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Feel Stronger and Sexier With This Arm-Sculpting Yoga Sequence

Feel Stronger and Sexier With This Arm-Sculpting Yoga Sequence

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    1. Downward Facing Dog

    • Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be underneath your shoulders, and your knees underneath your hips.
    • Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale and lift your hips, coming into an upside down “V” shape called Downward Facing Dog.
    • Spread your fingers wide and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Your heels should be slightly wider than your toes, so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Work on holding for five breaths.

    Arching-Three-Legged-Dog

      2. Arching Three-Legged Dog

      This arm-strengthening variation of Three-Legged Dog involves bending the knee of your top leg, increasing the flexibility in your hip flexors, spine, and hamstrings.

      • Begin in Down Dog. Step both feet together so your big toes are touching.
      • Keeping the left heel on the mat, raise your right leg in the air coming into Three-Legged Dog, and then bend the knee. Actively squeeze your right heel in toward your hip, lifting the knee high.
      • Lift your head up and turn to look over your left shoulder, arching the spine. Think about drawing your head and foot toward each other (if your spine is extremely flexible, your foot and head will touch).
      • Hold here for five breaths, keeping the belly still and breathing into the chest.

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      Extended-Tabletop

        3. Extended Tabletop

        Strong and poised like a ballerina, Extended Tabletop will open the front of your body, increase flexibility and strength in your shoulders, and tone your tush.

        • From Arching Three-Legged Dog, slowly lower your right foot to the floor behind you as you simultaneously raise your right arm in the air. You’re essentially rotating your body 180 degrees so your belly is pointing up toward the ceiling. Readjust your feet if you need to so they are parallel and slightly wider than hip-width apart.
        • Press firmly into your feet to lift your hips high, engaging your glutes and hamstrings, and extend your right arm over your face.
        • Hold here for five complete breaths, gazing at your extended hand or up toward the ceiling.

        Yoga-Poses-Tone-Arms-Upper-Back

          4. Balancing Star

          This creative cross between Sage and Half Moon will tone both your upper body and core.

          • From Extended Tabletop, lift your right arm and leg into the air, rotating your left toes so they point away from you.
          • Stay here, balancing on your left hand and foot. Try to keep your shoulders, spine, and hips in one straight line, and gaze toward your right hand. Press your left fingertips into the mat to take some pressure out of your wrists.
          • Hold here for five deep breaths, trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady. Then release back to Down Dog.

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          Quarter-Dog

            5. Quarter Dog

            Not only will this easy-on-the-wrists variation of Down Dog intensely stretch the backs of your legs, but it will also work out your arms, shoulders, and upper back.

            • From Down Dog, spread your fingers wide and lower your forearms to the mat. Check to make sure you’re creating a straight line between your elbows and middle fingers.
            • Keep your legs straight and lower your heels toward the ground as far as you can. Your heels should be slightly wider than your toes so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat.
            • Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for five breaths. Then straighten your arms, coming back to Downward Dog.

            One-Legged-Four-Limbed-Staff

              6. One-Legged Four-Limbed Staff

              Lifting one leg in this Chaturanga variation really targets your triceps and shoulders. It’s an advanced Chaturanga that requires more strength from your arms.

              • From Down Dog, shift weight forward so your shoulders are directly over your wrists, coming into the top of a push-up position.
              • Bend your elbows behind you, brushing your arms against the sides of your body as you lower down. Hold Four-Limbed Staff with your body in one straight line, making sure your elbows are at 90-degree angles.
              • Lift your right leg a few inches off the floor, pointing your toes, and hold for three deep breaths. Release that foot to the floor, and lift your left leg for another three breaths.
              • Release your left foot to the floor, inhale into Upward Facing Dog, and exhale into Downward Facing Dog.

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              Firefly

                7. Firefly

                This arm-balancing pose will tone your arms and increase flexibility in your hamstrings.

                • First, Downward Facing Dog. Jump your feet up so they land behind your hands.
                • Bring your hands back through your legs, and press your palms into your calves, trying to crawl deeper through your legs. Once your arms and shoulders are as far back behind your thighs as you can get them, plant your palms firmly behind your feet, cupping your heels with your thumb and index finger.
                • Bend your knees and squat down, resting the backs of your legs as close to your shoulders as you can.
                • Make sure your palms and fingers are spread wide as you shift weight into them. Lift your feet off the floor, either one at a time or both together, straightening your legs. Never place the weight on your wrist.
                • Hold for five breaths and then release your feet to the floor, coming into a Wide Squat.

                Side-Crow

                  8. Side Crow

                  This variation of Crow involves a little spinal twist and is just the pose to work your upper body. It’s a perfect posture for people who want to use just their own weight to tone up their muscle.

                  • From a Wide Squat, walk your feet together. Twist your torso to the right, and place both hands on the floor so they’re parallel with your thighs and shoulder-width apart.
                  • Place your outer right hip onto your right elbow and your outer right knee onto your left elbow.
                  • Shift weight into your palms, and lift your feet off the floor, coming into Side Crow. Hold here for five breaths, and then release your feet to the floor, coming back to a low squat position.
                  • Rotate your torso to the left, and repeat this pose on the other side. After five breaths, come back to a low squat.

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                  Headstand-B

                    9. Headstand B

                    This headstand variation is a killer move for your upper body, and for an added bonus, it’ll also tone your core.

                    • From a squat position, release your knees to the floor. Lower your elbows to the floor, and interlace your fingers, bringing your lowest pinky in front of the other pinky so both pinkies are on the floor, forming a semicircle with your hands.
                    • Place the back of your head against your palms and the top of your head on the mat. Once your head and forearms feel stable, straighten both legs and walk your feet toward your face as far as you can.
                    • Shift your hips over your shoulders, and keep your elbows planted firmly on the mat. Lift your right leg straight up toward the sky and then your left, coming into Bound Headstand (also called Headstand A).
                    • Hold this position for five deep breaths. To move into Headstand B, slowly lower both legs down halfway so that your legs are parallel with the floor, staying here.
                    • After five breaths, lower your feet all the way to the ground, resting in Child’s Pose.
                    • This is an advanced post, know your limit and listen to your body.

                    Child-Pose

                      10. Child’s Pose

                      • Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart, and your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, lie your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
                      • Rest your arms beside your legs, with palms facing up, or try extending your arms out in front of you.
                      • Stay here for five breaths.

                      yoga a7
                        Reference: popsugar.com

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                        Published on January 3, 2020

                        The Best Weekly Workout Routine for Beginners

                        The Best Weekly Workout Routine for Beginners

                        Whether you’re looking to either lose weight, build strength, or develop muscle, I will be detailing the approach for each objective in the proceeding article.

                        Before we get into it, let me preface by saying that you will be asked to perform cardio if wanting to lose weight, and for each objective, I HIGHLY suggest adopting Intermittent Fasting for at least 2 days of the week, if not all days, if you want amazing results for either weight loss, muscle development, strength gains, mental clarity, and overall health.

                        I have written many previous articles on Intermittent Fasting, and if you are unfamiliar, I encourage you to pause for a moment to have a read.

                        Identifying Your Goals and Objectives

                        I often get a tad philosophical in these articles, and you can expect the same here. One of the best ways you can get started into exercising is by identifying your goals, objectives, and intentions.

                        Simply put, what do you want to achieve and why? Do you want to lose weight, get stronger, or build muscle?

                        You may be thinking ‘well those all sound great!’, but the best approach is to identify a single primary objective. The reason being is because different styles of training will affect your body differently. For example, when I was losing weight to shed body fat, my approach heavily focused on that and utilized caloric restriction, macro nutrient calculations, and intermittent fasting.

                        One of the main reasons I suggest identifying goals for yourself is because now, you can start to support those goals with visualization, and then begin to develop a plan of action or strategy to reach your goal.

                        Your goals will always be changing, and using myself as an example, after I lost the weight and reached my initial goal of 8% body fat, my new goal became to develop more muscle with a focus on getting stronger. My training shifted from high repetition body building with lots of cardio, to low repetition strength training (on strict programming) and practically no cardio. I also increased my carbohydrate intake to support the muscle building and strength gains.

                        Muscle Mass vs Strength

                        Many get these two mixed up or convoluted; thinking that with one comes the other, which is not always true.

                        I’ve personally witnessed a small/skinny 155lbs adult male squat twice as much weight than a muscular 200lb+ male. How? Because the smaller person had trained their strength, which heavily revolves around the central nervous system (“CNS”) and the method of training.

                        The style of training is vastly different if one wants to focus on muscle building vs strength. If one is interested in building muscle, the training modality would be of a higher repetition range and more volume. More volume means doing more sets and reps overall. There is a simple way to calculate total weekly volume, and that is to take the total sets and reps for all exercises of that week, and multiply it by the weight lifted during that same week. The equation looks like this:

                        Training Volume (V) = Sets (S) x Reps (R) x Weight (W)

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                        or simplified: V = S x R x W

                        For example, if I worked out 3 days of the week and performed 5 sets of 5 squats with 315lbs then my total weekly volume is 3 x 5 (S) x 5 (R) x 315lbs (W) = 23,625lbs of total volume.

                        Powerlifters and strength athletes are generally more focused on volume as it develops the working capacity for how much one can lift and how strong one can be. There is periodization involved with this process for a powerlifter as strength tends to come in waves – we can’t be lifting heavy all the time, it simply won’t work.

                        Bodybuilders are generally more concerned with lots of sets and reps, but keeping the weight much lower. The objective of a bodybuilder is to establish a ‘pump’, which in essence means “damaging” the muscles of the body during exercise and in the process driving blood to the muscles to encourage regeneration, repair, and growth.

                        Bodybuilders tend to tear down the muscle, in order to build it back up stronger. This of course needs to be supported by a protein and carbohydrate rich diet. Likewise, powerlifters also need high protein/cab intake to support training.

                        The difference between the two is that bodybuilders are more likely to count the macro nutrients and calories when compared with strength athletes. This is because bodybuilders have set an objective of reduced body fat and more muscle, whereas powerlifters are simply looking to get stronger.

                        Creating a Plan or Strategy

                        So now that you’ve identified your goal, let’s dive into the recommended strategy for each. I will keep this organized under the heading of each objective so it’s easy to follow along.

                        Exercising to Lose Weight

                        If you’re new to exercising, I honestly suggest you workout every single day, or 6 days with 1 off, and the reason is simply that you get such amazing results in the early stages – capitalise on it!

                        When you’re looking to lose weight, be prepared to do some cardio. If you don’t like cardio, too bad, suck it up and do it anyways. You can start with 3-4 walks a day of 15min (up to 60min total walking time), or you can reduce this to only doing cardio for your workouts.

                        If you opt to only perform cardio during your workouts, that works fine, and I’ve covered it in the below approach:

                        Simple Breakdown

                        Perform these movements in a pyramid where you start with light weight and work your way up to heavier.

                        Example: 2 x 15 light weight, 2 x 12 moderate weight, 1 x 10 slightly heavier weight but not where you’re struggling to perform the last rep – you should be able to theoretically perform up to 2 more reps but stop at 10

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                        • Warmup cardio 15min (moderate pace first 10min, faster pace last 5min)
                        • Superset Bicep Curls with Tricep Extensions, this can be done with dumbbell or cable machine
                        • Superset Bench Press with Bent Over Rows, or Pushups with Pullups, this again can be performed with a barbell or dumbbell
                        • Superset Front Squats with Still Leg Deadlifts or Standard Deadlift, and keep these light
                        • Overhead Press with Dumbbells or Barbell

                        You may also opt for standard Barbell Squats on some days of the week, and the difference between the two is that you are training anterior chain a bit more so in the front squats.

                        Overall, however, the High or Low Bar back squat could be argued as a superior movement, but I won’t get into that. The above exercises give you a very basic template to build off.

                        Now let’s get into the more detailed explanation below.

                        Detailed Explanation

                        Warm up each workout with 15min cardio at a moderate pace (jogging, or a very fast pace walk). The goal here is to increase your heart rate beats per minute (“BPM”).

                        Now that you’ve warmed up, you can get into your workout. The great thing about being a beginner to working-out is that you can get massive results very quickly! You can perform your workouts targeting the total body, whereas a seasoned athlete often needs to split workouts by various muscle groups, also known as a “workout split”.

                        An example of a workout split would be Monday – Chest, Tuesday – Back, Wed – Legs, Thurs – Arms..etc.

                        Another example of a split would be training the anterior chain on one day, and posterior chain on the next. Anterior chain would cover chest, abs, arms.. whereas posterior would be hamstrings, glutes, back..etc.

                        I highly suggest as a beginner, you ignore this stuff and focus on performing full body workouts for at least the first few months into training. Full body workouts could include, for example, a bench press workout, and immediately after the set going over to a machine or equipment for back-training.

                        By going from one exercise to the next, you are ensuring an elevated heart rate, which is great for burning fat and losing weight. This is also known as a ‘superset’, and I have made several videos on Superset Training. Here’s one of them:

                        When you’re done with weight lifting for the workout, it’s time for cool-down cardio — 10min at a less than moderate pace (quick walk) – this promotes circulation.

                        Generally speaking, your workout can be kept to 1-hour if you follow the above approach, and it would look something like this:

                        15min Warm-up Cardio, 30-40min training, and 10min cool-down cardio

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                        Because you are utilizing supersets during the 40min training, your heart rate is kept elevated and you are burning maximum fat for the workout.

                        Now you can top it off by training in a fasted state to really shed the weight.

                        Exercising to Build Muscle

                        Building muscle will not require as much cardio as weight loss training, however, it will require more weight lifting with higher volume. Your warm up can be limited to under 10min, and cool-down to 5min, leaving more time for weight lifting in between.

                        As a new lifter, you can still perform full body workouts and achieve amazing results; simply rotate through the muscle groups during your training each day.

                        After a few months of full body training, you may need to switch over to a training split, which I covered earlier in this article.

                        If you are interested in a detailed breakdown of a bodybuilding training split, hit me up on social media (comment, or DM) and let me know! I’ll be happy to accommodate if the interest in bodybuilding training is there.

                        Exercising to Get Stronger

                        Training to get stronger doesn’t totally require cardio, however, for general health purposes, I still recommend cardio to the extent of that mentioned above for ‘exercising to build muscle’.

                        Cardio aside, the training approach for getting stronger should be supported by proven programs. Some great examples of strength programs, and I encourage you to research each one specifically to determine which is best for you!

                        I personally have ‘run’ a few different programs, including Conjugate training, and the Texas Method Powerlifting program, which I created a YouTube video series/log detailing.

                        It looks like this…

                        Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1

                        Each training cycle lasts four weeks and the rep schemes for each week (and each exercise) look like:

                        • Week 1: 3 x 5
                        • Week 2: 3 x 3
                        • Week 3: 3 x 5, 3, 1 (get it?)
                        • Week 4: deloading

                        This is how the percentages for each set are broken down:

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                          Reg Park’s 5×5

                          Phase One

                          • 45-degree back extension 3×10
                          • Back squat 5×5
                          • Bench press 5×5
                          • Deadlift 5×5
                          • Rest 3-5 minutes between the last 3 sets of each exercise.

                          Train three days per week for three months.

                          The first two sets of 5 are meant to be heavier warm-up sets before moving into 3 sets at the same weight. Once you can do the last three sets of five reps, you move all weights up approx 5-10 lbs.

                          Louie Simmons’ Westside Barbell Conjugate

                          The basic breakdown of the week:

                          • Monday – Max Effort Squat/Deadlift
                          • Wednesday – Max Effort Bench
                          • Friday – Dynamic Effort Squat/Deadlift
                          • Saturday – Dynamic Effort Bench

                          Executing

                          Don’t just read this article.. DO!

                          Get up and do, make it happen, take action, what ever goal you have identified. Especially in the early stages of exercising, you need to begin to allow that rolling snowball to turn into an avalanche of success.

                          Look deep within yourself and ask what it is you want to achieve, now execute!

                          Tracking Results

                          I always speak about keeping yourself accountable and supporting your own journey in the process byway of tracking results! There are so many great mobile apps, wearable devices and fitness trackers including heart rate monitors, and more.

                          Personally I’ve had great experience with MyFitnessPal for tracking calories and macro nutrients while losing weight, and StrongLifts for tracking training. There are again many more apps you can explore and the take away, here is that you should be keeping track of your results because that in itself is motivation to keep crushing it.

                          Get at it fitfam!

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                          Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com

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