Description of Exercises
Back hyper-extensions with weights: Lie face down on an extension bench at waist level with your feet firmly anchored. Grasp a weight plate with both hands and pull it tightly toward your chest. Bend at the waist, lowering your head toward the floor (do not flex your trunk all the way to the floor). Keep your spine straight as you return to the starting position using your low back muscles. This is a good lower back and hamstring exercise because those muscles stabilize your body as you extend your trunk.
Squats: Rest the bar on the back of your shoulders and hold it in that position with your hands. Keep your head up and lower back straight. Squat down (under control) until your thighs are approximately parallel with the floor and your butt is about one-inch lower than your knees. Drive upward toward the standing position, keeping your back in a fixed position throughout the exercise. A general strategy for this lift is to go down slowly and up quickly. Do this exercise with or without weights.
Deadlifts: Hold a bar with a shoulder-width grip. Squat down and lift the bar by extending hips and knees to full extension. Keep hips low, shoulders high, arms and back straight. Keep the bar close to your body for better leverage.
Roman chair leg raises: Keeping your shoulders down and your back flat, balance your weight evenly between your forearms and allow your body to hang freely inside the machine. Exhale and slowly lift your legs upward, keeping them straight and avoiding the use of momentum, until your body forms an “L” shape in mid-air. Pause a moment before slowly lowering your legs back to the start. Repeat.
Side-bridges: Lie on your side and support your body between your forearm and knees. As you increase fitness, move your non-support arm across your body as you hold the side-bridge; later, support your weight between your forearm and feet (hold for 30 to 60 seconds). Do this exercise on your left and right sides and try to hold your spine straight— avoid letting it sag during the exercise.
Bicycle exercises: Lie flat on the floor on your lower back with your hands beside your head. Bring your knees toward your chest to about a 45-degree angle and make a bicycle pedaling motion with your legs, touching your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee.
Bench press: Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the bar slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Have a spotter help you move the bar from the rack to a point over your chest. Lower the bar in a straight line slightly below your nipples (end of the breast bone). Push the weight straight up to the starting position.
Lat pulls: Grasp the bar with a wide grip. Sit on the seat with your knees under the supports. Use a spotter if your lat machine doesn’t have thigh supports. Start with your arms and shoulders fully extended. Pull the bar steadily to your chest without jerking; then slowly return to the starting position.
Dumbbell rows: Place your right knee and right arm on a bench and your left foot on the floor. Your back should be flat. Extend your left arm while holding a dumbbell with your left hand using a palms-in grip (pronated). Bring your left arm toward your chest in a rowing motion; return to the starting position and repeat the movement.
Shoulder press: Position dumbbells to each side of your shoulders with elbows below wrists. Press the dumbbells until your arms are extended overhead.
Barbell preacher curls: Using a preacher curl bench and an EZ-curl bar, grasp the bar using a shoulder width grip. Curl the bar upward in an arc. Be careful not to swing or rock to get it moving. Curl the bar toward your chin. Go down slowly and work the muscle on the way down as well. Can also be done with two dumbbells or one arm at a time.
Triceps pushdowns: Using a high-cable pulley, grasp a close-grip V-bar. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Keep your elbows locked in close to your body and your wrists straight. Push the bar down as far as possible toward your legs, locking your arms and feeling the triceps contract fully. Return to the starting position using the same motion. Never move your elbows or torso.