Featured Exercise: 1-Leg Bench Squat

Featured Exercise:  1-Leg Bench Squats

Primary Muscle Groups:  Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes

Secondary Muscle Groups:  Hip Abductors, Hip Adductors

The 1-Leg Bench Squat is a great introduction to the more advanced, 1-Leg Squat.  Able to be performed anywhere there is a chair, bench, or bed, this particular exercise is a great way to make your lower-body exercise routine a little more challenging without adding any extra resistance beyond your own body weight.  In addition to the benefits of the regular squat, the 1-Leg Bench Squat challenges the stabilizing muscles of the knee and hip, improving tracking of the kneecap and helping to avoid conditions such as osteochodritis and patelofemoral syndrome.

Strengthen the leg and hip in a way you’ve never done before!

Instructions:
Standing in front of a bench, flex one hip to 90-degrees so that you are standing on only one leg.  With your foot flat on the floor, hinge the torso forward at the hips and bend the knee and flex the hip, bringing yourself to a seated position on the bench.  Inhale as you come down.  Exhale as you extend your hip and knee, returning to standing position.  Make sure that knee does not come farther forward than the toe and your back stays neutral as you come down to seated position.  Repeat this movement for the required number of repetitions, then switch sides and complete the exercise on the other leg.

Recommendation:Start with 8-10 repetitions on each side.  Perform 2-3 sets.  Discontinue the exercise if it places too much stress on the knee.

Power to the Ordinary

History is littered with ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  What’s stopping you?

How many times have you heard a story of someone rising up from obscurity to achieve some great accomplishment.  Hollywood is inundated with this theme.  Erin Brokovich, Rudy, The Lord of the Rings.  Seemingly ordinary people with no special gifts.  Just a heart for a mission and a spirit of determination.  How are you any different?

I’m currently reading a book called Finding Ultra, the story of Rich Roll, a Stanford swimming prodigy turned alcoholic, turned overweight couch potato who, on his 40th birthday, decides that it is time to make a change.  The story chronicles his rise in a few short years to the top of the endurance sports world.  Starting from a position of being winded just climbing the stairs in his home, and against seemingly insurmountable odds at an age way past his prime, Rich set a goal for himself and set his heart to the task.  No special skills.  Just focus and direction.

So what’s stopping you?  What challenge is on your heart?  What goal can you set to help spurn you to action?  Don’t let the fact that you are “ordinary” keep you from setting a challenge before yourself and actually achieving it.  You don’t need any special skills.  You don’t need any special training.  You already have all that you need inside of you.  You just need to have the courage to set that goal, and make a plan to realize it.  You don’t have to be the next endurance superstar or take down a tyrant corporation (though you can if you want).  Find those desires unique to you and go with it.

Show the world what ordinary can do!

J

Put the Resolve Back in Your Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions.  Everybody has them.  Even the cynical “anti-resolutionists” can’t help pondering the usual questions.  “What can I change this year about myself?”  “What goals did I not reach this past year that I want another shot at?”  And for most people, one of those “non-resolution” resolutions has something to do with physical health.  Maybe it’s to eat less, or possibly to exercise more.  Unfortunately, I think most of our physical health resolutions are plagiarized from last year’s list.  Sure we have the best of intentions.  And we often start strong only to burn out well short of December.  I’m sure there are many reasons for this.  Regardless of these excuses, I would like to offer you 5 simple tips for successful health-related resolutions for the coming year:

1: Set multiple short term goals.  Split your year up into segments (quarters, months, weeks) and set goals for each segment.  This is helpful both for when you are knocking it out of the park or haven’t even gotten off the bench.  For those doing well, it is great motivation to keep it up.  For those failing miserably, it is a great time to refocus without feeling like “what’s the point?”.

2: Keep the goals attainable.  Be reasonable here.  No need to correct 30 years of bad habits in 3 months.  I’m by no means against optimism; but even more important to me is success.  I would rather see you set a goal for yourself that is too easy than to fail at one that only a chosen few could possible reach.  Feeling like you are successful breeds a desire to do more, and feeling like you are never going to reach the mark makes you just want to stop trying.

3: Simplify.  Don’t make your goals overly complicated.  Resist the tendency to try to change too many things at once.  Pick one or two things that are easy to assess.  You may need a complete overhaul in your diet, but start with the easiest changes that will make the biggest impact.  Maybe it’s “no more sodas”, or “less fast food”, or “start an “online personal training program“.  Even one minor change over time can make a major difference.

4: Keep track of your progress.  At regular intervals, reassess your progress.  Maybe that’s weighing yourself once a week or keeping a food journal.  Make it specific to the goal, easy to measure, and WRITE IT DOWN.  That way you can see trends as the year progresses.

5: Share the burden.  Find an accountability partner.  A friend, mentor, personal trainer.  Someone you trust who will be honest, yet encouraging.  Not someone who will enable you and make excuses with you, but someone who will be understanding and will gladly share the journey.   Even better would be someone who has a similar goal they are striving towards.  Then you could meet each other’s needs and lift each other up!

While these tips can work for any area of life improvement, they work especially well for health-related goals because those are usually pretty easy to measure.  And while these are by no means a guarantee for success, they will put you on the best path.  But remember, it is still up to you to take the steps.  Happy Travels!

J

Featured Exercise: Burpees

Featured Exercise: Burpees

Primary Muscles: You name it, it’s working.

Ok, I think the name says it all.  Don’t ask me the etymology of the word, but the image you’ve conjured up in your mind probably fits the bill.  If you’re not familiar with the Burpee, it is a great total body exercise that does not require any equipment, yet leaves you feeling like you’ve just completed a full gym workout.  There are a few variations for all fitness levels, which you will find in the video below.  Give this one a try, if you dare…