Archives for August 2009

Updates and Busyness

Wow. I know my updates haven’t been too regular over the last little bit. Sorry about that, but things have been awfully busy.

My big announcement is that I am now doing my gym work at Express Fitness in Pleasanton. It is a great gym with a pretty darn cheap membership fee ($14 a month). We are actually moving to a bigger location just across the parking lot on Thursday. Things have been going great there. I have been really enjoying the people that I have been working with over there. They have been great and I think that they are really getting some benefit from what we have been doing. Some of my clients have been telling me that the exercises they have been doing have really been helping them overcome some issues they have had and that makes me feel great.

I have also been getting a wonderful response from the Forum articles. People have been writing to me to ask me questions or just to tell me that they have enjoyed what I wrote. That has also made me feel great.

I am very excited by how things are going and I really am looking forward to the next few months to see where everything is headed. I am training people pretty much seven days a week now and I really love it.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. I just wanted to post a small update. As always, please email me at or call me at 510-754-7113 if you have any questions, comments, article ideas or anything else.

Mitchell Rothbardt
Discover Your Strength!

The Push-Up In 450 Words or Less

In this series of articles, I’m going to discuss some basic exercises that everyone should be doing. I’ll tell you how to do them and why they’re important. This week: The Push-Up.

What does it do? – The Push-Up is a classic and versatile upper-body strength exercise that works your chest, shoulders and triceps as well as your core.

How do I do it? – Lie down on the floor face down. Place your hands just below your shoulders with your elbows at a 45 degree angle to the body. Keeping your core and glutes tight, and everything from head to toe in a straight line, push yourself up until your arms are straight. While in the lowering phase, lower yourself until your chest or nose hits the floor. Keep your eyes looking at the floor.

Simple, huh? But, as I said before, it’s an incredibly versatile exercise and can very simply be made easier or harder.

For many people doing them with their hands on the floor can be difficult. While you will see people doing them on their knees, it is much better to stay on your toes, but with your hands on a bench or table or even a wall. Doing them from your toes contributes to the full body emphasis of the exercise by forcing you to stabilize your core in a way that doing them from your knees doesn’t. Just be sure that wherever you have your hands, you are able to do full, complete reps.

For people that find this exercise too easy, we get to use our imaginations! Let’s see, if putting your hands higher makes it easier, wouldn’t putting your feet higher make it harder? Genius!

Put your feet on a bench or, to increase the core work, put them on a stability ball. You can also change your hand position and emphasis by putting your hands at ear level instead of shoulder level, or by placing your hands together with your thumbs and first fingers touching.

A great way to work on your power is the clapping push-up. Just push-up hard enough so your hands come off the floor and clap before you come down.
People tend to forget about the push-up as they become strong enough to bench press heavier weights, but that would be a mistake. There are many very beneficial ways to incorporate push-ups into a program for exercisers of any level. It can help with cardio-vascular work, strength, power, fat loss and more.

If you’d like some ideas on how to incorporate push-ups into your program drop me a line, and don’t forget to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Mitchell Rothbardt
Discover Your Strength!

The Squat in 450 Words or Less

The Squat in 450 Words or Less

In my next series of articles, I’m going to discuss some basic exercises that everyone should be doing. I’ll tell you how to do them and why they’re important. I’ll to start with the exercise that many people believe is the most important one there is: The Squat.

What does it do? – There may not be another exercise that works more muscle than the squat. It works your core, glutes, hamstrings, back, hips, calves, ankles, quadriceps, and, depending on the type of squat, your trapezius, shoulders and arms, as well. In other words, the squat pretty much works about every muscle in your body.

How do I do it? – Now that you’re all excited, let me explain what to do. There are many variations of the squat including the back squat, front squat, and box squat. They all work in slightly different ways, but today we’ll discuss the bodyweight squat. Before you move to other variations it’s very important that you get the basic form.

The first thing you do is stand up. Easy, huh? (You’ll find that the most effective exercises are usually done standing, for the simple reason that you use more muscles standing than sitting.) Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, your toes pointed slightly outward and most of your weight on your heels. Take a deep breath of air into your chest and, keeping your chest up, tighten your core. Find a spot just above eye level and without taking your eyes off of it, move your hips back as if you are sitting down. From here, continue to drop your butt back and down and descend between your heels until the top of your thighs are parallel to the ground. Come back up by pushing through your heels. Make sure you keep a tight core and chest.
That’s it. You’ll find that this movement tests things that you might not have thought about. You also might find that you can’t go too far down at first. That’s fine. Go down as far as you can while maintaining the upper body position I described. If you keep working on it you’ll improve sooner than you think.

Another trick is to use a bench or a chair as a marker for depth. Just go down until you touch it lightly and then come back up. Many people find that they can go right down to parallel as long as they have a marker to tell them where that is.

We’ll talk about another exercise in two weeks. If you have any questions at all about the squat drop me a line and remember to talk to a doctor before you begin any exercise program.

from the Castro Valley forum July 22, 2009

Mitchell Rothbardt
Discover Your Strength