Monday, December 26, 2011

Exercise of the Week - Squats


To begin this exercise place the bar on your Traps, slightly, below the neck.
Grasp the bar using both the arms at each side and lift the loaded bar of the rack. This is done by using your legs and straightening your torso. 
Step behind and position your leg using a shoulder width stance. You have to maintain a neutral spine and your head will be up at all times.
Initiate the moment by sitting back with your hips and maintaining an upright torso. Continue down below parallel.  Begin to raise the bar by pushing the floor with the heel and extend the hips to return back to the starting position.



Frank Mapranny, 
Fitness Head, 
YFC

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Exercise of the week – Stiff legged deadlift


Maintain an upright position and hold your barbells in your hands.

Keeping your knees soft, you push your hips behind and lower the barbell over the top of your foot.  See to that you maintaining a neutral spine throughout the movement. The range of movement will depend on your flexibility.

You get back to an upright posture by getting your hip forward.

Repeat for the recommended amount of repetition. 



Frank Mapranny, 
Fitness Head, 
YFC

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Exercise of the week - Barbell Rows


Maintain an upright posture and hold a barbell with a supinated grip. Keeping your knees soft you bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist. See to that you maintain a neutral spine and your torso forms a ninety degree, parallel to the floor. You are maintaining your neck in line with your spine.
In this position the barbell will be hanging in line with your shoulder.
While maintaining a stable torso, you lift the barbell towards you. Your elbows are close to the body at the end of the movement you squeeze your back muscles and hold for a second.
Release the weight in a controlled manner. 



Frank Mapranny, 
Fitness Head, 
YFC

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Exercise of the week - Hip Thrust


Position yourself on the ground next to a bench that is placed behind you. Your shoulder blades are placed on top of the bench. You can have a loaded barbell over your legs. If you use a loaded bar you can place pads on the bar to reduce the discomfort.

Your shoulder blades are placed on top of the bench.

Initiate the movement by driving through your heels, extending your hips towards the ceiling. Your weight is supported by your shoulder blades and your feet. Extension of the hips stops when you attain a neutral spine and then you drop back to the starting position.

See to that you maintain control throughout the movement. This movement focuses your glutes and is a supplement based exercise to improve your posterior chain function.

If you use a barbell see to that you roll the bar directly above your hips.



Frank Mapranny, 
Fitness Head, 
YFC

Monday, November 28, 2011

Exercise of the week - Farmers walk


The exercise can be performed using a pair of dumbbells or barbells.  You grip the weights and lift them up by driving their heels. Maintaining an erect posture and your head in a neutral position, you start walking taking short quick steps and don’t forget to breathe.  Move the required distance as fast as possible.

Performance meter
Maintain regular breathing pattern
Maintain a neutral spine and your neck in a neutral position.


Frank Mapranny, 
Fitness Head, 
YFC

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pilates and understanding Pilates


Human Movement is a graceful, perpetual spontaneous movement that should have the freedom to express. Our body is made to perform continuous movement for survival and locomotion. Pilates is one of the body conditioning techniques that amplifies and reinforces this continuous movement with grace. This technique was developed by Joseph Pilates during the First World War. He continued to enhance and refine the system over the next 50 years until his death in 1967. These exercises consist of over 500 stretching and strengthening exercises. There are few principles that are followed when executing Pilate’s based exercises. They are unique in its own sense but integrate with each other to create a mind and body awareness. The principles of centring, precision, lateral breathing, flow and focus form the base of this body conditioning technique [3,4]. Pilates in comparison to traditional weight training focuses on the powerhouse (the core). Here the core defined is the intricate muscles that support the spine, specifically, the lower back. These exercises help in lengthening and strengthening the muscles of the spine. The exercise focuses on core stabilization that strengthens the centre of the trunk and with progression making it more dynamic that minimises any unwanted movement in the core.

Modernization is the number one culprit in creating imbalances in our body; these imbalances are further reinforced by our sedentary lifestyle. Our body has a neutral alignment that enables us to execute optimum movement in our day to day activities that requires the activation of the core. So an efficient movement in the extremities and with maximal strength would require the proximal attachment to be fixed or stabilized. However, the neutral alignment gets restructured and creates imbalances in our body. A weak core will result in the body not being stabilized in a movement and the quality of the movement in the distal body part will be compromised and damage will occur proximally as well.  As a result, the movement affecting the extremities will generate greater movement at the proximal attachment. Specifically, the spine will suffer from wear and tear that can lead to increased stress upon the joints and concomitant degeneration of the spinal joints [3,4]. Increase in the curvature of the spine will result in the spine being less efficient in bearing the weight of the body. The apexes in the increased spine curvature would experience more stress and turn into the weaker points in the chain of vertebrae, eventually, leading into degeneration of the spinal column [3,4]. Proprioception forms an interactive link between the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, inhibition of these deep propioception because of pain or habit could lead to compensation in movement pattern. This results in slowing down the process of healing because of unproductive biomechanics. Pilates works on retraining and this assists in improving movement patterns. Pilates involve close chain kinetic exercises that may provide the necessary compressive and decompressive forces to foster nutrition to joints [5].

The change in neutral alignment depends upon the position of the pelvis. Pelvis movement will occur with relation to the movement of the spine and in relation to the thighs. Muscle that attaches from the trunk move the pelvis at the lumbosacral joint and the muscles arising from the lower extremity attaches the pelvis at the hip joint. The position of the pelvis will basically determine the posture of the spine. Anatomically, the spine sits on the base of the sacrum and any change in the pelvis will cause a change in the spine. The spine has to then compensate for the pelvis that is out of alignment, this eventually increases or decreases the curvature of the spine [3].




Lengthening affect of Pilates

Pilates focuses on addressing the musculature around the pelvis region, it focuses on lengthening the spine. Lengthening of the spine results when an individual stands taller and the spine is free of any compressive forces on the joints. Regular Pilates based exercises helps in attaining a neutral pelvis and this change will affect the change in the lumbar curvature. Execution of Pilates based exercise requires an individual to tuck his/her belly in. This automatically creates a lengthening affect in the body. A tight lower back region will be stretched with hip mobility and core stability movement this will eventually affect the curvature of the lumbar and invariably have an effect on the thoracic curvature. This is because of the multiarticulation process on the spinal column [3,4]. Additionally, Pilates’s improves the structural integrity of the abdominal muscles. The strengthening of the multifidus, transverse abdominis and the perineal muscles are important in stabilising the spine [2,3,4].

Does it change body composition and increase lean mass?
Pilates are closed chain kinetic exercises that incorporate the activation of all major muscle groups and could be used in rehabilitation. Research has suggested that Pilates improve truncal (core) flexibility and they didn’t find any changes in LBM (lean body mass) and any body composition change. A one hour session per week resulted in a significant improvement in flexibility [2]. It could be sensible to include Pilates once or twice in a week to improve flexibility and assist in the lengthening affect of Pilates. They could be supplemented in a weight training program to improve the overall dynamics of an Exercise program.

References
[1] Bernardo, L. (2007). The effectiveness of Pilates training in healthy adults: An appraisal of the research literature, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 11, 106 – 110.

[2] Cullingan, P.J., Scherer, J., Dyer, K., Priestley, J.L., Guingon-White, G., Delvecchio, D. & Vangeli, M. (2010). A randomized clinical trial comparing pelvic floor muscle training to a Pilates exercise program for improving pelvic muscle strength, International Urogynecol Journal, 21, 401 – 408.

[2] Herrington, L & Davies, R.(2005),  The influence of Pilates training on the ability to
contract the Transversus Abdominis muscle in asymptomatic individuals, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 9, 52 – 57.

[3] I.Jeffrey. (2002). Developing a Progressive Core Stability Program. National Strength & Conditioning Association, 24, 65-66.
[4] Muscolino, J.E; Cipriani, S (2004).  Pilates and the ‘‘powerhouse’’ – I, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 8, 15 -24.

[5] Muscolino, J.E; Cipriani, S (2004).  Pilates and the ‘‘powerhouse’’ – I, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 8, 122 -130.

[6]  Segal, N.A.; Hein, J; Basford, J.R. (2004). The Effects of Pilates Training on Flexibility and Body Composition: An Observational Study, Arch Phys Med Rehabilitation, 85, 1977 – 1981.

[7]  Sekendiz, B., Altun, O; Korkusuz, F. & Akin, S. (2007). Effects of Pilates exercise on trunk strength,
endurance and flexibility in sedentary adult females, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 11, 318-326.

[8] W.B.Kibler; J.Press & A. Sciascia. (2006). The Role of Core Stability in Athletic Function. Sports Medicine, 36, 189-198.


Frank Mapranny,
Fitness Head,
Your Fitness Club



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Exercise of the week - Reverse Plank with Flutter


Get into a reverse plank position.
Get your body weight on your palm and your heels. The body is parallel to the ground and in neutral alignment. Your fingers should point towards your feet.
You lift your left foot and hold. Your toes should be pointing towards the ceiling.

Performance meter
Focus on keeping your body in a neutral position
Don’t let your hips drop
See to that your lengthening your spine and your neck is in neutral alignment.




Frank Mapranny, 
Fitness Head, 
YFC

Monday, November 7, 2011

Exercise of the Week - Inchworm


Begin in a press up position and maintain a neutral spine.

Walk your feet towards your hand as far as you can. Then walk your hands out of the push up position. Continue to do this movement, like an inch worm.

It’s a good mobility exercise for the spine.

However, people with lower back problem need to exercise caution.


Frank Mapranny, 
Fitness Head, 
Your Fitness club

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Exercise of the Week - Walk up and down



Balance on your sit bones and grabbing your legs behind your knees. You consciously maintain a submaximal contraction of your abdomen (30%) contraction. In this position you’re maintaining a neutral spine and your shoulder blades are depressed towards the spine.

You initiate the movement by tilting your pelvis forward. You will lower your body down by walking your hands down your legs. Then repeat the movement as you come back to the starting position.

See to that you maintain the form of the movement; you are focusing on your core and maintaining a submaximal contraction in your abdomen.

A note of caution this movement involves flexion of the spine, which may be contraindicated for people with lower back problems.




Frank Mapranny,
HOD Fitness,
Your Fitness club

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Exercise of the week – Bulgarian Split squat


Exercise of the week – Bulgarian Split squat

You should be standing about 2 to 3 feet in front of a flat bench with your back facing the bench. See to that the dumbbells are on the sides.

Maintaining a shoulder width stance you squat down and pick the dumbbells from the floor. Move one foot back so that your toe is resting on the flat bench. Your other foot is under you. Maintain an upright posture and look forward. Keep you head up at all times this will help in maintaining you balance.

Slowly lower your leg until you are below parallel. At this point your knee should be over your toes. You push upwards and contract the quadriceps as you extend your knee.

Performance meter – This exercise is an unilateral movement and should be performed by experienced weight lifters.




Frank Mapranny, 
HOD Fitness, 
Your Fitness club

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Exercise of the week – Low wood chopper


Stand with your side facing the weight stack. Grab the handles with both hands from the low cable pulley.  Maintaining an upright posture and soft knees through out the execution of  the movement.

You will perform a rotational movement from below your right knee and you will cut across diagonally from the right side. At the end of the movement the handle bar will be just above the head towards your left.

Please execute this exercise using your core.

Performance meter
Initiate the movement using your hips that enables you to engage the core

Keep your inner core activated.








Frank Mapranny, 
HOD Fitness, 
Your Fitness club


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Exercise of the week – Reverse glute bridge


Rest your upper back against an exercise ball and your glutes down a few inches above the floor.
Raise your hips up to form a straight line from your shoulder to your knees.
Maintain your pelvis in a neutral position when you are at the top.

Performance Meter
Use your glutes to initiate the movement
Ankles should be directly below the knees
Keep your core activated





Frank Mapranny, 
HOD Fitness, 
Your Fitness club

Monday, October 3, 2011

Exercise of the week – High Wood chopper


For this exercise you will require a cable pulley.

Stand with a comfortable stance and grab the handles from your right side with both your hands. The hands will be diagonal to your whole body and to your right. Maintaining an upright posture and soft knees you will execute the movement.

You will perform a rotational movement and you will cut across from the right side. Then move towards your left and end in front of your left knee. 

Please note that you will always maintain soft knees and execute this exercise using your core.


You can also perform this exercise using a bands, tubes, plates and dumbbell.

Frank Mapranny, 
HOD Fitness, 
Your Fitness Club

Monday, September 26, 2011

Exercise of the Week - Sumo deadlifts


Start with the bar in front of you. At the start of the movement the bar should be closed to your shin. The feet should be close to the collars. Bend at the hips to get a hold of the bar. Maintaining a shoulder width grip (mixed grip, pronated grip or hook grip) you raise.



Inhale and then lower your hips, maintain a chest up position throughout the movement. Drive your heels to the floor and lift the weight of the floor. Extend your hip and knees.

 As the bar travels above your knees, lean back and drive the hips into the bar, pulling your shoulder blades together.

Get the weight back to the starting position by bending the hips and controlling the weight as your descent.



Frank Mapranny, 
HOD Fitness, 
Your Fitness Club

Monday, September 19, 2011

Exercise of the Week - Side jackknife



Lie on your left side and see to that you maintain a neutral spine .
Get your left arm across your chest  i.e. in front of your torso close to your right hip and put your right hand behind your head.
Initiate the movement both at the torso and your legs, bringing your head towards your hips.
Return to the start position and repeat.
If you find this exercise difficult , you can start by only lifting your legs.



Frank Mapranny, 
HOD Fitness, 
Your Fitness Club.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Exercise of the week – on the Ball Jackknife


Your forearms are rested on the floor, your shins are rested on an exercise ball and your elbows should be under the shoulders at all times. While as your body should maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.

With your legs pull the ball towards you while you raise your hips high.

Beginner starting position - 1

Beginner finish position - 2

Advanced

You can roll the ball back to the starting position.



Performance meter 

While performing this movement, you are keeping the ball under control 
The exercise is performed with a mind and body link 
your neck is lengthened and in alignment with your spine
Maitian a normal breathing pattern, do not hold your breath while performing this exercise
There are moderate risk associated to it, please perform under supervision
Hypertensive patients need to avoid this exercise



Frank Mapranny, 
HOD Fitness, 
Your Fitness Club.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Exercise of the week – Pelvic tilt


Pelvic tilt is a subtle exercise that focuses on the core and helps in relaxing the muscles in the lower back. Lie on your back with your knees pointed towards to the ceiling and the soles of the feet flat on the floor. You will be maintaining a neutral position (natural curvature of your lower back).

Now imagine if there is a bowl of water on your pelvis. You need to rock your hips gently so that the bowl of water is spilling towards your stomach. This will make your lower back press into the floor.

After couple of seconds come back to the neutral position.

Please note that you need to perform this exercise gently. Use mind body connection while performing this exercise. If you feel that you are experiencing a certain amount of tension, try to relax and perform this exercise in a subtle manner.
Beginner

This exercise can be performed on the floor at beginners level. The exercise can then be progressed to a seated position either on a Swiss ball or a chair. The advanced level would be in a standing position and your back to the wall.


Intermediate

Advanced



Performance meter
It is a very good preliminary exercise for those trying for low back pain relief. This subtle exercise helps in the lengthening and stretching the muscles in the lower back.


Frank Mapranny, 
HOD Fitness, 
Your Fitness Club.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Core Stability Series



  1. Exercise of the week - Plank
The plank is a very effective exercise that works on core stability and focuses on isometric ally supporting the core (abdomen & lower back). The exercise focuses on reinforcing the neutral spine of one individual self.  This subtle exercise can turn challenging when movement is added to it.
To get into this position, you should be facing the floor in a prone position. This is similar to a press-up position; however, you are balancing yourself on your forearms and your toes. The individual maintains a neutral spine in this position and is challenged to maintain this position as the period increases.

Progression




Beginner



 Intermediate





Advanced


Performance meter
This exercise is a very good inclusion in your workout because it stabilises the muscles that helps to maintain a healthy posture.

  1. Exercise of the week – Bird dog
·         The starting position is initiated when you assume an all-fours position, arms under your shoulder and knees under hips. In this position you will be maintaining a neutral alignment of your spine.
·         Please do note that your shoulder blades (scapulae) will be depressed down or closer to the spine. In a sense you won’t be to tense on the shoulder.
·         In this position you’re not letting your belly drop to the floor, you are maintaining a minimal contraction in your abdomen.
·         The movement is then initiated by simultaneously raising your alternate arm and leg of the floor, until they are parallel to the floor.
·         The movement can then be repeated by alternating the other arm and leg.

Performance meter
·         The exercise is performed with great precision and control.
·         The position of the pelvis should always remain constant while performing the movement.
·         The movement should be initiated from the core (centre) of the body, it is a conscious effort.




  1. Exercise of the week – Side plank
Side plank is a very effective core stability exercise and it activates the obliques. You need to position yourself onto your sides, stacking your left foot on top of the right and resting your right forearm on the floor with your palms resting on the floor.
Please note that you are maintaining a neutral spine in this position and then lifting your side from the ground. The position challenges you to maintain a neutral spine while you are balancing your body weight on your right forearm and on the side of foot.
Make sure that the supporting hand is directly under your shoulder and you maintain an ‘open chest posture’ at all times. You are maintaining a neutral spine and the shoulders are relaxed so you don’t feel unwanted tension on your neck. Another important parameter is that you have to keep your hip in line with your spine, the moment you drop your hip the purpose of the exercise is lost.



Stages of Progression

Beginner

In this level, please note that you balancing yourself on your forearm and on the side of your knee. The same parameters are involved while executing this exercise.

·         You have to maintain a neutral spine (neck in line with your tailbone) and the distance of your neck.
·         Maintain an ‘open chest posture’
·         Don’t let your hip drop to the floor
·         The balancing arm is in perfect alignment with your shoulder


Intermediate

In this level, please note that you are balancing yourself on your forearm and on the inside of your foot.

 The same parameters are involved while executing this exercise.
·         You have to maintain a neutral spine (neck in line with your tailbone) and the distance of your neck.
·         Maintain an ‘open chest posture’
·         Don’t let your hip drop to the floor
·         The balancing arm is in perfect alignment with your shoulder






Advanced


In the advanced level, you are balancing your side on your palm. Your balancing arm is extended and in line with your shoulder.

The same parameters are involved while executing this exercise.
·         You have to maintain a neutral spine (neck in line with your tailbone) and the distance of your neck.
·         Maintain an ‘open chest posture’
·         Don’t let your hip drop to the floor
·         The balancing arm is in perfect alignment with your shoulder

Performance meter
·         Individuals with shoulder injuries need to progress with caution or at their own pace.
·         Breathe at a normal pace and avoid holding your breath.


  1. Exercise of the week - Glute Bridge
  2. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. In this position you maintain your neutral spine (the normal curvature of your back).
    You initiate the movement using your glutes and move your hips toward the ceiling.  Only your shoulders and heels should remain in contact with the floor.
    Hold this position and then lower your hips toward the floor.
    See to that you don’t get your glutes in contact with the floor.
    See to that you keep your core activated at all times.
    Don’t drop your hips while performing the movement.
    Performance meter
    The execution of this exercise should be continuous. Even though it activates the glutes, it is a good mobility exercise for the lumbar spine. Individuals who lead a sedentary life or perform their daily activities in front of the computer will find this exercise extremely beneficial for their lower back. 




  1. Exercise of the week – Reverse plank
  2. Lie down on the floor in a supine position. With you palms on the ground, your body elongated and in a neutral position.
    Push yourself up into a reverse plank (either on elbows or straight arms).  See to that you maintain a neutral position throughout the movement.
Progression


Beginner





Intermediate

Performance meter

Maintain the body in a neutral position and see to that you don't let your hips fall or rise. Be sure not to hold breath.



Frank Mapranny,
HOD Fitness,
Frank Mapranny