300716 Aerobic Fitness

300716 Aerobic Fitness

Aerobic conditioning is your body’s adaptations to working continuously with oxygen or in other words with air. It is also known as cardiorespiratory endurance or aerobic power. The word power indicates a strong response to imposed conditions.

Cardio work is a continuous activity that puts an increased demand on the heart, lungs, and circulatory systems of the body. Generally, large muscle groups of the body are involved for extended periods without a break, thus the term, ‘with air’. The original term “aerobics” came from the father of cardiovascular training, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, of the famed Cooper Institute.

It is a recognized fact that aerobic conditioning accomplishes all of the following:

  • It has the potential to increase life expectancy
  • Improvements occur in the overall quality of life
  • Overall improvements in health and well being
  • Reduces fatigue and increases the adaptability to meet the challenges of each day as they arise
  • It can improve appearance, posture, self confidence and self concept
  • Positive body composition changes occur with regular aerobic exercise
  • Muscular endurance and muscle tone changes are positive in nature
  • Stress maybe reduced
  • Improvements in relaxation ability and decreased sleep pattern disruptions
  • Positive cardiovascular changes and improved sport performance result from aerobic exercise
  • Reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol may result-studies indicate this to be true
  • Increased bone density due to the impact of the jogging or running
  • Seniors may become more independent
  • Finally, the ability to physically meet and hopefully overcome emergency situations

In preparing to aerobically exercise, remember that aerobics are only a part of a full conditioning program. Other necessary components include flexibility, strength and power, muscle endurance and a safe healthy body composition. In other words, be able to do the task at hand without carrying excess body fat around.

The keys then would be to follow this sequence before exercising for the first time.

  1. Complete a Physical Activities Readiness Questionnaire aka a PAR-Q
  2. Speak to a doctor before beginning any exercise program
  3. Begin slowly in your program-consult with a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) or a NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (CPT)
  4. Always warm-up prior to exercising, get the pulse up and the breathing rate increased to meet the demands of the upcoming exercise session. After exercising then cool down and stretch.
  5. Follow the fitness triad prescription of flexibility, strength and cardiovascular through out the week
  6. Don’t overexert but stay within the guidelines for your age and experience-see number three above for a CSCS or CPT recommendation
  7. If you are sick or injured, don’t exercise. You can however exercise common sense and prevent any further delays in getting better by taking it easy for a short time until you are well again.
  8. Select a NSCA certified trainer

Cardiovascular training

How hard should you exercise aerobically will be determined by your age and current physical condition. The Tanaka formula is the most precise for figuring out the target heart rate range.

Figure your target heart rate using the Tanaka formula.

  • 207 – 70% of your age = Maximum heart rate
  • MHR – Resting heart rate taken as soon as you awake = Heart rate reserve
  • Heart rate reserve X 70% + resting heart rate = Heart rate target range

So why are so many aerobically out of shape? Is it due to a lack of desire, lack of time, or a lack of motivation? The reasons are many but the truth of the matter is this; “in order to make changes change is necessary”.(1)

Research has clearly shown the benefits of increased cardiovascular health in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and other unhealthy heart and lung conditions. (2) Now is the time to make these positive life style changes.

Follow this sequence for a successful new beginning

  • Begin by seeing a doctor for an overall physical.
  • Set up your personal fitness goals
  • Dress for success. Wear good fitting walking, running or bicycling shoes. Dress in proper fitting clothing, layered in the winter and reflective in the summer.
  • Exercise EVERY SINGLE DAY by putting a check mark on the calendar to show yourself you CAN make the necessary changes to succeed.
  • Chart your progress everyday, write down how you did, how you felt. Make it your personal workout diary.
  • Drink enough to stay hydrated; your urine should be a pale yellow. If not and it is bright yellow and strong smelling then you are dehydrated unless you are taking in excessive vitamin B supplements
  • Progress slowly. Start out by walking, riding a bicycle and then finally by jogging and running. Vary the cardiovascular workout mode for added benefits.
  • Chart your target heart range and stay in it for the recommended amount of time for your age
  • Overload your body the correct way, i.e. don’t change any one variable by more than 10% each time. For example, if you are running for ten minutes add only 10% to the increase for the next level. In other words, add one minute. Gradually get used to the new time, or longer distance or faster pace, but only by 10% of the previous times, distance or pace.
  • Acclimatize your body to its new routine. Vary the load, intensity and frequency so your body does not become accustomed to these variables.
  • Make exercise a habit.

Safety cautions

  • Let someone know where you are going and for how long you will be gone
  • Exercise with a partner if you have a difficult time in remaining self motivated
  • Walk, run and ride in a safe legal manner, follow your state statues for engaging in these activities


Within the first SIX MONTHS, most people QUIT. Are you going to be one of them? Try these tricks of the trade to avoid dropping out of the exercise mode.

  • Make exercising FUN
  • Go at a comfortable yet challenging pace
  • Do more than just walk, run and bicycle. In other words, cross train.
  • Take music along with you. Just don’t have it blaring in your ears through an earplug. You cannot avoid danger if you can’t hear it coming.
  • Exercise the same time each day. Get it out of the way early or make it the last thing you treat yourself to at the end of the day. Make it natural and convenient. You will be better able to stick with it.
  • Keep records of your achievements each day

Follow the SMART goal setting method of:
S stands for specific
M stands for measurable
A is for achievable
R asks if it is a realistic goal
T indicates time ended.

In other words unless a goal is specific, measure able, achievable, realistic and time ended it is simply a dream with no starting or ending to it. Live your dream; don’t just dream of living it.

(1) Danny M. O’Dell, MA. CSCS,*D
(2) Research and resultant international conference presentation titled “The effects of exercise on blood pressure” by the author. Presentation made July 03 in Ottawa, Canada.


250716 A beginning resistance training routine

250716 A beginning resistance training routine

A beginning routine is made up of large muscle group exercises featuring balanced applications of sets and repetitions for both agonist and antagonist groups. After a movement specific warm up where each exercise is performed ten to twelve times do eight to twelve repetitions at your workout weight for two to four sets. A set is one group of eight to ten repetitions.

Follow each set with a rest period of sixty to ninety seconds, depending on your present conditioning status and then begin the next set of the same exercise. Move through the list at a steady pace. You should not be in the weight room much longer than forty five to fifty minutes.

The decision to do them all at one time will be a personal matter, one that takes into consideration the time you have to exercise. The full body workouts are good at helping to improve your general physical conditioning. This schedule would be done on alternate days so you have a recovery period inter spaced between workouts.

If you make the decision not to do them all in one session then consider doing the upper and lower body exercises on different days. Following this exercise schedule allows you to exercise five days in a row with the weekend off for active recovery activities.

These are the essential ten and form the foundations of any strength program regardless of how you decide to do them.

  1. Military presses
  2. Chin ups or pull downs
  3. Bench presses
  4. Barbell rows
  5. Squats
  6. Dead lifts
  7. Curl ups or full range sit ups
  8. Back extensions
  9. Laterals
  10. Calf raises

Using the big ten exercises in your training program.

Start out with one set of eight to twelve repetitions and after a week or two add an additional set. Several weeks later add one to two more sets until you reach four to five sets of each exercise. Begin with sets of eight and as you get stronger and can tolerate the stress of lifting gradually add more reps until you’re at twelve repetitions for four to five sets.

After three to four weeks have elapsed on this schedule begin to dramatically increase or decrease the repetitions on one of the days each week. This will shake up your body and make it realize that every day will not be the same. This is how growth takes place.

Once at the five sets of twelve it will be time to drastically change your entire program. But that is not what this article is about so I won’t address it now. Suffice it to say this will be the time in your program that new exercises, new reps and set schemes and different work to rest ratios will be needed to up the intensity necessary to continue your steady progress towards greater physical fitness.

After the exercises have been completed it’s time to start the cool down phase of the session. This period allows your body to readjust back to its normal temperature, pulse and breathing rates.

Midway through this cool down process do one or two static stretches for the various areas you’ve just worked out. Avoid, if possible, doing the same stretches each time by selecting a different one from any of the vast movements that are available.

Several of my favorite books are the Stretching Handbook by Brad Walker, Stretching by Bob Anderson, The Whartons’ Stretch Book by Jim and Phil Wharton, Stretching for Athletics by Pat Croce and Sport Stretch by Michael J. Alter.

After you have cooled down then it’s time to replenish your muscles with fuel. Eat a protein and high glycemic carbohydrate snack to help get your muscles back into the positive growing zone.


Start out by learning how to do the exercises correctly, be consistent in your exercise sessions, maintain the intensity, stick with the basics and eat well.

There you have it; a full schedule to get you into shape safely and effectively. But don’t get in a hurry to leave the gym just yet because you still have to cool down

230716 Aerobic exercise do’s and don’ts

230716 Aerobic exercise do’s and don’ts

If you are using a pedometer, keep in mind that step counts are not particularly accurate when it comes to high intensity exercise measurements or of the quality of this type of exercise. You will be far better off getting a good heart rate monitor to track your exercise intensity. Once you have the monitor then set your sights on getting the necessary amount of minutes each day of cardio exercise.

The current recommendations of aerobic training are five days a week of moderate paced exercise for thirty to sixty minutes a day or at least one hundred and fifty minutes a week. On the other hand, if you are already doing this amount then up the ante and go for twenty to sixty minutes a day of vigorous-intensity exercise for at least seventy-five minutes a week.

180716 Developing your grip

180716 Developing your grip

The deadlift can add or subtract to your total in the sport of powerlifting. Pulling a ton with straps on means your lower torso is solid and strong. The problem arises when you get into a contest and can’t use your straps.  It doesn’t matter what you did in your gym with the straps because they aren’t allowed in any sanctioned event.

Now is the time to get a grip that will bring Hercules to his knees. And one of the easiest most opportune ways to do so is by using Olympic weight plates. Set two of them up side to side, facing one another, so the smooth part is on the outside, i.e. the part of the weight you are going to hold onto.

Without using chalk or other grip enhancing substance, grab the plates and start walking in your gym. Measure the distance you are able to go before the weights slip out of your hands.

Do the exercise one to three times and then let it set for a day or so and then do it again. In time your distance will increase as will your ability to handle heavier weights for longer distances.

Just be careful you don’t let them fall on your feet or worse yet someone else’s.

Isometric contractions for 5-6 seconds in various flexion angles building up the intensity over the session, i.e. one at 70% for 5 seconds the next series at 80% for 5 seconds. Work up to 100% for the full 6 seconds for three to four sets at a time. Then build up in the length of time holding at 100%-avoid the Valsalva maneuver during

Many can be done at home, as the required equipment is nil.

 Grip strengthening exercises.

The accompanying photographs show a great device for developing your grip. Each piece fits into the next larger one. The diameter of the handle can be made greater or smaller depending upon the level of difficulty desired. Naturally, the smaller the handle the easier will be the task of holding onto the resistance. Once the handle becomes over three inches, the ability to grip and lift becomes problematic. Slowly adapt your strength with each successively larger diameter handle.

The grip is progressively challenged as the diameter of the PVC becomes larger.

Not only are these handles useful for simple lifting exercises but they can also be adapted to the pulley, band or elastic modes of resistance training as depicted in figures three through seven. In addition, the larger sized handles make chin up and pull up exercises much more difficult to accomplish. The latter are not shown.


Here are few more ideas to try if you do not want to use the larger handles:

  • Start with one full newspaper and crunch it up into a ball with one hand.
  • Progress to more and more sheets of newspaper and make each of the increased layers into the smallest ball possible.

Rubber ball squeezes

  • Begin with a small dog or cat toy ball
  • Squeeze the ball for twenty five repetitions three times
  • Use a tennis ball for the same progression as above

Rubber band stretches and squeezes

  • Place rubber bands on each of your fingers, spread the fingers apart.
  • Place the bands on one opposite hand.
  • Attach one end to a finger of the opposite hand and move the fingers in the opposite direction as above

Other useful ideas for grip training

  • Bar hangs for time
  • Weight added bar hangs
  • Bar holds with ‘heavy weight’ be careful of low back injuries
  • Paper book rips
  • Towel twists
  • Medicine ball squeezes
  • Pellet bag holds for time or distance
  • Pellet bag holds while vertical jumping and maintaining the grip
  • Cement block hold and carry for distance
  • Garbage bags with weight-hold for time and distance
  • Plate hold for time
  • Plate hold with heavier weight for time
  • Plate hold with heavy weight
  • Band resisted device holds
  • Grip developer springs from Ironmind
  • Plate loaded grip device

Radial and Ulnar deviations

Equipment: Thors hammer

The Thors hammer is an adjustable dumb bell with plates added to one end only. Sledge hammers can be used in place of the dumb bell but minor adjustments of weight are easier if the dumb bell is used.

Begin holding the bar near the weight until you build up the strength to use the lever of the full handle.

Hold the non-plated loaded end as you would a hammer or in a handshake or neutral grip position at the sides of your legs.

Thors hammer front off load

The dumb bell plates will be facing forward with the bar horizontal to the ground. The motion is up and down using only wrist action.

The next movement is with the plates to the rear, again the motion is up and down.

Thors hammer start rear load

Begin the development of your grip by working on your endurance first then go to a strength-based program that employs heavy weights coupled with low reps.

Practice Isometric contractions for 5-6 seconds in various flexion angles. Gradually build up the intensity over the session, i.e. one set at 70% for 5 seconds the next series at 80% for 5 seconds. Work up to 100% intensity a full 6 seconds for three to four sets at a time. Build up in the length of time you are holding at 100% but avoid the Valsalva maneuver during these contractions.

Augment direct grip development by strengthening each motion or movement pattern of the wrist. Additionally work the fingers/thumb individually and as a group. Practice balance, coordination and agility as you work these smaller muscles of the arm and hand. Theraband soft weights work great for many of these exercises.


160716 This takes the cake, AKA stupid is as stupid does

160716 This takes the cake

We’ve all seen the pseudo trainers standing on a stability ball swinging something around in their hands.

Just when I thought I’d about seen it all, another screwball shows up with an even goofier exercise. This example shows a guy on a trampoline standing on a BOSU (1) with the rounded part facing the trampoline.

What is this for? Who knows; it certainly isn’t any that I train my athletes for in the gym. How many sports require this type of activity? NONE despite the trainers claims that it conditions the core and balance.

He must have a great liability insurance policy and is probably hoping the insurance company doesn’t see this photo of stupidity in action.

I suspect the people that do these things crave attention, negative in this case, because this is the only thing such a stunt could provide.

In the Explosively Strength Training programs, we NEVER stand on these types of gear. We are strong but not stupid.

(1) The BOSU looks like a stability ball cut in half with one side a flat surface and its opposite, the rest of the ball. It can be used with either side up or down for various exercises.

110716 Spotting the dumbbell bench press

110716 Spotting the dumbbell bench press

It is the duty and responsibility of the coach and the specific task of the designated spotter or spotters, to protect the lifter at all times during the lift, especially if the load is in the upper percentages of their one repetition maximum..

Stupid act number one

A trainer who has their trainees doing a bench press with their feet on the bench is placing that person at risk for an injury. The purpose of the feet being on the floor is to prevent the person from losing their balance and falling off the bench with a load on the bar. Having both feet on the floor contributes to a part of the five-point stance.

The five-point stance is established with both feet on the floor, the buttocks on the bench, the shoulders on the bench and the head on the bench.

Stupid act number two

Trainers standing or kneeling away from the trainee holding onto a clipboard

Any photo of a trainer or a trainer who is standing away from the lifter is in a poor position to spot the exercise. He or she is not anywhere near the area they need to be in order to protect the lifter from harm should they fail in the movement.

The correct position is either with his/her hands on his/her wrists or hovering on the outside of her wrists to prevent the dumbbell from coming back on his/her face if he/she loses the correct bar path while lifting.

Keeping both hands on the wrists is the safest way to spot the dumbbell bench press.

There are so many terrible examples of trainers training someone who has trusted his expertise to keep them safe as they lift showing up on YouTube; it is pathetic with a capital P.

I recommend finding someone who practices intelligent coaching, safe lifting, as well as safe spotting.



100716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today?


100716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today?

Putting a check mark on your calendar doesn’t mean not exercising, it means still going to the gym and lifting for at least 10 minutes. If, after the 10 minutes you still feel like passing on the day then move on to the rest of your day. At least you gave it a shot. It didn’t work out but you gave it a whirl.

Come back the next day with a new attitude and go at it again. If, however the same feelings of the previous day are still with you then it is time to make some drastic, wild changes in your exercise routine. Stop what you are doing and do something vastly different and give your body and mind a rest.

Instead of doing squats, do Bulgarian split squats, believe me your glutes and hamstrings will remind you later on of how you treated them. Use dumbbells rather than barbells, attach bands to the plates and do squats with swinging weights on the end of your bar, go into high reps, recall Bompa recommending rep ranges of up to 250 in a single set throughout the year on an infrequent basis as being conducive to further growth.

The idea is to move away from your normal exercise routine and get out of the rut you’ve created by not being creative with your schedule.

090716 The Unspoken Gym Secret

090716 The Unspoken Gym Secret

Incontinence affects over 25 million men and women, young and old, in our country alone. 85 percent of which are women. Imagine what these figures are world wide. About one in four women over 39 has had at least one episode of incontinence during their life time.

You may be wondering why this is even being talked about in this format. The simple answer is because it is affecting more of your trainees than you may realize, so the more you know about the subject the better equipped you are to deal with the problem. Recall the one in four who are trying to manage this condition; you can bet they are working out in your gym. Do you just stand by or offer a potential solution to these people? They may be unwilling to discuss this ongoing condition with you-especially if you are a male and they are a female, unless you have built up a close trusting rapport.

Many who suffer from this condition are too embarrassed to discuss it with their health care provider. They view this as an inevitable consequence of aging and wear protective pads or under garments to control the results. If this is left untreated then rashes, infections, emotional stresses, and a lower self image may be encountered by the individual.

Incontinence may be an off shoot of a still unidentified disease such as diabetes, an unrecognized stroke, nerve disease or multiple sclerosis. A urinary tract infection, vaginal infection or irritation and constipation can also cause incontinence to occur. However there are other causes.

Just as likely are weak muscles in the pelvic floor or an overactive bladder muscle. These can be trained to hold the urine for longer periods. Urinary sphincters control the actions of the bladder. These sphincters close off the bladder outlet to prevent the escape of fluids. As the bladder fills there is an increasing urge to empty it.

Once the nerves sense the bladder is full a signal is sent to the brain. It is now becomes a choice of whether to go or hold. Often times this is neither a choice nor a controllable function, and incontinence results.

If your trainee is leaking urine when they laugh, cough, sneeze, lift heavy or do any sort of jumping exercise then perhaps stress incontinence exists. On the other hand and complicating the treatment options somewhat are stretched pelvic floor muscles that commonly result from having a child or bring inactive.

What the person can do on their own
See your doctor and get an examination to make certain the diagnosis of incontinence is correct. Give them some background information by keeping a diary of all the food and drink you consume, list the times of day and the activity you were doing when the flow started.

When you do go the bathroom make certain to completely empty your bladder. Do this by finishing once then standing up, moving and shifting around and waiting minute or more and then going again. This method is called double voiding and is a way to help eliminate the residual urine in the bladder from causing an incomplete void.

Even though each of the following exercises have been effective in many women there is still no scientifically established or proven regimen that will prevent urinary incontinence. One of the most efficient ways to ward off incontinence is maintaining a good healthy lifestyle, staying within your ideal weight, not smoking and continuing with a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

Some have found that staying well hydrated and not waiting too long to urinate helps keep the bladder under control. Most people empty their bladder four to eight times within a twenty four hour time span. Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol can also improve the body’s ability to retain urine. Each of these substances causes a reduction in a hormone that concentrates and decreases the volume of urine by increasing the uptake of fluid back into the kidneys.

Not only are certain beverages thought to cause bladder problems but also different foods can irritate the bladder and should be avoided if they seem to increase or produce the symptoms of incontinence. Among those that are suggested to be eliminated or reduced in your diet are the following:

Pops or other liquids containing carbonation
Coffees and teas both caffeinated and decaffeinated
Milk or products made from milk
Citrus fruits and their juices
Tomatoes and the products made from tomatoes
A surprise on the list is sugar in all forms
Artificial sweeteners and corn syrup which is found in many products so look at the labels carefully
Chocolate products
Spicy foods

Notice I did not say completely give these foods and drinks up, instead I am suggesting that you just moderate ingesting them and see what happens with your bladder control. However, it may be reasonable on your part to actually stop taking some of them if an adjustment makes a difference.

The ability to control the bladder release is a treatable condition. A few of the options include:

Behavioral techniques

  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises
    Medical devices that prevent or capture the escaping urine
    Surgery that repairs or lifts the urethra or bladder neck up and provides support

Since I am not a doctor the medication, devices and surgery will not be discussed in this document. I will provide viable options for your trainee to try as you urge them to contact their primary health care provider for further information regarding various other courses of action in regards to this condition.

Behavior techniques are usually the first to be considered as they fit well with other protocols of treatment and can still be continued throughout other treatment choices. These behavioral options have no side affects and can be done at home any time you want and, more importantly, are non-invasive.

Strengthening the pelvic floor musculature

The most common of the recommended exercises are the Kegel’s named after Dr. Arnold Kegel back in 1948. He described these for women following childbirth who were experiencing difficulty in controlling their bladder releases. The exercise was designed to increase the tonus of the muscle in the pelvic floor.

Pelvic floor muscle specific exercises

There are two types of contractions that have to be done in order to make the muscles work as intended. One is described as a fast contraction and is meant to stop the flow quickly. The second is a more prolonged effort and is designed to build up the muscles endurance and their ability to support the over head organs that rest on them.

The fast contraction exercise may be done by first getting into a comfortable position such as in a chair or on the bed with your legs either bent or outstretched and close together for the first few times. Realistically these can be done anywhere but if you are just starting out then the fastest way to learning how to do them is if you are comfortable to begin with and can easily find the target muscles.

Beginning fast contraction exercises.

Relax by taking a few deep breaths and relaxing all of your muscles. During this stage it is important to actually exercise the pelvic floor muscles and this is not done by tightening up the abdominal, buttocks or leg muscles. Instead these have to be kept loose. For instance if you put your hand on your abdominal area, i.e. your belly, you should not feel it move at all as you tighten up the pelvic floor muscles.

To find the right ones try stopping the flow of urine the next time you are voluntarily voiding your bladder. Once you are able to do this then you have located the right muscles and now need to keep at it on a consistent basis.

After you are able to squeeze the right ones do so quickly for a second or so and then let off just as fast. Release the contraction for a second and then hit it again. Do as many as you can to begin with. Your goal is to build up to least one set of five repetitions of these several times a day to start out. After you are able to do these five times in a row it’s time to add more sets and reps. You will have to be the guide on this one.

Beginning long contractions

Once you have the short contractions mastered it is time to move onto the long hold contractions. These exercises will help build up the pelvic floor muscle endurance which then helps to hold the organs above in place so there is not the unrelenting pressure on the bladder. In this instance the squeeze is done much more slowly, deliberate, and steady, for longer periods with each repetition. Remember to contract only the pelvic floor and not the abdominal’s, back, buttocks or legs.

Work on tightening these muscles for up to ten seconds at a stretch. In between each rep, rest for an equal amount of time. In this case, ten seconds before beginning a subsequent repetition. Work up to a total of twenty repetitions several times a day.

Variations and combinations of the short and long contractions

Work on combining the fast and long contracting exercises by quickly squeezing then releasing, followed immediately by a slow contraction that is built up in stages of tightness during the way to full contraction in other words several isometric stages of the long hold contraction. In each of the foregoing exercises it is important that you do not hold your breath as you do them.

Training the pelvic floor muscles is like any other muscle training program, it takes persistence and regularity to see results. Do them throughout the day and just before taking part in activities that cause the problem in the first place. This has improved control in 40-75% of the women doing them according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The keys are consistency in sticking to the program and accuracy in identification of and then exercising the correct muscles while doing these exercises.

These non invasive exercises are not a panacea for this condition, but they have been shown to be 50-80% effective in improving urinary control over a three week to six month period.

Practicing bladder control

There are two common ways of approaching this training; timed voiding and controlled voiding.

In the first instance a schedule is set up that establishes the time of urination intervals. Begin by going every thirty minutes whether you feel the urge or not. Gradually extend this time out into two to four hour stretches before going again.

In between the preset timed intervals, if you feel the need to go practice relaxation techniques. These can be something as simple as breathing in and out slowly. As you are thinking of the breathing tempo the urge in many cases will go away. Another way to control the urge is to do Kegel’s-if this helps you to control the bladder.

After the urge to urinate passes wait another five minutes or so and then go to the bathroom even if the need to go has passed. By waiting longer you may not be able to control the flow. After a five minute wait is no longer difficult begin to increase the time to ten minutes and upward. The training of your bladder may take from three weeks up to three months of steady consistent practice at the skill.

Studies have shown that bladder training behavioral therapy has been successful in curing twelve percent of the women and in seventy five percent there was an improvement in control.

There is help for those with incontinence issues and this may come from exercising the muscles that make up the pelvic floor. Diligent and accurate training may make incontinence a thing of the past or at the very least reduce its effects.

040716 A better you, by you

040716 A better you, by you


This group of exercises was designed specifically for the traveler, or for those who cannot get to the gym every day to work out. Some are pretty easy but they rapidly become more difficult depending on the particular one a person may choose from the list of options available. A length of surgical tubing or a jump stretch band enhances the difficulty of these exercises.


These exercises have been used on the road by the author and by the students in his strength training classes as an introduction into bodyweight exercises. They are enjoyable and challenging to do. Simply changing the rest time in between each movement offers an unending scale of difficulty while at the same time helping to increase the aerobic capabilities of the series.

Many are ideal for the busy Mom with a small child used as added resistance. For example, the calf raises, push ups and squats provide a fun way for a Mom and her child to have fun and for her to model the healthy lifestyle by exercising together. As a precaution the child obviously has to be held carefully so as not to fall and get hurt.

This series of exercises will encompass these major muscle groups: Chest, arms, shoulders, abdominals, back, and legs. Pick one or two different exercises out of each group and do ten to twenty repetitions for each one unless stated otherwise.

Gradually decrease the time it takes to do the exercises so your pulse rate is kept high, but keep good form throughout the session on all the movements.

It is also recommended that you keep a logbook as it will help guide you along in your quest for better health by showing you where you started and where you are at now. It provides incentive and encouragement.

Warm up

Rope skipping three to five minutes of single hit hops. Do these as rapidly as possible while maintaining control-added difficulty is gained by double spins on one hop multiple times in succession

Neck three to ten times each direction for all the neck warm-ups

Move your neck in circles

Move your neck up and down on your chest

Move it from side to side

Move it around in both clock wise and counter clock wise directions, analog, not digital

Limb rotations; dynamically move them around in circles-begin slowly but add speed as you continue to warm up. Ten to fifteen each limb

Cat and camel for the low back

Bodyweight squat; full range of motion rapidly performed ,but without a bounce at the bottom-maintain the solid back brace position for ten to twenty repetitions.


Push up and down the stairs-five to ten repetitions at each step both up and down, add a clap between the up and down portions (Description: start in an incline pushup position at the top of the stairs or at least six to seven steps up from the bottom. Drop down a stair after each five to ten push ups. Continue down each stair until you reach the bottom and are in a regular push up stance on the floor. Now place your feet on the lowest stair step. Work your way back up to the top or six or seven steps up by doing a clap in between each repetition. Added difficulty may be gained by doing these on a medicine ball at each step of the way-a play on words so to speak.

Off set push-ups; one hand under the shoulder the other one to three hands out from the shoulder.

Added difficulty; with a ball under either hand, especially the farthest out hand perform the push up

Added difficulty; extend your offset arm farther to the front of your head beginning with one to two hands offset to the side and in front and execute the push up

Pike push ups; maintain straight legs throughout the series. Begin in the normal stretched out starting point, after each push up move your hands back toward you feet one hand space. Continue until you are in a pike position.

For added difficulty on all but the offset push ups, hold your hands close to one another, touching together

Abdominals/lower back

The big three; Dr. Stuart McGill’s adapted from Ultimate back fitness and performance available at http://www.backfitpro.com

Curl ups

Side bridges

Arm and leg extensions

360’s; hold each position for three to five seconds for five to ten repetitions for two to three sets. Do multiple sets ONLY if the form is perfect for each repetition. These are also referred to as ‘Planks” in some training literature.
Upper back/biceps/forearms and grip

Chin up with the rope; hold onto the rope doubled up and held with both hands on the single double rope. Progress to holding onto a single rope end in each hand as you do a chin up.

Added difficulty

Adding external weight

Legs held to the front at a ninety degree angle to the upper torso

Swinging side to side or front to rear on the rope as you do a chin up.

One leg bench squat; move the forward leg both in and out from the bench for added difficulty and avoidance of boredom.

One leg wall squats; added difficulty by standing on a balance pad and leaning against a stability ball or standing on the toes.

Toe squats with hands held over the head add an extra measure of difficulty for all the squats, as will doing these on a balance pad or a big pillow with the feet touching one another.

Hamstring strength; hook feet under a couch bottom, and then lean forward. Try to go farther each time until you are able to go all the way down and then rise back up again without assistance.

Calves sets of twenty-five to one hundred repetitions per set. Begin by first standing up right, other variations are done bent over the kitchen cabinet in a donkey calf raise, on stair steps, on one foot, during a lunge, wall squat, ball squat, or squat

Lower back/abdominals

Walk outs; begin in the regular push up position with the arms held straight, move your buttocks go up and down. Gradually, while still keeping your arms straight, move the rest of your lower body farther and farther away from the top of your head. Maintain the solid and controlled body position at all times. These are not meant to be ballistic movements.

Added difficulty

Place your straight arms on a couch or chair that is secure against a wall and gradually move your feet backwards. This drastically increases the difficulty of the exercise and should only be done by those without back or shoulder problems.

Back extensions from the floor; hold for increasing lengths of time to build lower back endurance. DO NOT raise your legs at the same time as your back is raised upward.

Cool down

Static stretch

Walk around to finalize the cool down process

Get on with your day

030716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today? 1 of 2

030716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today? 1 of 2

Today is one of those days; you know the ones when exercise isn’t something you want to do. The signs are all there, like the feeling in your head of wanting to do something else instead of exercise, of dreading going to the gym, not feeling well, have a cough, seem to be dragging, tired of the routine, not looking forward to the exercises on the schedule, not feeling enthusiastic about it anymore…

Does the word overtraining come to mind? It could be, if you are displaying psychological signs (generally noticed by your intimate associates who really know you and your personality) such as irritability, more displeasure with life rather than pleasure, a loss of your sense of humor….and this is just a mere portion of the psychological signs. Other indicators of overtraining are physiological and once these appear you are already overtrained.

It is a well known fact that psychological signals appear before the physiological signs begin show up such as a higher morning pulse rate, lower energy levels, sleepiness compared to arousal, increased tiredness, plateaus, decreased strength….But are you overtrained?, unless you have been hitting it hard without a slow down this is unlikely.

It could be something other than overtraining. And that something else just may be brought on by a lack of interest due to others things on your daily list of stuff to do such as

  • mowing the lawn,
  • chopping wood for the winter,
  • weeding the garden,
  • watering the raspberries,
  • washing the truck,
  • reading the latest book you just bought,
  • studying for a CEU exam,
  • going to Costco, or going to a
  • doctors appointment,

So what’s a person to do in this dilemma? The answer is as simple as putting a check mark on your calendar.