Featured Exercise: Side Push-off Lunge

Featured Exercise: Side Push-off Lunge

Primary Muscles: Hips (Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius-Hip Abductor)

Secondary Muscles: Quadriceps, Hamstrings

The Side Push-off Lunge is another great exercise working in the frontal plane (side to side or lateral).  Like the Speedskaters, it works the muscles of the hips by bringing the legs out away from the body.  This makes the exercise effective for strengthening the muscles of the outside of the hips, as well as loosening up the muscles of the inner thigh.  Done correctly, this exercise is very effective for counteracting the tightening effects of walking, running, cycling and sitting, all done with legs close to the midline of the body.  It is also a great exercise for those who enjoy activities such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and dancing, which involve lateral movement of the lower body.  Here’s how it goes:

Starting in an upright position with hands at your sides (empty or holding dumbbells) and feet together, step out to the side with one leg and shift the body weight over that leg, keeping the other leg planted on the ground.  Bend the outside knee and bring the body down towards the ground, reaching the hips back behind you and hinging forward at the waist, keeping the back in a neutral position and bringing the hands or dumbbells down, one on each side of the bent knee.  The planted leg should remain straight or nearly straight.  The bulk of the weight should be on the bent leg out to the side.  You should feel a slight stretch in the glutes of the bent leg side.  Using the muscles of the glutes, push off the ground and back towards the planted leg, returning to standing position.  Switch sides and complete the same instructions on the other side.  Only bend the outside knee as far as you feel comfortable, and keep the knee behind the toe so as to eliminate excessive forces at the knee.  The key to this exercise is the lateral movement.  You should be stepping out to the side, and then pushing yourself back to the middle, forcing the muscles of the outside of the hips to engage.  This one may take a little practice, but give it a shot.  Be safe and enjoy!


We Have Traveled Far

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus…”  Ephesians 2:4-6.

I posed the question, “How far have you traveled?”  Sometimes I forget how far I have come.  Before I truly met God, I was full of myself.  Thinking that I had all the answers.  Feeling like I was pretty good “playing” at faith.  Thinking that comfort and ease were my rights for living a “good” life.  But then in a Russian orphanage I met Him face to face.  As I held the boy who was to be my son, it was as if I was holding myself, looking down at me through the eyes of God.  I saw my frailty.  I saw my fear.  I saw my selfishness.  I saw my stubbornness.  I saw my piety.  And I saw my future.  Destined for failure and death if God, “being rich in mercy” and full of “great  love”, had not stepped into my life, picked me up, and carried me out of the future that was before me, and into life.

But God goes farther than that.  He doesn’t stop at just giving us life (though that would be more than we deserve).  He “raised us up with Him and seated us with Him”.  He adopted us and made us family.  Full fledged sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe!  That is quite an ascension.  We have traveled far.  From the pits of our sin-filled lives to the palace of peace and perfection.  But not of our own strength, and not because we did anything to deserve it.  When we were “dead in our transgressions”, he brought us out.  Before we knew how to thank him.  Before we got our act together.  Before we cleaned ourselves up.  Before we took care of those little personality quirks.  He took us as we were.  And, thank God, continues to take us as we are, prodigals though we may be sometimes.  God loves you, and His son Jesus Christ paid a dear price to bring you into His family.  Let us not forget our identity as His children, and may we seek to understand our role and purpose in His family.


Resting Metabolic Rate

Question of the Week:  How far have you traveled?

Nugget of the Day:  Resting metabolic rate is the largest contributor to total energy expenditure, accounting for approximately 60-75% of daily calorie usage.

When people talk about metabolism, and say things like “I have low metabolism” when they can’t seem to lose weight, or “He just has high metabolism” when they see someone who doesn’t have a problem losing weight, what they are really referring to is a measurement called “resting metabolic rate” (RMR).  The resting metabolic rate is the amount of energy required for your body to perform its normal body functions such as breathing, heart activity, and temperature regulation.  Your body requires a certain amount of energy to stay alive.  Even if you were to lie down on your bed for an entire day, as still as possible, your body would still require energy to continue the normal cellular processes that keep the internal organs functioning and the brain active.   This is separate from any activity that you do.

When wanting to burn extra calories, the first thing that people think about is exercise.  Yet you can see that nearly ¾ of your calorie-burn for the day has absolutely nothing to do with how much you exercise.  So if your desire is to increase the number of calories you are expending each day, the best place to start is by increasing your RMR.  How do you do this?  Come back and I will tell you in the next “Nugget” post.


Workout #11: Functional Strength

Workout of the Day #11: Functional Strength

Circuit #1:
Dumbbell Squat + Shoulder Press x 10-15 reps
Dumbbell Row x 10-15 reps
Ab Crunch x 20-30 reps
(2-3 sets)

Circuit #2:
Dumbbell Chest Press x 10-15 reps
Dumbbell Walking Lunges x 20-30 reps
Opposite Arm/Hip Extension x 30 sec each side
(2-3 sets)

Circuit #3:
Cable Tricep Extension x 10-15 reps
Cable Arm Curls x 10-15 reps
Plank x max time
(2-3 sets)

This workout is a great functional strength gym workout.  As we’ve been talking about adding some strength training work into your cardio routine, here is one such workout.  This one is structured with 3 circuits.  Each circuit consists of 3 exercises done back-to-back with minimal rest in between (just enough time to transition between exercises).  Repeat each circuit 2-3 times.  I would start with 2 sets just to get the feel of things.  Find weights that bring you nearly to maximum fatigue in the repetition range described.  That will be different for each person, so I have not posted any weights with the exercises.  As always, keep the movements controlled and use proper form.  Happy Lifting!


Featured Exercise: Quadruped Opposite Arm-Hip Extension

Featured Exercise:  Quadruped Opposite Arm/Hip Extension Hold

Primary Muscles:  Abdominals, Lower Back

Secondary Muscles:  Hips, Shoulders

Sounds like a mouthful, but it is a great exercise to work on stabilization of the core muscles of the abdominals and back, as well as to promote coordination between front and back, top and bottom, and side to side.  Here’s how it works:

Working in opposites the way the body does functionally (think how the right arm swings forward as the left leg swings forward during the walking motion), the position is held with the opposite arm and leg supporting while their counterparts are lifted off the ground and held stationary.  This exercise starts in the abdominals.  The deep transverse abdominal muscle that acts as the body’s internal weight belt contracts, drawing the navel in towards the spine, before the exercise begins and is held for its duration.  Assume quadruped position (prone on hands and knees with hands directly below the shoulders and knees directly beneath the hips).  Once activation of the abdominals is achieved, lift one arm and its opposite foot off of the ground until both the arm and leg are in line with the rest of the body.   Hold this position for as long as you feel comfortable before switching to the other arm/leg combination.   You should feel load in the abdominals as they struggle to maintain balance and position.  You should also feel work in the low back and the glute of the leg that is off the ground.  Take care not to rotate the body as you hold, but instead the torso and hips should stay parallel to the ground.  Do 2-3 sets of each combination for 20-30 seconds each.  This exercise can be done everyday, and should be a staple for anyone with back issues or looking to get a stronger base of support for their activities.  Which pretty much means everybody, set get after it!