Balance Your Pushups: Tips from Stew Smith

Balance Out Your Pushup Workouts by Stew Smith

People who exercise and those who do not, often neglect the upper back and rear shoulder muscles. Life has a way of bowing your upper back and rolling your shoulders forward. In technical terms, we are basically “internally rotated” within the shoulder girdle. Many things in life “internally rotate” us such as driving, sitting at a computer, playing video games, texting, carrying backpacks, bench pressing, pushups, situps and many more exercises and daily life events. So posture is critical to performance and our confidence. Perfect Posture is possible by adding in a few daily exercises for only a few minutes.

Basically, every “push” workout you do should be balanced out with a “pull” type of workout. You can do pull-ups to help balance out your pushups as well as supplemental daily exercises like the following:

 

Upper back exercise #1 – (Reverse pushups) – Lie on your stomach in the down pushup position. Lift your hands off the floor 2-3 inches instead of pushing the floor. This will strengthen your upper back muscles that balance out the chest muscles. Do 20-30 reps. Rear deltoids and rhomboids are the muscles used.

 

revpush2

 

Upper back exercise #2 – (Birds) Lie on your stomach with your arms spread to the height of your shoulders. Lift both arms off the floor until your shoulder blades “pinch” and place them slowly in the down position. Repeat for 20-30 repetitions mimicking a bird flying.

 

birds1

 

This simple 3-4 minute program will help you keep your spine in proper alignment and fortify your delicate shoulder girdle. If you neglect these smaller muscles of the upper back and rear shoulder, all it will take is a fun toss of a football, baseball, or over head smash of a volleyball and your rotator cuff muscles will be talking to you immediately.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Staying Fit Through the Decades

Staying Fit Through the Decades: A Guide to Fitness for Adults by William J. Smith, MS, MEPD, CSCS

For most people, aerobic or cardiovascular exercise tends to be the most approachable and convenient choice in their fitness program. However, exercises that emphasize stability, flexibility, movement/coordination, and proper postural alignment tend to be lower on the list.

As we age, our bodies undergo various changes. These physical transformations challenge us to find activities that enhance and stimulate our innate movement needs which are needed throughout our activities of daily living (ADLs), as well as providing us with a sense of physical fulfillment.

 

Ask yourself the following questions:

 

1. Stability: Can you stand on one leg for several seconds? Can you hold your own body weight off the ground (i.e. modified or regular pushup position)?

2. Flexibility: Do you have trouble with simple tasks, such as reaching behind a seat in the car to pick up a briefcase or bag? Can you look over your shoulder without turning your upper body?

3. Movement and Coordination: Walking, the most basic of human movements, requires proper coordination between opposite sides of the body. As we age, we begin to lose the ability to plantar flex (push forward using the calf muscles), which leads to posture deterioration, stride length decreases, and really tight calf/arch muscles! Feel your body as you walk and make mental notes.

4. Posture: Take a look at your posture in the mirror. Are the shoulders rolled forward? Hips rolled under the lower back? Noticeable decrease in calf muscle tone? All are factors that can be addressed with corrective exercise therapy.

 

OBSTACLES…OR JUST HURDLES?

 

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has identified several criteria that are important to consider when beginning an exercise program. Here are some tips to help overcome common fitness obstacles:

Obstacle: Declining strength (i.e. muscles decrease in strength)

What you can do: Use your endurance. A recent study has shown that while muscle strength decreases with age, muscle endurance does not. You may benefit from working muscles longer – doing more repetitions – with lighter weights. Exercises that emphasize endurance, such as swimming, walking or biking, may be more enjoyable and beneficial for you than those that require great strength.

 

Obstacle: Arthritis or other conditions that make moving difficult

What you can do: You can, and should, still exercise. Ask your doctor or physical therapist how to use a cane, rollator (rolling walker) or other assistive device. These can be especially helpful if you’re recovering from a joint replacement, or a serious illness such as stroke or cancer.

 

Obstacle: A history of inactivity

What you can do: Get started on the path to fitness by using everyday activities as exercise. Recent studies have shown that “functional exercises,” those that mimic actual daily activities such as walking up stairs and getting in and out of chairs, are most effective for you.

 

Obstacle: Chronic pain and inflammation

What you can do: Choose low impact activities to keep moving and minimize pain. Experts believe that certain types of exercise can reduce joint stiffness, pain and inflammation associated with arthritic conditions that affect more than 40 million Americans. Activities such as walking, swimming and water-based exercise are generally effective and well tolerated.

 

Once you’ve identified your needs, choose the best type of fitness professional for your situation.

Next time you head to your local fitness facility, ask a fitness professional to assist you with the development of an exercise program. Active adults should bring up the following questions relating to their exercise program:

 

1. General Checklist of Questions to Ask your Fitness Trainer:

What certificates do you hold?

Educational background?

Is this a part-time job?

How long have you been a part of this organization?

What motivates you as a trainer?

Do you live what you teach?

 

2. Specific Fitness Program Questions to Ask your Fitness Trainer:

Are my special needs (Knee replacement, Arthritic Condition, Vertigo, etc) being taken into consideration?

Is the program multi-faceted (4-component model)?

Does this exercise program take into consideration my active interests (golf, bowling, etc)?

Is the same fitness trainer available to assist regularly? If not, how will my exercise program progress with another trainer?

 

By identifying strengths and weaknesses, and working with a fitness professional, you’ll be able to effectively adapt your fitness regiment through the years.

 

 

WILLIAM SMITH, MS, NSCA, CSCS, MEPD, completed his B.S. in exercise science at Western Michigan University followed by a master’s degree in education and a post-graduate program at Rutgers University. In 1993, Will began coaching triathletes and working with athletes and post-rehab clientele. He was a Division I Collegiate Strength Coach and has been competing in triathlons and marathons since 1998, recently finishing the Steelhead Half Ironman in Michigan in 5 hours and 22 minutes. Will founded Will Power and Fitness Associates and currently consults for fitness, healthcare, and wellness centers in New York and New Jersey. The Director of the Professional Development Institute, Will has also co-authored the definitive guide to triathlon training, Tri Power. He is also the author of several books in the popular Exercises For series including Exercises for Heart Health, Exercises for Back Pain, Exercises for Brain Health, and many others.

Work All of Your Ab Muscles with this Bicycle Crunch Video

WATCH this video presentation on the proper technique for performing the Bicycle Ab Crunch to work your entire abdominal wall from the authors of The Body Sculpting Bible for Men and The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue.

 

 

HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times About.com Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

JAMES VILLEPIGUE is a bestselling fitness author of 23 books and has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. as a nationally certified personal trainer with National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), with their prestigious Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential, The American Council on Exercise and The International Sports Science Association. He has received degrees from Hofstra University, the New York College of Health Professions, and the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching. He now lives in East North Port, New York. He is the author of Mind Over Muscle as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women and Combat Fat for Kids.

Former Navy SEAL Stew Smith Shares Tips to Avoid Muscle Cramps when Running

Watch this excellent video by former Navy SEAL and fitness book author Stew Smith, to learn tips to prevent muscle cramps when running.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Mastering Basic Kettlebell Moves

 

For the most part, the fitness industry has taught people to sub-divide and train their muscles separately. Most traditional weight training workouts that use dumbbells and free weights zone in on just one or two specific muscles at a time. Kettlebells trainers and supporters are revolutionizing that way of thinking and training by promoting the use of three-dimensional movements that simultaneously work muscles throughout your entire body—with cardiovascular training added in, too!

Kettlebells — cast iron or steel weights that look like cannon balls with a handle — can be used to strengthen and enhance your body, regardless of your age, size, or fitness level. Whatever your fitness goals may be, training with kettlebells can help you get there and achieve those goals faster.

Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Men, due to release in December 2013, gives readers a comprehensive guide to using this unique fitness tool, complete with workouts for people of all fitness levels. Simple to learn, easy to use and with a ton of benefits, Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Men provides the perfect core or supplement to your existing workout routine.

You are no doubt excited and ready to begin your kettlebell training, eager to reap the benefits, and that is great. But, before you jump right into trying all the killer advanced kettebell movements, it is important for you to master the basics. So harness that energy for a little while, take it slow, and focus it on first learning the proper form for the basic movements. The following basic movements shared from Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Men will form the foundation of your training techniques and will later be incorporated into many of the more advanced exercises.

 

The Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is the foundation for all kettlebell work and should be the first move that you learn to master. It’s also one of the most comprehensive exercises ever created, so take your time and get this one right before you move on to the others.

Begin with your feet placed shoulder-width apart. Grasp the kettlebell using both hands, with your arms straight and allow the kettlebell to hang, resting in front of you down by your legs. Push your hips back and swing the kettlebell far back between your legs. Forcefully snap your hips and knees to move the kettlebell forward and up into the air. Once the kettlebell reaches chest height (the peak of the swing), squat back with the downswing and allow the kettlebell to swing back between your legs as far as you can go. Make sure to keep your heels planted firmly on the ground the entire time. Exhale on the upswing and inhale on the downswing.

Once you have mastered the basic double arm kettlebell swing, you can progress and add the single arm kettlebell swings to your routine.

This one move alone makes for an intense and stimulating workout. Your glutes, hamstrings, back, shoulders, chest, and abdominals will all be worked with every swing of the bell. When you perform a kettlebell swing, your core engages to maintain your balance and everything from your chest to your knees gets a workout all at once. You will also experience a boost in your cardiovascular endurance. In fact, the same muscles that would typically be used for a vertical leap are used with every kettlebell swing. The difference is that with the kettlebell swing, the explosive force is used to propel the kettlebell up instead of lifting your body off the ground. Using the kettlebell makes it possible for you to repeat the exercise several times and to slowly increase the amount of weight load.

 

The Kettlebell Squat

Start with both hands on the kettlebell handle, allowing it to hang in front of you with your arms straight down. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and allow your toes to turn out slightly. Bend your knees and push your butt back and away from you like you are lowering yourself into a chair. Squat as far as you can go, with your heels pressed into the ground and your knees facing out. Keep your chest up and arms straight while you come back up to the start position.

Once you have mastered the basic double hand kettlebell squat, you can progress and add the single hand kettlebell squat to your routine.

 

The Kettlebell Clean

Begin with the kettlebell resting on the floor. Straddle it with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width and turned slightly outward. Squat and grab the handle with one hand in an overhand grip. Make sure your shoulder is over the top of the kettlebell, your back is straight, and you are looking straight ahead. In one swift motion, pull the kettlebell off the floor and up using your shoulder, keeping it close to your body and with your elbow bent out to the side. The move should simulate the same motion as pulling the starter cord on a lawnmower. Once the kettlebell reaches your chest, rotate your elbow under the kettlebell. Catch the bell on the outside of your arm between your forearm and bicep. Keep your wrist straight and knees slightly bent. This is called the “rack” position. Lower to the start position. Once you have completed the desired amount with one arm, switch to the other side and repeat.

 

The Kettlebell Press

Start by holding the kettlebell in the rack position, as explained above. Press your shoulder down and unfold your arm until it is straight overhead. When you unfold your arm, make sure that your palm is facing the front and your hand is relaxed. Bend your elbow again and return to the rack position. Your legs should remain straight for the entire movement. Once you have completed the desired amount with one arm, switch to the other side and repeat.

 

The Kettlebell Clean and Press

The kettlebell clean and press incorporates the kettlebell clean described above with a press to create a full-body movement. Begin with the kettlebell resting on the floor. Straddle it with your feet a little wider than shoulder–width and turned slightly outward. Squat and grab the handle with one hand in an overhand grip. Make sure your shoulder is over the top of the kettlebell, your back is straight, and you are looking straight ahead. In one swift motion, pull the kettlebell off the floor and up using your shoulder, keeping it close to your body and with your elbow bent out to the side. Once the kettlebell reaches your chest, rotate your elbow under the kettlebell. Catch the bell on the outside of your arm between your forearm and bicep into the rack position. Remember to keep your wrist straight and knees slightly bent. Explosively press the kettlebell straight up over your head until your arm is fully extended (referred to as “lockout”). Lower the kettlebell back to the rack position and back to the start position on the floor. Once you have completed the desired amount with one arm, switch to the other side and repeat.

 

It is always encouraged for beginners to ease into kettlebell training and take it slow while you are learning the basics. Listen to your body during these workouts and only complete what you feel comfortable with. Listen to your body and do not train as hard when your body is failing or fatigued.

 

Reprinted with permission from Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Men. ISBN: 978-1-57826-478-0 $19.95 (paperback). ISBN: 978-1-57826-479-7 $12.99 (eBook). From Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.
Get the Best Body Possible with This Video from the Authors of the Body Sculpting Bible Series

WATCH this video presentation by the authors of The Body Sculpting Bible for Men and The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue, to hear what they have to say about the importance of rest and recovery in your workout routines and how to get the best body possible.

 

 

HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times About.com Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

JAMES VILLEPIGUE is a bestselling fitness author of 23 books and has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. as a nationally certified personal trainer with National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), with their prestigious Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential, The American Council on Exercise and The International Sports Science Association. He has received degrees from Hofstra University, the New York College of Health Professions, and the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching. He now lives in East North Port, New York. He is the author of Mind Over Muscle as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women and Combat Fat for Kids.

 

Get Ripped and See Those Washboard Abs

Washboard Abs, Six Pack Abs – Are They Possible? by Stew Smith

 

Yes, we all have six packs / eight packs even. They are just usually covered by a layer of fat. Having a flat stomach or washboard abs is not just accomplished by working out daily, it has to become an all-encompassing lifestyle. The key components are healthy and lean diet, cardiovascular / resistance training, and abdominal exercises. If a movie star stomach is your goal, you must realize that to achieve your goal you have to first concentrate on what you eat, not how many situps you do in a day. Of course, as with any fitness and health goal nutrition and exercise are always the main ingredient.

 

#1 Healthy Diet — Feed your body right to build those abs

The most important factor in acquiring washboard abs is eating a healthy diet. Here is a list of recommended healthy ways to help you lose a few inches:  (low carbs = no sugar)

— Drink at least three liters of water per day (100 ounces).

— Eat vegetables and fruits each day for workout energy and lean proteins for recovery / calories.

— Eliminate fried foods and cheese.

— Eliminate processed sugar (for example: sodas, cookies, candy).

— Eliminate fatty red meat – only lean meats (1-2 times weekly).

Diets like the Atkins diet and other high protein diets may help at first. To get rid of that last 10-15 pounds, it is recommended to lower calories to a range of 1500-2000 calories a day and to exercise rigorously both with core exercises and cardio work.

 

#2 Cardiovascular Exercise / Resistance Exercise — Burn off extra calories

Washboard abs, getting lean, and losing weight are all tied into a consistent cardiovascular workout program. You should do 30-45 minutes of activities like walking, running, biking, or swimming daily 4-5 times per week. It takes about four weeks before you start to see the physical benefits or your diet and exercise program. You will see almost immediate results in your energy level, overall mental alertness when exercising daily. Start off slowly if you have not trained with much intensity in the past several years. A good way to get started is to walk or run with the following six weeks program if you have been running / walking regularly.

 

Week #1 – Walk/run  1 mile a day for 5 days a week

Week #2 – Walk/run  1.5 miles a day for 5 days a week

Week #3 – Non-impact week  bike or swim for 20-30 minutes a day

Week #4 – Walk/run  1.5-2 miles a day for 5 days a week

Week #5 – Walk/run  2.5 miles a day for 4-5 days a week

Week #6 – Walk/run  3 miles a day for 3-4 days a week

 

Note: Week #3 is non-impact due to high number of injuries that occur to legs (knees, shins, feet, hips) during the third week of beginning a walking or running program.

Runners who are just starting out can find a 10-week beginner running plan of action here.

 

#3 The Ab Exercises  – You have to build ab muscles to see them!

Even if your ab muscles are still hidden under fat – start now!

The Ten-second Crunch is probably one of the best beginning exercises for firming up the belly. Simply lie on your back and lift your shoulder blades off the floor and hold for ten seconds. Repeat this at least for ten repetitions. Try repeating the 10 seconds crunch for 10 repetitions morning and night for starters. Also, stretch and flex your lower back for a few minutes after each set in order to balance the muscles that support your torso. However, a variety of abdominal exercises will help build the muscles under the fat. Now lose the fat by watching your diet and cardio vascular exercise and you will soon see the muscles!

 

Below are some beginning and intermediate abdominal exercises:

Hanging knee-ups — Bring your knees as high as you can as you hang from a pullup bar.

Advanced Crunch — (Legs up) – Lie on your back with your feet straight in the air. Keep your legs straight up in the air for the advanced crunches. Cross your hands over your chest and bring your elbows to your knees by flexing your stomach. (Do not do if you have previous lower back injury place feet on the floor instead)

Reverse Crunch — In the same position as the regular crunch, lift your knees and butt toward your elbows. Leave your head and upper body flat on the ground. Only move your legs and butt. (Do not do if you have previous lower back injury)

Double Crunch — Add the regular and reverse crunch together in one motion. You will feel this one twice as fast

Right Elbow to Left Knee — Cross your left leg over your right leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee.

Left Elbow to Right Knee —  Same as above just switch sides. Cross your right leg over your leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your left elbow to your right knee.

Hip rollers — This exercise will help you build your abs, back, and hips to help with long ocean swims and balance out the hip flexors exercises. Twist to both sides keeping your shoulders on the floor and stay in the bent knee position when rotating left and right.

 

Note: Anytime you work your abs, you should also exercise your lower back to build balance in your torso. Below are two lower back exercises to incorporate into your ab work:

Lower Back Exercise — Lie on your stomach with your arms extended over your head. Lift your right arm and your left leg off the ground at the same time and repeat for specified number of repetitions. Switch arms/legs and repeat.

Lower Back Exercise (Swimmers) — Lie on your stomach and lift your feet and knees off the floor by flutter kicking repeatedly as if you were swimming freestyle.

 

Here are some advanced abdominal exercises:

Do not attempt to do these ab exercises if you are a beginner! These exercises are not healthy for weak or injured backs. If you cannot do the above swimmer exercises for 1:00 do not attempt these exercises.

Situps — Lie on your back with your arms crossed over your chest, keeping your knees slightly bent. Raise your upper body off the floor by contracting your abdominal muscles. Touch your elbows to your thighs and repeat.

Half Situps — With your hands on your hips, lift your torso off the ground higher than a crunch but not as high as a full situp. Your middle/lower back will be on the floor still at the up position.

Flutterkicks — Place your hands under your hips. Lift your legs 6 inches off the floor and begin walking, raising each leg approximately 36 inches off the ground. Keep your legs straight and moving. This is a four count exercise.

Leg levers — Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor. Raising both legs approximately 36 inches off the ground, keep your legs straight and off the floor until specified number of repetitions are complete.

Scissors —  Lay on your back. Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor. Open and close both legs approximately 36 inches apart, keep your legs straight and off the floor until specified number of repetitions are complete.

Atomic situps — Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor as if you were doing a leg lever. Pull your knees toward your chest while simultaneously lifting your upper body off the floor. This is a mix between the situp and the leg lever.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

 

Body Sculpting Bible Workouts Explained by Authors Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue

WATCH this video presentation by the authors of The Body Sculpting Bible for Men and The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue, to learn more about the workouts and strategies behind the successful Body Sculpting Bible series.

 

 

 

HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times About.com Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

JAMES VILLEPIGUE is a bestselling fitness author of 23 books and has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. as a nationally certified personal trainer with National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), with their prestigious Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential, The American Council on Exercise and The International Sports Science Association. He has received degrees from Hofstra University, the New York College of Health Professions, and the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching. He now lives in East North Port, New York. He is the author of Mind Over Muscle as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women and Combat Fat for Kids.

Sculpt Your Glutes and Hamstrings with this Stiff-Legged Deadlift Video

WATCH this video presentation on the proper technique for performing the Stiff-Legged Deadift to work your glutes and hamstrings from the authors of The Body Sculpting Bible for Men and The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue.

 

HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times About.com Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

JAMES VILLEPIGUE is a bestselling fitness author of 23 books and has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. as a nationally certified personal trainer with National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), with their prestigious Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential, The American Council on Exercise and The International Sports Science Association. He has received degrees from Hofstra University, the New York College of Health Professions, and the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching. He now lives in East North Port, New York. He is the author of Mind Over Muscle as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women and Combat Fat for Kids.

Exercises to Improve Your Balance

Individuals who deal with the daily muscle aches, fatigue, and other painful symptoms associated with fibromyalgia (or other chronic illnesses) may cringe at the very thought of increasing exercise and physical activity. It seems to go against logic to exercise more when you are already feeling pain. Yet, the reality is that exercises — the right ones customized to fit individual needs — can benefit people with fibromyalgia and other musculoskeletal diseases and disorders instead of exacerbating their symptoms.

Exercises for Fibromyalgia is tailored to improve fitness and energy levels without causing strain or stiffness. The exercises are focused on relieving pain, improving sleep, and increasing strength, flexibility, and balance for fibromyalgia sufferers.

If you or a loved one are affected by the syndrome, you know that people with fibromyalgia often experience issues with dizziness, balance, and coordination — all of which make them more prone to the risk of falling. Below are a few exercises from Exercises for Fibromyalgia to help improve balance:

 

1. Heel to Toe Rocks

(Works entire body)

Rock back and forth from the toes to heels as a partner (spotter) provides support and balance if needed.

 

2. Physio-Ball Walk Up

(Works legs, hips and core)

Position your hips on top of the physio-ball (Swiss ball). Brace your core. Walk up the ball using your full foot, until you are sitting up straight on the ball. Keeping your feet wider adds stability if you feel off balance during the up or down phases.

 

3. Clock Series: Single Foot Touches

(Works legs and hips)

Imagine you are standing in the center of a clock face. Touch 2 or 3 numbers around the clock. As you become more comfortable, touch more numbers, then switch feet.

 

4. Doggy Door

(Works groin and hips)

Begin on all fours with your hands and knees planted firmly on the ground. Keep your core active to stabilize your back and hips. With your non-lifting hip still pressed firm into the ground, lift the opposite knee with the outside hip muscle. Be careful not to shift your weight to the non-working side. Switch legs and repeat.

 

Note: As always, use caution and be sure to listen to your body– if the pose becomes to difficult, stop or switch to a more gentle variation.

 

Reprinted with permission from Exercises for Fibromyalgia ISBN: 978-1-57826-361-5, $15.00 (paperback). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.