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Fitness Tip: the lat pulldown

If you are a regular gym goer or even an occasional gym goer, you have likely crossed paths with the lat pulldown.

Your lats and latissimus dorsi are the big muscles of your back that insert at your shoulder, connecting to your humerus, and span all the way to the bottom of your spine. One of the benefits of a lat pulldown is that it helps you identify any muscular imbalances in your upper back and/or shoulders.

This exercise requires considerable core awareness as you need to concentrate on staying stable and stationary, not letting your body follow the weight back up when extending your arm again. 

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How often should I train with my trainer?

Ultimately, how often you work with your personal trainer will depend on a variety of personal factors like time, money, etc. Generally speaking though you should be exercising (with a trainer or on your own) between 2-3 times per week, with a minimum of one day of rest between your workouts. When it comes to how often (and at what intensity) you exercise, it will depend on your goals. To determine the best workout program based on your goals, needs, etc., we highly urge you to consult a fitness professional.

Keep in mind that it is possible to work out too often. Excessively challenging your body with physical demands –  ‘overtraining’ – can lead to both chronic and acute injuries. Planning adequate rest will help your body adapt to the work and improve.

Fitness Tip: burpees

You can modify burpees to better suit your fitness level and to engage particular muscle groups and movement patterns!

  • The classic burpee-jump requires full frontal contact with the ground and a push-up. You should remember to keep your hips down and level (no wiggling). When performing the push up, make sure to push up from chest level.
  • Modified bench burpees are good for getting the heart rate up but easier on the upper bod, compared to the classic version noted above.
  • Burpees with an overhead press – a more advanced option – are great for people with a strong upper body but who may not want to jump.
  • Single-arm burpees are definitely for the more advanced burpeer! This variation is more demanding of core stability and shoulders. You can also lift one leg as you perform a push up, to emphasize trunk engagement and upper body!

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The difference between muscle strength and muscle endurance

Muscle strength is the ability to exert force against resistance, whereas muscle endurance is the ability to exert sustained effort over a long period of time. Muscle endurance relies on muscle fibers called type 1 (slow twitch). Muscle strength relies on type 2 (fast twitch) muscle fibers. Fast twitch fibers come in two varieties – type A and B. Type A help you pick up a couch and carry it across the room. Type B help you bench press your 1 rep maximum.

It is important to train all types of muscle fibers and systems, as you use them all in your everyday life (e.g. lifting and carrying small children or groceries). It’s also important to keep in mind that genetics play a large part in which types of fibers you will have a larger proportion of; whoever, this shouldn’t hold you back from attempting to improve your weaker areas (e.g. getting stronger if you are actually better with respect to endurance).

Talk to your trainer for more information.