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This page contains
Macromedia Flash animations.
To view the animations you
must have the Shockwave
Flash plugin installedAnimations require Macromedia Shockwave's Plug-In.



The Squat
(works the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals)

Must have Flash plug-in to view animation

Feared by beginners, dreaded by intermediates, and embraced as the "King of Exercises" by bodybuilders, the squat is one of the best exercises you can do to shape up your hips, thighs and buttocks. The squat improves overall strength, speed, and power, and is an excellent exercise for anyone attempting to increase their overall level of fitness.

Beginners should not use weights until they are comfortable performing the exercise with correct form and balance. Add weight gradually as you become stronger.

To do the exercise, place a loaded a barbell on the trapezius just above the scapula, creating a platform for the bar. Stand upright, with shoulders back, feet about shoulder's width apart, and head neutral. This is the starting position.

From the starting position, look strait ahead, and slowly lower by bending your knees and lowering your buttocks. Keep the weight on your heels, as if you are sitting on an imaginary chair. Lower only to the point where your thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not let your knees go forward of your toes. (see image). Briefly hold this position, then slowly raise back to the starting position, pushing with your heels.

Do:

  • Increase the weight gradually, making sure you are in balance and are using correct form at all times
  • Inhale as you lower and exhale as you raise back to the starting position
  • Elevate your elbows to raise the scapula, creating a larger "platform" for the bar to rest upon
  • Look strait ahead to maintain balance
  • Use slow, controlled movements

Don't:

  • Let your knees extend forward of the toe line
  • Squat deeper than parallel to the floor
  • Bounce at the bottom of the movement
  • Lock out the knees at the top of the movement
  • Place anything beneath the heels

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The Lunge
(works the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals)

The lunge is a terrific exercise for firming the lower body, but it must be done with slow, controlled movements to avoid injury.  Beginners should not use weights until they have gained strength and have mastered their balance. 

To perform the lunge, stand with your feet together.  Take a long step forward with one foot, bending the rear leg, lowering the front thigh parallel to the floor.   Do not let your knee move forward of your toe line. Push back with the forward heel to the starting position.  Repeat with the other leg. 

To view animation, you must have the Flash plug-in installed

Variation:   Bench Lunge

Perform the same movement as with the basic lunge, but lunge forward onto a low (4-8") bench or step.


Do:

  • Increase the weight gradually, making sure you are in balance and are using correct form at all times
  • Make sure the bench you are lunging onto is stable, if you are performing a bench lunge.
  • Use slow, controlled movements

Don't:

  • Let your knees go forward of your toe line
  • Lock out the knees at the top of the movement

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The Leg Extension

To view the animation, you must have the Flash plug-in installed

(works the quadriceps)

Leg extensions tone the quadriceps (the fronts of the thighs), and are an excellent shaping exercise for the legs.  While squats and lunges are excellent exercises for the lower body, they are often difficult for beginners to do because they require balance along with strength.  Because leg extensions are performed on a machine, the exercise is inherently more "stable", and therefore are a safe way for beginners to develop leg strength.

To perform leg extensions, sit comfortably holding the handles of the machine.   Place the tops your feet (at the ankle-flexion point) under the pad.  Using both legs, slowly lift the pad to 90°, hold briefly, then slowly lower to the starting position.

Do:

  • Straiten legs at the top of the movement, but do not lock out the knees
  • Hold briefly at the top of the movement.
  • Lower your legs through a full range of motion
  • Keep your upper body stationary while raising or lowering the legs
  • Use slow, controlled movements

Don't:

  • Use body momentum
  • "Kick" the weight up
  • Lock out the knees at the top of the movement

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The Abdominal Crunch

Animations require Macromedia Flash plug-in

The basic abdominal crunch is one of the best exercises you can do to tighten your midsection. While no exercise alone will spot-reduce fat, the crunch will strengthen your abdominals and will help to support your lower back. To get those "washboard abs", you'll need to make sure you're eating a low-fat, reduced-sodium, balanced diet to eliminate the fat lying atop the muscle.

To perform the exercise, lie down on a mat or a towel on the floor with your feet flat on the floor about 12 inches from your buttocks. Press your lower back toward the floor and place your hands at the back of your head. This is the starting position.

From the starting position, look straight up at the ceiling, tighten your abdominals and raise your upper body from the floor while keeping your lower back pressed against the floor. Slowly raise your shoulders and head up about 3-6", hold briefly, then slowly lower back to the starting position.

Variation:  Bench Crunch
Performed the same way as a regular crunch, but with lower legs placed on a bench.  As with the regular crunch, keep the lower back pressed against the floor throughout the movement.

Do:

  • Keep your lower back pressed on the floor throughout the entire movement
  • Look straight up at the ceiling through the entire movement
  • Use slow, controlled movements

Don't:

  • Pull on your head or neck with your hands
  • Use jerky, quick movements - this is a very small movement -- at the beginning, your shoulders may raise only an inch or two off the floor.
  • Arch your back--keep your lower back pressed against the floor.

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Lat Pulldown to the Rear
(works the lattisimus dorsi, pectoralis major, deltoids, biceps, triceps)

To view the animation, you must have the Flash plug-in installed

Lat pulldowns are a terrific exercise for the overall back and upper body.  However, this exercise is not recommended for individuals   that are predisposed to shoulder pain.

To perform the exercise, sit with both feet on the floor, shoulders-width apart, the knees bent (held down with the machine's knee pad, if applicable).  Using a pronated (hands over) grip, pull the bar behind the head, leaning slightly forward, while contracting the abdominals, and maintaining a neutral spine.  Hold briefly, then slowly return to the starting position. 


Variation:  Pulldown to Front

Begin in the same position as with the Pulldown to the Rear.  Lean slightly backward (approximately 30°) and pull the bar downward toward the chest.  Hold briefly, then slowly return to the starting position.

Do:

  • Keep wrists neutral throughout the movement.
  • Contract the abdominals and maintain a neutral spine alignment throughout the movement.
  • Lean forward (or backward for the Front Pulldown) from the hips.
  • Hold briefly at the bottom of the movement.
  • Use slow, controlled movements

Don't:

  • Arch your lower back at any time during the movement.
  • Use body momentum to pull the bar down
  • Let the bar "pull you".  Slowly return the bar to the starting position.
  • Lock out the elbows at the top of the movement

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Hyperextension


(works the lower back)

To view the animation, you must have the Flash plug-in installed

Hyperextensions strengthen the lower erector spinae muscles of the lower back. If you do not have access to the hyperextension apparatus, they may also be performed on a high bench or table (have a partner hold your legs down to prevent falls!) 

To perform the exercise, position your body with your hips on the hip pad, and your heels underneath the heel pad.  With your hands behind your head, slowly raise your upper body to a parallel position, hold briefly, then slowly lower to the starting position.

Do:

  • Keep your head in line with your spine
  • Hold briefly at the top of the movement.
  • Use slow, controlled movements

Don't:

  • Use body momentum
  • Hyperextend the neck
  • Raise higher than parallel to the floor

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Triceps Kickback
To view the animation, you must have the Flash plug-in installed

To tone the backs of the arms and build shapely curves, try the triceps kickback.
Place one hand on a bench, leaning forward with a flat back.  Hold the dumbbell in your other hand, elbow flexed and held close to your body.  Slowly extend the arm behind until the arm is parallel with the floor, palm facing your torso.  Hold briefly, then slowly return to starting position.

Do:

  • Keep your head in line with your spine, and the spine neutral
  • Keep your elbow in line with your shoulder
  • Hold briefly at the top of the movement.
  • Keep your back flat - do not arch.
  • Use slow, controlled movements

Don't:

  • Use body momentum to raise the weight
  • Hyperextend the neck or lower back
  • Raise higher than parallel to the floor
  • Drop your elbow during the movement.

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Push-Up
(works the pectoralis, upper body)

Pushups are a terrific overall upper-body strengthening exercise that requires no equipment, and can be performed anywhere.  They strengthen not only your chest, but your triceps, deltoids, biceps, back and abdominals as well.  In fact, if you're short on time, two exercises that would give  you the most "bang for your buck" are squats and pushups.

To perform the exercise, position your body with your hands on the floor, thumbs under chest, shoulders width apart. Knees should be approximately hip-width apart, and the body aligned strait from the head, to neck, to spine, to toes.  Slowly lower your chest to the floor, then slowly raise back to starting position.

To view the animation, you must have the Flash plug-in installed

Variations:

  • Incline Pushup -  (advanced) Place feet on a low bench for increased resistance.
  • Modified Pushup - (beginners) Perform with knees bent, on the knees   instead of on the toes.

Do:

  • Keep your head in line with your spine
  • Keep your abdominals contracted
  • Keep a strait body alignment throughout the movement
  • Use slow, controlled movements

Don't:

  • Lead with the hips
  • Let your back hyperextend or your hips drop

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