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Nov
8

Top 5 Reasons Why Bodyweight Training is Important

GRAVITY Class Workout

Car buffs know that performing the required maintenance and taking proper care of a car can keep it running for many, many years. You don’t need to be a car nut to know what happens if you leave a car sitting for too long without running the engine or performing the necessary maintenance; it starts rusting and falls apart. The human body functions in much the same way: regular use can keep the body operating with minimal problems for decades, while avoiding physical activity or spending too much time in a sedentary, non-moving position can cause a number of negative health consequences, accelerating the normal biological aging process.

The human body was designed to move and is the best exercise machine ever created IF you know how to use it properly. Simply using your own body can be an effective and efficient strategy for helping you achieve the following benefits of exercise:

Strengthen Muscles

Muscles are designed to control physical forces in the human body. Muscles lengthen in response to an applied force and shorten to produce the force necessary for successful movement. Bodyweight exercises can help improve how muscles function to control the effects of gravity on the body. Gravity is constantly accelerating you into the ground; strength training with your own bodyweight improves muscle force production which can mitigate the effects of the ever-present downward pressure.

Improve Joint Range of Motion

Bodyweight movements help improve joint range of motion while lengthening the involved muscle tissue, both of which are necessary for increasing flexibility and reducing the risk of overuse injuries. Bodyweight exercises like squats for the legs, pulls for the back and pushes for the chest require a number of muscles to work together in order to control the entire range-of-motion of the involved joints which are essential for enhancing flexibility.

Help Joint Stability and Mobility

Joints in the body are designed to favor mobility or create stability; the ankles, hips and upper spine all allow significant motion while the knees, lumbar spine and shoulder blades are structurally designed to provide stability by allowing only limited movements. Bodyweight training can be effective for helping the stable joints to become more stable while simultaneously allowing the mobile joints to increase mobility.

Improve Coordination

Intermuscular coordination – all of the muscles and joints in your body are designed to work with one another and bodyweight training can help improve coordination between all of the different segments. Isolation training with weights can place too much force in one particular joint or muscle group which could be a possible cause of injury. However, bodyweight strength training allows many muscles to work together to produce and distribute muscle forces making intermuscular coordination a key component of improving overall coordination and movement skill.

Get a Cardio Workout

The more muscles involved in an exercise the greater the demand for oxygen; when more oxygen is required, the heart has to work harder to pump blood to the working muscles. Bodyweight exercises that use a lot of muscles and are performed for a high number of repetitions can be considered a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Regular cardiovascular exercise can help increase the size of the left ventricle, the structure of the heart responsible for moving oxygenated blood out to the body, while improving the efficiency of how many times the heart beats per minute. Both of these are components for improving cardiac efficiency, an important marker of overall fitness.

Bodyweight exercises that involve the knees, back or shoulders could cause pain if performed incorrectly. A cursory understanding of biomechanics is required in order to move with minimal risk of injury. Because of its design, which allows the body to move with minimal impact from gravity, a Total Gym can help you to experience the benefits of bodyweight exercises with a reduced risk of injury.

If you are looking for the best Total Gym exercises for your studio or gym needs, Total Gym videos are available to help you identify the most effective exercises and workout programs for your clients’ and members’ fitness goals.

By Muscle Group

By Body Position

By Workout

Total Gym Elevate Circuit

Pilates on Total Gym

About the Author

Pete McCallPete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). 

Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise. www.petemccallfitness.com

Nov
1

Trainers – How to Cue for Breathing

Cuing for breathing

Top Tips on Teaching When and How to Breathe.

Teaching class participants how and when to breathe during exercise can be one of the most challenging areas of our training sessions. I find that as a trainer myself, most people are very shallow breathers and sometimes if they focus too much on their technique they forget to breathe completely!

Effective ways to keep breathing

The one exception where the breathing pattern may change in weight lifting would be in the overhead press. Here it makes more sense to inhale: expand the diaphragm as you press the bar up.  Otherwise, try these breathing tips.

1. Breathing along WITH your clients/members helps tremendously.  They can hear your breath and follow along easily.

2. I do hear some trainers telling their clients to “blow out the candle” as they are forcing a movement which also works well.

3. It is standard with resistance training or weight lifting to exhale during the exertion phase. I always remind my clients to think of the letter “E” for Exertion and Exhalation.

4. In a functional setting (higher than 15 reps), it is best to just breathe naturally but I find that when a client has too much to focus on ie., breathing, technique and form etc., it can be overwhelming. I watch their lips and when I see them clamped shut, I literally say, “please open your mouth and B-R-E-A-T-H-E.”

Importance of the diaphragm

If we want to truly help our class participants achieve overall health and function, we must take a look at the importance of the diaphragm. Most people, being shallow breathers, have never learned how to breathe effectively. Breathing with efficient oxygen saturation with full diaphragmatic involvement is the cornerstone of health and well-being. Whatever muscles we are strengthening, the ideal breathing motor patterns is crucial. The diaphragm must be the prime mover in the breathing process. Because of the lumbar spinal attachments of the diaphragm, stability and mobility in and around the thoracic and lumbar spine is vital.

Through naturopathy, I am able to help my clients understand the importance of breathing even more. I explain that the more oxygen you get into the body, the more carbon dioxide poison you will eliminate from the body. When oxygen replaces carbon dioxide, there will be greater purification of the blood, cells and organs of the body, for better health and stronger results from training efforts.

Have you ever experienced suffering from “a stitch” when warming up in a jog or a run? What a stitch really is, is a sign of unused lung air sacs trying to open and receive fresh air that you are pumping in. The sharp pain is due to the air forcing these cells apart. Continuing to breathe deeply will help and the distress will pass. At this point, the unused lung cells become reactivated. Teaching our older and beginner exercisers how to use their diaphragm to breathe deeply will help them avoid these discomforts and faulty movement patterns while training.

Diaphragmatic breathing has a tranquilizing rhythm, stimulates your circulation and helps rejuvenate the body. This type of breathing is a natural method designed for the body, yet if not taught how to use the diaphragm properly, many people have trouble. We commonly see too much chest breathing as opposed to breathing deep into the diaphragm.  I use the following exercise to help my clients use their diaphragm more efficiently.

Try this warm up breathing exercise

> Have your clients stand and locate their diaphragm by placing one hand at their waistline and the other hand up with their palm facing their mouth.

> Ask them to blow imaginary dust off their palm, feeling a strong muscular contraction at their waist when they blow. This helps locate the diaphragm.

> Then to warm up and direct the focus to the breath, I often start a workout with them walking around the room on their toes while reaching high over their head.

> I ask them to raise their diaphragm as high as their strength will allow while still breathing deeply. I ask them to feel the chest and stomach muscles as they breathe deeply.

> After this, we bend over, drop the head below the heart, arms reaching towards the floor, compressing out every bit of old toxic, carbon dioxide-laden air.

This is a great way to set the tone for breathing during the workout and is a super lung cleanser. I find it also helps to rid their mind of stress they may be bringing to the workout.

On the other hand, Yoga breathing is very different. It is nose breathing and there are different types.  On of them, the Ujjayi breathing technique is best explained here.

Focusing on the breath is the best way to connect with your body before a workout. As trainers, we all have our own unique way of getting our clients to connect with the breath. Whatever your preference is, my best advice is to include some breathing exercises in a warm up.

“Just by paying attention to breathing, you can access a level of relaxation and health that will benefit every area of your life.” Deepak Chopra 

About the Author

Frances Michaelson

Frances Michaelson is President of exercise equipment company Muscle Up Inc., a licensed Naturopath and a Personal Trainer. She is passionate about helping people attain optimal health through proper diet and exercise. A self-described health-o-holic, she motivates others to move well and eat well to keep their bodies’ cells dancing and singing.

Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances is a frequent conference presenter, author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells. She blogs for Total Gym and is a regular contributor to IHRSA’s “Ask an Industry Leader.” With her broad knowledge base and over three decades of experience, she is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. Frances is committed to helping others make positive lifestyle choices that create stronger bodies, healthier minds and more fulfilling lives.

Oct
25

How Total Gym & Pediatric Care Go Hand in Hand

Watch the video

The Total Gym GTS Helps Children with General Body Strengthening

Here at Cindy Miles and Associates, we are a private out-patient therapy practice specializing in pediatrics. We are dedicated to providing individual, high quality, hands on physical, occupational and speech therapy. One of our primary goals is to build on each individual’s strengths, allowing them to achieve their maximum potential.

Total Gym treats patients with spina bifida

Improving Muscle Strength

No matter what their ability, age, or genetic make-up, individuals make important progress with the Total Gym and have fun doing it. Our primary focus is on the pediatric population, from birth through to young adult, including young athletes with sports injuries. We strive to build on strength to allow them to achieve their maximum ability and provide accessible equipment where individuals can work on their physical performance; including muscle strength, cardiovascular endurance, functional ability and mobility. This allows each individual to be the best they can be! For us and the children, Total Gym is a huge part of that process.

We upgraded to the Total Gym GTS about 8 years ago and we made sure to purchase the extra wide Squat Stand.  The GTS is great for loading lower extremities to get the glutes to work.  We even use the GTS for babies as young as 6 months old for strengthening as they love to jump.  For the orthopedic kids that we treat with Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida and Autism we put anti-skid pieces across the glideboard so their feet don’t fall and that gives them a different sensory input.

Total Gym helps children with Cerebal Palsy

Lower Body Strengthening

We treat several different needs:

> Brachial plexus injuries

> Cerebral Palsy: Hemiplegia, Diplegia

> Spina Bifida

> Hypotonia

> Hypertonia

> Developmental Delay

> Down Syndrome

> Children with autism who need deep pressure

> Young athletes with sports injuries

We can treat patients for a year or an ongoing basis, dependent on their type of disorder.  For children with Cerebral Palsy we might see them one or two times per week or more. If they have had surgery they are going to visit more.   We have individuals who are patients from birth through to their 30s – these cases keep making progress so we continue to see them especially in their formative years.

Here are some examples of exercises/activities we use on the Total Gym.

Prone

> Hands on “uprights” with squat stand removed with nose close to hands to complete push-ups moving into elbow extension.

> Prone to pull down on triangle bars into shoulder and elbow extension.

> Prone pull ups at horizontal bar with hands pronated or supinated.

Total Gym helping children with Spina Bifida

Hands on “Uprights”

Seated/Seated lateral

> Level glideboard working on static sitting so clients can touch the floor.

> Pull across trunk, holding both triangle bars.

> Holding triangle bar pull down using shoulder adduction/abduction.

> Seated rowing, using triangle bars.

> Sitting with both legs over same edge and triangle handles held together, keeping elbows extended and rotating trunk and bringing hands together to one side to work on core activation.

Supine

> Pull down over head, holding triangle bars return.

> Total knee extensions, progress to jumps.

> Work on squat to stand with support.

> Post op – prop one leg while the unaffected leg works on strengthening.

> Introduce jumping to clients who lack the strength to tolerate full body weight jumping.

> Bilateral LE jumps, unilateral jumps, jumps while playing catch.

Kneeling

> Kneeling to perform bicep curls and seated rows.

> Tall kneel: and work on scapular retraction or shoulder extension while keeping abdominals contracted to maintain balance.

Standing Upright

> Standing next to unit, with foot on platform and lunging forward to push glideboard up incline.

> Small toddlers use the glideboard to learn to walk up the incline.

The GTS is a great adjunct to any child’s program.  I teach a two-day course around the country and I tell everybody that Total Gym is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you can buy because of its versatility.

Pediatric clients love Total Gym and Pediatric Physical & Occupational Therapists love the versatility for all ages and abilities use it in their daily treatments. Pediatric therapists can do what they do best:  invent games, diversions and make therapy fun!

About the Author

Cindy MilesHaving served the pediatric population since 1977, Cindy Miles, PT, PhD. PCS, CNDT established her pediatric private practice in 1981. Dr. Miles is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, School of Health Related Professionals and East Stroudsburg University with a Master of Education in exercise physiology. She also holds a PhD in Pediatric Science from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Her doctoral research was on potential risk factors related to the diagnosis of Torticollis. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as a Pediatric Clinical Specialist, specializing in treating children from birth through to young adults. Dr. Miles held the title of  SOP Treasurer and Treasurer Elect and is presently the Co-Chair and Meeting Planner for the Academy of Pediatrics Physical Therapy Annual Conference (APPTAC). She presents nationally on the pediatric private practice and reimbursement as well as nationally and internationally on Torticollis, Plagiocephaly, and Fitness for All Abilities. She has published in peer review journals and written books on topics related to pediatric physical therapy.

www.cindymiles.com or www.traintotriumph.com

Oct
19

5 Reasons to Encourage Your Members to Row

Indoor RowingTotal Gym Row Trainer - On the Cardio Deck is a Great Cardio Workout 

A major benefit of joining a health club is having access to a wide variety of cardio machines that can help improve health and exercise variety. How many times do members show up at their health club for a workout, only to see that all their favorite cardio machines are busy? And let’s be perfectly honest, while they can burn a lot of calories in a relatively short period of time, many cardio machines, like the treadmill, elliptical runner or stationary bike, are simply boring to use for more than a few minutes at a time.

Encouraging your members on how to use different cardio machines can give them more options for their workout. For people who don’t necessarily enjoy running in place for extended periods of time, my advice is to pick 3 or 4 machines and have them do 10 minutes on each one. This can keep their workout more interesting and reduce the risk of burnout.

Row Trainer - part of the Total Gym Elevate CircuitThe rowing machine is sometimes one piece of cardio equipment that is often sitting all alone just waiting for some attention, which is unfortunate because it can really be one of the most beneficial and effective pieces of equipment in a health club.

Teaching members how to use the rowing machine can provide some important benefits. Unless they grew up on a body of water they probably don’t have much experience rowing, but rowing is a great form of exercise that can give them a really good cardio workout in a relatively short period of time.

Here are 5 reasons why your members should row:

Rowing burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time. The body burns 5 calories of energy to consume one liter of oxygen. Any exercise that uses a large amount of muscle mass will increase the amount of oxygen consumed in the body. Because the muscles of the upper and lower body are working together, rowing is one of the most efficient ways to burn the most calories.

Rowing improves coordination between the upper and lower body.  The rowing motion begins with the legs and finishes with the arms and back which means that most of the muscles in the body are being used with one relatively simply movement. Pushing with the legs and pulling with the upper body helps coordinate the actions of the muscles which can improve overall movement efficiency.

Rowing can help lower blood pressure and improve cardio respiratory efficiency – the ability to move oxygen around the body. While it is often associated with weight loss, it is easy to forget that the purpose of cardio exercise is to improve the efficiency of the cardiovascular system responsible for moving oxygenated blood to the working muscles of the body. Because so many muscles are involved, rowing is an excellent way to increase the strength of the cardiac muscle responsible for keeping the blood circulating efficiently.

Rowing is more joint friendly than most other pieces of equipment and this can be particularly beneficial for some if not all members.   Rowing is done in a seated position which reduces stress on the knees, hips and back. Gravity accelerates you into the ground so when you jog, you can feel a lot of pressure radiate through your body. But sitting in a rowing machine means that you’re not placing downward pressure on the body, allowing the muscles to work without the effects gravity-caused impact.

Total Gym Row Trainer Group ClassesRowing allows you to measure each individual workout and overall progress with specific metrics. Rowing machines have an ergometer which measures distance, time, calories and power. Any one of these can be used to monitor your member’s training intensity and measure their progress. Encourage members to change it up: see how far they can row in five or ten minutes or time how long it takes them to burn a certain amount of calories. Challenge them to sustain a certain work-rate (wattage) for a specific amount of time. Setting quantifiable goals (and achieving them) is a sure-fire method to help establish long-term adherence to an exercise program.

If you want to add rowing to your members’ workout routine, or if you want to consider starting rowing group classes, check out the budget-friendly Total Gym Row Trainer – a new spin on rowing because you are rowing on an incline.   Adding rowing to your members’ workout program can help them reach their fitness goals without placing too much stress on the body. Call 858-764-0078 for more information on the Row Trainer.

About the Author

Pete McCallPete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). 

Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise. www.petemccallfitness.com 

Sep
27

What’s Trending in Personal Training?

9 Trending Tips for Personal Trainers 2016-2017

As personal trainers, we are always looking for the next best thing to help our clients achieve their goals while keeping ourselves from getting stuck in a fitness rut. I’ll be the first to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but let’s face it, there are some pretty cool things trending in the fitness world today that we should take advantage of: some old, some new, all tested, tried and true! Check out my top favorites.

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Foam Rolling

Exercise & Muscle Recovery

More people are becoming keenly aware of the importance of muscle recovery. I personally have a deeper appreciation now that I’m getting older and my body doesn’t recover as quickly. There are lots of techniques available to aid in the process of recovery like SMR (Self-Myofascial Release) by way of Foam Rolling, The Stick and Trigger Point Therapy, compression clothing to improve circulation and provide support, and Cryotherapy or ice pack therapy which uses extremely low temperatures to decrease inflammation and help athletes recover faster. Check out the Total Gym Pulse blog on foam rolling.

Podify

Podify is an App that allows professionals to connect and collaborate by creating a referral network to grow each others businesses and create more revenue.  The App, which is free, provides real-time and interactive scheduling, automated billing, and referrals to wellness professionals. It is a trusted community marketplace that empowers trainers and their clients to do business with one another through their common trusted relationships.

Dejinira Lee - Virtual Personal Trainer

Virtual Training

Virtual Personal Training

Thanks to virtual training technology, trainers have another avenue to reach potential clients and change lives for the better, and clients have more access to a wider range of personal trainers. All you need is a computer, laptop, iPad or smartphone and you’re ready to roll. Virtual training omits commute times while providing the option to train in various locations. Check out my previous blog on Virtual Personal Training and get creative and give it a try. The sky’s the limit.

Wearable Technology

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Slake Deluxe Activity Crystal Bracelet Carrier

We’ve all got fitness tracking technology in some form. And now there are plenty of fitness apps and studios utilizing this technology. Aside from smart phones being equipped with step counters, heart rate monitors and more, you can now buy sports bras with sensors, clip on fitness trackers, and you can even dress up for a black tie event without missing a step, with activity tracking jewelry from Swarovski.

Obstacle Course Races

For some, it’s on their bucket list while others just want a good, physically challenging experience. Parkour, Ninja Warrior and Spartan Training Gyms are opening up everywhere and encouraging folks to put their passion for fitness to the test. Male, female, young, old, fit or not, obstacle courses are the new rage. Grab your clients, put a team together and get moving.

Bodybuilding Competitions

With thousands of men and women competing every year, this cult classic is one of the fasting growing athletic events in the country. There’s more to it than just looking good. The goals of a successful competitor are a great body, great stage presence, personality, showmanship and strength. Need some inspiration? Check out Ernestine Shepherd.

Total Gym Row Trainer Class

Total Gym Row Trainer Class

Small Group Training

This is one of my personal favorites. There’s fun, camaraderie and just a slight hint of competitiveness when you get together with a small group of people to train. Whether it’s bootcamp in the park, a Total Gym Elevate Circuit class or a Total Gym Row Trainer class, or a dance class like U-Jam or Zumba, there’s excitement knowing that people are expecting you to show up. We all have those days when it’s difficult to find the mojo to get moving. With SGT all you have to do is get there.

Back to Basics: Workout 101

Joseph Goldstein, John Grimek, Eugen Sandow. Do you recognize these names? They were pioneers in the fitness industry; experts who built a solid foundation for a long, healthy life. Their fitness journeys began in the late 1800s and early 1900s with principles based on isometrics, high repetition training, deep breathing and sticking to a very clean diet. Other disciplines included self-resistance workouts and creating variety when working out to stimulate muscle growth and keep the training program interesting. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed with all the intensity of HIIT, GRIT and CrossFit, just bring it back to the basics.Close up of asparagus on white background

Diet & Nutrition

Fitness enthusiasts are now spending as much time focusing on clean eating as they are planning their workout routines and trainers are spending as much time learning about nutrition as they are training. Clients are looking for the whole package; nutrition, fitness and motivation all rolled up into one fabulous trainer.

The fitness industry continues to create new, exciting ways to keep people interested and gives trainers as many options as possible to create opportunities for clients to be successful. As more options become available, more people are joining the fitness movement. Whatever kind of workout you clients are looking for, keep your knowledge broadened and make sure you’re it.

About the Author

Dejinira LeeDejinira Lee has been an ACE certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and nutrition specialist since 1997. She received her education from UCLA’s specialized Fitness & Nutrition program and Tuft’s University for Total Nutrition. Dejinira is also a Total Gym GRAVITY Trainer, BOSU Master Trainer Levels I and II, and an ACE trained Clinical Exercise Specialist. She currently works with golfers, instructors and regular clients of all fitness levels, in both a Virtual and Studio setting, focusing on improving strength, range of motion, balance and agility. “I love meeting the different needs of my clients! It keeps my mind active and inspires me to keep learning. There’s no better feeling than hearing my clients say “I can’t believe I did that!”

Sep
20

Cuing to Music for your Workout Class

How to Cue at the Right Times for the Next Move

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5, 6, 7, 8 is burned in my brain, in part of my subconscious. I probably say it in my sleep, because I know I dream about it. I am not going to get all wordy and technical to explain how you should cue to music while you are teaching, but chances are if you are a new instructor and already nervous about keeping a class going with a good flow, you don’t want to read something complicated and end up with more anxiety.

Even though I am a dancer and counting and cuing is like drinking water, I really came about all of this by a FEELING. And by that I mean, some of us learn to cue and count and others just naturally feel it. Only until I taught my first dance class at 16 did I have to really put cuing in to practice. This is when I learned not everyone felt the music like I did. A student would ask me “what count was that on?” And I would go…”Umm, it was BOOM BAP DA DA BOOM BOOM”. Then they would look at me with a blank stare and I would have to say, “well I don’t really know, let’s go back and do it with counts out loud.”  For me I just knew when the music would change or when there was going to be a new instrument added or a beat was about to
disappear or appear.

What I suggest is this…

Listen to as much music as you can and test yourself. Play your music and don’t count, then in the middle of the song try to find the count to drop into. The more comfortable you get with beats, melodies and different types of music the easier it will be.

Learn your instruments. Learn what they sound like so you can recognize them when they appear at the beginning of a new set or in the middle. Sometimes you will pick a song and the sets are happening on the intro of a new instrument not just a distinctive drum beat. Plus it will open up your world to a whole new style of music. Remember you want to keep your class interesting and fresh.

Know your routine. If you are not someone who can just improvise, then make sure you know your routine inside and out. In the beginning you can try to end your 8 counts on a distinctive move.

Use visual cuing. Some people are visual learners and no matter how many times you yell out “7, 8” or “on the 1, 2”, they will miss it every time. Try placing your hand in the air and using your fingers to do a count down while you are verbally counting as well.

1250525What Type of Music Should I Play?

The type of class you are teaching, the mood or vibe you need will all boil down to the style of music you choose and want. And this is where the real learning about cuing happens.

Hard to count music will fall into the category of Classical Ballet, Contemporary, Ambient and Jazz Music. This type of music is definitely a feeling. You will find that the tempo switches around a lot: sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

Easy to count music will be your Hip Hop, House, Techno and most Pop Music. These all have distinctive beats and are pretty much to the point. You will also find that when counting to it you will have:

4 sets of a 4 count or 4 sets of an 8 count.

With this style of music, you will also have your basic BPM (beats per min) or Steps per min. This can be from 130-180 BPM, and will be your cardio dance class, step, kickboxing, Zumba, and others. But to be honest I never pay that much attention to it. As long as the music goes with my routine and the students aren’t tripping over their feet, you are probably not going to judge your music based on how many BPM’s there are or aren’t. One more thing about counting to music that most people forget to tell, is no matter if there is a 4 count or an 8 count, there is also a little count called the “And” count. This is the space between each count. You can leave it open, or the more advanced teachers will have a move on the “And” count. Now they might only keep it for 4 counts and then go back to 5, 6, 7, 8, but it would go a little something like this…

1 and 2 and 3 and 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.1903213

or

1 and 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, 7, 8.

This little “And” count can make your routine a little thicker and complex, kind of like a hearty vegetable soup!

Follow the Leader…

Remember, when you are in the position of being an instructor, for that hour or whatever length of time your class is, “YOU ARE THE LEADER”!! If you are feeling a little out of control or lost just say, “OK after this next move let’s take a break, keep moving and get some water”. This gives you a chance to get your bearings back and start fresh. You can also switch up your music completely. So have a bunch of options for yourself in music. When you are calm and confident that energy will flow through the room and if you are not, well they will feel that also. Try keeping your instruction simple, not talking the whole time so that it doesn’t ruin the experience for your students. They say if you want to really learn something then teach it. For you first time Instructors nothing could be more true. It’s OK to mess up from time to time, it keeps you real and it’s how you learn, plus I have seen some of the top instructors flub up plenty of times. It’s not whether you mess up but how you recover.

Always remember…

People are coming to get away, to have and experience and have fun while getting into shape. Being and instructor that teaches to feel the music while helping them tap into that deeper part of themselves goes way beyond just cuing.

Until next time…

About the Author

Melissa MunizMelissa L. Muniz is a certified Pilates Instructor, Dance teacher, Choreographer, Actor, Model and full time Mom! She has spent over a decade traveling the world studying traditional dance such as Flamenco in Spain and cultural dance in Indonesia to name but a few. She has toured with Nickelodeon as a dance performer and actor and starred in several music videos and movies. Melissa had the opportunity to train teachers for the opening of the first Pilates Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has been working with Total Gym as a Gravity Master Trainer since 2002. She has loved the inspiration and support that Total Gym gives and lives by. Melissa now resides with her family in Atlanta GA, teaching at a Wellness Center where she infuses life, happiness and understanding of the body, to those with an open heart and mind.

Sep
7

Understanding Total Gym Progressions – Part 3

Combining Chops, Lateral Lunge & Bicep Curls for the Perfect Routine

Total Gym Progressions Part 3

Performing the same workout with the same exercises week after week would become monotonous, rather boring, and extremely stale for anyone!  It would feel like ground hog day and change how people spend their time.   This never has to be the case if you know the exercise basics, how to integrate variety and challenge what you already know with a few simple techniques.

Basic Principals of Exercise

As a professional trainer, understanding the principals of exercise and progression is key to challenging all client types to achieve their goals.  Listed below are the primary principals that must be understood and mastered to deliver safe and efficient workouts.

Overload – To become stronger, the body must be exposed to workloads greater than those it is accustomed to. Work levels must gradually “overload” the body above its resting level to bring about improvement.

Progression – Progressively and gradually increasing the workload of an exercise for improvement – once a basic movement or skill is mastered and is performed at ease, one will advance to a higher level of training by progressive variables.

Regression – Training improvements are rapidly lost when training ceases. Significant reductions in fitness levels can be seen after only 2 weeks without training.

Specificity – Specific focus to become better at a movement or skill by consistent practice for the body to adapt.

Plateau – The gains usually seen in the early stages of an exercise program level off after a few weeks, and no further gains are apparent. This is normal, and progression will again occur as the program is continued.

Learn to Vary Any Exercise

Altering the weight used along with the reps and sets performed are not the only way to vary an exercise.  Actually, it’s just simple ways to address changing an exercise.

Often times, trainers have an exercise in their mind they want their client to perform, but it might not be the ‘right’ exercise for the client.  Rather than force a movement that’s not working, be prepared and knowledgeable with variations to perform the same exercise in a different way that accommodates the client’s needs.

Methods of Progression & Regression

Progression and regression happens in a variety of ways.  Some of these include:

  • Changing the resistance
  • Increasing/ decreasing reps
  • Intensity of exercises performed (difficulty of workout)
  • Speed (tempo of exercise/drill)
  • Duration (length of workout)
  • Balance challenges
  • Super sets OR compound movements (performing 2 exercises at once)
  • Timed sets vs. number of reps
  • Stance of feet/ hands (uni-bi lateral movements)
  • Angle of movement
  • Range of motion
  • Equipment used
  • Workout style (circuits, intervals, HIIT, low impact, post-rehab, etc.)

By changing just one of these variables, your clients will be challenged with the same exercises they’re familiar performing.

Consistency

You can achieve anything you want with consistent, hard efforts.  Patience and consistency will bring results.  This is such an important principle to implement because this is where many tend to fail.  They give up before they succeed in the end result.

Bottom line: never give up on the end result.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing amazing, difficult things.  So be prepared to work hard mentally and physically and stay focused on the end goal to achieve any learned skill.

Basics to Progress

Let’s discuss 3 excellent exercises you can progress during a workout by adding a variation for an increased challenge. Cable Chops, Lateral Lunge, and Chest Flies are a great combination of exercises to work the entire body while focusing on a specific area.

Each of these Total Gym exercises show a series of ways to progress ranging from beginner to advanced.  Try incorporating these exercise progressions with your client according to their strength level.

CHOPS

  • Seated
  • Kneeling
  • High kneeling
  • Different angles

LATERAL LUNGE

  • Stationary
  • Open glideboard lunge
  • Pulses
  • Dynamic movement

BICEP CURLS

  • Seated
  • Kneeling
  • High kneeling
  • Angle of arms
  • Static equilibrium

NOTE:  These exercises are specific to the Total Gym, but can also be applied to a more traditional setting in the gym using weights, bands, stability balls, or cables. 

Inspire and challenge your clients each session by going back to the basics and progressing the exercises from there!

Best Always,

Maria

About the Author

Maria Sollon ScallyMaria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Masters Degree in Performance Enhancement/ Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a free lance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, news letters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work.

http://www.groovysweat.com

http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos)

http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

 

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