Burn Calories with the Lunge

lungeThe lunge. I can’t emphasize enough how amazing this simple exercise is. One of the most difficult workouts that I have ever done (barely at that) was 400 meters of lunges. Just body weight. For my leg size, that equates to about 400 lunges. It seems like a lot, no doubt, but I had no idea how painful it would end up being. After the workout, I tried to run back to the starting point and I must have looked like a baby calf that just learned how to walk. I certainly felt like one. For days after the workout, I could barely climb a set of stairs and I was constantly limping. In fact, 400 meters of lunges is absolutely overkill. But I wanted to give you an idea of how killer lunges can be at working the big leg muscles - namely the quads and hamstrings.

To perform a good lunge, step out with one foot, then bend both knees until the back knee kisses the ground. Don’t bang your knee on the ground! Just lightly touch the ground, or hover an inch or so above if you’re worried about your knee hitting the ground. From this “lunge” position, stand back up and bring your back leg in line with your front. Done. It really is as simple as it sounds. But what you can get out of this exercise is a serious quadraceps muscle workout.

As I’ve mentioned before, working large muscles such as the quad is very good for bring up the metabolic rate during the exercise and well into the post exercise phase.
So boost your metabolism and try the following for a great workout for weight loss and metabolic conditioning:

    5 to 10 rounds of

    • 10 box jumps
    • 10 lunges
    • 10 pushups

Trust me - this workout will make your legs burn and your heart race. As simple as it sounds, it really is quite effective.

Make the Most of your Box Jump

Box jumps - one heck of a plyometric exercise that can be added into virtually any circuit or interval workout. However, technique plays a huge role in affecting the level of effectiveness of this wonderful (and wonderfully simple) exercise.

Many people who do box jumps cheat a little bit. One of the fundamental components of the box jump is the hip extension and here’s where the cheaters cut the corner.

Take a look at the following sequence:

If you notice, the person doing the box jump doesn’t do a full hip extension when he lands on the box. A full extension can be reached either through completely standing up (hips over feet) at the top of the box or through a powerful leg/hip explosion off the box that causes the legs and hips to straighten out and extend.

To illustrate, take a look at another sequence:

The full hip extension is one of the most powerful movements that the human body is capable of. Many compound movements, such as the squat, deadlift, clean, or simply standing up or moving into a sprint from the starters position - all are based on the hip extension. As such, it is important to complete a box jump with a full hip extension and work those muscles to the max. Doing so will work the quads, hamstrings and glutes all that much more while increasing the energy requirements of the movement and causing increased cardiovascular stress.

Some Exercises are Just a Waste of Time

I try not to let things that bother me get to me.  In fact, for the most part I try to keep completely ambivalent about what other people are doing when those things would otherwise fire me up.  But at the gym, it’s a different story.  I’m not sure if it’s due to a chemical change around my brain from heavy weight lifting or if it’s maybe the confined spaces that the gym often presents, but I get my gitch all in a knot when I see someone exercising in a way that, IMHO, is a waste of time.

I am aware of the consequences, of course, for expressing my frustration to another individual - that he or she is spending their time at the gym wastefully.  Not everyone who does this is a skinny, off the bus freshman.  There are times when I watch an obviously serious muscle-head doing something that baffles my mind.  But let’s just say that I know how to pick my battles.

And I don’t only see in-gym time wasting by members.  Amazingly enough, these things happen quite often with an assumingly well equipped and experienced trainer at their side.  Good grief!  It’s no wonder why so many people get discouraged by their efforts. Yes, ladies and gents - it’s likely because what they are doing at the gym is simply wasting their time.

So which exercises cause my stomach to turn inside out?  Here are three exercises that I commonly see at the gym that are more or less completely worthless.

  1. Wrist Curls.  For the overwhelming majority of people, wrist curls are worthless.  Are you a professional arm wrestler?  Do you need to hold a dozen full beer steins in one hand?  Yes?  I’d first argue that you’d be better off with another exercise anyway, but it’s likely not the case, If you’re focus is in gaining overall mass, losing weight, getting ripped, etc… then spending 10 minutes of your precious hour at the gym on this is foolish.  Pullups, presses, cleans, kettle bell exercises - these are all things that provide a far more effective workout for a larger number of muscles, have significant;y more movement involved and also effect the same muscle groups,   I have never done a wrist curl in my life and when I setup in a false grip for a muscle-up, my forearms explode.
  2. Behind the back… anything.  I see people occasionally doing behind the back wrist curls or what I could possibly compare to deadlifts.  And I’m dumbfounded.  The same reasoning applies as in #1 above, but with the addition of even more criticism.  When holding a barbell behind the back, your body will get into an entirely funkified position - poor posture, inappropriate stress on some joints, and the amount of possible movement for a behind the back exercise is significantly diffused.  For those of you thinking you’re stepping it up a notch by performing your <insert exercise here> behind the back, just a heads up that there are probably some other people at the gym watching you and thinking, WTF?  Is there a substitute for a behind the back exercise?  Yes - and that is virtually anything else, including drinking beer.
  3. Shoulder shrugs.  Again - we’re looking at a very isolated, muscle specific exercise here.  If you’re doing shoulder shrugs, then I’m assuming you are a professional body builder, have completed every other exercise out there, it’s been a solid 4 hour workout and you have some extra time to kill.  If that category does not apply to you then here are some suggested substitutes: high pulls and cleans.  Those two exercises not only work the same muscles as the shoulder shrug, they require huge movement which works your entire body and provide some excellent cardiovascular stress at the same time.

The three above mentioned exercises all have the same thing in common - they are localized exercises and target very specific muscle groups.  The movement involved is minimal and the same muscle groups can be as effectively worked out during more compound exercises.

My take is simple - if an exercise involves a limited movement, constrained by body position or lack of leverage, it likely isn’t an exercise worth your time.  Concentrate on more compound exercises.  Not only will you see better results, but you will cut down the time it requires to get in a good workout.

The Top 15 Online Fitness Resources

1. Crossfit.com

Crossfit popularity has exploded over the last year.  Dozens of affiliates seem to be opening on a monthly basis and the community is expanding faster than a sub 2 minute Fran.  But it’s no surprise - Crossfit runs under an “open source” mantra and provides a seriously massive wealth of information.  Every day, along with a new WOD (or workout of the day), some sort of video is also provided, usually detailing specifics of various movements or exercises.  Dig beyond the daily WODs and into the message boards and find more exercise and nutrition information directly from the community of trainers and subject matter experts.

Additionally, Crossfit offers a subscription based membership to access their archive of journals.  For a mere $25 yearly fee, you have access to all the back issues and all new articles and videos, in their entirety.  The information in the journals is extremely rich and often worthy of  scientific publication.

Even if you’re not interested in Crossfit or have issues with the program, the content of the Crossfit.com website is truly unmatched and is definitely a place to frequent on a regular basis.

2. Exrx.net

Forget what the target and synergist muscles are in a squat?  Need a target weight calculator or need to learn about fitness assessments?  What about a sample cycling mesocycle or information on glycogen?  Fortunately there exists a comprehensive exercise and nutrition website to help answer these questions - Exrx.net.  Exrx, of course, stands for “exercise prescription” and the site clearly is capable of offering one.

Exrx.net is absolutely packed with information about exercises, anatomy, nutrition, supplements, tools and calculators, and the list goes on and on… A most useful part of the website is the weight training section, which covers the anatomical and kinetic elements of practically every exercise out there and variations thereof.

While the site is maybe low on the glitz and glam side of things, it’s truly an indispensable resource, especially for trainers or other fitness professionals.

3. Bodybuilding.com

If one of your goals with regards to fitness is body composition changes, then bodybuilding.com may be an invaluable resource for you.  The site features loads of diet and muscle building information.  At first glance, it’s easy to pick off bodybuilding.com as a site for meatheads, but the underlying content in the “Super Site” area is incredibly comprehensive and full of great info.

Bodybuilding.com also offers a very popular social networking sub-site, called BodySpace.  With over 280,000 members (at the time of this writing), BodySpace dominates other sites that offer similar material and networking features.

4. NutritionData.com

For determining how many grams of protein and carbs are in a particular food item, or trying to analyze a recipe for the number of calories, there really isn’t a better (or easier) way than using NutritionData.com.

5. SparkPeople.com

Fitness really begins to meet social networking on SparkPeople.com.  Sure, there are other sites that offer similar features, but SparkPeople is 100% free and has a significantly larger membership than most of the others.

SparkPeople features nutrition, fitness and goal tracking abilities as well as a massive library of fitness and nutrition information.

6. TricksTutorials.com

I have yet to find another resource online that is as complete as TricksTutorials.com for flexibility training.  Launched by Jon Call in 2002, TricksTutorials was built to showcase and provide lessons for individuals interested in the art of “tricking” - a sport consisting primarily of acrobatics (think back tucks and spinning roundhouses).

A large portion of the site is devoted to Flexibility.  In this portion of the site, Jon lays out foundational information and training methods for increasing flexibility - an often overlooked part of a well rounded fitness program.  He includes information on both dynamic and static stretching for practically every muscle out there.  Definitely a great resource to bookmark.

7. RossTraining.com

Founded by Ross Enamait, RossTraining.com is dedicated to innovations in high performance conditioning and functional strength training.  The website contains loads of bodyweight movements and exercises, designed to help athletes or individuals in whatever they do.

Ross has collected numerous articles and video clips over the years and has made them available on his site.  He also regularly contributes to his blog, discussing various aspects of fitness and athletics.

8. Stumptuous.com

Machines should be used by beginners and Women should not lift weights - two huge myths that Mistress Krista beats to a pulp as she discusses how lifting weights are so extremely beneficial to all and should not be feared.

The blog posts on Stumptuous.com are top notch and filled with fantastic information.  Although the site is great for both sexes, many of the articles on Stumptuous.com are geared towards women and exercise.  From working out while pregnant to the “truth about breasts and exercise”, if you’re a woman and looking to lift some weight, Stumptuous.com is a great resource.

9. Straight to the Bar

Predominatly showcasing videos of huge lifts or crazy exercises and feats of strength, there is likely no other Fitness related blog on the interweb with more articles posted per day than on Straight to the Bar.  But among all the freakish strength, Straight to the Bar also features some great articles.

10. StrengthMill.com

Think “Fitness YouTube”.  StrengthMill.com provides a huge library of fitness related videos.  If you’re a personal trainer looking to mix things up for a client or you’re interested in finding a new exercise to try out to change things up for yourself, you’re likely to find something here.

12. Crossfit BrandX Forums

There’s a reason why Crossfit appears numerous times on this list. It’s efficient, it works, and so many people just can’t get enough of it. However, for every one person who works the WOD daily, there’s at least one more who would like to get into Crossfit, but is hesitant to jump right in full bore. Enter Crossfit Brand X.

Crossfit Brand X was a streetfighting school, turned krav maga school, turned Crossfit affiliate. Somehow, along the way, they also adopted a forum on their website where they religiously began posting scaled Crossfit workouts.

In the Crossfit WOD section of the forum, a member (usually Garddawd) posts several versions of the main Crossfit.com website workout, each with less weight, less distance and less required fitness. This is done to help introduce new Crossfitters to the game, or to simply allow a greater range of people to take part in the workout. This, of course, attracts a large group of people and as such, gives rise to loads of other posts asking questions or showcasing some new skills.

13. T-Nation.com

It’s hard to look past the giant muscle-heads and bikini clad fitness models on T-Nation (Testosterone Nation), but it has become a very popular bodybuilding website and deservedly so. While it’s hard to scroll down on any page on the site without seeing something PG and NSFW, the site does have its share of good tips and articles.

Important to note, many of the writers on T-Nation are particularly critical of some methods of training like Crossfit. However, one should make sure to get a balance of all sides of the fitness World and T-Nation manages to fit in well there.

Diet, supplements, strength training, body transformation - it’s all there… and then some.

14. DragonDoor.com

When first visiting DragonDoor.com, it’s obvious that they love the kettlebell. In fact, DragonDoor sponsors kettlebell certifications. But there’s no crime in that. Kettlebells have become super hot in the last year or so as they provide an endless amount of exercises and movements and have helped so many people acquire strength, rehabilitate injuries and lose weight.

Beyond the kettlebell action of DragonDoor.com, you’ll also find a large number of articles about body weight training, conditioning and martial arts.

15. ShapeFit.com

Last, but not least, is ShapeFit.com. I first came across ShapeFit.com several years ago. Since then, the site has accumulated a wealth of articles about all areas of health and fitness.

Of the more interesting and useful parts of the site are the forum and social networking area. Within these pages you can find virtually any fitness or exercise information you’re looking for.

Hang Clean Lunge Combo

Tonight I did a quick workout consisting of 5 rounds of 10 hang clean lunge combos, 10 handstand push-ups and a muscle-up into 5 ring dips. I didn’t go all out on intensity and instead took it a little easier than usual. However, I thought that the hang clean to lunge combination was a great full body exercise. It really gets the quads and hamstrings. Tonight I went with only a 75lb bar, but it could easily be scaled up (or down) as necessary.

Check it out here:

Lunge tip: kiss the ground with the knee; keep weight nicely distributed over both front and back feet; initiate the push back up with the front heel.

Cops Get Fit in The Fit Stop, Courtesy of ParticiPACTION

Found a great library of fitness related clips from the CBC radio and television archives, here. The best, by far, has to be the 1975 Cops Get Fit clip, where Constable Andy McLellan gives his boys a run through an exercise routine. Starting at 1:23 is was literally laugh out loud. View the video clip at archives.cbc.ca.

The Pull-up, the Pull-up Bar (and how to build one cheap)

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: a man walks into a bar and asks the bartender why his head hurts.  The bartender responds, well you just walked into a bar.

Ok - not a real joke - I just made that one up (as if you couldn’t tell).  But let me now segue into the premise of this post.  That is, the pull-up bar.

Next to some floor space and a barbell, in my opinion, the pull-up bar is the next most important item on any home gym builder’s shopping list.  What kind of bar to get and how much one should spend, however, is a little tricky.

Let’s first look at why a pull-up bar is so super good to have at your disposal:

  • Pull-ups are entirely functional, natural movements.  Think about it for a sec - the ability to pull is fundamental to our existence.  Our bodies were made to climb and I can guarantee you that at some point throughout your genealogical history, one of your ancestors was in a life or death situation, having to pull themselves up over a ledge or something.  Fortunately for you, they were able to do it.
  • Pull-ups work a broad range of muscle, from shoulders, traps, biceps, triceps, forearm, grip and all sorts of core.  Add kipping and intensity to your pull-ups, do more work in less time, and you’ve suddenly got a strength workout combined with a fierceness that tests both the anaerobic and aerobic systems and can leave you gasping for air.
  • A pull-up has many variations and progressions, from jumping pull-ups to L-Sit pull-ups and muscle-ups, there’s a variation that is accessible to all - even the weakest of us and the exercise can always provide additional challenges for the strong.

These were just a few of the reasons why pull-ups second to few exercises and the pull-up bar should be added to the top of your list of “to get” items for your home gym.

Now, what kind should you get?  There’s those bars that can be squeezed between a door frame and others that hang on the top of the frame.  The former is likely a waste of money and the latter is not very versatile and is likely costlier than the best pull-up bar in the biz - yes, I’m talking about a cheap, homemade pull-up bar.

When I say cheap, I’m talking about a low cost versus cheap as in my car fell apart after 3 days use cheap.

The biggest problem with many store bought pull-up bars is that you can’t kip on them.  While some of you may say, I don’t need to kip, true, you don’t - in fact, you don’t need to do anything.  But I’d have to add, if you want to get strong, you’d be far better off if you did or at least did most of the time.  I won’t get into why (beyond what I have said already), but here’s a great discussion of kipping versus not kipping.  If you don’t know what kipping is, watch this.

The next biggest problem with store bought bars is the cost.  You’re looking at at least $30 for the better of the kinds of consumer bars.  What you can build at home can cost as little as $20 and half an hour of your time.  The results, however, is a pull-up bar that can hold multiple people and allow you to kip and do clappers (if you ever could do clappers in the first place, that is).

What you need:

  • 2 exposed joists
  • 2 18 inch 2×6 boards
  • 6 carriage bolts, nuts and washers
  • a 3/4 inch pipe
  • A drill with a 3/4 inch bit

See the pic above.  Drill out 3/4 inch holes about an inch off the ends of the 18 inch 2×6’s.  Clamp them to the joists and drill out holes for the carriage bolts.  Unclamp the boards from the joists and bang each end of your pipe through the 3/4 inch holes (note that I’ve used a inch hole in my own to get the pipe through easier.  Best to get caps for the pipe though to make sure it doesn’t fall out while performing pull-ups though).  Bolt the contraption to the joists where you previously drilled.

Done.  Easy peasy… Now let’s taker ‘er for a ride…

Moving Towards Strength Training

In this month’s issue of Men’s Health, Joe Kita writes a great article about the strength training approach of Coach Dos Remedios, or the College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita California and his take on getting bigger, stronger and leaner.

Coach Dos’s training consists of relatively short, high intensity compound resistance exercise, regularly changed up. By concentrating on this method of training, not only will one be able to sculpt the body they want, but they will also gain the benefits of functional fitness.

Hmm…. Where have I heard this ad nauseam before? Oh, that’s right - the tried and true crossfit. But this isn’t the first time that Men’s Health has featured an article about the benefits of athletic type strength training and how superior it is, compared to the isolation movements of the standard bodybuilding repertoire. Several months ago the Men’s Health “guy” was Jason Statham - the ripped action flic actor \ mixed martial arts practitioner who gets his physique (and uncanny strength) through high intensity functional movements. Again - crossfit-esque in every way.

So I wonder - is this the new norm? Are more and more gym rats suddenly going to be hitting the pull-up bar and working on their cleans and push jerks? Will lines begin forming for the power racks? Will squatting and deadlifts start getting the attention they deserve? Probably not. Unfortunately.

Killer Biceps with the Concentration Curl

Curls - one of the seemingly preferred exercises at the gym.  Pretty much at any given moment at your local gym, there’s likely at least one guy on the dumbbells, machines or barbells doing curls of one form or another.  Probably preacher curls or hammer curls with obnoxiously large amounts of weight and form that’s fit for… well… is likely terrible.

The curl is so popular because it targets one of the most sought after muscles - the biceps, or more specifically, the biceps brachii - that bulbous muscle that sits in the front of the upper arm and assists in bending the arm at the ol’ elbow.

But while curls are definitely the way to go for building the biceps, those hammer curls you’ve been doing day in and day out perhaps aren’t as effective as you’d hope. While curling one way or another isa great exercise, what you really want to do is effectively target your biceps brachii 100%- with no other muscles helping out.

Here’s where concentration curls come in.  Sitting at the edge of a bench, lean slightly forward and hold a dumbbell with one arm hanging down between your legs and your elbow against the inner thigh on the same side of your body.  Curl the dumbbell and “concentrate” on the movement - taking things slow, perhaps, but focusing on exclusively targeting the biceps.

Unlike some other curling techniques, like hammer curls, concentration curls seriously target the biceps and can help turn them into the guns you’re going for.

Maintain Your Healthy Body Weight by Breaking a Sweat

Seems obvious, but a recent study at Northwestern University which analyzed the BMI from over 2600 participants over the course of 20 whole years found that those who managed to get about 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise per day between the age of 20 and middle age were more likely to have a healthy BMI than those who didn’t.

Although diet plays a very important part in a healthy BMI, exercise is also incredibly important. Not only is it important in keeping off body fay, exercise is a key ingredient to staying healthy all around, from maintaining strong bones and muscles as well as keeping the ticker and other organs in tip top shape.

So the moral of the post is to keep on chuggin in your workouts and activity. Get some exercise in on a daily basis, even if just some jumping jacks and air squats. Work up the heart rate and get a little sweaty. It’ll do your body good.

Small, Inexpensive yet Useful - Exercise Bands

While a barbell and some weights are all you really need to get in a good workout at home, there are other elements that can also be good for a home gym setup or to supplement your weight lifting. One great addition to your arsenal that is not only useful but is both inexpensive and extremely portable is the exercise band.

The exercise band can be purchased in a bunch of different resistances so is usable by people just getting into exercising as well as bodybuilders who have been at it for years.

For such a simple piece of equipment, the exercise band is extremely versatile. It can be used to add resistance for squats, presses and curls, just to name a few different exercises. The downside is that there is a limit to the amount of resistance available and you can’t really perform max weight lifts, nor are you really able to translate the amount of resistance from an exercise band to the amount of resistance in weights. However, for a circuit style low to high intensity workout, resistance bands can be incredibly useful.

One great resistance band exercise that I enjoy is a squat to shoulder press.  Stand on the exercise band with your feet about a shoulder’s width apart, straddling the center of the band.  Hold each handle in the respective hand.  Go down into a deep squat and then stand, imediately going into a shoulder press with the band.  That’s a single rep.  Do several sets of 10 to 20 of these as part of a circuit of either weight lifting or body weight exercises.

About.com has some more information and sample resistance band exercises here.


A great way to do double duty at the gym is to combine a couple of otherwise very different exercises into a single movement. Hanging leg raise to pull-up would be one example of a single gut-busting, lat-straining exercise.

Another really super great combo is the squat to shoulder press movement, otherwise known as a thruster (in crossfit lingo anyway - a key element to the “Fran” benchmark).

The thruster is, as I described, a single movement between squat and press. The exercise can really be done with any sort of weight - kettle bells, barbells, dumbbells, medicine ball - anything you can do a squat and shoulder press with.

Start with the weight positioned at shoulder level as though you are about to do a shoulder press. Instead, go down into a squat, back up and then do the shoulder press. Go immediately back to start - that’s a rep.

Try doing three sets of 8 at an empty bar, 45lbs or 65lbs to start. You may find that you can easily go up to 95 or higher (depending more or less on your shoulder press), but before you do that, attempt to increase the intensity. Whipping off 8 reps of this exercise without pausing between reps will make your heart pound and get your sweat on like you’ve just run a record mile.

P.S. Just don’t overdo it. Exercises like the thruster can really give your body a run for its money.

To Walk or To Run - Is Moderate Exercising Really Any Good?

To walk or run - a question that many people, getting into exercising ask themselves. Generally, it is well known that any kind of exercise is better than sitting on the couch, playing video games. It’s obvious. But what isn’t so obvious is whether moderate or viorous exercise is better.

In order to attempt to get the public engaged in daily activity, many governments have programs and guidelines. Unfortunately while a bit of government intervention is good, getting the proper advice is often better.

A recent study by Exeter and Brunel universities in Britan found that 56% of men and 71% of women currently believe that moderate activity is best when it comes to staying physicaly healthy. Activities such as walking have become the cup du jour for many Britains. This is likely due to the British government’s promotion of 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week which includes activities such as housework and gardening.

Unfortunately, moderate levels of activity only work moderately well. Dr. Gary O’Donovan, the study’s main author says that

“time and time again, the largest and most robust studies have shown that vigorously active individuals live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than moderately active individuals and couch potatoes.”

Brisk walking is definitely a popular activity these days. Whenever driving somewhere in town, I never fail to count at least a couple of people walking, spandex on and water bottles in hand. In fact, I’ve also seen some bodybuilding websites suggest that long bouts of moderately paced walking to be good for muscle building. But to me, this is somewhat counter intuitive.

I’m of the mindset that the more physically or cardiovascularly challenging an exercise, the better it is for you. While I believe that walking is certainly better than nothing, more vigorous activity should definitely also be on the menu. Here are a couple of exercises to add to your workour regime in order to accomodate some more vigor.

  • Join a spinning class. Spinning is similar to stationary cycling but usually done in a class with a high intensity and an instructor taking you through some nice intervals. Many gyms offer spinning classes for no additional cost. The beginner classes are a great way to get a little more sweat on.
  • Running. You may hate running or have trouble doing it, but it’s probably the least expensive, most accomodating method of getting in shape. Even a moderately paced run will increase your heart rate significantly over a brisk walk. Most running stores (the Running Room, for example) will host classes for beginners to advanced runners. If running is something new to you, finding a beginner class is a fantastic way to get into it.
  • Hit the weights. While many people believe that weight training is either not a vigorous method of exercise or that it is strictly for bodybuilders, lifting weights is actually a great workout with the ability to scale intensity to all levels. Working out in a circuit, in fact, may not only be vigorous activity but may also contribute to weight loss and muscle building post-workout, while resting.
  • Body weight exercising is also an inexpensive but versatile method of getting your vigorous exercises in. Again, focus on a circuit style workout consisting of things like air squats, pushups, situps, calf raises, dips or pullups and others and you will find yourself sweating buckets and getting your heart rate up nicely.

But always remember to scale your exercising accordingly. If you’re new to vigorous exercising, maybe talk to your doctor first and possibly start off slowly at either a more moderate pace or with less weight.

Developing Flexibility

Flexibility Training

Flexibility is so important to fitness. Unfortunately not many people actually pay attention to it enough. I’m guilty as any at forgoing a daily stretch or not appropriately warming up with some stretches before a workout.

Increasing flexibility will not only help reduce injury when working out, as you get older it is important to maintain muscle suppleness in order to help avoid injury in every day activities from tying shoelaces to reaching for the seatbelt. But how does one increase their flexibility? Again, thanks to this wonderous technology called the Internet, a fantastic guide can be found here.

The tutorial is written by a guy named Jon Call, better known as Jujimufu. If you do a quick search on youtube, you will no doubt see countless videos of him. He practices tricking, or what he describes as “an aesthetic blend of flips, twists, and kicks”. It’s essentially gymnastics. His stretching tutorial is really detailed and full of great exercises.