During your workout, you have likely heard your trainer comment, in some way or another, on your posture and form. Most people have a good idea about what constitutes ‘good’ posture but seem to accept their own ‘bad’ posture. Maintaining good posture is key to reducing the stress on certain muscle groups along the spine. Ignoring your posture can result in reduced strength and could negatively affect your balance.1 While maintaining good posture isn’t always practical – especially when working at a desk or lounging on the couch as you scroll through your phone – it’s important to maintain postural awareness to prevent unnecessary strains and kyphosis (curvature in your upper back). In many cases, issues with posture can be managed (even treated) with stretching and ensuring proper form is maintained throughout your workout program.
One common postural issue that we see in the studio is hunched shoulders due to tight pectoralis – ‘pec’ – muscles. While we work our pecs during exercise, we do not always treat them to a nice stretch after our workout. To help stretch these muscles, consider trying the following easy stretch: with your arm bent to 90 degrees, place your forearm against an open doorway, stand in a staggered stance – with one foot in front and one behind for stability – and slowly push your chest forward. Hold for approximately 30 seconds before alternating arms and stop if you feel any pain.
At Body & Soul, we are so lucky to have such amazing personal trainers working with our clients. These trainers are some of the most dedicated, compassionate, and incredible fitness professionals you will ever meet!
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With any exercise, to continue to receive the full benefits of the exercise, one has to continually increase the difficulty to avoid a plateau.
A general rule of thumb for increasing resistance is to do it once you are able to complete the upper number of reps within your range with proper technique. For instance, if your range is 8-12 reps per set, you should be able to complete 12 reps with proper technique and ease. Once this is achieved, you should consider increasing the resistance by roughly 5%. Keep in mind, however, that increasing your resistance will affect the number of reps you can perform until you grow stronger.
You may not like it, but ensuring you include some type of strength training exercises into your workout program will help prevent the onset of many health-related issues including osteoporosis, stroke and heart disease. There are many benefits to including strength-related exercises in your workout, including stronger bones and improved circulation.
When it comes to strength training, you can use a variety of equipment, including: free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, and even your own body weight. The “best” choice will depend on your personal preference and specific goals. For instance, if you are looking to increase your strength to improve your daily life, free weights may be the best choice as they involve a more natural coordination of several muscle groups (better simulating real life activities compared to weight machines); however, if price is an issue then you may want to consider a combination of bands and body weight exercises.
While strength training is a necessary part of any well-rounded workout program, it becomes even more important as you age and begin to lose bone density. Consequently, the best time to start strength training is now!
The April issue of our monthly e-newsletter – The Fitness File – is available now! This issue covers the following:
- “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
- fitness tip: bent-over rows
- nutrition tip: am I drinking too much coffee?
- COVID-19 studio update(s): face masks and vaccinations
- club news: small group personal training, outdoor and virtual training, and thank you!
- staff spotlight: Michelle Wong (Head Trainer)
- studio Q&A: why should I train with more than one trainer?
Check it out here.