Plyo push-ups on the bosu ball. Works on upper trunk stabilization and proprioception. Also, strengthens chest and triceps for explosive power and eccentric deceleration.
Tell us a little more about yourself.
I am a local event planner who has been a member of VIDA for at least three years. I love it so much that I commute from Maryland almost every day to make it to the gym.
Why are you using a personal trainer?
I hired a personal trainer because I needed someone to hold me accountable and I was struggling to meet my weight and fitness goals. Also, it helped when my doctor pulled my BMI and flat out told me “you need to loose.” I wanted to be healthier and just didn’t know how.
What do you like most about your trainer?
I LOVE Craig Davenport. He is the best trainer ever. I like that our workouts are varied and include asking me about my diet. I like that he is knowledgeable but also Craig is very patient with me because sometimes the gym is intimidating when many people can do stuff physically that I could only dream of. Craig never compares, the time you have with him he is completely focused and most importantly I have lost weight, like a lot of weight where people are starting to notice :).
What is your main goal?
I don’t have just one main goal but rather three. 1. I would like to loose 25 more lbs (and I am on my way); 2. I would like to run a 1/2 marathon (already registered and training. The marathon is March 15 and I never ran a day in my life) and 3. I would like to increase my flexibility.
How has Craig helped you reach your goals?
Has Craig helped me? YES. I am fitting into clothes that were collecting dust in my closet. I actually prefer healthier options than fried food (but yes, I still have fried food on occasion) and I am doing things that physically I never thought I could do. I mean I was legitimately fat and now I am running a 1/2 marathon crazy or one time VIDA had this thing where you could do four classes in a row and I did it and didn’t die. Craig has helped me change my life and I will forever love him for that. Now training isn’t cheap but Craig makes it worth every single penny.
By Erik Strouse, MS
VIDA Fitness Trainer
Welcome back VIDA readers! I hope my suspense from the last article on flexibility didn’t leave you on the edge of your seat for too long! Just as a quick recap, in the last article I discussed why just performing static stretching, which is the normal approach by many when it comes to flexibility training, is not adequate, and is actually working against yourself. Lack of flexibility stems from sedentary lifestyles causing muscles to shorten when seated for extended periods of time. Further, a lack of adequate movement throughout the day causes muscle strength around the joints to weaken, but because stability is still required, muscles will tighten up to provide it. Static stretching will temporarily lengthen a muscle, but because the above problems are not solved, the tightness will continue to foster itself.
Now lets get into some more science here, as again, it is important to understand this so that you can truly know how to improve flexibility. Each and every one of our muscles is encased in a connective tissue called fascia. Think of a chicken breast, and more specifically that white, thin film that covers the actual breast meat. In the image provided, the chicken breast on the left has the Fascia still on it, whereas the breast on the right has it removed. This connective tissue is VERY tough. Think about a time when you tried to pull it apart. It probably didn’t budge without a razor sharp knife. This is necessary because the Fascia gives the soft tissues of our body their necessary structure and rigidity to sustain upright posture. Because Fascia is so strong and tough, it takes constant stress to change its shape. When you sit down all day, you meet this constantly applied stress, and it adapts to that position. Think about that for a second. If it’s strong enough to hold us upright and has taken a lifetime to adapt to a seated posture, what will it take to get it to change? Static stretching for 30-60 seconds a day simply cannot compete with that lifetime. However, there are other methods of flexibility training that will make profound changes on the Fascia.
For starters, addressing the Fascia system directly is necessary, and should be your #1 step in improving flexibility. The awesome thing about the Fascia system is by having direct pressure applied to it, you can change it’s ability to mold. Further, direct pressure to the Fascia can instantly increase a muscles range of motion. Although this is temporary if other actions are not taken, it is a great way to jumpstart the process.
So, how do you address the Fascia system directly? The answer is Self-Myofascial Release (SMFR), also known as “foam rolling”. SMFR is more or less a self-applied sports massage. Massages are very well known and documented to improve range of motion and flexibility. Just think of your first massage and how AWESOME you felt after. AURA Spa has a great selection of sport massages, but reality is, you need to have this done daily to get the necessary change in the Fascia system to permanently change your flexibility.
Applying SMFR is not a simple procedure, and precaution needs to be taken to not cause any inflammation or joint capsule damage. What’s more, SMFR is known to be rather “painful” when done. When a member experiences pain in the body of the muscle tissue, it means they SHOULD BE DOING IT. Pain will decrease, if not entirely go away, the more frequently you do it. When you get to this point, you are in an awesome position to improve your range of motion and flexibility.
A well-targeted SMFR program is not cookie cutter, as everyone has different muscular imbalances. You can certainly perform SMFR at our VIDA clubs, as each club has a plethora of rollers throughout the various floors and club sections. If you would like more detail on how to approach this topic, contact me directly. It is worth learning about in a more in-depth manner, and I can assure you, if done, you will not regret it. In fact, this is Step #1 for planning to age well. Your life will be exponentially better if you do this consistently going forward.
To not stray too far from the overall topic, SMFR is just Step #1 of a multiple step process to improve flexibility. I will have more posts on the remaining steps coming shortly. Stay tuned, or please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. You will not regret learning the right way to do this.
By Colette Beyer, NASM Certified Personal Trainer
If the thought of hoisting your body up and over a bar brings back bad memories from gym class then this article is for you, regardless of your gender. There are many reasons why the pull-up is a difficult exercise but rather than focusing on the obstacle let’s look at the workaround.
To start, we’re talking about a pull-up here (overhand, palms facing away from your body) rather than a chin-up (underhand, palms facing toward your body). However, we will use chin-ups in our progressions below, they’re a great place to start!
– No kicking, flailing, or kipping to help you get over the bar
– Reach full extension = elbows completely extended after lowering yourself from the bar
– Pull until your chest reaches the bar
Tip: tuck your chin to your chest to protect your neck and resist tilting your head back
Starting from Scratch – Using Progressions to Work Up to a Strict Pull-Up
There are many great ways to prepare your body using progressions, and we’ve included a few below to get you started. Pick one of the following progressions and perform it three times per week (with at least one rest day in between) to begin building the muscles needed to perform your first strict pull-up.
(10 reps x 3 sets – 1 minute rest between sets)
1. Stand on a plyometric box (see image below) under a pull-up bar. Pick a box tall enough so that you can easily get into a flexed arm hang position (see image to the right)
2. With hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, grab the bar with an underhand grip so your palms are facing your body (“chin-up grip”)
3. Slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are fully extended (in this progression and those to follow make sure that you keep tension in your muscles the entire time…do not drop quickly!)
Pull-Up Negatives (10 reps x 3 sets – 1 minute rest between sets)
1. Stand on the same box you used to perform chin-up negatives and with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, grab the bar with an overhand grip so your palms are facing away from your body (“pull-up grip”)
2. Slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are fully extended and pull-up will help you build the muscular stability and endurance necessary to perform the eccentric (pulling) portion that give people, even ones that are fit, so much trouble.
We Want to See Your Progress!
Snap a picture of yourself performing these progressions and post it to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #pullupprogress and #vidafitnessdc Colette Beyer is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer at VIDA Fitness Metropole.
Have a question about this post? Email Colette or mention her on Twitter, @myechoboom.
Join Vida Fitness this February in supporting D.C. education non-profit Turning the Page by donating used books, CDs, and DVDs in designated collection bins set up at the following VIDA Fitness locations:
– Verizon Center (601 F St, NW)
– City Vista (445 K St, NW)
– Renaissance Hotel (999 9th St, NW)
– Metropole (1517 15th St, NW)
– U Street (1612 U St, NW)
Gently used books, CDs, and DVDs of all genres and for all ages are accepted. (No magazines, journals, or VHS tapes, please.)
Why are you using a Personal Trainer to achieve your goals?
For motivation, accountability, direction, and support. And because it sounds cool to say that I have a Brazilian personal trainer
What do you like most about Rafael?
His infectious passion for strength and conditioning training, dedication to solid technique, incredible patience and talent in developing Olympic lifting skills, and innate ability to get more out of you than you think you have.
What is your main goal ?
Maintaining a training routine that continues to motivate me to stay fit…and lifting big weights.
How has Rafael helped you reach your goals?
Prior to training with Rafael, I was never consistent with my workouts, which mainly involved chugging away on a treadmill or elliptical machine. Rafael introduced me to a whole new world (for me) of strength and conditioning training. It was exactly what I needed to see real changes in my fitness. Rafael’s workouts are always changing and evolving, which keeps me engaged in the workouts (I don’t do the same old thing every day/week!) He challenges me to improve and provides support and technical expertise to develop Olympic lifting skills that have taken my fitness to another level. Each week I get stronger and develop more endurance. Those results are what keep me coming back to the gym for more.
If you took one look at Gregg Martin, you’d probably think he’s been a fitness leader for most of his life. But the instructor fell into a group fitness class one day accidentally, when he was a member of VIDA, and has since worked his way up to teaching eleven VIDA Fitness classes a week, predominantly VIDA Rx classes.
“I was never really into group fitness,” Gregg says. “I had never tried it before. I have friends here at the gym who will say to me, ‘I don’t do group classes, I want to do my own thing.’ And I tell them I didn’t use to, either.”
So what happened? Gregg was in the right place at the right time: He was walking up to work out when a friend grabbed him to try out the VIDA Rx class that was about to start.
“I wasn’t feeling motivated to come up with my own workout, so I said, ok I’ll try it,” he speaks of his reluctance. “And I just fell in love with it, and started taking it over and over again.”
Gregg loved it so much that after a while, his teacher encouraged him to get certified to instruct it – and he did. He now teaches six VIDA Rx classes a week, and several VIDA Xtreme and TRX classes.
Though Gregg’s transformation from participant to instructor is uniquely impressive, it goes to show that the hardest part of joining a group fitness class can be getting the momentum to just go; once you’re there, you’re hooked.
“It’s such a pump that you get, that it’s hard to get when you’re working out on your own,” Gregg says.
As it is, the VIDA Rx classes have dozens of people chanting and going through the workout with you. And Gregg himself benefits from the class “just as much as the participants,” as he does the workouts with all of his classes.
“I’m not just up there as a coach – I’m up there as a coach going through the exact same thing, the exact same torture,” he jokes. The “torture” he refers to is the unique format of working out with light weights and high reps. The class is a full-body workout, as it goes through legs, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and abs.
“It’s fun,” Gregg says truthfully. “It’s endurance training and it really builds a lot of strength. And it’s a fat-burning machine.”
When he’s not teaching his eleven fitness classes, Gregg works full-time at an education-based nonprofit that is dedicated to helping schools struggling in science and math.
“I really have the teaching bug,” he says. “My first job out of college was teaching high school math. I love being in front of a group of people…. [Especially here because] everyone who comes here really wants to be here.”
VIDA Rx is a notoriously challenging fitness class, but Gregg insists that it’s fit for everyone. “A lot of people are concerned it’s too hard, but I say it’s right for everyone for two reasons: One, you set the weight on your own bar; and second of all, it’s low-impact,” he says. “It’s almost impossible to injure yourself in this class, as long as you have good form.”
And if you’re worried about the environment being “intimidating” or too intense, you can forget about that, too. “It’s a very welcoming environment,” says Gregg. “If someone comes in to my class and hasn’t tried it before people will say, Oh, let me help you get set up and stuff. In aw ay it feels like church, afterward everyone is standing around and asking, ‘How did you feel about that?’”
Gregg considers himself lucky to be able to have his second job instructing at VIDA Fitness. “VIDA is a really special gym [and] a great community. And I love the fact that DC itself is a community. I walk down the street and I see people from the gym, and a lot of them from my class. Everyone is really friendly and encouraging. I’m really fortunate to work here.”
“Thank you Dave for volunteering to do 10 burpees, every minute, for 60 minutes to raise money for The Children’s Tumor Foundation.
Thank you VIDA members for supporting Dave with donation, he raised $825 for The Children’s Tumor Foundation.
As a whole, the VIDA Fitness team is at $1,470 in donations for The Children’s Tumor Foundation. It’s not too late to donate, check out the video and then ask me how to donate.
Dave did 600 burpees and I’m running in my undies. It’s Valentine’s Day, show some love.”
What made you become a Personal Trainer?
During my teenage years, I played soccer for a professional team at youth level in Brazil and was fortunate to receive specialized strength & conditioning training. This experience made me realize how important proper training is for someone to reach theirfitness goals. Today as a Fitness Coach I work with all skill levels to help people meettheir goals and experience new ways of training that are normally used with professional athletes.
Get hot and sweaty before you touch a dumbbell or barbell for your first set. It can be accomplished by doing a few rounds of box jumps, push-ups, and lunges for 5 minutes.This routine will prep your joints and muscles and increase your performance while lifting weights. Five minutes in the sauna doesn’t count.
Make sure you refuel your body with nutrients immediately after your workout. It will balance your glycogen levels, speed up recovery and increase lean muscle mass. A protein shake is a good option because its liquid form will be metabolized faster in your body than solid food.
Tell us about one of your success stories
Heather Krause is one of my most impressive clients. She came to me about two years ago with no experience on how to workout properly. Her time at the gym was spent exercising on the elliptical and treadmill. According to her, she never lifted a weight. After meeting Heather and seeing her discipline and competitive nature, I felt confident in coaching her to the level of weightlifting she could never imagine. Today, Heather has mastered great technique and lifts more weight than some of the male clients I train.