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Exercise of the Week

The "Weekly Exercise" is designed to help and assist beginners and expert fitness enthusiast get their weekly dose of the latest and greatest fitness trends. 



Chest progression 1: Stability Ball Push-Up


The stability ball push-up is a great drill for targeting the core as its main function, as a stabilizer, as it supports the body's weight in the push-up position. Due to the decline angle, this drill adds greater stress to the thoracic area of the body, including the chest and triceps, due to the role of gravity and body alignment






Shoulder progression 5: Star Banded plank

This is a great exercise to warm up the core and shoulder complex simultaneously as the bands generate a consistent isometric contraction with sensory input. This exercise can also help strengthen the rotator cuff, labrum, serratus anterior and rear delt.









Shoulder Progression 4: Frontal/lateral raises with shoulder press


This exercise is great for targeting the anterior and middle deltoids of the shoulder. Tension can be added by replacing the bands with dumbbells that provide a constant weight of resistance against gravity in both the eccentric and concentric phases. 











Shoulder Progression 3: Upper Body Saw


As seen previously for core progression, the upper body saw is also a great exercise for the shoulders as it targets the muscle fibers in muscle groups across the shoulder due to the friction of the ground during the eccentric and concentric phases of the exercise. You can also increase the difficulty by including a light resistance band to increase the tension placed on the shoulder muscle fibers.







Shoulder Progression 2: Band raises


The bands increase the tension during the performance of this exercise thus requiring the body to recruit a greater number of muscle fibers in the deltoid region along with targeting the abdominal muscles. To simplify the exercise, remove the bands and only use your body weight as a free weight until you are comfortable enough to advance on.





Shoulder Progression Baseline: Shoulder Taps/Extensions


Today we begin the first progression for strengthening the shoulders which includes the deltoids and rotator cuff muscles. With the Baseline Shoulder Taps/Extension progression, we want to focus on having a straight back, with our core and anterior deltoids supporting our body. It is important that you focus on your breathing during this exercise and especiallly during the extension of the arm/shouler. 






Core Training (Anti-Extension) Progression 5: Wheel rollout


With the final progression for anti-extension of core training, the wheel rollout adds a dynamic component by allowing a greater range of motion for your body to endure tension in as you extend your trunk parallel to the floor during its descent. This exercise targets the anterior core muscles (abdominals) along with the triceps and anterior shoulder region as these muscles are "firing" in maintaining stabilization during the descending phase along with them also assisting in the ascending phase of returning the body to its original starting position.


Note:  Similar to the slide board a few weeks ago, it is imperative that you do not exceed your range of motion when descending parallel to the floor. If you feel a significant stimuli sensation within your back, your range of motion is too far.






Core Training (Anti-Extension) Progression 4: Valslide Rollouts


The Valslide Rollout increases the difficulty of this progression due to the additional friction your body weight imposes as you slide out to lengthen your body (eccentric) and especially during the return where the muscles are shortening back to its original starting point (concentric).










Core Training (Anti-Extension) Progression 3: AB Dolly/Skate Board Rollout


In this exercise progression, the AB Dolly/Skateboard roll outs primary purpose is to serve as an easier alternative for next week's progression of the AB Wheel rollout. Traditionally performed in a gym setting with an AB Dolly, this video was purposefully filmed with an alternative piece of equipment (Skateboard) to show the unique alternatives that can be performed (Depending on your resources/location) to obtain similar goal-oriented results. Another creative alternative for this exercise in terms of equipment may include a chair with wheels depending on your local resources!






Core Training (Anti-Extension) Progression 2: Body Saw


Acting as another short lever plank, the body saw is a great anterior core exercise that stretches the abdominal muscles (when pushing your body weight backwards) and contracts them (when pulling your body weight forward) which trains these muscles in a greater range of motion. While training in a greater range of motion, you can significantly influence the abdominal muscles to greater hypertrophy and muscular strength.

When performing the Body Saw:

1.) Interpret the exercise as a plank with motion. Maintaining a posture parallel with the ground, your body should remain straight from head to toe.

2.) For this exercise specifically, retract your body until you feel increased tension within your anterior core. The key to this exercise is the motioning of the body which creates instability and thus a greater anterior core challenge. If you feel any strenuous sensation in your back while performing this exercise, your range of motion is too far.






Core Training (Anti-Extension) Progression 1: Stability Ball Rollout


Disguised as just a short lever plank, the stability ball rollout is great for developing anti-extension strength within the rectus abdominis as the muscle group is forced to isometrically contract while stabilizing your own body weight on an unbalanced surface. As a general guide, the weaker your abdominals are, the larger the stability ball should be until you start to develop a sense of comfort and confidence within the exercise. Begin the exercise by being on your knees with the glutes and abs flexed while both hands are on the ball. Exhale on your descent as you roll from hands to elbows to tighten the core while maintaining a stable spine with an emphasis on squeezing the glutes to maintain proper hip extension.






Core Training (Anti-Extension) Baseline: Planks


Anterior Core development is vital in helping prevent extension of the lumbar spine and anterior pelvic tilt. A strong and developed core is the foundation for a well-balanced body. The strength and stability of an individuals core can help improve one's everyday functionality and performance while also helping in preventing injury. The plank is the baseline exercise for developing anterior core strength but is a great exercise nonetheless for the amateur and experienced. 


To increase difficulty, perform the plank where you alternate by raising opposing arms/legs simultaneously. 









Single Leg Progression 5: Slide Board Lunge & Slide Board Lateral Lunge


Single Leg progression 5 is the last stage of developing single leg strength. With the slide board lunge, it's the same function and motion as last weeks Single Leg Progression 4 of the lunge except now on a slide board you are on an unstable surface which requires you to recruit more of your stabilizer muscles. The Slide Board Lateral Lunge also adds a dynamic shift of emphasis to the adductors, gluteus medius/minimus, and of course the gluteus maximus. Remember, these are advanced exercises so always be cautious but especially if you are on an unstable surface.


To increase difficulty, hold a medicine ball wrapped around your arms or wear a weighted vest to increase the weighted load.


 (Slide Board Lunge)

 (Slide Board Lateral Lunge)








Single Leg Progression 4: Lunges


Lunges are listed as an advanced exercise for developing single leg strength due to lunges emphasizing the deceleration function within the muscles of the lower half. Lunges can also be utilized before exercise regiments such as with a dynamic warmup as they can help stretch and alleviate groin and hip flexor discomfort. 

To increase difficulty, you can perform lunges with a weighted vest, kettle bells /dumbbells in each hand or with a weighted barbell resting on the back of your shoulders for a maximum weighted load. 












Single Leg Progression 3: Single leg squat


The single leg squat can arguably be the most challenging single leg drill in the progression category of lower body development. This is because the single leg squat forces the pelvic muscles to function as stabilizers due to the opposing leg being a non-factor. This drill is not only great for strength and stability of the legs but also for overall balance the body. Again, this is an advanced drill so it may take some time until you feel comfortable. If you are unsuccessful in completing this drill, another regression drill (Assisted Single Leg Box Squat) has been added that can be implemented alongside with the 2 previous drills from last weeks exercises of 3/8/17.


(Single Leg Squat)

(Assisted Single Leg Box Squat)











Single Leg Progression 2: Modified Single Leg Squat 

These modified single leg exercises are great for recruiting unilateral and quadrilateral strength while also devoloping stability. They are also great exercise progressions for next week's advanced routine of the single leg box squat. With these two exercises, start with the rounded Bosu Ball Skater Squat and then progress to the Padded Single Leg Deadlift.  If you are able to complete both exercises repetitively, then you probably are ready for next weeks progression! If not, keep working on both progressions.


To increase difficulty, you can hold dumbbells in each hand for an increased load and to develop shoulder strength.


(Bosu Ball Skater Squat)                                                             

  (Padded Single Leg Deadlift)










Single Leg Progression 1: Rear foot elevated (Bulgarian split squat)

With rear foot elevated squat, the positioning is similar to the split squat except now the rear foot is elevated onto a surface with shoe laces down. This exercise increases the difficulty of the load due to the back leg now providing less stability and assistance. Key note is that there should be no foot movement during the exercise. While targeting the anterior leg muscles more intensely (especially the quads), this exercise can also improve dynamic flexibility within the hip flexor muscles.



To increase load intensity, you can also wear a weighted vest.






Single Leg progression: Baseline (Split Squat) 


This split squat exercise is a baseline exercise for developing single leg strength. Single leg exercises have become very popular over the years in the strength training world due to them being capable of progressing an individuals physical and functional ability such as improving their speed, strength, and stabilization. Single leg exercises may also be another alternative for lower leg development within individuals who have had a history of lower back pain as these exercises can lead to less strain on the spine and body overall. Over the following weeks, progressions will be uploaded to guide you down the proper and functional path for developing single leg strength.


Keys while engaging in the split squat include: Keeping head and chest up, feet positioned in line with the shoulders (approximately 3-4 feet apart), with concentration on dropping the back knee while keeping both feet stable. For advanced difficulty, transition from leg to leg by performing a jump split squat. 






Opposing Hip/Arm extension

 Quadruped exercises are great exercises that recruit the glutes and hamstring muscles while also improving hip, shoulder, and core stability. While maintaining a stable torso, quadruped exercises such as the hip/arm extension also challenges your rotary stability (ability to control/resist rotation of your torso throughout movements). These exercises are also great to practice in attempts to reduce the risk of lower back pain and may also be used to strengthen muscles such as during pregnancy. The key in performing the quadruped exercises correctly is to get on your hands and knees while maintaining a straight, neutral back (do not arch your back) with the abdominals braced. It is also recommended that you keep your neck in line with your spine (look straight down) so you are not adding strenuous tension.  



To emphasize your abdominals during the hip/arm extension, attempt to touch your opposing hand/elbow with your opposite knee before extending both opposing limbs


Hip Extension 

(When driving the leg upwards, maintain knee flexion at about a 90 degree angle. In this position, the hip, thigh and knee should all be aligned parallel to the floor with the foot facing towards the ceiling. To increase difficulty, you can add ankle weights to your routine or drive the knee that you are lifting up to your chest - similar to a mountain climber - before raising it 90 degrees to also emphasize your core)