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Fitness and Facts

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Strength Exercises

 

Knee Boost Technique

Grasp dumbbells in a squat position, with back straight and looking ahead.
Stand up.
Sit down on bench. Rest dumbbells on thighs.
If the exercise is to be done in the sitting position such as in the Military Press, lift up one leg to help "boost" a dumbbell into the starting position. (Figure 4) Repeat for the other dumbbell.
If the exercise is to be done lying down, such as in the Bench Press, lie back slowly. When your back is a few inches above the bench, lift one leg up to "boost" a dumbbell into the starting position, repeating with the other leg immediately. Practicing this technique with light weights is recommended.
A spotter’s assistance to get the weight to the starting position is recommended if heavy weights are used, there is a history of back or shoulder injuries, or the "knee boost" technique cannot be mastered. After the lifter is in the proper lifting position, the spotter can hand the weight to the lifter. After the set, the spotter takes the weight from the lifter.

Bench Press

AREAS INVOLVED: Pectorals, Anterior deltoids, Triceps.
TO START: Use either the "Knee Boost Technique", or a spotter’s assistance to get into the starting position.
Spotter kneels behind the lifter, ready to provide assistance at the wrists, if needed.
STARTING POSITION: Lying on bench, feet flat on floor, back flat against bench.
Weights held slightly outside shoulders at chest level, elbows out, and palms facing towards feet.
MOVEMENT: Keeping dumbbells level with the mid-line of the chest, press upward. Avoid locking the arms or arching the back. Do not bang the weights together. Exhale through the "sticking point" or most difficult part of the lift. Lower weights slowly to starting position. Spotter stands and takes the dumbbells from the lifter.

Push-Ups

AREAS INVOLVED: Pectorals, Triceps, Anterior deltoids.
STARTING POSITION: Place hands on ground slightly greater than shoulder width apart.
Arms are extended. Keep feet together, and back and neck flat throughout the exercise.
MOVEMENT: Lower your upper body until your upper arms are at least parallel to the ground. Push up to the starting position, keeping back and neck straight. Exhale through the sticking point while pushing up. Inhale during the lowering phase.

Variations
Elevating the arms on a bench decreases the workload and decreases anterior deltoid involvement.
Elevating the feet on a bench increases the workload and increases anterior deltoid involvement.
Using a narrow hand placement will increase the workload on the triceps.
Using a wide hand placement will decrease the workload on the triceps.

Dumbbell Fly

Areas involved: Pectorals.
Lie face up on a bench with feet flat on the floor.
MOVEMENT: From the chest, press dumbbells upward to an extended arm position, palms facing each other. (Figure 2) Slightly flex the elbows. Lower the dumbbells outward in a wide arc. Keep palms up and elbows pointed towards the floor. Lower dumbbells slowly and under control until they are level with the shoulders.
Pull dumbbells evenly upward toward each other in a wide arc to an extended arm position above the chest.
Keep the elbows flexed slightly until just prior to reaching the top.
Inhale during the downward movement, and exhale through the sticking point of the upward movement.
The spotter kneels behind the lifter, ready to provide assistance at the wrists, if necessary.
When the set is finished, the spotter takes the dumbbells to the floor.

Incline Press

AREAS INVOLVED: Pectorals, Anterior deltoids, Triceps.
STARTING POSITION: Either use a spotter’s assistance or the "Knee Boost Technique" to get the dumbbells to the press position.
MOVEMENT: Press the dumbbells overhead. The weight should be pressed up so that the arms are straight, but not forcefully locked.Do not bang the weights together.
Keep the abdominal muscles tight and avoid arching the back. Exhale through the sticking point of the upward movement. Lower the dumbells slowly to shoulder level while inhaling.
The spotter stands behind the lifter, ready to provide assistance at the wrists, if needed.
The spotter helps return the dumbells to the floor.

Military Press

AREAS INVOLVED: Deltoids, Triceps, Trapezius
STARTING POSITION: Use the "Knee Boost Technique" or a spotter’s assistance to get the Dumb bells to the starting position.
MOVEMENT: Press the dumbbells overhead. The weight should be pressed up so that the arms are straight but not forcefully locked. Do not bang the weights together. Keep abdominal muscles tight and avoid arching the back.
Exhale through the sticking point. Lower weights slowly to shoulder level.
Spotter stands behind lifter, ready to provide assistance at the wrists, if needed.

LATERAL RAISE

AREAS INVOLVED: Middle deltoids.
STARTING POSITION: Hold dumbbells in front of thighs. Keep trunk slightly bent forward and elbows slightly flexed.
MOVEMENT: Raise both dumbbells to shoulder height. Exhale during the lifting phase. Lower weights slowly to the front of the thighs (while inhaling), taking care not to let them bang together.

Front Shoulder Raise

AREAS INVOLVED: Anterior deltoid.
STARTING POSITION: Hold dumbbell on front of your thighs with palms facing down (pronated).
MOVEMENT: Keep knees, trunk and elbows slightly flexed. Raise one dumbbell until your upper arm is parallel to the floor.
Exhale during the lifting phase, lower weight slowly, while inhaling. Repeat with the other arm.

Bench Dip

AREAS INVOLVED: Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectorals.
STARTING POSITION: Sit on a bench with hands gripping the front edge. Knees can be bent and close to the chair (Figure 1), or straight (more difficult). With legs together, move forward until the hips are off the bench.
MOVEMENT: Slowly lower the hips towards the floor, until the upper arms are approximately parallel to the floor. Press up to full arms extension. Avoid locking out the elbows. Adjust the distance between the hips and feet to alter difficulty.
Exhale during the upward movement, and inhale during the downward movement.
Persons with a history of shoulder injuries should perform this exercise cautiously, or avoid it, if it causes discomfort.

Upright Row

AREAS INVOLVED: Trapezius, Deltoids, Biceps.
STARTING POSITION: Rest dumbbells at arms length in front of thighs with a closed grip. Assume a shoulder width stance, with torso erect, and knees slightly flexed. Elbows point outward.
MOVEMENT: Pull dumbbells upward along abdomen and chest toward chin. At top position, elbows are higher than wrists and above shoulders. Lower dumbbells slowly to starting position. Keep dumbells close to torso throughout the lift. Exhale through the sticking point during the upward movement. Inhale during the downward movement.
Persons with a history of shoulder or rotator cuff problems should perform this exercise cautiously, or avoid it, if it causes discomfort.

Shoulder External Rotation

AREAS INVOLVED: Rotator cuff.
STARTING POSITION: Lie on your side with legs separated. Grasp a light dumbbell. With elbow against your side, flexed at 90º, and forearm across your stomach.
MOVEMENT: Lift the dumbbell by rotating your shoulder. Keep elbow flexed and against your side throughout the movement. A rolled towel under the elbow can provide padding and leverage. Return to the starting position. Repeat sequence on opposite side.

Reverse Fly

AREAS INVOLVED: Trapezius, Rhomboids, Posterior deltoids.
STARTING POSITION: With your chest against the bench, pick-up the dumbbells from the floor. Slide up on the bench so that the dumbbells will be clear of the floor throughout the movement. Let arms hang down in line with shoulders, palms facing in.
MOVEMENT: Lift arms to about shoulder height. Return slowly to starting position.
Exhale during upward movement, inhale during downward movement.

Triceps Kickbacks

AREAS INVOLVED: Triceps.
STARTING POSITION: Place your left knee and left hand on a bench with your chest parallel to the floor. Plant your right foot on the floor while holding a dumbbell in your right hand at a 90º angle to your upper arm. Keep elbows relaxed, spine in a neutral position, and abdominals contracted.
MOVEMENT: Extend arm backward until arm is parallel to the floor with palm facing torso. Contract triceps at the top of the motion. Keep the upper arm and trunk stationary while lowering dumbbell to starting position. Repeat sequence on opposite side.

Squats

AREAS INVOLVED: Quadriceps, Glutes.
STARTING POSITION: Stand with feet slightly wider that shoulder width, toes pointed slightly outward, looking straight ahead, and back straight. Grab dumbbell with both hands and extend legs. Keep weight centered over mid-foot.
MOVEMENT: Lower to approximately 90º of knee flexion. Extend legs, and repeat. Keep spine neutral throughout the lift. Exhale through the sticking point on the upward movement, and inhale during the downward movement.
Persons with a history of back or knee problems should perform this exercise cautiously, or avoid it if it causes discomfort.

Abdominal Curls

AREAS INVOLVED: Rectus abdominis.
STANDARD POSITION: Lie supine with knees bent, at about 90º and feet resting on a bench. Cross arms over chest or place them unclasped, behind head with elbows out. Tighten abdominals and exhale as you curl up.
Raise rib cage, shoulders and upper back simultaneously. Keep neck neutral – do not pull. Contract at the top of the movement, slowly lower (inhale), and repeat.
VARIATION: To decrease difficulty, cross arms over chest. Turning a shoulder towards the opposite knee at the top of the movement emphasizes the obliques.

Back Extensions

AREAS INVOLVED: Lower back, Glutes, Hamstrings.
STARTING POSITION: With the bench at a 120º angle, have a partner hold down the lower legs and hang your upper torso over the edge of the bench. Relax to feel a comfortable stretch in the lower back. With arms crossing your chest, slowly lift upper torso, while exhaling to a comfortable endpoint. Avoid hyperextending. Return slowly.
VARIATIONS: To decrease difficulty, fold arms across chest or let them hang towards floor. To increase the difficulty, decrease the angle of the bench, or cup hands on ears.
This exercise can be done without a partner using a Roman Chair or Flex- Ball. Persons with a history of back injuries should perform this exercise with caution.

Side Bend

AREAS INVOLVED: Obliques.
STARTING POSITION: Stand with dumbbells resting at arms length at side of thighs. Use a light weight.
MOVEMENT: Bend to the side, stretching the opposite side. Return slowly to the upright position and repeat on the opposite side. Care must be taken to avoid any forward or backward leaning. This exercise should be performed with a light-to-moderate intensity, not to failure.
Persons with a history of back problems should perform this exercise with caution, or avoid it if it causes discomfort.

 


 
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