You’ve probably seen a BOSU exercise ball at the gym. It’s that piece of equipment hanging out by the free weights that looks like half of an inflated beach ball about two feet in diameter attached to a flat disc. You know the one. But do you know what to do with it? Have you ever incorporated a BOSU ball into your workout?
The BOSU ball is actually one of the more versatile items in the gym. This one apparatus can train the upper body, lower body, core, balance and stability, and it even provides a great cardio option if you know how to use it to get your heart rate up. When you’re traveling, if all the meager hotel gym has is a BOSU ball and a mat, it’s easy to devise a total body workout that will have you sweating.
Get started with this list of 12 simple exercises you can do with just a BOSU ball and your body weight, plus variations to make them easier or more challenging according to your fitness level. As always, check with your physician if you have concerns about starting a new exercise program. Folks who struggle with their balance may want to ask a trainer or coach to help get them started.
June is National Get Outdoors Month. Here at MDA, we’re spending the next couple weeks teeing you up to have your best summer yet in the great outdoors with posts to inspire you to get into nature.
Today we’re talking about how to train for backpacking. Let’s start with the most obvious question: what IS backpacking? Backpacking is simply multi-day hiking where you carry all your gear on your back.
Say you’re going out for a day hike carrying water, food, and basic survival gear, but you return to your car the same day you set out. That’s not backpacking.
If you’re trekking across the country, but someone else is sherpaing your gear from one sleeping spot to the next, that’s not backpacking either.
In a nutshell, backpacking is essentially a long hike with more gear and more details to think about because you’ll be spending at least one night—but possibly many more—camping out. I think of backpacking as a kind of endurance sport. As with any endurance sport, you want to train for your event. You probably wouldn’t enter a half-marathon this coming weekend with minimal or no training. You could, but it would hurt a lot less, and your chance of success would be significantly greater, if you took the time to train. Same goes for backpacking.
The good news is, if you already have a solid fitness base, you are well on your way. Now you just need to tailor your training to get ready for your backpacking expedition.
Look at the average person walking around the average industrialized nation and you’ll notice something:
Their shoulders are rounded inward.
Look down at yourself right now reading these words and you’ll probably notice something:
Your shoulders are rounded inward.
Older kids, teens, grownups, athletes, powerlifters, grandmas, moms, dads, students, baristas, almost everyone. It’s rare to see someone with neutral shoulders—shoulders that sit in their sockets as nature intended, rather than rolled and rounded inward in perpetual internal rotation.
Why is this?
With gyms closed for the foreseeable future, now is the perfect time to expand your home workout. This simple, relatively inexpensive DIY parallettes project sets you up for a wide variety of dip bar exercises. Learn how to make your own parallettes with instructions, a materials list and a follow-along video with Primal Health Coach Brian. This post also includes a breakdown of a dip bar workout for beginners to get you started.
What are Parallettes?
Parallettes or planche bars can support an impressive range of exercises, ranging from beginner to advanced. Sometimes these bars are referred to as pushup bars or calisthenics dip bars, however, those tend to be a bit longer and lower to the ground. Though often associated with gymnasts, parallettes can be invaluable tool for expanding anyone’s range of bodyweight exercises.
For most people, the push-up seems like the simplest movement of all. You get down in the prone position and use your hands to push yourself away from the ground, then lower yourself until the chest touches, and repeat. Not everyone has the strength or technique to do them, but everyone pretty much knows what a push-up looks like. There’s no real mystery around it.
How To Do the Basic Pushup
Assume the pushup position: elbows locked; hands about shoulder width apart, flat against the ground; toes on the ground; torso and legs straight, core tight; body parallel to the floor.
Lower yourself to the ground, touching your chest to it.
Push yourself back up, squeezing your pectoral muscles and completing the full range of motion.
At the top, continue until your elbows are completely locked and your shoulder blades are fully protracted.
But here’s the thing: most people are doing them wrong. Doing them wrong doesn’t just shortchange your results. It can also increase your risk of injury.
When you ask most people what it takes to be fit, you get some pretty wild answers. Hours on the treadmill or pounding pavement every day. Hours in the weight room. Obsessing over how to turn every moment of the day into an opportunity for some kind of workout move.
I never liked what I heard, and after many decades of overtraining, I decided it was time to come up with a sane alternative—Primal Blueprint Fitness as I’ve called it over the years. It boils down to three logical steps all rooted in ancestral patterns people lived for hundreds of thousands of years:
Primal Blueprint Law #3: Move Frequently
Primal Blueprint Law #4: Lift Heavy Things
Primal Blueprint Law #5: Sprint Once in a While
All told, it’s a handful of hours a week, most of it moving frequently. In addition to those 4-5 hours a week of walking or other light movement, throw in an hour’s worth of strength training and 15 minutes of sprint time. There you go. Do that, and you’ll be in darn good shape.