Monthly Archives: January 2013

Get Stronger with Perfect Push-up Form: Part 1

Let’s face it most pushing chest exercises, whether it is performed in a standing or supine position, have the core technique of a push-up . . . so why do we not utilize push-ups more? Not only does it strengthen the anterior (or front) muscles of the torso but it is a very good core stabilization exercise.

SET-UP:

  1. Neck and back stay straight.

Chin should not be tucked and you should not be looking up, eyes focus is down, hold that position and clench the abdominals as though you were a boxer taking a punch (boxer belly). Place a dowel along your spine and you should have 3 points of contact (back of the head, between the shoulder blades and hips). *Do not drop the hips and do not point the rear in the air

  1. Tighten the buttocks.

The core includes the glutes. This will help in stabilizing the proper technique and teach you to activate more of your body. As you progress to a higher level exercise (i.e. bench press), the whole body will need to be activated so learn now.

  1. Keep the elbows tucked.

Many people make the mistake of putting a flare on their elbows (from a view above it would look like a T). A better position and more functional position is an arrow (view from above) or elbows at 45 degrees. This will “fire” more triceps and give more of a functional push position.

*By placing the hands closer (like a diamond) and elbows closer to the side, more emphasis is placed on the triceps.

  1. Squeeze the shoulder blades.

By doing this you will engage scapular stabilizers thus protecting the shoulder joint.  Once again this translated to a higher level exercise (i.e. bench press) because it will provide you with a stronger platform.

  1. Every rep counts.

The depth of your push-up should allow a fist space between the ground and your chest. When rising during a push-up, straighten out your elbows completely (i.e. lock out, do not snap).

  • A good progression for push-ups is starting from a height such as a counter top and as you get stronger the feet can be elevated on a bench or a ball.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Push-up variations

By: Rocco Ferraiolo PTA, NASM certified, SPARQ certified

Vegetables: A Natural Source to a Healthy Life

VegetablesScientists and health professionals are encouraging us to eat healthy to prevent a lot of medical problems. They recommend vegetables, as they are usually low in fat content and calories and high in natural nutrients. Some of these nutrients have been found to fight against some form of cancers and cardiac conditions.  It is recommended that we eat 5-9 servings per day.

Below are the “top 10” vegetables, and some of their benefits:

1: Deep Greens: Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens, Dark Green Lettuce. They contain Vitamin K which has been shown to help with bone health. They also have been shown to help those with diabetes, and decrease risk of getting diabetes.

2: Broccoli. Broccoli is a vegetable with high amounts of natural Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and iron. Iron has been shown to help fight anemia.

3: Brussel Sprouts. These contain 3 times more Vitamin C than an orange, with antioxidants. Antioxidants have been shown to fight some types of cancer.

4: Cauliflower. It is very low in sodium, and contains no fats. It has a multitude of vitamins and minerals. It is a good choice to add to soups.

5: Bell Peppers: All colors of bell peppers-green, red, yellow and orange-are high in dietary fiber, and have been shown to combat colon cancer.

6: Onions and Garlic: Garlic contains the amino acid, alliin, which scientists say has antibiotic and bactericidal effects. Onions may be a useful herb for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, especially since they may diminish the risk of blood clots.

7: Sweet Potatoes: These contain a high amount of Vitamin A, which is important for skin, nail, and hair health. It also contains an absorbent amount of potassium, which helps with kidney and heart function, while facilitating muscle contractions, and regulating bodily fluids and hydration.

8: Tomatoes:  Lycopene, present in tomatoes, has been known to neutralize free radicals in the body, and may cut the risk of prostate cancer. It has also been shown to have promise in reducing the risk of colon, rectal, lung and stomach cancer. The nicotinic acid in tomatoes is credited with reducing blood cholesterol, which in turn helps keep heart diseases at bay, and may improve macular degeneration.

9: Peas: Peas are rich in water-soluble fiber which helps promote good intestinal health, and helps excrete cholesterol from the body. They are also very rich in vitamin B1, which is essential for energy productions, nerve function, and carbohydrate metabolism.

10: Carrots: Carrots help keep your skin healthy, and improve your eyesight, especially night vision. Carrots also help maintain our intestinal tracts.

Usually the best way to get your vegetable nutrients is to buy organically grown veggies, and eat them raw, lightly steamed, or in nutritious soups or stir-fries. Start your 2013 off right, and remember to eat healthy this New Year.

 

Written by: Chris Athos, MPT  COMT