Why you Shouldn’t Use the Leg Press 45 degree weight-loaded Sled machine at the gym

Squats vs Leg Press

Even though the leg press machine can be used with good effect, some people just take it too far.

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This is the most hated guy in the gym right now. Of course we aren’t going to take the time to body shame him because that’s not nice even though we do notice that it wouldn’t be impossible for him to take in many simple carbs and alcohol.

It happened at my gym.

I rolled in around 8AM to the local squat rack, ya see. First, I hit the cables for a little bit to get the joints and movements warmed up and I noticed that the usually strong squatters are not squatting much weight at all today. Some of them definitely squat more than I do.

I was working upper body anyway that day.

So I went to one of the open racks and began some warm up sets for the barbell press. My goal was to hit some rounds with the 135lbs so I needed two 45s. I only had one available. Then, I looked at the other guys trying to squat near me and said something to which we all agreed was unfortunate that one guy had stolen all of the 45 pound plates nearby for his Leg Press machine partial range of motion circuit training.

To make it worse, he was circuit training on other machines for the upper body and also using more 45 lb plates. Next time I see something like that, I’m going to engage that person because I am seriously curious as to what the mindset or thought process was.

Here is your answer: Squats are far more efficient for the amount of weight used.

Let’s put it this way: 45 lb plates are a limited resource in this busy city neighborhood gym. One guy took almost all of the plates in the weightlifting area for his 45 degree sled.

Think back to junior high for a second and realize that the math is simple. You need far less force to move an object on a machine fixed path forward and upward compared to the stability demands of a loaded barbell completely on top of you.

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Reason why Leg Press is inefficient for the amount of weight used

The squat utilizes those 45 plates more economically for the lifters that less 45 plates actually need to be used. This means more 45 plates will be available for everybody else.

If you can’t squat, Learn to Squat.

It’s that simple. Yes, squatting is completely necessary. Even if you have bad knees, you should practice some healthy range of motion in pretty much any squat variation of your choosing. Of course barbell squats are more advanced, so starting with a dumbbell in the goblet position as a novice lifter could help you get mad gains.

Motivation Monday: 4 Main Reasons that Inspire your Fitness Lifestyle

What is it that inspires people to get off their butts?

There are a lot of ideas that float through my mind on a daily basis. I’m always thinking about how to promote good postural alignment through exercise, I’m always thinking about expanding my knowledge of nutrition to educate others, and I’m ALWAYS thinking about glute activation (those who take my classes know the importance!).

Ultimately though, I’m in the business of motivation which is definitely a renewable resource even though at times it can feel scarce and elusive. But if it was easy, then it wouldn’t be worth fighting for.

Here are 4 big motivators for people in fitness.

We’ll start with the first fitness motivation…

1. That feeling

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For any avid exerciser, nothing beats that feeling.

It’s that feeling of being sweaty, wet, drenched, soaked, and accomplished.

It’s that feeling of knowing that today you did something good for yourself.

It’s that feeling that helped you kick your addictions or at the very least replace a harmful addiction with a helpful addiction.

It’s that feeling of recovery knowing that you used your body for what it was made for — which is to move.

It’s that post-workout feeling that changed your mindset, attitude, and affected you in a deeper place.

2. Sex appeal / Confidence

Even if you rid the world of all social media, magazines, movies, and television, you’d still know an attractive person when you see them (in action).

Fitness provides a certain aesthetic beyond toned abs and arms. I argue that beauty is more often displayed in motion than under any static circumstances. That’s why everybody can be beautiful if they choose to be.

It is my understanding that women can appreciate the bodies of other women and also that even straight men appreciate an athletic male body as a matter of inspiration and perhaps for no other reason than it looks good and serves a functional purpose.

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Confident guy

Ultimately, confidence tends to be more alluring than any body part and what you really need is to be in a mindset of self-appreciation when it comes to your own body. I guarantee it is more productive to change the way you feel about yourself than changing the way your body looks. What’s interesting is that when you feel that you actually care about yourself, you’ll tend to eat healthier foods and your body transforms into a vessel of health and love in a matter of weeks, months, years.

3. Health / Longevity

I used to think that anti-aging was nothing more than a marketing term and it took me years to get beyond that. Now I realize that some people really do age slower when they take care. On one hand, you have genetics, and on the other hand you’ve got the lifestyle choices and environmental conditions that literally slow the aging of your human cells.

Unfortunately, a lot of people really do need to hit a very low part in their lives to make them realize that they NEED fitness. Often, a person will be diagnosed with a serious disease that perhaps cannot be cured, but may be managed through lifestyle intervention. Exercise, fitness, and nutrition truly is the holy grail for living a long, healthy, and worthwhile existence.

Here’s the short list of how fitness and nutrition can benefit a person:

  • Manage acute and chronic diseases
  • Prevent and cure many types of ailments
  • Maintain healthy mood and ward off negative mindsets
  • Promote positive community through fitness groups
  • Improve quality of life due to mobility, posture, strengthening of the bones, brains, tendons, joints, and ligaments
  • Reproductive health and fertility

If you take a diabetic person and have them train with me for six weeks, I guarantee their next lab tests will likely impress the doctor. I can change your life. Fitness can change your life.

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4. Other people

Let’s face it, sometimes we need other people. I’ve realized there are many positive things/activities for me that I just don’t have the motivation to do alone. But, together we are stronger.

When I got into personal training, I studied the industry and realized that it is a growing industry and that I could make a life out of doing that which I am most passionate about. People benefit from coaching and I have no doubt about that.

Some lucky people have friends who are willing to take them to the gym with them and give them help, encouragement, and perhaps even expertise. I tell ya, if you have somebody like that in your life, treat them like gold and take them up on that offer. Most people would kill for that.

Personal training sessions can run between $60-$120 easy in any major city. Workout classes tend to run between $10-$40 so those can provide a great value when the intensity and attention is appropriate.

Meanwhile, as many coaches mention, don’t compare yourself to others. I have a friend who in my mind has become very successful in business and I remember one evening I was feeling down on myself and beating myself up for not having made the proper investments and put the work in. Instead of wallowing in self pity, I re-framed my thoughts and said to myself, “You know what, I’m fortunate to have successful people in my life who can inspire me and to have a network of successful people, because it is way better than any alternative!”

Believe in the process and put in work: Be consistent.

So here I am, writing this blog putting in the work on a Sunday night to inspire people for the week. Maybe I’ll never have the business acumen that others seem to have naturally, but none of that matters because as long as I put in the work, show up every day, and be intentional in my life, there’s nowhere to go but up. Give me the challenges, I dare you, and watch me overcome barriers left and right. So I can keep inspiring others!

Thanks for reading.

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Why your sorry-a** posture needs thoracic spine/upper back extension today: one simple stretch to help you out

People say they just love me because I am so positive.

I can still write headlines that aren’t so fuzzy and friendly though! See above. Bahah!

Do you suffer from poor posture, pain in your spine, pain in your upper back, pain in your shoulders?

I’m only writing this because I care. Most of your friends and family won’t tell you that your posture sucks. Okay, maybe your mom will tell you to sit up straight, but most people believe that posture is your own responsibility.

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Upper back/Thoracic spine extension and stretching at home on a foam roller

I’m here to help.

Be aware of the stability-mobility continuum.

In general, the neck should be stable, the upper back should be mobile, the lower back should be stable, the hips should be mobile, the knees should be stable, and the ankles should be mobile.

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Mobility/Stability continuum

The above statement is definitely a generality, but it applies to most people in the general population so it does have use.

By following these basic principles, a fitness professional can prescribe targeted exercises and stretches for an individual in need of optimal function.

Some people need to cure their bad posture, others are already wrecking their joints by exercising with poor form.

Here’s an example. If you are constantly performing back exercises with shrugged shoulders, over time it will probably end up stressing your joints. You need to be able to control the scapula by retracting and depressing the shoulder blade when appropriate.

Exercising with poor posture is like driving a car with axles and wheels out of alignment: it’s only going to work for so long until it breaks down.

Aside from the fact that good posture promotes a healthy self esteem and people respond better to you when you exhibit good posture, you also need to perform your exercises with good posture otherwise you’re not making the situation any better.

Our joints have a lifespan and you can increase the lifespan of your joints by exercising in good posture. Additionally, you can increase the lifespan of your joints by having training that promotes muscular balance and offers enough time for recovery.

(Related: Subscribe to my YouTube)

The healthy spine solution:

It CAN be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s the general idea to support a healthy spine…

  1. Train your glutes hard (glute bridge, weighted barbell hip bridge, single leg glute bridge, rear foot elevated split squat aka bench static lunge aka bulgarian split squat, single leg deadlift, barbell deadlifts, dumbbell deadlifts, barbell squats, goblet squats, etc.)
  2. Train your abdominals hard (TRX Pike, TRX knee tuck, ab dolly knee tuck, ab wheel rollout, reverse crunches, turkish get up, etc)
  3. Mobility in the upper back (upper back extension on the foam roller, upper back stretches on your chair, upper back stretch on the stability ball, upper back bends in yoga, etc)

These three keys will do WONDERS for your body. Moreover, you can also go ahead and stretch your hip flexors and other tight areas that relate to the hip. On top of that, perform some ankle mobility drills and strengthen your tibialis anterior and posterior and then you’re good to go!

Say hello to good posture forever

EVERYBODY has seen an elderly person with a horrible kyphotic posture that just makes you wonder how that even happened. Well, the truth is that they probably never performed upper back exercises and upper back extensions. As a result, their backs became hunched, which can lead to damages down the chain.

Upper back rigidity can lead to lower back pain

Everything in the kinetic chain is linked. You really need to address your posture from a holistic standpoint. If you have chronic lower back pain, it’s quite possible that it is linked to tightness of the upper back. Obviously I can’t prescribe for you through this blog, but it is worth being aware of for when you visit with a healthcare provider or fitness professional.

Take care of your body so that you can life a long, healthy and high quality life.

I don’t think you get more than one life, so make it count. You’d be surprised what happens when you start taking care of yourself.

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If you’re convinced, then buy a foam roller on Amazon today.