Posts Tagged ‘exercises’

Most resistance training equipment can be used outdoors. But some still require a solid and stable ground (like Olympic Barbells). Advantages of kettlebells over other resistance training equipement is that it requires very minimal maintenance cost. It can be used at the beach and would have minimal damage (a very thin rust) if not wiped clean after getting wet with sea water. You can practice juggling with it too. Here is a sample workout when you want to have fun at the beach.


Here is a quick warm-up routine for your kettlebell training. Some would want to add some more calisthenics and stretches which is great.

The nice thing about kettlebells is that they are very versatile. You can train your whole body almost anywhere. Sometimes I do it outdoors. It adds to the fun. Here is a routine which is quick but offers enough challenge. You can add reps per exercise or do more than one set. Enjoy! And don’t forget to leave your comments.

Here is another exercise that can be done almost anywhere, anytime. It builds arm pushing  strength and at the same time works your abdominal static strength all the way to your your lower limbs as stabilizers. If you want to or need to be stronger in pushing movements, and may not have access to a gym, then this is for you. Why would anybody want a stronger arm to push? If you are an athlete, you know why. If you are a fitness buff, being fit means you should be able to perform your physical tasks without being too tired. A lot of daily activities require us to push. Having a strong torso is a good health investment and allows you to enjoy leisure activities more since you are not that fatigued or you are not suffering from low back pain. What is interesting about this exercises is that you do not need any equipment at all and it trains your whole body.This is known as the “One arm push-up”. It is also a way to train your whole body together as one unit, like it is supposed to be, to attain an objective. Your whole body includes your mind as well.

The different levels of abilities

 Initially, I called it different levels of difficulty, but we better state it in a positive and descriptive way so we call it different levels of abilities. We use your body as reference point. There can be more levels in between these levels like knee level, and mid-shin level. We start with the easiest level going up to the level with the highest ability:

1. Solar plexus (the are just under your  rib cage a knuckle length above your navel) would be our easiest level.

valstrengthtraining 1armpush up solar plexus lvl

2. Hip level


valstrengthtraining hip level push up

3. Mid Thigh level

valstrengthtraining 1arm push up mid thigh level

4. Ground level

valstrengthtraining 1arm push up ground level side view

valstrengthtraining 1arm push up front view


There can be intermediate levels in between the levels, it just depends on what you can do, and how you can position yourself in that level. There can also be harder variations than the ground level but for this post, the discussion would be until the ground level.

Here is how it is done:

Have a good warm-up. Click here for a suggested routine.

Start initially from an easy position. Initially position your feet wider than your hip width. The toes should be in contact with the ground. From your selected level of ability, put your strong arm in front of you and let the heel of your palm bear your weight. Strong arm means the left hand for right handed individuals, since the dominant hand would be stronger, not just strong! Put the non-working arm behind you or you can hold the side of the upper part of your thigh. The elbow of the working arm should be straight. Inhale and tighten your abdomen, and your whole body. Now slowly bend the elbow of your working arm. It is optional but you may let a bit of air out through your pursed lips, as if you are also squeezing the air. Lower your body as a whole. As much as possible, should look like a straight line made by your head to your toes if viewed from the side. Imagine you are a log- strong and straight. C’mmon, don’t cheat! I can see you are pushing your upper torso up but your hip is stuck! Do it again… Now you are doing it lick a a sexy dancer, your butt is going up way ahead than your torso. A log is not crooked, but if you can’t make an almost straight line it means one thing, move to an easier level. If the level you are using now is the Solar Plexus level and you cannot do it, then straighten yourself up! That’s the easiest level! If, by all honesty you cannot do it even with all your honest effort, then do the close grip push up first. It is a two arm push up. Do not do the one arm push up YET. Or you can make a comment or message me and I will make another post for it.


If you were able to lower yourself as one unit, try going as close as a fist width between your chest and the platform, and then push. Your torso should be still very tight- your abdominal muscles contracting very hard. Imagine pushing the platform away from you. Do it with full mind and body effort. Push until your elbows are straight. Once your elbow is straight, lock it in position and then you can breath in a controlled manner. Repeat. Do a few repetitions and then try doing it with your stronger arm. Do as many GOOD repetitions as you can with your strong side. You do not need to do more with your stronger side. Rest two to four minutes. Now repeat again and again in the coming weeks until you can do it with grace. Once you can do it with good control- that is smooth push-up movement with feet positioned together, then move to the next harder position in your next training session. Try doing 3 to 5 repetitions on each side for 3 sets initially. Then increase the numbers as you become stronger.

Here is another General Strength Exercise.

Be patient with what you can initially do. Do not rush. Besides, it may take time until you can perform a good one arm push up on ground level. It takes time for your body to recover and rebuild the muscle fibers, tendons, and other connective tissues. The speed with which you improve depends mostly on your desire to be better and stronger. You must supplement your desire with quality information that you can put into an actual working plan. Working for a stronger body actually makes your mind stronger. Feed your mind with good and useful information, instill good and honest habits, practice common sense, and practice, practice, and practice some more. If need be, seek out somebody who can coach you. That is quality training. Train better, live better!

There are so many exercises that those who would want to start a training program would get confused. Even athletes and their sports coaches can be misinformed by all the hype. Some athletes and sports coaches may already have preconceived notion of what their Strength and Conditioning training program should be but it would not necessarily be what they need at their current condition. The same is true for individuals who may not be training for sports performance. This makes it harder for a Strength and Conditioning Coach, or for a Personal Trainer, to implement a realistic plan.


Educating ourselves helps us to set realistic expectations. Exercise may seem complicated by all the conflicting ideas but to make it easier to understand let us compare food – which we encounter everyday, to exercise.


Most people, especially kids, love junk food. Junk food tastes good but is of little nutritional value. A close to ideal eating habit would be eating at the proper time a staple food which would sustain our energy requirement, some side dishes for other nutrients needed for normal body functions, and a lot of fluids. Substituting junk food for the staple food would sooner or later make us fat, weak, grouchy, and in the long term may develop diabetes, and/or hypertension. Other problems jump in too like lower back & joint problems due to excess body weight which a weak musculature and cardiovascular system cannot support. It is true that healthier food like vegetables may not be as tasty as some junk food but that would not diminish their contribution to our health. We certainly cannot substitute our carbohydrate intake with chocolates and doughnuts day in and day out. We have to eat food of better quality and at the same time enjoy our food.


When it comes to exercise, there are similarities. There are exercises that, when used in a well designed training plan, would produce the intended results. They can improve not just one but two or more fitness components. For a particular training objective, there are exercises which would bring about the best stimulus for the the required change. These would make up the main part of the training program. Most of the time time and effort in a training session is allocated for these exercises. They are the staple part of your exercise diet. These are called the “Main Exercises” or “Core Exercises” (which is oftentimes confused with core exercises pertaining to exercises for the torso musculature.)


The training goal would dictate the choices and type of exercise. For this blog, we would be focusing on the description of exercises to improve strength.

valstrengthtrainingdeadliftCharacteristics of the “Main” exercises for Strength are: mostly ground based or done in a standing position; involves most major joints in the body like the hip, knees, shoulders, ankles, elbows, and wrist; requires some skill and technique; equipment used are free weights especially the barbells. Load would lean towards the heavy side. Kettlebells, dumbells, and  bodyweight is used too especially if the strength level of the trainee is still not so high. Examples of Strength exercises would be Squats, Deadlift, and Standing overhead press. The more powerful movements would be developed using Cleans, Snatches, jerks, and plyometric jumps. These require time, patience, feedback, and simply a lot of practice but they help improve a lot of qualities needed in athletic endeavors. It takes some time to learn them and they are generally harder to execute. Which probably contributes to the reasons why people (who do not understand or are not motivated) would not like to do them. Just like vegetables- these exercises contribute a lot to a person’s valstrengthtrainingsquatbbhealth & fitness but are generally not liked due to their inherent nature. And the bottom line is: STRENGTH is one of the most important attribute that influences most, if not all others directly and indirectly.


There are also exercises that can be referred to as “Assistive” or “Supplemental”. They are derived from the main exercises and as their name implies, they are used to supplement the main exercises for a more overall development. They are like the side dishes. They are usually derivatives of the main exercises. Examples are Split Squat, lunges, One arm press, and Overhead Squats. Kettlebells and dumbells are great tools for these exercises. These exercises help to develop certain portions of a movement that may not be emphasized as much in the “Main” exercises. Load is not as high as the main exercise.



There are also a lot of exercises which look “cool” and are trendy, BUT may not necessarily provide the required stimulus for promoting positive adaptation towards the needed athletic or fitness component. Some are marketed to “significantly improve strength” but it can be misleading. These exercises are marketed mostly as “functional” but the word “functional” is vague and would mean different things to different people. They may have been bastardized form of rehab exercises and were used for the wrong purpose but are marketed very well. Examples are squats while standing on a swiss ball. The risk would somehow negate the benefits. If the person falls from the swiss ball and gets whacked in the head by the barbell and spills his neural matter all over the floor, that would not in any way make him or her strong and healthy. Like junk food, these exercises are still exercises and a lot of them have something of value- if used for their correct purpose. But they should not make up the bulk of a person’s training plan especially if the training goal is to increase strength. They should not be prescribed if they do not contribute to the the realization of the training goals of the individual. If strength exercise is food, these exercises are junk food.


As kids begin to understand more about which food is better for them, their preference may be shifted towards healthier food choices. Similar situation is when adults are educated about exercises, they may prefer those that would give them the best return of their valuable time, effort, and money. If you want to live better, then train better. Choose your exercises wisely, educate yourself well about exercises, and train with people who you can trust- those have the qualifications and experience with the same population you are in. Add the required effort and commitment and you would make yourself better. Train Better, Live Better!