Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
Quantity:
Subtotal
Taxes
Shipping
Total
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

ALAN LEVI PERSONAL TRAINING

GET STRONGER, LIVE LONGER

My Blog

Blog

BulletProof Your Body

Posted on January 22, 2019 at 8:24 PM Comments comments ()

Bullet Proof Your Body

By Alan Levi

 

Do you want to ensure a set of healthy joints, improved posture and stronger lifts?

 

Then you have come to the right place!

 

In the following article I will explore ways that you can incorporate corrective exercise into your existing regime,whilst keeping up the intensity, burning fat and building muscle.

 

First – the boring science bit.

 

What is good posture? Well the American Academy of OrthopaedicSurgeons (1974) define it as “the state of muscular and skeletal balance that protects supporting structures of the body against injury or progressive deformity”.

 

That is primarily why it’s important that some measure of your training is related to structural balance – without it you will either get injured or get a muscular imbalance, not to mention your lifts suffering from a lack of synergy within the body. If posture didn’t effect your training or add to your risk of injury I wouldn’t waste five seconds of my clients time on it!

 

The manner in which the body creates a muscular imbalance is a result of the daily stresses placed upon it and the fact that it rapidly adapts to these demands. Let’s use the following analogy to make things a little clearer.

 

Your body is an office. Hopefully, in these times of recession, it is a productive and profit-making organisation. But there is a problem. Some heads of department are bone-idle. They are on the golf course, taking sick days, and generally slacking off. Let’s take one part of the body as a specific example, the Hip Extension Department. The head of this should be the butt – gluteus maximus.But gluteus is out all day on business lunches and has delegated all his work to his underling, the hamstrings. The result? Hamstring has got her own workload to attend to, but unfortunately the work load builds and builds –until she reaches meltdown, throws all her papers down and storms out of the office at the unfair demands being placed upon her.

 

The physical manifestation of this is that the glutes have become long and weak and to counteract this deficit the hamstrings have become short and strong. The hamstrings are now overloaded and in danger of being pulled or torn due to this excessive tightening.

 

This is a concept called adaptive shortening. It happens all over the body – the tonic muscles (those responsible for fighting gravity) and the phasic muscles (those responsible for movement) create an imbalance, so some common issues are:

 

  1. Strong/shortened pecs – weak/long rhomboids
  2. Strong/shortened upper traps – weak/long lower traps
  3. Strong/shortened lumbar erectors – weak/long abdominals
  4. Strong/shortened hip flexors – weak/long glutes
  5. Strong/shortened adductors – weak/long adductors

 

 

The result? Excessive lumbar curvature leading to lower back pain, a perpetually rounded stomach due an excessive anterior pelvic tilt, and potentially slouched shoulders, forward head posture, hip pain, and/or lower back pain.

 

So what is my posture?

 

Your best bet isto see a trainer who specialises in postural correction or has some training incorrective exercise. However a simple test is this. Be honest with yourself.

 

Look in the mirror. Do your shoulders round forward? Does your head protrude forward? Areyou a woman who would take a chainsaw to anyone who tried to separate her from her high heels? If you totter around in shoes that require an oxygen mask to compensate for the high altitude, then my guess is that you have a significant arch in your back caused by adaptive shortening.

 

A simple test is to stand against a wall with heels, glutes, shoulders and head resting against the wall. Get someone else to try and run their hand behind your back. If their palm gets caught half way then you have a normal curvature of the spine. If you could drive a bus through the gap you have glutes that aren’t firing properly, overly tight hip flexors and weak abdominal muscles.

 

So what do I do about it?

 

Well, you know me – I am all about finding practical solutions to these issues and have outlined a plan of attack that will minimise the weaknesses in both the upper and lower extremities.

 

As a Personal Trainer, the key areas that clients tend to come to me with that are injured or weak are the scapula retractors, the external rotators, the lower back, the knees or the ankles – so the joints of the body at various junctions would appear to require a bit of additional attention rather than getting too gung-ho initially and having them find their 1-RM on a bench press!

 

First off, let’s look at a great exercise that you can incorporate for the upper body.

 

One of my all-time favourite exercises is the multi faceted inverted row. It is a “chinup” for the scapula retractors (the muscles that pull the shoulder blades back)and posterior deltoid. It is very easy to set up, but brutally humbling for even the most advanced gym-goer.

 

Move the bar on a Smith Machine down to waist height. Position yourself so that the sternum (the breastbone) is aligned with the bar. Bend your knees if new to this exercise and grasp the bar. Push up your hips into a “bridge” position, and keep the glutes tight throughout. Tense the stomach. Look straight up and not forward. Pull your sternum up to the bar quickly and lower for a count of 3 seconds. Pause for one second at the bottom. That is one rep.
 

If you are more advanced, straighten the legs, but remember, your glutes are tight, abs aretight. Don’t let the hips droop lazily down towards the floor, or overly arch the back.

 

Easy I hear you say. Have a go, then drop me a line! Still want more? Well, once you can comfortably nail 15 reps in the lengthened position it is time to pop your feet onto a bench. This will ramp up the intensity once again, and if you fancy incorporating some serious core-stability into this exercise, try it with your feet on a Swiss ball. Or, the ultimate show-off exercise that will get eyespopping – inverted row, with one leg on the stability ball and one leg off !
 

 
Another excellent, simple and highly effective exercise for the postural muscles (specifically the scapulae retractors) is the Wall Angel. It is a “must-do” exercise if you train the chest and back a lot, and will help avoid the Gorilla shoulders that are sported by many male trainers who like to look like extras from Planet Of The Apes. This exercise is always greeted by a snort of derision when I first demonstrate it to clients because it looks so simple.  Then they try it. The key to this exercise is to ensure that the lumbar spine remains in contact with the wall behind you, or at the very least maintain a neutral spine. Be very conscious ofexcessively arching you back to achieve the overhead reaching movement – if you find this exercise easy my guess is you are doing it wrong!       

So now with your back to the wall, and the back of your arms pressed against it, as if you are being held at gunpoint and have your hands up, reach up towards the ceiling whilst maintaining contact with the wall, then slowly lower back to the starting position (like a Snow Angel).



A very important point to consider before you do this exercise is this – remember the office analogy? Well, your pec muscles and lats are the muscles that have been overworked here, and you want to get the lazy scapulae retractors to function fully without being impinged.Therefore my recommendation is to stretch out the lats and pecs prior to doing the inverted row or the Wall Angel. You will force the muscles to work more effectively, as, by stretching out the antagonists, the agonists fire to a greater degree. Theground breaking work of Janda (1986) indicated that overactive muscles actually hinder the opposing muscles. This inhibition is called Reciprocal Inhibition and is the principle that “when one muscle is contracted its antagonist is automatically inhibited” (Liebenson, 1996). Pavel Tsatsouline, the kettlebell specialist trainer articulates this principle better when he states that the body does not wish to press the accelerator and brake at the same time, and I think this analogy works well when it comes to these principles. So, now we have worked on the postural muscles of the mid-back, you may be thinking “yeah, but my lower back is also an issue”. That however is an article for another day!  
 
      



The TUT workout

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 8:17 AM Comments comments ()
This workout is a challenging and powerful way of burning fat rapidly.

 It utilises the principal of TUT training (Time Under Tension). This relates to how long the muscles are stressed under tension. To train muscles appropriately they need to be exposed to tension for certain periods of time that will alter the effect and even the muscle fibres recruited.

1-20 seconds relates to Relative Strength (ie your strength relative to your bodyweight). This is most important for power and explosive athletes or sports people, whether it be boxers, MMA fighters, rugby players, and even footballers (though football is often incorrectly considered to be more of an "aerobic" activity, it really is a succession of sprints and therefore does require levels of relative strength).

40-70 seconds relates to hypertrophy or sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (an increase in the amount of the non contractile proteins in the muscle). Basically muscle toning or lean muscle size increases. This is the best type of training for fat loss as keeping the muscles under tension for this amount of time increases muscle mass, the bodies disposal of glucose, insulin management and also improves the bodies production of growth hormone, the bodies elixir of life that is responsible for our metabolism and get up and go.

There are different ways to work Time Under Tension, one is to have each rep take a certain amount of time (ie, in a squat lowering for 4 seconds, pausing for 1 second and coming up in two seconds. This would mean each rep would take 7 seconds). Do 10 of these and you have done the exercise for 70 seconds. The other way is to simply time the sets and I have found this to work equally well.

So on to the workout:

Russian Step Ups:

Round 1: 70 Seconds
Round 2: 60 seconds
Round 3: 50 seconds
Round 4: 40 seconds

Inverted Rows:

Round 1: 70 Seconds
Round 2: 60 seconds
Round 3: 50 seconds
Round 4: 40 seconds


Push Ups:

Round 1: 70 Seconds
Round 2: 60 seconds
Round 3: 50 seconds
Round 4: 40 seconds


Kettlebell Swings:

Round 1: 70 Seconds
Round 2: 60 seconds
Round 3: 50 seconds
Round 4: 40 seconds

You can choose other exercises, and a good way to ensure your workout is balanced, have a push movement, a pull movement, a lunge, a squat and a bend-to extend movement, This will ensure that you don't overburden the body with one movement pattern.

A Total Body Workout Without Weights

Posted on January 2, 2017 at 9:06 AM Comments comments ()
  
Got a bit of extra time to do a full body workout?
Try this one for size…I have included links to YouTube clips of instructors whom I respect and where the form and technique are described well.
 
A1 Hindu Push Ups –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0jezgIq7Is

Do this for 60 secs, now take 1 minute rest then move to…
 
A2 Wall Squats (RKC style)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsM87HtIqrA

Do this for 60 secs, now take 1 minute rest then move to A1. Do this 3 times and then move onto B series.
 
B1 T-Push Ups

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZvjePKKFu0

Do this for 60 secs, now take 1 minute rest then move to


B2 Lunge and Twist

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xTpIQaPjYs
 Do this 60 secs alternating legs, now take 1 minute rest then move to B1. Do this 3 times and then move onto C series.
 
C1 YTW’s for 15 secs in each position, of the first exercise on this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Lnqtibxboo
 
now take 1 minute rest then move to

C2 One Leg Toe Touches

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyV3rwv62AE

 DO this for 30 seconds on each leg, 
 
 
Now take 1 minute rest then move to C1. 

Do this 3 times and that is it!

SuperFast BodyWeight Workout

Posted on December 30, 2016 at 12:28 PM Comments comments ()
Here is a super quick fat burning workout that requires no kit (by that I don't mean perform it naked, though, go for it, as long as you are at home  ), I mean it requires no equipment.

So here goes:

30 mountain climbers

20 push ups (off a wall, staircase or sofa if necessary)

10 Star Jumps

5 Burpees

Rest 75 seconds exactly

Repeat. 3 times.

Make sure to warm up thoroughly first

The Deck Of Cards Workout

Posted on December 28, 2016 at 11:48 AM Comments comments ()
Get ready for a fun, effective and challenging workout that is different every single time !

This is such an effective workout, and you can either aim to work thru the entire deck or just do as many cards as time allows.

Grab a deck of cards, shuffle them, and deal out a card. This is your first exercise. Now work your way thru the deck !

Spades  ♠ are mountain climbers, 
Diamonds  ♦ are push ups 
Clubs  ♣ are squats and 
Hearts ♥ are burpees

The number on the card relates to the reps.
Jack = 11 reps
Queen = 12 
Ace = 14 reps

If you want to keep Jokers in make sure they are something super-challenging like push up, into burpee into star jump

So get started ! And if you haven't got a deck of cards you can use a pair of dice for reps and then write down the exercises on paper and play four card monty with them to decide what exercise you will do

The Descending Ladder Workout

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 6:16 AM Comments comments ()
Ask any of my clients and they will tell you I love Ladder Training. It can by turns build strength or conditioning, depending on the way you approach it. I find descending ladders are great for conditioning and fat loss and are psychologically easier to do than ascending ones.
 
Here is a great one a few of my willing victims have been doing of late...
 
Week 1: Do 17 push ups, rest, then 16, rest, then 15, rest etc etc till you get to 1
Rest as long as it takes to make sure the push ups are of a good quality. But not TOO long. Rest periods should decrease as you get closer to 1. . .
 
Week 2: Do 18 push ups, rest, then 17, rest, then 16, rest etc etc
 
Week 3: Do 19 push ups, rest, then 18, rest, then 17, rest, etc etc
 
Weel 4: Do 20 push ups, rest, then 19, rest, then 18, rest, then 17 etc etc
 
You will have gone from 153 push ups in Week 1 to 210 in Week 4.
 
You may be a tad sore the next day . . .
 
Enjoy!
 
Get Stronger, Live Longer

The Turkey Burner Workout

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 3:24 AM Comments comments ()
Right, put down that chocolate orange NOW! Here is the workout that will boost your metabolism, build muscle and increase stamina. . .
 
Bodyweight workouts don't need to be boring, you just need to mix them up a bit. Try this one - with a few modifications you can really challenge yourself. . .
 
1. STUTTER SQUATS - SQUAT A QUARTER OF THE WAY DOWN, THEN COME UP. REPEAT 3 TIMES AND THEN DO A FULL SQUAT. AIM TO DO 12 (3 QUARTER SQUATS AND ONE FULL SQUAT COUNTS AS ONE REP !)
 NOW MOVE ON TO EXERCISE 2. NO REST !
 
2. SUPERSLOW PUSH UPS - LOWER YOURSELF FOR 5 SECONDS, PUSH UP FOR 5 SECONDS. AIM TO DO 12 REPS
 
3. ECCENTRIC LUNGES - GET INTO A LUNGE POSITION, LOWER YOURSELF DOWN FOR 3 SECONDS, THEN COME UP QUICKLY. COMPLETE ALL REPS ON ONE LEG BEFORE YOU CHANGE LEGS. AIM TO DO 12 REPS
 
4. IF YOU HAVE A CHIN UP BAR OR SOMETHING STURDY TO HANG ONTO THEN TRY THIS. . .
 
ISO-DYNAMIC CHIN UPS. PULL YOURSELF UP, HOLD THE TOP POSITION FOR 12 SECONDS.
 
LOWER DOWN.(PUT YOUR FEET ON THE FLOOR UNLESS YOU ARE SUPER-STRONG).
 
PULL UP AND HOLD FOR 9 SECONDS. LOWER DOWN
 
PULL UP AND HOLD FOR 7 SECONDS.
LOWER
PULL UP AND HOLD FOR 5 SECONDS
LOWER
PULL UP AND HOLD FOR 3 SECONDS
LOWER
PULL UP AND HOLD FOR 1 SECOND
 
COLLAPSE ON FLOOR IN HEAP 
 
Now, you have earned that glass of cava and the rest of that chocolate orange
 
ENJOY !
 
GET STRONGER, LIVE LONGER

FREE PROGRAM DOWNLOAD

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 12:44 PM Comments comments ()
As a thank you for all your marvellous Facebook and Twitter support, I have decided to make available for download, free of charge, a great program for those of you getting into gym training. This is the program recently published on PtOnTheNet, but complete with photos, rest periods, tempo etc.
 
All I ask you to do in return is "like" the article.
 
Just click the link below for this exclusive opportunity to get a free gym program that will last you at least 3 weeks!
 
FREE PROGRAM DOWNLOAD.pdf (PDF — 367 KB)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Get stronger, live longer!

The Wall Chair

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 2:20 PM Comments comments ()
Here is an absolutely terrific exercise for strengthening the quadriceps. This exercise has been the the torture, umm...exercise of choice of many a ski instructor.
 
I particularly like this as a beginners exercise because it is isometric and therefore the risk of injury thru bad form is limited and it is also a good starting point for some knee rehabilitation programs.
 
 
 
The set up is with your back flat against a wall, knees at 90 degrees and elbows raised in a Cossack style position. Make sure your knees don't bow in, our out (maybe by placing a light ball between the knees - see above).
 
A good starting point is to hold this for 40 seconds, building up to 70 seconds.
 
If the sado-masochist in you finds this too easy try it on your tip toes and then on your heels, to hit the calves and tibialis anterior (muscles of the front of the shin).
 
Have fun!

The Hindu Push Up

Posted on April 22, 2012 at 11:14 AM Comments comments ()
Hello everyone and welcome to the workout of the day.
 
Today I will introduce you to the famous Hindu push up, popularised by wrestler Matt Furey, but a staple of Yogic practice for some time.
 
This exercise is phenomenal for shoulder stability, core activation, endurance and flexibility. It is the Yin to the one arm push ups Yang (one arm push ups are optimal for developing power, the Hindu push up is optimal for  endurance and flexibility - hamstrings, hip flexors and spine).
 
This is how you do it:
 
Start with your feet shoulder width apart, hands and feet on the floor, bottom up in the air. You should look like a pyramid, hands and feet as the base and bottom the peak.
 
Push your forehead towards your toes as much as you can.
 
Now lower yourself straight down - your chin, chest, stomach and hips should graze the floor beneath you and you then "swim" up as though swimming thru an underground tunnel that is very narrow. Your finishing position is with the hips dropped towards the floor and you are looking up to the sky (just like the Yogic "Updog" position). Effectively this is a transition from the Yogic movement "Downward facing dog" to "Upward facing dog". Sounds simple but I have seen big guys who could bench all day humbled by this very effective exercise that requires no equipment.
 
Push yourself back to the original position and start again.
 
10+ is very good!
 
If the exercise is too difficult I have about 5 progressions that usually will get you to it, but that is another story. . .Enjoy!

0