6 Exercises To Create A Stronger You Today

6 Exercises To Create A Stronger You Today

We use on a regular basis with our clients and that we think are very valuable. These 6 exercises to create a stronger you today when worked routinely will have a measurable impact on your fitness. Read how to do each movement safely and check out the downloadable workouts at the end for a place to get started.



  1. Ab Wheel
  2. Bent Over Row
  3. Wall Sit
  4. High to Low Core Rotator
  5. Tricep Dip
  6. Band Walks
  7. Downloadable Workouts


The ab wheel is almost a standard in our gym. Not that everyone “should” be able to do it, but that it is an example of core strength and stability. Performing the ab wheel correctly, pain free is a benchmark that we can measure core strength by. Again, we do NOT use it with everyone, but healthy individuals, especially look for improve athletic performance you better bet your bottom dollar we do.

If those individuals can give 15-20 exceptional ab wheel reps then we hit them with some progressions. Like putting a weight on your back or performing the reps from your toes. Both show a high level of core & shoulder strength & stability.


First off you are going to need to have an ab wheel. If you don’t skip over to your nearest store or order one up off of amazon (affiliate link). Next up is something for your knees. We have the stability pads (affiliate link) that we use at the gym, but if you don’t have one on hand you can use a towel or pillow. I would 10 for 10 recommend the stability pad, we use it for so many exercises from core to balance. But I am against having a bunch of stuff laying around – so make sure you have a place for it. Otherwise grab the pillow of your couch and get going.


  1. Start on your knees with the ab wheel on the ground under your shoulders.
  2. Brace your core and push from your knees and hands to move the ab wheel forward.
  3. Once you have reached YOUR maximal range of motion pull the wheel back to the starting position by equally pulling in from your arms and hips.


In no way is this an “entry level” core exercise. Most common mistake we see is continuing to perform this exercise incorrectly. The exerciser either creates an issue (pain) or exacerbates one. Make sure you are strong enough by doing plenty of core exercises with great form, to failure.

  1. Arching low back or sagging butt – this is an ab exercise, brace your core!
  2. Only moving your arms – your torso should come forward with your arms.
  3. Only moving your hips/torso – your arms should extend forward at the same time.


  • Control your pelvis. Arching in the low back is the number one cause of pain or discomfort with this exercise. It indicates that your abdominals are not staying engaged. Keeping your hips tucked can help you engage your low abdominals and prevent the low back from arching. But the more neutral spine you can stay the better.
  • Equal Movement. We want to see your hips and shoulders extending simultaneously in both directions. The movement should be smooth and equal.
  • Range of Motion. The end goal of this exercise is a full extension. However, that isn’t where you start. Most people will have to shorten their range of motion in order to keep their pelvis tucked/ back neutral and equal movement from the hips and shoulders.


With the ab wheel being an advanced core exercise you may need some other exercises to supplement. Try planks with upper body movements like shoulder taps and plank step-ups to work on strength in the end range of motion of an ab wheel. Sit-up variations on the decline bench or v-sit variations to work on hip flexor strength and low abdominals.

If you want to make the exercise hard you can work on angles out to the side, add a weight to your back or try from your toes. BUT we caution these moves unless you are truly doing 15-20 really high quality, full range of motion reps.


It may be a basic, simple, old exercise, but everyone should be familiar with a bent over row. And if you already know the bent over row, how many other back exercises can you think of? Hopefully 2 or 3 times as many chest exercises.

Training your back muscles should 100% be a priority during your workouts. We live in a forward dominant world – meaning life we do most of our activities in the front of our body. Exercise should work to maintain balance in our bodies, which means we need to do more back work to manage the impact of our lifestyle habits.


Let’s start by recognizing the posture of a bent over row. It is important to understand that this bent over posture puts a large load on the core – back and abdominals. Maintaining core engagement while in this posture will help maximize your results and keep your back pain free.

Second piece about posture is that the more parallel to the ground you are able to get your chest the better. That is from the perspective that we want to load more of the mid back and less of the upper back. Of course, there will be times you want to load the upper back, but that’s not right now.

An added bonus for the bent over row is that it requires your lower body to work isometrically to hold the hip hinge posture.

Finally, because I can’t say the word posture enough … the bent over row will help improve your posture. Any back exercise, done properly, will help your posture. You will notice you stand up straighter, walk taller and have a more elongated appearance in the mirror. But, that will only happen by putting in the work and following a regular, consistent program.


  1. Holding weights at your hips, set your feet in a comfortable stance. Try to go no wider than shoulder width.
  2. Brace your core and slightly bend your knees.
  3. Hinge at your hips, keeping your core tight and your spine neutral as you lower your chest to parallel with the ground.
  4. Once in position the weights should hang directly below your shoulders (see picture).
  5. Pinch your shoulder blades together and “row” or pull the weights toward your chest.
  6. Control the weights back down to the starting position and repeat.


  • Arching & rounding of the spine/back.
  • Curling of the wrists.
  • Lifting chest out of parallel posture.


  • Focus on your shoulder blades, not the distance your weight travel. Retracting or pinching your shoulder blades as the first motion in a row is critical to recruiting your back muscles over your biceps. Try to “grab a pencil” between your shoulder blades to help visualize your shoulder blades retracting/pinching.
  • In a bent over, or hip hinged, posture you are increasing the demand on your trunk. Keeping a neutral spine and core engaged the entire time will keep your low back from becoming over worked. Work to keep your back parallel to the ground the entire time.
  • Keep your core braced and spine neutral through the entire movement. Tendency is to allow your back to arch as you pull the weight to your chest and round as you lower it towards the ground. Fight that tendency!
  • Far too often we see extension or arching in the mid-to-low back upon movement. This will cause irritation of the low back and decrease the use of your abdominals. Squeeze your core!
  • Change your grip and arm positioning to target your back differently. I like wide bent over rows with a palm down position and an underhand grip bent over row the best.


There are a significant amount of variations to a bent over row. Too many to name, but you can add a stability component and stand on single leg, you can make it unilateral and perform it single arm. You can do it from a plank position to increase the challenge on your core. Make your choice based on your ability to perform quality reps and the end goal (or adaptation) you are trying to achieve.

A few of the common exercises I use to train my back are pull-ups because there is no better exercise for your back. You may need to start with a modification (heavy seated row or lat pull down) or assistance, but being able to do pull-ups is an excellent measurement of back strength and overall fitness.

I also love reverse fly and bent over Ys because they effectively target the smaller posterior muscles of the shoulder that keep your shoulders back. Which translates to the appearance of walking tall or walking with confidence as you consistently hold your shoulders back, keeping your chest upright and open.


The wall sit is an isometric exercise. If you are wondering what in the heck isometric is, or if it is even English, let me explain. Isometric is essentially a muscle contraction that produces no movement. In fact, you are likely doing isometric work in the form of a plank or a v-sit hold.

The biggest reason you should be doing isometric exercises is for the stability benefits. Whether you are a teenage athlete, avid runner or in the aging population stability is your friend. It should be your best friend.

You will also experience an improvement in muscle endurance by regularly incorporating isometric exercises. This is once again great for athletes, injury prevention and the aging body.

How to Perform A Wall Sit isometric exercise

  1. Find yourself a wall.
  2. Sit against it.

It really is that simple. However, we have some guidelines to follow or work towards.

  1. Try to get 90 degrees of flexion at your hips and knees. This depth mirrors a squat depth and has a direction translation to muscle fiber recruitment for proper muscle firing within the movement.
  2. Keeping your feet around hip width and knees over your ankles. We want to avoid excessive internal rotation, letting our knees knock in, and rolling onto the side of our foot, picking up our big toe, and lifting our heels off the ground. Focus on a consistent foot contact with the ground.
  3. Maintain contact with the wall at your head, shoulders, back and butt by bracing your upper body into the wall. This will make your wall sit more of a total body exercise and help the neurological connection between your lower and upper body in the squatting pattern.

What to Avoid when doing a Wall Sit

  • Lifting your heels off the ground (for a standard variation)
  • Letting your knees cave in
  • Rolling on to the outside of your foot
  • Leaning forward and rest your elbows on your thighs

Other Isometric Exercises and wall sit variations

A plank is a great upper body isometric exercise, but the sky is the limit. You can take any muscle contraction and make it isometric. Just think of an exercise you like. Here is a common one – a bicep curl. Simply hold the weight with your elbow(s) at 90 degrees. You can time the exercise, or do it while holding a lunge for an isometric lower body burn too. Alternately you could be doing a full reverse lunge and working the concentric and eccentric phase.

Here are a few of my favorite isometric exercises:

  1. Plank Variations: movement in the lower body like knee drives, pikes, scissors, kick throughs, or change the surface of the plank to be on a Bosu Ball, medicine ball, stability ball.
  2. Wall Sit Variations: add movement in your upper body with resistance bands or free weights, hold a medicine ball between your knees, march or wear a band and use your glutes to drive into the band.
  3. Upper Body Variations: chin up hold, flexed arm hold, single arm hold and perform reps with the other arm (ex – bench press with one arm locked out at the top).
  4. Lower Body Variations: split squat position, hold the bottom position of a RDL, glute bridge hold (optional single leg), calf raise hold, single leg squat with alternating toe tap.


The high to low core rotator is functional rotational exercise targeting your core, including shoulders and hips. We consider it one of the best rotational exercises because of how effective it is at targeting specific phases of muscle contraction and focused movement patterns. The variations you can take from plane of movement, stance, unilateral vs. bilateral … they feel limitless. This really allows us to follow the principal of variability to increase stability throughout the core.

It is important to note that your core as we refer to it includes abdominals, posterior muscles of the trunk, glutes and shoulders. Additionally, if you focus on the abdominal muscles you will find that rotation requires multiple muscles, not just one like some ab exercises. The high to low core rotator is trunk rotation with flexion meaning we are getting obliques, transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis to name a few.


We love to use core rotator variations in our programming because they scale easily to meet the individual where they are, they are highly functional and the amount of variations make them applicable to everything from sports performance to injury prevention/rehabilitation.

The high to low core rotator we would consider a starting point. A basic, entry level movement that can provide us with feedback on client abilities and challenge a client’s strength, proprioception and range of motion.


  1. Set your cable attachment at the top of the pulley machine so that it is above your head.
  2. Start perpendicular to and offset from the cable machine so that the machine is slightly in front of you. You can start on facing either side, as long as the cable machine is slightly in front of you.
  3. Hold on to a single handle with the inside hand, or the hand closest to the cable machine. Wrap the opposite hand around the top of that hand. And take a few steps away, from the cable so the weights are not resting.
  4. Set your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees, pushing your weight into the midfoot – heel, to load your hips and glutes.
  5. Brace your core by squeezing your abdominals, rotate from your hips and shoulders bringing the handle across your body to the opposite hip.
  6. Control the cable and your arms as your rotate back to the starting position, following the exact same path.
  7. Perform 10 reps on one side and then switch sides.


The cable should follow an angled path from high to low (hence the name). If you do not bring your arms down on an angle as you come across your body line the cable will hit you in the face or throat.

Your back should remain neutral as you rotate through this movement. Any extending or arching in your back will cause discomfort. This exercise is designed to use flexion and rotation, flex and squeeze your abs!

Keep your weight even between your left and right foot. Allowing your weight to shift or leaning to the side can cause you to loose balance.


We have mentioned that there are almost limitless possibilities for a high to low core rotator, right? Well that makes it hard to tell you how to progress it. Here is our best advice:

  • Change the height – as you bring the cable pulley attachment down towards your chest, hips and then knees the exercise becomes increasingly more difficult. You should not be doing the same weight the entire time. Gravity isn’t helping you as you lower the cable. Which means you are now fighting gravity. Of course we don’t call these high to low core rotators anymore, but they are certainly harder variations.
  • Change your stance – you can move your feet around to work on different angles and in various stability situations like kneeling, half kneeling, single leg and more.
  • Change the grip – switching what hand is on the bottom and single arm versus double arm will change the difficulty and the demand of the exercise.


Your triceps, or the muscle located on the back of your arms, are used more than you might think. The triceps muscle is responsible for straightening your elbow, which we do all day long. Like pushing yourself out of bed in the morning or off the ground, closing doors or cabinets or simply reaching for an item by straightening your arm.

We also use them in a lot of activities like push-ups, shoulder presses, chest presses, planks, swimming, volleyball, baseball and more. Just think of anytime you straighten your elbow to keep it straightened.

It is important to note that the triceps muscle has three heads. (An easy easy way to remember that is tri means three.) Training your triceps in a variety of movement patterns is needed to effectively target all three.


  1. Sit on the edge of a elevated flat surface with your hands resting, palms down on the surface.
    • You can use any stable surface that allows your feet to touch the ground. Think bench, box, chair, stair, coffee table, etc.
  2. Push through your hands and lift your butt off the surface while you walk your feet slightly away from you.
    • The hardest position is with your legs extended straight in front of you.
    • Keep in mind your hips should stay close to the surface you are using.
  3. Bend at your elbows and lower your hips towards the ground while keeping your chest upright and open.
    • Aim for a depth of 90 degrees at the elbows IF there is no shoulder discomfort and you can maintain good form.
  4. Drive through your hands and straighten your elbows to bring you back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for reps.


  • Minimal elbow bend – your triceps are responsible for extension at your elbow (straightening). The more intention you can put into bending your elbows to achieve the needed range of motion the more work you can put into your triceps.
  • Hips too far from surface – the further you allow your hips to drift away from the surface (box, bench, etc.) the more form challenges you will encounter. It will be harder to focus your intentions on bending at the elbow, there will likely be some shoulder discomfort, and your range of motion will change dramatically. 
  • Chest rounding forward – the round of your shoulders will change the range of motion, which will change the muscles used and the load you feel in your triceps. Focus on keeping your chest upright and open. 

Luckily all there of these pieces of advice work synergistically. If you focus on bending at the elbows you will have to keep your hips closer to the surface you are using and keep your chest upright. If you keep your hips closer to the surface you will be more inclined to bend at the elbows and more capable of keeping your chest upright. And, finally, if you keep your chest upright you will be able to keep your hips closer to the surface and bend at the elbows!


Make sure you have mastered the straight leg tricep dip before moving on to a harder version. If you have been doing knees bent, straighten your legs for a bigger tricep load. This is because the force arm (your legs) is longer as you straighten your leg. Putting more load into your triceps.

If you can check straight leg tricep dip off the list check out these options:

  • Add a weight to the top of your thighs.
  • Elevate your feet onto another box, bench or chair.
  • Incorporate instability at your feet or hands by using a BOSU ball or TRX


  • Tricep Push-Up
  • Skull Crusher
  • Laying OH Extension
  • Standing Tricep Extension
  • Sklz Single Arm Extension
  • Narrow Floor Chest Press


Our training philosophy starts with establishing range of motion (ROM), building stability within ROM and then building strength and power. We follow this philosophy with all of our clients and for all joints. We use band walks to build and maintain stability at the hips.


Band walks are done with a small circular band placed anywhere from the upper thighs to the ankles. This placement helps activate the muscles of your hip, building stability. The lower on the leg you place your band the hard the exercise will be. You can also get various levels of resistance which may change where you place the band.

I love to use the hip circle for myself and my clients It is a pretty great investment for $20. Shop here in this affiliate link.

Other factors like injury, orthopedic limitations or difficulty engaging the right muscles will dictate where you should place the band.

Two most common band walks are lateral and forward/backward, sometimes called monster walks.

  1. Select the location of your band and get it into place.
  2. For lateral band walks you will step sideways and for Monster walks you will step forwards. In both situations you are trying to maintain tension on the band every time your trail leg steps in. This means you are not allowing the band to pull your leg in, rather you are resisting that force.
  3. You continue to taking steps until you reach a desired location or rep count. I usually work my clients in sets of 20 in one direction. For monster walks my clients would walk forward 20 steps the backward 20 steps to the same starting position.


One of the most common is an inward rotation or caving of the knees. The intention is for us to drive against the band activating our hip muscles. If we allow our knees to inwardly rotate or cave in we are being controlled by the band. Which is, generally speaking, a no-no in the training world.

You also want to avoid any back pain while doing band walks. Back pain can occur when you are straining against the band and moving into poor form to achieve movement. For example, if you are doing a glute bridge with the band on and experiencing back discomfort you are likely over extending (or arching) in your low back. Keeping a neutral spine and tight core while using the hip circle is necessary to get the most out of the exercise.


Banded exercises are great for improving hip stability and good hip stability is impacted by more than external rotation and the glute muscles. There are a lot of supporting, stabilizing muscles of the hip including muscles of the inner thigh like adductors. While we use the hip circle to build hip stability we also incorporate other exercises designed to strengthen the muscles of internal rotation to keep the hip balanced.

  • Band Walk Variations
  • Squat Variations
  • Plank Variations
  • Glute Bridge Variations
  • Pulsing Wall Sit


There are many workouts for you to download and save. Scroll through them all to find which ones you want to try. 

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Most Used Gym Equipment

Most Used Gym Equipment

Have you ever wondered what fitness equipment you really need? I am here to tell you the most used fitness equipment in our gym. These six items are used most often when working with clients and working out ourselves.

After each piece of equipment I give you a little background on why it is one of the most used fitness equipment pieces and how you can start using it.

If you have questions about the equipment or if you are considering buying it send a message or comment below. I am happy to provide more information when needed.

This post contains affiliate links, which means we make a commission if you purchase using these links at no cost to you.

Most Used Fitness Equipment As A Personal Trainer



NERD ALERT – As a personal trainer the BOSU Ball is one of our most used fitness equipment pieces because it provides us the ability to open chain versus close chain. Something that should be included in programming, but often forgotten.

We also love the BOSU Ball from a position of balance and stability. We use this piece of most used fitness equipment with all ages and skill level. In very few circumstances do we find the BOSU ball obsolete.

That might mean nothing to you. So let me tell you why our clients like the BOSU Ball.

Our clients enjoy using the BOSU Ball because it is an added challenge to their workouts and/or it adds variety to what they have been doing. It is a simple way for us to change up the workout for our client and maintain a well balanced program.

If you are just starting out with a BOSU Ball we suggest that you use a stick for balance and start off with just body weight. Be prepared, your body will shake. But in time it will get better. That shaking is a result of your muscles firing rapidly learning how to stabilize on an unstable surface.

Read about how to use a bosu ball. 


Yoga Mat

I think this one is pretty straight forward. Everyone should have a yoga mat for comfort. You can take that a step forward and say that a yoga mat can help performance.

You are probably thinking that makes no sense, but hear me out.

For activities like yoga, Pilates and mobility a mat can actually improve your performance. Good quality mats are designed to give you traction and comfort without sacrificing your balance and stability.

This yoga mat is our favorite mat because it does just that. It is also easy to clean and DOES NOT fall apart. I strongly dislike a crumbly yoga mat. Keep in mind, these awesome benefits are reflected in the price.

If you want to learn more about Pilates take a look at this article Pilates: What Is it? Should I be Doing it?


Foam Roller

If you haven’t gotten on a foam roller yet I would stop reading now and go do it. Regardless of if you are a 5 day a week exerciser or if you are just starting. A foam roller will be one of your most used fitness equipment pieces.

One thing to consider is density. Foam rollers are sold in different density and sizes. I favor a medium to hard density because I am accustomed to foam roller and I am willing to suffer through the discomfort to get the results I want. I generally start my clients on a low density and move them up.

Remember I say that because I have a variety of foam rollers in different sizes and density. It is easy for me to offer variety. For my clients looking to buy for their home I suggest medium density. So I would point you in that direction too, but don’t come at me if it hurts!

I mentioned size. Well I like the longer foam rollers because I find them more functional for chest stretching. Which is one of my favorites. Take that for what it is – no size is perfect. But the longer length certainly gives you more versatility.

You can read more about my most used equipment for recovery in 5 Best Exercise Recovery Tools.


Dumbbells – number 1 most used gym equipment

You need resistance when working out. Yes, you can use body weight. But if you really want to get some adaptations and results you need resistance. The most used gym equipment for resistance is hands down dumbbells. A close second would be a cable machine. But for the sake of space, budget and realism dumbbells win.

Dumbbells are so versatile in terms of what you can do with them, but they also offer so much from a programming perspective. You can work uni-lateral or bi-lateral. You can work in varies planes of motion (sagittal, transverse, frontal)  and muscle contractions (eccentric, concentric, isometric).

Do you need to know how to use dumbbells?

Well, not to be too frank, but you just add them in. If you are doing body weight squats, try holding a dumbbell. Lunges? Same thing.

Are you doing push-ups for your chest? With dumbbells you can do chest press and vary angles, reps and duration.

All my talk about programming is above what you need to know to get moving! If you crave that level of knowledge or intention in your workouts send me a message 🙂


Hip Circle – favorite most used gym equipment

This is our standard piece of equipment. Not a workout goes by that I don’t use it for myself. And rarely is there a reason not to use it with a client.

That being said it is used for muscle activation and increasing stability. It will not replace resistance training to gain strength, size and improve performance.

Our clients love the hip circle because they can instantly feel it working. They hate the hip circle because they can instantly feel it working. 🙂

In all seriousness, the hip circle is the perfect piece of equipment for warm-ups and for travel. It effectively targets the stabilizing muscles of your hips getting them ready for action on dynamic movements or under heavy work loads.

The hip circle is also very small and light weight making it easy to travel with. It can also serve as a substitute for heavy resistance when traveling and still give you a hard workout.



The foundation of a good training program and really feeling good in general is range of motion and stability. The TRX is incredible for working on both of those areas no matter your fitness level.

I love to use the TRX with clients orthopedic limitations as a means to de-load movement and with high level athletes to challenge their stability and more importantly stability through a large range of motion.

Here is my only thought on a drawback – space. I love the TRX in my gym because I can use it in all directions including directly below. For many home exercisers you use the TRX with a closed door. Which can limit how far under the TRX you can get for exercises like rowing, planks and fall outs.

Read about training with a trx.





Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

Welcome to the world of fitness and wellness gifting! As we gear up for 2023, it's time to start setting goals and looking for resources to help us succeed. Whether you're a fitness fanatic or seeking the perfect gift for one, our Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide is...

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The Power of Social Proof In Personal Training

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In the world of personal training, where trust and credibility play pivotal roles, the concept of social proof functions as an authentic way to connect with your audience. Social proof, the influence created when individuals see others engaging in a particular...

read more
fitness articles
lifestyle articles
nutrition articles
golf articles


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We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.



What if I told you that your workout didn’t have to include a 20 minute drive to the gym. It didn’t require you to block off an hour and a half of your day just to feel like you did something. It didn’t require you to toss out all of your responsibilities. What if I told you your workout could be fail-proof.

This is not a guarantee that you will never skip a workout again, or that other things might take priority once and awhile. I am also not saying that you should NEVER go to the gym because you have this fail-proof safety net. BUT I am saying that the more you set yourself up to be successful the more success you will have in getting in daily movement.


Set your expectations

If you think that every time you workout you should not be able to move afterward, you are only setting yourself up for failure. Even as a personal trainer, there are days that I just need to keep my body moving, not push for a 1 rep max in back squat or total exhaustion.

Life happens and you might feel a bit under the weather that day. Or your kid didn’t allow you to get sleep the night before. Or work asks you to put in overtime that night. If you have the expectation that everyday is a physical max-out day, you’ll only be disappointed when things like this get in the way.

Set yourself up for success! Remind yourself that getting movement in your day is better than nothing. Instead of giving up your workout completely, having a fail-proof workout in your back pocket will still allow you to feel accomplished.

It also helps to put on something that preps you to workout. Here my easy transition from house work to working out:

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A lot of people love a leggings and tank top combo, but I am the EXACT opposite. I hate being restricted in leggings when I work out, but I love being cozy in a long sleeve. Here’s my favorite combo for those spring days when its too hot for pants, but too cold for a tank!
Also, check out my new Allbirds! This shoe has been great for walks, workouts, and being on my feet all day. I am obsessed with the design and love that they are made out of recycled materials!
Some of the links below are commissionable. That means I may make a commission when you use them. There is no cost to you and your support is appreciated!

Shop the Look

Keep it simple!!

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The less equipment, traveling, and set-up you have to do for your fail-proof workout the better! If it is going to require you to set up an entire station than it will just give you another excuse not to do it. If you can grab a change of clothes and have no equipment you can just get up and go!

I shared my go to gym workout in this article. Maybe you will love it too!

Also, pick exercises that you have done before and are familiar with. This will allow you to flow through the workout without having to pause to look up form and wonder if you are doing everything correctly. The more you know and enjoy the exercises you pick, the more likely you are to follow through with your workout.

Pick the right time of day

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This one may seem counterintuitive, but finding the time of day where you are at your best is a large part of getting yourself to do your workout. If you are not an early riser, don’t force yourself to get up at 5 am. You will only end up disappointed in yourself that you hit snooze. If you know you get lethargic after lunch, don’t try and squeeze in a workout in the early afternoon. Find times that fit into your lifestyle!

I am not saying you should never try and change your habits, but we are looking to be successful in our fitness journey! And this means setting realistic goals. Life, as well as workout routines, are never going to be as perfect as we want them to be. So pick the time of day where you know you have a bit of extra time and energy to get after your workout.

Discover technique tips to get the most out of your workout.


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I had mentioned picking exercises that are familiar, require little to no equipment and that you tend to enjoy. This is going to be your recipe card for building a fail-proof workout. I am not going to leave you out to dry here. I want to show you what I include in my fail-proof workout for a busy day!

To start the workout, I am going to offer up a bit of advice. Start your workout with a 5 to 10 minute walk. Why? My number one reasoning would be to get away from your work (either your job or your chores). I find that physically stepping outside or even to a treadmill can help you mentally step away from the task at hand. Plus, it allows you to warm up your muscles to get ready to workout.

*If it is middle of winter and you don’t have a treadmill, just try some active mobility to start. You can learn how to use the TRX for mobility here.


Now when it comes to exercise selection, I have put together a group of exercises that are all body weight and can pretty much be done anywhere. They are going to be higher rep to challenge yourself and get your heart rate up more. I tend to lose focus quickly in a workout so I like to keep things fresh by doing a quick superset and moving on.



Just a reminder that this workout is custom built for me. It is important to customize your own fail-proof workout that will without a doubt get you going. Try starting with mine, see what you like and add or modify for next time. And be sure to add a cool down of stretching those problem areas for you.

Do you plan out every single part of your day? Do you keep a detailed, color-coded planner? Do you wake up in the morning and immediately start making a to-do list? If you are anything like me, then all of the answers to these questions are yes. And workouts are no exception to this planning process.

The great part about this is that you know exactly how much time it will take so that you can have that in your back pocket for a busy day!

Oh, and if you are wondering, yes I am an Enneagram 6. And if you don’t know you can find out more about enneagram types and your workouts here. Now, go build your fail proof workout!

Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

Welcome to the world of fitness and wellness gifting! As we gear up for 2023, it's time to start setting goals and looking for resources to help us succeed. Whether you're a fitness fanatic or seeking the perfect gift for one, our Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide is...

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The Power of Social Proof In Personal Training

The Power of Social Proof In Personal Training

In the world of personal training, where trust and credibility play pivotal roles, the concept of social proof functions as an authentic way to connect with your audience. Social proof, the influence created when individuals see others engaging in a particular...

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Let’s do a simple breakdown on training with a TRX. I want to offer some perspective on how you can use the TRX for range of motion, stability and strength. Making it a great addition to any home gym or workout program.  And I also want to give you a place to start. So I have a few workouts for you to try at the end.



  1. How a TRX Works
  2. Why You Should Use A TRX
  3. Strength Training
  4. Mobility Training
  5. Tips for Using the TRX
  6. Workouts to Download
  7. Equipment


In my mind, I put the TRX into two categories. One, is that you use the TRX to increase the intensity of an exercise by making it more challenging. Two, is that you use the TRX to de-load an exercise to successfully achieve proper muscle activation and/or range of motion. The results are improved flexibility/range of motion, increased stability/balance and growth in strength/power.

This is not to say that 1 and 2 can’t happen at the same time. They work synergistically. A great example would be a plyometric exercise like a squat jump. With the TRX we can increase range of motion in the squat portion which can allow us to develop more strength. You can also ensure that you can perform a quality explosive rep within that full range of motion by having the assistance of your arms. After all a squat jump with your hips going past parallel is a huge increase in difficulty.

This is also true of a more simple exercise like a squat. But for someone who’s own body weight is too much to control down and up in a squat pattern (making it a challenging exercise for THAT individual) the TRX becomes an avenue to de-load the movement while allowing them to work within the necessary range of motion.

Let’s not forget to touch on stability/balance. If you have used a TRX before you know this.  The straps can move in all directions giving the exerciser a challenge to their balance. A good example is a push-up. If your hands are holding on to the straps and your feet are on the ground there will be a lot of instability at your upper body. You will have to work very hard to keep your form as you perform the push-up. Which will cause stabilizing muscles around your shoulders and upper body to kick on and it will really fire your core.

Isn’t that interesting? Something simple as straps hanging can have such an impact on stimulating physiological adaptations?


I love the TRX because it can train strength, balance, flexibility and stability. But it also can help the user scale the exercise to fit their needs. Making it a top piece of equipment even for a home gym.

The TRX website clearly states why you want to use a TRX, “… to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability.” Let’s discuss flexibility and range of motion, stability and strength.


When we talk about flexibility we are talking about muscle lengthening to improve range of motion. The TRX can be used to help us move into a greater range of motion than we would be able to on our own. Why? Because you can use the TRX as a support system, de-load the exercise and ultimately increase range of motion.

And range of motion is directly correlated to power, which is the result of strength training. But how can range of motion be correlated to power? Let me explain.

Stored elastic energy is what allows us to be explosive and powerful, whether that be for running, jumping or swinging a club. This elastic energy is stored in your muscles and you can think of your muscles as rubber bands. We want them (your muscles) to lengthen like a rubber band and then “snap back” explosively. The more you pull/stretch the rubber band the more speed it snaps back with. So the more range of motion you can access in exercise, with proper stability, allows you to have the potential for greater stored elastic energy and therefore more power.

For the lower body that support comes in the form of holding on to the foam handles with your hands. Take a side lunge, for example. If you hold the handles in your hands you will be able to use your upper body to help you control the decent (lowering) and pull yourself back up. This support or de-loading will allow you to “sit into” a deeper range of motion. If done correctly, it can also help you use the proper muscles throughout the entire movement pattern.

If you put your foot into the loop and perform a side lunge the exercise will feel entirely different. That is because you are no longer supporting yourself to achieve a greater range of motion. You are now challenging your balance, stability and strength. I consider the foot in side lunge to be an advanced variation, and I would not recommend starting here for beginners.

It is worth saying that there should never be pain when working to improve your flexibility. If you have a previous or current injury pushing yourself into a new range of motion may make things worse. You should consult a professional before trying.


How a TRX is designed demands you have stability in order to perform the exercises. The more challenging the exercise the more stability is required as you use the straps while moving. Including variations like single leg, single arm and adding resistance like a dumbbell will all increase the stability demand of the movement.

The TRX can also be supportive. For someone who is unsteady or recovering from an injury the TRX can be used to give them more support to remain stable through their range of motion. A great example is the squat. If you struggle to sit down to a chair without “plopping” or using your hands, the TRX can help you gain the stability to control the movement. 

Improved core stability is another advantage of training with a TRX. You can use the TRX to challenge your core stability in exercises you are already doing, like a plank or mountain climbers. Or you can more advanced exercises like a fall out or complexes that include multiple movement patterns to really tap into your core stability and muscular endurance.

As a side note, in order to have good core stability you need ALL of your core muscles to be operating effectively AND synergistically. And your core stability is important because it helps transfer force from the lower to upper body (and back), and to keep your spine healthy (and keep good posture) and prevent injuries. 


And of course the TRX can help increase your overall strength. Now, used by itself you aren’t going to build large muscles or an immense amount of strength because you are using your bodyweight as the resistance.

You can add additional resistance if needed. Holding on to one handle will doing just about any movement and holding a dumbbell in the other hand is an easy way to add resistance. Think of doing a side lunge, in the large range of motion you get from holding on to the handle, but adding more resistance by holding a weight in the other hand. Another example, this time for the upper body, would be a single arm row with a weight held at the chest. This will really challenge your core strength (anti-rotation) and your back muscles.




Upper Body Strength Exercises

  • Row on two feet, single foot or single arm (two feet and two arms shown)
  • Push-up with feet in or hands in (hands in shown)
  • Tricep extension or tricep dip (extension shown)
  • Squat and curl at top or bottom (top shown)

Lower Body Strength Exercises

Here are five great exercises for the TRX at various difficulty levels. If you want to take these for a test drive I would recommend starting with the glute bridge or the shrimp. Why? Well, they are the “easiest” of the five.

  • Shrimp
  • Hamstring Curl
  • Pistol Squat
  • Side Lunge
  • Glute Bridge

Core Strength Exercises

I think most people are familiar with using the TRX with feet in the straps to train your core. It’s challenging. It looks cool. But I would bet there are a few on this list that you haven’t seen before.

  • Y Sit-Ups
  • Standing Fall Out
  • Leg Supported Crunch Variations
  • Shifting Plank
  • Supported Hallow Hold
  • Mountain Climber Variations
  • Pikes and Single Leg Variations
  • Plank Kick Through
  • Plank Tucks



We talk a lot about mobility. It has become increasingly important in our sedentary world. Our joints can become so tight when we sit for long periods of time or do the same motions over and over. Most commonly we see individuals with tight anterior upper bodies (chest) and tight hips/hamstrings.

One of the main ways we can alleviate some of these aches and pains is by restoring balance at the joint through flexibility/mobility and strengthening. And these need to happen in a cooperative way because you need to have range of motion at a joint, then stability and then power. Which is why mobility training should be a part of your week!

In the exercises below we are going to use the TRX to help provide traction as we reach the end of a range of motion or to help support our body weight to increase our range of motion.

For upper body mobility we are going to target opening up the chest, releasing the lats, and working on upper back rotational mobility. The combination of these three is going to help release a lot of that tension built up from sitting, driving & everyday life. And it will feel great at the end of your workout.

When we talk about lower body mobility we are mostly talking about mobility in and around the hips. Yes, you are going to gain some mobility in the range of motion at the knee joint, but since it is a uniaxial joint that only goes in one direction it will not see as much improvement as the hip will. Since the hip is a multiaxial joint, we have to work for range of motion in multiple directions and you will feel exactly what I’m talk about when you try these exercises.

Upper Body Mobility Exercises

  • Chest Openers
  • Thoracic Rotations
  • “Wall Slides”
  • Erector Spinae/Lat Rotations
  • Lat Stretch


Start by having the TRX straps comfortably in hand and facing away from the anchor. Proceed with the mobility exercise by stepping forward and letting the straps gently pull your arms behind you. This will create a traction stretch within your anterior shoulder and chest. Alternate each foot you are stepping with and see if with a couple reps you can improve your range of motion.


This is a favorite to do in our gym on the wall, but we love being able to use the TRX for an added stretch at the end. I would not recommend this until you are able to do half-kneeling thoracic rotations on the wall as seen in the PureForged Method (great for you golfers out there!).

Starting kneeling with the outside knee up and TRX straps in hand on the side. Begin by rotation away from the anchor. Keep your arms straight as you let your upper back (thoracic spine) rotate and your chest open up at the end. Keep your lower body as still as possible.


Start with the TRX straps out to the side of your body as pictured above. You are going to slowly move your arms toward the ceiling while keeping your arms wide. This will allow you to work on shoulder mobility through the entire range of motion while getting some traction stretch in your shoulders toward the end.


This next one is going to feel great on the lattisimus dorsi muscle (your lats) and your erector spinae muscle which runs through the middle of your back to your glutes. You are going start facing away from the anchor. Walk your feet back so that you are leaning into the straps and having a slight forward bend. Keeping your arms straight rotate from side to side to get a great traction stretch in both these muscles.


Starting half kneeling with your knee closest to the TRX up, have the straps together as one. Grab onto the one handle with both hands and swing your arms up overhead and lean the outside hip away. This will create a great stretch down the side and through your lats.

Lower Body Mobility Exercises

  • Squat for Depth
  • Side Lunge/Squat for Depth
  • Figure 4 Stretch
  • Hip Flexor Stretch

Squat for Depth

Starting with your hands in the handles with elbows bent at your side, take a comfortable squat stance. You may want to take your feet a bit wider to allow for greater mobility. Proceed as you would with a normal squat, sitting back with weight mid-foot to heel. Come back up using your legs with assistance from the TRX.

Side Lunge/Squat for Depth

Similar to the squat, the use of the TRX here is going to allow for greater depth in that side squat/lunge. Often times people are limited moving laterally because they feel like their hip stops them. The use of the TRX is going to allow your hip to go deep, almost deeper than the knee. This is going to create a glute stretch.

Figure 4 Stretch

This is another great glute stretch that is going to allow your lower back to release as well. Start standing with the TRX straps in hand with your elbows at your side and standing on one leg. Take the other leg and cross it over so that your ankle is over the other knee. Squat normally by sitting back into your glute. You should feel a great stretch in your glutes.

Hip Flexor Stretch

This one is one of our go-tos because it is great to open up the hip flexor. You are going to start in a half-kneeling position with your back foot inside the TRX. This is going to create traction for the hip flexor to help it open up. To create a great mobility stretch, have your hips go forward by squeezing your glutes and shifting your weight forward. This will also start to work in a quad stretch. Your body will stretch what it needs to, so whichever is tighter will feel the greatest difference.


  1. Keep tension on the straps. The whole point is to use the TRX for exercise. A helpful tip is to find the end point of your range of motion when you are training with a TRX. Make sure there is tension and you are in the proper stance or position.
  2. Remember the intention of the movement. I see a lot of people going crazy when they use a TRX. This results in sawing of the handles, or them sliding back and forth. It also causes a lot of sagging in the low back when doing core work.
  3. The TRX also shouldn’t rub against your arms. If that is happening you need to adjust your positioning.
  4. Make the adjustments. If the three above didn’t hammer it home let me be clear. You can make easy adjustments while using the TRX. If your angle is too hard or steep, change it and finish your reps don’t quit. If you can’t keep tension on the straps, stop adjust your positioning and resume your reps. Oh, you can’t control your hips from sagging, or the straps from swinging, or the rubbing on your arms? Stop and adjust. As always with exercise quality comes first.


There are various workouts for mobility, upper, lower and core. One of my favorite things to do is mix in cardio intervals after every round. When I am doing a strength workout this breaks up the strength sets and increase my stamina. And when I am doing mobility it helps to keep variation in the workout and keep my body temperature and blood flow to muscles high.


These are affiliate links. While there is no cost to you when you order through them, I do make a commission. Your support, by ordering through them, is greatly appreciated!

You can find a TRX all over the place. But if you want to support me and the Pure Fitness team you can order through this link on Amazon 😃

Now for some items you will want to use with your TRX. A high quality exercise mat. My favorite brand is Manduka because it has lasted years, I don’t slip and it is easy to clean. I linked the one I use here.

If you have a space dedicated to a home gym I would get the TRX wall anchor. This way you don’t have to worry about moving your TRX in and out of a doorway every time you want to start and end your workout.

Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

Welcome to the world of fitness and wellness gifting! As we gear up for 2023, it's time to start setting goals and looking for resources to help us succeed. Whether you're a fitness fanatic or seeking the perfect gift for one, our Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide is...

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The Power of Social Proof In Personal Training

The Power of Social Proof In Personal Training

In the world of personal training, where trust and credibility play pivotal roles, the concept of social proof functions as an authentic way to connect with your audience. Social proof, the influence created when individuals see others engaging in a particular...

read more
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HIIT Workouts What Are They And How Can I Do Them Better?

HIIT Workouts What Are They And How Can I Do Them Better?

If you are like me, you enjoy getting in a great sweat from your workout. You regularly are in the gym working on your resistance training and it is great! You feel strong and powerful afterward. Your muscles are sore, and you can barely walk after one of these intense workouts. But you feel like something is missing from your workout program. Upon further investigation, you discover that cardio is never in your workouts. You get bored of running for long periods of time and riding a bike for an hour hurts your butt. You think to yourself, this can’t be the only way for me to build up my endurance. The answer is right under your nose, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).


I think at this point almost everyone has come into contact or heard of HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training. However, not everyone is well-versed in the parameters of HIIT workouts. Which means that most people, and probably you, aren’t actually doing a HIIT workout. And that means you aren’t maximizing the full potential of a HIIT. Keep reading and get more details under “drawbacks”.

The goal of HIIT is to maximize a person’s aerobic capacity. This means your working sets (i.e. the high intensity portion) must be greater than 90% of your VO2 max with recoveries at less than 40%. VO2 max is the volume of oxygen that is being transferred and utilized within the body during exercises. These sections of higher intensity should alternate with the sections of lower intensity. They should be pre-planned to ensure you are getting the proper amount of recovery as well as the most out of your working sets.


People have come to love this style of workout for many reasons. One being that they feel they are getting the most out of their workout because of the amount of sweat and exhaustion they feel afterward. HIIT can be done through many different modes of exercise including at-home cardio workouts.

Another reason why these types of workouts are so popular is because they can be modified to meet anyone at their fitness level. Because it is a workout tailored to finding your limit, it is adjusted to each person. Depending on where you are at in your aerobic capacity, it may be easier to get up into that target range! If you do not feel like you are giving about 90% of your effort, it is time to speed it up or add more weight.

The other great part about a HIIT workout is that it saves time. Although you are working to build up your aerobic capacity, you are no going out and taking an hour run. Instead you can build up your endurance without having to block off half of your day for a workout.  HIIT provides the same about of adaptations to your body that long and slow endurance training can. But it saves you time!


HIIT is almost always misinterpreted and done wrong! Since the average person doesn’t A.) know their VO2 Max and B.) have the ability to measure it during exercise accurately measuring HIIT at home is impossible. The good news is that we are trying to get the most out of our workouts to stimulate an adaptation, not be perfect in VO2 number range.

The way to do this is by pushing yourself to get into the upper range of your heart rate zones (way more manageable to monitor than VO2 Max). Through higher rep counts or more resistance, you can get yourself there. As we mentioned before, this is where HIIT workouts can meet a person where their fitness level is at. A highly conditioned athlete can do more reps in the timed interval than a de-conditioned athlete. But both, if pushing to the 90% range and resting appropriately, can stimulate a physiological adaptation.

Your target heart rate is specific to the individual. It can be dangerous to push your heart rate higher than it is supposed to go and medications you are taking can impact your ability to get a true heart rate reading. If you are highly de-conditioned or on medication you should consult a medical professional before trying a HIIT workout.

Another key component that is missed is REST. Your heart rate has to come back down. If it is not you will not be able to sustain the same level of output, or work. And sustaining your workout output is important in producing the physiological adaptation. So as much as you are watching your heart rate to see it elevate, you need to watch it lower as well.

How to find your max heart rate?

You can find your projected max heart rate by taking 220 minus your current age. If you are feeling like you are light-headed, dizzy, or faint, then it is time to stop the workout. And remember if you are on any medication measuring your heart rate at home can give you skewed results.


Below are two HIIT workouts that you can do from your living room. No equipment required! I made one that is for beginners and one that is more advanced! Be sure to push yourself, but be smart and safe, especially when working with heart rate training 😊.


You don’t need much at home for a HIIT workout, but here are my essentials. I’ve included a yoga mat or a large exercise mat that is 4 by 6 feet. Great for if you are doing a lot of at-home workouts!

I also included my favorite water bottle for on-the-go. The Hydroflask water bottle is great because it keeps water cold and has two different caps for if you need it closed or easy access. I have included here the one with a sport cap. Great for grabbing a quick drink during your rest interval!

My favorite lululemon headband is also linked. I have struggled with find the right non-slip headband. This one has stuck with me through playing college volleyball and has stayed on during an entire match of me diving and sweating! It is the perfect non-slip headband for not letting sweat drip into your eyes!

Last I included different heart rate trackers. I have the apple watch which I absolutely love. I have had my apple watch series 2 for about 3 years now. It has been awesome for keeping track of my everyday movements and exercises. It even has an exercise mode for HIIT workouts. The other two are ones owned by my family and friends that they have also enjoyed. They both have great reviews from my in-person experience and in the their comments.

These are affiliate links. While there is no cost to you when you order through them, I do make a commission. Your support, by ordering through them, is greatly appreciated!

equipment for a HIIT workout



The important thing to recognize about HIIT Training is that it is not an everyday workout and the rest between is a key part of it! You may feel like you are getting a great sweat and workout in, but you are only training in the aerobic state. Strength and power should also be key elements of your training regimen. If HIIT is a part of your program, try to leave two days between HIIT workouts to ensure full recovery.

HIIT can be a great training tool in getting to where you want to go with your endurance goals. If you are like me and running a couple miles a day is not your cup of tea, HIIT is a great alternative for you to find your limits without the time consumption!

And if you enjoy this fitness trend breakdown you should check out the articles on circuit training and Tabata workouts.

Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

Welcome to the world of fitness and wellness gifting! As we gear up for 2023, it's time to start setting goals and looking for resources to help us succeed. Whether you're a fitness fanatic or seeking the perfect gift for one, our Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide is...

read more
The Power of Social Proof In Personal Training

The Power of Social Proof In Personal Training

In the world of personal training, where trust and credibility play pivotal roles, the concept of social proof functions as an authentic way to connect with your audience. Social proof, the influence created when individuals see others engaging in a particular...

read more
fitness articles
lifestyle articles
nutrition articles
golf articles


Click to sign-up for weekly information and offers.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.