Monday, November 25, 2013


Over the past nine weeks the group has been learning different ways to exercise, in both the cardio room, and on the weight equipment. The goal is to keep raising the level of intensity of their workouts by showing them something new each week.

This week, they learned how to perform compound movements with the long straight bar and weight plates. They’re called compound movements because they involve more than one muscle group, and since they use so many different muscles at the same time, these exercises are much more taxing. This means you’ll burn more calories faster.

The first movement is the straight bar deadlift. Bend down at the knee and waist and grab a straight bar. Being sure to use your hips and legs, and not just your lower back, you then straighten back up while dragging the bar up to your waist to an upright posture. Then you reverse the movement by bending at the knee and waist and lowering the bar back to the floor.

The second exercise is a new one called the hanging clean, which starts where the other one left off. With the bar hanging from your arms in an upright, standing position, you slightly dip your knees and hips, and then explosively drag the bar straight up your body, by pushing up with your hips, legs and calves. Your elbows will move outward, and then back inward as the bar goes up past your hands, which come in to grab the bar from below, holding it at shoulder level. Reverse the movement, letting the bar drop back to a hanging position.

The third movement also starts where the last one left off, and is called the front squat. Once you have the bar palms up in the upright position on the shoulders, with your elbows out in front of you (which keeps the bar tight to your upper chest), slowly squat down by sitting backward until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Be sure to keep your upper body as straight as possible and avoid bending forward, which can hurt your lower back. Reverse the movement by pushing up, especially from your heels, and not just the balls of your feet, until you’re standing upright again.

The final movement also begins where the last one left off, and is called the push press. This time, with the bar in the upright position, resting on your upper chest with palms up, slightly bend at the knees and hips, and then explosively straighten your legs, and hips, transferring the energy into your arms, which then explode straight upward, lifting the bar to the overhead position with arms locked out overhead. Reverse the movement until the bar is resting on your palms and upper chest.

The group performed each exercise 10 times before moving on to the next one. Once all four exercises were performed 10 times, they did a bunch of different ab exercises while waiting for their partner to complete the four movements. Then they switched back and forth until each of them had done the whole thing five times.

It’s a fairly quick workout, but it’s a barn burner, with lots of benefits. Be sure not to use much weight while you’re learning the movements. At first, you might even just use the bar, without any weights on it.

You should also get with a trainer or other qualified individual who can actually show you how to do it. You can also check out lots of videos on YouTube. Just Goggle that particular exercise and you’ll find lots of hits showing you how to do it.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Stevannah Drake, who lost 1.1% and 2.0 lbs. Second place was a tie between Tracy and Jeremy Whitaker, both losing 0.7% and 1.0 and 1.2 lbs respectively. Third place went to Sondra Martin who lost 0.4% and 1.0 lb.

For more information, you can reach me at the gym, email at, or through Facebook at www.facebook/tomdolanfitness!

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