Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Clean and Jerk. No Swiffer Necessary...

One of my goals during this off season, or season of improvements as I like to call it, was to try Olympic weightlifting.  In traditional Olympic style weightlifting the athlete's goal is to lift a maximum weight in a single lift.  That's not my goal.  Although I am aware of the two main lifts- the snatch and the clean & jerk, I felt I needed some guidance in regards to my form and the phases of the lifts.   As a trainer and exercise enthusiast I can say with certainty that in order to get better at something you should train with someone who is better at it than you are. When you've been doing something a certain way it's difficult to unlearn it  - I see this quite often when working with new clients.  So with that in mind I met with my friend and trainer Marios Kyprianou.  As a competitive powerlifter, Marios has extensive experience with these lifts and most importantly - he's good at them.  You can check out our training session as we run through the different phases of the Clean and Jerk.  It was a lot of fun and something different from my usual training. As with any exercise, ensure you have established the basic moves and proper form before adding or increasing your weight.

High Hang Clean


Notice the position of my elbows.  The elbows should be higher than the shoulders and tucked in,

From the High Hang Clean we move into the "catch"


Remember to bend the knees, keep the hips back (not under the shoulders) and have the elbows facing forward.  

Now we begin from below the knees, in a conventional deadlift position.  This is the Low Hang position.

And now the Jerk from the low hang position

Remember come up tall, elbows face forward, bend the knees again.  Catch the bar in a deep lunge position.


Bringing it all together - the full Clean and Jerk

Remember to set the feet!

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness, Gena.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Benefits of Massage Therapy

Who doesn't love a good back rub.  Aside from the relaxing effects of massage, "...research establishes that regular massage therapy improves range of motion, reduces recovery time, increases muscle tone, and increases flexibility.  Since massage acts as an "auxiliary heart" by increasing circulation, it thus facilitates the elimination of toxins and other metabolic wastes generated as a byproduct of resistance training. Additionally, massage therapy reduces the time that it takes the body to heal an injury."

One study showed that  muscles rebounded better if massaged after exercising to exhaustion...just 10 minutes of massage "upped mitochondria production, and reduced proteins associated with inflammation in muscles that had been exercised to exhaustion..."

I love to toss heavy weight around and as a fitness enthusiast and builder of my body this is music to my ears. After a long and intense competition season I met with  Michelle Wilson, RMT.

 The pictures below show some winging in my scapula and left erector hypertonicty.  


We will be working on these areas in addition to my tight forearms, glutes/hamstrings and pecs.  
When meeting with a massage therapist consider the following:

1. During a deep tissue massage ensure you're not holding your breath and tensing your muscles.  Doing so may have adverse effects by increasing your chances of further injury or encountering a negative rebound effect on the muscles. Remember to breathe and request less pressure if necessary.

2.  In addition to trust and personable interactions, communication between client and therapist is key.  This is your time.   Feel comfortable enough to say what you would like to focus on during your treatment. This will also help your therapist accommodate your needs and manage the time they have with you. 

3.  During deep tissue massage, lactic acid and other toxins are released into the blood stream.  Similar to DOMS, there is a chance of muscle soreness for up to 48 hours post treatment.  In order to assist in the elimination of these toxins make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your treatment.  Light exercise, Epsom salt bath or heat will also assist in the removal of these toxins.  Not everyone will experience this discomfort and it isn't necessarily a negative side effect - it is completely dependent on the individual and their own system.  Either way - it's important to stay hydrated to aid in optimal health!

Check in with us as we document my progress and discuss different topics related to your health and wellness in the workplace, gym and life in general!  We would love to hear from you too, feel free to leave a comment or suggestions.   

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness, Gena & Michelle.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Glute Bridge

Good morning and happy hump 'n pump day! I'm determined to defy gravity by building and lifting my glutes this season. I've seen a few different variations of the glute bridge so I gave it a shot. Getting into position and foot placement can be a little challenging but hey I'm up for that! Practice makes perfect. Check it out: http://instagram.com/p/rXAck1pqJq/?modal=true

Get a Grip!

When working on building your body your grip impacts your workout.
Here are some pull-up/pull-down grip variations.  Take your time with each exercise and practice full range of motion in a controlled manner.

Pull-up with Wide Overhand Grip (Prone)
The pull-up develops the major muscles in the back. The wide overhand grip tends to be the most challenging variation.  Contrary to the underhand grip, the biceps do not assist in the movement to the same extent. This, in addition to the proximity of the hands, makes the exercise more challenging.  Both these factors put more emphasis on the lats.  Keeping the elbows along the side of the body develops width in the back.

Pull-up/Chin-up with Narrow Underhand Grip (Supine)
A pull-up or chin-up with a narrow underhand grip tends to be easier because the biceps are heavily involved in the movement.  Having the hands more aligned with the shoulders and in closer proximity to each other also adds more ease.  

Close grip (Neutral) Lat Pull-down
Quite often the neutral close grip is easiest for many. In addition to the back and biceps, the forearms (brachioradialis) really come into play.

Achieving a full pull-up is something to celebrate. You can begin by simply hanging from a bar. This will help in developing control and grip strength. Next use a chair for assistance and practice lowering your body in a slow, controlled manner.  Avoid shrugging the shoulders or rounding them forward. Keep your chest open. Avoid swinging or jerking the body and never compromise your form.

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness, Gena.