Front Squat

Why it’s on the list: Some individuals find that squats build their butts well, but they really need help building their quads. If that’s you, try front squats! By shifting the bar from the back to the front of the body, even just 6-8 inches, you change the relative amount of muscle loading that occurs. Front squats emphasize the quads over the glutes and hams, which means you’ll sacrifice some of the load.

This movement generally requires some pretty serious upper-back and core strength to maintain a neutral spine and keep you from missing weights. Don’t be surprised if adding these into your workout routine beefs up your back as well! Also, with a front squat, you naturally maintain a much more vertical position, which may decrease the risk of low-back injury.[2]

In your workout: This exercise should typically replace the squat in your workout; do it first, when your energy levels are highest. You can hold the bar in the front rack position (also referred to as a clean grip) or with arms crossed. Do multiple sets of 6-10 reps, favoring the lower end if you’re looking to build strength.

Squat High and Low bar

Why it’s on the list: Squats are king because they’re simply the most challenging leg movement you can do, especially when loaded appropriately. They work all the lower-body musculature (we’re counting glutes), and have been shown to spike muscle-building hormone release. In fact, we even know that squatting before doing curls has been shown to significantly improve arm strength![1]

We’ve grouped the high bar squat and low bar squat here, although they’re a bit different. Bodybuilders typically use the high bar squat, in which the bar rests atop the traps, which hits all the leg musculature fairly evenly. Powerlifters prefer the low version, in which the bar instead sits further down atop the rear delts, since this variation slightly shifts the body’s center of gravity such that the glutes take up more of the workload, which immediately allows the lifter to use more weight.

Plank the new exercise?

We don’t know too many people who get excited about doing planks. Generally, you stare down your timer as the minute (or more) runs down. And while we’re being candid, let’s just come out and say it: Planks destroy your abs. For a pretty basic isometric exercise, planks strengthen your entire body—they make your core pop, strengthen your lower back, and build your shoulders.

Better yet, you don’t need any equipment, and you can amp up the intensity by widening your stance and bracing yourself with your hands instead of your forearms and elbows. See for yourself. Check out what Keith Scott, A.T.C., C.S.C.S., a strength coach in Medford, N.J., recommends for conquering the plank before you attempt any heavy weight exercise. You’ll be better for it, guaranteed.

Using an Exercise Ball for Ab Workouts new change here

Exercise Ball Ab Workout

Woman doing crunches with an exercise ball.

By

Personal Trainer

If you’re looking for a way to tighten and flatten your stomach, exercise ball ab workouts provide a change from standard sit-ups and crunches. Not only is it easier on your back, but using an exercise ball for your ab routine can help strengthen and stabilize all of your core muscles and improve your posture.

Using an Exercise Ball for Ab Workouts

When performing the exercise ball ab workout, you do many of the exercises in the supine position, which means face up on your back. If you are not experienced at using an exercise ball, it’s a good idea to practice the supine position before beginning your work out.

  • Keep feet out wide on the floor to estabilish a base of stability.
  • Place hands on either side of the ball and gradually walk feet forward.
  • Keep your knees bent.
  • Lower your rear towards the floor while remaining in a more or less upright position, tilting back only slightly.
  • Sustain steady pressure on the ball while lowering your body until the ball supports the small of your back.

If you are in the correct position on the appropriately sized ball for your height, your fingertips should be able to touch the floor. Develop a comfort level for this position by rocking side to side. It’s important to keep your head and back in a neutral position, even during the exercise process. When you maintain your balance without feeling like you might tip onto the floor you’re ready for some basicab exercises. In some cases, you may also perform ab exercises in a prone (face down) position.

Perform the following exercises on non-consecutive days for two or three days per week. Aim for 10-15 reps and one or two sets of each move.

Lower Stomach Exercise

Lower-Tummy Firmer (Firms and flattens your lower belly; tones your inner thighs)

I love this ab exercise because it is so effective for both the lower tummy and the inner thighs, working below the belly button.

A. Lie on your back with your arms down near your sides, palms facing down. Grasp the ball between your feet with your legs extended at a 90-degree angle to your torso. You’ll really feel it in your inner thighs.

B. Exhale as you curl your lower belly toward your upper belly, lifting the ball up and in. Inhale as you lower. Continue to lift and lower the ball up to 12 times.

Update on Moose

Moose superior.jpgThe moose (North America) or elk (Eurasia), Alces, is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic (“twig-like”) configuration. Moose typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. Moose used to have a much wider range but hunting and other human activities greatly reduced it over the years.

Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former Thabitats. Currently, most moose are found in Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia and Russia. Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. The most common moose predators are wolves, bears, and humans. Unlike most other deer species, moose are solitary animals and do not form herds. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move surprisingly quickly if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between males competing for a female.