Trainer Tip – Barbell Bent Over Row

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The barbell bent over row is one of my favorite exercises to do for my back.  When done properly, you develop great strength, mass, and it also helps develop proper posture.  To begin, grab the bar with an overhand or underhand grip.  An overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width will target more of the rear deltoids, while an underhand grip will focus more on the lats.  From there, keep your knees slightly bent and tip at the hips until the bar is even with your knees.  If your hamstrings are not that flexible, you can bend your knees a little more, but always remember to keep your back flat.  In this position, your overall core will have to stay engaged and tight.  Once you’re in proper position, simply pull your elbows straight up and retract your shoulder blades, then control the bar back down into starting position.  Try 3 sets of 10 reps in your next workout!
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Trainer Tip – Push-Up Variations

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Push-ups are a great exercise to help build upper body strength, mainly in the chest and triceps.  However, once you have mastered a standard push-up, it’s now time to challenge yourself with some different variations.  Here are 5 different types of push-ups you can do that requires no equipment!
Power push-ups: Just like a regular push-up, but this time when you come up, try bringing your hands off the ground.  Doing power push-ups will activate more of your fast twitch muscle fibers.
Push-up with a shoulder tap: Do a push-up, then tap your left shoulder with your right hand, then your right shoulder with your left hand.  Try to keep your hips from moving.  This one is a great way to work your core and work on balance.
Spider push-ups.  This one is pretty challenging.  As you are going down, bring your left knee out wide towards your elbow.  The next rep, do the same with your right knee.  Doing spider push-ups targets your obliques, along with your chest and triceps.
Tempo push-up.  Just like a regular push-up, but go down slow (3-5 seconds), and come up just like normal.  Taking longer to complete each rep will quickly fatigue your muscles.
Diamond push-up: This is the most challenging of the 5 in my opinion.  Make a diamond with your hands, and do push-up with your hands under your chest.  With such a close grip, your really target your inner chest and triceps.
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Trainer Tip of the Week – Strap Bicep Curl and Tricep Extension

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Isolation exercises for the biceps and triceps are excellent ways to build strong, and well defined arms.  Barbells, dumbbells, and machines are all popular choices, but one option that is sometimes forgotten is the trx straps (or any other type of suspension straps), which causes you to use your own body weight as resistance.  I love using the straps to strengthen my biceps and triceps for many reasons.  It burns like crazy (don’t say I didn’t warn you!), and since the straps are unstable, they cause you to really engage your core and glutes.  For the bicep curl, grab the straps with an underhand grip, fully extend your arms, and walk your feet up.  As you maintain a straight line from your ears through your ankles, bend only at the elbow joint until your hands are forehead level, then control yourself back to starting position.  To make it harder, walk your feet forward, and to make it less challenging, either walk your feet back or stagger your feet.  For the tricep extension, your body will be in reverse position, and your grip will be in an overhand position.  As you maintain a straight line from your ears through your ankles, bend only at the elbows until your hands are roughly even with your forehead, then press your self back up into starting position.  To make it harder, scoot your feet back, and to make it easier, either walk your feet forward or stagger your feet.  Remember on both of these, the elbow joint should be the only joint bending! Try 3 sets of 10 reps in your next workout!
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Trainer Tip of the Week – Dumbbell Reverse Fly

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  If you caught my tip last week, we went over the standing cable fly which focuses on the chest.  This week however, I’d like to go over the reverse fly, which targets your rear deltoids.  It’s important to incorporate the reverse fly into your routine if the chest fly is, because you don’t want to create any imbalances.  To start, grab a pair of dumbbells that you know you can accomplish at least 10 repetitions with while keeping good form.  From there, you want to bend over using your hips until your chest is parallel to the ground (keep your back flat as well).  If you aren’t that flexible, it’s ok to bend the knees some.  When your chest is parallel to the ground, let the dumbbells hang directly below your chest.  Keeping a slight bend in the elbows, from there you want to swing the dumbbells out wide until you feel your shoulders retract. Once the shoulders retract, control the weight back into the starting position.  Remember, the shoulder joint should be the only joint moving.  Your elbows should be slightly bent, but stationary throughout the entire movement.  Try 3 or 4 sets of 15 reps in your next workout!
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Trainer Tip of the Week – The Standing Chest Fly

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The chest fly is an exercise that strictly targets the muscles of the chest.  I typically like to do flies at the end of my chest workout to really finish off my chest, but it’s not incorrect to do it at the beginning, or somewhere in the middle of your workout.  The chest fly is also typically done with either dumbbells or cables, and I prefer cables because it gives you more variety over the dumbbells.  For example, doing a dumbbell fly requires you to be in a lying position, where as using cable allows you to be either standing, lying, or sitting.  To start, put the weight at level appropriate for you, then grab the cables.  I like to have my feet hip width apart, or staggered when doing the standing fly as well.  From there, keep your arms straight with just a slight bend in your elbows, and bring your knuckles together.  I like to think about making a half circle with my hands.  Once the knuckles are together, squeeze your chest as hard as you can, and return to starting position (do not bring your hands any farther back than your shoulders).  Try doing 3 or 4 sets of 10-15 reps in your next workout!
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Fats, Carbs and Protein

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Fats, carbohydrates, and protein are all essential for your body to function at an optimal level.  Unless under doctor’s or nutritionist’s orders, an eating plan should consist of a balance of these three macronutrients.  Understanding the caloric makeup of these macronutrients is important to know, just so you can have a better understanding of what, and how much you are putting in your body.  For example, 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories.  Fats are more dense in their makeup compared to carbohydrates and proteins which each contain 4 calories per 1 gram.  This is how nutrition labels come up with their calorie count.  Let’s say a serving of peanut butter contains 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and 5 grams of protein.  A serving of that peanut butter would equal 130 calories.  You may also notice that on nutrition labels there are percentage signs as well.  This is because the nutrition label is going by a 2,000 calorie diet, and how much fat, carbs, and protein you would need if you’re on a 2,000 calorie diet.  Some people need more calories than that, some need less so keep that in mind!
Do you need help to achieve your goals?  Let me help you!  Reach me at Brianvaligura@gmail.com or at 806-789-2529

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Trainer Tip of the Week – Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

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The romanian deadlift is a type of deadlift that primarily focuses on the hamstrings.  If done correctly however, your lower and upper back will be under tension as well.  Along with strengthening these areas, this is also a fantastic exercise to work on the flexibility of your hamstrings.  If anyone of my clients has tight hamstrings, the RDL is an exercise we do frequently.  To begin, grab a pair of dumbbells or a barbell, and hold the weight down by your thigh.  With your knees slightly bent and the weight staying close to yours legs at all times, tip at the hips and lower the weight down as far as you can go (before your back rounds is as far as you can go).  Your back should always stay flat, and remember not to bend your knees to lower the weight.  A good cue that I tell my clients is to think about sticking out your butt, and keeping your chest up as you go down.  As you go down, you should feel an incredible stretch in your hamstrings, and you’ll begin to get more flexible to where you can go down further.  If you want to focus more on balance, you can actually do a romanian deadlift with one leg on the ground, and the other in the air!  I recommend starting with a lighter weight for 3 or 4 sets of 10-15 reps.
I would love to help you in your fitness journey!  Reach me at brianvaligura@gmail.com or at 806-789-2529

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Trainer Tip of the Week – Pull-up and Chin-up

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The pull-up and chin-up are common exercises, but also extremely effective for building upper body strength (mainly the back muscles and biceps).  The pull-up is done with an overhand grip position that puts most of the focus on the lats, and the lower trapezius (middle of back).  The chin-up however, is done with a reverse grip.  The chin-up still focuses on the lats, but activates more of the bicep and less of the lower trap.  Both very effective exercises, and both should be a staple in your routine.  To begin, grip the bar over head just slightly wider than shoulder width.  From there, pull yourself up until the bar reaches the top of the chest, then slowly lower your body back down into your start starting position (arms should be straight in your starting position).  If either of these two are too challenging for you, a great alternative is to do a lat pull down instead.
Do you need help reaching your goals?  You can contact me at Brianvaligura@gmail.com or at 806-789-2529

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Trainer Tip of the Week – Combo Sets

Combo setting is one of my favorite ways to train.  A combo set is similar to a super set, but whereas a super set is back to back exercises that target opposing muscle groups (think about doing a back exercise, followed by a chest exercise), a combo set is doing back to back exercises that target the same muscle group.  An example of a combo set to target your shoulders would be doing a shoulder press, followed by a lateral raise.  I typically like to add combo sets in towards the end of my workouts to bring the targeted muscle group to complete failure.  This does put a good amount of stress on the targeted muscle group, so be sure you don’t over train.  I recommend adding in only 3 or 4 combo sets to your workout.
Here are some examples of combo sets you can do:
Leg extensions, followed by jump squats.
Chest flies, followed by push-ups.
Reverse flies, followed by seated cable rows.
Do you need help achieving your goals?  Let me help you!  Reach me at brianvaligura@gmail.com or at 806-789-2529.

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Trainer Tip of the Week- Battle Ropes

Image result for battle ropesOver the past few years, battle ropes have become much more popular in box gyms. Truth be told, I have a become a huge fan as well.  Battle ropes provide a low impact, but challenging workout for your overall shoulder area, and can increase your heart rate as well.  Other benefits include increased core strength, and you can add in lower body movements as you train with the battle ropes to increase lower body strength.  Here are some examples of exercises you can do with the battle ropes.
The Wave- Hold the battle ropes, and stand with your feet hip width to shoulder width apart , knees slightly bent, and core engaged (this is your standard stance).  Once you’re in proper position, make a wave with the battle ropes by moving your shoulders up and down.
The Power Slam- Similar to the wave, but instead of focusing on making a wave, try slamming the ropes as hard as you can to the ground.
Lateral Wave or The Snake-  This also is very similar to the wave, but instead of making a wave with the ropes going up and down, think about make wave going side to side on the ground.
If you want to add in lower body to any of these, try holding a squat position, do reverse lunges, or do squats as you work the rope.  Try adding in 3 sets of 30 seconds of battle ropes into your next workout!
You can reach me at 806-789-2529, or at brianvaligura@gmail.com.

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