understand how our structures and physical makeup affect our movements.

For instance:

Body fat and weight change how we move.

This is especially true if you don’t have enough muscle to drive the engine.

At a healthy weight, your center of mass is just in front of your ankle joints when you stand upright.

However, the more mass you have, especially if you have extra weight in front, the harder your lower legs and feet have to work to keep you from tipping forward.

This puts additional torque (rotational force) on ankle joints.

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Once you start walking — which is, essentially, a controlled forward fall — you have to work even harder to compensate.

Any unstable or changing surface (stairs, ice, fluffy carpet, a wet floor), requires your lower joints to adjust powerfully and almost instantaneously — literally millisecond to millisecond.

As a result, obese children and adults fall more often.

Human bodies are amazingly adaptable and clever, but nevertheless, physics can be an unforgiving master.

The good news is that this is generally reversible.

No matter where you’re starting, the more you move, the better your body will function.

When we move:

  • our muscles contract;
  • we load our connective tissues and bones;
  • we increase our respiration and circulation; and
  • we release particular hormones and cell signals.

All of these (and a variety of other physiological processes) tell our bodies to use its raw materials and the food we eat in certain ways.

For instance, movement tells our bodies:

  • to retrieve stored energy (e.g. fat or glucose) and use it;
  • to store any extra energy in muscles, or use it for repair, rather than storing it as fat;
  • to strengthen tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones; and
  • to clear out accumulated waste products.

And improved body functions ensure you’ll be able to move well and:

  • climb stairs or hills
  • step over obstacles
  • carry groceries
  • stand up from sitting down, or get up from the floor
  • grasp and hold objects like a hammer
  • pull or drag things like a heavy door or garbage can
  • walk an excitable dog

The more we can do confidently and capably, the fitter we’ll be. Even better, that means we’ll do more. That leads to more fitness. And this virtuous cycle continues.

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Movement does more than just “get us into shape”.

Despite eyeglasses and iPhones, humans are still animals. We’re meant to move with the grace and agility of a tiger (or a monkey). And movement offers us a tremendous number of (sometimes surprising) benefits.

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Movement is how humans (and other animals) interact with the world.

As babies, we immediately start grabbing things, putting things in our mouths, reaching for things, and clinging to our (now less furry) primate parents.

We are tactile, kinesthetic beings who must directly interact with physical stimuli: touching, tasting, manipulating, moving ourselves around objects in three-dimensional space.

Movement helps us connect and build relationships with others.

Movement is a sensor for the world around us.

In one study, when people’s facial muscles were paralyzed with Botox, they couldn’t read others’ emotions or describe their own. We need to mimic and mirror the body language and facial cues of one another to connect emotionally and mentally.

From the puffed-chest posturing of drunken young men outside a bar, to Beyonce’s fierce dance moves, to the mating rituals like close leaning and eye contact, to the laser stare your mom gives you when she knows you’re up to no good:

Movement gives us a rich, nuanced expressive language that goes far beyond words, helping us build more fulfilling and lasting relationships, with fewer misunderstandings, disconnections, or communication bloopers.

Movement helps us think, learn, and remember.

You might imagine that “thinking” lives only in your head.

But in reality, research shows we do what’s called “embodied cognition” — in which the body’s movements influence brain functions like processing information and decision making, and vice versa.

So “thinking” lives in our entire bodies.

But even if thinking were limited to our brains, there is evidence that movement and thought are intertwined.

It turns out that the cerebellum — a structure at the base of the brain previously thought to only be used for balance, posture, coordination, and motor skills — also plays a role in thinking and emotion.

Also, movement supports brain health and function in many ways, by helping new neurons grow and thrive (i.e. neurogenesis).

Every day, our brains produce thousands of new neurons, especially in our hippocampal region, an area involved in learning and memory. Movement — whether learning new physical skills or simply doing exercise that improves circulation — gives the new cells a purpose so that they stick around rather than dying.

Thus, movement:

  • helps maintain existing brain structures,
  • helps slow age-related mental decline,
  • helps us recover if our brain is injured or inflamed,
  • lowers oxidative stress, and
  • increases the levels of a substance known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is involved in learning and memory.

Move well, move often, get smarter.

Movement affects how we feel physically and emotionally.

People of all shapes and sizes say they have a better quality of life, with fewer physical limitations, when they are physically active.

If you exercise regularly, you probably know that kickass workouts can leave you feeling like a million bucks. (Personally I think of mine as anti-bitch meds.)

Research that compared exercise alone to diet alone found:

People who change their bodies with exercise (rather than dieting) feel better — about their bodies, about their capabilities, about their health, and about their overall quality of life — even if their weight ultimately doesn’t change.

(Now… just imagine if you combined the magic of exercise with brain-boosting and body-building nutrition!)

Find out what “healthy movement” looks like for you.

Not everyone has to be (or can be) a ballet dancer or Olympic gymnast. As a 5-foot, 40-something woman who can’t run well nor catch a ball, I’m fairly sure the NBA and NFL won’t be calling me.

But I’m also not saying that, “Well, guess I shouldn’t climb the stairs because of my Q-angle” is the way to go.

I’m saying: Today, pay special attention to how you move.

Be curious.

As you go through the mundane activities of your day, notice how your unique body shapes your movements.

How do you move… and how could you potentially move?

In our coaching programs, we work with a lot of clients who have physical limitations, such as:

  • chronic pain or movement restrictions — say, from an injury or inflammation.
  • too much body fat and/or not enough lean mass.
  • too many or too few calories/nutrients to feel energetic.
  • age-related loss of mobility.
  • a physical disability.
  • neurological problems.

You may have some body configuration that makes it easier or harder for you to do certain things.

We all have structural or physical limitations. We all have advantages. It all depends on context.

Regardless of what your unique physical makeup might be, there are activities that can work for you, and help you make movement a big part of your daily life.

Ask yourself:

How can I move better — whatever that means for MY unique body? And what might my life be like if I did?

And finding someone who can help you if you think that’s what you need.

What to do next

1. Pay attention to how it feels to move.

“Sense in” to your body:

  • When you walk or run: How long is your stride? Do your legs swing freely? Do your hips feel tight or loose? What are your arms doing? Where are you looking?
  • When you stand: How does your weight shift gently as you stand? What does that feel like in your feet or lower legs?
  • When you sit: Where is your head? Can you feel the pressure of the seat on your back or bottom?
  • When you work out: Can you feel the muscles working? What happens if you try to do a fast movement (like a jump or kick) slowly, and vice versa?

2. Consider whether you’re moving as well as you could.

Do you feel confident and capable? Ninja-ready for anything?

Do you have some physical limitations? Do you have ways to adapt or route around them?

When was the last time you tried learning new movement skills?

What movements would you like to try… in a perfect world?

3. Think about other ways to move.

If you’re working out a certain way because you think you “should”, but it’s not fitting your body well, consider other options.

Or, if your current workout is going great but you’re curious about other possibilities, consider expanding your movement repertoire anyway.

Everything from archery to Zumba is out there, waiting for you to come and try it out.

Remember: You don’t have to “work out” or “exercise” to move. And you don’t need to revamp your physical activity overnight, either.

Take your time. Do what you like. Pick one small new way you can move today — and do it.

4. Help your body do its job with good nutrition.

Quality movement requires quality nutrition.

And just like your movements, your nutritional needs are unique to you.

Here’s how to start figuring out what “optimal nutrition” means for you:

If you feel like you need help on these fronts, get it.

A good fitness and nutrition coach can:

  • help you find activities that suit your body.
  • review your nutrition and offer advice on how to improve your diet (even if your life is hectic).
  • help you identify any potential food sensitivities that could be causing or worsening inflammation and thus restricting your movements.
For full article by Krista Scott-Dixon, please visit http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-movement

TEXT NECK: HOW TO AVOID STRAINS AND PAINS

Our modern digital age has brought us many conveniences. BlackBerry devices, iPhones, tablets and e-readers allow us to communicate and be entertained with the push of a button. Technology can improve our quality of life, but it comes with a price: being huddled over devices for long period of times can do more harm than good.

Using certain devices for extended periods of time can easily lead to neck strain, headaches, and pain in the shoulders, arms and hands. Anyone who has used a cellphone or tablet for an extensive amount of time has probably experienced the peculiar strain it puts on your upper body. These conditions even have their own name now: Text Neck.

Here are some simple strategies to help shut down text neck strain:

Take frequent breaks

Taking frequent breaks and looking up from your device can provide your neck with some relief from the pressure of looking down.

Sit up straight

It is important to sit up straight while texting. This way you can maintain good posture, relieving your back and shoulders from the strain of being hunched over.

Hold the phone a little higher

Holding the phone closer to eye level helps maintain a healthy posture and puts less strain on the neck.

Stretch

Be sure to stretch often between long periods of extended use of devices. You can rotate your shoulders with your arms by your sides to relieve tension. You can also tuck your chin down to your neck and then look up – this helps to relieve some of the tension in your neck built from the common forward-down position you adopt when looking at your device.

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