Sunday, January 24, 2010

Combination Exercises

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Here are a Few Examples of Combination Exercises

Lunges with Shoulder Press

Lunges with shoulder press is an exercise which works your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, inner and outer thighs, shoulders, and triceps. Lunges are definitely in the top 3 best exercises for women because they work the muscle group which is usually a problem area for the majority of women.

Start: You can either perform the lunge with press from a stationary position or walking. If you have about 20 feet of clear space you can perform walking lunges with press. If you don't have space to walk, you can simply perform either stationary lunges or pushback lunges.

Begin the motion: Hold the dumbbells at your side. Begin walking lunges. After you complete a lunge, either balance on one foot or stand on both feet and perform a shoulder press, pushing the dumbbells above you head. After you are finished with the press, lower the weights back to their original position and repeat the lunges.

Modifications: There are many modifications you can do. You can use kettlebells, body bars or any form of resistance for this exercise. If you do not know proper lunge form please visit the lunge page.

Step- ups with Curls and Press

Step ups with biceps curls and shoulder press work your thighs, hamstrings, glutes, inner thighs, outer thighs, biceps, triceps and shoulders. You will also work on your balance.

Start: Have a pair of dumbbells or any form of resistance. You should have a step which is completely stable to begin for safety reasons. The height of the step depends on your level of training.

Begin the motion: With your arms at your side step up to the top of the step. Make sure you step up with the back 2/3 of your foot not your toes. Your knee should not pass your toes as you step up. You can either balance on 1 foot or put your other foot on the step. Curl the weights up to shoulder level and them perform a shoulder press above you head.

Modifications: You can perform all the motions separately or you can do the curls as you step up. The latter is more difficult. You can also perform these stepping up to the side. This will be a great way to get your stabilizer muscles working, in this case the muscles of your inner and outer thighs. They will be working mainly functionally to stabilize your knees.

Squats with Rows

Squats with rows are a great exercise for your butt, hamstrings, thighs, biceps and all the muscles in your back. Many trainers consider these to be one of the best exercises for women because they exercise 2 muscle groups which seldom work together.

Start: Either use a free motion machine with 2 cables, a low cable with a triangle bar or a resistance tube. Grab the resistance and take a couple steps back. Keep your arms straight as you will use them as a counter balance during the squat.

Begin the motion: With your arms completely straight, but your shoulders and back in neutral alignment perform a squat. Since you have the counter balance of the resistance you can really squat your butt backwards and form a complete 90 degree angle with your legs. Squat back up and perform a row with the cables as you reach the top of the squat. Make sure you squeeze your shoulder blades together in back without elevating your shoulders.

Modifications: You can stand on an unstable surface such as a BOSU balance trainer to modify this exercise and increase the difficulty. You can also pause at the bottom of the squat and perform rows while you contract your legs isometrically (muscle contraction with no movement).

Stability Ball Squat with Lateral and Front Raises

Stability ball squats are one of the best exercises for women which can be used in combination with many different exercises. Lateral and front raises isolate the side and front of your shoulders while the squats work your glutes hamstrings and quadriceps.

Start: Have a stability ball against the wall in the small of your back. Position your feet forward so when you squat down your legs form a 90 degree angle. Keep your core tight, and your back in neutral alignment for the duration of this exercise.

Begin the motion: Bring your hips back and down with the ball. As you squat perform a lateral raise, raising the dumbbells to the side. At the bottom of the squat you should pause for a second with your arms out to the side. As you squat up, lower the weights back to their original position.

Modifications: You can also perform front raises during this motion. You can do them separately or alternating with the lateral raises. You can do a combination of both (see video.) It is best if you perform the concentric (lifting up) shoulders exercise on the way down with the squat. This will eliminate momentum and cause your body to work your stabilizer muscles more with isometric contractions at the bottom of the squat

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