Kymberly: Hold on a moment. Did someone other than F and F just slip in a word play? Stand tall and proud just for that. While you’re standing, do some pec stretches and mid-back strengtheners. The stronger your back muscles are – especially the ones between your shoulder blades, such as the trapezius and rhomboids – the more those muscles will contract to lift your spine erect and to keep your shoulders back.
Yeah, you could hire someone to nag you to bring your shoulders down and back, but that’s no fun is it? Instead let’s think of fun things that FnF could stand for (as seen in your salutation).
Alexandra:What? That is a gimme. Anyone who’s seen my high school photos knows that FnF means Foxy and Fine! Hello? Did you not see those HOT photos of me that were never taken? Let’s pretend for a moment that we are answering Sharon’s question…nope, it’s passed.
But in the spirit of general pride and gaining two inches in height, I’ll give you our mom’s secret (she was a modern dance teacher)–ask someone to poke you between the shoulder blades at the dinner table. It’s a quick, yet mildly annoying, reminder to contract your mid-traps (that is fancy-talk for “pull your shoulder blades toward each other”). Or you could read our post, Look Younger and Thinner Instantly with Better Posture, which is not annoying at all.
Kymberly: Also try our zip trick to remind you that posture involves all the abs, uses the entire core, and requires activating the back side of your body as well.
Alexandra: I also see that Kymberly mentions chest stretches above. What she didn’t mention was that standing up taller and opening up the front of your body makes you more–caution, technical term coming–stacked! Not just appear so, but actually more frontal real estate. And you can then breathe better too. Since it’s hard to remember to pull your shoulder blades into a close, personal relationship, I’ll share a hot little workout trick I made up years ago. Do some of your exercises with your back and shoulders against the wall. For example, bicep curls or forward raises. Even though you aren’t actively focusing on “moving” your back, it will be easy for you to notice if you fall forward off the wall. Find out more about these quick and easy posture reminders at our post, Posture to Perfection.
K: In short, worry less about what you see in front– the pecs and anterior deltoids — and more about what’s happening behind your back. Just like in high school.
A: Did someone say “Off the Wall?” When the world is on your shoulders, Gotta straighten up your act and boogie down. Quick, who sings that? If you can sing and dance this entire song with shoulders back, you win a free Moonwalk lesson!
Readers and posturemongers: What reminders do you use to maintain good posture? Who had a mom who nagged you to stand up straight?
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
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]
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.
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!
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:
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 —–>
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]
Seated Bicep Curls
Supine Skull Crushers
Table-top Heel Taps
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?
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
* 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
This is a guest post from our friend Kodjo Hounnake. We know you’ll enjoy it.
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.
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.
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.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
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?
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]
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
Just for fun, we threw in some video of us to prove we’re doing a variety of push-ups – toe, knee, wall, equipment, benches, etc.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EBADTtVaR8[/youtube]
And Joe’s tweet kind of sums up why we’re all doing this challenge.
If you want to join us, we’d love to have you on the team. Just do a total of 6,347 Patriot Push-ups. You can let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #PatriotPushUps, or on our Fun and Fit Facebook page.
Anytime Fitness has offered a free one-year membership to one totally lucky person who completes the challenge by January 31st. You have to live within 30 miles of one of their clubs (they have 1,805 locations so chances are good), and not be a current member. Chuck Runyon, the CEO of Anytime Fitness and author of “Working Out Sucks” is even doing push-ups!
Be sure to enter our Anytime Fitness contest.
Photo credit: via Creative Commons – DVIDSHUB
But we changed our minds when we met our new Twitter friend Joe Evans. Joe served three tours of duty in Afghanistan; one in Iraq. Alexandra mentioned that she’d do push-ups in his honor. Here’s his response:
(*OEF = Operation Enduring Freedom; OIF = Operation Iraqi Freedom)
Our friend Matthew Poster saw our tweets and put this out there:
Who could resist a challenge from two good-looking, fitness-oriented guys, especially considering that Joe has gone through way more on our behalf than simply having sore muscles?! One push-up for each American killed in action. Then we found out was exactly how high that number is!
Yes, you read that right: 6,347 Americans killed in action. So 6,347 push-ups. In one month. That works out to about 212 push-ups per day if you start today, the 2nd of January. Feeling shocked? Think you can’t achieve it? Perhaps you feel the same way Matthew did when he saw the number. We admit to being a little daunted ourselves, but as we always say here at Fun and Fit, “baby steps count” so we’ll start with the first one and work our way up and down and up from there!
Joe is going to do them too. So are we. You might be thinking, “What do push-ups have to do with honoring our servicepeople?” Probably not much. But when you think of the physical and mental rigors Joe and all his colleagues have gone through, 212 daily push-ups don’t seem so insurmountable, do they?
We’ll be on our knees after the first 50 or so. Possibly on our faces after the first 100. And by 101, we’ll figure out that we don’t have to do all 212 at once. Nor on the floor. Hey, wall push-ups count as real exercise! And keep in mind that the day has a lot of hours in it. You can kick out a quick 10 just waiting in line at the grocery store. We dare ya!
And before your typing finger goes numb from the push-ups, be sure to follow Joe and Matthew on Twitter and say hi. We totally
blame thank them for this idea. (We hope you follow us as well at @AlexandraFunFit and @KymberlyFunFit).
BTW, feel lucky Joe said “Americans” in his original tweet. Go here and you’ll see that the number for ALL the coalition forces killed in action is a whopping 7,649. We don’t even want to do the math for how many daily push-ups that would be!
Leave us a comment below to let us know you’re in. And when you tweet about it, use the hashtag #PatriotPushups so our servicemen and women will know you’re thinking about them. And when you’re not thinking of them, your muscles will remind you. We mean your buff, toned, taut, strong pecs, triceps, biceps, traps, and rhomboids thanks to taking part in the Patriot Push-Up Challenge.
To be eligible to win the free one-year membership, you just need to leave a comment below letting us know you’re part of the challenge. It’s on the honor system whether or not you finish, but why would someone lie about doing something to show we’re thinking of our troops? Feel free to tweet tweet (nope, that’s not a typo; check the links) us or let us know on Facebook how it’s going, but that’s not required. We’ve also put links above to Anytime Fitness in case you want to tweet them about your progress! We’ll pull one winner from a sweaty shoe on February 1st, 2012. Okay, we’ll really pull a winner’s name from a shoe, not an actual winner!