Muscle Imbalances and How-To Fix

Muscle Imbalances and How-To Fix

Muscle Imbalances & How to Fix

Muscle imbalances are something that I see a lot of in my business. One shoulder sitting higher than the other, one arm stronger than the other, one leg more dominant than its counterpart.

It’s a common occurrence with the human body, and one that does more harm than good.

Gray Cook, a physical therapist and leader in the field of functional movement (www.graycook.com), claims, “left-to-right asymmetries seem to be the most common problem associated with the risk of injury.”

This holds true for the athlete as well as for us mere mortals working out in the gym.

In addition to contributing to injury, muscle imbalances can also cause day-to-day pain.

For instance, weakness in certain muscles of the abdomen can create back pain because the muscles of the stomach need to be strong to help to support the back. The same holds true with the knee.

If the muscles of the front of the thigh (the quadriceps) are more built up than the muscles at the back of the leg (the hamstrings), then you may be making an appointment with your physiotherapist in the near future.

One tip to remember when training at the gym:

  • When you workout one muscle group, be sure to train the opposite muscle group immediately after.
  • For example, a chest exercise in my gym equates to two back exercises (because most people tend to have poor postures related to daily living), a bicep curl is always followed with a tricep extension, an abdomen crunch with a low back extension, and a quadricep driven exercise is always followed with at least two (and sometimes three) hamstring and glute exercises.

Why so many glute and hamstring exercises, you wonder?

The front muscles of the leg, in most people, usually tend to be stronger – while the poor muscles of the posterior are neglected and left out. This leads to everything from back pain, knee pain, and hip pain, to poor core instability and inefficient knee tracking.

All nasty little things that will put an end to your workout.

Another trick I recommend to offset any imbalances is to train each side of your body individually:

  • Perform your chest press one arm at a time.
  • Use a D-handle for your lat pulldown and work each side independently.
  • Instead of a squat, do a one-legged squat.
  • A hamstring curl becomes a one-legged curl.

One Dumbbell Workout

Give this workout a go to work out any muscle imbalances you might have. All you need is one dumbbell and 30-minutes.

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

Shoulder Pain? Do These.

Shoulder Pain? Do These.

Shoulder Pain? Do These.

I’ve trained thousands of people in my many years of personal training, and of those thousands I would have to say at least half of them have come to me with a shoulder problem.

Shoulders, in my opinion, are very poorly designed joints.

I mean, we would never build our homes like are shoulders are built.

We would never decide to build an extension onto our porch using just one stud, some duck tape and four wood screws. Mike Holms would have our heads!

But, take a look at our poor shoulders.

One fixed bone, the humerus, free floating in a groove in our scapula, held together by a group of small, and not very powerful, muscles called the rotator cuff, with the assistance of the deltoid, bicep and tricep group.

Add to the mix an extremely powerful muscle group, the lats, pulling outwardly and down on the humeral head and you have yourself a recipe for a home reno catastrophe.

To keep your shoulder from becoming a catastrophe, try this little posture workout.

But, PLEASE if you do have shoulder pain go see your local physiotherapist. They are the best ones to diagnose and to treat your pain (and FYI – they do not require a doctor’s referral).

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

40-Minute Total Body Killer Workout

40-Minute Total Body Killer Workout

40-Minute Total Body Killer Workout

AKA: The Gladiator Workout

There are some workouts you just love to do… and this is one of them. Not only do I love to do this workout, I also love to teach it.

Why is it so damn good?

  • It works on building your lean muscle – so you become a better fat burning machine
  • It is intense enough for the most advanced exerciser, yet easily modifiable for the beginner (I’ve actually taken one of my clients who is 75 through this workout)
  • It trains the heck out of your legs
  • It strengthens your core
  • It can be done in your home (requires just 1 pair of moderate weights and 1 heavy weight)
  • It can be done in 20, 30 or 40 minutes – depending on the time you have available
  • It tones your legs, abs, glutes, hips and upper body
  • It flows like a ballet 🙂

40-Minute Total Body Workout

The Workout

Gladiator Workout - Fitness with PJ

 

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

Over 40: 4 Tips On What To Do In The Gym

Over 40: 4 Tips On What To Do In The Gym

Over 40: 4 Tips On What To Do In The Gym

So, you’re in your 40’s or 50’s. Congrats, God willing you have reached the midway point of your life.

But, now that you are here does that mean that you need to start training your age, start training with precautions and restrictions because you might break?

First a Funny Story

My loving husband, who is 10 years older than me, gives me a heads up with every passing decade as to what to expect both physically and mentally for the years ahead.

For example, when he turned 30 he enlightened me that my body was going to start to change shape (in case you are doing the math in your head I meet the love of my life when I was 19 years old. 25 years later he’s still with me.).

Sure enough at 30 years my hips grew wider (a lot wider) and things shifted. I was happy though. Prior to that I was kinda built like a boy. Now I had me some curves.

At 40 he then warned me that simple tasks, like getting up and off the floor, was going to start getting harder. As well, things that I completely take for granted now, like reading the small print on food labels, or menus in a dark restaurant, would go the way of the dodo.

On top of that he coached me that I will also experience a big decline in my energy levels and I won’t be able to, nor want to be able to, be in a constant state of motion like I was in my 20’s and 30’s.

Sitting at 44 years now, with 45 staring me in the face, he has been, and is right on target.

About-PJ-Fitness-with-PJ

I’m Old So Therefore I’m Frail

Many people, including loving husband, think that as we age we tend to slow down and do less because of aging. For the most part this is complete and utter BS (sorry loving husband).

Much of the physical frailty attributed to aging is actually the result of inactivity, disease or poor nutrition.

The good news, many of these problems can be helped (or even reversed) by improving lifestyle behaviors, such as exercising on a regular basis and eating a whole food diet.

The Effects of Aging

Aging muscles:

  • Shrink and lose mass with age. This is called sacropenia and it is a natural process, but a sedentary lifestyle will also speed this nasty process up.
  • The number of our muscle fibers decrease as we age, which means that it takes longer to respond in our 40’s and 50’s than it did in our 20’s.
  • The water content of the tendons decrease which makes our tissues stiffer and less able to handle stress.
  • The heart muscle becomes less able to propel large quantities of blood quickly which means that we tire more easily and take longer to recover.
  • Our metabolism slows down (this is how quickly our body converts energy) which means we don’t burn fat like we used to.

Aging bones & joints:

  • The mineral content in our bones decrease (for both men and women) making our bones more fragile.
  • The connective tissue that attaches bones to bones (called ligaments) become less elastic which in turn decreases our flexibility.
  • Cartilage, which provides the cushioning between our bones and in our joints, changes. With these changes comes less water content and a joint more susceptible to wear and tear (ie. arthritis)
  • Our joint motion becomes more restricted due to these changes in our tendons and ligaments making us all around less flexible.

Over 40: 4 Tips On What To Do In The Gym

 

1. Build a fitness base.

If you are just starting a fitness program you need to build a base first. This is extremely important, especially in our later years as it is much easier to get injured and it takes longer to get better when we do injure ourselves.

Why is it easier? You can thank the decreased water in our tendons and ligaments, as well as our restricted range of motion in our joints and our loss of muscles mass and muscle fiber size.

 

My recommendation: perform a strength training workout 3 times a week, 1 set an exercise, and then the next week do 2 sets, the week after add about 10% more weight to what you are lifting and then on the fourth week add another set.

2. Lift heavy.

Once that base is built, or if you are already fit, start lifting heavier but for fewer reps. If your joints and cartilage have already encountered years of wear and tear (which we know that they have by mid-life), and they don’t have the water content that they used to, a weight training program with lots of reps will only inflame the joint further.

Instead, lift a weight that you can maintain good form with, but are starting to crack by the end of your rep range of 12-15.

3. Watch out for long distance, repetitive workouts.

Cross training is your goal in your later years. If you like running, great run but keep the mileage down and perform other activities as well. But, if you run and run and run (or bike and bike and bike, or swim and swim and swim) be prepared to hurt.

Unless you are one of the blessed individuals who can perform repetitive long distance workouts without injury you are going to inflame those joints of yours and send yourself to physio.

In fact, even my younger clients that only ran for their workouts prior to seeing me have a longer history of injuries than those who run as well as lift weights.

And if you are running for weight loss, just stop right now. Cause it ain’t gonna work as well as other forms of exercise will.

4. You ain’t dead yet.

I, personally, know that I could kick my 20-year old’s ass. I am stronger, faster and more focused at 44 than I was at 24.

So, once you have built that fitness base, layered on it for a year I want you to GO FOR IT – cause you ain’t dead yet.

With the advances in nutrition and fitness that we have seen in the last 5 years we can get better and live longer and play just as hard as we did in our 20’s and 30’s.

Keep training everyone.

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

Gym Etiquette – Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins

Gym Etiquette – Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins

Gym Etiquette – Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins

Lifting properly is only one area in the gym that you should be working on. What every woman (and man!) needs to know about proper gym etiquette.

The other day, when I was at the bank the nice young fellow behind the desk (jeez that line made me sound old, when the hell did I get so old?) suggested that I write about gym etiquette.

Apparently he recently had a few experiences with gym-goers who did not respect those around them because they were oblivious to the sins that they were committing.

funny-workout-bag

Gym Etiquette 101

If yoi see someone lacking some gym etiquette it could be because of one of three reasons:

  • First, they are new to the whole gym-going experience and don’t know any better. It’s like when you were learning how to ride a bike. The pedalling part you knew about, cause you’d seen it, but the getting on the bike, staying on the bike and braking was not something that you could visually teach yourself. You could eventually learn, however it would take a lot of band-aids and heart ache, or better yet, it could be taught to you by someone who has been there and done that.
  • Second, there’s the gym-goer who is a frequent participant of going to the gym, but is just unaware of the fact that they are one sweat drop away from having a dumbbell thrown at them.
  • And finally, there’s the third type of gym-goer who couldn’t care less about those around them and strut around like they own the place. This blog is not going to help them. A dumbbell dropped on their toe on the other hand…. just saying.

Now, I don’t hang out in gyms much anymore (one of the perks of having a gym in my own home), but I do remember the usual gym etiquette sins, and they can be boiled down to these seven.

The-Workouts-Fitness-with-PJ

1/ Thou shall not hog all of the equipment.
Yes we get it, you like to super set your program, however just make sure that others around you can work in on that piece of equipment as well. For new gym-goers, if you would like to use a piece of equipment that someone else is on simply ask them “Can I work in?”, and work in when their set is done.

2/ You shall have no cell phones on the gym floor.
There is nothing worse than seeing “selfies” being taken and texts being exchanged back and forth while working out. Not only is this just ridiculous to witness, it is also distracting and takes away your own workout. Trust me, your Instagram account will survive the 45 minutes without an update.

3/ Remember, you are not the only one.
If you like to listen to music, great. Just please no singing, humming, whistling or even head banging. Leave that for the drive home.

4/ Honour your workout partners.
Don’t clang your weights together, drop your weights on the ground with drama, and grunt and groan through your set. Yes, we are struggling too with our own workout, but you don’t hear us sounding like a wounded Beluga whale while doing so.

5/ Thou shall not smell.
Working out can be stinky business and that’s why they make this amazing product called deodorant. So, please use it.

With that being said don’t swing the other end of the pendulum and douse yourself in perfume, cologne, hairspray or stinky body lotion prior to either. While you may believe that you are smelling like a garden of roses, the rest of us are holding our breathe – which FYI is really challenging to do while working out.

6/ You shall remember to wipe.
Sweating is messy business, so please wipe up after yourself. To take this one step further I would encourage you to bring a towel to the gym and sit on it (when you have to sit, cause let’s face it you came to the gym to get away from sitting), drape your towel over any gym equipment that you use and use your towel as a barrier between you and the mat.

On a completely separate note, if you are sick please stay at home. The biggest cesspool of germs originate in two places: kids and gym equipment. Please don’t add to the cesspool.
7/ In the end, nobody is watching you.
Probably one of the biggest fears a new gym-goer has is that others are watching them and judging them. With this said you will be happy to hear that that couldn’t be farthest from the truth.

In fact, everyone in the gym is far too concerned with what’s going on with them that you are really just a blip on their radar. Nothing more. So, fear not and go forth and be fit.

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

Sign UpTo Receive Your 21 Day Fitness Program

Start receiving your personalized fitness program by entering your name, email, and answer 2 simple questions.

Do you currently work out?
Fitness Goal

WE HAVE LIFT OFF! Now, go head to your In Box to confirm your subscription so I can send you your first workout 👊🏼