Kettlebell Circuit

The kettlebell is an excellent tool that can be used to improve strength, power, and aerobic fitness. Although the bulk of my personal fitness programs utilizes dumbbells and barbells, I do enjoy picking up the kettlebell every now and again. It’s beneficial since it offers variety to my workouts and activates my muscles differently than other free weights.

Here is a circuit I enjoy performing either on “off” days from my regular strength training, or I’ll complete a couple rounds at the end of my workout for some conditioning work.

Please excuse the quality of the video! Watching it made me realize that using my phone won’t do, having someone else to film it would help, I shouldn’t film it while at work (haha), and I say “okay” way too much – but hey! It’s progress, not perfection.

Kettlebell Circuit:

1. Around the world x10-15 rotations ea. direction

2. Basic swing x20-30 solid reps

3. Goblet Squat x8-12 reps

4. 1-Arm Bent Rows x8-12reps ea. side

5. Windmill x8-12reps

6. Single legged deadlift x8-12 ea. leg

Perform 3-6 rounds

If you have any questions about this workout, or the exercises it consists of, feel free to leave a comment or contact me via the “Train with me” tab above.

Happy lifting 🙂

My New Favourite: BARBELL COMPLEXES

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I’m always looking for ways to change up my training and lately I’ve fallen in love with barbell complexes. It’s a type of circuit training in the sense that you move quickly from one exercise to another. What makes it unique is the fact you never put the bar down until you’ve completed the complex. They are downright brutal, and it’s awesome!

Benefits:

Complexes are an excellent way to build muscle, burn fat, and boost conditioning. If done correctly they’re a great way to push your limits in a safe manner. It’s also a good way to work on technique since complexes require lighter weights than what you’re used to in your strength sessions. Not to mention they are an awesome substitute for deload work because they allow you to train harder without the extra stress on your joints.

Laws of the Complexes:

  1. While performing complexes you will be limited to the heaviest weight you can use while performing your weakest lift. Do not choose an exercise that requires significantly less weight in comparison to the other lifts.
  2. Form always matters. Just because the weight is lighter doesn’t mean you should aim to lift as quickly as possible. Use this opportunity to really focus on performing the lifts with the best form possible.
  3. Time doesn’t dictate progress. Yes, some training methods require the lifter to maintain weight while progressively increasing speed with better time indicating improvement. However, with complexes the goal is to increase the weight.
  4. Put the hardest exercises first. The most technically demanding exercises such as Olympic lifts should be performed first, while you’re fresh.
  5. Focus on full body or lower body complexes. I tried an upper body complex before, and they just don’t transition well.
  6. Alternate between upper and lower body while performing full body complexes. By doing so, you give your lower body a chance to rest while performing the upper body lifts, and vice versa.
  7. Try to make it flow. Structure your routine in a way that makes it easy to transition from one move to the next.

When I perform barbell complexes I typically choose 6 exercises and begin with 6 reps each. I then rest for 60 seconds and move on to round two where I perform 5 reps, then 4,3,2,1. I try to decrease my rest periods as I move closer to that 1 rep.

You do not have to use this rep scheme, you could always complete 10 reps for one exercise, then 5 for another and keep the reps consistent as you complete 3-5 rounds. Whatever works and challenges you the most while keeping your goals in mind.

Example Full Body Complexes:

Example 1:

  1. Front Squat
  2. Bent Row
  3. Romanian Deadlift
  4. Push Press
  5. Back Squat
  6. Goodmorning

Example 2:

  1. Squat Press
  2. Single-Arm Linear Jammers
  3. Landmine 180’s
  4. Single-Arm Bent-Over Rows

Example 3:

  1. Hang clean
  2. Reverse Lunge with front squat grip
  3. High pull
  4. Stiff Legged Deadlift
  5. Sumo Squat
  6. Calf Raise

I forgot to mention that complexes highly challenge grip strength, so if you’re not used to holding the bar for this long, get ready to feel your forearms burn!

Try complexes, but don’t forget the puke bucket 🙂

Long lasting benefits of physical activity during youth

Long lasting benefits of physical activity during youth

Check out this short article! Studies reveal 3 key components to living well:

–  Being physically active as a young adult may help preserve memory and thinking skills.

– Exposure to natural daylight helps keep your weight in check.

– Think positively; the more depressed you feel, the more you’re at risk for heart failure.

On the Ball

The stability ball was originally created as a toy in Italy called the Gymnastic. It quickly gained popularity among doctors who began using it in therapy for such things as reflex response, back rehabilitation, neurological rehab, and postural correction. It was introduced to North America in the 70’s and 80’s, and more than 75% of fitness centres now use them.

When choosing a stability ball make sure you select the correct size for your height, as well as one that is burst resistant. This just means that the air will leak out slowly if punctured, instead of a big pop! Here is a chart to help you pick the right size:

Ball Diameter Your Height
45cm up to 5’0 (1.5m)
55cm 5’0 to 5’6” (1.5-1.7m)
65cm 5’7” to 6’0” (1.7-1.8m)
75cm 6’0 and over

The stability ball uses the neuromuscular system in a way that most exercise equipment does not due to its dynamic base of support (constantly moving). This makes it a great tool for training “core” muscles and will help improve balance and co-ordination. The ball also supports some body weight, reducing stress on the joints. It is great for people of all ages, and exercises using the ball can easily be modified to make certain moves easier or more difficult.

There are dozens of exercises that can be performed on the ball, but here are a few that I stand by. This is a core circuit that I use every now and again. I would not consider this a beginner workout, but it is certainly something that can be practiced and mastered if you’re not that greatest at them initially.

1. Russian Twist – 10 reps (5 each side)

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2. Sit-ups – 20 reps (10 quick, 10 slow)

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3. Plank In & Outs – 10 reps

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4. Knee Tucks – 10 reps

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5. Back Extension – 10 reps (hold a plate, dumbbell, or medicine ball for extra resistance)

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Repeat this cicuit 3-5 times

Thanks for checking out my post!

Why Hire a Personal Trainer?

1) Coming to the gym and exercising is a new experience for you.

If you are new to the weight room, all of the machines and equipment may seem a little overwhelming at first. A personal trainer can put your mind at ease and ensure you get a good understanding of equipment set up, and proper execution.

2) You’re bored and need some new moves

If you are an experienced exerciser, you’ve probably never considered hiring a personal trainer. However, a trainer can add some variety to your workouts and offer new ideas to challenge your body and mind. A trainer can help you overcome a plateau, and even if you just do a few sessions, or meet every few weeks, you will find it beneficial to have new exercises and equipment to master!

3) You need accountability and motivation.

Not only are you investing in a great program, your also investing time. Trainers are great motivators, and a regular appointment can get your ass in gear and keep your workouts consistent. A trainer also provides some accountability, even if you don’t have a session, your trainer will be asking if you did your planned workouts. Knowing this may make you think twice about skipping out!

4) Program design – Specific, individualized programs designed just for you.

Everyone is different, what works for one person may not work for another. A personal trainer will develop an effective program for you based on your current level of fitness and personal goals.

5) You have a specific injury, illness, or condition.

If you have specific issues like arthritis, heart disease, shoulder impingement, etc., working with an experienced trainer (who works with your doctor) can design a program to help heal injuries and avoid any further problems. It’s also a great idea to work with a trainer if you are pregnant and want a safe, effective workout.

6) Sports specific training.

Many amateur and professional athletes hire personal trainers during the off season to prepare them for the in season competition. Perhaps you want to move quicker on the ice, or improve your golf swing; a trainer can design a program to improve athletic performance.

7) Safety and supervision.

Personal attention while training is the primary function of a personal trainer. Need a spotter? How about feedback on your form? It’s a personal trainer’s job to observe, assist, and correct if necessary.

8) A trainer is an excellent resource.

Besides providing education in the field of anatomy and physiology, a good trainer usually has a network of other specialists in the area of nutrition, massage, etc. A trainer may be able to help you with your other non-exercise health needs.

9) Its less expensive than you think.

Let’s face it, most things worthwhile cost money. Different gyms will have different prices when it comes to personal training. You can usually expect to pay 40-100$ per hour depending on the location and the trainer. However, you’ll receive an individualized program, motivation, supervision, education, resources, and much more. Perhaps you can cut expenses in other areas of your life (i.e. Dining out, buying coffee or pop everyday); investing in your health is investing in your future. Plus, think of all the doctor trips and prescriptions you won’t need by living an active and healthy lifestyle!

10) Ego boost!

It’s a fact-feeling good makes you look good and vice versa. While helping you achieve your goals, a trainer will provide positive feedback on your performance and may help raise your confidence to take on new challenges.

Before You Commit

Before you commit your time and money towards training with a trainer, make sure it will be worth your while. Whoever you choose should be certified from a reputable organization and have experience training clients such as yourself. Feel free to ask as many questions as you’d like to ensure you’ll receive the best bang for your buck. Also, a personal trainer should practice what they preach; they don’t have to be fitness models, but if they aren’t fit how will they motivate you?

Committing to training regularly with a personal trainer could be the best decision you’ve ever made, but please keep in mind that a trainer can only care as much as you do. If you constantly cancel, or half-ass your workouts, don’t point the finger at your trainer (as long as they have been doing all they can to help). Also, nutrition plays a HUGE role in weight loss/gain, and overall health. If you struggle in this area, your trainer may be able to help, or refer you to someone who can.