Back to School, Fitness Basics

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Laura Mak, MS Fitness Expert

The summer season is about to wind down quickly and the kids are headed back to school. The first week or so of school is typically getting back into good study habits, remembering note taking skills, and using the basic learning tools.


The same should apply when you are beginning or refreshing your fitness routine. Going back to the basics is always a solid building block to set your foundation. With good form and fitness techniques, you are bound to get results faster, safer, and better quality.


Here are the TOP 5 form reminders to remember during your “Back to Basics” workouts:

  1. Back Straight: Keep your spine long and straight during activities and you will get to keep your spine for a long time. If you need extra support try using an upright bench or even perform the exercise in a seated manner. Keeping the spine straight will improve its strength naturally, so no need for extra back support braces. (These can actually weaken the muscles surrounding the spine because with the support they are no longer fully engaged.)
  2. Muscle vs. Momentum: Be sure you are “lifting” the weights using your own strength and not swinging to maneuver the weights. (We have all seen “that guy” in the gym who is swinging on the lat pull down bar and looks as if he is about to pull his shoulders out because the weight is too heavy. Don’t be that person). If you find yourself using momentum, drop the weight to a lighter amount and continue to add to the repetitions. It is much better to have proper form to strengthen the body, rather than try to manipulate a heavy weight.
  3. Abdominals pulled in: This should probably be the number one reminder. It is imperative on every movement you perform, to keep the abs pulled in towards the spine. Plus you can actually strengthen the muscles just by keeping them pulled in. You can use this technique in your day to day activities like standing up. Before you stand up, pull the abs in real close to the body. Pretty soon you will be creating a new healthy living habit, and as a result, your waist will look like it has shrunk!
  4. No locking: Keep a slight bend on the elbows and knees when performing the exercises. They should never completely “lock out” or become straight. It can damage the joint. This will also provide you better balance when you performing an exercise standing up.
  5. Coordinate Breathing: An easy way to remember when to inhale and exhale is to exhale when your exert (the two “e’s” go together). For example if you are doing a biceps curl, begin with an inhale, then on the exhale (when the muscle is exerting or working) curl the bicep lifting the hand up towards the shoulder. The breathing does not have to be a massive inhale and exhale, just keep it close to natural breath.


Enjoy these tips, they are easy enough to apply to your current fitness routine or the new routine you are beginning this season.


For more training routines  you can check out my fitness and inspiration book, “Fast and Fierce Fitness Made Fabulously FUN!” This is a twelve week program, complete with exercise descriptions, photos of each movement, motivational guidelines, tracking system, progressions for each level of fitness, weekly upgrades on fitness programs, and most of all, FUN creative workouts that leave you more energized, looking great, and feeling fantastic!!! Or if you would like a more specialized program to specifically meet your needs and goals be sure to  check out my online training programs or online nutrition.




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