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.

IMG_1326

  • 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

 

 

In Full Swing


Hi Fusers!

I just want to say, you all did a damn good job with those burpees last month. I know you have probably never hated us more than during the month of March, but hey, it’s time to move on—forgive and forget.

Here we are, the beginning of April, and spring is quickly swinging into action. The rain has finally stopped, the sun is out, the days are longer, flowers are blooming, and we are swinging. Ok, so that last thing doesn’t really fit the sentence. However, while spring swings into action, we will concurrently be swinging kettlebells. This month, we are focusing on an actual favorite exercise at Fuse (opposed to last month’s “favorite”)—the kettlebell swing.

A brief bit of histrory—kettlebells were developed in Russia during the 1700s and were mostly used as a way for farmers to measure crops. Beginning in the 20th century, Soviet athletes began to use kettlebells as part of their training (Wikipedia). What makes the kettlebell unique is it’s design; unlike a dumbbell or barbell, the center of mass is extended beyond the hand, allowing the athlete to incorporate power and swinging movements into his/her program.

kbells

At first glance, the swing looks very similar to a squat and front shoulder raise. However, it is not that, and it is extremely important to learn proper technique to ensure safety as well as get the most out of this powerful, all-encompassing exercise.  So let’s break it down.

The kettlebell swing is an explosive, ballistic exercise that trains the posterior chain of your body—primarily your hips, glutes, back and core. It is composed of a hip hinge movement in which you drive your hips straight back behind your centerline, pulling the kettlebell back between your legs just below the groin. It is imperative to keep your core tight and spine neutral spine/back straight. Your shins stay completely vertical, unlike a squat where the knees track over the toes, creating an angle of <90° between your shins and the floor.

IG_1HKBSwingBack-1000x1000

photo credit Onnit Academy

This movement pattern loads up the glutes and hips, which are extremely strong and powerful muscles. At this point you snap your hips forward powerfully, propelling the kettlebell upward. You maintain loose, straight arms, as the effort comes completely from your hips/glutes/core, and has nothing to do with your arms. While your arms help to control the kettlebell, you shouldn’t use your arms or shoulders to pull it up.

This movement pattern loads up your glutes and hips, which are extremely strong and powerful muscles. At this point you snap your hips forward powerfully, propelling the kettlebell upward. You maintain loose, straight arms, as the effort comes completely from your hips/glutes/core, and has nothing to do with your arms. While your arms help to control the kettlebell, you shouldn’t use your arms or shoulders to pull it up.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 3.47.06 PM

As the kettlebell reaches its top end range of motion, usually around 45° out from your body, your glutes and abs flex to stop your hip motion so that you do NOT lean back and use your lower back muscles to pull. Your body should be in a completely vertical position, like a standing plank, with your core and glutes fully engaged. If your core is not engaged, you will put too much stress on your spine, causing your lower back, rather than your glutes, to do the majority of the work.

As the kettlebell begins to drop back down, make sure to be patient and wait until it has traveled almost all the way back down before beginning to hinge your hips back by moving your hips out of way. If you begin to hinge too early, you risk the kettlebell coming down much closer to the knees than it should—it should stay right below your groin.

So that’s the breakdown. Pretty technical, which is why we’re going to focus on perfecting it this month. When done correctly, it’s an amazing full-body exercise that is great for both conditioning and muscular endurance.

Keep up the great work Fusers!

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

p.s. If you’re interested in learning how to do a kettlebell swing, want to work on your form, or are simply looking for an awesome strength and conditioning program, fill out the form below to sign-up for a free fitness consult.

Geoff Piller’s Fuse Fitness Success Story


Hi Fusers!

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

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-5-18-16-pm

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.

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-7-20-58-pm

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lia Swindle’s Fuse Fitness Success Story!


img_3288

Over the next few weeks we are celebrating our amazing clients here at Fuse Fitness. Everyday we come in to work we can’t believe that we get to work with such amazing people that inspire us by showing up day in and day out.

Today I have to tell you about Lia Swindle.

We are so proud of Lia! She has made amazing progress this year towards her goal of feeling stronger and empowered. It hasn’t been an easy path for Lia, as it isn’t for anyone to reach his/her goals. But Lia has consistently shown up and worked hard at getting stronger one day at a time. Her results have been amazing.

Lia joined Fuse Fitness two years ago, and she has been a pleasure to have in class and witness her growth over these past few years. While having an ongoing pelvis injury, she is careful to modify certain movements to avoid further injury, but is still a beast when it comes to lifting weights. Watching her goblet squat a 35lb kettlbell, push press two 35lb weights overhead and then deadlift a 70lb kettlbell is so inspiring.

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-3-05-31-pm

Lia now looks forward to coming to class with a drive to work on getting stronger and feels good about lifting her bags full of groceries within one trip, as she says “I got this”! Lia is also proud of setting a positive example for her cute, yet “rock star” daughter Hannah. Lia loves that Hannah sees her working out and representing what a strong female is capable of. Overall, Lia feels so much better about herself physically and mentally.

Fuse Fitness is a boutique fitness studio, in which we work hard to provide the safest and most effective way to achieve an active and healthy lifestyle, build strength and lean muscle. Our fitness program is also known for injury prevention and helping our clients keep up with their kids, in a supportive, noncompetitive and community oriented environment.  As you can see from Lia’s success story, we are so proud to know that we have amazing clients who have achieved their goals and understand that health and fitness is a lifestyle and not a trend or something you only participate in during the new year.

Sign up HERE to schedule your free consult today and be our next success story!!

Keep up the amazing work Lia. We are all inspired by you and so proud of you. Bring on 2017!

Yours In Health,

Pascha at Fuse Fitness