Nine Exercises that Strengthen the Back


Hi Fusers,

As you all know, September was back month. We focused on strengthening, mobilizing and stretching the back muscles. Hopefully coming into October your back is feeling strong and pain-free from all the back mobility work we’ve done.

A strong back is the foundation of any balanced fitness regimen. Along with adding strength and power to your workouts, a strong back helps you bear day-to-day activities such as standing, sitting, and bending down a bit easier. The following stretches and exercises are designed to improve the strength, mobility, and flexibility of these important muscles.

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  • Hamstring/Lower Back Stretch

Sit down with your legs straight in front of you, leaning forward with your arms straight out towards your toes. This stretches your lower back, hamstrings and legs.

  • Yoga Cat/Cow Stretch

Kneel on all fours with hands beneath shoulders and knees directly below hips. Gently arch your spine upwards and then downwards, like a cat.

  • Cobra Stretch

Lie facedown on the floor with feet together and palms underneath your shoulders. Slowly raise your chest up off the floor – holding the pose for at least 30 seconds or longer.

  • Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows using a bench

Place the right knee on top of the end of a bench, bend your torso forward from the waist until your upper body is parallel to the floor, and place your right hand on the other end of the bench. Hold dumbbell in left hand, pull using your rhomboid muscles, bringing your elbow back and towards the spine, squeezing your shoulder blades; lower slowly with control.

  • Child’s Pose

Kneel and sit your hips back toward your heels, forehead to the floor, with arms stretched overhead.  

  • Pull-Ups

Begin in a dead hang from a bar, with your core centered and back straight. Pull yourself up using your lats and core muscles, squeezing your shoulder blades at the top of the movement. Keep your neck straight and guide your chin steadily above the bar.

  • Scapular Push ups

Start out in plank position with your arms shoulder width apart. Keep your arms locked outward, drop your chest slightly and squeeze your shoulder blades together, isolating your scapula. Make sure to keep lower back neutral and avoid bending the elbows.

 

  • Lower Back Extensions

Lie facedown on the floor with your body fully extended, arms above your head and legs together. Lift your arms and legs up off the floor, using your lower back and glute muscles, making sure not to bend the knees or elbows.

  • IMG_0638Spinal Twist

Begin in seated staff pose. Bend your right knee over your left leg, placing your foot on the ground next to your left thigh. Your leg can be kept straight ahead or bent. Turn your torso towards the left.

Try these exercises out and let us know you feel. Looking forward to next month–get ready for the 10,000 rep challenge!! As always, if you’d like to set up a free consult with us, please fill out the contact form below.

Yours in health,

Fuse Fitness Team

 

 

Geoff Piller’s Fuse Fitness Success Story


Hi Fusers!

This week Fuse Fitness would like to highlight our member Geoff Piller!

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Geoff is one of our most dedicated clients when it comes to his health and fitness. He is self motivated, extremely consistent and laser focused. Before class even begins, he is off to an early start with a quick sprint outside and then comes inside to foam roll and stretch. Something about Geoff that demonstrates his great work ethic is that while everyone else takes a break to chit chat, he never stops, speeding through his workouts staying super focused, while most others have stopped to talk. He is usually the first one in class to finish an AMRAP or RFT workout.  Afterwards he can repeat everything that was discussed/small-talked about in class–he takes multi-tasking to another level–“listen while you work”.

This sentiment is shared by all of us trainers here at Fuse–Geoff is one of the sweetest people we know. He is one of our biggest cheerleaders and is such a caring and giving person. He always has something encouraging and/or positive to say. And let us not forget what an amazing baker he is! And he shares with us 🙂

Thanks to incredible members like Geoff, we have such a wonderful, interesting and supportive fitness community! With that being said, here is Geoff’s Fuse Fitness success story in his own words:

“I was a long time runner and used this method of exercise to stay in shape. I developed a hamstring injury and had to evaluate whether I could continue to run.  I concluded that running was making me fit, but it was not a complete total body workout- I felt limited. I decided I could get a better return by putting the time into a bootcamp style workout. My goal was to have overall balanced fitness, weight loss, and efficient use of my time.

“Some of the challenges I have encountered were working out with other people, as well as being inflexible.  I now enjoy working out in a group setting and have slowly achieved flexibility victories over time at the Fuse. Lastly, I hate Turkish Get Ups or any other exercise that begins with the word Turkish and still cannot jump rope. However, I do have many strengths and would like to focus on the things I’m good at.  I’m able to keep up with people in class who are considerably younger than me and I like the challenge of a rigorous workout. I can also sprint up the hill several times in a row like a bat out of hell and able to to exercise and play well with others.

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Working on the dreaded Turkish Get-Up…

 

“Overall I feel like I am in much better shape than when I was just running.”

Very true, Geoff! When he says he can “sprint up the hill several times in a row like a bat out of hell” he is not joking one bit. Geoff, you are an inspiration to everyone here and we truly appreciate you!

Yours in health,

Fuse Fitness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s our story….


Hey Fusers!

As 2016 has come to an end, we want to wish you all a very happy new year, filled with good health, good food and good times!

We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead, and as we have been planning what’s in store at Fuse this coming year, we wanted to take a few moments to stop and reflect on where we came from and where we’re heading–so here’s our story….

Pascha and I met in 2008 while working together at a small personal training studio, where we worked side-by-side, learning about each other personally and professionally, and forming the start of a life-long friendship and soon-to-be partnership.

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During these early years, we realized we shared many values that deepened our connection and inspired us to open a business together. The values we share are a dedication to family and friends; having a high-level of integrity, honesty and loyalty; helping others; a passion for health and fitness; working hard; and a mutual respect and admiration for each other.

Three and a half years after meeting, in June of 2011, we opened the doors to Fuse Fitness in Kensington, CA. We spent many months searching for the right space, until we found a place where we knew we wanted to build our community. Many long nights and weekends were dedicated to renovating/cleaning/building this space–we opened 1 month after we signed our contract/lease, while both working full-time during the days and raising families. It was an intense but very exciting month!

What makes us a great team and such great friends is that we have so much in common and really respect each other. However, our business challenges lie in that both our strengths and weaknesses are very similar. It would be great from a business perspective if we excelled in opposite ways, but that’s not how it worked out._mg_7622We both excel at being great teachers/coaches and designing fitness/lifestyle programs, and both have very similar training philosophies and styles. Our biggest struggle/weakness is in business operations, specifically marketing and business organization. We are also challenged when it comes to building and putting things together, esp. anything from IKEA–while this has created some frustrating moments, it has created many more hilarious moments where we’ve found ourselves laughing uncontrollably. At least we know we are pretty much always having a good time!

A couple of months ago, Pascha and I decided it was time to face our challenges head-on and committed to and invested in a 1 year minimum intensive business coaching program. We want to continue to grow, prosper and provide our community with excellent fitness and health programs, and we realized we couldn’t reach our goals if we didn’t tackle our challenges. We took a good, hard look at our business and accomplishments thus far, and were honest with each other–we needed to make a big change if we wanted to continue to grow. We are proud of ourselves for recognizing this and making the big decision to invest both financially and time-wise to the business coaching program.

Our goal is to continue to grow our business and provide a space where we can have the room to have a couple of class options at one time, as well as more room for private and semi-private training for the entire Kensington community. We would love to be able to expand into the space next door sometime this year. Our desire is to continue to help the people in our community reach their health and fitness goals–this includes those who need to lose weight; those who are wanting to increase their strength; those who have fallen off the wagon due to family and career commitments but want to feel healthy, young and fit again; those who are injured and/or in pain; pre and post-natal women; athletes; and senior citizens.

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That being said, we are very proud of ourselves. Through much trial, error and tribulation, we have created a space that truly is a close-knit community. There is no greater feeling in the world to us than being able to help people take control of their health, improve their quality of life, and be a supportive part of their fitness journey. The fitness community here at Fuse is one of the biggest accomplishments in our lives so far–we love all of our clients so much and are so grateful for each and every one of you!

Cheers to a great 2017!!

Yours in health,

Kristin and Pascha at Fuse Fitness

 

 

 

 

Why is good flexibility important?


Hi Fusers!

This November, we will be focusing on flexibility at Fuse Fitness. While seemingly not everyone’s favorite part of their workout, it’s mighty important and many of you could really benefit from ramping it up in this department. Too many of you are frequently complaining about how tight you are and how it hurts to get up from bed in the morning.

This, my friends, is not acceptable. Get to class a little early so you don’t skip out on the foam rolling. Definitely at least get to class on time so you don’t miss the dynamic movements and mobility work in the warmup. And if you have to leave early, then stop a few minutes before you have to go and do your stretches!! And while you’re at it, commit to going once a week to Kelly’s amazing Gentle Yoga class on Monday evenings at 7:20pm, I promise, this is an absolutely wonderful way to end your day! Here’s a bit more about the what and why of flexibility….

What is flexibility? In simple terms, it means the ability to bend without breaking. However, in regards to fitness and exercise, the definition isn’t quite so simple. Most of us can bend without breaking, however this does not necessarily qualify as being flexible.

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According to the Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science and Medicine, flexibility in regards to fitness is the range of movement/motion around a joint. This range of motion is dependent upon a number of factors, including the size and shape of the bones, the ability of tendons to stretch, the condition of the ligaments, normal joint mechanics, soft tissue mobility and extensibility of the muscles.

Let me break this down so it’s easier to understand. Range of motion (ROM) is simply the distance and direction your joints can move. The more flexible you are, the better ROM you have, and thus the greater mobility you have. Good mobility is the body’s ability to move with little to no restrictions.

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Why is this a good thing? Because moving without restriction means moving without pain. And for those of us who have suffered through pain caused by tightness, poor mobility and/or decreased ROM, we now know the extreme value in working on our flexibility. Because pain is just not fun.

We’ve all noticed the ease and freedom that babies and children move with. Their little bodies are so pliable, bendy and free from restriction. How many times have we watched our kids move, and wished for the same ability to move freely? To get up and down without any strain, pain or tightness? We all have, and the older we get, the more we wish for this.

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That is because naturally, we lose flexibility as we age. Coupled with the fact that flexibility training is the most overlooked aspect of most people’s fitness routines, we’re looking at some pretty tight, often painful, bodies. I get it–when you’ve only got 30 to 45 minutes to work out, who wants spend any of that precious time sitting around stretching? Afterall, isn’t the reason why we’re at the gym to combat sitting around too much? Everyone’s just trying to get the most bang for their buck with the limited time they have to exercise.

However, these things combine to create the perfect storm. Not implementing a plan to work on the decreased flexibility that naturally occurs from aging will quickly lead to pain, strains and restricted movement. Thus, it must not be skipped. So many injuries can be prevented with proper mobility and flexibility training. Some of the other benefits of flexibility training are improved posture, reduced lower back pain and increased blood flow to the soft tissues.

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Our fitness programs always include plenty of mobility and flexibility training. We have all clients foam roll prior to beginning their workout, then we take everyone through a proper warm-up of all the joints. The beginning portion of all workouts is a combination of dynamic moments and mobility exercises designed to properly loosen up the body for the programmed workout. And we finish up the workout by taking the time to stretch out everything that was used. We also encourage our clients to take our awesome weekly Gentle Yoga class with Kelly, on Monday evenings at 7:20m.

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So fellow Fusers, let’s work together toward increasing our flexibility! Less strains and pulled muscles, more fluid movement that feels good. Sound good?

As always, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Yours in health,

Kristin