Posts Tagged ‘bodyweight’

The TRX suspension trainer  is the best versatile tool that is portable and easy to use. You can easily attach it to your doorpost or a pole if you are on the go and have no access to your gym. The exercises that you can do will challenge your core and work your upper body muscles and even your legs. Because it works the whole body, you are sure to burn calories and tone muscles on the go. You can easily shift from one exercise to another and do your own circuit training using your body weight.

Read about the TRX here.

You still don’t believe that you can do lots of exercises by just using the TRX suspension trainer and your body weight and work your upper body muscles, core, and legs? Check out this video below and see 70 various exercises that you can do with the TRX suspension training system!

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The TRX suspension trainer is safe to use and the package comes with a easy-to-read guide for exercises that you can do at home, in your office, or even at the beach!

If you don’t have your TRX yet, get yours now from amazon through the links below!

TRX Suspension Trainer

TRX HOME Suspension Trainer

Become a TRX Trainer

There are lots of exercises that you can do with the TRX suspension system. You can bring it anywhere and easily attach it to a pole or doorpost or anywhere stable. It is easy and safe to use and you can get a total body workout with this dynamic tool!

Here are three advanced exercises that you can do with the TRX suspension system by Naudi Aguilar. Naudi is a trainer and coach for MMA fighters and professional athletes, so expect his workouts to be intense. He incorporates functional training for MMA fighters and athletes in his exercises. The video below is a circuit of only three movements using the TRX suspension trainer. You’ll really burn your muscles with these three exercises in less time! These exercises on the TRX suspension trainer works the upper body especially your pulling muscles, your core, and even your legs. Watch the video below:

Watch another advanced exercise by Naudi Aguilar using only your body weight! Click here.

If you don’t have your TRX yet, get yours now from amazon through the links below!

TRX Suspension Trainer

TRX HOME Suspension Trainer

Become a TRX Trainer

The TRX is a great tool for functional training that works your whole body and challenges your core. You can read from my previous post that the TRX is a versatile device where you can do a lot of exercises and bring it anywhere! It is simple to attach and use on your own.

Read about the TRX here.

Because it works the whole body, you are sure to burn calories and tone muscles on the go. You can easily shift from one exercise to another and do your own circuit training using your body weight. Check out this video for basic exercises that you can do on the TRX:

amazon free shipping
If you don’t have your TRX yet, get yours now from amazon through the links below!

TRX Suspension Trainer

TRX HOME Suspension Trainer

Become a TRX Trainer

Photo from Ace Fitness

A few weeks ago, I posted about how Circuit Training might be the exercise of choice for busy people who also want to train both their aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Circuit Training is also a good way to boost your metabolism which simply leads to more calories burnt compared to the usual resistance training.

To reap the full benefits of a High Intensity Interval Training workouts (which includes Circuit Training), the total volume should be high, which makes it a bit reserved for the elite athlete. However, the format of Circuit Training can be adapted for the novice exerciser and still gain most of the benefits that the workout can give.

If you are trying to start your healthy habit to exercise, or you are just looking for an easy alternative workout, here is a beginner’s Bodyweight Circuit Training workout that you can do with minimal or no equipment at all. I assume that you will ‘practice‘ exercising at home, so you only need improvised gym equipment that can easily be found in your house. The most that you need might be an exercise mat – if you don’t have one, you can use a big towel for exercises on the floor. Another good thing about this body weight circuit training is that you can do this while watching T.V. during commercial breaks!

10 Minute Trainer - Workout for the Busiest People

You can workout somewhere near your stairs and a wall (of course your house has a wall anywhere). For additional resistance, get two regular 500ml water bottles (filled with water or any liquid). Alternatively, you can use two equal-sized and equal-weighed books.

Remember to warm-up properly by doing slow head rotations, arm circles (forward and back), arm cross overs, alternating leg/foot reach while standing, lunges, and jumping jacks. (10 to 12 repetitions of each). Warm up is important to make sure that your body is ready for more work and so that your heart won’t get surprised by the stress from the exercises. If you are new to exercise, add a few more repetitions to warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes.

Read about how the body reacts to exercise stress and how your workouts should be programmed.

If you’re warmed up and ready, here’s the body weight circuit workout that you can do at home:

Start by doing 12 repetitions or 12 counts for each exercise for your first set. If you feel 12 reps is too easy, you can do 15 to 20 reps for each exercise on your next sets.


  • Do Jumping Jacks for a metabolic start. Hold one water bottle for each hand and do moderate to fast jumping jacks.
  • Wall Squats. Lean with your back against the wall and squat down until your legs are bent to about 90 degrees. Hold the squat position for 12 slow counts. You can hold on to your water bottles for this one, but for additional intensity, you can alternate lifting your heels.

  • Stand from your squat position and do bicep curls using your books or water bottles. You can do it either one arm at a time or both arms at the same time.

    Crawl Leg Extension. Image from Webmd

    Crawl Leg Extension.
    Image from Webmd

  • Next, do alternating front and lateral arm raises with your water bottles. With both arms straight, lift them up sideways to shoulder level and bring them down, then lift both arms again to shoulder level but this time bring them in front of you, then bring them down. That counts as one repetition. Do 12 to 15 repetitions for bicep curls and arm raises.


    • Crawl Leg Extension. Go down to your hands and knees to do a crawl to work the back of your legs and your buttocks.  Do a minimum of 12 repetitions, one leg at a time. This exercise also works your core muscles – abdominal and back – if you maintain proper form while kicking by not letting your tummy or your chest sag.
    • Lie on your side to do Side-lying Leg Lifts.  Lying on one side with your shoulders on top of each other and the bottom arm supporting your head, align your spine by making a straight line from your bottom foot to your hips and to your shoulders and head. Lift the top leg up and slowly lower it down. Do a minimum of 12 repetitions for each leg.

Turbo Fire - Intense Cardio Conditioning

  • If you’re watching T.V., quickly run to the bottom of your stairs to do the Stair Climb with Overhead Raise. Yes, this includes an arm exercise so if you forgot your books or water bottles, go back and grab them! Holding on to your home equipment, reach both arms straight up and overhead, reaching towards the ceiling without arching your back. Keep your arms up as you do moderate to fast stair-climbing. Use your right foot first to step up, followed by your left foot, then use your right foot to step down, followed by your left. After a minimum of 12 steps, continue doing the exercise but this time starting with your left foot and followed by your right. Your core muscles are also challenged in this exercise as you keep your arms up and your spine stable throughout the exercise. This exercise is also great for your posture!
  • Catch your breath, then lie down on your back to do the Hip Bridge also known as the Glute bridge. As the name implies, this mainly works your glutes, but I included this exercise to this circuit for another purpose. If you have been sitting all day or haven’t been stretching regularly, then you might be having chronic low back pain. Low back pain sometimes arises from tightness on your hip flexors – the muscles opposite your low back (i.e., in front of you) which connects from your pelvis to your spine. The Hip Bridge alleviates the tightness by putting a good stretch on the hip flexors. Also, it challenges your core muscles to stabilize the position of the exercise. The photo below shows a good variation of this exercise by reaching your arms up – this adds some stretch to your upper back and shoulders. When you reach this position, lower your hips without touching the mat then push your hips up again to bridge position. Do this for a minimum of 12 repetitions.

    Image from

    Image from

  • Straighten your legs then roll over on your belly to do the Dry Swimming. This is a good Pilates exercise that you can add to your circuit to work out your back muscles and shoulders. Hold on to your water bottles and straighten both arms and legs. Make sure that you keep your abdominal muscles engaged by ‘sucking in‘ your belly button all throughout the exercise. Keep your gaze down on your mat as you reach both arms and legs up. And as the name implies, alternately lift and lower opposing arms and legs, as if you’re swimming on land. Count at least to 12 seconds for this exercise.
  • End the circuit with a nice Front Plank. If you’re starting and haven’t done a plank before, hold it for at least 15 to 20 seconds. If you think you’re an expert on this exercise, hold the plank for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Rest and stretch by doing the prayer position, kneeling with your feet relaxed and your hips almost touching your heels. Curl your spine down and reach your arms straight and forward. Relax your shoulders every time you exhale on slow breaths for 15 counts.


That makes one set of 10 easy body weight exercises for your home circuit workout. Rest for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute (or wait for the next commercial) before doing another set. Try doing 3 sets of this routine to reap maximum results. You can do this 2 to 3 times a week for around 2 weeks, gradually increasing the intensity, then you will be ready for a more intense circuit.



How people usually do Resistance/Weight Training:
The traditional method of resistance or ‘weight training‘ that people do in the gym is called ‘Station Training.‘ In this method, the exercises are arranged in such a way that you have to finish all the sets in one exercise first before proceeding to the next. This is good and reasonable because you can focus on developing one muscle group by doing a specific exercise. Below is an example of a traditional resistance training workout:

SHOP1. Leg exercise: Barbell Squats- 8 reps x 3 sets
2. Chest exercise: Bench Press- 8 reps x 3 sets
3. Arms: Biceps Curl- 8 reps x 3 sets
4. Triceps Extension- 8 reps x 3 sets
5. Lat Pull Down- 8 reps x 3 sets

What is Circuit Training?
Circuit Training is a method of doing exercises in sequence so that two or more sets of an exercise are not done in a row. It is another type of High Intensity Training that works both muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. Instead of completing all of the sets of a specific exercise first before doing the next exercise, circuit training allows for continuous movement by doing consecutive exercises that targets different muscle groups. Circuit Training is different from High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) because each exercise have the same number of repetitions throughout the whole circuit. Below is an example of a circuit training:

1. Squats: 12 reps x 1 setWeight-Training-Women-Dumbbell-Circuit-Workout
2. Bench Press: 12 reps x 1 set
3. Biceps Curl: 12 reps x 1 set
4. Triceps Extension: 12 reps x 1 set
5. Lat Pull Down: 12 reps x 1 set
6. Squats: 12 reps x 1 set
7. Bench Press: 12 reps x 1 set
8. Biceps Curl: 12 reps x 1 set
9. Triceps Extension: 12 reps x 1 set
10. Lat Pull Down: 12 reps x 1 set

What are the advantages of Circuit Training over the traditional Station Training?
Compared to the traditional method of resistance training, Circuit Training allows for faster transition in between exercises. In the traditional resistance training method, rest periods are done for every set of every exercise. This is unfavorable if you are pressed for time in the gym. Circuit training also allows for greater energy system benefits because your body is working continuously as a different muscle group will be working while previously worked muscle groups will be ‘resting.’ Compared to traditional strength training, there is an improvement in cardiovascular capacity when doing circuit training and may lead to greater fat loss.

What are the disadvantages of Circuit Training?
Because exercises are done continuously one after another, the load should be lighter than usual to maintain quality and safety when doing the exercises. Also, even if it does improve cardiovascular capacity, it won’t beat endurance training with regards to benefits.


Let’s get to the workout! How can I program my own circuit training at home?

Here are some tips on how to design a good Circuit Training workout:
1402213_orig1. Opposing muscle groups (agonist and antagonist) should be alternated between resting and exercising. For example, after doing bicep curls, your next exercise can be tricep extensions.
2. Upper body and Lower body exercises can also be alternated between resting and exercising. For example, after doing push ups, you can do squats after. This allows for the ‘push up muscles’ (pectoralis major and minor, latissimus dorsi, triceps, abdominals) to recover while you target different muscle groups and you’ll be able to perform push ups with proper form and technique at the next circuit set.
3. You can adjust the volume of training by doing a specific number of reps, or you do the most repetitions in a specific time duration. For example, you can either program your circuit to require 10 repetitions for every exercise, or you can set 30 seconds for each exercise and do the most number of repetitions as you can for each exercise.
4. In circuit training, your body will be working continuously, so putting heavy loads is not advisable. Lift lighter weights or do exercises that uses only your body weight.
5. If you are doing circuit training with weights, it is better to stick with the least number of equipment or station that you will use. For example, you can use free weights or just dumbbells for all exercises instead of going from one machine to another.
6. The original protocol for circuit training has 9 to 12 exercise stations. There is no ideal number but for a general program, it is important to keep in mind that you want to work all muscles at appropriate intensities during the whole exercise session. Personally, I recommend having at least 8 exercise stations which I think would be enough for all muscle groups to be worked on. Also, it is better to do exercises that work on muscle groups compared to doing single-joint exercises (bicep curls, tricep extension, lateral raises, etc).
7. If you are using light weights or just your body weight, you can do 15 to 20 repetitions per exercise. If you are adding additional load to each exercise, try doing less repetitions. Remember that quality and safety is still more important than the total volume of your exercise.
8. How long should you rest in between exercises in circuit training? If rest intervals are too long, it diminishes the effect of circuit training to overall cardiovascular capacity. To maximize the benefit of circuit training, rest for 30 seconds or less in between circuit sets. In between individual exercises, I recommend resting for 10 to 15 seconds max for time efficiency and maintain appropriate overall exercise intensity.
Let’s really get on with the workout!

Here’s a sample Circuit Training workout using only bodyweight which means that you can do it at home, in your office and even in your hotel room if you are travelling.

1. Jumping Jacks- 15 repsJumping-Jacks-Shoulder-Press
2. Alternating Lunges- 15 reps
3. Push ups- 15 reps
4. Oblique crunches- 15 reps per side
5. Hip bridge- 15 reps
6. Bulgarian squats- 15 reps per leg
7. Single leg superman- 15 reps per leg
8. Pike to plank- 15 reps

Circuit Training is an efficient way to decrease body fat, improve VO2 max (respiratory capacity), and even minimize risk for diabetes. As people today have less and less time for the gym, exercise methods such as circuit training may be the best option for busier individuals.

If you think you have no time for exercise, then you can now exchange total exercise time (doing the traditional station method) for total exercise effort (High Intensity Circuit Training) and get the same, or even better, health and fitness benefits.


If you are only starting your journey into fitness, check out this mini-circuit sequence called “April wings” for the arms.

For a more elaborate article about Circuit Training, check out this ACSM Health and Fitness journal: HIGH INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING USING BODYWEIGHT- Maximum Results with Minimum Investment.

strength training

The Pull up is a basic upper body exercise. However, it remains unfamiliar to most fitness enthusiasts and gym buffs as most people tend to focus on aesthetic muscle building, ie, working on muscle groups that can be easily seen and adored such as the chest, arms, forearms, and abdominals. In addition to being a less familiar exercise, it is also difficult and can be very challenging not just for newbies in the gym, but sometimes even for long term gym-goers who neglect this very essential exercise.

Nevertheless, this exercise is very convenient to do and all you need is your body and a hanging bar. Pull ups can be done by both men and women. In fact, some women do pull ups as a regular exercise in their routine.

It’s not too late to start!

What are the benefits of doing Pull ups?

The Pull ups is a very effective resistance exercise as the only equipment you need are your body and a bar that is high enough. It is a compound exercise that targets the big muscle groups of the upper trunk (yes, there’s a muscle in your trunk that is bigger than your chest and biceps) which means that you’ll need more energy to do it and burn more calories. Apart from targeting these muscle groups, it also works the arms and abs as well! This exercise is not solely resistance as it will most likely pump up your heart rate. Compared to the squats or push-ups, you are literally off the floor while doing this exercise, so the intensity is definitely high! Also, almost all of your muscles will need to work to keep your body stable and well-supported. When paired with an exercise like the burpee, the pull ups will be an excellent cardiovascular workout.

What are the muscles targeted by Pull ups?

These are the main muscles that are targeted by the Pull ups:

Latissimus Dorsi – this is your big back muscle that connects from your hips, and to individual spines of your back, and inserts into the back of your arms. When developed well, this supports the back for movement and it’s a great muscle to rip as well!

Trapezius – this is another big muscle on your back that is connected from the middle of your trunk to your shoulders and the back of the arms. They support the movement of your shoulder blades and arms, and assist in the both the lifting and lowering phase of the pull up.

Abdominals – the abdominals support the legs throughout each lift, and in some variations like the L-pull up, the abdominals can be totally targeted.

Biceps – the pull ups work the arms as well, especially when doing variations such as the chin ups. Some modifications on the grip can also target this muscle.

Forearms – your legs are up in the air and you basically rely on your grip strength all throughout the exercise to keep yourself from falling on the floor. Pull up variations such as the towel or rope pull ups target the forearms more.


Why should I do a Pull up when I can do a ‘Pull down’?

As you can already see, the traditional Pull up works a lot of muscle groups and can really increase your heart rate. With the Lat Pull down machine, you are sitting down and you’re probably going to relax your legs. There would be less pressure on your forearms and your abs and legs will go to sleep after one set.

How to do the Pull ups:

The step by step ways to do the pull ups is very easy to say, but doing it is a totally different and hard thing to do. You can simply copy a person doing pull ups. But the question is, how can I increase the number of pull ups that I can do?

First of all, don’t be ashamed of your one-rep pull up. Everyone starts with something, and it’s better to start with one. The thing is, challenge yourself to do additional sets of pull ups instead of maxing out your energy by trying to do more reps of one set. If you can only do one pull up, start with doing one pull up for 3 to 5 sets. Rest in between sets should be enough for your muscles to recover, and you should be sure that you can do your next rep in the best form.

Watch this short video “Beginners Pull Up Workout:


What are variations of Pull ups?
Amazingly, there are lots of variations that can be done with the pull ups. You may have seen people try to increase the intensity of their pull ups by adding a weight on their legs or tying a heavy chain around their waist. This helps, but there are a lot more options to challenge your pull ups and even work on smaller muscles for better support.

This video shows 25 variations for Pull ups. You can see the list after the video:

1. Regular Pull up
2. Chin up
3. Wide-grip Pull up
4. Wide-grip Chin up
5. Hammer-grip Pull up
6. Combo-grip Pull up
7. Towel Pull up
8. Commando Pull up
9. Alternating Pull up
10. Side swipers

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11. One arm assisted
12. Subscapularis Pull up
13. Clap Pull ups
14. Circular
15. Upside Down Pull ups
16. Switch ups
17. Triangle Pull ups
18. Kipping Pull ups
19. Behind the Head
20. X-grip

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21. Gorilla
22. Close-grip Pull up
23. Pull and Push
24. L-pull ups
25. 3,2,1 finger Pull ups

Go, ‘get off’ your feet and start pulling!

strength training

All of our movements come from the core – the muscles that connects from the shoulders, trunk, and hips. Working out the core muscles will result in significant athletic performance and lessen the risk of injury. The goal for core conditioning is to have the muscle groups of the core work synergistically as one.

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Engaging your core as you run, walk, bike and even swim will help you move more efficiently. The core prevents unnecessary movements and transfers your energy to your running stride, pedalling stroke, or your swimming. According to a study by Sato and Mokha (2009), performing four sessions per week of Core Strength Training shows a significant effect on running performance and running times. It also helped the subjects become more conscious of body position and had good posture while running.

The body is designed to work systematically – all muscles are connected to each other, and functions more efficiently when moving in conjunction to another. The core muscles should be strong enough to support any movement done by the extremities.

Here is an exercise routine that is sure to work out your core:

Pilates Myths

Posted: August 25, 2013 in Pilates
Tags: , , ,

I’m sharing this article named “Top 5 Myths About Pilates” from (I’m reblogging it here so you can read the article without the ads, but you can check the link). Read this to help you understand Pilates more. 🙂


The increasing popularity of Pilates is a wonderful thing, but like the game Telephone where the meaning of a phrase gets distorted as it is passed along, as word spreads about Pilates, so have some ideas about it that aren’t serving anybody. Here a few of the myths about Pilates that can send Pilates folks into mild hysteria, if not full-on conniptions.

►Myth 1. Pilates is a derivative of yoga.

Ah, this one is causing a gnashing of teeth for both Pilates and yoga practitioners, especially teachers who have students come in thinking that yoga and Pilates are interchangeable. Pilates is not a derivative of yoga. While Joseph Pilates studied many fitness and body/mind disciplines, and may have been exposed to yoga, there is actually no historical evidence that he studied yoga seriously. While Pilates and yoga are very complimentary practices, they are also very different.

►Myth 2. Pilates is just a quick fix for flabby abs.

Well, the truth in this one is that Pilates is a fix for flabby abs. Pilates is well-known for flattening tummys. The reason is that Pilates does focus on working from the core, especially the deeper abdominal muscles. Toning the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles provides stability and freedom of motion throughout the body. This is also one of the reasons that Pilates has been so successful for people who have back pain.

However, Pilates does not stop at abdominal work at all. Structural integration, and learning to create a flexible, strong body that can move freely and efficiently are important goals of Pilates fitness. To this end, Pilates works all body parts in a very balanced way, not just the abs..

The Pilates method is also a practice of mind/body fitness. Developing a body that works as a harmonious whole requires much more than a calisthenic or spot reduction approach to fitness. The Pilates principles – control, centering, concentration, breath, flow, and precision all support an integrative mind/body experience through Pilates exercise.

►Myth 3. Pilates is easy, for wimps.

Hold it while I count to 10, do my breathing exercises, and visualize peace! I’ve been hearing this easy Pilates rumor around lately and it just about sends me into orbit.

I think the idea that Pilates is easy comes from a few places. First, Pilates is very adaptable. It can be easy or very hard, depending on the needs of the individual. The ability to modify exercises for different populations is actually one of the greatest strengths of Pilates. Second, the soaring popularity of Pilates has meant that there are many beginner Pilates classes in practically every gym and studio around the country. This is a good thing, but it also means that people are not necessarily exposed to the intermediate and advanced levels of Pilates. Third, Pilates exercises are often done slowly. There is an emphasis on awareness and control that can make an exercise look easy to the casual observer.

I can think of other reasons that Pilates might seem to be easy. It is a popular form of exercise for pregnant women, it is used in rehabilitation, and people of all ages and sizes can do Pilates. Nevertheless, I assure you that the Pilates method presents ongoing challenges for even the fittest athletes (with whom Pilates is also very popular.

►Myth 4. Pilates is mostly for women.

Pilates has never been “just for women” and its benefits are certainly not gender biased. After all, Pilates was developed by a man, Joseph Pilates, who is said to have been a rather macho man at that. Joe was a gymnast, a boxer, and a military trainer in his early years, and pictures of Pilates even into his eighties, reveal a very strong, fit physique. Men have always played an important role in maintaining the Pilates work and shaping its evolution.

It is true that Pilates is very popular with women, but there is nothing about Pilates that makes it more for women than for men. The adaptability of the Pilates method to different levels of fitness and body types has made Pilates an accessible and effective fitness choice for women. Also, Pilates has attracted a large number of dancers, especially women, and many of them have chosen Pilates as a next career. More women teachers has made Pilates more attractive to women students. Both of these factors may have contributed to a somewhat feminized perception of Pilates. Fortunately, now that the Pilates method is becoming so well accepted in fitness, more men are showing up in studios and training programs.

►Myth 5. Anyone can teach Pilates with a little book and DVD study, or a short workshop.

There is an unfortunate truth in this. Pilates instruction is not regulated at the moment and anybody who wants to can claim to be teaching Pilates. But that’s as far as it goes. Pilates is a sophisticated method of exercise and a qualified instructor will have had a lot of education and apprentice experience.

The education to teach Pilates mat exercises is often just a weekend course, but this should be preceded by extensive time spent as a student. Full Pilates instructor education is much more extensive, requiring the study of anatomy, special populations, teaching skills, and all of the Pilates equipment and mat exercises. Most Pilates instructors have good training, but since the industry is not regulated it is up to the consumer to ask questions and be a discerning student, and the responsibility of prospective instructors to be sure that they have adequate education before teaching a class