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Tag Archives for " chest muscles "
21

How to Choose the Right Sports Bra

Dear Fun and Fit: How do I go about finding the right sports bra for me and my exercise activities?  Lynn, Santa Barbara CA

Kymberly: In short, (or is that “in sport?”) you have two sports bra types to choose from:

1. Compression Sports Bra

The compression choice is best for A and B cup sizes and pretty much built on the concept of holding those babies in by smooshing them cuz’ there is not that much to spill out or squash down. You will know a compression bra by the fact that you usually put it on by pulling it overhead.

sports bra - encapsulating style

This sports bra is an example of the encapsulating style

2. Encapsulation Sports Bra

The encapsulation type is more appropriate for C cups and bigger. You will recognize these bras by their hooks and adjustable straps. The goal here is to hold your breasts up and in, not just in as is the case with compression bras.

Alexandra: I was part of a tweetchat that discussed this very issue. The participants were split 50/50 on whether they preferred wire or wireless. I don’t know your activities, but the 3 F’s should be considered: Function, Fashion, Feel. Look at the three choices and give them a ranking in order of preference. For example, I am fairly average in the chest, so I like Feel and Fashion. I don’t worry as much about Function.

Retro encapsulation bra

Cross my heart and hope to exercise!

Kymberly: Once you determine which bra type is right for you, then narrow down your choice further using these three criteria:

  1. Comfort – Part of my midlife mantra is that I am more interested in being comfortable when choosing my workout gear rather than caring about the color, lacy factor, or designer label. Price factors into my choice as well, which I will put in the comfort category as I am super comfy with a great price!
  2. Bounce factor – ‘Nuff said there. Nothing says “the sport for this sports bra is poker or golf” like too little support and too much bouncing as if doing a Tigger impression “Bouncy Flouncy Fun Fun Fun.” Without the fun.
  3. Look/ Style – Again, I am not so caught up in how the bra looks in and of itself. More significant to me is how I look in the completed exercise ensemble. Does the bra support my outfit in a slimming, youthening, life enhancing way? Oh wait, that’s the wonderyears bra, not a sports bra. And for the record, I am in that generation that believes a bra is underwear and should be under the other clothes, out of sight, doing its job quietly and effectively. Just like my sister. Mwah ha ha hahhh
sports Bras for Betty and Veronica

The girls want to work out while staying in.

Alexandra: You are saying I should be under your clothes? That’s creepy. Meantime, poor ol’ Betty and Veronica, sagging and dragging from so much work. Somebody please stop me from singing that awful junior high song.

Kymberly: Anyway, take a peek at this titillating post we wrote awhile back: What NOT to wear to your work out.

The reader question is real and legit; the advice we offer is also legit and fit and full of wit.

ACTION: Got an event needing edu-taining speakers? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

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Photo credits: vintage bra: x-ray delta one

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
13

3 Exercises You Never Have to Do Again after 2012

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Build that Bust

Build that Bust

Ready to leave behind certain moves, memories, and mad moments of 2012? Want to enter 2013 with exercises that are effective and efficient? Say sayonara to the following exercises that are useless at best, injurious at worst. Yes, you have the official Fun and Fit wand wave to refrain forever from certain moves!

Unweighted Arm Circles

We confess – we used to teach air circles ourselves back in the 80s. But they don’t actually work anything effectively. The arm circling exercise really just stresses the shoulder and wrist joints. If you want to target your biceps, triceps, or forearm, you have much better options. Comment below if you want us to make videos showing you those better upper body and arm exercises.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7HQjlbFzKM&feature=share&list=PLkNW77Cz_XKGdRnYXJn9V7TfuVH-Zbs-X[/youtube]

Standing Chest Squeezes, aka “Bust Builders”

We must, we must, we must build up our bust.
For fear, for fear, we won’t fill our brassiere.
Who recognizes that ditty from grade school PE? Did you also have to chant those words while doing chest squeezes, bust builders, or whatever you called them? As an adult have you tried standing pec work with free weights in your hands to strengthen your chest? One problem: the resistance factor is all wonky so there’s no significant pectoral work. All this exercise does is stress your shoulder joint.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep7pTGJgC08&feature=share&list=PLkNW77Cz_XKGdRnYXJn9V7TfuVH-Zbs-X[/youtube]

Leg Lifts, Fire Hydrant Style

Don’t use this fire hydrant to put out any hot hiney flames! This so-called leg & butt exercise (it isn’t) is a useless exercise unless you want your hip to hurt. Mostly you are getting external hip rotation joint action, which has some value but not as a great glute move. You can do so many other, better exercises for your legs, and tush that don’t depend on low resistance, high repetition wafting through the air.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dSQubp4zB4&feature=share&list=PLkNW77Cz_XKGdRnYXJn9V7TfuVH-Zbs-X[/youtube]

Click to see more exercises that DON’T work in our YouTube Playlist: Exercise No No’s – Funny, Useless, Parodies and Otherwise

To see exercises that DO work, take a look at a few of our other YouTube Playlists:
Right and Wrong Way to do Exercises
Get Better Posture and Spinal Alignment
Healthy Aging Exercises for Women Over 45

End 2012 with action that will propel you into a more fit 2013:  Subscribe now to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Click now on the icons above or below. We make it easy to share and subscribe!

18

Push-Ups: Right & Wrong Way

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Push-Ups are a Great Exercise if you do them Properly

Push-Ups: Right and Wrong Way with Alexandra and KymberlyIf we were left alone on a deserted island (or gym), we’d still be able to get a great workout. Actually, if we had to pick just two exercises, push-ups would be one of them (we aren’t saying the other just yet; you’ll have to wait for that post) because they work so many muscles, don’t require equipment, and are fairly easy to do.

For those of you hate push-ups, why? Because someone said you had to do long lever (toe) or not at all? Because they’re hard? Because (for you women) you were told you’d look too “manly” in the chest?

If you do them correctly, they are fun, fun, fun! Believe it!

Correct form means:

  • Shoulder blades retracted
  • Long line from head to knees (or toes)
  • Hands wide so there’s a 90 degree angle at the elbows at the bottom of the move
  • Hands in a line with the chest (not the shoulders)

So, are you a push-up hater or lover? For more on short  vs long lever (knee vs toe)  push-ups, take a look at our post with a dedicated video, Push-Ups: Knees to Toes

Clickety click on these links. Lower yourself into a push-up, then use your nose to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. You can also find us via the icons to your right —–>

20

One-Legged Workout

Alexandra Williams, MA

Even When You Can’t do a Full-Body Workout, You can Still Do a Partial-Body Workout

As some of you may know, I had surgery on my foot last week. At my post-op visit, the doc used the word “horrific” to describe my big toe joint (bone spurs, zero cartilage, bone-on-bone) when he got in there during the surgery. When the doctor uses that kind of adjective, you kind of quickly figure out you won’t be going back to your normal routine (teaching group fitness, walking in regular shoes) early. He said it takes six full weeks for the bones to fully fuse together, and that if I put any weight at all on my big toe, the screws could snap. Ick!

I am not happy, nor am I depressed, about being out of commission for at least six weeks. It’s more like acceptance and now let’s move on to what I can do. My one request to the doc was to make it so I could still teach again. I don’t want to be limited when I’m only halfway through my life. So I’m trusting that I’ll teach by the time the Fall quarter starts at the U. Until then, I am focusing on doing as much as I safely can, especially workouts.

With that in mind, I went into the back room and pulled out my (very dusty) plates and bar. Got my cool mat that Goodness Knows Snacks gave me at the Fitness Health Bloggers conference too! This is a partial list of some of the exercises I’ve been doing. If you like them, I hope you’ll give them a try.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxoPLH8-I_U[/youtube]

Chest Presses
Single-leg Rows
Seated Bicep Curls
Supine Skull Crushers
Table-top Heel Taps
Single-leg Bridges
Single-leg Push-Ups
Single-leg Planks
Supine Leg Raises

Did you read that very short list and start thinking, “Wow, that’s it?! There are hundreds of exercises you could do”? I hope so, because that’s exactly what I figured out. I am limited by my foot, not by my imagination, determination or any of the other 229 joints (the number varies, depending on which joints you count) in my body. And a shout out to my new Twitter friend @ittuderevolution for sharing some of her favorite exercise suggestions.

When you can’t have something is when you really want it (remember your high school crushes?), so I hope that anyone and everyone who reads this and doesn’t want to work out takes a few seconds to think, “Hmm, I should do this today because I can. Tomorrow I might be wearing one of those ugly black booties.”

It’s not “All or Nothing.” It’s “All or Something or Nothing.” I’m limited, but not incapacitated. And I still have my sense of humor! Here’s to me! Now, I think I’ll go see about getting some toenail polish!

Have you ever been limited by your body? How did you respond?

11

The Klout Workout: Perks & Circuits

Alexandra Williams, MA

Circuit Workout that combines Exercise and Social Media

At the recent IDEA World Fitness Convention, I presented my “Klout Workout,” a circuit station workout based on social media. There were several hundred courses presented at the convention, and this was the only one in which attendees were encouraged to tweet, post and take pictures during the class.

 

InstaGram the InstaBlam

Klout is a company that measures people’s online influence and assigns a score. The score is derived from your activity on social media (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). The average score is 20, and brands offer free Perks to influencers who have certain scores (they choose the minimum) in specific topics. So I took the various sites and made them into circuit stations, assigning each person a score at the end of the workout. There were seven stations: Faceback, Twitter, LinkedIn, InstaBlam, Pinterest, FourSquare, and Reddit.

Post the FaceBack on FaceBook

For the Pinterest station, students bounced on stability balls in order to pin motivational sayings to the wall. For the LinkedIn station two people were attached at the ankle by an Exercuff, and they had to go from one spot to another remaining linked. At the InstaBlam station the two partners stood about 6 feet apart and did chest throws with a weighted medicine ball. FourSquare was the easiest to design – we played Four Square, just like in elementary school! For the Faceback station the partners were back to back, passing a medicine ball up, over and around each other. The Twitter station was declared the most popular, as they all got to take pictures of themselves bouncing on the stability balls.

I Tweet, You Tweet, We all Tweet for Sweet Treats

This was directly followed by the hardest station, Reddit, in which they had to do a plank on the ball while reading their texts and email. In between each station, instead of water breaks or walking around the room, they had tweet/ Instagram breaks.

Read It at Reddit

The workout was non-competitive, and everyone received a score based on the number of laps they did at the LinkedIn station. As it was all in fun, everyone got free Perks (thank you CalNaturale Svelte and PROBAR for the protein drinks and bars) at the end of class.

Perks from PROBAR and CalNaturale Svelte

One side benefit for the people who attended the class (if they had a Twitter account) was that all the tweets & posts they sent out during the workout helped increase their real life Klout score!

Feel free to use my workout with your own students if they’re fans of social media. Even though the class was at 7 in the morning, we had an energetic group. And don’t worry – even with all the tweeting and posting and picture-taking, everyone still got their sweat on! It was really fun.

What do you think – shall I try this with my university students in the Fall? Do you have any stations to suggest?

24

Workout for Dads

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Father’s Day is right around the corner, so these exercise suggestions are designed to help older dads get around that corner under their own power!

Before and After

As our parents (and grandparents) age, they tend to lose a lot of their strength, mobility and balance. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Sarcopenia (progressive decline in skeletal muscle mass…that may lead to decreased strength and functionality) is common among older adults, but exercise can help prevent muscle wasting (yup, the article in the link is by OUR Alexandra).

In honor of Father’s Day, and all fathers (mothers can do this workout too) who need more strength and mobility, we have created a functional, achievable mini-workout. Have your favorite fairly inactive older adult  try it and let us know how it goes!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ordMc5oBDM[/youtube]

Cardio: 10 minutes
* Lower body – foot movement
* Upper body – arms and torso movement
If you use music, 150-160 bpm is ideal for really working up a sweat in this seated workout

Strength:
* Sit to Stand – 10 reps – leg & core strength
* Wall Push-ups – 10-15 reps – upper body & core strength
* One- arm reach and rotate –  10 on each side – core strength, flexibility and balance

Heck, why not try it out yourself? It’s effective! May all our dads be around to enjoy good health for many years!

Clothing: Top by YMX Yellowman
Workout pants by Nike
Hiking/ Running shoes by Vasque Footwear

Photo credits: Man rollerblading  Dave Keeshan, Man with cane  garryknight

13

Resistance Tube Workout

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

This is a guest post from our friend Kodjo Hounnake. We know you’ll enjoy it.

I am Kodjo, from Kodjoworkout.com and today I have the daunting task of guest posting for industry heavyweights and FitFluential Ambassadors Kymberly and Alexandra. So I thought about workout topics that would be interesting and narrowed them down to something all of us should have in our fitness arsenal: a resistance tube.

What’s a Resistance Tube?

Heavy Resistance – Blue Tube

When it comes to strength training, most people typically go for free weights and machines. But if you work out at home, you probably know how expensive free weights are; let alone full-blown workout machines. So if you get most of your workout done at home, one piece of equipment you may want to get is the resistance tube.
Resistance tubes are long rubber bands with handles on them, and are used to perform strength training exercise routines. The resistance depends on its elasticity. This means that the thicker the tube, the higher its resistance. Keep that in mind when choosing one. You certainly don’t want it to be too elastic or not elastic enough. In other words, find your sweet spot.

How to use the Resistance Tube

The different uses of the resistance tube are only limited by your creativity. For example, you can step on the tube and use its resistance to perform biceps curls and lateral raises. Also, make sure your resistance tube comes with a door attachment, as it helps hook the tube to a door or window. This further increases the breadth of exercises you can perform. For instance, when attached to a door, the resistance tube can be used to perform triceps extensions, chest fly, rows, etc.
Unlike dumbbells that have a set weight, the great thing about resistance tubes is that you can increase or decrease your level of difficulty by modifying your position. Specifically, if you attach the band to a door, the farther you move away from the door, the higher the intensity of each pull. The closer you are to the door, the easier your workout.

Reasons you should have a Resistance Tube

There are many reasons everyone should own a resistance tube:
Resistance tubes are travel-friendly: If you travel often, it is very easy to skip a workout, especially if your travel location doesn’t have a gym in close proximity. In this case, the resistance tube can come to your rescue, as it is very easy to pack, and can be used in your hotel room or strapped around a tree.
Resistance tubes are cheap: There isn’t a lot of exercise equipment out there that is both versatile and affordable. The resistance tube is one of them. You can pick one up for less than $20, so it’s great for the budget-conscious exerciser (i.e. most of us)!
Resistance tubes add variety: With regular free weights, you are limited by the number of exercises you can perform, whereas a resistance tube allows you to modify your positioning in so many different ways, that there are endless possibilities for complexity and difficulty.
Resistance tubes are not just for the pros: Because you can control the elasticity of the tubes, they can be used by beginners and pros alike. To add intensity to your workout, step away from the attachment point. (for example, if you’re doing a chest press with the tube in the door behind you, the attachment point is where the tube is held by the door). To reduce the intensity, move closer to the center of the tube.
In the routine below, you’ll see the resistance tube being used to perform some triceps, shoulders and chest exercises

About the author: Kodjo Hounnake is a fitness enthusiast turned health blogger. When he is not tweeting or blogging about home workout sand healthy eating, he is likely eating healthfully and working out at home. His wish is to contribute as much as possible to the fight against obesity in America. He recently developed a four-week home workout program to help people exercise in the comfort of their home. Kodjo has more than a hundred thousand loyal Twitter Followers at Kodjoworkout.

Dear Readers: We encourage you to subscribe to and follow Kodjo, as he’s a very sociable person.
For those of you who are new to tubes or have shoulder issues, we recommend you hold your arms lower than shoulder height for the chest press, with the tube coming under the arms rather than over.

14

Push Ups: Knees to Toes

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I am working on building some bulk, yes, I said bulk in my arms and shoulders. As I get older, my skin is sagging a bit and I think building some muscle will fill it out a bit! So, I am doing pushups as one of my exercises.  But I can only do up to 10 REAL pushups and they are not very deep.

Am I better to do more deeper push ups from my knees or keep doing them from my toes and just trying to get my chest lower to the ground. Or does it matter? Thanks for your help. I love your vids. Elle, Canada

Kymberly: Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. Ears and eyes and mouth and nose. Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. Is that song stuck in your brain yet?

Now to get to bid-ness!

Thanks for the zippy question about push-ups, as we LOVE them! Start with full body (toe) push ups with as full a range of motion (ROM) as you can muster up with good form. In other words, get the chest as close to the ground as possible with your hands fairly wide. Even if you do just one or two full range push ups, start there. As soon as you have to sacrifice form or range of motion, switch to incline or knee push ups so you can achieve full ROM.

K: Take this approach for a week or two or five until you are up to a full set of full body push ups. At that time, still switch to the knee or incline ones once form goes, but take twice as long to push up as you did to drop down. For instance, count down for 2 counts, up for 4. This rhythm change will tax the arm muscles you are wanting to target while still working the back, chest, core. You will soon look MAHVAHLUSS!

Alexandra: My sis did a good job explaining what to do right, so I’ll comment on some of the “unique” things I see my students do that we are sure you won’t! Use a mirror to be sure.

* Butts up like they’re advertising for the weekend

* Hands above the head, which strains the shoulder area

* Butts down like a worm, which compresses the lumbar area

* Hinging from the hip and touching the forehead to the floor (quick anatomy tip: your chest is not in your forehead)

* Calling them boy and girl push ups, which makes us irritable

Remember,  knee push ups are REAL push ups fair and square! For even more exciting (beyond belief) push up ideas, take a look at our Patriot Push Ups post.

Readers: How did you work up to full body push ups?

Saaay, while you’re here, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel?

8

Easter Workout

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Now THAT'S a push-up!

Do you want a quick and easy way to get in some exercise this holiday weekend?

Are you pressed for time?

Good news: We have a full-body, quick workout for you that requires no equipment. Heck, you can even do it at a roadside rest stop, although you might want a towel for the push-ups!

 

 


Please note how wide Alexandra’s arms are for those push-ups. That’s to really engage the chest, and not over-emphasize the shoulders and arms. And we love full range of motion (ROM)!

If you want to know more about the wrong and right way to do a squat, or more about push-ups, check out these video posts.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, we hope you have a lovely, healthy, fun weekend! Now Drop and Give us 30!

Which do you prefer, planks or push-ups? Boxers or briefs?

8

Patriot Push-Ups Challenge Round Up

by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

January 2012 is now over, which means the Patriot Push-Ups Challenge is now over…sort of. Before we explain the “sort of,” let’s recap what the challenge is.

Come on, only 210 to go!

Joe Evans, Matthew Poster and Alexandra started talking on Twitter about honoring our U.S. servicemen and women who were killed in action in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. We decided to do a Patriot Push-Ups Challenge. That meant 6,347 push-ups in the 31 days of January. We’ll do the math for you – it’s essentially 212 per day.

Halfway through the Patriot Push-Ups, we highlighted some of the participants. Now we shall show you some video of a few of our very dedicated participants. You’ll want to read all the way through!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoWVuDpVkR4[/youtube]

This is Joe Evans. We think he did all of them on his toes. At something like 4 in the morning. He is a military man. He is very disciplined. Chat with him on Twitter.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c04nHXwXQJU&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

This is Matthew Poster. He has been encouraging families to get active for a long time. Chat with him on Twitter about his GetFitSu workout cards.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIjEeJcye0s[/youtube]

And this is Chuck Runyon. He owns Anytime Fitness. They donated a one-year membership to one of our challengers. When Chuck isn’t doing push-ups, he’s touring the country, talking about his book Working Out Sucks. But you know, it’s all relative. We think the 6,347 men and women who died on our behalf would much rather work out and be alive. They were killed in action. Honor them – don’t kill yourself from inaction!

Now we’ll explain what the “sort of ” alluded to at the start means: Although we’re done with the January push-ups, we are going to switch over to #PatriotAbs for February. Since it has only 29 days in the month, that means 219 per day. Please join us by commenting below. If you’re on Twitter, use the Patriot Abs hashtag listed here.

And finally…please help us congratulate Angela (@KidsHusbandandI). She is the winner of the one-year Anytime Fitness membership. She did her push-ups very diligently as she was quite motivated (even with a bad shoulder). As she said, “My motivation for doing the push-ups is to show my appreciation for the US Troops that gave the ultimate sacrifice.  My father is a Vietnam Veteran and I will always hold a special place in my heart for our soldiers.  As soon as I read the push-ups idea, I knew it was something I would do.”

 

Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker via Creative Commons