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Ask the Trainer: 6-Pack Abs

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: What is the best way to get a 6-pack? I know that one must get his/her body fat percentage way down but I'm a fairly athletic, skinny guy and I cannot get a 6-pack for the life of me. Help!

 

Answer: As long as your body fat gets below 10%, you will begin to see your abs. We all have a 6-pack under there but it can be accentuated by doing crunches and possibly weighted sit-ups. I would recommend doing abs every other day so they have time to repair and thus grow. Getting a 6-pack is a combination of building muscle, doing cardiovascular exercise and eating correctly. Genetics help too.

Ask the Trainer: Leg Definition

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I want more definition in my legs. I've been working out "like a man" for about 3 years now, drinking protein with no noticeable improvement. What can I do?

 

Answer: If you have been working out very hard for about three years I am sure you have put on some muscle mass in your legs. You should be showing strength gains and increase in muscle size. However, definition comes down to diet and cardio. If you are not doing so, I would make sure you are keeping your repetitions in the 15 to 20 range on legs. You need to incorporate lunges and leg extensions to give you more definition in the quadriceps area. I would also look at the amount of cardiovascular exercise you are doing - make sure you are getting in 4 – 5 days a week over 30 minute sessions. Best of luck!

Ask the Trainer: Lower Ab Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Any good workouts for the lower abs? Needing help with that. Thanks!

 

Answer: There is not a specific exercise for this as you cannot spot reduce. You actually end up working the whole area even if you are trying to emphasize just the upper or lower piece. One thing that will help emphasize and make you feel this area is a hanging knee tuck. Hang from a bar and bring your legs up in front of you with your knees at a 90 degree angle. Lift your knees half-way up to your torso and return in a slow motion. This will make you feel the lower portion more but you are working every muscle.

 

Check out our YouTube video for a Hanging Knee Tuck Demonstration.

Ask the Trainer: AM vs. PM Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I do a lot of body weight training and high-intensity-interval-training in the mornings - what are the best exercises for the AM compared to when I am in the gym at night for resistance? Is there a balance? We try to do a lot of plyo in the morning to jump-start metabolism.


Answer: It seems that you have the right idea. I assume you are doing your resistance training in the evening because you have more energy for your weight training workout after several meals? Is sounds like you are doing body weight training with the goal of increasing your heart rate in the AM on an empty stomach to burn more fat. I guess the most important thing to consider is not the type of exercise you are doing, but how elevated your heart rate is during exercise. I would focus on exercises in the morning that do not interfere with the exercises you are doing later in the day. In other words, I wouldn’t do a lot of push-ups in the AM if you are working your chest, for example. Just try breaking up the body parts and keeping your heart rate elevated and you should continue to see results.

Ask the Trainer: Recovering from Injuries

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: In your opinion, what are the top 5 worst exercises for a bad rotator cuff?

Answer: I would say that your biggest enemy here is not properly stretching and warming up before exercise. If I did have to pick a couple exercises that would not be great they would be the overhead barbell or dumbbell press and the flat bench press. All of these exercises put pressure on the rotator cuff especially if you break the 90 degree angle with the elbow.

Question: I had gall bladder surgery 2 months ago. What's the best exercise for me?

Answer: Dorothy, although many experts say it is important to begin walking around soon after surgery, I would be very conscious as you could re-injure your incision sites. I wouldn’t begin an exercise program until you have an examination and are released by the doctor to do so. He or she will give you any restrictions you have to work with and I recommend you get with a personal trainer to have them help customize a program around them. Take it slow and get your advice from the doctor.

Ask the Trainer: Pulling Muscles in Back

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am constantly pulling muscles in my lower back when I do deadlifts - even after taking 2 weeks off, and starting with almost no weight. I've tried super-slow, low-weight-high repetitions, stretching, etc. Of course, I'm also lifting with my glutes, not my back. Any ideas?

 

Answer: There are a couple things you can do to help with this. One issue many have with the lower back is a weak core. Try strengthening your core with leg lifts, crunches, and sit-ups on a stability ball. You can also try wearing a power belt to hold your core tight and help support your lower back. The best way to handle this would be to eliminate dead lifts from your workout unless you need to do them for testing or a sport specific exercise.

Ask the Trainer: Facebook Fitness Questions

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Is doing a long period of cardio good enough to lose weight?

 

Answer: Doing cardio will help you lose weight as long as you are burning more calories than you are taking in. It is a great way to start but you will get better results by adding in some weight training exercise with your cardio. I would do 30 minutes of weight training with 30 minutes of cardio. 

 

Question: I'm looking for a good core exercise that will also strengthen the back - any suggestions?

 

Answer: Working the core in general will strengthen your back. I would recommend doing your sit-ups on a stability ball. It will help you work your mid section, including your obliques, and will help you strengthen your back as well.  You can also do planks for your mid-section, which will strengthen your core.

Ask the Trainer: Workout Intensity

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I work out with a trainer once a week and he wipes me out. A couple times a week I try to do that same workout on my own, but I’m not nearly as tired when I do it on my own. Why is this? How can I make sure I’m pushing myself as hard as my trainer does?

 

Answer: This is a tough one. I don’t think it is possible to push yourself as hard without your trainer unless you have a workout partner as well. Think about what the trainer does for you. First, you get the knowledge you need to do the exercises correctly. Second, you have someone that holds you accountable for showing up and not missing workouts. Finally, you have someone who can push you through that pain and burn on your final repetitions that you won’t do on your own. If you can find a workout partner who can be on your routine and who will push you past your comfort zone on exercises, you will be ahead of the game. This is the main reason that many people use personal trainers and why many professional athletes are where they are today!

Ask the Trainer: Dehydration

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: How can I walk further and a little faster without getting so dehydrated?

Answer: You can’t really walk further and faster and stay hydrated because you are going to sweat more with the intensity and lose more water. You have two different options. One option is to ensure that you are properly hydrated prior to exercise. Make sure you drink a few glasses of water before your workout. The other option you have is to consider what a lot of cyclist and hikers do and get a Camelback water backpack. This backpack holds enough water to keep you hydrated on long rides, walks, or hikes. You have to have access to water during prolonged exercise especially in the heat to avoid dehydration.

 

Ask the Trainer: Limited Workout Time

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: If I only have 30 minutes to spend exercising, what’s the best use of my time?

Answer: The best thing you can do to be effective is a combination of cardiovascular exercise mixed with weight resistance training. Adding muscle increases your metabolism and helps you burn more calories over a longer period of time while cardiovascular exercise helps you burn stored fat from your body. Running is always an effective way to burn calories fast because you have the impact of your body weight in motion. If you have a little more time try mixing in 15 minutes of weight training with 20 – 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. You will see results much faster this way. Check out our Basic 8 routine to do a full circuit of weight resistance training, all in just 30 minutes!

Posts 91 - 100 of 130