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The How To Exercise (Part 3)

Whew! These last couple blogs got me fired about you? Are you ready for more? I know I am! How many of you attempted either or both of the workouts I shared last time? Be honest, it's okay if you didn't. The purpose was to show how by using just ten exercises YOU yes Y-O-U can create multiple calorie burning workouts! Imagine what adding ten, twenty or even more exercise choices could do...the possibilities are endless! Speaking of unlimited potential, let's do just that and find new ways to jazz up the ordinary. Time to get creative!

One way to add some flair and keep things exciting is to bring dynamic exercises into the equation. Those of you that have joined me the last few weeks hopefully recall the topics of balance and calisthenics and remember how completely opposite they are in terms of impact but share equally in developing overall fitness when included in workout sessions. However, if you are new to my page and this is the first post you read, I encourage you to also take a peek at the other posts in this series so that you learn how everything relates to one another.

Dynamic activities are no different. Their exception is that they focus on larger ranges of motion and are performed at a slower pace than typical strength training movements. Additionally, they illicit a stretch reflex in muscle tissue so can be used in your warm-up, during your normal workout, or as a cool down. They are very versatile so many dynamic exercises also fit into other categories as well. Kill two birds with one stone I believe is how the saying goes. Or as a college student would say "double dip." Retailers lure you in with their BOGO sales. These expressions can be used to describe dynamic exercises too. Tell me you don't want in on that!

On the flip side though, I have both heard and seen people misinterpret what dynamic actually entails. Many times individuals believe that in doing dynamic workouts, where a specific cadence is often used, they must bounce their way up and down while counting. While I applaud their dedication and intention to improve their fitness levels, this completely defeats the purpose of what they are trying to accomplish. By jerking, you are placing the wrong kind of stress on muscles, ligaments and tendons putting them at a higher risk of injury. Wait! Isn't staying healthy one of the main reasons many fitness buffs workout?

Going back a couple paragraphs where I talked about these movements being rhythmically controlled, that means using some sort of guide or reminder to encourage a larger range of motion. To do this, many gym goers have been trained to adopt a systematic counting method. While this does assist in "taking time to smell the roses" so to speak, it creates a very awkward rigid look. When a person counts 1-2-3, there is usually a break between each number which, in turn, causes a stoppage of movement and often falls short of the "perfect angle" most conducive to strength gains. More on this in a later part of this series.

As a fitness professional, and frequently away from work as well, I use analogies or visual imagery to help clients (and others) grasp the feel of a movement or idea I'm trying to convey. Because everyone learns differently, I am inserting one here in hopes of presenting a solution catered to your personal needs. For those of you that find counting creates the above scenario, I am offering two options to remedy it:

First, try replacing your usual method with a short statement (e.g. "Slow and steady wins the race," "Take time to smell the roses," "I need a really long vacation" or my absolute favorite "My fitness instructor is the best") and repeat a slogan from the list or design your own catch phrase and use it once upon initiating the exercise and then again on the return to your original starting position. By implementing this strategy, you should find fluidity in the motion and be able to complete a deeper end point.

Second, and since we all have to breathe anyway, focus on long inhales and exhales while executing the movement. Just like with your sentence, one long breath for each section of work. For now don't worry too much on the proper breath mechanics (exhaling on the work phase and inhaling on recovery), but more on remembering to not hold it while you're working out. Techniques on correct breathing will be discussed in a future post.

Like several blogs in the past, I have addressed both pros and cons to a particular format. Pros AND cons? What are the cons here? After the craziness of the last two posts, I'm really liking this slow down thing. What could possibly be wrong? Well, nothing really...except that taking longer to do each exercise means your overall workout will take more time to complete than other styles. Keeping this in mind, don't choose only dynamic movement on a day you have a limited time frame so say your 30 minute lunch period. Allow at least an hour (not including warm-up) so you don't feel pressured to rush through your session and contradict the purpose of this formats design.

Ok coach, I'll take it from on...uh...maybe not. One more thing. Can you give examples of some dynamic exercises...pretty please? I really want to include some next time I go to the gym. Of course, but in reality almost any exercise you pick works in this format. However, since I love that you asked (actually probably didn't), I again will include a total body circuit with this blog. Depending on the amount of time allotted and your fitness level, you can go though everything once using one of the above methods and call it a day or repeat until you're satisfied. It's your workout. It's your choice. Whatcha gonna do?

Warm up:

30 sec hip openers

30 sec Frankensteins


10 leg lifts

10 side bends ea side

10 stand ups

10 stationary lunges

10 pushups

10 triceps dips

For those with a higher fitness ability, hold an exercise in the middle for one to two seconds to experience a greater level of burn. You're welcome! Enjoy! Come back next week to find out how to exercise without moving. Piqued your interest at all? Hope so....

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