Monthly Archives: July 2012

Body Bar goes to Washington D.C. for DCAC

Our weekly post for our Canadian distributor, Ultimate Sports Equipment!

Body Bar goes to Washington D.C. for DCAC.

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The Monday Move : Lunges

According to the research done by American Council on Exercise (ACE), one of the most effective exercises in working the Butt or the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and the hamstring is the lunges. The Lunge is also a very effective exercise for the legs as well. It involves functional stability, balance and overall body coordination and proper posture alignment, which is very useful for muscle development and conditioning.

Muscles Used:

  • Glutes/Butt
  • Hamstrings (Back of upper thigh)
  • Quadriceps (Front of upper thigh)

How to do a Proper Lunge:

  1. Both feet together, toe pointing forward.
  2. Left leg step forward, shoulder feet apart, with heel landing on the ground.
  3. Shift center of gravity to the mid point of the body, back leg heel raise with ball of foot in contact with the ground.
  4. Lower body by flexing both knees until both knees is at right angle or 90 degree Front knee should not go beyond the front toe. Imagine the back knee dropping a line vertically downward.
  5. Return to original standing position by pushing back the front leg.

Common Mistakes:

  1. Toes not pointing straight forward, which will add unnecessary pressure and stress onto the knee. Always ensure correct alignment before lowering of the body.
  2. Body leaning forward, causing center of gravity to shift forward, adding unnecessary pressure and stress onto the knee. Maintain body erect and spine neutral and look far.
  3. Keeping both your legs in a straight line, will reduce the base area and the centre of gravity to fall outside of the base area which will cause instability and off balance. Keep both feet at least shoulder width apart, which will increases your base of support and makes your body more stable during exercise execution.
  4. Front knee bend beyond the front toe, adding unnecessary pressure and stress onto the knee. Increase the width of between the front and back leg and adjust until both knees are at right angle using mirror or feedback from personal trainers.

Body Bar Lunges 

Beginner Exercises:

Alignment Tool or Balancing Tool: With feet hip distance apart, split your stance (one foot moves forward and the other foot moves back). Place the Body Bar® to the side of you with one end of the bar on the ground right next to the knee of the front foot and the other end lightly grasped in your hand and in close toward the shoulder. The back shin should become perpendicular to the ground with its heel lifted and the front thigh should be perpendicular to the ground with the knee behind the toes. Push through the heel of the front foot and the toe of the back foot to return to the starting position. Keep the elbows lifted (which will keep the chest lifted) to keep the bar in place as you lower down. Keep the bar perpendicular to the ground throughout the lunge.

Intermediate Exercises:

Front Hold: With feet hip distance apart, split your stance (one foot moves forward and the other foot moves back). Fold your arms and place your hands on the opposite shoulder. The Body Bar® will rest right above the elbows with the elbows at shoulder height or slightly below. Keeping body upright, bend both knees as you lower towards the ground. The back shin should become perpendicular to the ground with its heel lifted and the front thigh should be perpendicular to the ground with the knee behind the toes. Push through the heel of the front foot and the toe of the back foot to return to the starting position. Keep the elbows lifted (which will keep the chest lifted) to keep the bar in place as you lower down.

Shoulder Hold: With feet hip distance apart, split your stance (one foot forward, the other back). Bring the Body Bar® up and over your head to rest lightly on the fleshy part of your upper back. Keeping body upright, bend both knees as you lower towards the ground. The back shin should become perpendicular to the ground with its heel lifted and the front thigh should be perpendicular to the ground with the knee behind the toes. Push through the heel of the front foot and the toe of the back foot to return to the starting position. Keep the elbows lifted (which will keep the chest lifted) to keep the bar in place as you lower down. Make sure you do not pull on the bar during the squat, but rest your hands lightly on the underside during execution.

Advanced Exercises:

Other advanced moves include adding balancing elements to regular lunges such as lifting the rear leg to target the glutes (pictured below):

Another option is to lift the knee in front of you (holding for about 5 seconds) for a balancing challenge.

If you are ever unsure of your posture, slow it down or try to find a mirror.  For a cardio combo, perform the lunges as walking lunges (ex. 10 reps up and 10 reps back for 3 sets).

Enjoy the workout and feel the burn!

Why Do We Love Body Bar?

Our weekly guest post on Ultimate Sports Equipment’s Blog!

Why Do We Love Body Bar?.

Body Bar Monday Moves : Fixing Posture

A blog post by our Director of Operations

Recently, my sister asked me if I could help improve her running form since she is participating in her first triathlon this August.  We went to the local gym where I watched her run on the treadmill at an easy pace.  I noticed she had the same issue a lot of other people have; swaying in the lower back.  I asked her if anything hurts after she runs and, as I suspected, her lower back and her knees usually gave her issues.  I knew she had been in therapy for her lower back and knees but she assumed these problems were results from her long career in soccer.

I proceeded to tell her that her form was off.  I asked her to look straight ahead, tilt her hips forward and engage her abs.  She noticed an immediate difference, even stating that the “pooch” she thought she had was now gone.  Then she started saying that she could now feel her lower abs, her glutes and quads.  This new sensation in these muscles is due to the fact that they have been under developed.

After watching her run for a bit, we went to the mirrors so I could show her how she needs to be standing versus how she stands now.  The picture below shows common postures problems and how proper posture looks.

I stressed to her the importance of maintaining a good posture no matter what we are doing throughout the day especially if she is already getting lower back pain.  Below are some exercises that have helped me improve my posture:

Bridge

Lie down on the floor and bend your knees so both feet are on the floor. Place the bar across the hips. Push through the heels and lift the buttocks off the floor. Return to the starting position.  Do not put any weight on your neck and use the Body Bar as a level.  The Bar should remain straight throughout the exercise.

Back Extension

Lie face down on the floor with bar extended above the head. Begin to roll the bar back towards your head without bending the elbows and lift the chest off the floor.  Be sure to look straight head and feel your hips drive into the floor as you roll up.

Plank

The plank position is great for stabilization and working on form.  Hold the plank position for 10-30 seconds for 3 reps.  Be sure to “suck in” your stomach so your back doesn’t sway or your stomach droop.  It helps to also engage your glutes to keep everything aligned.

Stretching the Hip Flexor

It is important to also stretch out the hip flexor.  This will help alleviate lower back pain and bring your hips forward where they should be.

With these exercises and stretches, along with any other exercise or stretch you may do, always check your form/posture.  Do it correct now so you won’t have to fix it later.

Fitness Friday : Beat the Heat Wave

Summer temperatures around the nation have been reaching the upper 90’s and forcing most fitness enthusiast indoors.  The heat can really hinder one’s desire to work out especially when you can break a sweat just walking to the car.  So how can you beat the heat this summer and still get your workout in?  Below are a few tips followed by a full Body Bar workout you can do at home and a Body Bar Flex workout you can do in the pool!

Tips:

1) Stay hydrated!  Nothing is better than downing some water before and after a workout.  Although sports drinks can help, they often are filled with sugar and other chemicals that won’t hydrate you.  Water will always be the best choice.

2) Pay attention to your body.  What may look like regular exhaustion may actually be heat exhaustion.  Make sure you perform a proper warm up and cool down after any outdoor activity while paying close attention to how you feel.  If there are any signs of dizziness, slow down, drink some water and find some shade.

3) Slow Down.  We all want to stick to our workout plans but if your plan requires you to be outside, lower your intensity.  It’s ok to vary your routine.

4) Time it.  Try waking up earlier or working out towards dusk for your workouts.  The temperature will not be at its high and there will be less direct sun exposure.

5) Dress right.  A lot of people think that working out with your shirt off is the best way to fend off the heat.  A better option is to wear clothes that will help wick away the moisture and even keep the sun off your skin.  A lot of outdoor clothing even have UPF protection.  Be sure to wear sunscreen and reapply if you’re out for more than 2 hours especially if you are swimming.

Exercises:

Body Bar and the Body Bar Flex are great tools to use indoors either at the gym, at home or even at the office.  This can be critical during the scorching summers.  You won’t have to risk sunburns, heat exhaustion or burn out.  Can’t stand being inside when its gorgeous out even if it is extremely hot outside?  We also have a workout you can do in your pool with the Body Bar Flex!  Stay cool and get fit while enjoying the outdoors!

Body Bar Indoor Full Body Workout

Body Bar AquaFLEX Full Body Workout

Body Bar Monday Move : Train like an Olympian

Finally, the 2012 Olympics start at the end of this month!  Watching the Olympics can be a huge motivator for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.  Not only are we inspired by their abilities to set records but their dedication to constantly improve their bodies in order to succeed.  For this week’s motivation, we want to focus how we can channel an Olympian’s dedication into our own workout and fit lifestyle.

A few tips on how to have the lifestyle of an Olympian:

  • Train every day.Olympic athletes train every day in order to compete with the best. Exercising sporadically (i.e only on the weekends) can cause injury, soreness and the urge to never exercise again.  Exercising regularly will help you achieve endurance and strength that carries over into your every day life.  Even if you can only fit in a 15 minute workout, it is better than not working out at all.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize. Olympic athletes have a specific goal.  Us regular exercisers need goals too, something that will motivate us to get off the couch. Keep your goals simple and attainable.  Make both short-term and long-term goals.
  • Fuel your body for peak performance. Stop worrying about how many calories you are taking in.  An Olympian focuses on digesting the right amount of nutrients and calories to fuel their bodies during competion. Instead of looking at food as your enemy, ask yourself what will be the best food to maximize my workout.
  • Know when to rest. Olympians know when they need to take a few extra days to rest to ensure they stay at peak levels rather than experience burnout.  It’s okay to take a few days to give your muscles a break.  You’ll go back to your workouts with more energy and focus.
  • Have perfect form. Watch each Olympian in whatever sport they may participate in and you’ll notice how perfectly aligned their bodies are.  Watch your form in every move you perform which will also lower your risk of injury.  There is no point in doing it if you’re going to do it wrong.  Lower the amount of weight you lift or run more slowly in order to ensure your form is perfect.
And now a full Body Bar workout to get you going this week to start training like an Olympian!

Bar Bridge

Bar Bridge

Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor about 1 to 2 feet in front of your butt. Place a bar on your hips and hold it still with your hands. Press up with your glutes, forming a straight line between knees and shoulders, and keep your hips even. Hold for a count of 10. Return to start. Sets:1 Reps: 5

Stork Curl and Leg Extension

Stork Curl and Leg Extension

Stand holding the bar at your hips with a shoulder-width grip, palms forward. Draw your left knee up, bending it 90 degrees, and curl the bar to your shoulders as you straighten your left leg. Bend the leg back to 90 degrees and lower. Repeat with right leg. Alternate for 12 total reps. Sets:1 Reps:12

Warrior Lift

Warrior Lift

Hold the bar overhead with hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward. Then step into a wide lunge (right knee bent, left leg straight, and left foot turned out). Lower the bar while straightening your right leg, and then lift your left leg straight behind you while you simultaneously lift the bar in front of you. Return to the lunge stance and do five reps per side.  Sets:1 Reps:5 on each side

Lying Triceps-Abs Combo

Lying Triceps-Abs Combo

Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees. Hold the bar with a narrow grip, palms facing your body. Bend your elbows until the bar is just above your forehead, so palms now face the ceiling. Then press the bar up and extend your left leg to 6 inches off the floor. Lower the bar back toward your forehead and return legs to start, alternating for 12 total reps Sets:1 Reps:12