Working that BOOOOTY. [Workout Wednesday!] 1/27/16

Oh heyyy guys.

Just thought I would give you another booty workout, because who doesn’t like to have a nice assset ūüėČ

Remember to get a nice dynamic warmup in 1st, including some foam rolling.

  1. Dynamic stretches: 5 squat to stands, 5 hip flexor/openers each leg, 10 leg swings ( forward/back, side to side), 10 hip circles each direction, 5 bird dogs each side, 10 clamshells each leg
  2. Foam roll- calves, hamstrings, glutes, IT band, quads, back

Booootiful Booty Workout!

3 Sets: (Cycle through 1a and then 1b, three times before moving onto 2a)

1a. plank with Leg lift: 10-12 reps each legiphone pics 1.7.16 553

1b. Box jumps: 5-8 reps totalbox jumps

 

3 Sets: (Cycle through 2a, 2b and 2c, three times before moving onto 3a)

2a. Back Squat: 8-10 repsiphone pics 1.7.16 891

2b. lateral band walks: 10-15 steps one direction iphone pics 1.7.16 893

2c. Neutral grip chin ups: 5 repscropped-iphone-pics-7-0012.jpg

 

3 Sets: (Cycle through 3a, 3b and 3c, three times before moving onto the optional finisher at the end!)

3a. Barbell Hip Thrusts: 10-12 reps Hip thrust pic

3b. Side plank: 30 sec each sidecropped-Wedding-7.18.15-and-minimoon-489.jpg

3c. Barbell or TRX Inverted Row: 12 repsiphone pics 1.7.16 876

2-3 Sets: (optional finisher!)

4a. Heavy Kettlebell Swings: 30 seciphone pics 1.7.16 029

4b. Sprint on Treadmill at incline 30 sec sprint or Sled Push (30 sec push down/back)! sled pushhh

 

 

There you have it! Get sweaty, be safe and prepare for a bodacious backside ūüôā

 

XOXO,

JBrauz

JBrauz’s 5 principles of fat loss (+ a FREE 25 min. Fat Loss Workout!) 1/19/16

When it comes to losing body fat, restricting calories is often¬†the first thing that pops into your head, or maybe even running 5+ miles every day. ¬†We feel that in order to just lose those last ten pounds, that we need to live¬†on a diet of chicken and asparagus. Or, we feel we can reward ourselves with a chocolate cupcake every night because¬†“I ran 5 miles, and I deserve it”.

Other times, we tend to go to crazy lengths or go by¬†the latest fad to lose weight. ¬†Master cleanse:”Lemon-cayenne pepper” diets, feeding tube diets (yikes, scary!), tapeworm diet, baby food diet, cotton ball diet….. there are so many out there, it’s just hard to name them all! ¬†Now I don’t know about you but that does NOT sound appetizing to me one bit, it’s actually kind of¬†scary! In all honesty, it does way more damage then good. We don’t need to be on a miserable, boring, and damaging diet in order to make those strides towards fat loss.

The smallest changes we can make will end up giving us the biggest results!

So I’m going to lay out the 5 principles that I find to be the most helpful to lose body fat.

1- Nutrition. 

It’s very true that you can not outtrain a bad diet. However, by not prioritizing your nutrition first when it comes to reaching your fat loss goal, getting to that goal may take a lot longer then usual. As cliche as it sounds “abs are made in the kitchen” stems from a very true standpoint. ¬†What may work for others, may not necessarily work for you. What is important is to experiment. If one way isn’t working for you, then make a tweak to it! There is no one way fits all approach. All of our bodies are different, and they all react differently to the foods we eat.

If you feel like you are at a standstill with your fat loss intentions, take a look at your diet. Maybe take a week¬†to completely¬†prioritize it. Pick 1 or 2 small things in your diet that you feel are not necessarily aiding in your fat loss and work on switching things up. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself with every possible way to lose fat. One way to start is by adding protein and veggies for every meal. See how you feel once you have done that for a week.

2- Strength Training or Moving our bodies!

This one is going to go hand in hand with #1. They are essentially co-captains on a sports team. If they tend to disagree with one another, or one overpowers the other, then the team is going to fall apart. I remember a couple of years ago when I would be logging 5+ miles a day and going home to eat all of the food in the kitchen, why I wasn’t losing body fat? I just thought well, I’m putting in the work in the gym so that certainly gives me the RIGHT to eat what I want afterwards? Ugh, no Jess, just no.

I was causing a lot of stress on my body with all of the running I was doing and ¬†then just allowing myself to overeat afterwards. Essentially I thought I was rewarding myself for my good behavior (ie running), but in the end I was doing quite the opposite. Adding a lot of stress to my body¬†(overproduction of cortisol- leading to more abdominal fat)¬†and then eating too much to compensate what I had done earlier that day. I basically had that mindset of “Hey, I ran 5 miles today, so I deserve it”.

What is important is to get some sort of movement in each day. I remember watching the news one day about¬†how this one woman lost 200 lbs by walking around the airport that she worked at 5 times a week. Now she also helped her fat loss by joining weight watchers, but by just walking each day she was starting to shed some of the pounds as well. That is why I want to emphasize that it doesn’t JUST take lifting weights to lose the lbs. I know, I know, ¬†you are probably thinking well Jess you are always promoting heavy strength training, I know yes, but that’s because it is a passion of mine and I find to be extremely helpful in losing body fat and burning more calories then steady state cardio. BUT once again everyone is different. A lot of people don’t like to strength train (we all have preferences), so if we can find an enjoyable way to move and if it works for us, then I am ALL for it. Especially when it is an exercise that is not adding too much stress to our body and we find that it is really helping us to reach our goal.

3- Undue Stress

This is one that can be really hard to combat. I almost think it needs to be rated #1 with nutrition.  We can be stuck in so many stressful situations that they tend to have a domino effect on the two principles listed above. Case in point. You are in a very stressful work situation that is causing you to work late hours and/or work under a boss that drives you absolutely insane. What do you do to cope? Well, you treat yourself to the candy bar that is staring at you in the vending machine, and/ or you come home from work to a glass of wine that ends up turning into the whole bottle and  decide to forego the workout class you were going to attend. Now, I am not saying this is necessarily BAD as I have definitely had my fair share of wine after work, or skipped a workout class just to relax, BUT when it ends up becoming a month long routine, that fat loss goal of yours tends to get put on the back burner. We live in a society that is so fast paced, if you can try and control your mind to just.slow.down. It may be all you need.

Here are a couple of ways to combat that stress.

1-DEEP BREATHING- Find yourself getting fired up at work? Take a second to yourself in your chair or maybe go outside, close your eyes and focus on slowly breathing in for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, and then exhale for 5 seconds.

2-ESSENTIAL OILS, MEDITATION STICKS, or AROMATHERAPY BATH-I love to light an incense stick before I go to bed in order to calm myself. I also am a big fan of baths with aromatherapy bath salts and some bubbles. I sometimes bring a book with me, othertimes I do not. Usually my cat keeps me company and that’s all I need.

3-GO FOR A WALK OR EXPERIENCE NATURE- Sometimes it takes a 5 minute walk to clear your head or stepping out into some fresh air to really help empty those negative thoughts out of our head.

4-YOGA-Start implementing yoga into your weekly routine and see how you body and mind feels afterward! Sometimes all we need are a few stretches for that mind and body connection in order to rid our bodies of toxic stress.

4- SLEEP

Sleep is such a big component for fat loss. Recently, I have found that I am having a hard time functioning on 6 hours of sleep. In order for my¬†tomorrow¬†to be productive, a solid night of sleep is a priority for me these days. According to bodybuilding.com, “one¬†of the first major problems that is associated with a lack of sleep is an increased daytime cortisol level”. Cortisol is a hormone that wants to break down body tissue. Thus, with lack of sleep,¬†cortisol levels will rise, leading to body tissue breaking down.

Another problem with sleep deprivation is increased hunger and appetite the following day. Ever notice when you haven’t had enough sleep, but crave carbs the next day? According to health.com, “Two hormones in your body play an important role in controlling appetite and satiety. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, causing you to eat; leptin suppresses appetite‚ÄĒso you’ll stop eating‚ÄĒand stimulates energy expenditure. In a properly functioning brain, the two hormones are released on and off to regulate normal feelings of hunger. But research has shown that sleep deprivation can alter ghrelin and leptin levels. “When sleep is restricted to four hours a night, ghrelin levels go up and leptin levels go down,” says National Sleep Foundation spokesperson William Orr, PhD, president and CEO of the Lynn Health Science Institute in Oklahoma City. So you have a greater amount of appetite and a greater amount of intake.”

So, if you can, try to get to bed around the same time each night and work on averaging 7-8 hours in order to have a more productive tomorrow.

5-Overconsumption of Alcohol and/or Soda

Unlike macronutrients like proteins, carbs or fats, alcohol supplies empty calories. According to bodybuilding.com, “Here’s the problem with all alcoholic beverages, and the reason I recommend refraining from alcohol consumption on the diet. Alcohol, whenever taken in, is the first fuel to burn. While that’s going on, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop the weight loss, it simply postpones it, since the alcohol does not store as glycogen, and you immediately go back into ketosis/lipolysis after the alcohol is used up”. Another thing to remember is that alcohol loosens the inhibitions. Thus when we have taken back one too many, we may tend to eat whatever we are craving that night! Here are some general guidelines from bodybuilding.com.

  1. Drink alcohol with a lower caloric value, and a higher alcohol percentage (like wine for example). Less will be consumed, meaning lower overall calorie consumption.
  2. Avoid high-calorie liqueurs. These are extremely deceptive (they taste so good) and will add enormously to overall caloric content.
  3. Keep healthy food on hand when drinking. As mentioned, drinking will relax the inhibitions and cause one to compromise their nutritional habits.
  4. If drinking beer, try a lower calorie alternative. Also, drink diet sodas with various spirits to significantly lower the calorie content of these drinks.
  5. Drink water between alcoholic drinks. This will increase feelings of fullness and may help to prevent over consumption of alcohol.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson194.htm (5 Ways Alcohol Hinders Fat Loss!)

With that being said, we are all human and like to imbibe from time to time. If fat loss is a goal of yours and you find that alcohol and/or soda has been getting in the way of reaching your goals, then try and stick with the lower calorie types. Also try to drink¬†1-2 x/s a week and/ or in social situations only (granted your social situations aren’t every night ūüėČ )

 

Here is a great FAT LOSS workout for you to try out!

Make sure to get a dynamic warmup in, then complete AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible) in 20-25 min. Set your timer and get sweaty! Rest when needed or at the end of each round.

  1. Single Leg Deadlift (go heavy) x 5-8 reps each leg
  2. Neutral grip chinups or Inverted Rows: x 5-7 reps for the chinups or x 8-10 reps for the rows
  3. Single leg Squat with TRX x 5 reps each leg
  4. Incline pushups, weight plate pushups, or explosive pushups: x 5-8 reps
  5. Battle rope x 30 sec, or Jump rope x 30 sec, or jump squat x 30 sec 

 

Enjoy!

JBrauz

5 “Holy Ab burning” Core Exercises to do with a swiss ball! My faves…. 1/13/16

There’s nothing like the feeling of getting a nice little ab burn in ūüėČ We all know in order to get that visible ab pop, then shaping up your nutrition is the first thing to look at. But say you are already getting that in check and really want to strengthen your core, then now is the time to try JBrauz’s 5 favorite core exercises to do with a swiss ball!

  1. Jackknife- pikes: place feet on ball, with rest of body in plank position, start by bringing both knees to the chest while keeping the butt down and then when you extend legs back, you press tops of feet into the ball while simultaneously allowing hips and glutes to shoot up toward the ceiling into a pike position. After the Jackknife and pike that is 1 repetition. jackknife pike

2. Prayer pose: ¬† ¬†Start with forearms and hands (hands are in prayer position) on swiss ball and remainder of body is off the ball in a plank position. You will then start to brace the core and push the ball away from you and then back in towards the body. ¬†DSC_6500¬†modified version –>DSC_6508

3. Plank feet tap outs: option 1: tapping foot to ground —>DSC_6524

option 2:¬†bringing leg out to the side and not touching the ground —>DSC_6527

 

4. KB circles: start by holding the horns of the KB, and then whichever direction you choose to start with, slowly circle your way around with the KB in your hand and move slowly in order to engage all of the abdominal muscles.  DSC_6510DSC_6511

 

5. Side jackknife with ball btw legs with DB or Kettlebell for extra oomph.DSC_6537DSC_6542

 

 

Core Workout: Do this TODAY! (2-3 rounds total)

Jackknife/pike: 10 repetitions each 

Prayer pose: 30 seconds

Plank feet tap outs: 10 reps each leg or 30 seconds

KB circles: 10-12 reps each direction 

Side jackknife with ball btw legs and (optional DB or KB in hand): 10 repetitions each side

Good luck and let me know how those abs feel!

Love,

JBrauz

 

 

What small, positive change can you make for YOURSELF this year? ( 1 Small Habit Change Challenge starting Monday Jan. 11-Feb. 9th- 30 days!) 1/7/16

A new year, means a new, long list of resolutions right?

Maybe you want to lose weight, cut carbs, cut sugar, or cut out ALL unhealthy foods in general?

Or even, stay in better touch with family or friends, quit smoking, save money, get more sleep, get in the best shape of your life and overall just be healthy? While this is ALL great stuff of course, what is NOT so good is when we put so much on our plate that we get overwhelmingly stuffed.

So what I am proposing to YOU if you want to make a positive change, is start by choosing 1 thing, just 1, and make it small and specific.

I know, I know. We all want to lose weight. Great! But how can you make that goal of yours a bit more specific, manageable and realistic?

Many times going into the New Year we go all out with our workouts that first and second week that by the third week in we are so burnt out, or maybe we cut out sugar and are doing really great during the week but by the weekend you drive by your favorite donut shop and just have to stop. It’s okay, I’ve been there too.

That is why I want you to approach this year with a potential shift in your mindset. Instead of overwhelming your brain with a long list of items, just pick 1 small postive change to really focus on for 30 days. See if you can really commit to that change for 30 days.

Maybe there is one not so healthy habit that you can’t stop thinking about and it’s driving you up the wall, or you just know it is not making a positive impact on your life currently. Here are some examples below of many common habits that people like to change! Right next to them are small ways to fix them! Feel free to take one of these examples below to work on for 30 days or choose one of your choice! I am going to abstain from alcohol for 30 days in order to refresh myself. Feel free to do that with me ūüėČ

Examples of unhealthy habits: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†——-> ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Small, realistic fix for that habit:

Mindless eating after dinner ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†——–> ¬† ¬† ¬†1) ¬† ¬† Pinpoint the area where you tend to start eating alot-for many it is at night, infront of the TV. If you start finding that everytime you watch your favorite TV show at night that you HAVE to have something crunch and just can’t get that out of your head- try and substitute that “unhealthy crunch” like ¬†buttery popcorn, cookies, or numerous hand full of nuts for a different type of crunch like 1 handful of almonds, couple stalks of celery with peanut butter, carrots with hummus and see how that makes you feel. 2) If you don’t really like the idea of swapping for a healthier crunch at night, try portioning out your food instead. Many times we grab the whole bag of popcorn, instead of putting it in a bowl. So try portioning out your snack into a smaller dish and only eat what you have portioned out for yourself. For the rest of it, wrap it up, put it in the cupboard, put it away in the fridge, turn off the light in your kitchen and that will signal to your brain okay that’s enough. Out of sight, out of mind.

The crazy sweet tooth dragon comes out at night! ¬† —-> ¬†I know sweets, chocolates, and cakes can be oh so good and addicting, but may not be the healthiest for us if we are consuming them every night. ¬†1) One healthy alternative is “Metabolic Effect Craving Cocoa”. I’ve had this stuff before, actually I currently still own some ūüôā and it’s SO good and helps my chocolate cravings at night.¬†Metabolic Effect Craving Cocoa ¬† 2) Another helpful “sweet” treat is called “fro pro” (frozen protein). This is a dessert coined by another fitness professional where you take some plain greek yogurt- add some berries to it, maybe a little bit of almond butter , some chocolate chips, almonds, blueberries…and put it in the freezer for 5-10 min and then when you take it out it is a “healthier” version of frozen yogurt!

Emotional eating ¬† ¬† ——> ¬† ¬† ¬†Maybe your girlfriend or boyfriend just dumped you, you lost your job or your boss stresses you out. The first thing that¬†comes to mind¬†when you get home from work is food. Give me all the food and wine, now. While this is okay from time to time- hey we are all human! It it not a good idea to make a habit out of this. If this is the case, then a change may need to happen at work or with that significant other of yours. If you constantly find yourself reaching for that bottle or the pint of ice cream then try and find a healthier alternative. Sign up for a yoga class you can go to straight from work, go on a walk with your dog or friend as soon as you get home, schedule a personal training session before or after work ;), whatever it is, try to refocus your brain to more positive and healthier thoughts.

Too much alcohol —-> Social get togethers, happy hours, your friend just got promoted, your friend lost her job, birthdays, holidays, you just want a damn drink. Whatever it is, there is always an excuse to drink! Hey, I love me some vino. But is it okay to drink ALL the time? While moderation is typically the answer for most things- other times it feels good to just reset and rejuvenate the body and mind. 1)That is why once a year I like to do a 30 day detox of alcohol in order to reset, cleanse, and just give my body a little break. I also find that is starts to impact my workouts quite a bit the next day and plus with my age starting to creep up a tad..my body can’t quite handle it like it did back in those good ole college days. 2) I think it is also a great idea to have it more on special occasions as it can be something to really look forward to!. Do you feel like you are having a glass of wine or some beer every night after work? Try to start pouring some sparkling water or kombucha into a wine glass or even grab some hot tea and feel the warmth on your hands. Now I do not want you to feel restricted by any means but if you feel like you have just gotten into the habit of having a glass or some beer every night and it’s not even worth it, then is it worth it to your body and the results you are hoping for?

Cereal for breakfast ¬†—> ¬† ¬†For this one, all I hear is sugar (well for the majority of those out there!). It also doesn’t tend to fill you up as much as say eggs or greek yogurt or another protein filled meal, so I want you to think about how satisfying this one is for you? Is it something you ABSOLUTELY need to have? Does it make you do a crazy happy dance once it hits your mouth? If so, then great! I think it is really smart that we enjoy our foods wholeheartedly and as long as you are making smart decisions the rest of the day, then it may not be making too much of an impact. I also think if you are going to choose to have it, then eat it on the days when you are doing heavy strength training, particularly post workout. However, if it isn’t that mindblowing, or your significant other keeps buying it, or you are always in a rush to work, then try making some changes. Start by making some healthy egg muffins on Saturdays or Sundays so that you are prepped for the week and can just easily grab it in the am. Or you can hard boil some eggs and that is a quick fix as well. Not a fan of eggs? For some, overnight oats tend to do the trick. Here is a PB Overnight Oats recipe I found! —>http://minimalistbaker.com/peanut-butter-overnight-oats/

Too much sugar and/or unhealthy cream in your coffee —>This was something I made a change to about three or four years ago and have not stopped ever since. Sometimes I will drink it straight black but that’s once in a blue moon. For now, I like mine with a TOUCH of cream (preferably organic) and nothing else. If you find that having your coffee with sugar is a non-negotiable for you, but are itching to start making a change, start by adding in half the packet every morning instead of 1. My husband likes to add a little bit of honey into his and that helps him with the sweetness factor. Maybe even a touch of cinnamon will help as well!Or maybe you like the flavored creamers, start by introducing yourself to coconut milk or almond milk and see if one of those changes helps. Remember start small, so perhaps two times a week you start adding a different type of milk into your coffee or you start putting half the sugar amount in. Slowly but surely your body will start to get used to that change and may even start telling you that it was too sweet to begin with!

Portion sizes of your meals ¬†——> yes, yes we all go out to eat and the portion sizes they tend to give you at restaurants are quite huge. Now instead of stressin’ and getting yourself all worked up over that huge pasta dish you have in front of yourself, think about how you can cut it down? Maybe you take half the portion and put it on your plate and tell the server to wrap the rest up for you? Or perhaps you and your husband or wife share a plate when you go out to dinner? Okay, great but what about when you are making the meals at home? Now I’m certainly not one for weighing my food and or calorie counting. I have learned through trial and error¬†as to what will work for me and have found that the hand trick is one great tool that is quite helpful!

Not drinking enough water—-> Now I’m sure all of us have heard this one a million times. Your doctor, trainer, and mom preaches it to you. But it really is true. Water is SUCH a great free fat loss tool. But what if you don’t like the taste of water? How can I start making sure I’m getting enough in? Well, one way to start is by adding in some cucumbers or lemons to your water to add a little flavor to it. 2) Buy yourself a water bottle with a straw- that is definitely a trick that works for me!

Lack of sleep or not getting enough—-> I have started to absolutely CHERISH my sleep. I just love love love it. I also tend to get up really early during the week to train clients so I make sure to try and get at least 7 hours each night, otherwise I don’t function the next day as well as I would like to. My husband can attest to that ūüėČ It is also great for fat loss, so if that is something you are striving for, get to bed. ¬†1) Start by trying to schedule 1 or 2 days out of your week where you can get to sleep a tad bit earlier then you are used to. See how you feel the next day. 2) Turn off all electronics at least half hour-1 hour before bed (Yes, this is something I most certainly am working on!). Open up a good old fashioned book. 3) Practice some deep breathing while lying in bed. I like to inhale for 5 slow breaths, hold it for 5 breaths and then exhale for 5 breaths. 4) Take a hot bath or light some incense before bed to give yourself some down time.

Not enough time to workout—> I get it, we are busy bees! Maybe you have a new baby, or you are working 6am-8pm each day. I understand that stuff can make it absolutely tough to get to the gym. and I don’t blame you for not having enough time! One way that can be helpful is to start structuring home workouts. If you have some free weights, bands, a kettlebell, or just your bodyweight ūüėČ you can still get an effective 15-20 minute workout in! Read “my short on time” article to help get some ideas for a workout! ¬† 2) Communicate with your partner that getting a workout in the morning is very important to you, and see if you can work out a schedule where one of you goes a certain number of days to the gym while the other watches the baby and vice versa. 3) Schedule your workout in your phone or planner- if it is in there already it is going to make the priority list just like a doctors visit does. 4) Have a plan. This is probably the most important one of them all. If you have a plan/ workout program and know what you are doing, then you are more likely to prioritize it.

Eating out too often —-> you might find that it has become quite a habit to get lunch takeout with your friends 2-3 times a week or you forgot to pack your lunch but oh well, because there is a cafeteria. But that stuff can add up! Especially for your wallet…1) Start prepping your lunch or dinner meals the night before so that you are prepped the next morning or afternoon when you head into work! 2) Pick a day out of the month where you are going out with friends or co-workers and go out on that day each month. 3) Take dinner leftovers to work, score!

Working out TOO much—-> Maybe you are coming home at night and you are absolutely exhausted, maybe you are super sore and it’s just not going away, or lastly you don’t even FEEL like working out when you are typically all for it. Those could all be signs of over-training and your body is sending a signal enough is enough. At this point 1) take a week to reset. 2) shorten up your workouts, 3) Don’t go to the gym as often 4) Add in more active recovery days ( ie foam rolling or a nice leisure walk!) 5) Most importantly, LISTEN to your body.

Now those are some examples of unhealthy habits that people like you and me want to change! SO if you are going to pick one of the habits I’ve listed above OR you already have one in your head, go ahead and start SMALL with it. Starting this Monday January 11th, I want you to either work on limiting the amount day by day ( or adding depending on what it is!), work on eliminating or adding it couple days each week, or in my case abstaining from it for 30 days. Whatever it is that you choose, make sure you have pinpointed something that can be realistic and maneagable to work with. If not, we may have a harder time working on making that change for better or worse!

Make a note as to how you feel on Monday Jan. 11th, take some measurements, or take a picture of yourself and then in 30 days do the same thing. See if there was a positive change, I most certainly think there will be ūüėČ

Here’s to 2016!

Happy New Year,

JBrauz

 

 

 

 

Want a strong, sexy and more defined Back in 2016?! Incorporate JBrauzFit’s 6 favorite Back exercises into your routine 1/3/16

Happy 2016!

Here’s to health, happiness, and unleashing that inner most badass, super strong and confident self in 2016!

Now I don’t know about you, but when I see a woman with a strong,sexy, and beautiful back, I’m like dayyyyum.¬†That is why I wanted to share 6 of MY favorite back exercises with you!

Here are JBrauzFit’s 6 Favorite Back Exercises:

  1. ¬†Chinups/Pullups: These are by far my favorite. Not only is this a killer compound exercise (it incorporates back, shoulders, abs and arms!), but think of how empowering it feels to get that chin over the bar? If pullups or chinups are a goal of yours for 2016, remember practice, practice, practice. ¬†Can’t do a chinup just yet? Don’t fret! I would certainly start by nailing down inverted rows and seated rows first..and then slowly work up to it! Use a box to help assist you or a body band…I prefer these —>¬†¬†Body Bands

pullup pic from Vasa

2. Inverted Rows: These are definitely rated high on my fave back exercises, AND are a great way to strengthen the back in order to accomplish that first chinup! You can do these with TRX straps, a barbell, or even a tree branch outside! Start by holding onto the straps, arms fully extended, ¬†with palms facing one another or in a supinated position (palms facing upward). You will then in a controlled manner start to pull your chest toward the handles while exhaling your breath. Make sure to brace your core and glutes while doing so. You want your body to travel to the straps as one unit. Keep your arms in close to your sides like you don’t want someone to tickle you! On your way back to the starting position you will inhale.

3. Deadlifts: Mmmmm this exercise is just a killer full body exercise and I absolutely LOVE them! I especially love how it strengthens the upper/lower back AND booty for sure. Remember when doing the conventional deadlift to drop the butt down ( I know, I’m still working on this myself!), keep the arms long, brace the core, and root your feet into the ground.

deadlift pr

4. Single Arm Row (or One Arm Dumbbell Row): This is a great unilateral exercise that you can use a DB, Kettlebell, or weight plate with. Just remember even though this may SEEM like an easy exercise, many people tend to butcher it. You will want to start on the lighter side with your weight first in order to master this exercise and then work your way up. This is a great exercise for strengthening the lats (latissimus dorsi), mid and lower traps and definitely the core!

5. T-Bar Row: This is one of my favvvvvs for working those mid traps! You also work the lats, posterior deltoids, and the lower back as well. While many gyms will have different setups, the one that I am mostly talking about is where you set up the most appropriate weight that you can lift on the bar first, then you will step onto the foot pads, bending your knees, keeping that chest open, overhand grip on the bar handles, and then row the bar up and toward the chest while letting out a good exhale. Once you pull the bar into the chest, hold it there for a second while squeezing your back muscles. Then in a controlled manner slowly lower the bar back down to arms fully extended, while inhaling.

6. Seated Cable Row: For this exercise you will use a low pulley cable machine. Typically I prefer the V-handle bar, but you can use other bars or handles as well. You will sit upright on the bench with good posture and chest open, knees are slightly bent, arms will be fully extended to start. You will then exhale your breath as you pull the V handle towards the chest. Inhale your breath as you fully extend your arms back to the starting position.

 

Alright there ya have it! My top 6 favorite back exercises that I like to do at the gym! Now show everyone who’s back is BOSS.

 

Working dat back like whoa,

JBrauz