Explosive Pushups with Dumbbells

Explosive Pushup 1

Explosive Pushup 2

Explosive Pushup 4

Explosive Pushup 3

I was recently asked to post more exercises that really target your chest. In the past few months, I started adding more pushup variations into my workouts and have noticed a significant change in the strength and size of my pecs. This exercise destroys my chest at the end of a great workout. Explosive Pushups with Dumbbells test your upper body strength and allow you to use all areas of your chest in one exercise.

To do Explosive Pushups with Dumbbells:
1. Take two dumbbells and lay them upright on the ground. (One side of the dumbbells should be flat on the floor, and the other side should be up in the air, leaving a flat surface at the top)
2. Start in a raised plank position with your feet on the floor and one hand on each dumbbell. *Image 1
3. Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor. *Image 2
4. As you push up, lift your hands off the dumbbells. Now your feet should be the only part of your body touching the floor.
5. As your body starts to lower back down to the ground, land with your hands on the floor between the dumbbells. *Image 3
6. Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor. *Image 4
7. As you push up away from the floor, lift you hands off the floor and try to place them back on top of the dumbbells.
8. End in a raised plank position with a slight bend in your elbows, your feet on the floor and one hand on each dumbbell.
9. Repeat steps 3-8 for the allotted amount of reps.
Click Here to watch a short video to see an example of Explosive Pushup with Dumbbells.

TIPS:
1. Do not arch your back. During the explosive motion you may want to arch your back to get your chest higher and get your body higher off the ground. By keeping your body straight, it may seem harder, but you will activate and train the correct muscles.
2. If you are feeling sharp pains in your wrist or elbows, stop the exercise. This exercise can have a high impact on your joints in your arms, especially if your form is not correct. You do not want to cause any damage.
3. You can place your feet together, shoulder width apart, or wide. The closer your legs are together, the harder your core will work to stabilize your body.
4. If you do not have dumbbells, you can use other surfaces like a small boxes, steppers, or anything else you can think of as long as the surfaces are the same height.
5. I try to do 5 sets of 5-10 reps with a 60 second break in between each set. If this is the last exercise I do of the day, I do as many reps as possible until I reach failure.




Have you ever tried Explosive Pushups with Dumbbells? Are there any other variations of pushups that you like to do? Contact me with corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, or ideas for other topics.

Hollow Body Holds

This is one of the greatest core conditioning exercises out there. It may look simple, but after only a few seconds, you will feel your core burning! Hollow Body Holds will strengthen your entire core and will help condition your body for many other exercises.

Hollow Body Holds 3

How to Perform Hollow Body Holds:
1. Lie down with your back on the floor and hands by your side
2. While keeping your lower back flat on the ground, activate your core to lift your legs, arms and shoulders a few inches off the ground.
3. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds (or as long a possible). The image shows the position to hold during a Hollow Body Hold.



TIPS:
1. You must keep your lower back flat on the floor. Keeping your lower back connected with the floor will activate the appropriate muscles for this exercise.
2. You may find yourself shaking during this exercise. As long as you are not uncomfortable, try to push through it. You may shake because your muscles are not used to the tension from this exercise, but it means that your muscles are working hard. Be prepared to be sore tomorrow!
3. BREATHE! Do not hold your breath during this exercise. Focus and take slow deep breaths.
4. Keep your legs tight together!

Have you ever tried Hollow Body Holds? How long can you hold a Hollow Body Hold? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, and ideas for new topics.

What is HIIT?

HIIT 1
Many of you may have heard about HIIT training before, but don’t really understand what it is. I’m going to briefly explain the concept of HIIT training and how you can include it into your workout.

WHAT IS HIIT?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The concept of HIIT is alternating low-intensity intervals with high-intensity intervals. The most common and simplest form of HIIT can be applied to running, however HIIT can be used in many different exercises such as burpees, box jumps, squats etc.

WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF A HIIT WORKOUT?
When running, instead of running at a steady pace for 15 minutes, try doing a low-intensity interval alternated with a high-intensity interval. For example, 30 seconds of walking, then 30 seconds of seconds of sprinting. Doing 15 rounds of this exercise would be a great HIIT workout. Push yourself hard during the sprint. Many times we are comfortable at one speed, however it is not even close to our max speed needed to do a sprint. The more you push yourself (under safe conditions), the better the results.

WHY IS IT EFFECTIVE?
Because of the high interval training, you are able to really work on your endurance, increase your metabolism, burn fat, and help build muscle.

Cassandra Fiorella @petitefi

@petitefi

    Endurance: According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Meeting, 2 weeks of HIIT improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training.
    Burn Fat: Because of the high intensity, your body works hard to repair itself. After a HIIT workout, you burn more calories over a 24 hour span than you would during a regular endurance program because your body is constantly working in repair mode to recover your muscles.
    Metabolism: HIIT increases the production of your HGH (Human Growth Hormone) by up to 450% which helps burn more calories throughout the day and is suppose to help slow down the aging process.

HIIT is never easy because you have to push yourself hard, but the outcome may surprise you. Since adding HIIT into my workouts, I have noticed a huge change in my body and my abilities as an athlete.

Do you include HIIT workouts into your workout routine? What are some of your favorite intervals to do? Let me know at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

Raised L-Sits

Are you ready for another great stabilization exercise? L-sits are one of my favorite core strengthening exercises to perform because you can engage your entire core with one simple move. L-sits are a great exercise to add to any workout plan, and no matter what your fitness level, there is always room for growth and improvement with this exercise.

Raised L Sit

How to do Raised L Sits:
1. Grab two bars or stable surfaces of equal height and set them about 1 to 2 feet apart from each other. (The distance apart depends on the comfort of each person individually)
2. Place one hand on each surface and squat down to prepare for the exercise.
3. With your arms straight, raise your legs up off the floor in front of you.
4. Straighten your legs so they are now parallel to the floor.
5. Hold this position for as long as you can and then lower your legs back to the floor.
6. Repeat this exercise for the allotted amount of sets.

TIPS:
1. Track your progress with L-sits. The first time you try this exercise, you may only be able to hold this position for a few seconds, but after only a few weeks, you will see a huge difference in what you can do. Seeing your time increase will help motivate you to keep pushing your limits.
2. Keep your chest open and up. Keep your back straight and do not hunch when doing this exercise. Hunching will activate the wrong muscles and may even cause muscle strain.
3. Breathe. Like most stabilization exercises, it is common for people to hold their breath. I am sometimes guilty of this too, but holding your breath will cause unnecessary tension throughout your entire body which will actually make this exercise harder.
4. Look straight ahead! Try not to look down at the floor or at your legs, and don’t lift your head up. Pick something straight in front of you to focus on.
5. Your toes can be flexed or pointed during this exercise, but choose one. You want to really activate your legs and keep them straight and tight in this workout. If you let your feet just dangle, you will not be fully engaging your legs in this exercise.
6. If you do not have bars for this exercise, you can use two platforms, chairs, or even stacks of books.
7. My goal for this exercise is usually to hold the L-sit from 30-60 seconds and I do about 5 sets. If I do them right in a row, I try to take about a one minute break in between each set.

Have you ever tried Raised L-sits? Let me know what you think of this exercise and let me know if you have any other questions or comments by emailing me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

Handstand Negatives

Handstand Negatives 1

This is the next step in learning how to do Handstand Pushups. If you have not tried any of the previous workouts suggested in order to learn how to do a handstand pushup, CLICK HERE. Handstand Negatives depend on a slow controlled motion to strengthen and train your back, shoulder, and core muscles.

To Perform Handstand Negatives:
1. Place a pad, pillow, or soft surface on the floor and against the wall.
2. Face the wall and prepare to kick up into a handstand. To do so, place your hands a few inches away from the wall, on either side of the pad, and kick your legs up. You should end in an upside-down position with your back facing the wall.
3. Bend at your elbows and slowly lower your head down to the pad.
4. Lower your legs back to the ground by pushing off the wall with your feet.
5. Stand back up and repeat steps 2-5 for the allotted amount of reps.

Handstand Negatives 2

TIPS:
1. The exercise is ALL ABOUT CONTROL. Holding the handstand position will practice stability, but also the lowering down will activate those muscles needed to do a handstand pushup.
2. When lowering your head down to the pad, try to lower as slow as possible. Taking 3-5 seconds is ideal. The slow motion will make this exercise hard, but effective. It will really test and work a wide arrange of muscles in your upper body.
3. Once your head is down on the pad, try pushing up from this position. It is ok if you can’t, just kick up into a handstand before every negative. If you can do a pushup, do another handstand negative after the pushup.
4. Try doing 5 negatives at a time at first and then try and work your way up to 10 consecutive reps. At first you may not be able to lower yourself slowly, but over time really test yourself and try to lower yourself as slow as possible.

Have you ever tried Handstand Negatives? Have you been following my guide to learning handstand pushups? Let me know what you think. Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics.

Killer Core Workout

Photography:  Peter Brown Apparel: Body Aware

Photography: Peter Brown
Apparel: Body Aware

When it comes to core workouts, I like to dedicate one day during the week to just core exercises. This workout is the one that I have been using for the past few weeks to help build and tone my core. So far I have been feeling and seeing some great results. The thing I really like about this workout is that it does not only focus on one area of your abdominals, but instead focuses on your entire midsection from your abs, to your obliques, and even your lower back. This workout consists of groups of exercises that should be done right after another followed by a long rest. This will test your endurance and will help give you the results you are looking for. Try it out and let me know what you think.

KILLER CORE WORKOUT!

Cardio and Warmup:
30 minutes of Cardio
10 minutes of Stretching

Group 1: (3 sets)
Leg Lifts with Alternating Stability Ball x 15 reps (Click Here)
Reverse Crunch with Stability Ball x 25 reps (Click Here)
Leg Lifts With Stability Ball x 10 reps (Click Here)
90 second rest
* Do 3 sets of this Group of exercises

Group 2: (3 sets)
Kettlebell Side Bend x 20 reps on right
Kettlebell Side Bend x 20 reps on left
Ab roller x 15 reps
90 second rest
* Do 3 sets of this Group of exercises

Group 3: (3 sets)
Raised Side Plank on right x Hold for 1 minute (Click Here)
Raised Side Plank on left x Hold for 1 minute (Click Here)
Toes to Bar x 10 reps
* Do 3 sets of this Group of exercises

Group 4: (3 sets)
Hollow Hold x Hold for 1 minute or until failure
60 second rest
* Do 3 sets of this exercise

Group 5:
Back hyperextensions x 200 reps. Rest when needed.
* I usually do about 5-10 at a time and then rest for about 5-10 seconds.
Stretch

That is my Killer Core Workout that I have been doing once a week for the past month. It is definitely not easy, but it will help get you a strong and toned core. Let me know what you think of the workout and contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Wall Walks

Wall Walk 1

Wall Walk 2

Wall Walk 3

Wall Walk 4

One of the most common questions I get asked is how to do a handstand. This exercise is one of the best ways to learn how. Wall Walks strengthen your core and your shoulder muscles, they help you practice your stability, and because many people are afraid of falling and/or being upside-down, wall walks allow you to become more comfortable with the movement of a handstand while still feeling supported. Wall Walks are also a very important step in learning handstand pushups.

To Perform Wall Walks:
1. With your feet against the wall, start in a pushup plank position.
2. Slowly walk your legs up the wall by pushing your hands into the floor and feet into the wall.
3. Walk your hands back toward the wall as your feet get higher.
4. Crawl your feet up the wall as high as you feel comfortable. Hold this position for 3 seconds.
5. While walking your hands forward, slowly walk your feet back down the wall and return to the push-up plank position.
6. Repeat Steps 2-5 for the allotted amount of reps.

TIPS:
1. Only go to a height where you feel comfortable. You will still be strengthening your core and shoulders even if you don’t go all the way up the wall. Once you become comfortable, try getting higher until you can walk all the way up.
2. It is not a bad idea to have someone watch as your perform this exercise. It is good to have someone to catch you in case you want to try pushing yourself, but it is also important to have someone watch your form and make sure you are doing this exercise correctly.
3. Keep your core tight and back straight. It is very common to curve your back during this exercise which will compromise form and possibly cause muscle strain.
4. This exercise is to be done slowly. Having slow control of this exercise is key to activating the correct muscles.
5. I like to do about 3 sets of 5 reps.

Have you ever tried Wall Walks? Do you want to learn to do a handstand? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or ideas for other topics.

Raised Shoulder Pushups

Raised Shoulder Pushup: Step 1

Raised Shoulder Pushup: Step 2

Once you have mastered the regular Shoulder Pushup, it is now time to increase the difficulty. These Raised Shoulder Pushups are the second step in the progression toward achieving handstand pushups. This exercise will help activate and strengthen the muscles in your back, shoulders, arms and core that you need to perform the more difficult handstand pushup.

To Perform Raised Shoulder Pushups:
1. While facing the forward, start by putting your hand on the ground and legs up on a raised surface behind you(bench or table).
2. Straighten your legs and straighten your back to create and ‘L’ Shape with your body. You will need to activate your core to hold this position.
3. Bend at the elbows and lower so your head is just above the floor.
4. Push back up to straighten your arms and return to the ‘L’ position.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for the allotted amount of reps.

TIPS:
1. If you have not tried regular shoulder pushups prior to this exercise, please Click Here to see how to perform a shoulder pushup.
2. Keep your back and legs straight to activate your shoulders, core and lats correctly.
3. Really use your core to keep the ‘L” shape in your body. Do not let your hips droop.
4. The tall the surface the harder the exercise is, so try starting with something that is only a few inches off the ground first and then work your way up to a taller surface such as a table.
5. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Don’t lift your head to look at the floor. That will cause unnecessary tension.

Have you tried Raised Shoulder Pushups? Are you working on getting handstand pushups? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, stories, or ideas for other topics.

Shoulder Pushups

Shoulder Pushup: Step 1

Shoulder Pushup: Step 2

This is the first step in the progression toward achieving Handstand Pushups. To achieve a Handstand Pushup, you must have great shoulder, back, and tricep strength, but also a good core strength to maintain your balance while on your hands. Shoulder Pushups are an excellent way to start strengthening these muscles.

To Perform Shoulder Pushups:
1. Start in a Normal Pushup Plank Position
2. Walk your hands back and lift your hips toward the ceiling to create an upside down ‘V’ position with your body. Keep your legs and back as straight as possible and stay up on your toes.
3. Bend at the elbows and lower so your head is just above the floor.
4. Push back up to return to the V position.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for the allotted amount of reps.

TIPS:
1. Keeping your back and legs straight will help engage the proper muscles during this exercise. Most of the work should be done by your shoulders, however you will also feel your lats activating if done correctly.
2. Focus on keeping your hips up toward the ceiling. Don’t let them droop!
3. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Don’t lift your head to look at the floor. That will cause unnecessary tension.
4. Try doing 3 sets of 10 reps at first and build your way up to 3 sets of 20 reps. Once you can do 3 sets of 20 reps, increase the difficulty by trying Elevated Shoulder Pushups (Put your legs on a bench or table).

Have you tried Shoulder Pushups? Are you working on getting handstand pushups? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, stories, or ideas for other topics.

Elevated Reverse Hyperextensions with a Stability Ball

Elevated Reverse Hyperextensions follow the same concept as Reverse Hyperextensions that are done on the ground, however when elevated you are able to increase your range of motion and challenge your core stabilization. To perform the exercise, all you need is an exercise ball and either a bench or a table. If you have not tried Reverse Hyperextensions on the floor, Click Here to view my past post and to see how to perform the exercise.

Elevated Reverse Hyperextensions: Step 1

Elevated Reverse Hyperextensions: Step 2



To do Elevated Reverse Ball Hyperextensions:
1. Place the Exercise ball on the elevated surface (table or bench).
2. Carefully lie down, facing forward, with your abdomen on top of the exercise ball. Grab the sides of the bench or table with your hands. Keep your legs straight and have your feet as low as you can have them. They should not be on the bench or table, but rather over the side.
3. While keeping your legs extended, raise your legs up as high as you can.
4. Slowly lower your legs back down.
4. Repeat Steps 3-4 for the allotted amount of reps. (I like to do 5 sets of 10 reps.)





TIPS:
1. Be careful when you are on top of the table or bench. Use your core and your arms to stabilize yourself. If you feel like you are tipping over, try performing Reverse Hyperextensions on the ground. Click Here to see how to perform this exercise on the ground.
2. This exercise is not about speed or how high you can get your legs, but it is all about the form. Control the motion and take your time with each rep.
3. When your legs are at the highest point, try to hold the position for about a second before you lower your legs back down. This will increase you muscle activation and make the exercise more affective.
4. Do not use the ball to bounce your legs up in the air. Doing so could cause muscle strain or you could possibly fall off the bench or table which may lead to many other injuries.

Do you like this exercise? Do you have any other exercises you like to do? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, or ideas for other posts.