Don’t Bend and Snap: 3 Reasons Your Lower Back Hurts when Exercising

When’s the last time you’ve experienced low back pain? Today? Yesterday? 60 seconds ago? We get it. It happens.

The good thing is, you’re not alone. It’s been estimated roughly 80% of Americans experience some form of low back pain in their lifetime. That’s 8 out of 10 people. Thought you were in the cool club? Think again.

Today’s objective is to give you knowledge to understand why you might experience low back when exercising.  For those you are suffering from serious, diagnosed lower back issues, we kindly ask you skip this post and listen to your doctor’s advice.

We hope that after this post, you won’t be Bending and Snapping or having any more Legally Blonde moments.

 

Okay, let’s get down to business. Typically, lower back pain when exercising is usually due to one or more of the following:

  1. Lack of core stability
  2. Loss of neutral spine
  3. Poor posture outside the gym

LACK OF CORE STABILITY:

There may be a time in your life that maybe a friend or workout buddy mentioned that you should “strengthen your core” to help your lower back pain. Usually when we think strengthening the core, we tend to think of doing endless crunches hoping we’ll be the next cover model for the newest fitness magazine.

In reality, we need to be training more than just the superficial muscles and training the deep inner core muscles that help support our spine. These muscles include the transversus abdominis, multifidus, diaphragm, and the pelvic floor. When these muscles are strong, we prevent heavy loads going straight to our lower back. These muscles serve as a shield to protect our spine! We won’t get into all the details in this posts, but for a more detailed explanation of the physiology behind this, please check out our previous post here.

So now you must be thinking, “Well..how do I know if I lack core stability?” Well, it’s pretty easy to find out. To do so, lay on your back. Get your feet off the ground, legs 90/90, and slowly straight one leg out toward the ground (see below) – WITHOUT letting your lower back arch off the ground.

Planks

If you look like the left picture and have a large arch in your back, you probably lack some core stability. It’s okay, it happens. However, lacking core stability predispositions us to lower back pain. After all, the weaker our core is, the more load our spine has to take. If you need some ideas on how to increase your core stability, check out the exercises below:

The above exercises are a good place to get started. Prioritize these at the beginning of your workout until you can really master them. Remember, you shouldn’t feel any lower back pain during any of these exercises.

LOSS OF NEUTRAL SPINE

Any exercise we do in the gym requires us to be aware of how we are positioning our spine. Why? Because excessive flexion and extension of the spine over long periods of time can cause lower back issues such as herniated discs, arthritis, etc. Moving around with poor mechanics leads to injury. Period.

If you are experiencing pain when exercising, really have a heart to heart and ask yourself: is my back neutral?

 

What does that mean? Neutral means just not overly arched and not overly rounded. You might not even know what your back’s doing at this point, so take a look at two common exercise examples below.

Plank

Planks. We know. We hate them too. But we’ve got to talk about them. If you’re experiencing low back pain when doing planks, check out what your lower back is doing. Take a look below:

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Notice in the first image, the lower back is extremely arched. This leads to tons of pressure being put on your lower back when in reality, the plank is meant to strengthen the core so that you don’t have all the load going to your lower back.

Now, take a look at the second image. Notice a difference? We can now see my back still has a neutral curve rather than an excessively arched one.

Tips for a good plank include:

  • Squeezing your glutes slightly to help pull your back into neutral alignment
    Drawing the rib cage down so there is no flare – thinking of your sternum and belly button being held together by a piece of string.
  • Push the ground away from you. Don’t let your chest fall toward the ground. If I were to put the back of my hand across your upper back, you should be pushing into my hand.

Squats

Squats. We hate them and we love them…except when they start giving us lower back pain.

Many people get lower back pain during squats, and this can be due to many reasons which we won’t be able to fit all into one blog post. However, one of the most common reasons because of losing neutral spine throughout the entire movement. See below for more details.

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Rounded back

This is a squat with a rounded back. If we were add even more weight, this would be problematic because of all the stress on our discs. Rounded backs during squats could be due to a few things:

1) Tight hamstrings: If your hamstrings are tight, they’re going to pull on your lower back and cause your lower back to round. Implement this hamstring stretch into your routine:

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2) Lack of ankle dorsiflexion: If you can barely touch your knee to a wall from a few inches away, you’ve got some work to do. Lack of ankle mobility will cause your lower back to round to try to pick up the slack. Add the following mobilization into your routine:

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3) Lack of core stability: Ahh, here we go with core stability again. Can’t get enough of it, right? Add more core stability exercises to your routine such as the ones linked earlier in the blogpost.

Arched back

This is a squat with an arched back. Again, the discs are compressed and can produce pain. This can be due to a few things:

1. Lack of core stability (AGAIN! Seeing a trend? Check out those exercises linked earlier in this blogpost for some exercises)

2. Tight hip flexors: Having tight hip flexors due to excessive sitting or other factors creates dysfunction in the spine but shifting our hips back, creating an excessive arch in the lower back. To help correct this, make sure to add this hip flexor stretch before performing your squats

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3. Lack of awareness: Many times we’re not even sure what our lower back is doing during a squat. To practice proper squat form, have a friend videotape you or record yourself going through the movement. If your back is arching and you’ve addressed the two issues above, set up a box or bench behind you to squat to without moving into an excessive arch in the back. Master neutral spine in a smaller range of motion before attempting to squat full-depth. Check out the video below for an example of this:

 

Neutral Back

Let’s look at the third picture from above. Notice now there is no excessive arch or flexion of the spine. A normal lordotic curve is present. This is what we should strive for with our form.
POOR POSTURE OUTSIDE THE GYM

Unfortunately, we can’t just act like we’re athletes when we’re at the gym. If you workout for 30-60 minutes a few times a week, what are you doing for the other hundreds of hours a week you aren’t exercising?

 

We got to be real with ourselves. Most of us sit at our desks all day and probably get anywhere from 1000-5000 steps per day which means we are, let’s face it, sedentary.  Our core gets weak, hips get tight, glutes become underactive, and our shoulders round. These issues combined with going to the gym to do the exercises listed above is bound to cause lower back issues. Why? Because spinal alignment is based around the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that are attached to it. If muscles around it are weak and others overactive, this can reposition the spinal to suboptimal positions over time.

If you find yourself sitting for the better part of your day, it’s time to increase your steps and standing up more. Here are some tips:

  1. Get up to get a small cup of water instead of a large cup of water when you’re at work. This will force you to get up out of your seat more often than carrying around one of those huge water bottles.
  2. Place things you need away from you. Need to staple some papers? Keep your stapler in another room or across your office so you get out of your seat more.
  3. Park further away from your workplace. This will automatically force you to get some extra steps in.
  4. Talking on your cell phone? Stand up when you take calls and pace around the room.
  5. Invest in a stand-up desk. Amazon has lots of different ones, like this one.

Additionally, working out with weights isn’t something you should just go and do without a proper warm-up. If you sit all day, I suggest adding in the following to your warm-up routine:

Hip flexor stretch

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Foam roll your calves and mobilize them

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Thoracic windmills

 

Wallsides

 

Glute bridges

 

90/90 hip stretch

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In Summary

Low back pain sucks, and it’s a huge bummer when you get it while working out. Today we have discussed three possible reasons why your low back hurts and how to tackle them:

  1. Lack of core stability
  2. Loss of neutral spine
  3. Poor posture outside the gym

By addressing the above, you might see your low back pain lessen and hopefully disappear with time. Remember, it will take purposeful, consistent action to solve these issues, and if you are still experiencing pain, we recommend always checking with your doctor for further guidance.

Due to the prevalence of lower back pain when exercising, we make sure our clients do not push through pain.  Our programs also dive even more in-depth as to what might be causing the issue, assuming there aren’t any serious diagnosed back issues. We encourage you to bookmark our main page and check back regularly for more posts and tips.

Breaking Fads: 6 Ways to Sort Fitness Fad from Fitness Fact

“A new diet has just emerged!”
“Get a flat stomach without strenuous exercise!”
“Greasy, highly-saturated fat bacon will now make you lose weight!”
“See how Scarlett Johansson got in her best shape for The Avengers in 30 days!”

False advertising and exaggerated claims plague our news feed and creep into our subconscious every single day. This concept is not new. Bold, exciting albeit fictitious headlines have been used to market pop-culture and health magazines long before the age of social media. You may recall similar statements to the ones above plastered on the covers of magazines in grocery stores (strategically placed at the check-out line) as you waited and pretended not to be interested in what the “20 Ab Secrets Fitness Pros don’t Want You to Know” actually entail.

With the social media boom in recent years, which has been incredible for reconnecting with old friends, close family, and the “yeah, I kind of know them” acquaintances, the rate at which this unfounded fitness information travels has gone rampant. Not only does misinformation spread quickly, but marketing has gotten smarter. Supplement companies and product advertisements know that we want to see the truth before we believe it, and they have gotten very clever at mixing scientific half-truths into their marketing as they repackage old fads into new ones (does the ketogenic diet look similar to the Atkins and Southbeach diet?)

There are so many instances in the while working with clients that we encounter people who saw minimal results when they tried a weight loss supplement, the trendiest new diet, or performed the “300 Workout” for 30 days only to find that they didn’t look like Gerard Butler at the end of their 30 day plan.

 

It becomes more and more difficult for people to see great results because very often they are following the newest fitness fad: exciting and flashy, but methods that either don’t work or it don’t work long-term.

Though I could probably talk for days on each of the following marketing tactics that lead people astray, I’ve condensed it to a short list of 6 ways to sort fitness fad from fitness fact.

1. A Quick Fix

This is perhaps the easiest one to spot. Be aware of marketing that purports that their method(s) can cause a massive, unbelievable change in a short amount of time. While “massive change” and “short amount of time” are subjective, usually these claims look like “How Rita lost 20 lbs. in 20 days” or “Zedd packed on 15 lbs. of muscle in a month. Find out how!”

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a healthy, sustainable weight loss plan is going to see 1-2 lbs. weight loss per week on a good week. Not as marketable as the magazine covers, maybe, but considering it might take someone 2 years to gain 20 lbs., it’s still a great deal to knock it out in a fraction of the time and it’s definitely more realistic to be able to tackle this weight loss goal aiming for 20 weeks (or less) as opposed to an unbelievable, unrealistic 20 days.

For muscle growth it takes “several months for visible changes to occur, as they happen only after thousands of individual muscle fibers have grown larger” according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Be on the lookout for claims that refute these guidelines and try to remember that fitness is a process, and following a consistent, quality process equals progress.

2. Extreme Measures

You’re in a conversation and someone says something along the lines of “I lost 10 lbs. by completely cutting out ________.” Common examples include the ketogenic diet, fat-free diets, the Atkins diet, the Hogwarts diet, etc. This usually indicates that extreme measures were taken for a short duration of time, which SEEM to be a key to weight loss or whatever their goal is; causation without correlation.

The problem here is we don’t know the full story of these testimonials and what was occurring before they made this change. They may say that they cut nearly all carbohydrates in order to lose weight, however, it’s highly unlikely that they cut all those healthy high-fiber, low-sugar carbs out of their diets to accomplish this: the green beans, the quinoa, the sugar-free oatmeal, the carrots etc. These are far different from other, less healthy carb-dense choices such as cake, doughnuts, white breads and many others which are highly processed and are definitely not as ideal of a choice.

To simplify:

Protein = Calories
Fats = Calories
Carbs = Calories

All of these are essential to a well balanced diet if choosing minimally processed, whole foods. By cutting one out completely, you can definitely see an immediate response in weight loss, but that it’s actually the result of cutting calories, not necessarily that the macronutrient eliminated is “bad.” You also lose the benefits of the missing macronutrient as well (Carbs help with muscle growth/performance and brain function in the form of glycogen. Fats help deliver and utilize important vitamins.) Sugars, a sub category of carbs, are a different story and stretch beyond the scope of this post, but you can rest easy knowing that you can eat carbs and fats and they won’t make you fat especially if you choose the healthier types in moderation.

3. Marketing Tactics

Even under protection of organizations such as the Federal Trade Commissions, it’s still very common that many programs and products use dishonest marketing tactics to sell their brand. It is not uncommon for many supplement companies to advertise their product as being used by an athlete or competitor who “used their product to get in the best shape of their life.”

What they don’t explicitly tell you is that the athlete had already been training for a number of years, usually at a professional level, and in many cases has used illegal performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids (this is true for both men and women) at some point in their lives.

My opinion on the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs aside, I think we all can agree that any program or product that tells its customers “if it worked for me, it can work for you” is unsubstantiated and loses great credibility when delivered by someone who has utilized illegal drugs to alter their physiology. Not to say these people don’t work hard for their results, they’re just not telling the whole story as it pertains to the product.

4. Credentials of Presenter

Who is delivering the information to you? What do the true professionals say? While there are very knowledgeable people at all education levels in fitness, credibility and credentials do matter a lot. Fitness professionals have varying levels of degrees and certifications, however, even without a PhD in their field, they can typically cite a credible source of where they’re getting their information from.

More than likely though, we hear anecdotal references from Bob at the office or Mary who heard from a friend who read from an infographic that if we cut carbs, our bodies will turn to fat for energy. This should raise an alarm, and we should look further as to what the research and people who study research have to say. There may be more to it than what’s on the surface.

Even if you know or work with a personal trainer, I advise doing research or even politely asking where their information might be coming from so that you can learn more. While I have worked with many phenomenal trainers over the years, I have met my fair share of trainers who provide some of the same misinformation we’re trying to debunk and challenge in this post.

5. Do Real-life Observations Match the Testimonials?

This is a quick section but I’ll highlight a few examples:

• Marketing tells us the key to weight loss is cardio, yet we see most people who are in great physical condition do more weight training and only moderate amounts of cardio.

• We’re told carbs make us fat, but we see athletes who use carbs every day to fuel their bodies to get stronger, faster, and stay conditioned.

• Media portrays that you have to exercise like a maniac to get in great shape, but we see most people who stay healthy year round employ methods of consistency over intensity. They push themselves to see results, but they don’t push over the limit.

6. The “Medicine” for your “Sickness”

This part may upset supplement enthusiasts, but I am going to level with you: Most supplements have little evidence to support that they do what they say they do. Supplements are able to sell their consumable products under guidelines that are not regulated by the FDA the same way that our foods in the supermarket are regulated. This means that in many cases, we don’t even know what we are getting or what the concentration is in these products as they are usually listed under a proprietary blend: a mask to hide how much of each ingredient is in their product. In some cases, especially with “fat burners” they can cause life-threatening harm until it becomes a widespread case worth pulling from the shelf (anyone remember Ephedra?)

Some substances do have evidence to support that they can improve performance (creatine and caffeine are some of the very few) however, even these more beneficial ones are useless if used as a substitute for other healthy practices. A healthy protein supplement may be recommended if you’re not getting enough protein in your natural diet.

What’s most troubling about supplements though is that the products are often marketed as medicine even if subliminally. Even the bottles for most supplements mimic medication in their design and layout. This is to tap into your subconscious that these “fat burners” will make you better for what supplement companies want you to think of as a “weight-gain illness.” Disguising themselves as medicine bottles also builds trust in their product. If it looks like medicine, it must be backed by science and therefore must be safe.

Like I mentioned earlier : dishonest marketing is getting more sophisticated and harder to spot.

In Summary:

In an age where the truth is harder to find and distrust is at an all-time high, it is important for us to be aware of the information presented to us and to be able to sort the fad from the facts. Not everyone spreads misinformation with the intent of tricking others. In fact, I believe most people are actually operating out of benevolence when passing on the latest success trends to others.

The problem is that many times, especially in health and fitness, is that these methods simply sound good at face value and miss so many other important factors that are important for long-term success. Causation without correlation.

As always a moderate, consistent, and well rounded approach always works best and is something we at Eon Fitness employ in all of our exercise programs whether working with clients in-person or through our online personal training programs. If you found this information to be useful, please feel free to share it with your friends, and leave us a comment below.

Crunches Won’t Cut It: Truly Strengthen Your Core

There was a time in the early 2000s, as a 16-year-old kid, when I was getting in shape for the first time of my life. It was two years since I had taken my first steps to transforming from the chubby little video gamer I had always identified myself to be. I was thrilled to feel what it was like to lose some of the weight I had carried around for years while developing a little bit of muscle. In these early stages, goal setting was so very important as I hadn’t yet developed any kind of actual enjoyment in the process of being active.

I eventually reached a point that many exercisers comes to at one point or another, and in the name of vanity, I set out to develop a 6-pack of abs because, well… maybe I thought it might be cool. Or maybe it was the movies or comic book heroes that marketed to me that this was what it meant to be in shape. Whatever the reason was, I don’t remember, I just went for it.

But at 16-years-old, what did I know about developing a strong, defined midsection? Well, I had seen the Rocky movies a few times. I also knew that when I did crunches in JROTC for our physical fitness test that my abs would hurt for 3 days after. I also think I heard time and time again that this Actor/Actress did 500 crunches a day to get in shape for this or that movie role.

So with this knowledge, and this knowledge alone I set out for my goal… and failed miserably.

I remember starting with 100 crunches per day, 5 days per week while finding… no visible abs. It didn’t take long for my endurance to increase so I began increasing to 150 per day and before long, 200 crunches per day, and while after a while I had no problem maxing out my JROTC  crunch test, I still had no visible abs. There was no attention given to nutrition, and while I didn’t know it at the time, I was performing a useless workout program.

The experiment was a failure, but it taught me a great deal of information, though I wouldn’t realize it for maybe a decade later. And while the appeal of visibly defined abs no longer interests me from an aesthetics perspective, I have learned a tremendous amount since that time about how functional it is to have a strong, balanced and coordinated core for both in-the-gym training and in the real world.

While core strength is becoming more and more discussed in the fitness industry and in mainstream marketing, our general perception as a whole of what core strength is and how it is developed is still commonly misconstrued. After spending the past seven years working in commercial gyms, I have seen dozens upon dozens of people each day make the same mistakes I described above, and I hope to set you up for success with the information in this post so that you can be spared the mistakes that I and so many others have made.

Breaking the Spot Reduction Mindset

We cannot spot reduce where we lose fat. Period. (Although it would be awesome if we could…)

Where we store fat in our bodies is a great deal attributed to both gender and our genetics. To generalize, men typically tend to store more body fat in the abdominal and midsection area, while women tend to store more body fat in their hips and lower bodies. While there are many exceptions to this overgeneralization, this is the case for most people.

As we overindulge and store calories in the form of fat in our bodies, our genetics also determine whether we store more fat in our legs versus our arms, or our hips versus our bellies, or our fingers versus our toes. You get the point.

This means that when we attempt to lose body fat in our bellies, that really, we just need to burn fat in our bodies which is a combination of:

• A well balanced diet
• Creating a healthy caloric deficit (which doesn’t entail starving ourselves)
• Performing activities that raise our metabolism (heavy compound movements for example, and exercise in general)

But if aesthetics are important to you whether it is regarding your abs or any other muscle group, there IS a secret formula, which really is not a secret at all, and it’s:

(Developed muscle in an area) + (Low Body Fat) = Muscle Definition

The big mistake, however, is that most people set out to “get abs” by nearly starving themselves which certainly does some work reducing fat albeit an unhealthy one, but it also reduces muscle in our bodies which means it shrinks muscle in the abs. Remember, no muscle = no definition.

Nutrition is perhaps the most essential component to seeing the abs, but developing the core is a very close second, and from a performance standpoint, strengthening the core area is the foundation of most great exercise programs as it protects us from injury, and strengthens all movements we perform. But how do we strengthen our core?

Stop Doing Crunches and Sit-Ups

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but not only are countless floor crunches and sit-ups repeatedly performing a movement that worsens the ramifications of the seated desk position that causes so many of us to have slouched posture, tight hips, and low back pain, but it also doesn’t work well for building the abs. In order to build muscle effectively for any area in the body, heavier progressive overload exercises work best.

Even when putting aside the evidence that crunches and sit-ups are correlated with tight hip flexors (which cause low back pain) and stress to the discs in the spine ( Which also cause back pain,) the nature of these exercises is more of an endurance classification, and while you may “feel” the area working, you’re just getting better at resisting fatigue in the abs, and not necessarily building muscle. There are better methods and exercises out there, and I intend to share them with you.

Some Quick Physiology

If you want to skip the science stuff, scroll ahead to Effective Ways to Strengthen the Core. While I won’t dive too far into the physiology that influences muscular growth as it pertains to the core, it is important to briefly touch upon it to explain why other training methods work better than crunches and Russian twists when it comes to truly achieving a stronger core.

According to the 3rd edition of Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, “Heavy resistance training brings about significant adaptive responses that result in enhanced size, strength, and power of trained musculature.”

The three primary hormones involved in muscle tissue growth are testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor.

Maybe you’ve heard of these chemical compounds before in the news or articles covering athletes’ illegal use of steroids or performance enhancing drugs, however, they actually occur naturally in our bodies (in both men and women) and can be influenced to a degree by heavier resistance training. These compounds are responsible for building lean muscle which is a huge factor in burning fat and feeling and looking stronger. Most of all, using some of the training protocols used for influencing these hormone levels will also develop strength in the entire body, especially the core:

Natural Testosterone Boosting Methods:

• Large Muscle Group Exercises
• Heavy Resistance (85%-95% of 1 RM)
• Moderate to High Volume of of exercise using multiple sets, exercises, or both.
• Short Rest Intervals
• Two or more years of resistance training experience

Natural Growth Hormone Boosting Methods:

• Growth hormone has not been found to be affected by low resistance high repetition exercises (VanHelder study noted in text mentioned above)
• An Intensity Threshold (lifting heavy enough) exists to get the body to begin secreting growth hormone
• Kraemer study showed less break time mixed with total volume of exercises (Volume =  Weight x Reps x Sets) increases GH serum levels
• 10 Rep Max sets were shown to produce higher levels of GH responses

When evaluating the natural ways to boost growth hormone and testosterone to build muscles, you see in both cases, it requires heavier resistance loads (sets of 3 to as many as 20,) so it makes sense that an endless number of repetitions and long duration sets of “abs” won’t be very effective for building much musculature there. These exercises fall into a category of more of an endurance type, and they still carry the risks mentioned above.

Effective Ways to Strengthen the Core

So where does this leave us? Well, we should approach the core like we would if we were trying to strengthen anything else such as the biceps, triceps, lats or quads.

Compound Movements are king in any exercise program; even when focusing on core strength. The degree of core strength and stability required to perform a squat or a deadlift or a bent-over-row, with safe form and full range of motion is tremendous. I can personally attest to this from my own experience in 2015, When I entered a 90-day weight loss challenge for my job, and I finally achieved my 16-year-old self’s goal (although this time, “getting abs” wasn’t the goal.)

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2015: 90-Day Transformation. Compound lifts, healthy carbs/proteins/fats, and 0 “Ab Days.” Not a single crunch was performed or necessary.

The difference this time around was there were many more principles of nutrition and physiology that factored into the program. By following a protocol that required a lot of caloric output by using heavier compound movements and a sensible nutrition plan (yes, I ate carbs… LOTS of carbs which are healthy and part of a well balanced diet)  the conditions were right for a favorable transformation to occur.

99% of this program consisted of compound movements: Squats, Deadlifts, Pullups, Bent Over Rows, Overhead Press, etc. without ever performing an abdominal crunch. The core works hard in every single one of these exercises, even though they are not “ab movements.”

This is not to say isolating the core is useless. It can be highly effective for isolating weaker areas and imbalances and can be especially effective as a good warm up for lighter lifting  or circuit training days, or a great way to end a workout on heavier lifting days. In fact, core stability exercises help quite a bit to ensure compound movements are functioning properly. But stability aside, there are still some pretty great isolation movements out there which include the following:

Time-Under-Tension Exercises:

• Planks
• Hollow Body Holds
• Deadbugs
• Pallof Presses
• Stir the Pot
• Dragon Flags

Resistance Loaded and Full Range Of Motion Exercises:

• Suspended Leg Raises
• Cable Woodchop/Horizontal Rotation
• Side Bends
• Cable Flexion (Cable Crunch)
• Ab Wheel

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Hollow Body Hold

In Summary

Piecing it all together can be tough, but let’s try and break it all down right here into a few short bullet points to simplify as much as possible:

• Core performance has different categories in which we discussed three: Core Strength, Core Stability, Core Endurance
• Core Strength is most associated with growing the size of the abdominals and other core muscles (though the other categories play an important role)
• There exist specific loads, rep schemes and movements that trigger muscular strength, power and size in all muscles including the core
• Compound Movements, if performed correctly with full range of motion and enough resistance will activate the core in very large amounts and are strongly recommended for developing a strong core
• When isolating the core, focusing on time under tension and full ROM resistance loaded movements are highly effective when compared to high endurance exercises such as crunches

These are some of the fundamental principles we implement into our exercise programs when training in-person or in our Eon Fitness: Online Personal Training Program. If you’d like to learn more about ways to strengthen your core or improve your exercise programming, we encourage you to bookmark our main page and check back regularly for more posts and tips.

The Problem with Physical Therapy

I’ve had this topic in mind for a while now and just now have the opportunity to discuss it. Most of us have been to physical therapy at least once or know or someone that has been through physical therapy. Whether for a shoulder injury, knee issue, hip problem, etc., we’ve all been there. You get hurt, you go to the doctor, they refer out and there you are in physical therapy. I have been to five physical therapists in my life for SI joint dysfunction and have yet to find someone who knows how to completely help me. The closest I have come to having someone understand my condition still can’t quite figure out what’s going on.

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Source: http://www.clinton-ind.com/products/physical-therapy-equipment

Continue reading “The Problem with Physical Therapy”

Why You’re Not Losing Weight

There are many reasons why you might not be losing weight. Weight loss occurs when we are burning more calories than we consume through a combination of both food intake and exercise. If either of these components is lacking, weight loss can slow down. With so much information out there, it can be hard to determine how many calories you need to be eating to lose weight. Today’s post will touch on how to figure out if you are eating too little, too much, or if you are right on target for meeting your weight loss goals.

I like to break down the kinds of people who are struggling to lose weight into two categories:

    1. Those who are not eating enough to lose weight
    2. Those are are eating too much to lose weight

Continue reading “Why You’re Not Losing Weight”

Prioritize Strength Training for Your Fat Loss Goals

Over the past several years, I have worked with primarily female clients. Most of the time they come to me after seeing little to no results from their current exercise routine. Their goals typically include getting “toned”, building muscle, or looking better.

After inquiring about what they are currently doing, most women will say they are just doing cardio 5x/week or taking group exercise classes. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, performing cardio and taking classes alone will not get them to their goals of building muscle. 
Continue reading “Prioritize Strength Training for Your Fat Loss Goals”

Intuitive Eating: Part III

A little while ago, I started a blog series about Intuitive Eating, a book written by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. This book literally changed my life and changed my outlook on food, health, and self-love. If you would like to revisit two of my previous posts on intuitive eating, you can find them here and here!

Looking back, Intuitive Eating teaches 10 simple principles:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Respect Your Fullness
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  7. Honor Your Feelings without Using Food
  8. Respect your Body
  9. Exercise – Feel the Difference
  10. Honor your Health

During today’s post, we will discuss step 4, Challenging the Food Police. 
Continue reading “Intuitive Eating: Part III”

Have Shoulder Pain? Read this.

Shoulder injuries are pretty common. From torn rotator cuffs to torn labrums and SLAP tears, there are lots of way to mess up your shoulder. Most people think that they “tweaked” their shoulder and then went to the doctor. The surprising thing however is that most shoulder injuries can be easily prevented with proper exercise technique and programming. Today’s post will take a preventative side on how you can prevent future shoulder injuries.

Shoulder Anatomy
Continue reading “Have Shoulder Pain? Read this.”

The Four Steps to Building Muscle

One the great things that has happened in the past decade is that weightlifting has become a lot more commonplace for both men and women. Women in particular are becoming a lot more confident in lifting weights thanks to social media efforts. The one problem I find with this weightlifting movement however is that probably 90% of gym lifters do not lift with proper form or know the basic principles on how to build muscle.

As a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist, it’s important for me to educate my clients not only on how to get them to their goals but to also cut through the BS of information that is out there on how to build muscle. Today’s post will highlight four necessary steps to building muscle, the smart way.
Continue reading “The Four Steps to Building Muscle”

My Story & the Lack of Authenticity in the Fitness Industry

I first got heavily interested in weightlifting back in college for the sole purpose of attaining the “perfect physique.” I watched probably hundreds of Youtube videos on a myriad of different exercises just so I could feel more confident going to the gym alone and navigating the men-dominated weight room. I would practice exercises at home and even film myself to check my mobility in different areas. I loved the way weightlifting made me look and feel. Unfortunately, this was also at a time when I struggled tremendously with my self-esteem.

As a college girl, it was hard for me to mentally live up to the type of pressure to be physically beautiful. College for me focused a lot on the superficial. What was everyone going to wear to that party? Do I need to get a new outfit before I go out tonight? That girl has so much expensive makeup – maybe I should get that same kind too? That girl looks really in shape – maybe I should do what she does to work out? I developed disordered eating patterns and even binge-eating disorder that lasted for almost 5 years.
Continue reading “My Story & the Lack of Authenticity in the Fitness Industry”