Pull-up progression

Pull-ups can be one of the most challenging bodyweight exercises you can do! It is a compound movement that builds strength in the back, biceps, forearms, grip and a beautiful V-taper.

For most people, even one to three pull-ups is a victory!  Gaining the strength and good technique required to do a pull-up takes time and patience. If pull-ups are on your list of gym-goals, here’s how you get started.
PULL-UPS ON A SMITH MACHINE
Position a bar or Smith machine so that you can hang under it with your feet on the floor. Allow your hips to drop directly under your body. You can use your legs to give you little boost to start the movement.  As you get stronger, try to rely less on pushing with your feet. Drive the elbows down by engaging the lats. Pull your chest toward the bar.  Slowly lower your body to starting position.
TRX or RING PULL-UPS
This is a good option if have tight shoulders.  The TRX and rings give more flexibility for a neutral neutral grip rather than a fixed overhand grip on a bar.
BAND ASSISTED PULL-UPS
Loop a medium-to light resistance band around the bar and pull one end through. Give it a little tug down to be sure it is secure. Step into the band and grip bar about shoulder width apart. Avoid swinging. Band assisted pull-ups are a great way to work eccentric portion of a pull-up! In this exercise, it’s when you’re lowering your body back down to the starting position. This is also where you can really get stronger! I like to use the Rogue monster bands.
If you have a workout partner, he/she can spot you at the rib cage or waist as you pull yourself up.  Try to control your body with minimal assistance as you lower back to starting position.
Avoid swinging and pulling with your shoulders and forearms.  It’s humbling to do pull-ups with strict form, but in the end you’ll gain true back strength and a beautiful V-taper!
For more tips and help for building a strong back, contact me HERE

20 minute Beach Body Circuit, Tulum MX

Sand, surf and sweat! Blast fat and build muscle at the beach!

Traveling provides a break from traditional gym workouts. The beautiful beaches in Tulum, Mexico are the perfect setting for a beach workout. It’s a Fit Chick’s Paradise!

This full-body circuit combines explosive plyometric movements that work the legs, fire-up the metabolism and mat exercises to challenge the upper body and core.

My goal for this beach workout:   short bursts of high intensity movements, followed by 30-60 seconds of recovery for two rounds.

Sand provides an unstable surface to push off, so it really cranks up the intensity! Doing these exercises barefoot in the sand will also work the smaller intrinsic muscles of the feet.  If you’re not accustomed to exercising barefoot, you may want to start a bit more conservative on the jumping movements until your feet get more accustomed to the sand.

This workout is quick! After all, if you’re on vacation, you have other things on your agenda; enjoying some amazing food, relaxing on the beach or visiting the local ruins!

FITastic travels, Friends! xoxo

Special thanks to Hotelito Azul for the beautiful accommodations and hospitality!

Prime Fitness Lateral Raise

The Prime Fitness Lateral Raise has been a game-changer in my training. Shoulder day has always been one of my favorite days in the gym. I seek out variety in angles and range of motion to effectively work the entire shoulder. I have long arms so traditional dumbbell lateral raises often caused stress to my elbows; especially when increasing weight. I was particularly interested in incorporating the Prime Fitness Lateral Raise into my workouts to see if it could be the solution to this challenge.

The ability to adjust the peak resistance through the range of motion was key. The Smart Cam settings allow the user to work the muscle in the shortened position (2), medial position (1), and lengthened position (3). This gives the ability to recruit more muscle fibers which ultimately improves strength and muscle development. To start, adjust the cam where you are naturally weakest; the end of the motion (2). Move to the medial position (1) and finish where you’re naturally stronger; the beginning of the motion (3). Depending on the weight I’m using, I do 8-10 reps in each setting. Use setting 1 if you’re working these into a circuit or just want to hit medial delts in a traditional manner. I prefer to lean forward into the pad and slide my hips back slightly.

I have been able to increase strength in my medial delts without stressing my elbows. When returning to dumbbell lateral raises, the strength increase has been noticeable with correct muscle recruitment and reduced trap engagement. A win-win for anyone wanting to develop round shoulders and less trap use!