Archives for January 2010

The Overhead Press in 450 Words or Less

Happy Holidays! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Today, I want to get back to my “Exercises Everyone Should Do” series. This one has a slight exception, though, which I will explain. If you don’t remember, I’ll pick an exercise that I believe everyone should do, tell you how to do it and why it’s important. This week: The Overhead Press!

What does it do? – The Overhead Press is an excellent functional exercise that works the shoulders, as well as the triceps, and also can be a great exercise for your entire core. Do you ever put something in your cupboard, or a suitcase in an overhead compartment? Also, learning to keep your core tight and stable is very important for your posture and lower back health.

How do I do it? – One of the great things about this exercise is it’s simplicity. You stand with a dumbbell in each hand, bring each dumbbell up to right below your ear with your palms facing forward and, keeping your core very tight, lift your arms straight over your head, almost but not quite, touching the dumbbells at the top.

One thing to watch for is to make sure that you are bringing your arms straight up. Many people have tight shoulders and when they try to bring their arms straight over their head, they actually bring them up but slightly forward. You should be able to touch the back of your ear with your bicep. If you can’t bring your arms that far back really you need to work on your shoulder mobility. Also, when you bring the dumbbells down make sure not to bring them down too low. Right below ear level is about where they should be.

The exception that I mentioned before has to do with something called shoulder impingement. Impingement syndrome is when, due to our penchant for sitting at computers all day, among other reasons, our shoulders develop some problems. Those problems can take the form of general tightness or something called impingement. Impingement occurs when the rotator cuff develops inflammation and becomes compressed on part of the shoulder blade, causing pain. Overhead movements can aggravate this condition, so I wouldn’t do this movement if you have this problem. If you do have minor shoulder impingement issues there are certainly some fairly easy things you can do that may help. Drop me a line and I may be able to help you through them. If you have major issues, call a doctor. If you don’t have any issues, introduce the Overhead Press into your program, and don’t forget to consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program.

– from the Castro Valley Forum January 6, 2010
Mitchell Rothbardt, CPT ACE
Discover Your Strength!

Notes and Stuff

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while since I had a regular old update so I thought I lay one out for you and let you know what I’ve been up to and what I will be up to.

First thing is that last Saturday I attended a training seminar in South San Francisco. It was a great experience. There were four lectures: The Evolution of Personal Training, Programming for Small Groups, Core Assessment, and one on intergrating your training passion with your business and your life. I learned a lot of great stuff and I can’t wait to use some of the really good stuff. Now if I could only get some battling ropes!

You have no idea how hard this is until you try it.
The second thing is that March 14th will mark my debut as a competitive powerlifter. I am doing a meet in Sacramento. I have looked at the numbers that people in my weight class have put up and, let’s say that I don’t expect to win anything, but I shouldn’t embarass myself either. I won’t do what this guy did.

Third thing is that in the next year I certainly plan on continuing my regular columns for the Castro Valley Forum and the San Leandro Times. I love doing my column and all the feedback I’ve gotten is pretty positive, so I plan on keeping it up. If there’s anything you’d like me to write about, please let me know.

That’s really about it for the moment. I don’t know when my next column appears in the Forum because I don’t have the schedule for this year yet. I think it’s today, but I’m not sure. I did hand it in so they will run it when they can. Rest assured, it’s a good one. What’s it about, you ask? The Overhead Press. Good stuff. I will post it here after the issue is off the newstands, as usual.

In any case, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and please contact me with any comments or questions. Have a great night!

Mitchell Rothbardt, CPT ACE
Discover Your Strength!

Better Fat Loss 20 Seconds At A Time

What if I were to tell you that I had a way to burn fat more effectively while working a shorter amount of time? No, I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m talking about interval training. What’s that, you ask? The easy explanation is that it’s a type of training that alternates very high intensity work with very low intensity work. For example, a 15 second sprint followed by 30 seconds of a slow walk. This might not sound like much, but the key to this type of training is intensity. It would be easy to lollygag through a session and not get anything from it, but when you approach interval training with full intensity, the results can be unbelievable!

Now, you might realize that five 20 second sprint/40 second rest intervals takes 5 minutes and you might be wondering why doing 5 minutes of work may be better than doing 20 minutes of regular steady-state cardio.
Well, the reason is something called EPOC. That stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.

What that means is that when you exercise at a high level of intensity, your body has a harder time recovering so it consumes more oxygen than usual. Some studies have shown that this elevates your metabolism for up to two days depending on your training. That can mean a lot of extra burned off calories.

The variations you can do with intervals are endless. The only rule you have to observe is following very high intensity work with low intensity work. I’ll talk about one way to use this set-up. I want to say this first, though. For some, this may not be the best way to get started. This needs to be done at a very high level of intensity and some people are not yet ready for that kind of work. So, if you don’t know if you’re physically ready to try this, I would probably recommend not doing it right now. You can always drop me a line to talk about what the best approach is for you.

Now, let’s give this a try. After a good warm-up I want you to run in place as fast as you can, bringing your knees as high as possible with each step. Do this for 20 seconds then take a 40 second rest. Do a total of three rounds. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

How did that feel? If you used the proper intensity you should be pretty winded.

As I’ve said before it’s a very high intensity style of training and that has to be accounted for. It’s not something you can do every day and for some, once or twice a week may be enough. If you want to talk about how to apply this kind of training to your goals please drop me a line and don’t forget to talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

– from the Castro Valley Forum, December 23rd 2009

Mitchell Rothbardt
Discover Your Strength!