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Jan
25

Teaching Exercise to Mothers-to-Be

1674483Top Tips to Help You Better Cue Your Pregnant Clients for Exercise

I am in the field of women’s health, yet even I experienced information overload when I was pregnant, so I can only imagine how puzzling it is for everyone else.  There is so much information about what to do and what not to do regarding exercising when pregnant, that it can leave a woman AND a personal trainer completely bewildered and confused.

Before you start a class with a mom-to-be, make sure she has cleared any exercising with her OBGYN.

Look for Signs

STOP all exercises if pain, dizziness, excessive fatigue or any symptoms out of the ordinary occur. The cause of symptoms may have to be determined, i.e bio-mechanical changes associated with pregnancy like round ligament pain or pain associated with poor posture. If needed, follow up with an MD.

Exercise will lay the foundation for a healthy pregnancy, delivery and post-postpartum period. Even if the woman has not exercised, she can still begin in pregnancy. The key is to start slowly. Education on intensity and rate of perceived exertion is important so she can monitor herself during exercise and activities of daily living. Intensity in the beginning may be light with the possibility of building up to a moderate intensity.

1973267For the avid exerciser, she will benefit from being reminded that this is not the time for competition, rather it is for honoring the changes occurring and exercising at a moderate intensity so 60-80% may be more ideal. Educate that an intensity of 90% or greater has been correlated with compromising fetal well-being.

Hydration: Blood volume levels have doubled and fluid needs have been increased, yet the pregnant client may not feel thirsty. Encourage hydration during and after exercise. A decrease in weight post exercise may indicate she needs to hydrate more. Remember hydration is important for ideal physiology, such as blood pressure regulation, kidney filtration, and muscle activation.

Posture is key with exercise. There are lots of bio-mechanical changes occurring each week and each trimester so ideal postural alignment may be hard to attain. Starting from the bottom up: feet may widen, arches may drop, knees to hip alignment may change effecting pressure to the knees.  The pelvis is widening, creating changes to the sacrum, low back and hips and the abdominals are lengthening, the rib cage is expanding and the chest increasing.

1973271What to Watch For and Cues to Improve Alignment

Feet: Maintain an arch in the foot by sliding the toes toward the heels. Janda short foot is an exercise to help strengthen the foot intrinsics and alignment.

Knees: Keep the knees straight but not locked. Tighten the front of the thighs. If the knees roll inward, cue to turn the inner thighs out or activate the gluteals to improve hip alignment.

Hips: Decreased hip muscular strength can effect knee and ankle alignment. Decreased strength can be portrayed as hip dropping or hiking when standing on one leg and or increased low back pain. Hip strengthening can help offset the bio-mechanical strains of pregnancy.

1973272Lumo-pelvic positioning: Avoid excessive arching or tucking of the hips, both of which can place greater strain to the sacroiliac and lumbar region. If the low back is flattened, cue to visualize arching the back to help promote improved alignment. If there is excessive arching, then cue to gently tuck the hips under or sway the hips slightly forward to help restore a small arch in the low back.

Thoracic: Ribs are widening to accommodate the baby. With the widening of the ribs, breathing may be more challenging and muscular length shifting. Cuing to continue to breathe into the sides and the back of the rib cage can help oxygenation. Be mindful of diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominals. Stretching the obliques and training the transverse abdominis by gently pulling navel to spine can assist with counteracting these thoracic changes.

Increasing breast size can influence upper thoracic and chest muscular alignment as noted by shoulders rolling forward and shoulder blades moving apart from one another. Cue to lift the sternum gently up, like showing off a beautiful necklace. Widen through the collarbones while gentle gliding the shoulder blades down and together. Watch for excessive scapular retraction as that may result in hinging of the lower thoracic spine.

Whether you are teaching one-on-one or in a group setting, the above postural cues can benefit all. In a class setting, make a personal connection with your pregnant clients to convey education regarding hydration, intensity and modifications. If teaching a class geared only pregnant women, then chose different educational topics to highlight each week.  Provide education at a rate that is not overwhelming.

1973268Dispelling Myths

There are lots of pregnancy myths that can create fear or anxiety. For instance, avoid raising the arms over the head. When I first heard this, I thought “that’s crazy, of course you can raise your arms over your head!” But I also had to honor that the person who told me, truly believed that this may be true and was scared to do any exercise involving lifting her arms. I had to honor her concern then coach her to dispel the myth using education. This myth may have arisen from some old recommendations to avoid heart rates going over 140bpm, and upper body movement may increase heart rate. Or it may have stemmed from the arms moving over the head resulting in poor postural changes. In any case, I reassured her that it is safe to bring the arms overhead but if she feels uncomfortable, then stop and we can try and find a modification. Honor, educate and empower is what I adhere to with pregnant ladies.

How Far Into Pregnancy Can a Woman Exercise?

Lastly, women can exercise until the day they deliver. Often women are discouraged around 32 weeks and told to rest and slow down. And, yes it may be important to slow down, decrease intensity and modify exercise but it is also important to keep moving. Become your pregnant client’s cheerleader. Labor requires strength, flexibility and mindfulness, all of which exercise can help enhance!

About the Author

Elizabeth Leeds, DPTElizabeth Leeds, DPT, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues. Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

Jan
19

Understanding Total Gym Progressions – Part 4

Combining Planks, Bridges, Back Flies for the Perfect Routine

 Maria Sollon

(Watch the Video)

Why not rock out the New Year with some new challenges.  Master your workouts with simple progressions that not only add a variety to your old routine, but also add the extra challenge your body may need.

Workouts would get boring pretty quickly if you did the same one every day.  Your clients would feel the same way if you never varied their routine.  As a trainer, you have a responsibility to your clients to know and understand at least two progressions for every exercise you teach.  You must know when and where to implement the different training variables.  This is an important concept that separates a good trainer from a mediocre one.

Let’s dive into the topic of exercise progression…

WHAT IS EXERCISE PROGRESSION

Exercise progression is a strategy that is developed to allow your client to advance in his or her own movement skills.  This is an important concept to understand since every client has different goals and training needs as well as his or her own set of strengths and weaknesses.  What is challenging for one may be easy for another.  Once a skill or task is mastered, something needs to be altered for further advances.   This is where proper progression becomes an art form.

PROGRESSING AN EXERCISE

There are numerous ways to progress an exercise.  Depending on a client’s needs is how you (the trainer) can plan the progression.  For example, your client may have increased strength and balance in their posterior chain.  Rather than performing a seated back row from a lower incline, they can progress to a moderate incline and a kneeling position.

It is important to understand how each progression affects the other and that slight changes can alter a movement skill.  In time, you can effectively implement the appropriate progressions for your clients when they are ready to advance.

Listed are some primary ways to progress an exercise.

> Resistance – External resistance adds a strength challenge as long as form does not suffer

> Speed – performing an exercise faster vs. slower

> Body Position – altering body position challenges different muscle angles

> Sets/ Reps/ Sequences/ Style – Manipulating these factors enhance the workout challenge

> Balance – Balance displacement increase the intensity of the exercise.

> Uni VS Bilateral Movements – Unilateral movements allow strength development be focused on the weaker side while incorporating core stabilizers.

> Lever Length – basic biomechanical principles make an exercise harder or easier by moving the weight farther or closer to the fulcrum.

> Compound Movements – Performing two exercises at once challenges multiple muscle groups simultaneously and saves time!

> Eyes Closed – Closing the eyes increase the balance and core stability challenge, especially standing on one leg.

> Range of Motion – Incorporating varied ranges of motion in all angles creates challenges for a given exercise.

Progressions keep exercises challenging and allow the flexibility for your clients to keep striving to achieve their best.  Adding these dimensions to your client’s workouts can be a successful game changer.

TOTAL GYM PROGRESSION TIPS

The Total Gym machine is an excellent piece of equipment that offers countless variations to progress an exercise by accommodating to the user.  It’s a multipurpose machine that can adapt to each client’s body structure, strength level, and training goals desired to accomplish.   Simple adjustments can make tough challenges!

Listed below are examples of how prepare your Total Gym unit for the appropriate progressions your clients may need.

Adjust the Incline Appropriately

Increasing or lowering the incline changes the feel of an exercise.  Typically, a higher incline is more challenging for extremity work and a lower incline is more challenging for core work.

Adjusting the Cables

Moving the cable pin placement allows a different range of motion to occur.  It is very effective for accommodating different body frames.

Changing the Stance Position

Adjusting the hand/ leg stance during specific exercises can challenge an exercise.   Varying the anchor placement of weight distributed on the glideboard by a seated, kneeling, high kneeling, or standing position can also challenge an exercise.

Extra Resistance

Adding external resistance along with the Total Gym provides an extra challenge for your core, balance, coordination, and strength.  A client’s form should be perfected before advancing or adding external resist.  Adding external weight is great, but if it hinders a client’s form, then the purpose is defeated.

Tempo, Sets, & Reps

Incorporating different tempo speeds along with varied sets and rep ranges can add a challenge to any exercise.

Analysis of each exercise needs to be done in order to progress your client appropriately during their workouts.  This is what will make all the difference for a successful session each time!

EXERCISE PROGRESSION EXAMPLES

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

Try the following exercise progressions with your client according to their strength level.  Be creative in the way you deliver the exercises as well.  For example, perform them one after the other in circuit format, add cardio elements in between each set, OR perform the exercise for a set period of time.  You as their trainer can create the best method of execution for your client’s goals.

Core – Planks

Kneeling

Open GB

Lower incline

Single leg

Legs – Bridge Press

Roll hips up/down

Open GB & press

Single leg

Dynamic motion

Arms – Back Flies

Seated

Kneeling

High kneeling

Static equilibrium

Check out the video link to view how these exercises progress.

These are just a few examples of how to progress basic exercises.  The possibilities to increase the challenge are endless.  Therefore, when an exercise become too easy or your workout needs an uplift, try increasing the intensity of the movement by making small adjustments to an exercise you perform well.

As a personal trainer, it is important to be knowledgeable on how to safely and effectively progress your clients when they are ready to advance.  Understanding the modifications, variations and specifics to each movement will help you intelligently layer an exercise for proper progression.  The most basic exercises can be some of the most challenging!

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)

 

 

 

 

 

Jan
11

6 New Year Tips – Motivate Your Members

1624033

How to Encourage Your Members and Clients When They Lose Motivation

Let’s face it … motivation is everything! We can have ALL the education in the world … be great role models as teachers or trainers, but if we do not EXUDE positive energy and BUILD that connection with our clients or members, we are bound to lose them.

There is nothing worse when we think all is going well with our classes and training sessions and suddenly numbers start to dwindle in class and clients or members begin cancelling sessions. Sometimes it is difficult to take responsibility for these circumstances, but it is necessary. For sure we cannot always expect 100 percent from our participants: we are all human and have our ups and downs, and motivation can certainly fluctuate from day to day. Our role, as teachers, however is to keep them coming back, ensure that they are happy and staying consistent with their exercise and training sessions.

Here are 6 tips to encourage your members; catch them before they lose motivation and get them back when they do.

Set a Clear Goal and Track Their Progress

If a precise program and goal setting is in place, there is little chance that you will lose them. It is important to discuss, from the get-go, factors that might interfere with their progress, or set them back a bit, such as family commitments, work, travel etc. This way, we have background information in place to refer to when times are tough. There should be timelines set, where client and trainer take a time-out and look at where they have progressed or not. This sit down and reflection of changes could be decided upon at the first session, once a month or every 6 weeks if preferred.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

Choose your words well and always offer positive reinforcement and feedback for their performance: encouragement always helps to motivate.  I like to send brief text messages or emails with either a positive quote for the day or a quick positive feedback about their workout. I find that clients enjoy this and look forward to it.

Change it Up!

It is always important to keep training sessions or class choreography and exercises challenging, fun and full of variety. When a client or member gets the same old routine, that is a turn off and it’s boring. Even just changing the order of exercises in a workout can make a difference. Everyone loves a change and a challenge and when clients begin to feel that they are not challenged anymore, they for sure will lose motivation and probably stop showing up. We must always show an interest in their lives and be sympathetic to how they are feeling.

It’s Not About You – It’s About Them

How we feel on any given day is not important. To show any signs of frustration or stress that we may be experiencing is not what a client needs when they are coming to clear their own heads with their own problems. To be greeted with a great smile, a caring attitude and a strong focus for their workouts will result in a positive effort from them.

Put in the Extra Effort

When I notice a client just going through the motions, I try to ask what is on their mind, especially if it is not normal behavior for them. In a one-on-one training session, it is easier to strike a conversation and ask what may be going on in their life than in a class. Perhaps when you notice that a class participant looks out of sort, some eye contact or making a generic statement about trying to stay in the zone may help. If there is an opportunity to take them aside after class and show concern, that would be welcome, I am sure.

There is a difference between just having a bad day as opposed to some serious personal matter or injury.  I would never ignore a sign of unrest or sadness with a client.  Pretending that everything is alright and just going through the motions yourself is not an indication that you truly care about your client’s well-being. It would make more sense to comment about the fact that you notice they do not seem to be “in the room” and ask if they prefer more of a stretch session or talking. If, on the other hand, they are just not focused, I would always create a fun challenge like trying to beat time under tension with each set. Having a client compete with him or herself is always a hit and a way to keep the training session fun.  Example: how many seconds would it take to row 300 meters or see how long they can hold a plank. In a class situation, it is fun to divide the class in half or small groups and create circuit style challenges.

Remembering birthdays is a big one. It is easy to save these dates on your calendar so they come up and especially with Facebook, how can we forget? A small gesture like a healthy muffin with a candle goes a long way.

How to Get the Motivation Back?

When clients and class participants just plain stop coming, the best way to get them back is to create an outing.  Organizing events out of the gym builds a different kind of support system and bond.  Everyone loves to feel that they belong and are accepted by their peers. There is often not enough time in a training session or class to really get to know your members so getting together and doing something different usually works well.

Perhaps suggest they bring a buddy to the next class could help too.

If you have a juice bar at your facility, that is a great area to hang out together after a session or class. We often offer free samples when a new product comes in which works well to get the camaraderie going.

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, is author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells, blogs for Total Gym exercise equipment, 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.

Dec
28

GRAVITY Classes Cater to All Fitness Levels

CaptureClick to watch the video

GRAVITY on the Road: Tampa Florida

I recently had the chance to check out the latest GRAVITY Classes at Studio F.I.T. in Tampa, FL. This boutique studio, owned and run by Christine Simmons, is a hidden gem.

Studio F.I.T. is the love child of Simmons, who has been teaching group fitness for 28 years. Initially she taught part time group fitness while juggling a corporate job which also included a ton of travel time.   Impressive!  Then her love of fitness won out in 2006 when she left the corporate world to go for it and voilà, Studio F.I.T. was born.

Christine’s strong business background (she has an MBAsecretly she may be Wonder Woman as well) has come in handy in successfully confronting the many challenges club owners face as well as growing her business in a competitive market.  Her business partner introduced her to a Total Gym GTS back in 2006 and as soon as she adopted GRAVITY, the classes took off.  Since then, she became a big fan of GRAVITY programming which has helped her ignite her studio with image(3)specialty programing and keeps members coming back for more.

At Studio F.I.T. Christine runs a personal training studio and small group classes: clients pay for the services they want with no membership fees.  GRAVITY classes are a big part of her income stream and offer constant variety and growth for her core clients as well as being an easy-to-use system for those new to exercise.  The machines offer support for those in need while challenging the fittest with simple adjustable levels of resistance.  In addition to GRAVITY classes, Studio F.I.T offers bootcamp, Zumba, Personal Training and Fit Senior classes.  This program is not your typical “Silver Sneakers”, these are some super active, “my kids can’t catch me” seniors!  Yes, I know ‘these people’ very well, they consistently pass me on the Ironman course and are my inspiration.

My timing couldn’t have been better as the studio has recently upgraded to the latest GTS models.  These are pretty gorgeous and easy to adjust, while offering an endless variety of exercise options.  The enthusiasm of the instructor Stefanie Summer is equal to the women in the class.  When asked about how they feel about GRAVITY classes the unanimous answer was, “we love them!”  The reasons?  “The classes are so much fun” and “time flies by – the results are amazing”.  That’s about as good as it gets, especially if you are a gym owner or personal trainer.  And the classes book up.  I did sign up for a class ahead of time, but gave my space to another participant; my good deed for the day.  But it was interesting to observe the teacher and the class, as the participants were all at different levels and some had injuries.  For a class to run smoothly, successfully and address all levels is always a challenge.  For GRAVITY?  Not so much.  A good, knowledgeable instructor can really bring the class to ALL levels safely and efficiently.  And the fun quotient was a 10 for everyone – even the bystander (me).GRAVITY Classes at Studio FIT, Tampa FL

I opted for a private session later. The beauty of GRAVITY is that even with my broken toe, Stefanie was able to give me a very challenging full body workout.  My quads were screaming the next day along with my lats.  And all in only 30 minutes.  Impressive indeed!  I liked the level of intimacy you can have with your student even when it’s in a group.  As a studio owner, I left my session with a spring in my step (before the soreness crept in) and my creative juices flowing with ideas on how MUCH one can do with GRAVITY.  I’ll post about that in my next blog.

For more information about how GRAVITY can improve your ROI contact Ralph at ralph@totalgym.com or call 858-764-0078.

About the Author

Debbie Beck - Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer.Deborah Beck is a six time Ironman athlete, coach and personal trainer. For over 25 years she has combined her love of sports and fitness with her passion for travel and adventure.  Her early work as a Fitness Director moved her throughout Asia, the Middle East and the UK.  She holds multiple certifications and is currently working towards her 500 hour Yoga Medicine.  Her training philosophy incorporates Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic and strength to produce a balanced, unique approach to high endurance training.   This fall she is launching a global training and lifestyle company and online community.  When not traveling, she splits her time between Quogue NY and Telluride Colorado.

Dec
21

How to Prevent Injuries in Group Training

6 Tips to Help You Better Plan Your Class

GRAVITY

As you know, with group training there is an opportunity to make more money while clients spend less. The motivation coming from a group is fun and can be more challenging than working alone with a trainer. It is a plus for both the trainer and the client when it comes to diversity in programming, as different styles of class can be implemented and the atmosphere lends itself to more conversation and expression of mood etc. Sometimes the group situation can even result in more consistent adherence to exercise, as people do not like to disappoint their group by not showing up. With these benefits, however, we must work harder by planning better so that we can be successful and ready to handle all limitations, individual strengths, weaknesses and imbalances.  The better we plan, the less injuries we can expect.

As trainers and coaches, we know that group training is a dynamic, fun and affordable way for clients to stay engaged and committed to their workouts. I remember back in 2009 when small group training was all the rage … fast forward to 2016 and it is still very much the “in way to train” and it’s going in all kinds of directions like CrossFit and boot camps which is exciting. That being said, it can be a lot more work for us if we want to make sure that we provide a safe environment for all concerned. There is definitely more planning needed for a group class than a one-on-one session, so it is important to have as much information as possible so that you can plan properly and everyone can benefit regardless of fitness level.

Measures to take to be preventive and stay away from injuries

Know their history

I have taken small group classes before elsewhere and was surprised to not be given a client questionnaire to fill in at the beginning of the class. As a trainer you should have as much information as possible about the people that you are coaching.  A history gives you solid information so that you can be ready to provide a good mobility warm up and accommodate limitations. Failing to plan is planning for failure. The more information available to you, the more thorough you can be. And with that knowledge you can take any exercise and demonstrate the necessary modifications, as all exercises are adaptable.

With the client’s age and past history you can cue better and plan your choice of words and tone of voice.  Safe and effective cuing along with eye contact is very important too. Injuries tend to happen when clients have to strain their ears and eyes to figure out what is going on. Cuing should be smooth and flow well with the progression of exercises. Participants should be told that they can modify their exercises at any time, and feel comfortable about alerting the trainer if they have a concern or a question.

Prepare the equipment

Having your circuit ready with all products neatly and safely placed is a must. I know that sometimes this may not be possible due to class scheduling but I think that at least for the first class, rather than have participants go and fetch their own props, there must be some preparation in place. Anything can happen, like picking up the wrong resistance band or weight, that can easily result in an injury.

Warm up and cool down

I cannot stress the importance of taking time for warm up and a cool down stretch afterwards, as we all know that these days everyone is always in a rush and people do not take enough time to warm up and stretch on their own.

Demonstrate

The introduction and warm up can demonstrate modifications for those with injuries and provide good mobility exercises. This is also the best time to mimic the exercises that will be done in the circuit / workout part of the class. I always like when circuits and exercises are shown before the class starts. Even if there is a chalk board with a list as not everyone has the same interpretation of names of exercises or were taught the same way. It just takes a few minutes to demonstrate the exercises and it lets everyone know that they are not there to compete with their neighbor but to challenge themselves.

Remind them that forcing repetitions when they are tired or trying to keep up when they do not feel right, will not accomplish anything. Although these tips may sound childish or unnecessary, providing the instruction with gentle reminders throughout the class helps everyone when the music is going and hearts are pumping.

Set the necessary limitations

If someone has decided to take your small group class with a new or persistent injury, you must help them fit in.  At the same time tell them to be mindful of their limitations. Let them know that you are there to help and accommodate. Knowing ahead of time can help you guide them in the right direction.

Plan your schedule

Plan your schedule well so that you do not have to disappear right after the class.   You should be there to answer questions – it’s professional and a great way to show your clients that you care. The more you are there for them, the stronger and healthier your classes will be!

 

Frances Michaelson

About the Author

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, is author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells, blogs for Total Gym exercise equipment, 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.

Dec
13

5 Ways to Strengthen Legs with a Bad Back

How to Strengthen Legs on a Total Gym with a Bad Back

Modern technology can be a total paradox. On one hand technology makes life easier, on the other hand it has caused us to become more sedentary by allowing us to push buttons for work instead of performing manual labor. The human body was made to move, not remain seated all day. In another paradox, too much time spent NOT moving could be a possible cause of low back pain.

Low back pain is no fun and can have a negative impact on the quality of life. If one experiences pain for more than a couple of days in a row it could be a sign of a serious injury and it is important to see a medical professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment. However, like many people, instead of ongoing low back pain one may experience occasional periods of discomfort. When these flare-ups do occur don’t let them interrupt a normal exercise program.

It can be difficult to identify the specific cause of lower back pain; it could be related to a lack of mobility in the hips, or overall strength in the legs. The structure of the lower back, the lumbar and sacral segments of the spine, where they meet the bones of the pelvis, is designed to provide stability. The hips, on the other hand, are designed to be mobile. One possible cause of low back pain is that sitting for too long can cause muscle imbalances in the hips which can significantly restrict the range-of-motion of the joints, changing how they move.

When the hips lose mobility, the muscles and joints of the lower back which sit above the hips, will try to create the necessary motion for many movements. Since the lower back is not designed to have an excessive amount of motion this can be a potential mechanism of injury. If leg muscles aren’t that strong when lifting an object off of the floor, one is more likely to use the back muscles. Improving mobility of the hips and strengthening the legs can help improve overall function and possibly reduce the risk of damaging the lower back.

If your Client’s back is bothersome it may be a little uncomfortable to strengthen the legs (NOTE: discomfort is okay–it means the muscles are working. STOP immediately if a feel sharp pain is felt) but strengthening the lower body could reduce the amount of discomfort. In an effort to help reduce the risk of developing lower back pain and improve the ability to enjoy one’s favorite activities here are 6 ways to use a Total Gym to strengthen legs and improve hip mobility.

When standing upright gravity pulls the upper body into the hips which can help reduce motion in the joints. To strengthen legs without harming the back or making any existing discomfort worse, it is important to remove the effects of gravity. We can’t just turn gravity off, although that might be fun if we could, but we can place our body in different positions to significantly reduce and minimize the impact of gravity. A primary benefit of the Total Gym is that moving on an inclined plane reduces the effects of gravity which can immediately help improve hip mobility.

Total Gym Squat

Squat

NOTE:  Total Gym helps keep the lumbar spine stable when lying on the back.  This allows your client to focus on the muscles responsible for moving the hips, knees and feet. The closer the Total Gym is to the ground, the less gravity will effect the body. If the back is currently bothering them, have them start with the glideboard as low as possible and increase the height of the glideboard as they feel stronger and more comfortable.

Stationary Squats: Have them lie on their back with their feet hip-to-shoulder width apart, so that their toes are close to the top edge of the squat stand. Have them lower their bottom down until their knees are about 90 degrees. They hold that for 30 seconds or until they fatigue. They then rest for 30 seconds and repeat 2-to-3 times.TIP: As they hold the squat, have them press their feet into the board and squeeze those thighs to engage the muscles.

Outer Thigh Lifts. Have them lie on their right side with their right leg straight and their right foot pressed into the squat stand.  Have them lift their left leg up in the air so that both legs are about 6-to-8 inches apart and hold for 3-to-5 seconds before slowly lowering  back down. Repeat for 10-to-12 reps and switch sides, rest 45 sec. after both sides, complete

Total Gym Sprinter Start

Sprinter Start

2-to-3 sets.

Sprinter Start. Have them kneel on the glideboard on their hands and knees so that they are facing the top of the Total Gym and their feet are close to the squat stand.  Have them place their right foot on the squat stand and keep their left knee under their hip.  Have them tighten their abs as they push their right foot into the board to move you closer to the top and return to the bottom slowly.  10-to-12 reps and switch legs, rest 45 seconds and repeat 2-to-3 times.

Step-ups. Set the rails on the lowest level.  Have them stand facing the bottom of the Total Gym so that their one foot can step up on to the glideboard pressing their foot down to move the glildeboard closer to the bottom, which will help it remain stable during the exercise.  They can pause for 2-to-3 seconds before slowly lowering themselves down.  Repeat for 8-to-10 reps, switch sides to alternate legs, rest for 45 seconds after both legs and repeat for 2-to-3 sets.

Step Up

Step Up

Squats. Have them lie on the glideboard with their feet on the squat stand so that their toes are close to the top.  Have them squat down for a 3-count, pause for 1 sec. then push back to the top. Repeat for 12-to-15 reps, rest for 1 min. and complete 2-to-3 sets

If these exercises are done at least 2-to-3 times a week there is a good chance that you will see improvement in the strength of the legs and reduce risk of low back pain.

Here’s a final paradox; yes, exercising when the back is bothersome can be uncomfortable but not exercising can actually make the discomfort worse which can turn a minor problem into a major one. Even after almost twenty years of being a personal trainer and group fitness instructor I may not know what causes low-back pain, but I do know that improving strength and flexibility in the lower body can help reduce the risk of letting it impact quality of life.

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

 

Dec
8

The Best Location & Lease for Your Studio

Top Tips to Help You Find the Best Location and Negotiate the Best Lease1875261

Looking for the best location for your fitness studio can be one of the most amazing times of your life. Just think, this is going to be your home away from home, a place where you will be changing lives and creating jobs in your community AND doing all this good while making your own money.

Just hearing that should prove to you how important the research is, so the best advice to give you is to be patient, don’t over-think it and don’t rush into a bad location just to get your business started!

To ensure that you get the best location for your business, ask yourself a lot of questions:

> > What do you want out of your dream location?

> > What are the most important things that you both NEED & WANT out of this location?

> > How much can you afford to pay per month for your lease?

> > Do you have clientele already? If so, where do the majority of them live?

> > Do you want to be in a standalone building or do you want to be in a complex with multiple businesses?

> > Would you prefer to be in a small strip mall? A big retail center? A Warehouse? An office space?

> > How much parking do you need?

> > What’s your target market and how close do you want your studio to be to their homes and/or places of employment?

> > Do you need window advertising?

> > Do you need open space?

> > Do you want your studio near a local park or school so that maybe you can utilize their outdoor space?

> > When your business grows, will you have ample space to accommodate the growth or will you have to move?

> > Do you prefer to move into a building that has everything that you need or are you willing to sacrifice a few things by taking a location that works for you but needs a lot of work to be done to the inside?

> > What side of town do you prefer to be on?

> > Demographically where is the most competition in your town? Where is the least amount of competition in your town?

This list can truly go on and on so don’t over-think it to the point that you can’t make a clear decision. But definitely make sure that you put the necessary amount of thought and consideration into making the “right” decision for yourself. Just keep reminding yourself how exciting a time this is for YOU. Because then when you do that, guess what?  You find your dream location that maybe took you weeks, months or possibly even years to find. Your patience and thoroughness has paid off and you immediately begin to imagine packed classes, a strong and qualified staff working for you, and a gym fully decorated to your exact specifications.

But wait!

The building is not yours to occupy—yet.

1875257There is probably a big sign on the outside of your dream location listing the contact information of a commercial real estate agent. This is the listing agent who will help you lease the space. If this is the first time you’ve gone through this process, it can be quite daunting, but it doesn’t have to be—preparation is key. The more prepared you are, the more confident and relaxed you can be throughout this entire process. With that in mind, here are three essential tips for successfully negotiating a lease for your future fitness facility:

1. Find Your Own Agent OR Legal Representation  – A common mistake many people make when leasing a building is to allow the listing agent to handle the entire leasing transaction. The listing agent was hired by the landlord, which means that his or her number one priority is to protect the landlord’s interests—not yours. You need to hire someone who will protect your interests, rather than trying to represent both sides. If you don’t know any local commercial real estate agents, ask friends and colleagues if they can recommend a reputable commercial real estate agent who can represent you. Another option is to hire legal council to help you negotiate your lease. If this is not your first lease and you feel confident in the leasing process, hiring legal counsel instead of a commercial real estate agent could prove to be a great negotiating tool between you and the landlord. Because you’ll be saving the landlord commission fees by hiring legal counsel instead of a commercial real estate agent, he or she may be willing to accommodate more of your requests.

2. Have a Solid Letter of Intent – The purpose of a letter of intent is to make all of your requests known to the landlord. While you’re unlikely to get every single thing you ask for, this is the time to ask for everything that you want for your potential new fitness facility. Don’t be timid because you never know how desperate the landlord might be to lease this vacant building, which means that they may be more willing to accommodate your requests. You can ask for things such as free rent for a year, reduced rent for a certain number of months, freshly painted walls, assigned parking spots, new carpet, an elevator, new windows, etc. Ask for anything that you think would improve the building for your fitness location. In the letter of intent, you also need to specify the proposed terms of the lease such as:

  • 4 Year Term ($2.00 per square foot – NNN OR Gross Lease) with (2) 4-year options
  • Annual CPI Capped at 2 to 4%

17073813. Think Win-Win – When negotiating a lease, always think win-win and never be greedy. Your potential landlord will expect you to ask for a lot during the negotiation process, but you shouldn’t expect or insist on getting everything that you ask for. Make one list of things that you WANT and another list of things that you absolutely NEED for your fitness facility. Your landlord may agree to all eight of your needs, but to only two of your 10 wants. If this is the case, do you agree to those terms or do you walk away because you didn’t get everything that you requested? Only you can decide, but at the end of the day, only sign a lease that you fully understand from front to back and if you feel 100 percent confident in the decision.

Remember, everything in a lease is negotiable. By following these tips, you will be much more prepared to ask the right questions when hiring your representation and successfully negotiating a lease for your new fitness facility.

Good luck!

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

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