Archives for the month of: September, 2012

Hey All,

I figured I’d wrap up this week with a short list of ways to spice up this common snack. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that greek yogurt is all the rage as it is packed with protein, calcium, iodine, and gut-healthy bacteria.

My only gripe is that once you get away from the plain variety, you start getting into additives and excess sugar. For example, some Chobani flavors have up to 20 grams per serving! So I’ve come up with some better ways to mix up plain greek yogurt without all the crap.

1) “Sugar” and Spice

Add a dash of cinnamon and a dash of preferred sweet stuff (I’m a Stevia in the Raw fan).

2) Peanut butter and Banana

Self explanatory. All natural peanut butter is better for this because it’s much less solid that non-natural, so it mixes well.

3) Fruit and granola

Pick your favorite berries or other fruit and sprinkle on some granola. Fresh fruit is wayyy better than the fake stuff they put on the bottom. Be careful with your granola choice. Choose an all natural low sugar variety with the least amount of ingredients. I like KIND granola.

4) Coffee

Mix in a teaspoon of instant coffee. Depending on the brand, you may have to ‘melt’ it in a teaspoon of water before mixing it with yogurt to make sure it’s not granular.

5) Chocolate (protein!)

Mix in your favorite chocolate protein powder, or chocolate instant pudding does the trick too.

6) Mocha

Combine 4+5

7) “Reeses”

Combine 2+5. Banana optional 🙂

8) Chia seeds or Nuts

Steve suggested chia seeds; I’ve actually never tried it. Almonds, walnuts etc are delicious also.

9) “Pumpkin Pie”

‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin. And I’m loving it. Stir in a tablespoon of organic pumpkin puree, sweetener of choice, and a dash of pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon and nutmeg).

10) Veggie Dip

You can mix in a packet of dry ranch seasoning (or the likes) to make a healthier veggie dip!

Have a great weekend!




Yes yes it’s Tuesday. I apologize for the late post.

I’m sure you’re crying about it


Anywho, September proves to be a crazy month in the gym as everyone gets out of summer mode. But I’m not complaining! I love the extra energy. Today’s warm up is focused more for an upper body workout; emphasizing spinal and shoulder mobility and stability.

1) Foam Roll upper Back- Self myofascial release, t-spine mobility, posture corrective.

An even better position is to support your head with your hands and squeeze your elbows together. This really opens up between your shoulder blades and lets you get in there. One theory on strength training is that you have to lengthen before you strengthen. And the release is another form of lengthening and stretching your muscles. The upper back tends to be hypertonic (overactive) and really benefits from release on the roller. Plus it feels awesome.

2) Short ROM ab crunches on Stability ball

No need to put your arms over head, but you get the idea

I got this idea from Eric Cressey. A (serious) fitness professional doing ab crunches warrants a scolding for reasons I won’t go into today. Going from a neutral spine to a flexed spine 324 times is not ideal, however there are a few benefits from going from extension to neutral.  First and foremost, you get some good t-spine mobility, lumbar stability, and hey… a little direct ‘ab’ work never killed anybody.   (don’t quote me on that)

3) Overhead pulls on stability ball- lat activation, shoulder stability, t-spine mobility

Don’t let your hips sag

This one is pretty self explanatory. Doing it on a stability ball adds a little extra challenge. Although I haven’t conducted an electrode study (yet) I’d be willing to bet doing it this way gets a little more activation from your core and lower body stabilizers.

4) Band Pull apart- Scapular retraction, posterior shoulder pre-hab,  serratus anterior strengthener, shoulder stabilizer

Really focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together as you open your arms. Make sure the resistance is heavy enough to feel it but not heavy enough to limit your full range of motion.

5) Light Single Arm Waiters carry- Dynamic shoulder stabilization

Nia Shanks

Get the weight overhead and make sure your shoulder is packed and your elbow is locked. Take about 10 steps forward and back and then switch arms.



Why row you ask?

If you want to look awesome…row
If you want a sexy back….row
If you want a bigger back (men)… row
If you want to do more pullups…row
If you want to improve your deadlift and bench…row
If you want to improve your posture…row
If you want to get rid of your back pain…row
If you want to be more awesome…row

Did I give you a reason yet??
When performed correctly, the row (any variation) is one of the most beneficial movements you can perform in the gym.

You’ve heard it over and over: sitting all day is pretty much the worst. But just to reiterate, sitting too much generally yields weak or under active glutes, tight/weak hip flexors, weak upper back, tights chest/pecs, poor breathing patterns (yes you can breath incorrectly), hypertonic upper traps, low back pain, and mad cow disease.

Heh. You caught me.

I talk a lot about strengthening the glutes and stretching the hip flexors (cause that’s my favorite), but actually improving your sitting posture may be even more helpful in improving your performance in the gym and decreasing pain and risk of injury. I also like to call it the anti Smeagol exercise.

Now that’s what I call sexy posture

There’s many variations of the row, and all of them have their place in programming. Choose any of these to spice up you’re routine.

Single arm bent over row

Alternating SA bent over row

Knee on bench row

Inverted row
TRX row

Feet elevated inverted/TRX row
Band resisted row

Squat row with rope

Single arm cable row: high/low setting

Landmine row


A few others without videos:

Barbell/Dumbbell/kettlebell/anything-that-weighs-anything bent over row

Feet elevated inverted/TRX row

Renegade row

Seated row

Grip/Hand position/Stance position

All of the above factor into the effects of the particular exercise.  For example, when doing an inverted row, you can do an underhand or overhand grip, both which will work the muscles differently. The same goes for a wide or narrow hand position, or wide/narrow/staggered stance position.

Back Position and Posture

Often times you’ll see people rowing like this:

Is that smeagol??

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of good posture while rowing. If you’re in the same crappy posture that you’re in all the time, you’re just reinforcing it in a loaded manner, and causing more harm than good.

Push your butt back, keep your chest tall, shoulders down, and your head right in line with your spine.  It should look like this:

“But Laura! You’ve given me all these awesome things to do and I don’t know how to program them!”

Okay fiiiinne. Here’s your upper body pull program. This is all going to depend of how many days per week you train. If you train 2 days/week, I suggest doing a total body “pull” day (AKA rows, pullups, deadlifts). If you train 2-4 days a week, you can split it up into lower body pull, upper body pull, lower body push, upper body push.  So you can fit this into your program however you’d like to work it.

Week 1 Week 2** Week 3
Med Low High
1A) Pullup 3×5 3×3 3×8
1B) Light band resisted Row 3×12 3×12 3×12
1C) Deadlift* 3×6 4×3 3×12
2A) Barbell Bent Over Row 3×8 3×5 3×12
2B) Doorway Pec stretch 30s/side 30s/side 30s/side
2C) Reverse Lunges* 3×16 3×10 3×20
3A) Pallof Press 3×8/side 3×8/side 3×8/side
3B) Off Set Landmind Row 3×8/side 3×5/side 3×12/side
3C) Single leg deadlift* 3×6/side 3×6/side 3×6/side
4A) Seated Row 3×8 3×5 3×12
4B) TRX pistol squat* 3×6/side 3×6/side 3×6/side
* If on a 2days/week split
**Increase your weight for week 2

Happy Rowing!


Monday- Deadlift day!

1A) Deadlift 4×9 (135lbs)

1B) 1/2 kneeling hip flexor stretch

2A) Barbell single leg deadlift 3×5/leg (85lbs)

2B) Pallof Press 2×10/side (30lbs)

3A) Turkish get up 2×1/side (20kg)

3B) KB windmill 3×5/side (16kg)

Tuesday– trying something new: integrating body weight gymnast style core training

1) Tuck hold 3x15s

2) Low L-sit 2x10s

3A) Hanging knee raises 2×8

3B) Handstands- no known measurement (haha!)

4A) Seated straight leg raises 3×5 (with 5 second isometric hold on last rep)

4B) Shoulder dips from bench 3×8

4C) Pushups 3×8 (last set elevated)

5A) Overhead tricep extensions 3×8 (20lbs)

5B) Cable backhand 3×8/side (10lbs)

5C) Face Pulls 3×8 (30lbs)

6A) Reverse prayers 2×12

6B) Anterior prayers 2×12


1A) Deadlift 3×12 (120lbs)

2A) Reverse Lunges 4×10 (85lbs)

3A) Farmers Carry 2x~100ft (24kg/hand)


Light body weight home workout consisted of 1 minute work 20 seconds rest for 5 rounds:

1) Deadbugs

2) Jumping Jacks

3) Plank

4) Reverse lunges

5) Squat/press


1A) Deadlift 10×3 (155lbs)

1B) Pushups 10×3

1C) 1/2 kneeling hip flexor stretch

2A) Glute bridges 4×6 + eccentric lowers (185lbs)

2B) Single leg Deadlifts 3×5/leg (85lbs)

2C) Bent over rows 3×5/arm (25lbs)

Happy Monday!

Let’s just get this one out of the way: We’re not going to talk about the Patriots. The end.

Anywho… We had an another amazing fall weekend weather wise and I hope you all got out to enjoy it. Alas, Monday has come again so here’s your WUOTW!


A) Foam roll Adductors – self myofascial release

Play the roller at a 45 degree angle in front of you and open up one leg to get your inner thigh on the roller. Roll extra slow in this area as it’s easy to go to quickly and miss some tension spots. Since it’s such a big area to cover, I suggest going from groin to mid thigh, then move the roller and go mid thigh to knee. Most people will feel more tension either closer to the thigh or closer to the knee. Make sure you find where you feel the pain and spend some time on it.

B) Single leg Glute bridges- hip mobility, glute activator, hip stabilizer

The SL glute bridge is harder than it looks and can be butchered if not done carefully. The idea here is to keep your hips square as you come up and don’t let your non working leg sag. This requires incredible strength and stability, so if you’re not there yet… go back to double leg bridges. This sometimes causes hamstring cramps, and that is not a good thing. Go back to double leg and make sure you’re feeling it in your glutes and not your hamstrings.

C) Bent to straight leg heel taps- core activator, anterior pelvic tilt corrective

Bring the straight leg closer to the ground

Keeping the upper half stable and making your lower body the levers will activator your lower core.  Keep your low back pushed into the floor to keep your abs on and protect your back.

D) Body weight walking lunges- movement prep, single leg stability, proprioception/coordination, lower body activation

Keep your torso as tall as possibly and drive through your front heel to stand yourself up. Make sure you take big enough steps so your knee doesn’t track over your front toe.