Friday, March 23, 2012

Exercise Tips From Jessica Matthews!

We are beyond thrilled to share these exercising tips from Jessica Matthews, Exercise Physiologist for the American Council on Exercise;

People want the most bang for their buck when it comes to working out, but the cost can be dangerous if they’re not careful.  American Council on Exercise’s (ACE) Exercise Physiologist Jessica Matthews provides three fixes for most common workout dangers that help ensure a safe workout and avoid injury.

1. Plyometrics:  Exercises such as depth jumps, multidirectional drills, and cone jumps are designed to increase muscular power and explosiveness. Appropriate strength, flexibility and postural mechanics are necessary in order to avoid injury.  Incorrectly landing on your heel or the ball of your foot, however, can increase impacting forces and make you prone to injury. 

Learn how to land correctly. Learn this before you move into full jumps and hops. Focus on landing softly on the mid-foot and then roll forward to push off the ball of the foot – avoiding excessive side-to-side motion at the knee in the process. To further reduce the risk of injury, be sure to complete a dynamic warm-up before performing plyometric exercises.

2. Kettlebells: Research confirms that kettlebell workouts are an extremely effective  form of training that can be performed in a relatively short period of time. The problem lies in that many people who do them don’t understand the proper mechanics for the exercises. For example, many incorrectly perceive the kettlebell single arm swing  as a shoulder exercise when it should be working the core.

When performing the kettlebell single arm swing, avoid lifting with your back or your shoulders. Like in many kettlebell exercises, the hips should always drive the movement exercises. To execute this movement correctly, brace your core (contracting your abdominal muscles) and hinge at your hips. As you exhale, initiate an explosive upward movement to swing the kettlebell upward coming to a standing position. The momentum generated through the lower body should allow the arm to become parallel with the floor with neutral alignment maintained through the wrists. Having trouble? If you find you are unable to achieve the desired arm position, attempt to generate more power from the lower body by thrusting harder with your gluteal (butt) muscles from the lowered position.

3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT is being used by exercise enthusiasts to add new challenge and variety to workouts. It is a cardiorespiratory training technique that increases the intensity of a workout by alternating between brief speed and recovery intervals to maximize your training sessions in a short amount of time. But the danger lurks when the active recovery intervals are carelessly overlooked.

While there isn’t one single best way to structure sessions, when getting started with HIIT after completing a five minute warm-up, begin with a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of speed intervals to active recovery intervals. This means one minute of speed work to every two or three minutes of active recovery. Avoid the temptation to shorten the recovery intervals, or to let the recovery periods be less than active. These recover intervals are when the body produces more energy for the next bout of high-intensity exercise and also removes metabolic waste from the muscles.  Remember, active recovery periods should always be as long – if not longer – than the high-intensity intervals. And in terms of perceived exertion, high-intensity intervals should be about a seven or higher (on a scale of 0-10) while active recovery intervals should be at about a four or five.

For more information please contact Lilyvania Mikulski at or 305-448-3425.

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