Training Around Injuries

There is no way around it that if you live an active lifestyle at some point you are going to have aches and pains and possibly even injuries and/or surgeries.  Ankles get sprained, lower backs ban be sore, bones can break, but that does not mean you need to give your entire body a rest. If you wait until every inch of your body feels 100% before you start or continue to work-out you might never get started.

                I am not advocating that if something hurts you should push right through the pain and further injure yourself; be smart about how you train when you are healing. If your right shoulder hurts, train your left shoulder. If your left ankle is injured, focus on single leg work on your right side. If your back hurts when deadlifting, work on some lateral tube walking to strengthen your backside and take some off of the pressure of your back. If you are in pain and feel as though you need help working around an injury set up your free fitness consultation at the following link:


                Complexes are two or more exercises performed in immediate succession to one another.  So while one muscle group is resting the other is being worked. In this video I used four exercises, kettlebell swings; kettlebell half kneel single arm shoulder presses; kettlebell goblet reverse lunges; and bent over single arm kettlebell rows. This exercise methodology can be grueling, but it can also be done in a progressive manor by advancing the difficulty of the movement, increasing the amount of reps, or adding more weight. A few rules by fitness expert Robert Dos Remedios are:

                “1. Exercise should follow smooth transition pattern.

                2. You cannot put down the implement until the set is complete.

                3. You need to determine your load based on your weakest exercise movement.” (Cardio Strength p. 42, 2009)

                Complexes are a form of strength training I like to call cardio strength training. They help to get your heart rate up, and offer a lot of the same great benefits of metabolic conditioning, but they also help to get you stronger. Start with the workout in the video below and I will post more complex variations in the coming weeks.

Val Slide Hamstring Curls

Val Slide Leg Curls train both knee flexion and extension at the same time, meaning they optimally work both the front and the back sides of the legs. This is one of the many reasons that this is such an outstanding exercise. Pending on your glute strength you can either do this with your hips up the whole time such as in the video, or by bringing your hips down when you bring legs back in towards your body. You can also progress or regress this exercise by simply messing with the tempo in which you do this movement. There is nothing magical about the Val Slides so feel free to replace them with a towel, slide board, or I have even used socks on a hardwood floor. Use this exercise as a part of a lower body or total body work-out doing anywhere between 6-15 repetitions.  

How to:

1)      Lay down on your back with the soles of your feet sitting flat on the Val Slides. The Val Slides can be positioned on the carpet, grass, or any other smooth flooring.

2)      Ascend into a bridge position so that your knees, hips, and shoulders all line up in a straight line.

3)      Without allowing your hips to fall, slide your feet away from your body bringing your legs as straight as possible.

4)      Slide your heels back towards your buttocks, pending on your strength level you can do this with your hips up or down.


5 Tips for Exercising as a New Dad

Up until a few weeks ago my time was mine to do whatever I wanted with pretty much 24 hours per day. If I wanted to work out for two hours seven days a week and work on my business 15 hours per day every day that was my decision. That changed a few weeks ago with the birth of our son. Given his young age he is a lot of the work still falls on my wife Emily, however I have decided it is time to make the use of my workout time more efficient. Working out will always be a priority, but I also want to make sure that as Charlie gets older I have as much time to spend with him as possible.  Here are 5 tips to make sure you are using your workout time as efficiently as possible.


1.       Focus on compound exercises. Movements such as squats, lunges, rows, and push-ups, to name a few, will help you fire more muscles all at once so you don’t need to spend as much time isolating every individual muscle.

2.       Keep it simple. With an increase in the demands on your time now is not the right time to create your own new fancy exercises. Stick with movements that are proven to work. Ditch the fancy single leg Bosu ball exercises that look like they belong in the circus, and stick with what you already know for now.

3.       Schedule time to work out. For obvious reasons this is never going to be an exact science with a tiny baby, however you should have a general sense as to when you are going to work out. Communicate this to your partner, and make sure once the clock starts you give it your all since you never know when that little baby is going to need you again.

4.       Some days just getting something in is good enough. You are probably operating on minimal sleep, and your diet might be off, xo don’t expect to break any records during this exciting, but challenging time. Always remember that even a little something is better than nothing.

5.       Remember how lucky you are and try to enjoy the time you have with your little one. Don’t aim for perfection in your workouts and don’t beat yourself up if this don’t go exactly as planned.

The bottom line is that having a newborn baby is tough, and it is easy to make excuses as to why this is the time to take a break away from working out. Even if you don’t get as much in or at the intensity you are used to don’t use your baby as a reason to stop working out altogether. You will feel a lot better if you stay active.  

Charlie Aaron.jpg

The Ultimate Sandbag Dead Bug

Dead bugs are an excellent core strengthening exercise that puts very little pressure on your lower back. When doing a dead bug of any sort the most important cue is to make sure you are pulling into pelvic neutral. This means your belly button is drawn in and your back is as flat to the floor as possible, you know you are doing this wrong if you feel a lot of pressure in your lower back. When adding the Ultimate Sandbag to your upper extremities it also helps engage your lats and glutes as well. In order to make the exercise more challenging simply pull the Sandbag back further over your head towards the ground below. Replace your typical crunches with this great exercise and your back will certainly thank you for it.

How to:

1.       Lie face-up with your arms fully extended about your directly over your shoulders holding the Sandbag right over your chest.

2.       While holding the Sandbag above your chest grab the Sandbag by the side handles and pull the Sandbag apart as hard as you can.

3.       Keeping your belly button drawn in as though you are putting on the worlds tightest jeans extend one leg out at a time, fully exhaling as you bring your leg down.

The Val Slide Reverse Lunge with an Overhead Leverbell Press

The Valslide reverse lunge is a great progression from a typical reverse lunge. This variation really targets the entire leg, and when adding a leverbell press it also works the core and shoulders for a great total body exercise. If you do not have access to Val Slides feel free to use furniture movers, a slide board, or even socks on a hard wood floor. Do not rush into this variation if you have not yet mastered a split squat or a standard reverse lunge. If you do not have access to weights this movement can also be progressed by slowing down the tempo. Use this exercise as a part of any total body work-out.

How to:

1.       Set up your feet shoulder with apart with your arms either by your side or holding weights at your side or shoulders.

2.       Place one foot on a Valslide and slide that leg backwards as both your knees will bend at the same time.

3.       Slide one leg backwards and bring that back knee as low as you can without slamming it off the floor.

4.       Drive through your front foot (mainly the heal) until you can stand up straight (add a press if you are ready when standing up tall).

5.       Repeat the desired number of repetitions. This variation often works better with a higher rep range.


The Single Arm Dumbbell Floor Press

The single arm dumbbell floor press is a great bench press alternative when you are lacking equipment or if you have any sort of shoulder issue. The floor limits your range of motion so you don't put undue strain on your shoulder, but you still get some great pec, front deltoid, and tricep work in. The single arm increase the core demands felt during the movement drastically.

How to: Grab a dumbbell with a neutral grip and lie flat on your back. Bend your knees and make sure to push your feet firmly into the ground. Raise the hand not holding the dumbbell straight up in the air and make a strong first to create tension throughout your body. Extend the arm holding the dumbbell straight up bringing the dumbbell off of the ground.

This exercise can be used as a part of an upper body or total body workout. This exercise is usually best served using a higher rep range since it is often hard to get real heavy weights off the ground for the first rep if you are alone.

Should Fitness Really Be About Being "Hardcore"?

One of the most common roadblocks that prevents people from getting in shape these days is the intimidation factor. Any advertisement such as the one below is a perfect example. What’s more intimidating than associating a workout with being in prison? The goal of a good fitness program should not be to be hardcore, make you so sore you can’t walk, or to intimidate you. Yes, some amount of muscle soreness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if we as trainers make it hard for you to move on a regular basis that defeats our purpose.

When people think of personal trainers and gyms they are scared that they are not in good enough shape to work out, they won’t know how to use the equipment, or they will be judged because their body doesn’t look the ones in the magazines. And why would someone want to look or feel like a prisoner? Wouldn’t you rather get in shape in your kitchen than a prison cell? When we step into a session with a client we have one goal and that is to help the client get better than they were before the session. There is no such thing as a person who is to out of shape to get in shape or too injured to work out, there is always something we can work on. Find a place that makes you comfortable to work towards your goals, wherever that may be. If you feel as though you are heading to prison or that you are going to be tortured with your workout, it is time to reevaluate and find a new program.