Your Brain LOVES the Gym

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MENTAL TOUGHNESS

In keeping with The Total Self, this article is a continuation of an earlier article I have written about this topic.I have spoken about mental toughness on oregonsportsnews.com, my own blogs and other social media platforms. I have given speeches about this also. The number one thing I believe that is holding people back in life other than broken focus and a solid plan (plus the willingness to execute) is a lack of mental toughness. It is not necessarily a bad thing that most people are not “hard”. You need people who are a tad softer, normal people in this world. This world would be in bad shape if it were just “Type As” all over the place. But you can learn from the Type A. Learn how to not let things stop you, how not to be a victim, and how not to allow things that have tormented you for years have any more control over you.
Mental Toughness has many definitions and is not limited to athletic performance and pain tolerance. I have known many men and women throughout my life who I would define as “mentally tough”. From an 85 year old gardener to a high school football friend, who it seemed neither ever had a bad day. Much of mental toughness is simply attitude and self-determination. If you do a quick search online on the subject, you will see a variety of mental toughness techniques, articles, stories of remarkable physical performances to brave acts of heroism overcoming insurmountable odds and fear.
On a personal note, mental toughness is a way of life. It is quite simple to me. To not allow any voices, anyone or anything to stand in the way of my goals. To be able to withstand setbacks, controvesy and many other troubles that life throws our way.

For the purposes of this site and its readers, I will also say that through somewhat challenging workouts and introspection and study of this topic, you will cultivate a mentally tough mindset. Again, my philosophy works for ME. As I have often said in my articles, take what’s said and make it work for you. For example minutes of non stop punching in a boxer’s case. In my case, heavy lifting and running for miles will create increased energy levels and an increased pain tolerance through training in the pain zone. You really have to get the body to know what pain is so you can endure it longer. PAIN is not injury, but if you push too hard through pain you will be setting up for injury, so knowing your training limits is necessary as well. Studying mental toughness (or at least how others go over) will shed some light on what you may be lacking. On the days when you feel like crap and you have to WILL yourself to go to work or to hit the gym. THAT too is mental toughness. Persistence and determination are all factors as well. Other terms used to describe mental toughness is inspiration, self-motivation and confidence.

 

There are many examples of those who bring themselves out of horrible childhoods of poverty, neglect, and illness to become heroes, mentors, millionaires, and presidents. That takes mental toughness in MY book.

Mental Toughness! How do you get it? Are you born with it? Can you acquire it? Arguments to this question have occurred long before our modern world came about. I am of the opinion that through tough physical training, proper mindset, and a high level of maturity that mental toughness is born. This toughness is what propels you through the storms of life and all that brings How do you get that?

Take for example, the Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong. He had endured one of the toughest diseases by beating testicular cancer. After his battle with cancer, he came back mentally tougher and was once considered the greatest cyclist ever. Maybe he had it all along, who knows? Mental toughness is not measurable and is completely internal. But I believe hard work will get you there. When Lance Armstrong was asked by reporters “What are you on?” referring to performance enhancing drugs. Lance stated, “I am on my BIKE – busting my hump (paraphrased)for 6-8 hours a day!!”

So the question is do you get mental toughness by attending special workshops, or by being in the military/police or by playing sports? Is it by going through hard situations in life and learning from them? I would say the answer is a comination of all that. You can definitely become mentally tough by training and overcoming the trials and tribulations life brings, but ultimately it will be by the determination you make to be unstoppable and make the world a product of you.

I have seen a lot of people not win at life due to cracking under pressure. These daily gut checks that tend to make cowards of us all is something to behold. The pressures we all face tend to beat us down, and send us to our breaking points- that will cause us to lose focus and that’s how we fail. Not because of lack of talent, but because of broken focus. The break in focus becomes a turning point in your struggle/campaign.
This is the biggest difference in those who win in life and who do not. Everyone will have their nemesis or weakness. The key is to BECOME someone who rises to the occasion. Someone who will plow right through very arduous situations and come out with their heads held high. To deal with setbacks and not let them affect you.
In closing, I would like to say that Mental Toughness is definitely one of the basics. One of the master keys to winning in life. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!!

Postnatal fitness

NOTE: Consult with your primary care provider before beginning any fitness regimen. The advice given here is NOT a substitute for sound medical advice/opinion.

Pregnancy- a life giving birth to another life. It’s a beautiful thing. One downside of this is the excess weight that the mother packed on carrying the child to term. This article is about ways to shed these excess pounds and possibly regain the body you once had.
In today’s society, it is all about looks. For new moms, that is magnified to the Nth degree. While I’m quite sure many of you ladies who have carried a child to term are itching to get back to the gym to shed the baby weight… do not neglect your six-week window of healing. The six-week checkup is very important. Do not neglect this- it could very well mean the difference between life and death.

Here are a few tips to get going in the direction you feel you need to go.

1) Don’t diet too soon: You are going to ned all the energy you can muster to tackle the new and awesome responsibility of being a mom. As stated earlier, please wait until your six-week postnatal checkup to start dieting. Even then, seek the advice of your care provider..
2) Be realistic about your weight loss goals. We are all eager to “get in gear”when it comes to fitness. We all have to be realistic about our goals, our intents and our bodies. This is even more the case for new moms. All of us have to accept reality at some point of our limitations- that’s perfectly fine, natural and good that you do so. With motherhood, as in life things permanently change. New moms may experience having wider hips, softer bellies, maybe even a larger waistline. Acceting limitations for most is a somber reality to take, but it must be done. Please adjust your goals accordingly.
3) Embrace exercise. The reality of fitness for postnatal women is almost exactly the same as with all people- you have to put the work in, make it fun and be patient. There is no magic pill, elixir that will ever get you where you want to go fitness-wise. Exercise, then diet. Being more active is crucial. Even if it’s just walking you new bundle of joy around the block a few times a week, it’s much better than nothing.
4)Network with others. Networking is not just for businesspeople. The camaraderie, socialization and cohesiveness that comes with support groups and activity groups is absolutely necessary. It will do wonders for your psyche, your attitude and who can’t use some new friends? Don’t forget your family, friends and your spouse. Their support is crucial, especially your spouse.

HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED

Again, I must state, though the prospect of being a new mom is challenging (and perhaps intimidating), the same problems and challenges weave their way into all situations. Motivation is definently one of those. In my opinion, the issue of motivation is one that will haunt you if you don’t answer it. For new moms… and anyone else… my opinion on staying motivated is clear. Look at what you want out of life. Now, picture your fitness regimen in it. Now imagine your life without it. Does it fit your lifestyle? Can you put all of yourself in it? Is it fun? Will you be able to see progress? It’s things like this that can spur you to action or stop you dead in your tracks. Visualization of your achieved goal is paramount. Without a clear visual conceptof your desired goals… what are you doing it for?

In closing, these pointers for those of you who are new moms (and anyone else interested in reading) should be a good starting point for new moms and their friends and families to start with. No one wins without executing a well thought out gameplan. This will hopefully help new moms get fit in a more practical, healthful manner.

Here is a sample workout for those interested.

15 Ways for Success with Your Fitness Regimen

It’s now June… how many of you have kept with your New Year’s pledge to lose weight, perhaps turn your life around? If you’ve fallen off track, that’s no big deal (over 85% of Americans break their New Year’s pledges in under 45 days). In case any of you all need a refresher, or a plan to get over the hump (or just to stay the course), here is my list of 15 ways to have success with any fitness regimen. This is by no means a comprehensive list… but hopefully it will work for you. Now, the list.
There is no shortcut to ideal health (whatever that is for you), no magic pill that lets you hit your five-a-day target and no single exercise that gives you a shredded physique in minutes. It takes time, hard work and an educated approach to get in shape and stay in shape. Following these tips will make your fitness quest (and life) a whole lot easier.

1. Prepping for Success
The better path to a sound diet is found by using your weekends wisely. Use the extra time you have on your weekends to make large batches of healthy meals that you can portion up to cover at least a couple of midweek lunches and dinners, avoiding the certain death of your fitness goals via fast food.

2. Mix Up Your Exercise

Variety is – cliché alert! – the spice of life, and many sports and activities support each other in ways you won’t realise until you try it. For example, strength training for your legs and core will make you a better runner, while those addicted to dumbbells will find Pilates works muscles they’d never even considered.

3. Calibrate Your Fitness Technology
If you invest in a fitness tracker, don’t just sit back and assume that following the preset targets will lead you to glory. Adjust the steps, active minutes and calorie targets regularly to build on your progress, or make them more realistic if you never get close and have started to ignore them. If you don’t engage with your fitness tech, you’ll quickly discard it.

4. Add In Extra Activity
This one of the oldest tricks in the book: take the stairs not the escalator, or get off the bus a stop early and walk. Any activity is better than none, and will only encourage you to do more. And if you really want to up the ante, try sprinting up the stairs (safely) each time you take them – clinical studies found that short bursts of high-intensity stair-climbing can make a significant difference to your cardiorespiratory fitness.

5. Keep Tabs On Your Visceral Fat

You can be skinny on the outside (at least your arms and legs), but fat on the inside. Visceral fat is the type that builds up around your organs and often results in a pot belly. It’s linked with heart disease, several types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Check your waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) to see if you’re at risk. Grab a piece of string and use it to measure your height, then halve it. If it doesn’t fit around your waist, get exercising – visceral fat is the first type to go when you start a health regimen.

6. Value Your Rest Days
When you start on a fitness kick, it’s tempting to exercise every day while motivation is high. This is a bad move, and one that may see your motivation flame out within weeks, because you’re always exhausted and won’t see the massive improvements you expect for your efforts. Why? You’re not giving your muscles the time and rest they need to recover and grow.

7. Up The Intensity If You’re Short On Time
Health and wellness experts still promote the 150 minutes of moderate activity a week minimum, but now offer an alternative option of 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. That’s running or singles tennis, for example, rather than cycling or walking, which count as moderate. You can also mix the two, so 60 minutes of vigorous cardio plus 30 of moderate will do the trick also. Bear in mind the guidelines also demand strength exercises on two or more days a week alongside your aerobic activity.

8. Treat Your Body Right
Nothing derails a health kick as quickly as injury, as many serious injuries will start out as small ones- you may think it’s OK to push through. Scaling back the intensity for a few days is better than having to shut it down for a few months. If you have an urgent desire to hit the gym, target a different part of the body from the one that’s bothering you.

9. The Drive for Five
Eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day should be at the cornerstone of your healthy diet plan. What’s not wise is getting in a rut and eating the same five every day, because different types of fruit and veg contain different vitamins and minerals. A good way to vary your five-a-day is to eat different colors, as the hue is a decent indication of the nutrients they contain.

10. Don’t Undervalue Your Sleep
There is tendency for people who sleep very little to brag about it, as if it’s an indication of their commitment to life. However, getting the full seven to eight hours is vital to a healthy lifestyle, as it provides the energy for your exercise and even influences dietary choices – a 2016 study found that in the day following a night of limited sleep, people ate an extra 385 calories on average. You don’t snooze, you lose.

11. Increase Your Cadence On Your Runs
If you are consistently picking up injuries when running, one change it’s definitely worth trying is to up your rate of strides per minute (your cadence). If you overstrike, thus taking fewer steps, you put extra pressure on your knee and hip joints. Try and take more steps, which means your feet will land more beneath your body, reducing the impact on your joints.

12. Give It Your All or Turn It Loose
The first time you try an exercise it’s very hard, but at least quite novel. The second time the novelty is gone, and it’s still hard, leading to the temptation to quit. Try it at least once more, as the third time is often the charm – when a sport or workout starts to become as enjoyable as it is tough.

13. Count Reps Backwards
This is a mental trick that might make resistance workouts a little easier. Counting down the reps means by the time it’s really hurting you’re at the 3,2,1 stage, which feels closer to the end than 8,9,10 or whatever target you’re going for. It won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

14. Make Full Use Of Your Street Furniture
Exercising outdoors is a great way to ensure you get your hit of vitamin D (if it’s sunny) as well as a good workout, and it doesn’t have to be all cardio. As well as the exercise machines that litter many parks, you can nearly always finds a bar or ledge for pull-ups, or a bench or wall to do dips on. Rarer treats can even include chains to use as ersatz TRX ropes.

15. Record Stats and Progress

Nothing builds motivation as efficiently as seeing signs of improvement, so make sure you keep some kind of record of your activity. It can be as simple as noting your record five-rep max or fastest 5K time, using either one of the many excellent fitness apps available or old-fashioned pen and paper.
In closing, these tips and tricks will help in your fitness goals. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is a fundamental building block in fitness and in life. Knowledge (alongside hard work and dedication) is the most essential of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

HOW TO GAIN STRENGTH- 5 RULES

HOW TO INCREASE STRENGTH- FIVE RULES

Strength is and always has been a goal for those who are avid fitness people. In today’s era, with the ever-increasing popularity of MMA-style training and CrossFit training, there has been a metamorphosis of the definition of strength. Gone are the days of 5’9″ 320-lb “strongmen” who could outlift you and OUTEAT you. Now it’s all about functionality combined with strength training. It is a huge win for the advocates of this type of training. It’s pretty evident that it works. It’s also a slam-dunk that it’s here to stay. Why not functional training? It is a more modern approach to training and it has the science to back it up.
On the other hand, there are some who will ask, “what about strength?” I am sure there are some of you out there who are looking to increase your strength without using steriods or any other PEDs let alone any sports nutrition products. Here are a few tips on how to increase strength without PEDs or changing your regimen or lifestyle.
When you are strength training, whichever day it is, always remember to take 30-45 seconds of rest between sets. Also in the same vein, slow the speed of the reps down. Let’s say your rep speed is on a 2-3 count. To gain strength, slow that down to about a 4-5 count. I must warn you to start at the weight your are currently using, then build up. No need to hurt yourself.
Another way to increase strength is to use supersets. if you have never heard of a superset, it is as follows: Let’s say you are working chest today. You’re doing cable crossovers at 30 lbs for 3 sets, 15-18 reps. To superset the exercise, you immediately do another exercise with no break… like wide-grip pushups at a similar rep speed and rep count. This way you will work all the muscle fibers and increase strength.

Another way to increase strength is to go all out. Challenging yourself with max reps at maximum intensity. This is an old-school technique that works. It is also very risky and the chances of injury are much higher than that of the aforementioned routines.
Lastly, use the science available to you. Learn your body. Know and learn what works best for you. Learn your limits. Fitness is not one size fits all. Strength is not one size fits all. Stay learning. Learning is a foundational component of increasing strength or anything else in life. Stay hungry. Never be satisfied with anything, if that’s your goal.

In closing, remember what I have laid out here:
1) Stay hungry
2) Be fearless, always try new things
3) Learn how your body works
4) Keep your goals in front of you.
5) Put the work in.

These five rules, as well as everything else I have given you will GUARANTEE success in your quest to gain strength. Not only will it guarantee success in your fitness goals, this will enhance your life in all other areas. It will make you a better person.

Top 5 Bicep Exercises for Size and Strength

It’s now May, and the sun is out. Pretty soon, most of us will be out at the beach trying to show off our bodies. For those of you who are “gym rats” and are concerned about breaking plateaus in your training routines…. never fear. I have my Top 5 list of the Best Exercises to increase bicep size. NOTE: This list is a primer for those who are getting into lifting and a refresher for the veterans of the gym who need a new routine to spice things up at the local gymnasium. As always, listen to your body, use your best judgment. See your doctor for injuries and advice. This article, this column and this site is not a substitute for sound health advice by a doctor (primarily your primary care provider). Use at your own risk. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!!
Now, the list:

1) Barbell Curl. This exercise often separates the men from the boys. Using proper form (more on that in a minute), this exercise will stretch the tape.
Standing straight and erect, have the barbell at the starting position, which is usually mid thigh level. Then, slowly, but surely, curl the barbell up to shoulder height. Use a weight you can safely handle to prevent injury. A good set should be between 6-8 repetitions with about a 30-45 second rest period in between. You should feel a slight, but good burn. As for form: Stand up straight. Use your arms to control the weight. Do not use your back under any circumstances. The reason is the risk of injury. Also, if you cheat that exercise, you are sabotaging your bicep development. Use your arms, not your back, legs, hips or anything else (some stand against a wall or pillar in the gym to prevent cheating).

2) Incline Dumbbell Curl. For this exercise, you need to be on an incline bench or an adjustible seat. Your form is still straight up, though seated, heels on the floor, chest slightly poked out and shoulders back. Using the same form to control the weight from the barbell curl exercise, perform the exercise. Again, use a challenging yet comfortable weight. Have at least three sets of 6-8 repetitions with a 30-45 second rest break in between sets. A truism that is said in the military holds true for these exercises: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast”. Control the weight, don’t let it control you. Feel the burn. There is a mental link that you can use: visualization. Visualize your biceps getting bigger and stronger with each set and every rep. Be strict with your form and you will see results.

3) Standing Biceps Cable Curl. This variation of the barbell curl yields great returns. If done correctly, as some have found, is the linchpin for a great biceps routine that can be a great part of your weight training regimen. Your form is still standing up straight, head centered, eyes forward, chest slightly poked out and shoulders back. Some use a variation that puts the dominant foot (if you’re right-handed, you will use your right leg/foot as the front leg and your left leg as your support/rear leg) exactly center of the cable and its attachment for a more intense block of bicep curls. The movement? Same as always. Control the weight, don’t let it control you. The ideal rep speed is a one-count on the up, one second to hold the weight at the top of the repetition, and a one-count to lower the weight for a total of three seconds. This is the basic rule of thumb for repetition speed. Continue to be cognizant of your form, to protct your back and your body from injury.

4) Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row. The Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row is all about SIZE, POWER AND BRUTE STRENGTH. If this doesn’t put size on your biceps, nothing will. Your starting position is, bent over. Bent over, back straight, head facing up to the ceiling. You need to get full extension of the exercise to reap the rewards of it. Keep your back straight, control the weight. The top of the repetition will be least nipple level on the chest. No sudden starts and stops. Those herky-jerky movements gets people injured. Remember, slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Do not try to set powerlifting records on the first day you try them. Good form beats heavy poundages every time. Good form also beats using your insurance deductable up on needless injuries.

5) Concentration Curl. The final exercise on the list is absolutely fantastic for bicep development. Concentration curls are simply that, the movement is concentrated to a small range of movement. The procedure: You are seated, the “off-hand”, or arm you’re not using, will be the arm you place on your thigh. The arm you are using will be between your legs. Your legs are spaced exactly shoulder width apart, back straight. Your head will be facing down towards the exercise. You will want to watch/visualize the movement. Use the aforementioned speed in regards to the repetitions. Use the aforementioned rest periods for this exercise. More importantly, stretch before and after this exercise as the concentration curl is a direct attack on the bicep (moreso than the others). Remember slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

In closing, these exercises will give you that look of greatness. They will also teach you discipline and hard work. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!!!!

BATES’ TOP TEN STRENGTH/SIZE EXERCISES

NOTE: This is MY list, not a definitive list made elsewhere. This is basically what got me big. The basics… THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

 

Yes, this is still “The Basics Always Win”, but I am taking a different path on this one. I am going over my top ten favorite strength training exercises. These are foundational, but brutal. They got me big… and will get you big as well.
As always, use caution when strength training. Always consult your primary healthcare provider before starting any fitness regimen. Now, the list.

1) Bench Press. Called “The Grandaddy of Em All”, this exercise is king for a reason. Raw, animalistic strength is evident. It is noted that the bench press does tax the Central Nervous System a bit. Risk of injury is high, so technique and a bit of reason will come in handy.

2) Barbell Squat. Yet another brutal, yet simplistic exercise. This is another exercise that emphasizes technique, skill and a bit of courage lol. High risk of injury here as well. D
3) Bentover Row. This very simple exercise is all about blasting the upper back. Power, pure power.

4) Barbell Lunge. Used by athletes for ages to develop size in the quads, hamstrings as well as overall growth, this exercise is also dangerous for the knees (especially if you go too heavy).

5) Lying Dumbbell Flyes. This exercise is all about power, concentration and technique/form. Injury to shoulders, arms and chest is high. All-around exercise for great strength and looks.

6) Lawnmowers (Dumbbell Row). This exercise shores up the back, shoulders while scuplting the upper body as a whole. Great strength, thickness and width is a certainty.

7) Standing Dumbbell Press. All-around strength. Great for shoulders, back, neck even the chest gets a bit of work. Form, form, form. You need to use a weight that is comfortable, but challenging.

8) Dumbbell Curl. Timeless exercise. All about form, strength and patience. Yes, the politicians can’t ban the guns, but you need good form and a weight that is comfortable yet challenging.

9) Skullcrushers (Pullover Press). Animalistic power, size and savage strength is the name of the game here. Form, form, form!!!
10) Behind-neck press. Awesome for size, strength and bragging rights.

In closing, these are only ten of the many exercises that I consider great. Hopefully some of you gym rats out there can use what I have been using to get results, because that’s what it’s all about: 1) Good form 2) Passion 3) Results. These are the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

News & Notes

I am pleased to announce the start of a series of ebooks that will target my “Actualization Familiarity Mastery” motif. As you know, I always start with the basics. Motivation, bodyweight exercises. Later we will get into specifics like athletic fitness.  Any questions, complaints, observations can be sent via email at halcyoninfo6@gmail.com. Twitter: @halcyonfg16 

Thanks for reading.

Functional Exercises for the Elderly 2017

DISCLAIMER: As with any exercise regimen, always listen to your body. This list is a basic foundational resource to work with. As I always say, the basics always win. This is definently a win for anyone who wants to better themselves, whether aged or just rehabbing after injury or surgery. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!
Top 22 Functional Fitness Exercises For Seniors 2017

1. Ball Squat

functional fitness exercises – ball squat

This movement will strengthen gradually your shoulders, arms, lower back, glutes, and your legs and you should do it every day to prevent a backache, and pain in those parts. Here are the steps how to do it:

Firstly, you stand the feet widely and hold a medicine ball with the hands in front of you.
Now you squat down, move the back, and keep the knees over the ankles.
You reduce the ball to the ground, maintain the head up and straighten the back.
Avoid hunching and now you can move to the beginning position.
Raise the ball over the head and repeat the exercise.
You can increase the weight instead of using the ball.

2. Stair Climbing.

functional fitness exercises – stair climbing

One of the best functional fitness exercises you should try is stair climbing. Staying active is a key to having a strong body and health and you should climb the stairs instead of using elevator too often. This simple exercise will keep your legs toned and conditioned and it will improve your arms, increase the energy to carry things to the stairs as well as boost up your cardiovascular health. Here is the instruction how to do the movement.

Now you stand at the bottom of stairs and hold the dumbbell (from 5-8 pounds) in your hands.
Next, you climb those stairs while you perform biceps curls.
You can run or walk down the stairs while you hold the weight without doing curls.
Repeat the exercise and you can add the weight of dumbbell to strengthen the arms.
3. Hip Extension

Hip extension exercise will improve your back, legs, glutes, and shoulders. If you want to learn functional fitness exercises, this is really helpful for your target.

You stand tall and hold two dumbbells in two hands.
Then you extend the left leg back and put the toe on the ground while you straighten the left leg.
Now you lean forward at your hips slightly and lift the left leg behind.
You bring the chest toward the ground and straighten out the arms to form a T at the shoulders.
Next, you squeeze the shoulders blades and keep the head with the neck in line.
Turn to the beginning position, change the side and repeat the exercise.
You can increase the weight if you feel stronger.
4. Diagonal Reach Exercise

functional fitness exercises – diagonal reach exercise

Reaching exercise is very simple to do and it works best for your muscles of legs, shoulders, and arms. The steps are:

You stand tall and hold a medicine ball with your hands, place it toward the chest.
Lift the ball diagonally over the head to the left, keep the arms straight and extend the right leg to the side while you make a diagonal line from the ball to the toes.
Return to the beginning position and repeat the exercise for the leg.
You can increase the weight if you feel stronger.
5. Lunge Exercise

functional fitness exercises – lunge exercise

The lunge is a great exercise that can improve the posture, strengthen the muscles in back, arms, and shoulders as well as tone and improve the legs and hip flexibility. Here is the direction how to do the lunge exercise.

You hold the proper weights in your hands.
Then you step the left foot forward, the right foot back.
Keeping the heels on the ground, point the feet straight.
Bend the left knee until it is over the left ankle.
Now you reduce the chest toward the thigh and bring the arms to the ground.
Make sure that you flatten the back and avoid hunching. This is the beginning position.
You keep the left leg straight and put the elbows back as you squeeze the shoulder blades together.
You keep the torso forward slightly and turn to the starting position.
Change the leg and repeat the exercise.
You can increase the weight when you feel stronger.
6. Knee Lift

functional fitness exercises – knee lift

Knee lifting will improve your core, increase the balance and strengthen your shoulders. How to do this movement? Let find this:

Firstly, you stand tall and hold a weight in your each hand.
Lift the left knee until it reaches the level of the hip.
You lift the arms and keep it straight as T form at the shoulders.
Hold it for some seconds and pull the belly toward the spine.
Now you reduce the starting position and repeat the exercise for each leg.
You can increase the dumbbells if you want.
7. Push-up Exercise

functional fitness exercises – push-up exercise

The push-up is a common exercise that can strengthen your arm, shoulder, and chest muscles. For seniors, you can do the exercise like this:

Firstly, you put the hands side than your shoulders and extend the left leg straight.
Pull the belly toward the spine and tighten the core muscles.
Now you lift the leg and reduce the chest to the floor until the elbows are at 90-degree angle.
Now you push up and repeat the exercise.
You can increase the hip angle and the knee distance from the hands.
You can perform the exercise with the legs straighten, but it is more difficult.
8. Torso Rotation

functional fitness exercises – torso rotation

To avoid injuries in lower back, you can do this exercise more often as the following instruction:

Firstly, you sit on the floor and bend the knees.
Keep the feet on the ground and hold a ball at the chest with your hands.
Now you lean the torso away from the thighs and increase the hip angle.
Next, you pull the belly button toward the spine and maintain the hip angle.
Now you rotate the torso to the left and move the left elbow toward the ground behind your body.
You turn to the center and rotate to the right side.
Turn to the beginning position and repeat the exercise.
9. Supine Bridge

functional fitness exercises – supine bridge

The supine bridge is one of the best functional fitness exercises for legs, glutes, back, shoulders, arms as well as core muscles. This exercise will open the chest and you should do it every day to get the best result.

You sit on the ground and put the hands under the shoulders.
You bend the feet and knees on the floor.
You straighten the arms and push the hips to the ceiling with the support of the legs until the torso is flat.
You lift the left arm towards the ceiling and rotate the upper body with the help of right arm. Make sure you lift the hips, as well.
Now you reduce the left warm to the beginning position and reduce the hips slightly but not touch the ground.
You repeat the exercise with the right arm.
Repeat each side for 10-15 times.
You can hold the hips and arms up for some seconds before reducing.
10. Dynamic Plank

functional fitness exercises – dynamic plank

The dynamic exercise will work for your entire body and it will be a perfect way to improve your fitness. Here are the steps:

To get started, you get on the toes and hands and face the ground.
You straighten the legs, back and head in a line and put the arms under the shoulders.
Now you pull the belly button to the spine to form a downward dog position in yoga exercise.
Now you lengthen the legs and arms and turn to the plank position.
Bend the elbows against to the sides and reduce the torso, the legs to the ground.
You keep the lower body flat on the ground and push the head and chest up with the support of the arms.
You stretch out the front of the body and reduce it.
Push the body back to the plank position and repeat the movement.
11. Knee Extension Exercises

functional fitness exercises – knee extension exercises

For the elderly and seniors, it is very important to maintain the balance and prevent falls. So knee extension is an excellent movement for elder health. Be sure that you extend fully and flex the knee while you perform the exercise. Here is the instruction how to perform exercise:

Now you sit on the chair and flatten the feet on the ground.
Next, you straighten the left knee and hold it for some seconds.
Repeat 10 times for each leg.
You should exhale when you move up and inhale when you move down.
You should move slowly and bring the toes toward the body to engage the quadriceps.
You can add some proper weight to the ankle to start.
12. Calf Exercise

functional fitness exercises – calf exercise

Calf movement is one of the most effective functional fitness exercises and it can help you maintain the balance, and improve the ability to walk. By doing this exercise, you will increase the muscles several times each day and you should give it a try like this:

Now you stand tall and use a chair to balance your body.
Then you raise the toes as high as you can and return to the beginning position.
Repeat for 10 times.
You should exhale when you move upward, inhale when you move downward.
To improve the balance, you can go of the chair and you can use the finger to hold on if it is too difficult to perform.
13. Knee Flexion Exercise

functional fitness exercises – knee flexion exercise

For strengthening the lower body, you can do knee flexion exercise at least 3 times each week. Knee flexion not only helps you keep the balance better, but it also reduces the risk of falls in seniors. Here is the instruction how to do the exercise:

You use a chair to balance your body while standing.
Now you bend the left knee backward as high as possible.
Turn to the beginning position and repeat the exercise for 10 times.
You change the leg and do it again.
While performing this movement, you should not bend the hips and try to keep stand tall as much as you might.
You should stretch the hamstring muscles for some seconds before doing exercise.
You can increase the weight to improve the workout.
14. Hip Raises

functional fitness exercises – hip raises

When you are getting older, it means that your bone might be weaker and it should be improved every day. hip raise will work well for your bone and it will reduce the risks of joint pain, stiffness. When doing exercise, you should begin slowly and here is the instruction for the exercise:

You stand tall and use a chair to balance the body.
Lift the left leg to the side as possible.
You move back to the beginning position and repeat the exercise.
You change the right leg and do it again.
Avoid bending the hips and stand straight during the exercise.
Point the toes straight and you can add some weight to improve the workout.
15. Ankle Circles

functional fitness exercises – ankle circles

To keep the stability and the balance at the elder age, ankle circles are excellent exercises for you. This exercise will make the ankles flexible and strong and it will prevent the loosing of balance in seniors. Learning how to do functional fitness exercises is a great way to improve your health and prevent some diseases.

You sit in a chair and keep the feet flat on the ground.
You extend the left knee and move the foot in a circle for 15-20 times.
Then you change into another direction for 20 times and repeat with another ankle.
You can extend the knee out if lifting the knee is difficult for you.
You can try small circles if the ankles feel cracked and painful.
16. Hip Marching

functional fitness exercises – hip marching

To strengthen the lower body and increase the endurance ability to hold objects, hip marching is a perfect exercise for you. This movement is also helpful and easy to give a try and here is the direction how to do it:

You sit in the chair and keep the feet flat on the ground.
Then you lift up the left knee as high as you can.
Now you reduce the leg and lift the knees for 10 times.
Change the leg and repeat the exercise.
You should not do this exercise more than 20 times to avoid soreness and fatigue.
You should move slowly and you can push the hands on the thighs and resist the movement upward.
17. Sit To Stand

functional fitness exercises – sit to stand

This exercise is also simple and easy to do as you just need to have a chair handy. This movement will strengthen your leg and mobility and the instruction of the exercise is:

Stand tall and place a chair behind your body.
Put the knees in front of the seat and lean forward.
Now you bend the knees and reduce the body toward the chair.
Pause a little and stand back before you try to touch the chair.
Repeat the exercise.
You should bend from your hips and put the hands on the knees to support.
You raise up the ribcage and stand up.
18. Heel Stand

functional fitness exercises – heel stand

Movements on ankle will increase the blood flow in the legs and it will improve the calf muscle. The exercise will give you a great chance to improve the balance with little support. Here is the way how to do the exercise for adults:

You stand tall and use a chair to balance the body.
Raise the heels up and lower them for 10 times.
You should inhale when downing the movement and exhale when raising up.
Avoid leaning on the chair too much time.
You should straighten the body when you lift the toes.
19. Leg Lunges

functional fitness exercises – leg lunges

Leg lunges are great functional fitness exercises and they can help you keep balance and maintain the mobility as well as independence. This is the instruction how to do the exercise:

You stand tall and put the arms on the hips or at sides.
Keep the feet and shoulder wide apart.
Step forward to keep the trunk vertically.
Now you push back to the beginning position.
Change the leg and repeat for 10 times.
You should increase the exercise gradually and avoid bending the knee deeply.
20. Leg Raise

functional fitness exercises – leg raise

Straight leg raise will improve the flexibility and balance in adults. This movement also increases the confines and functional independence in the body. Moreover, it can stabilize the lower back and pelvis as well as the quadriceps. If you want to strengthen abdominal muscles, the exercise is also a great option for you.

To get started, you lie the back on the ground and bend one knee, straighten another knee.
Point the toes upward to the ceiling and raise the straightened leg to the bent knee.
Turn back to the beginning position and change the leg.
Repeat for 10 times with each leg.
Also, you exhale when you move upward and inhale when you move downward.
You should put your palms down to have more support and avoid raising the knee higher than another one.
21. Partial Squats

functional fitness exercises – partial squats

Partial squats are great functional fitness exercises and they can increase hip flexibility. This exercise belongs to the training of lower body and it can increase the balance and improve your life quality. This movement will strengthen the quadriceps and hip flexor as well as improve your walk and balance. Here are steps how to perform the exercise:

You stand tall and use a chair to keep the body balanced.
Bend the knees as far as you can and stop it if you feel pain.
Return to the beginning position and repeat the exercise for 10 times.
You should inhale when you move downward and exhale when you move upward.
When bending the knees, you should breathe out and when you standing tall, you should breathe in.
You should straighten the body as you reduce and raise it.
You should look forward and keep the heels contact with the ground.
You can add weight on each hand to improve the workout.
22. Standing Hip

functional fitness exercises – standing hip

Standing hip exercise is one of the best lower body strengthening exercises for the elderly. This exercise will strengthen your leg and improve the balance at your age. It also tone the muscles on the buttock and help you walk or stand easier. So you should add it as a good workout for a great posture and strong legs.

This exercise will improve hip muscles and you just need to prepare a chair for the movement.
Now you stand tall and use a chair to balance the body.
You extend the leg backward and straighten the knee.
Now you move back to the beginning position.
Change the leg and repeat the exercise.
During the exercise, you should keep the rib lighted and the body erect.
Also, you try to straighten the knee and tighten the muscles and keep breathing

BEST BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES PART ONE

Best Bodyweight Exercises Part 1
DISCLAIMER
Always check with your primary care provider before engaging in any fitness regimen. This is not a “one size fits all” workout. Please use caution and listen to your body.

For those of you who are either still pondering about the best way to lose weight and get in shape (especially if you haven’t been to the gym in a spell), or are needing something different to break the monotony (and to give your joints a rest), here are some recommendations of mine for best bodyweight exercises. No gym membership, no credit card needed. All you need is some real estate (i.e. your floor) and a drive to succeed. Since this is part one of a scheduled three part series, I am going to give you 10-12 good bodyweight exercises that will get your heart rate going, you will be sweating and most of all, you’re gonna love it. So here’s the list:

 

Exercises
·          This block of bodyweight exercises are usually standalone exercise that are grouped together for an assortment of group training (which includes training on bars and/or benches). I will give you the exercise and the equivalent in case you cannot get to the bars or benches.
EXERCISE
ALTERNATE/EQUIVALENT

Dips
Military Press

Regular Push-Up
Wide/Narrow/Diamond grip Push-Up

Free Squat
Air Squat
These exercises target the big muscle groups such as the chest, legs and back. Alternately, your smaller muscles (triceps, biceps, traps, abs) will get a workout also.

 

The next block of exercises are CORE exercises. In case you don’t know, core exercises are those that tighten the midsection, giving you a great looking stomach (who really wants to look like a sumo wrestler when you don’t have to) and even shores up those all-important back muscles (especially those in the lumbar region). Also, this next block will also show you what exercises you can “superset” or use alongside with the original exercise (these superset exercises usually target another angle of the abdominal region and are done with no rest).

1)    Flutter Kick/Leg Raise: This combination will make you have some pretty rockin’ abs. Be sure to understand that this is not for the weak. Use caution as some have injured themselves due to overexertion (some to the point of hernias)

2)    V-Ups/Planks: This one is even tougher. The V-Up is all about the synchronization of the body to move as a unit in one fluid motion (like the letter V, thus the name), while the plank is more about the mind (keeping your body in a straight line for 45 seconds or more is a testament to the power of the human mind) than body.

In closing, I must say this: These are only basic bodyweight exercises. As I always say, “The basics always win” Why? If you master the basics, you have the foundation laid to do more, more effectively and efficiently because you understand the WHY behind the exercises. You understand the HOW behind the exercise and you definitely KNOW what to do to make your dreams, goals, visions a reality.  I grouped these exercises up in a easy manner. There are 12 exercises that are deceptively challenging, but will give you a good sweat if you are committed to doing it right.