Demonstration and Description of Exercises

Purpose:  To strengthen the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and hamstrings.  Straighten both legs simultaneously, but do not completely lock out the knees. Allow the legs to bend and bring the platform toward the chest. Pause for at least one second to stop momentum and gravity. Push the bent legs until almost straight again until the repetitions are completed. Be careful not to ever lock out the knees. After completing the push part of the repetition, be sure to hold the contracted position momentarily before returning to the beginning position. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the gluteus maximus and minimus, quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, soleus, and lower back.  In the upright position with a loaded bar securely on the shoulders, bend the knees to a squatting position, but do not go past the point where the upper legs’ angle is less than parallel to the floor. From the lower position, raise back up to the starting position, but do not completely lock the knees. Maintain a forward look with the head and neck and keep the chest slightly arched. Be careful not to lock out the knees at the top position. After completing the rising part of the repetition, be sure to hold the contraction momentarily in the beginning position. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the gastrocnemius and soleus.  You can use multiple machines to perform this exercise, e.g., leg press, squat rack, or specifically-designed heel raise. Using the leg press machine, place the feet in a low starting position with only the toes on the platform and allowing the heels to freely move in the starting position. It is likely safer to exercise both legs at the same time, rather than one leg and then the other. In the starting position, your knees should be bent and then straightened to a point where tension is felt. Now, extend the heels upward with the knees straight, but not locked. Extend the heels upward as far as possible, while keeping the upper legs straight, hold the contraction for a count of two or more, and then lower the heels to the starting position on a count of four. Be careful not to lock out the knees at the top position. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the quadriceps.  The feet should be positioned underneath the roller with the toes pointing upwards. This will allow for maximum tension. Raise the legs on a two count and lower them on a four count making sure not to let the weights touch the stack before beginning your next repetition. This exercise can also be safely performed using one leg at a time. The toes can also be pointed straight ahead, outward, and inward to modify the exact muscle fibers that are worked during the repetitions. To maximize your intensity, hold the contraction for at least a count of two when the legs are raised to the highest point. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the hamstrings.  Lie face down on this machine with the knees hanging over the edge of the pad. The feet should be positioned underneath the rollers with your toes pointing downward. Raise the weight on a two count and lower on a four count. Imagine that your belly button is glued to the pad, so that you do not raise your buttocks. The weight should be brought up as close as possible to the buttocks before you lower it. This exercise can also be safely performed using one leg at a time. The toes can also be pointed straight ahead, outward, and inward to modify the exact muscle fibers that are worked during the repetitions. To maximize your intensity, hold the contraction for at least a count of two when the legs are raised to the highest point. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the pectoralis muscles, deltoids, and triceps.  This exercise can be performed with a bench and a barbell or dumbbells or a stacked weight machine and can be done parallel to the ground or with the bench at an incline or decline. In a stacked weight machine, sit upright flat on the bench with both feet flat on the floor and the lower back slightly arched. Grasp the bar handles with the elbows perpendicular to the torso and parallel to the floor and press the handles upward and outward straightening the elbows. Do not lock the elbows. Do not arch the upper back or crane the neck to minimize the risk of injury to those areas and to keep the tension on the intended working muscles. Breathe freely the whole time and exhale as you press out the handles and lower them back to the starting position. Push out the handles on a count of two, hold the contraction at the top of the movement for another count of two, and then lower the handles on a count of four. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the pectorals and anterior deltoid.  Lie on a flat, incline, or decline bench with the feet on the floor or footrest, whichever is most comfortable. While holding dumbbells in each hand, curl your arms to a starting position at the upper chest with the elbows flexed in a comfortable position to the sides or perpendicular to the torso. Slowly press the dumbbells straight up and overhead until they meet directly in front of the chest and hold momentarily without tapping them together. Tapping them together actually cancels out the peak contraction. Slowly lower the dumbbells 90 degrees to the side of the body, hold for a count of two, and then press the dumbbells back up to the starting position (simulating a move as if to hug someone). At the starting position, squeeze the chest as much as possible for a count of two. Do not arch the neck by pushing down with the head or overarch the lower back. You can slightly arch the upper back to keep a superior position for squeezing the chest. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the latissimus dorsi.  Position the seat so that when you stretch your arms reach up for handles or bar, your hands just barely touch them. This maximizes the stretch that you will achieve at the top part of the position, which will allow for the greatest range of movement. The exercise can be performed with a close or wide grip to vary the muscles that are worked. Grasp the handles with the palms facing in or away from you. I do not recommend holding the bar with the palms facing you, as it is a weaker starting position. Pull the handles or bar down as far as to the level of the face with a count of two, keeping the apparatus away from the face to not hit yourself. At the bottom position, squeeze the shoulder blades together and try to feel an intense contraction throughout the entire upper back. Pause and contract for a count of two, and then slowly control the apparatus back up for a count of two to four and pause again for a count of two. It is vitally important to refrain from swinging with the lower back and hips to cheat through this exercise. Ideally, little movement should occur below the bottom of the latissimus dorsi, as you want all of the exertion to occur in the upper back. Movement in the lower back and hips only increases the risk of a back injury and reduces the effectiveness of this exercise. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the latissimus dorsi.  Sit down on the bench so that you are comfortable with your knees slightly bent. When you lean forward to grab the handles, you want to position your reach so that you can comfortably stretch as far as possible in your upper back, while maximizing your range of motion. During the actual repetitions, your goal is to stretch as far as possible at the bottom of the position without allowing the weight to touch the stack and then in the upper position you are trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together as strongly as possible. After you grasp the bar or handle at the bottom position, methodically straighten your back for a count of two, try to break the plane of the back or arch it and stick out your chest while squeezing the shoulder blades together. Hold (squeeze) for a count of two, and slowly return to the starting position with a count of two to four. Almost touch the weight stack and hold again for a count of two and then repeat. Do NOT swing with your hips and lower back, allowing momentum to assist you. You want to keep your hips as still as possible. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the triceps.  Using a dumbbell and a flat bench, position yourself on the bench with the knee of the opposite arm that is going to work comfortably positioned on the bench. Leaning over on the bench with your torso mostly parallel to the ground, hold your working upper arm near your side. With your head comfortably positioned and/or being in a position to watch yourself in a mirror, extend your elbow (“kick it back”) to the point where your lower arm is now parallel to the ground. Hold the position for a count of one and flex the lower arm back to the starting position with a count of four without allowing gravity to assist you to return to the starting position. Try to maintain focus on all movement occurring at the elbow and nowhere else to prevent momentum and gravity from assisting your working arm. When you complete your set for one arm, switch positions and do the same for the opposite arm. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. With smaller muscle groups like the triceps it is best to go up by five pounds at a time rather than bigger amounts. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose:  To strengthen the biceps.  This exercise can be performed with a bar (bilaterally) or with dumbbells (unilaterally). For unilateral work, while standing (or sitting) with dumbbells in both hands and knees slightly bent (never locked out), start with an alternating movement of flexing (curling) the lower arm of one arm up for a count of two to the maximum point on the upper arm. Hold the contraction or squeeze for a count of two and then slowly lower the upper arm for a count of two to four to the starting position. Repeat the same movement with the other arm. Continue to flex the arms in an alternating fashion till all repetitions are completed, but do not lock out the elbows. Also, ensure that you do not swing and/or arch your back to compensate for weakness. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. With smaller muscle groups like the triceps it is best to go up by five pounds at a time rather than bigger amounts. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose: To strengthen the extensors and flexors of the lower arm and wrist.  These exercises can be performed with a bar or dumbbell, but the bar is slightly superior due to allowing you to keep the body in better balance through the motion of the movements. Nonetheless, to perform the exercise with a dumbbell, while seated comfortably on a flat bench, hold a dumbbell with one hand or a barbell with both hands with the wrist positioned comfortably just over the top of the knee and the palms facing up for curling (pronation) or palms facing down for extending (supination). Roll and/or arch your upper back till you get in a comfortable starting and working position. At that point, starting with your palms facing up, curl your dumbbell or barbell up to the top flexed position, hold for a count of two, and then lower the weight back to the starting position and complete all repetitions. At the completion of the last set, turn the hands over with the palms now facing the ground. Extend the weight to the highest possible extended position, hold for a count of two, and then return the weight to the starting position. Lastly, each set should be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions, depending on the weight load you have selected. When you find that you can do 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weight and begin again with 8 or so repetitions. With smaller muscle groups like the triceps it is best to go up by five pounds at a time rather than bigger amounts. You can increase your weight, number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to lift weights in a controlled and steady manner, raising on a two or more count and lowering on a four or more count.

Purpose: To strengthen the abdominal muscle groups and lateral obliques. Position yourself on a decline bench to maximize the intensity of the movement. If you feel that gravity alone is not enough resistance, then you can hold a weight as you perform the movement. Your feet should be comfortably underneath the foot pads and adjusted depending on your height. Avoid putting your hands behind your side. They should be resting on your chest if they are not holding a weight, so that they will not be used to assist the abdominals. Concentrate on shortening the distance between the ribs and pelvis. As you curl your torso up to the top, try to squeeze your abdominals for a count of two. During the curling and extending phases of the movement, perform both movements with a count of two. Lastly, each set should be performed for 10 to 20 repetitions, as I personally find that the abdominal muscles respond slightly differently to repetition ranges than other muscles. When you find that you can do 20 repetitions without holding any weight with ease, you can consider increasing the number of repetitions and/or begin holding a weight during your set to increase the degree of difficulty. You can increase the number of repetitions, amount of time for each repetition, and decrease the rest time between sets to modify the intensity of your routine. Remember to perform this movement in a controlled and steady manner to ensure that you do not strain your lower back.

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