Posted on 21 Comments

Knees to the chest and roll

This is an excellent exercise to massage and treat with care our lower back.

Pull the knees up towards the chest and stretch the hips and lower back. The lumbar spinal area is pressed into the floor. Roll up and down and from side to side upon the lower back. This loosens into the hip joint and massages and stimulates the lower back.

The hardness and firmness of the floor are important and should be used to press into stiff, tight areas. The back may crunch and snap :)
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Posted on 10 Comments

Supermans Level 3

Supermans Level 3 will burn our lower back. Again, no equipment is required.

Lay face down on a mat, with your arms extended.

Exhale and contract your lower back and glutes, lifting your chest and legs up off the ground. Keep your hands and arms straight throughout the exercise.

Hold a few seconds. Inhale, back to initial position and repeat.

There are some other variations and yoga poses but luckily they are not called “supermans”.

All of them are safe and effective when it comes to building strength in our lower back. There is life beyond deadlift!


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Supermans Level 2

Supermans Level 2 is another easy exercise for our lower back. No equipment is required.

Lay face down on a mat, with your arms extended.

Exhale and lift your chest up off the ground using your back muscles. Keep your hands and arms straight throughout the exercise.

Hold this position a few seconds. Inhale and back to initial position. Repeat, chasing perfection :)


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Glute Bridge

Squats have become popular for great glutes. While lifting heavy is important, we shouldn´t forget those bodyweight moves that allow us to focus on engaging and activating the specific muscles.

The hip joint extends through the hamstrings, gluteal muscles and extensors.

The easiest exercise to work hip extension is the Glute Bridge.

How to do it:

  1. Lying face up on the floor with your arms at your sides and your knees bent. Contract your abdominal muscles to flatten your low back into the floor and try to maintain this contraction throughout the exercise.
  2. Exhale and lift the hips off the floor by pushing through the floor with your heels. The result should be a bridge from the back of your shoulders to your knees. Do not push your hips too high because it will cause an arch in your lower back.
  3. Inhale, lower your hips, and repeat. Nice and easy :)

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Bent Knee Push Ups

This is an essential exercise for beginners. Some people can´t do a single push up. It´s not a myth, I´ve trained some. This is an easy variation to  gain strength and progress to the full Push Up if you add it to your routine.

This exercise works: pectoralis majordeltoidstriceps, and rectus abdominis.

On the floor on your knees supported by your hands in front of you.

Slowly bend your elbows to where your chest touches or barely touches, the ground.

Keeping the torso rigid and head aligned with your spine, inhale down, exhale up!


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Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers is a full body plyometric exercise. It can be performed anywhere as it only requires some space and your own body weight. It´s associated with multiple benefits:

  1. It developes the cardiovascular system by strengthening the heart and lungs.
  2. Improves speed, quickness, explosiveness, and power in the lower body.
  3. Strengthens our core because of the work done by your obliques, abdominals and the muscles around your hips as they isometrically contract, holding your torso stable.

This exercise works almost every main muscle: deltoids, biceps, triceps, obliques, rectus abdominis, latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, quadriceps, hamstrings.

How to do it:

  1. Start by getting into a press up position.
  2. With your core engaged, lift your right foot off the floor and raise your knee as close to your chest as you can. If you are new to mountain climbers perform the knee to chest motion slow. Build it up to a faster pace with practice.
  3. Return the right leg to the original position as you raise the left knee to the chest.
  4. Keep your spine straight and keep switching legs. Begin to pick up the pace until you feel like running in place in a plank position.

It´s more important take care of our position (spine straight) than touch the chest with our knees. If we raise our tailbone and round our spine, we are losing all the core work, wich implies a lot of not-burned calories.

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Posted on 12 Comments

Plank

The plank is an isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a position for the maximum possible time. The forearm plank is what most people consider to be a standard plank.

It builds strength in our core, upper and lower body so it´s a good full body workout. We do not need any equipment to perform this exercise, and it also improves flexibility by stretching muscles and will improve posture if performed regularly.

The plank works almost every main muscle: deltoids, biceps, triceps, obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinaelatissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius.

How to do it:

  1. Start by getting into a press up position.
  2. Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms and not on your hands.
  3. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
  4. Engage your core, hold this position, and enjoy :)
Posted on 10 Comments

Supermans Level 1

There are several levels and variations of this exercise.

Supermans Level 1 is similar to Bird-Dog but sometimes, one simple change makes a huge difference. As the name suggests, this exercise puts you in a position that emulates Superman while he flies, which also explain why so many levels and variations :) Doing this exercise correctly and safely is simple and requires nothing more than your body and the floor. Well, You may wish to lay down a mat or rug to avoid laying directly on the floor, this is not Sparta :)

This is a great exercise for strengthening your lower back and toning your glutes.

Lie face down on your stomach with the arms and the legs extended.

Slowly, lift your left leg and right arm. Hold 2-5 seconds and back to starting position and alternate sides. Exhale as you lift your arms and legs up off the ground. Inhale, as you lower your arms and legs back down.

Don´t pull. Focus on your back and glute muscles, gently rising as much as you can. Probably you feel easier one side than the other. Don´t worry, there is always a weak side :)
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Bird-Dog

Bird-Dog is an excellent exercise to stabilize the low back during upper and lower extremity movement. The main target of the Bird Dog is the erector spinae. It’s not that difficult to do after a little practice to get the balance right. It is helpful to use a mirror to help you with form adjustments.

How to do it:

  1. Come to a quadruped position: place your hands under your shoulders. Your fingers facing forward. Place your knees under your hips. keeping your spine and neck in a neutral position; you should be looking at the floor.
  2. Slowly extend your left leg behind you while reaching your right arm forward. Slowly return to the starting position and do the move on the opposite side. Lift the leg off the floor until it is at or near parallel to the floor. Keep both shoulders parallel to the floor. Your head should remain aligned with the spine throughout the movement. Do not lift the head or let it sag downward.
  3. Back to starting position, maintaining balance and stability in the shoulders, pelvis, and torso. Alternate sides.

It looks easy, but it´s not. Let´s see the usual mistakes or problems with the next pic.

I have to say this was not on purpose :) Usually, my first set of 30 reps (15 each side) is for stabilizing. Flipped disks are that funny :)

You should not lift your leg above hip height. This will help to avoid upward rotation at the hip. Do not allow the shoulder to tilt upward. If you cross the “red line”, you should adjust instead keep counting wrong reps.

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Cat-Cow

The cat dog exercise is perfect for helping you stretch your back, torso, and neck. Also known as Marjariasana or Cat Pose, makes an ideal first exercise to warm-up.

WARNING: If you have a neck injury, consult your doctor. At least, keep the head in line with the torso.

Come to a hands and knees position. Make sure your knees are below your hips and your wrists, elbows, and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor.

As you inhale, raise your chin and tilt your head back, push your navel downwards and raise your tailbone.

As you exhale, drop your chin to your chest and make round your back as much as you can.
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