Barre: What is it the fitness trend and is it worth it?

Barre: What is it the fitness trend and is it worth it?

I grew up in a family of dancers. Taking dance lessons until the time I was 8 years old and I’d be lying if I said I still don’t love to dance around from time to time. I think this is the case for a lot of people. Dance is something most people really enjoy letting out some energy with. This is why the popularity of Barre classes have skyrocketed. But is Barre just another fitness trend?

Many people who have a background in dance are looking for that same structure and technique that they are accustomed to with dance classes. Even for those who don’t have a dance background, think dancing is fun. And they are right, it can be a great way to change up your workout routine!


I think many of us have a very vague idea of what Barre is. This was actually started in the 1930s, when Lotte Berk brought it to the public. She was a modern dancer for the time and wanted to bring this kind of exercises that emphasized isometric movements and control for the general public. Many of her dancers at the time had already experienced this, but she wanted to make it widespread so that people of all ability levels could try it.

For today’s world, the class has strayed from a traditional ballet class and has pulled from other popular methods of exercise such as Pilates and Yoga. Making Barre a hybrid fitness trend.

Learn about pilates.

The workouts provided in Barre classes are a challenge. If you have ever seen a ballet or been in a ballet class, you know just how difficult the technique and bodily demands can be. Don’t let this scare you off. The classes are much more tailored to help beginners ease their way into each exercise.

A typical Barre class is set up is by going through each muscle group and burning it out using a series of low impact, but high repetition, exercises. In addition to this muscular endurance work, the class also works in some flexibility training as well.

The important thing to know here that it is not a ballet class. You do not have to be a trained dancer to try it and it is just like starting any other fitness class out there. You will be guided by an instructor the entire time and will get the group workout atmosphere.


You may be still wondering why on earth you would do this if you have no background in dance and are just looking for a new workout. There are actually many benefits to doing a workout of this type. Similar to Pilates, this type of workout is going to be mentally engaging as well.

Also placing a big focus on technique, you will have to be heavily concentrated on the task at hand. This may be just the workout you need to get that mental break from your day job.

Barre classes are also a great way to form a community around your workout routine. If you hate working out alone, this might be a great thing for you to try. You can bring along your friends or make new ones a the class.

Not only will Barre be a place for you to bond, but you will have an accountability aspect.

The benefits are not all mental, there are a lot of physical benefits to doing a Barre workout as well. This is another fitness trend that places a large focus on training the core. The benefits associated to Barre are numerous, but perhaps two of the most important are improved posture and balance.


If you have read any of our other fitness trend articles, the drawbacks of Barre might not surprise you.

As we have discussed in previous posts about fitness trends, the improvements in strength from Barre are limited to the weights and reps you use. Because it is often bodyweight or low weight, you are limiting yourself to the muscular endurance phase. There will be limits to how much strength you can build through this kind of workout.

It may not get you to your goals. Similar to a lot of other exercise classes, they are only working in one lane. You are not able to vary your workouts or what phase you are working in because you are confined to the selection of the instructor. This is fine if this is built in to a well-rounded program with cardio and strength, but it is something to consider when planning your week of workouts.

There is little-to no challenge for your heart rate. I am not saying that every workout has to get to the peak of your VO2 Max. However, this does need to be built into your exercise routine in order to improve your cardiovascular health in the long run.

Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

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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...

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fitness articles
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Targeting a muscle group is part of any well designed program. Below is a list of 10 different muscles or areas of the body and some of the best exercises to target them. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, but consists of very effective exercises that you can’t go wrong using.

The purpose of this post is not to encourage spot reduction, but to be able to effectively work the desired muscle group for the purpose of strengthening it.


Table of Contents

  1. Back Targeting Exercises
  2. Shoulder Targeting Exercises
  3. Bicep Targeting Exercises
  4. Tricep Targeting Exercises
  5. Glute Targeting Exercises
  6. Hamstring Targeting Exercises
  7. Quad Targeting Exercises
  8. Oblique Targeting Exercises
  9. Upper Abdominal Targeting Exercises
  10. Lower Abdominal Targeting Exercises
  11. Exercise Gallery
  12. Equipment

Back Targeting Exercises

The muscles of your back include your latissimus dorsi, deltoid, rhomboids, and teres major and minor to name a few. It is important to strengthen these muscles to open up the anterior of our shoulders. improve posture, and elongate the appearance of our body.


In a prone position, start with your hands overhead and thumbs together. Proceed by moving your hands out away from your body, keeping your elbows almost straight, and then bringing them back toward your glutes. This should work to engage and burn out those posterior shoulders!

Variations: Standing – on a bosu or on single leg, paused, one arm at a time.

Reverse Flys

The reverse fly is executed by holding two dumbbells out in front of you in a forward hinged position with a tight core. With a slight bend in the elbows and palms facing in, control the weights out to the side as you retract your shoulder blades. Be sure to really pinch those shoulder blades to effectively target the rhomboids.

Variations: Pause at the outer most point, stand with a single leg balance, rotate your palms to face up or down. 

Bent Over Rows

Start by standing in a bent over (or hinged) position with your back flat and core engaged, and the weights hanging directly below your shoulders. With your palms facing inward, pull the weights up toward your ribcage by retracting your shoulders blades, allowing your elbows to pass your ribcage. Avoid any flexion or extension (bending) at your wrists.

Variations: Use an underhand grip, use an overhand grip, pause at the top, alternate sides per rep. 

Single Arm Rear Deltoid Raise

Holding a dumbbell in one arm, have a slightly bent over position with your opposite hand resting on your knee and the weight hanging directly below your shoulder. With a straight arm, extend the weight back while keeping your chest forward to not activate the anterior shoulder. All the work should be in your posterior deltoid!

Variations: use a resistance band, eccentric work as you very slowly resist the force and control the return to starting position.

Banded Pull-Apart

Grabbing both sides of a long resistance band, grip the band according to the difficulty you would like with palms facing up. The closer your hands are together, the more difficult. In a smooth and controlled movement, pull the band apart with your hands while bringing your shoulder blades together for great posterior shoulder work.

Variations: Diagonally pull the band apart, elbows fully bent or fully extended.

Band Face Pulls

Looping the band around a pole, banister or anything stable you have available, grip the band with palms facing toward the floor. Pull the band toward your forehead to activate the deltoids for great back work. As always, keep the core engaged to prevent low back extension (arching).

Variations: Try the exercise in a hinges position for more core work and increased back load, single arm.

Shoulder Targeting Exercises

The shoulder joint is very dynamic, allowing for a wide range of movement, which means it needs a lot of stability to stay healthy.  It also means it can be susceptible to injury and that not every exercise is right for every person.

Neutral Grip Press

Starting with the dumbbells at your shoulders and palms facing in, proceed to raise them up above your head. The keys here are not to let your lower back arch or let momentum take over. These can be prevented by keeping core tension and focusing on the movement in the shoulder.

Variations: Palms facing outward, use band instead of dumbbells, add a curl before the press, seated or standing, in an isometric lower body hold, single leg or on a bosu for balance.

Front Raise

Starting with the dumbbells at your side with palms facing in. Lift them up in front of your body until about shoulder height. The dumbbells should not be lifted higher than that. Your core should remain tight to not allow your back to arch at the top.

Variations: Palms facing toward the ground, seated or standing, use one weight instead of two, banded instead of dumbbells, in an isometric lower body hold, single leg or on a bosu for balance.

Lateral Raise

Similar to the front raise, a lateral raise is just going to go out to the side of your body instead of in front of it. For the lateral raise, your palms will be facing the front of your body. As always, core tension is important. Similar to the front raise, it is important not to raise the weights above shoulder height.

Variations: Palms facing toward your body, seated or standing, banded instead of dumbbells

Upper Body Mountain Climbers

Start in a push-up position with feet shoulder-width apart. Begin by lowering one elbow to the ground, then the other. Using the first arm, extend the elbow to go back to the push-up position. Then do the other arm. Start with the other hand the next rep. Be sure to keep a neutral spine and tight core during the reps.

Variations: To make the exercise easier elevate your arms off the ground using a bench or try it from your knees. To make it more challenging try using a bosu ball (round side up) at your elbows or feet, add a lower body movement between each rep, or place a weight on your upper back (don’t let it fall off!)

Bent Over Y’s

In a slightly bent over position, start with your arms between your legs and palms together. In a smooth and controlled motion, raise your arms above your head while keeping your thumbs toward the ceiling. At the top position your arms should form a Y with the rest of your body (hence the name)!

Variations: Add small weight (2.5s, 5s), Lay prone on the ground (start overhead and lift a couple inches off the ground), swimmers.

Arnold Press

Start with your palms facing your body and weights up in front of your face. The first step is rotating your arms from in front of your face to the side of your head so that your palms face outward. The next step is to push the weights up overhead with the palms still facing out. As you lower the weights down, repeat the same pattern in reverse. This creates some great rotational work in the shoulders.

Variations: This is an exercise done best without any variations because it keeps the load most heavily focused on the shoulders.

Bicep Targeting Exercises

The biceps are made up of the brachioradialis, brachialis, and the biceps brachii (long and short head). When people think of the biceps, they think of bulky muscles and definition in the arms. However, those biceps are more than just for looks. Our Biceps are one of the main muscle groups we use in our everyday life. From carrying in our grocery bags, lifting up the trash bags, and even having to do our hair for a long period of time.

Bicep Curls

This is one you see almost everyone doing in the gym. One of the most simplistic exercises for targeting those biceps. Start with the weights at your side with palms facing forward. Flexing at the elbow proceed to lift the weights up toward your shoulders while putting the load into your biceps. As always, keep core tension and limit momentum moving the weights.

Variations: take your arms to the outside of your hips and perform wide curls, stand on a bosu, single leg or in a split stance to challenge balance, use resistance bands or a cable to change the load.

Hammer Curls

This is going to be the same as your bicep curl, but switching your grip to have your palms facing each other. This is just going to target a different muscle head of your bicep to put the load into your bicep brachialis.

Variations: bring your arms in a crossbody pattern alternating hand towards opposite shoulder, stand on a bosu, single leg or in a split stance to challenge balance, use resistance bands or a cable to change the load.

TRX Bicep Curl

Starting with your palms facing up in the TRX bands, position your body to the level of difficulty you desire. The more parallel your body is with the ground, the more difficult it will be. Proceed to bend your elbows towards your chest to lift your body up. It is very important to keep core tension and limit low back arching.

Variations: change your palm positioning and try overhand (palms down) and neutral grip (palms in), try single arm or single leg and fit the rotation that gravity applies to you.

Isolation Work

This is not a specific exercise, but incorporating a single arm curl while the other hold the dumbbell with 90 degree flexion can be very effective in strengthening the biceps. This can also be done with an isometric hold during a pull-up. This just helps us work not only eccentric and concentric, but also isometric!

Variations: try a flexed hang from a pull-up bar or single arm bent over row with the non-rowing arm holding a (isometric) row position.

Eccentric Neutral Grip Pull-Up

By either climbing up or jumping up to have your chin over the handles, lower your body downward toward the bench or ground with a 3-5 count. This is going to work your biceps eccentrically. It is a more advanced exercise, but can be really effective in strengthening your biceps.

Variations: change your hand grip for an increased challenge – wide palms facing away is the hardest. Add a weight vest to increase the load

Tricep Targeting Exercises

Working our triceps can be tough. They are a small muscle group that can fatigue quickly. But working on our triceps is just as important as getting strong biceps. They can help increase numbers for a bench press, help get those toned arms people are always searching for, and just assist with every day activities.

Tricep Dips

A favorite among anyone who looks to work their triceps. This is a simple exercise in which you start with your hands behind you on the bench with knuckles forward. While being slow and controlled, lower your body to the ground to reach about 90 degrees of flexion at the elbows. The further away your legs are from you, the more difficult the intensity!

Variations: hold a weight on top of your legs, pause at the bottom, or add leg raise with toe touch at the top.

Tricep OH Extensions

Holding a dumbbell or resistance of your choice above your head with full extension at the elbows, lower the weight down behind your head. It is very important to resist the tendency to arch the low back. Prevent this by keeping core tension and letting your triceps do the work. Limit the work that your shoulder is doing and keep the focus on the triceps.

Variations: increase weight or reps, add a single or double leg lower to get the core active, or add a skull crusher between each rep.

Tricep Push-Ups

Set up in a high plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders. As any other push-up, lower yourself toward the ground and push back up while maintaining a flat back and tight core. The narrow position of your hands will allow for the load to go into your triceps. This can be done on your knees or on an incline as well.

Variations: elevate the legs, single leg, weight on the back, pause at the bottom, or hold a plank after completing your last rep.

Narrow Bench Press

Lying supine on a bench or on the ground, start with the dumbbells above your chest. Lower the weights down toward your chest while keeping your elbows in tight to get the work into your triceps. Your grip should be neutral, having your palms face each other.

Variations: increase weight or reps, put your feet on the bench, or lower the weights on a 5 count loading the eccentric phase.

Banded Tricep Pull-Down

Attaching the band higher up on a banister, pole, or anything you have (or use a cable as seen in the picture), place hands about shoulder width apart on the band to start. Extend your elbows to bring the band down toward your hips. Be sure to keep core tension to not let the work go into your low back. This can also be done with a cable machine using the handles or rope attachment.

Variations: single arm pull-downs, hand on top of hand pull-down, or standing on top of a bosu.

SKLZ Single Arm extensions

Using your SKLZ sliders, a towel on a hardwood surface, or a Tupperware lid on carpet put one underneath one of your hands in a kneeling position. As you extend the hand with the SKLZ, the other arm goes into elbow flexion, keeping the arm close to your body. This creates a single arm tricep push-up in the arm off of the SKLZ.

Variations: this is an advanced movement, you may need to regress and perform tricep push-ups and the ab wheel separately to build enough strength and stability. You can make this harder by going from your toes and even harder by elevating your feet or putting them on a bosu.

Glute Targeting Exercises

Posterior chain training, which includes your glutes, is so important to your overall health. Lack of proper glute activation and engagement can lead to pain (back, hip, knee), and many other issues throughout the kinetic chain. Learning how to focus and use this muscle will change not only your workout, but the way your body feels!

Banded Step-Outs

With the band right above the knee, start with your knees slightly bent. Step out to the side with one leg, then switch to have the other one step out while still standing in the right spot. Be sure to think about squeezing your glutes to prevent your hip from doing the work.

Variations: Make it a band walk by stepping out and together for about 10 yard and back! Put the band below your knees to make it harder.

Glute Bridges

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Proceed by lifting your hips up toward the ceiling and engaging your glutes. What we want to prevent here is a low back arch and pain. The goal is to be able to have a straight line between your head, hips, and knees. However, this should not come at the expense of low back pain and using the wrong muscles.

Variations: Elevate your heels on a bench, put a band above your knees, pulse at the top, add a weight on your hips, or try them on single leg.

Plank Leg Lifts

In an elbow plank position, start with your feet about shoulder width apart. Lift one leg up no higher than the hips, so that you just use your glute to extend your hip. Alternate and do the same thing on the other leg. This should all be done while keeping your core engaged and a flat back. Tip: squeeze your glute before your foot leaves the ground.

Variations: Add a band above your knees, move to a high plank, have your elbows or hands plank on a bosu.

Clam Shells

Lay on your side with your knees bent at 90 degrees with a band just above them. Think about your heels being in line with your glutes. Your arms can be in whatever position is most comfortable. Squeeze your glutes to lift the top leg against the resistance of the band. Again, this should only be done in the range of motion that only engages your glutes, and not your hips. Control your legs as they lower back down to the starting position.

Variations: This one can be done without a band as well, in a side plank from your elbow or with your butt against the wall to control any torso rotation isolating the work to your glutes.

Reverse Hyper

This is not a piece of equipment most would have at home, but at your gym go find this machine! It is one of the most effective exercises for targeting your glutes. Lying on your stomach with hands on the bars, start with your legs hanging toward the ground. Begin by lifting your legs up through your glutes. Similar to the plank leg lifts, be sure to prevent low back arch by not extending higher than your hips.

Variations: If you do not have this equipment, you could replace it with a banded hip extension or backward band walk


Although the squats hit pretty much every muscle in the lower body, it can be great for our glutes. If you don’t feel your glutes working during the squat try using one of the above exercises before squatting to “wake them up”. Super setting squats with a glute isolated exercise can provide a great glute burn.

Hamstring Targeting Exercises

Training our hamstrings involves a lot of hip hinging or flexion at the knee. The more you teach your hips to hinge properly, the better off you will be in real life. Hamstrings are very active as you bend down to pick things up or do other everyday tasks (laundry, gardening, stairs, etc.).

Bonus! Training your hamstrings effectively will make you faster if you are an athlete. This is due to their role as a hip extensor which also helps in your ability to decelerate and change direction.

Single Leg RDL

This is one of my personal favorites, and not just because it does a great job of targeting your hamstring. Start balancing on one leg with a slight bend in the knee. Proceed by hinging at your hips, pushing your butt back while keeping your core tight and back flat. The leg not on the ground will extend back while your hips and shoulders stay square to the ground. Reach for mid-shin with your hands or to the length that your hamstring and good form allow. Return back to the upright position, tapping the other foot down when needed.

Variations: Add weights in each hand, only one weight in one hand, perform on a bosu, use a cable as resistance, use a swiss ball under the back foot.

Double Leg RDL

Very similar to the single leg RDL, the double leg starts with a slight bend in the knees and a hip hinge back. Lower the weight to below the knee, again only as low as your great form allows. Return back to neutral by standing up tall and squeezing your glutes at the top. This is a great bilateral alternative to the single leg RDL.

Variations: Use a barbell instead of dumbbells, perform on a bosu, use a single weight, use a cable, or make it a complex with other exercises.

Hamstring Curls on Swiss Ball

With your back flat on the ground and your knees bent at 90 degrees, put your feet up on the stability ball. Lift your hips up as if your were doing a glute bridge. Extend your legs out while keeping the stability ball underneath your feet. Pull the stability ball back in using your hamstrings and maintaining core tension so that the work is not felt in your low back.

Variations: Put your feet in TRX straps, try single leg curls, or place your feet on the SKLZ sliders

Hamstring Walk-Outs

Begin with shoulders and feet on the ground with your hips up in a glute bridge position. Begin by stepping out with your heels alternating right and left. Step out 2-3 steps each side, then walk back in to the original position.

Variations: add a band above your knees to increase glute engagement, squeeze a medicine ball to work your inner thighs also, hold a weight on your hips.

Kettle Bell Swings

With a little bit of knee bend and holding the weight between your legs, start with the same hip hinge back as your would with a double leg RDL. Proceed by bringing the weight forward in a swinging motion by pushing your hips back to neutral and squeezing your glutes. Do not use your arms to bring the weight higher or let momentum do the work.

Variations: Use dumbbells as your resistance, use a band to pull through your legs

Eccentric Hamstring Curl

While on your knees, your feet can either be pinned down by a partner, or have them in a machine in the gym. Slowly lower your chest toward the ground until you cannot anymore. Either drop to the ground or use a stick as assistance to lift yourself back to the original kneeling position.

Variations: If you are crazy you could try this single leg 😜 otherwise you could use a hamstring curl machine focusing on slow extension to get an eccentric load.

Quad Targeting Exercises

These are mass muscle movements. This means that in the list below I am not giving you quad isolated movements. Rather movements where the quads are active and prime movers. When these exercises are used consistently and properly you will benefit from stronger quads. Work them routinely on a weekly basis to see your work pay off.

If you have any lower body joint issues or chronic pain I suggest you find an experienced and educated fitness professional to help you get started. And remember if you are light headed or dizzy you should stop exercising,

Goblet Squat

Standing in an upright position, hold a dumbbell at your chest. Proceed by bending you knees and squatting down. Keys are to not let the weight bring your chest toward the ground, but instead keep good posture. This does not mean arching your back, instead keep good core tension. When coming out of the bottom of the squat, use your quads to help push your body back up to neutral.

Variations: Swiss ball on the back against the wall, standing on a bosu ball.

Wall Sit

Although this is a fairly common exercise, it can often be done incorrectly. Sit against a wall as you would sit in a chair with your feet shoulder width apart. Be sure to keep your upper body in contact with the wall. Do not let the weight get too far on your toes or heels. Aim to sit as close to 90 degrees at your hips as you can.

Variations: Use a Hip Circle band and pulse your knees out, put a med ball between your legs.

Leg Press

Seated in the chair place your legs on the platform at a comfortable position as you would with a squat. Push the platform up and release the safety bars using the handles. Proceed to bring your knees toward your chest, going only as close as your hip mobility and strength allow. Push back up to the original position without locking out your knees. Once you complete the reps return the safety bars to their original position.

Variations: Single leg, toes out with a sumo stance.

Split Squat

Start with one leg out in front of you with the weight mid-foot to heel and the other one behind you on the ball of your foot. Lower your body down by bending both of your knees but keeping your posture upright and your core tight. The goal is to reach 90 degrees in both knees while still keeping great form. Return to top position and repeat.

Variations: Swiss ball on the back, front foot on Bosu, back foot on bosu.

TRX Single Leg Squat

Using the TRX straps, go as far back as you can while keeping your elbows bent comfortably at your side lift one leg up out in front of you. Sit back as if you were doing a normal squat, while letting the leg not on the ground stay out in front of you. Be careful not to lean too much into the bottom leg or let your chest fall toward the ground. Push up through the ground to lift yourself up and squeeze your glute at the top.

Variations: Foot on Bosu, without TRX for advancement.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Similar to the split squat, the Bulgarian elevates your back foot onto a bench. The weight should still be mid-foot to heel on the front foot. The back should be either on the ball of your foot or rest the top of it on the bench. Proceed to lower yourself keeping the same upright posture and knee staying in line with your front toe. Push off of the ground to bring yourself back to the top.

Variations: Add weights, add a rotation for stability.

Oblique Targeting Exercises

The obliques serve a great purpose as the muscles that support the sides of our core. They assist in the deep exhalation in our breathing routine. They help us with rotation, anti-rotational stability and overall strength in the core. Training your obliques should be a part of your program.

Side Plank Hip Taps

Start in a side plank position with your bottom elbow directly below your shoulder. The other hand can be on your top hip, extended toward the ceiling on the floor for some balance. One leg should be stacked on top of the other. Begin by lowering your body to the ground so that your bottom hip taps the ground. Do not do this at the expense of your form. Make sure your knees, hips, and shoulders all stay in line.

Variations: Bottom knee bent on the ground to decrease load, elbow on stability pad or bosu ball, hold a weight in your top hand.

Plank Hip Dips

In an elbow plank position with tension in your core, be sure not to have your hips too high or your low back arch with hips too low. Proceed by trying to tap one hip to the side and then switch over to the other. It is not essential to tap each completely to the ground if it means your feet are coming off the ground. This one crushes my obliques!

Variations: Elbows or feet on the soft side of a Bosu Ball or stability pad. 

Side Plank Crunch

Start in the same position as the side plank hip taps above. Begin by bending your top knee and top elbow. Have that elbow and knee meet in the middle as you crunch through your top oblique and your bottom one stabilizes isometrically. Return to the original position and repeat.

Variations: Bottom knee on the ground, elbow or bottom foot on a stability pad or bosu ball.

Pallof Press

Using a band or a cable machine, stand so that your side is facing the machine (perpendicular). Have your inside hand on the bottom and outside had overtop. Bring the cable handle or band to the middle of your chest at your sternum. Keeping a tight core, press straight out with the handle/band, then return to the chest. Be sure to control the band or cable keeping your hands moving in a straight, consistent line.

Variations: add a rotation in before you press, use a split stance, or incorporate a bosu ball at your feet.


Hold a weight in your hands (dumbbell, weight plate, med ball) and start in a loaded position with the weight at your shins on one side of your body. Using your core to rotate, bring the weight back up across your body to about shoulder height on the other side. Continue by diagonally chopping the weight down on the outside of your body near mid-shin where you started and repeat.

Variations: bring the weight all the way over head at top.

V-Sit Twists

Start by sitting in a v position with your pelvis tucked under so that your core is thoroughly engaged (if you cannot do this without back pain, use a different exercise). Holding a weighted resistance in both hands, move it front one side of your hip to the other in a twisting motion.

Variations: add a press, tuck, single leg tuck, flutter kick or scissor kick after the twist.

Upper Abdominals Targeting Exercises

Targeting the upper abdominals can be tough because working this area of our core often times means a lot of crunches. These usually bore people, give them neck pain, and even when done improperly can lead to some lower back discomfort. Here are 6 variations of a regular crunch that give you better targeting of your upper abdominals.

Straight Leg Sit-Up

Begin by lying flat on the ground, with your arms overhead and your legs straight out. Ensuring that your core is properly engaged by tucking your hips under, proceed to do a sit up while keeping your hands above your head and your legs out straight. Come up only so that you are in a seated position. Then lower yourself back down without letting your back take over the work.

Variations: Hold light weight with one hand, both hands or a weight in each hand.

Flatback Bicycle

Lay flat on the ground with your legs bent at 90 degrees with feet in the air and your hands behind your head. Proceed to crunch your opposite elbow and knee together as your head rotates with it. Extending the opposite leg straight. Repeat the other direction, as the other elbow comes to the other knee.

Variations: Pause at the end of each crunch, perform in a v-sit.

Toe Touches

Lying on your back, put both feet up in the air. The straightness of your legs is going to depend heavily on your flexibility in the hamstrings. Only hold them at the range of motion you have, pain free. Have both hands up in the air, similar to the beginning stages of a deadbug. Using only your core and not the momentum from your arms, reach for your toes by crunching through those upper abdominals and lifting your shoulders off the ground.

Variations: Add a weight, hold one leg up in the air and do a single leg.

OH Extension to Crunch

Start with your back flat to the ground, your knees bent and feet on the ground, and holding a weight in your hands up in the air above your chest. Extend the weight over your head while ensuring your back does not arch off the mat as you do so. How far back the weight goes will depend on the range of motion you have in your shoulders and your ability to maintain core contraction (keeping your back flat to the ground). Return back to the original position of your weight. Proceed to crunch your upper abdominals while keeping your arms extended. Be careful to not go too far forward or the load will enter your back.

Variations: Perform with a weight in single arm to work shoulder stability and unilateral load, change the overhead extension to a skull crusher, change the crunch to a toe touch.


Start with your back is flat to the ground, your knees are bent, your feet on the ground, and your arms are at your side. Crunch up slightly so that your head up and shoulders are peeled off the ground. Proceed to reach along the ground for your foot with the hand that is on the same side as the foot you’re reaching for. Creating a side crunch motion. Then go to the other foot and repeat, alternating each rep. This will create a rocking motion back and forth (similar to a waddling penguin). If you have any neck pain (very common) in this exercise, you can support your head with your hands and just create the same motion.

Variations: Reach to both sides then relax back to the ground, pause an hold for a 2 count on each side.

Crunch w/ Extension

Lying on the ground, bend one knee and place your foot on the ground while the other is extended straight out in the air. Have your hands at your head and proceed to crunch with your upper abdominals while the leg stays extended. Do the reps all on one leg, then switch which leg is extended. Height of the extended leg will depend on your ability to keep your core contracted, back neutral and pain free.

Variations: Adjust height of leg to increase or decrease difficulty, extend both legs to increase difficulty. 

Lower Abdominals Targeting Exercises

Having strong lower abdominals can help reduce back pain, improve overall balance, and just like all core can help improve your posture. Your rectus abdominus has this lower and upper split and many people only target the upper abdominals with many crunch variations. The lower abdominals are often tougher to work and therefore get pushed aside.


Lying on the ground with your knees bent at 90 degrees suspended above the mat. With your entire upper body staying grounded to the mat, lift your hips up as your knees come toward your head. Using your abdominals, crunch your knees toward your head. While still controlling through your core, return back to the original position and repeat.

Variations: Hanging from a pull-up bar, holding on to the handle of a decline bench.


Begin seated with your knees bent and feet off of the floor. Be sure to have your core engaged by tucking your pelvis under. Place your hands directly out in front of you or holding them together above your stomach. It is important not to try and sit too upright. This is a mistake many people make that causes the load to go into their low backs.

Variations: Add a curl and press, Add a twist, do an overhead extension with it.


Lying on a bench or a mat, start with your knees tucked to your chest. You can place your hands underneath you or behind your head holding on to the bench if that is where you are doing the exercise. Begin the movement by extending your legs out so that your body is as straight as possible while still having your back maintain contact with the mat/bench. Proceed to bring your knees back toward your chest. Then, kick your legs up in air by lifting your hips off of the mat.

Variations: Perform the same actions on a decline bench.


Lying on a bench or a mat, extend your legs out so you are as straight as possible and feet are off of the ground. Only do this to the height where you are able to keep your back flat. Trying to get lower with your legs by arching your back will only lead to a pain in your lower back and your core not firing as it should. This kind of compromise defeats the purpose of the exercise and does you no good! With this in mind, proceed to the exercise by alternating which leg is lifted higher and which is lowered. Keep switching back and forth while maintaining good form.

Variations: Speed up your kicks and go for time or a higher rep count, slow down and control each kick with a pause and each end.


Start lying flat on the ground or on a bench. Place your legs directly in the air as close to your body making an L shape as you can. This is largely going to depend on your hamstring flexibility. You can place your hands underneath you for support, hold on to the bench, or even hold on to a beam behind your head. This will help maintain core tension. With keeping your back flat to the mat, lower your legs down to as close to parallel as you can get while keeping the load in your core and not your lower back. Keeping your core braced, raise your legs back up to the starting position. This can be difficult for those who have tight hips and will sometimes cause some discomfort because of that.

Variations: Hanging from a pull up bar, single leg lower.


Similar to the flutter kicks, start by lying flat on a mat with your legs extended out in the air. Again, it is important to keep your back completely flat. Instead of kicking alternating your legs up and down, you are going to instead do it side to side. This is going to create a “scissor” like motion with your legs. It is also important to remember that compromising to lower your legs by arching your back does not do you any good!

Variations: Speed up your kicks and go for time or a higher rep count, slow down and control each kick with a pause and each end.



Before starting an exercise routine make sure that you are prepared for exercise and consult a medical professional if you have any concerns. If you are recovering from an injury be sure to have clearance to exercise from your doctor and listen to your body. Results will come from consistent work. Injuring yourself will only further delay your results.

If you feel dizzy or lightheaded you should stop exercising immediately and seek help. Pain or joint discomfort should not be ignored. If you can’t exercise without pain or discomfort you should seek out a trusted fitness professional to guide you. They will be able to adjust your form & technique, programming & volume to manage your discomfort. Make sure that you search for an educated and reputable fitness professional who will support your needs.

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12 Exercises for a Total Body At Home Workout

12 Exercises for a Total Body At Home Workout

One of the number one excuses that I (and many others) have used for not being able to get a workout in is saying, “There just is not enough time to get to the gym”. Yes, even though I work at a gym, I can find it difficult to stay that extra hour when things at home need my attention. A lot of us are faced with the same dilemma that has existed for a long time: busy schedules that don’t leave any time to get in a workout. Even if that is not the case, gyms are tough to get into and feel comfortable. An at-home workout theoretically sounds great, but buying equipment is expensive and what would you even do?

This post will take you through 12 exercises broken up into lower body, upper body and core. This will not be an everyday workout, but can maybe this will be the kick start you need to ease back into the workout routine!



  • Although we always talk about loading our posterior leg muscles, we can’t forget about those quads! Step-ups are a great exercise to not only burn out those quads, but also add a bit of heart rate. Simple and effective!

Bulgarian Split Squat

  • One of the toughest leg exercises to me personally! This exercise forces you to incorporate every lower body muscle you have to help you out of the bottom of the split squat position. Having your foot elevated on your chair just adds to the difficulty.

Squat to a Chair

  • I love this exercise because it forces you to hit the same depth every time. By making sure you tap your glutes to the chair and burst back up can add some great work in for those quads and glutes. For an added challenge, you can do an eccentric 5 count down to the chair to work your muscle differently or add some resistance.

Elevated Glute Bridge

  • The glute bridge is one of our favorite exercises in the gym to encourage glute engagement and work our posterior leg muscles. By adding the elevation, it increases the difficulty of the exercise. For an even greater difficulty you can add a band above the knees or go single leg!


Incline Push-Ups

  • Push-ups can be a difficult exercise from the ground for most, due to a large load on your biceps and anterior shoulder. By using your chair to elevate your hands it can make it easier to do more reps that you thought possible! Or, say push-up are too easy for you? Then try putting your feet on the chair and doing decline push-ups to have gravity working against you!

Tricep Dips

  • To work those triceps a bit, this is a great exercise to utilize that chair to target this muscle group! The further out you have those legs, the more difficult it is going to be. This will burn out those triceps pretty quick, however!

3-Point Bent Over Row

  • Using the chair to have one hand on and using a resistance to row to your chest in the other this is a great posterior shoulder exercise! If you do not have any weights, try using a gallon of milk or a paint can. During this one, be sure to focus on shoulder retraction.

Seated Single Arm Overhead Press

  • One of the best parts of the workout, sitting down! This one is great for isolating each shoulder as it works to press the resistance of your choice overhead. Try facing your palm in different directions (forward, neutral, toward you) to give your shoulder muscles different work!


Paused Bicycle Crunches

  • All of the core can be done on the floor, but I suppose this one could be done on the couch too! Similar to a normal bicycle crunch, this exercise can encourage great core engagement. By pausing as your leg is extended, you force yourself to slow down and feel that good core burn!

V-Sit Tuck

  • This one can be done right on the chair! By sitting in that V position and tucking your legs in and out, you can create some great concentric work for your abdominals. For an added challenge, extend your legs from side to side! Be sure to stop the exercise if you experience any low back pain.

Side Plank Hip Taps

  • For this core exercise, you will need to head to the floor. As you hold a plank position, tap your hip toward the ground in order to get some great oblique work. Doing so while holding the plank works your abdominals isometrically as well!

Shifting Plank

  • Similar to the previous exercise, you will be in a plank position. By shifting your weight in front of your shoulders and then behind it creates a more difficult version of the regular plank! The slower and steadier you control your body back and forth, the more intense the burn.


at home workout

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Fit Finds: The Ultimate 2023 Fitness Gift Guide

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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...

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Pain Free Golf

The Importance of Core Strength & Flexibility

We have all been on the course and seen people with the elbow straps for tendonitis. Or halfway through the round someone in your group is in agonizing back pain that they say is always there when they play. You can watch people on the tee box, and they have a half or quarter swing because anything more hurts their body. Which, as a result effects their game and scorecard. Maybe this is even be you on the course. Let’s learn why and how you can fix it. 

Golf is a sport that ranges from youth to the elderly. It can be a great way to get some exercise in, enjoy being outside with friends and be competitive. Whether you’re a youth player learning, a highly competitive pro trying to make it, or an amateur who just loves the game, the answer is the same. Core strength and flexibility is what allows you to be pain free and perform better. Doing the right, simple and easy things will allow you to be pain free and improve your game at the same time. 

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Impact of flexibility on swing ROM and chronic pain associated to it

One of the most common complaints in golf is low back discomfort and/or pain. Your golf swing is your unique Range of Motion (ROM). Flexibility has a massive impact on swing ROM. Which means flexibility can also be the main component to relieving chronic low back pain in the golf swing.

The human body is amazing. Even though flexibility may be lacking, the body will do its best to find a way to still complete a task. Speaking specifically about the golf swing. If you lack hamstring flexibility you will not be able to complete a full turn in the golf swing. Which in return your low back will have to do much more. This is because instead of rotating you will start to extend during your back swing. Your low back will take the complete & constant load of the movement.

The low back and muscles in that area are not designed to take that constant load and as a result of poor hamstring flexibility you now have low back pain. Unfortunately, you also have a weaker swing because it is not efficient. This is the most common example of chronic pain in golfers we see, but there are several others. This example really shows why flexibility plays such a massive role in pain free golf. 

By prioritizing a flexibility routine you will:

  1. Improve your comfort while playing your favorite sport,
  2. Improve your golf performance
  3. Increase the amount of time and length of time you can play golf.

Check out our video on flexibility for golfers here.

Read more about golf flexibility here. 

Core strength and stability for proper loading and muscle firing in the golf swing

Flexibility is half the battle in pain free golf. The other half is core strength and stability to keep you healthy. Stability is turning on the appropriate muscle groups that we want involved and that should “fire” during movements. We call this a proper kinematic sequence. It is our job to teach the body which muscles to fire at the right time during the golf swing. This allows you to play pain free and dramatically increase your performance.

We always like to start from the ground up when working with stability. When you watch the PGA pros play it’s amazing to see their power that they generate from their legs. It is imperative that we give your legs the proper stability training to ensure the proper kinematic sequence for the rest of the golf swing. As we move up the body, we want proper movement and stability in the glutes and hips, and then the core. If we can initiate proper muscle firing in the legs, to the glutes/hips, and then to the core you will be able to play the game of golf pain free. 

It is very important to focus on training these muscles to fire properly. Simply going through the motions of movements doesn’t fix the problem. Flawless technique, mental focus and proper repetition is how your body will learn to do things right and then continue to do them right.

Check out our video on hip stability for golfers here.

Read more about stability for golfers here.

Focusing on the flexibility, stability and core strength is the key to eliminating pain and improving golf performance. How you go about it is a massive component of how successful you will be. Follow our proven PureForged Method and find out for yourself.