NIFS Healthy Living Blog

NIFS July Group Fitness Class of the Month: BODYCOMBAT

Brand-BODYCOMBAT-Poster.jpgHave you ever considered that punching and kicking is a form of exercise and fitness? Look no farther than the physique of boxers and fighters. And from time to time, we all need to do a little punching and kicking. In fact, not only is it a form of exercise, but you can burn a ton of calories doing it! If you like this type of stuff and are into different forms of mixed martial arts, you should really consider giving BODYCOMBAT™ a try.

This Les Mills class, will allow you to become more physically fit, faster, and stronger in less than 60 minutes. According to Les Mills, research shows that with a simple 55-minute class, the average caloric burn is 737! The class, inspired by mixed martial arts, is a cardio-based workout using just your body as the machine.

What to Expect from This Group Fitness Class

When taking BODYCOMBAT™, you can expect a whole lot of kicking, punching, and throwing elbows and knees (at the air, of course, and not at another class participant!). The class is a combination of kicks that work the lower half of the body, and blocks, strikes, and punches that are designed to work the upper half of the body as well as the core.

Who Is It Good For?

Everyone! For those who are looking for a cut upper body, BODYCOMBAT™ uses rapid boxing-style upper-body movements that work the fast-twitch fibers of the muscle. These fast-paced movements contribute to the “fit” upper body more than a traditional strength training workout that works more of the slow-twitch muscle fibers. Or maybe you are looking to become faster and more agile. BODYCOMBAT™ will help to improve your sprint time, jumping ability, and dynamic movement.

If you are looking for a different way to get more physically fit, this group fitness class of the month may be it. Discover the vast benefits of boxing and fighting—but without the black eyes, facial lacerations, and missing teeth!

To access the full group fitness schedule at NIFS, click here! Not a member? No problem! Click here to get a free class pass and try BODYCOMBAT™ on us!

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To read more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: cardio fitness center group fitness workouts core Les Mills Group Fitness Class of the Month BODYCOMBAT martial arts

NIFS June Group Fitness Class of the Month: Mat Pilates

mat-pilates-2.jpgWhen it comes to working out, I have always been the “faster, harder, stronger, better” type. If I’m not going to sweat and feel like I’ve accomplished something, what’s the use? As such, I never put much stock in mind/body classes. What could that type of exercise possibly offer that I wasn’t getting through my intense cardio and/or strength training sessions?

Fellow cardio lovers, weightlifters, and HIIT people, does this sound like you? If so, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered Pilates to be one of the most challenging workouts—physically and mentally—that I have ever done. Adding it to my weekly regimen has pushed my limits, helped me break through plateaus, changed my body composition, and ultimately made me “harder, faster, stronger, better.”

How does Pilates do this, you ask? The short answer: by building a strong core, creating overall muscle strength and balance in the torso and limbs, and improving posture. Please allow me to elaborate.

A Little Background

Joseph Pilates, a performer and boxer who, through years of self-study and practice, developed a method of exercise that would not only prove to last, but gain immense popularity, developed Pilates in the 1920s. The original exercises of Pilates in their purest forms were performed slowly in either the seated or lying position. They were carefully designed to train the body to be conscious of movement control, and thus move more efficiently. Joseph’s wife, Clara, learned her husband’s techniques and developed modifications to train those with injuries. Springs and pulleys were incorporated with the exercises to add resistance, and many could even be adapted to benefit bedridden clients.

Mr. Pilates died having never trademarked his method. His pupils went on to train numerous others, maintaining many of the original concepts but adding their own personal styles. Thus, since its creation nearly 100 years ago, many schools of practice have emerged. In 2000, a federal judge declared “Pilates” to be a generic term. As such, it is impossible to know exactly what to expect from a class simply titled “Mat Pilates.”

The Constant: The Core

Despite the plethora of styles, this remains constant: while the core remains at the “core” of the exercise, Pilates evenly conditions the entire body, thereby creating muscle balance and improving posture. No one muscle group is overtrained or undertrained. While the core musculature is the focus, the extremities are utilized to add load to the core, and thus the entire body reaps the benefits.

Take one of the basic exercises, the Plank. Think of all the muscles that must fire to correctly hold, simply hold, a high plank: rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, glutes, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezii, paraspinals, BUT ALSO deltoids, triceps, hip flexors, quadriceps, anterior tibialis, and more. Then add a movement such as a pushup or a leg extension, and engage even more muscles.

The plank is just one example; all of the exercises and progressions performed in a Pilates class work multiple muscle groups in a very controlled manner, so as to promote muscle and movement awareness and fine-tune strength. Pilates is intense, but low-impact. It is challenging, but modifiable. It will push your limits, but it is sustainable. And it is extremely effective. When performed correctly, it will create an evenly conditioned body, improve sports performance (your golf swing will be considerably more impressive when it’s backed by a strong core and balanced muscles), and prevent injuries.

What Can I Expect in a Mat Pilates Class at NIFS?

mat-4.jpgSo the ultimate question is, what specifically can you expect when you walk into the NIFS Group Fitness Studio shortly before 5pm on Wednesdays? You can expect a low-impact entire-body workout that flows nonstop for 50 minutes to upbeat, current, familiar music. You can expect careful instruction on form. You can expect an occasional self-assessment on strength and flexibility. And, even though this is not a cardio class, you can expect to sweat! Mats will always be used, and often you will be instructed to grab a small piece of equipment (small weighted balls, light dumbbells, springloaded rings, small towels, and exercise bands are commonly used). Shoes are optional. Let the instructor know if you have any injuries.

As the music comes on (which, did I mention, is always familiar with a driving beat and all original artists?), realize that the next 50 minutes is all yours. It’s yours to discover how strong you are, and build on that strength. It’s yours to get lost in the flow of the moves, or the flow of the music. It’s yours to take breaks or stretch when you need and to modify the moves as necessary or desired. It’s yours to build joint stability, improve your balance, and become more flexible.

Pilates has something to offer everyone, from the beginner to the elite athlete. So grab a towel and your water, and I’ll see you at 5pm on Wednesdays!

To access the full group fitness schedule at NIFS, click here. Not a member? No problem! Click here to get a free class pass and try Mat Pilates or any group fitness class on us!

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This blog was written by Rachel Pfeiffer, ACE and AFAA certified Group Fitness Instructor and Board Certified Neurologist. To read more about the NIFS bloggers, click here. Photos by John Bragg.

Topics: group fitness workouts group training balance core stretching Pila

NIFS April Group Fitness Class of the Month: TRX

IMG_8764.jpgContinuing with our Group Fitness Class of the Month series, for April we are highlighting TRX. TRX suspension training is definitely one of my favorites both to teach and to participate in! If you have not tried a class yet or ever incorporated it into your personal workout plan, you are for sure missing out!You can complete an entire workout on the TRX system or simply use it to supplement any workout plan that you have going. No matter what your current level of fitness is, this minimal piece of equipment will enhance your overall health and fitness!

The Many Benefits of TRX Workouts

Let’s look at why you should incorporate the TRX into your workout regimen.

  • It’s versatile: One of the best things about the TRX system is that you can literally take it anywhere. Use it at home, at the gym, or outside around a tree branch. You can even strap it to the back of a hotel door when you are traveling. This small piece of equipment fits into any suitcase and is about the size of a toiletry bag.
  • Focuses on your core: No matter the exercise, the TRX is great because it utilizes your core in everything you do. Because you have to balance often, the core gets worked no matter what.
  • If you’re tight on time, NO PROBLEM!: This is the answer for those who have minimal time to squeeze in a workout. In even 20 minutes, you can get a full-body workout—and a pretty good one, in my opinion!
  • All workout types are possible: Using the TRX, you can do any workout you want. With the simple TRX straps, you can hit mobility, flexibility, strength, cardio, and balance workouts.
  • Anyone can do it: No matter your age, height, weight, or current fitness level, the TRX can be done by anyone. Each exercise is adjustable to meet all the levels from the first-time exerciser to the daily gym rat.
  • The combinations are endless: There is one thing that I can assure you: when working out on the TRX, you will never get bored. There are so many different combinations of exercises; no two workouts ever have to be the same. I have been a certified TRX instructor for 5 years now and can say I don’t know that I have ever repeated a workout twice.
  • It’s hard!: Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. For all those who look over at the black and yellow straps hanging down and think, “That workout is for sissies,” I challenge you to try it! Even the most elite athletes who get on the TRX and really hit some of the challenging exercises will walk away exhausted and satisfied.
  • It’s customizable: Whatever you’re looking for in a workout, the exercises done on the TRX can be customized to meet your needs. You can even begin to incorporate additional pieces of equipment, like kettlebells or dumbbells, into workouts to really up the ante.

Try It at NIFS

If these things don’t sell you on the TRX, you are just going to have to get into the gym and try it out for yourself. With TRX being the class of the month, the staff at NIFS would be happy to have you join us! To get a free class pass for guests to NIFS, click here. Check out the group fitness schedule for when classes are offered.

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To read more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS equipment core TRX Group Fitness Class of the Month

Holiday Workouts for Traveling and Getting Ready for New Year's

ThinkstockPhotos-105756015.jpgHolidays are upon us and, for many, traveling is inevitable. For at least a few days you may be on the road, in a hotel, or at a family or friend’s home. What happens to your exercise and nutritional routines that you have built and finely tuned over the past year? Do you take a break from those routines, or do you stick to them?

Keep Your New Year's Goals in Mind

Fast-forward a couple weeks from now. Do you have any fitness or nutrition goals that you have been thinking about for the New Year? If you haven’t thought about them yet, what might they be? For many gym-goers, weight loss is the main goal. Has this been a resolution for past years? One last question: Why would you put yourself “in the hole” when it comes to diet and exercise before the new year even starts? I’ll leave your holiday nutrition information up to our Registered Dietitian Angie Mitchell and focus mainly on a few workouts and exercise habits you can use to put yourself in front of the eight ball rather than, you know…

Take Physical Activity Breaks While You’re On the Road

My first focus will be on something that many people probably don’t think about when traveling, which is the amount of time that you might spend in the car. For some, six- or eight-hour car rides each way await them. If passengers in your car are anything like the ones that are in mine during road trips, bathroom breaks basically come every couple hours. Use this time for, well, obvious reasons, like having a little physical activity break from the car ride. All you need is 3 to 5 minutes to get the blood flowing and burn a few calories after sitting in the car for so long. Bathroom breaks can be done after that.

Below you will find two physical activity breaks that can be done at a gas station or rest stop that will help break up some of those monotonous driving feelings.

Physical Activity Break #1                      Physical Activity Break #2

3 rounds:                                                    3 rounds:
Jumping jacks x30                                     Incline pushups x10
BW squats x15                                          Lateral line hops x20
Skaters x10/side                                        Lunge x10/leg

Two Simple Workout Programs That Don’t Require Equipment

Three years ago my finest reindeer, Tom Livengood, wrote a blog on exercises that you can do with limited or no equipment during holiday travel. I’m going to build off of Tom’s previous work and give you some exercise options to choose from when you are on the road. Here are two simple workout programs that shouldn’t take more than 20 to 30 minutes to complete and will “HIIT” (get it?) all of your major workout components during these hectic months.

Program 1:IMG_7854.jpg

Warmup (3 rounds)

  • Alternating reverse lunge x60s (photo 1)
  • Walking plank x30s
  • Step through w/rotation x60s

Strength/Core (3 sets)

  • Rear foot elevated split squat x15/leg(photo 2)
  • Wall plank x60s(photo 3)IMG_7842.jpg
  • Pushup xMax                                                                                 

HIIT (Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes)

  • Mountain climber x30
  • Squat jump x15
  • 1/2 burpee x5

Program 2:

Warmup (3 rounds)IMG_7859.jpg

  • Single-leg bridge w/ pulse x30s/leg
  • Side plank w/ rotation x30s/side
  • Plank reach x60s(photo 4)

Strength/Core (4 sets)

  • Lateral lunge w/ forward reach x10/side
  • Feet elevated pushups x10-15

HIIT (30s on/15s off: 12 minutes)

  • PushupIMG_7856.jpg
  • Step-up (30s/leg)
  • Cheetah

Elevated split squats and pushups can be performed with a chair, box, dog, child, or whatever…be creative!

If you have additional time, try your best to find a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, foam roller, can of cranberries, frozen water bottle, or SOMETHING to use for some soft-tissue work. I hear foam rolling while drinking eggnog is the newest fitness trend (kidding!). No matter what you choose to do, the number-one goal is to stay moving. Don’t let your active lifestyle take a “HIIT” (okay, I’m done) over these next few weeks.

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This blog was written by Alex Soller, Health Fitness Instructor, Athletic Performance Coach. Click here for more information about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: workouts holidays strength core traveling new year's HIIT

Max Results with Minimal Equipment, Part 1: Sliders

Screen_Shot_2016-08-10_at_11.21.07_AM.pngIn my eight years here at NIFS, one major thing I am so lucky to have is a world-class fitness facility right outside my office door. Some of the greatest fitness equipment surrounded by some of the greatest fitness minds are at my fingertips every day. I love to move, and I love to move here, but many times I need to move outside of these walls, and of course I will have to leave the awesome gear where it lies.

But have no fear; there are some options that can maximize results with minimal gear. My first choice is my NIFS’ fitness floor, but in this four-part series, I will highlight my favorite tools to use when you can use only one.

Favorite Portable Exercise Equipment: The Slider

Today we take a look at the innocent-looking but brutal tool the slider, also known as a Valslide. You may have seen them used to move heavy furniture. This simple and versatile tool can challenge most movement patterns as well as create balance and stability needs. With movements ranging from beginner to advanced, there is really something for everybody when using sliders. They can act as a focal point of a metabolically driven circuit, or in a core-targeting segment, as well as super-setting with a heavy strength movement.

And one of the most appealing attributes of the slider is that you can take it anywhere without taking up any space. You will find that the four implements I will be highlighting all have this in common. The other thing these have in common is that they take away your excuses for not training while you are away.

Best Slider Exercises and Workouts

Here are 10 of my favorite slider exercises and some workouts that you can try out.

VIDEO WORKOUTS:

Circuit—:40/:20—3–5 rounds

  • Reverse lunges
  • Burpees
  • Hamstring curls
  • Pushup reaches

Strength

  • A1 barbell deadlift5x2

  •  A2 slider slideouts—3x10

  •  B1 DB flat bench press—3x8-10

  •  B2 slider eccentric hamstring curls —3x8-10

  •  C1 lat pull-downs—3x8

  •  C2 slider lateral lunges—3x8

M & M Sliders Final

There are far more movements and ways to use the versatile slider. For more ideas, flag down a NIFS instructor and they will be happy to help. Until next time when I cover the superband, add a few of these movements into your workout and start reaping the benefits of this simple tool.

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS fitness center equipment workouts balance core

Thomas's Corner: Off the Beaten Path—Outdoor Fitness Options

Sunny days and warm summer weather are now upon us. It’s hard to complain about a pretty day, except when you are confined to an indoor lifestyle or job. Outdoor fitness is exactly what you need to get rid of the summertime blues, but I’m not talking about running or boot camp. Indianapolis is packed with fitness activities just waiting to be discovered. Parks throughout the city are highlighted by fitness trails, open fields, and accessibility. The opportunities are only increasing as we, hopefully, move toward a more health-conscious society.

In this blog we are going to think outside the box and explore some outdoor fitness options that are not only good exercise, but also fun and stimulating.

ThinkstockPhotos-178092126Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding, a mode of recreational transportation, has been around much longer than you might think. When it was first invented is undetermined, but evidence of its existence dates back to early exploration of the Pacific Ocean in the late 1700s by Captain James Cook. 

Fast-forward a few hundred years and you will see paddleboarding nearly everywhere, including rivers, lakes, and oceans. Because it enables you to take in scenery and nature, paddleboarding can be both calming and serene. On the other hand, in some windy conditions, paddleboarding is completely challenging, giving the rider a great workout. Riding the tide for extended periods of time provides plenty of balance, core stability, and endurance opportunities for the aquatic enthusiast.

For paddleboarding in Indianapolis, visit local shops such as Rusted Moon Outfitters to see demonstrations and buy gear to satisfy your paddleboarding needs. If you are a beginner and would like lessons, another local company, Salty Dog Paddlesports offers not only training sessions, but also more advanced yoga classes on paddleboards!

Geocaching

Geocaching is a relatively new outdoor recreational activity that combines old-school orienteering and treasure hunting with modern GPS technology. The concept of geocaching is not new; following clues and landmarks to find hidden treasure has been around for a long time. 

In this modern-day search for “x” on a treasure map, individuals use clues via internet videos or posts to find hidden packages or containers yielding log books to sign your name, often a small prize, or even another clue to find your way to another hidden site. The treasures aren’t necessarily huge in size; the excitement comes from successfully navigating your way to the treasure. After the site is discovered, it is neatly hidden away so that another geocacher may discover it. 

Because it usually takes place outdoors in rugged terrain and involving hiking and walking, a geocacher’s main needs include comfortable clothes, shoes or boots, and a functioning GPS system. Most cell phones have GPS built in already, so becoming a geocacher is even more convenient than you think. Geocaching is happening in Indiana, and the Indiana Geocaching website is dedicated to it. There is plenty of information regarding upcoming events and links to other national geocaching clubs. Channel your inner Indiana Jones while you are actually in Indiana!

Disc Golf

One of the fastest-growing recreational sports and activities, disc golf is quickly becoming more than just a niche hobby. The concept of disc golf, obviously, is derived from traditional golf, including the terminology. Disc golfers typically throw one of their many discs (each one has specific characteristics, not unlike drivers, irons, and putters) from a tee box toward a basket on a pole. Score is kept with eagles, birdies, par, and bogeys. 

Sprinkled throughout Indianapolis are several disc golf courses that offer a variety of challenges and an opportunity to experience some of the many scenic neighborhood parks that otherwise may go unnoticed. There is even a disc golf organization (Indianapolis Disc Golf Club) that holds several notable tournaments, bringing in top competition in the area and the Midwest. 

Like all skill-based activities, disc golf requires practice time. This is easily countered by disc golf’s relatively easy concept, cost effectiveness (discs are around 10 to 15 dollars, while courses are free), and inviting atmosphere.

***

If you are bored with your current situation or just want a fun activity for you and your pals, there are definitely some excellent options to keep you active and your brain stimulated. Whether you want to take on some waves with your paddleboard, track down a series of clues while geocaching, or take a stroll through the park while disc golfing, the landscape for outdoor activity is ever changing. Be adventurous this summer and try a new outdoor sport or activity today!

Rejoice and Evolve,

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Instructor at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: summer balance endurance core outdoors golf sports hiking

The Benefits of Using TRX Suspension Training

TRXYou may have been around the gym environment when TRX training came about and wondered what the benefit of using those straps could be. I remember hitting the weight room in college and thinking, “What on earth are those? And how could I possibly get as good of a workout with them as I do with lifting?” After spending only about 20 minutes on them, I quickly learned how suspension training using body weight could really build strength and challenge the entire body, no matter the movement!

The TRX was invented by Randy Hetrick, a Navy SEAL. His idea was sparked while on a SEAL mission, with a question arising of, “How can we stay mission-fit while on deployment?” With limited materials, Randy used parts of a parachute and a jiu-jitsu belt to create his first model, and soon he was off doing several exercises that we are familiar with today.

Benefits of Suspension Training

There are several benefits to using TRX in your workout. Science proves that it is effective in increasing muscular strength! Here are a few that really stick out:

  • Incorporates nearly every muscle of the human body. If you have ever taken a class or done some of even the most basic exercises, you quickly see that core activation is one of the most important aspects.

  • The workouts are simple yet very challenging, and you can easily complete a total-body workout only using one piece of equipment in 20 minutes.

  • The straps are also very mobile, and you can take them outside or on the road. You can even attach them to the back of a hotel room door to get a workout! 

  • With an easy adjustment of your body, TRX training is safe.

A Quick Workout

I challenge you to take a TRX class at NIFS, give it a try on your own, or ask an instructor to teach you a few things. Here is a quick workout that can be done in 20 minutes or less. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

  • 10 Rows
  • 10 Jump Squats
  • 10 Knee Tuck/Pike Combos
  • 10 Hamstring Curls
  • 10 Pushups
  • 10 “Y” Pulls

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: fitness center group fitness workouts core TRX suspension training body weight

“POWER OF 50” Workouts

Kris-50This is a milestone year for me, so I have decided to do a workout of the day using my new age as the number of sets, reps, or length of time of the workout.

Why did I decide to do this? As I have gotten older I look for confirmation of my youth not being lost. I still feel I can do workouts that I did in my collegiate basketball days. This motivates me, and I hope it will motivate many of you as well. I am not signing up for this “muscle leaking” phase that we all fall into as we age.

My Exercises

The bases of these workouts vary so that I get a fine mix of strength, endurance, and recovery days. I have had some struggles finding variety in each, but given my job, this is a problem I can work through. After 1½ months I cannot say I am in “such great shape,” though I do feel stronger since many of the workouts have included bodyweight exercises.

The easiest place for me to start was with pushups, and then the moves spin off. I also wanted to include legs since they are big muscles, which burn big fat. The back needs consideration as it is key to a good posture, in addition to the core. So of course plank exercises take care of this. Who doesn’t love a great plank?

As for the off days, some good yoga moves have been rejuvenating (though 50 downward-facing-dog stretches into pushups was tougher than expected and had to be broken up a bit).

There have been days when I realized I had not attempted anything close to 50 of something. A quick set of bridges one day, a pike plank the next, and 50 mountain climbers after a workout quickly filled the quota.

The Power of Group Workouts

I do need to thank my workout girlfriends who have been willing victims to these Power of 50 Workouts. Albeit begrudgingly, they do the work with me. Of course those older than me love it; those younger wish they had picked their own age for the repetition scheme.

I will be including a POWER OF 50 Workout each Monday on the new NIFS Group Training Facebook page if you are interested in trying a few of them. Let me know what you think and how you did!

My suggestion is to pick your number and #challengeyourself daily!

Good luck! 

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This blog was written by Kris Simpson. Read about our other NIFS bloggers here.

Topics: NIFS fitness center workouts group training challenge core

10 Better Ways to Do 10 Exercises (Part 2)

Salutations NIFS blog followers! Welcome back to our late-summer blog series. In part 1, I discussed how to perform effective pushups, improved treadmill walking efficiency, and a more challenging way to do the classic bicep curl, making these more effective exercises. Understandably, we all have our own idea of what a workout should look like, which exercises work best, and which exercises make us almost want to quit. Here I continue our mission to take your fitness knowledge library to the next level.

4. Behind-the-Head Lat Pull-Downs


In most gyms, a good trainer will tell you not to perform a behind-the-head pull-down, but we must ask ourselves, “why not?” If you have the luxury of having a good trainer, they will tell you it is because it is bad for your rotator cuffs, which is mostly true. I feel that even if you are doing this exercise and not experiencing pain, it’s still not a natural movement for your body to perform.

I recommend doing a standard lat pull-down, in which the bar comes to about eye level (or the bottoms of the arms are parallel to the floor) in front of the face. Not only will this be a safer movement, it is more akin to what your end goal could be: standard pull-ups.

back-lateral

    front-lateral

5. Weighted Torso Rotation Machine

The idea here is simple: Train your core like any other muscle group with the ease of a machine. The bad news is that your spine and disks in your back aren’t meant to be under that kind of stress, which can be a big problem for individuals with weaker cores. I would avoid this machine if possible and replace the exercise with some modern gym science.

One option is a side plank reach. While performing a side plank, reach through the space between your body and the floor. Our core can respond to mobility training, but this requires stability as well, making for one tough exercise. No weights are required, and you can modify by going to one knee on the bottom side.

torso-rotation side-plank

6. Stability Ball Bench Press

Of all the exercises we will discuss, the stability ball bench press may be considered one of the most dangerous. The idea of using a stability ball is appealing for individuals who want to get the most out of their training and improve core strength and balance, but what they do not realize is that there is a stability ball weight capacity. The ball is intended to support your body weight, not your body weight plus 75-pound dumbbells. If you are a 200-pound person using 150 pounds of weight on a stability ball with a capacity of 350 pounds, you can easily see where the danger arises. In a worst-case scenario, the ball bursts, you end up with a broken back, and life won’t be the same again.

If you are interested in a good core challenge while doing bench press, try single-arm dumbbell press on a normal flat bench. It’s the same as traditional dumbbell bench press, except with only one dumbbell. To counteract the imbalance on the bench, your core has to work just that much more to stay on the bench. Be sure to do both sides.

stability-ball-press bench-press

7. Knees-over-the-Toes Squat

The idea that squatting over the toes is bad dates back many years, almost so long ago that a lot of people have no idea why it’s bad. A common misconception is that it causes way too much stress on the knee and could cause injury. This can’t be 100 percent true because in day-to-day life as well as athletic performances, we track our knees over our toes, and many times it will be in a higher-stress event such as doing heavy yard work or scrimmaging in volleyball. The underlying problem with knees-over-the-toes squats is the tendency to lean forward as we squat, which shifts our hips out of position and in turn our back out of alignment.

For starters, I would start over, developing a new squat pattern from the ground up, known as a primitive squat. A primitive squat, not unlike what our ancestors used for day-to-day tasks, is a good place to begin reprogramming your lower body. Use a TRX for assistance and squat as low as possible without weight, pausing at the bottom for a brief moment. Stay back on your heels as though you are sitting in a chair. If you are experiencing tightness, hang out at the bottom of the squat to stretch and loosen up the muscles. As unnatural as it feels, primitive squats are one of the most natural exercise positions your body will ever be in and will also help if you are invited to have a cultural dinner experience in Tokyo.

Squat-new TRX-squat

This concludes part 2 of “10 Better Ways to Do 10 Exercises.” As you can see, there are many topics to discuss. I will continue this blog next time with exercises 8 through 10: the dangers of rotating shoulder shrugs, are weighted sit-ups worthwhile, and what can a kip pull-up do for me? Until next time, muscle heads rejoice and evolve!

This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

 

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Topics: fitness center equipment shoulders injury prevention muscles core dumbbell exercises

Three Group Fitness Classes to Try NOW!

NIFS offers a wide variety of group fitness classes every day of the week that are innovative, fun, and make sweating a bit more enjoyable. Whether you are a group fitness “junkie” or just trying out the whole group fitness thing for the first time, here are three group fitness classes you should put on your list to check out:

1. Cycle/RPMcycle

This heart-pumping cardio class will get you fit while sweating to the beat of powerful music. In the middle of summer, it’s often too hot or humid to safely ride your bike outdoors, while in the winter it can be too icy and cold. Indoor cycling is a great alternative. For a high-intensity workout, cycling is low-impact. Each class focuses on a combination of interval training, speed work, and hill climbs to keep you healthy, fit, and happy.

2. CXWORX

The CXWORX workout is just 30 minutes and focuses on the core (the abs, hips, butt, shoulders, and back). That means whether you are looking for a quick and effective workout or are trying to improve your performance in your other workouts, this is the group fitness class for you. While this can be an intense and challenging class, our instructors are excellent at providing exercise modifications that allow everyone in the class to be successful!

3. Yoga_DSC0280

We all know that stress doesn’t do anything good for our health, and one way to balance out the many stresses of life is to hit the mat and take a yoga class. The controlled stretching and breathing practiced in a yoga class allows the body to relax, which can lower your blood pressure, repair overworked muscles, and give the mind a needed break from the hustle and bustle of a regular day. Not flexible? Not a problem. Our instructors understand that everyone comes into class with his or her own “baggage” and will make necessary adjustments and provide options so that everyone can have a calming and rejuvenating yoga practice.

With 80+ monthly group fitness classes at NIFS there is something for everyone. Get started and try a free class on us!

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, LES MILLS® certified BODYPUMP® and CXWORX® instructor and contributing writer. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS yoga group fitness cycling core Les Mills