dream it. believe it. achieve it.

dream it. believe it. achieve it.

09/01/2018

How To Master Pistol Squats

master pistol squats

Since we recently stepped into a new year some of you have maybe set a few personal fitness goals. And just maybe pistol squat is one of them. If you have already mastered the pistol squat and are still reading this – congratulations, you rock!

 

On the other hand, if you can’t do a pistol squat but you really want to master it stick around and keep on reading.

 

Pistol squat is the king of lower – body exercises and as such it is also one of the most challenging bodyweight leg exercises. It is a unilateral exercise (using each limb one at a time) that comes with great benefits.

 

Benefits of Pistol Squats

  • Require no equipment (can be done anywhere)
  • Improve balance, flexibility and mobility
  • Increase lower body strength
  • Help even out imbalances between two sides of the body
  • Better coordination and endurance
  • Makes you feel like a ninja

Here is what it looks like:

master pistol squats

 

Muscles Worked


Before taking a closer look at how you can master pistol squats let’s see which muscles are involved when doing the said exercise. This way you can get a better idea what you need to focus on to progress with the pistol squats.

 

Like I mentioned before, pistol squats are a unilateral leg exercise meaning they primarily involve leg muscles, one leg at a time. Your gluteus, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves are working hard when you’re performing pistol squats.

 

Since you’re trying to balance your body on a rather narrow base of support your abdominals will work hard as well. To sum up, muscles worked during pistol squats are leg muscles + abdominals.

 

 

Easing Into It


Pistol squats are an advanced exercise which means you can’t just jump straight into it. Mastering this exercise will require a lot of hard work, patience, determination and persistence.

 

If you suffered a knee or hip injury in the past or are currently having problems with those areas, it would be best to avoid pistol squats. Otherwise, let’s look at how you can progress and, in the end, master pistol squats.

 

Before attempting to do a pistol squat make sure you can do at least 50 bodyweight squats, full range of motion. Once you’re able to do that start adding weight and lift heavier as you progress.

 

Other thing you should do is focus more on unilateral exercises. Unilateral or single-leg exercises help even out imbalances between two sides of the body. Furthermore, the strength you gain in unilateral training will transfer over to bilateral exercises.

 

I recommend you practice the following unilateral exercises:

  • Bulgarian split squat
  • Forward lunge
  • Reverse lunge
  • Elevated reverse lunge
  • Step up

Practice these exercises until you’re ready to step it up then add weight as you feel more comfortable.

 

 

Working on Flexibility


One of the main problems people come across when trying to do pistol squats is flexibility. If you can’t do a full, ass to grass, squat without your heels lifting off the floor, you need to work on your flexibility.

 

To be specific your ankle and calves flexibility and mobility. If your calves are tight and your ankle range of movement is limited, chances are you’ll fall backwards on your butt when attempting pistol squats.

 

Even if you don’t fall back you’ll probably end up doing the exercises with a really bad form and increase your risk of injury.

 

I found 3 great articles about ankle dorsiflexion and how to improve it. If you have a problem in this area I definitely recommend you read through all of them.

  1. The Importance of Ankle Mobility and Dorsiflexion
  2. Seven Drills to Improve Dorsiflexion in the Ankle
  3. Ankle Mobility Exercises to Improve Dorsiflexion

 

Progressive Variations


Now we’re getting a little bit closer towards the end goal of mastering pistol squats. These progressive variations listed below are for you to try only if you’re able to do everything I mentioned so far.

 

The following will help you in coordination, balance and give you a rough idea what pistol squats feel like.

 

Box/Chair Pistol Squat

box pistol squat

Bonus tips before beginning: you’ll be using a chair/box for this exercise so tip #1 is to firstly sit down and adjust your foot placement. Doing this will help your orientation and stop you from feeling like you’ll miss the chair.

 

So, sit down and get up like you normally would. Place your feet firmly on the ground when you stand up. This will be your starting position.

 

Tip #2 is to begin with a higher chair/box. If your box is high enough for you to perform this exercise comfortably and with perfect form you’ll progress quicker into a deeper box/chair pistol squat.

 

Biggest problem with advanced exercises like pistol squats is patience. Allow yourself to start from zero and build your way from there. The process will be much more enjoyable, easier and your chances of injuries are at the very minimum.

 

How to perform:

Begin by standing up straight, feet firmly placed on the ground and gaze in front of you. Lift one foot of the ground and extend it in front of you. Make sure your hips are squared and your core is engaged.

 

Extended your arms in front of you for counterbalance. Slowly lower your butt down to the chair. As you’re lowering down stick your butt out and allow the knee to go past your toes.

 

Whilst keeping one leg extended push through the heel of the working leg and lift up to starting position. You should feel this movement in your quadriceps and core the most.

 

 

Resistance Band/Assisted Pistol Squat

resistance band pistol squat

Another great progressive variation is the assisted pistol squat. For this exercise you can use a resistance band or your arms by holding onto something sturdy.

 

How to perform:

Wrap the resistance band around the object you’re using and stand firmly on the ground. Keep hold of the resistance band as you extend one leg in front and lower down to a squat.

 

Use the resistance band to help you get back up to starting position. Focus on doing most of the work with your leg and relying on the band only for the needed support/balance.

 

As you get stronger try this exercise by holding the band/object with one hand only.

 

 

Elevated Heels Pistol Squat

elevated heel pistol squat

Remember the flexibility problem and ankle dorsiflexion I mentioned earlier in this post? Elevating your heel onto something sturdy decreases the ankle flexion angle needed for squatting all the way down.

 

I included this exercise as a progressive variation to help you improve ankle mobility and develop flexibility needed to master pistol squats.

 

How to perform:

Place a weight plate or a book under your heel and follow the same instructions as the previous exercises. Extend one leg and both arms out in front, stand tall and engage your core.

 

Slowly start to lower down. All the way down to a squat position. Hold it for a second then push through your heel to come back up.

 

 

Counterweight Pistol Squat

counterweight pistol squat

You might be thinking ‘adding weight to a pistol squat? You’ve got to be kidding me?’ but I kid you not. Adding weight can actually make it easier for you to do a pistol squat.

 

Holding the weight out in front of you keeps you balanced by pulling you forward. Begin by holding a 4.5 kg plate (around 10 lbs) and move on to lighter weight as your balance improves and you get stronger.

 

 

Executing It


master pistol squats

This is it, you’re ready to try your first pistol squat! I’m pretty sure you memorised the instructions by now but let’s repeat them once more.

 

Begin by standing firmly on the ground, keeping your spine straight and gaze out in front. Extend one leg forward and begin descending into a squat whilst keeping your core engaged.

 

Allow your arms to go out in front of you for improved balance. Hold the bottom position briefly then drive through your heel to come back up.

 

Congratulations, you did it! You probably feel like a ninja now, don’t you? (;

 

Feel free to include pistol squats in your workouts and work towards doing 3 – 4 sets of 8 – 10 quality reps.

 

Pro tip to master pistol squats: when you’re down in a squat, stay in that position for a second and then come up. A lot of people do pistol squats quickly to get the ‘bouncing off’ effect.

 

Holding the bottom position ensures that you’re using nothing but your strength when coming back up.

 

 

Remember that you need a lot of patience in order to master pistol squats. It might take you weeks, months or years before you’re able to do them. However, don’t give up. It’s such an incredible and rewarding feeling once you’re able to do what you once thought were impossible. Be patient, stay persistent and constantly put in the hard work! It will pay off.

 

Leave any questions, comments or suggestions down below! I wish you good luck and keep me updated with you pistol squats progress (:

M, xo

 

02/01/2018

My New Year’s Resolutions For 2018

New Year's resolutions

Hello my lovely readers! Before I begin with today’s post I want to wish you a very happy New Year. I wish you good health, happiness and for your wishes to come true. May 2018 be good to you!

 

Now, let’s dive into today’s topic. Today I decided to share with you my New Year’s resolutions. I know people usually recommend only 2 – 3 resolutions to be sure you’ll stick with them but I’m going with 8 this year.

 

Over the last few months I have been struggling with mental habits so that’s the main area I want to focus on in 2018. It’s a long way to go but I’m determined to improve.

 

If you’re here for tips on how to stick to your New Year’s resolutions I wrote about that last year.

 

I wrote that post in February so the introduction is a bit different but the tips are still the same and helpful (:

 

 

My New Year’s Resolutions For 2018


 

Join a gym.

join a gym

I’ve wanted to join a gym for quite some time now but two things stopped me from doing so. First being my financial situation and second my shyness. In 2017 I got my first job which now allows me to save up, therefore I’m able to join a gym.

 

However, my shyness is still holding me back. On the other hand, I really want to take my fitness to the next level, lift heavier and train harder.

 

Furthermore, it will be more convenient for me as I could go to the gym straight from work. That is why I decided on this resolution and given myself until mid – February to do it.

 

 

Get a driver’s licence.

driving licence

Moving on to the next New Year’s resolution, which I also wanted to achieve for a long time but couldn’t due to finances, getting a driver’s licence. Since I have an income now this resolution is more likely to be achieved by the middle of 2018.

 

At least that’s what I’m hoping for. Being able to drive is going to make a lot of things easier for me and my family so it is at the top of my list.

 

 

Eat healthier and learn meal prepping.

healthy foods

For the last three years I have been focusing on eating well and eating healthy and majority of the time I actually did a really good job. Unfortunately, things changed a little since I started working.

 

There is no consistency in my eating habits at the moment. One day I will eat healthy, the other I will eat junk food. One day I will eat just the right amount of food, the other I’ll barely eat once.

 

I don’t like that and it doesn’t make me feel good so another one of my New Year’s resolutions is to focus on meal prepping and healthy eating.

 

 

Make new friends.

meet new people

I tend to feel shy and anxious when meeting new people so it gets a bit awkward when I’m in such position. The ironic thing is that I wish to meet new people and make friends but I quickly give up on the idea.

 

This year I would like to surround myself with a few friends that like the same things as I do. I think it will keep me more motivated and it will open doors to new possibilities.

 

As the saying goes “Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Energies are contagious.”

 

 

Work on confidence & happiness.

happy and confident

Confidence is one of the best and strongest qualities a person can have. To be self-confident means to strongly believe in yourself; to be secure in yourself and your abilities. The moment you’re secure in yourself the easier things become.

 

You become to value yourself and your capabilities more and the less you bring yourself down. I wish to feel more confident and happy with the things that I have done.

 

My mind is never at peace, I’m under a lot of stress and that needs changing. I understand becoming confident is not easy but I’m ready to change it around.

 

 

Learn.

learn every day

This is what I want to do more of. Simply learn. Learn about things that interest me, learn about things that are important, learn new languages, new skills, learn about animals, nature, technology,…

 

There are so so many topics I only scratched the surface of and I find it important to keep learning. Every day with every chance I get so this is definitely going on my resolutions’ list.

 

 

Focus on what I love.

do what you love

Ever since I started working I noticed I slowly began giving up on things that I like. For example, doing photography, yoga and staying consistent with my workouts and blogging. Quite often I used the most common excuses like “I’m tired” or “I don’t have time”.

 

Currently I’m going through what I think is a mild depression and if just one day I do something that I love, it instantly changes my mood and reminds me why I love doing certain things.

 

Out of all of my New Year’s resolutions I think this one will need the most work and attention. However, for myself and my health I know it’s really important and I’ll gladly put in the effort.

 

 

Practice less overthinking.

overthinking

Overthinking is one of the worst things you can do to your mind and health. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who overthink every day. Overthinking makes me spend too much time in the negative, constantly keeps me worried and under a lot of stress.

 

However, I try to look at it from some sort of positive side by saying “at least I accept it as an issue and I can try changing it.” That is why working on this problem is another New Year’s resolution.

 

 

With that we come to the end of my resolutions and therefore this blog post. Are any of my New Year’s resolutions the same as yours? If so, let me know in the comments below and we can work together towards achieving them.

 

Once more I want to wish you the best in this year and may you have the strength and kick ass attitude towards achieving your resolutions!

Until next time,

M, xo

12/12/2017

Christmas Gift Guide For A Fit Guy

gift guide for a fit guy

Part one was all about gift ideas for a fit girl so now it’s time to talk about gift ideas for a fit guy. Can’t leave them out! If you’re still worrying day and night, trying to come up with ideas for your fit guy, worry no more. Here is my Christmas gift guide for a fit guy!

 

 

Gift Guide For A Fit Guy


 

#1 A hoodie to keep him warm

gift guide hoodie
Photo by Tobi from Pexels

Winter is approaching so wouldn’t it be great to gift your guy something to keep him warm? Comfy, cosy hoodie will be perfect for him to just chill in and also perfect for his workouts. But girl, give him at least 2 – 3 months to enjoy wearing it before you steal it…we know it’s gonna happen 😉

 

Jokes aside, two websites I can recommend for workout clothes are MyProtein and Gymshark. It’s the same as I recommended in the Gift Guide For A Fit Girl but that’s because both of the companies have good, quality clothes.

 

MyProtein has offers/discounts often so you’ll rarely pay something full price. Out of the two, MyProtein is more affordable so if you’re on a budget go with them.

 

However, if you find that too expensive as well then check out H&M’s sportswear range. They have good offers and I’m sure you’ll find something for your fit guy because their designs are nice and simple.

 

 

#2 Custom gym towel & sports bottle

gift guide towel

This gift may not sound all that special but I think it’s pretty sweet and thoughtful. Gym towels are easy to purchase in your local store or sports shop. Now all you gotta do to make it special is embroider something on the towel.

 

Depending on how special this guy is to you, you can embroider his nickname, a short motivational quote, or something that’s just between the two of you.

 

Pair the gym towel with a personalised bottle and you’ll make your guy feel pretty darn special! S’well has incredible range of classy and simple water bottles and you can get them personalised. However, that option is available only within the US.

 

If you really want to get it personalised, fear not, EQUA has a bottle cap engraving option + they ship worldwide.

 

 

#3 Foam roller + jump rope

gift guide foam roller

Foam rolling is a type of self – myofascial release. SMR is basically massaging muscles on your own with the help of certain objects (like a foam roller). Foam rolling improves circulation, relieves muscle tension, helps you recover faster and increases range of motion.

 

All the reasons to gift your fit guy a quality foam roller. Foam rollers come in various colours, shapes and sizes. If you’re unsure about which shape to choose I would recommend a grid foam roller.

 

As for the size pick either regular or travel size. Travel size could come in handy if he spends most of the time in the gym or if he travels often. (For foam rollers you can check out Myotrigger and TriggerPoint.)

 

Add a jump rope to the foam roller for a complete gift. Nowadays, there is weighted jump rope, speed jump rope, digital jump rope so you have plenty to choose from. Jumping rope can help improve your coordination, agility, endurance and of course, help you burn more calories. If you want to give your guy the gift of fitness go with this!

 

 

#4 Sports headphones

gift guide wireless headphones
Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

Don’t want your guy to get tangled at the gym? (really sorry for the pun) A pair of wireless headphones is the way to go. If you work out you know the benefits of listening to your favourite music. It gives you the strength to crush your workout; it gives you extra motivation and makes you feel unstoppable.

 

However, carrying your phone, wondering where to put it and fighting a constant battle with the headphones’ wires can get rather frustrating. Make things easier for your fit guy and buy him some quality wireless headphones.

 

A website like Amazon will have you covered whether you’re on a budget or you’re able to afford something more expensive. What’s more, you’ll enjoy hearing your man saying he’s now able to concentrate more on his workouts and enjoy them more as well 😉

 

 

#5 Gym bag with mini gifts inside

gift guide gym bag
Photo by Lauren Roberts on Unsplash

If your fit guy goes to the gym often chances are he might need a new gym bag. Maybe you’re thinking “yeah, but that’s a pretty simple gift, I wanna get him something special”. Fair enough, here is how you can turn this into a thoughtful gift.

 

Once you’ve chosen the workout bag (check SportsDirect, Nike, Adidas, Puma,…) put mini gifts inside it. What will those mini gifts be is completely up to you but here are a couple of suggestions:

  • sports nutrition samples
  • protein bars
  • underwear
  • deodorant
  • push up bars
  • resistance band
  • beanie

Whatever you decide to put in the bag I’m sure he’ll be pleasantly surprised and thankful.

 

With that we come to the end of the Christmas gift guide for him and her. I hope both of the posts were helpful and you decided on what to give your fit girl/fit guy. Come back to this post after Christmas and let me know what they thought of the present(s).

 

Happy shopping 🙂

M, xo

11/12/2017

Christmas Gift Guide For A Fit Girl

 

gift guide for a fit girl

With Christmas lurking just around the corner it’s time for a Christmas gift guide. This blog post will be split into two parts – one for him, one for her. Since the saying goes “ladies first” today I’ll give you a short gift guide for a fit girl with 5 gift ideas.

 

 

Gift Guide For A Fit Girl


 

#1 Dry shampoo & face wipes

gift guide dry shampoo

This is a pretty inexpensive yet thoughtful gift. It’s perfect for the girl that spends most of the days in the gym. Just when she nailed the workout she’ll want something to freshen up and you can’t go wrong with beauty wipes and dry shampoo.

 

Unfortunately, I haven’t tried many dry shampoos. In fact, I only tried the Batiste Blush and Batiste Cherry. Since I can’t recommend any other brands out of the two Batiste ones I would choose the Cherry one. It smells really nice and fruity and does a good job livening up the hair.

 

If you’re a guy reading this do not worry about which brand or anything else for that matter. Simply try to find out her favourite scent and go for that or just pick one you think she would enjoy.

 

As for face wipes, go for something that’s kind to the skin like ‘Simple Skincare Cleansing Facial Wipes’. Another one I hear people recommending is ‘La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Oil-Free Cleansing Towelettes’.  

 

 

#2 Epsom salt & massage ball

Perfect gift set for rest days & pamper nights. Any fit girl that trains hard needs something to relax and recover the body and muscles.

 

Epsom salt is used in variety of things but primarily for health. It eases stress, soothes muscle pain and aches, relaxes the body, eliminates toxins from the body, etc.

 

In order to make this gift more personal take out the Epsom salt from its original packaging, pour into a jar on which you can add a cute label or a ribbon with a message.

 

Getting a massage can get pretty expensive and time consuming. That’s where the magic thing called massage ball comes in handy. It’s compact which means your fit girl can take it with her anywhere she goes.

 

The massage ball will allow her to do deep tissue massage on her own. Personally, I love that because only I know the sore spots, I can control the pressure and time spent on massaging a certain muscle.

 

Your fit girl will definitely appreciate this gift because if she trains like a beast she’s gonna have to recover like one as well.

 

 

#3 Workout outfit

gift guide workout outfit

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend this can be either an inexpensive or expensive gift. There are so many activewear companies you can order from it just depends on your budget.

 

My top recommendation would be MyProtein. I recently ordered from them and their clothes are comfortable and really good quality. Plus, they have discounts so often you’ll rarely pay something full price.

 

Second website I can recommend is Gymshark. They’re a bit on the pricey side but I’d say it’s worth it. Ordered from them in the past, no complications, order neat and on time and the clothes are great quality and design.

 

If you’re looking for something more affordable check out the H&M, Forever 21 and Fabletics’ activewear range.

 

H&M have a big selection, however, the quality varies. Some activewear are pretty good quality and some are not. That’s why you should read their product information carefully.

 

I used to browse Forever 21 so often but it took me a while to realise they don’t ship to my country. They have such nice looking, flattering workout clothes but before you check them out check if they deliver to you.

 

Last but not least, Fabletics. They constantly have great offers, I mean you can get a whole outfit really cheap but, (there’s always a but) each month (by the 5th) you have to click the “Skip the month” button. This button simply lets them know you won’t be ordering that month. If you forget and don’t click it by the 5th in the month, you will be charged $49,95.

 

 

#4 Water bottle + yoga mat

If you have a yogi bear in your life, this is the gift to go with. Every fit girl watches her water intake so why not make it easier for her and get her a cute water bottle. Whilst browsing for cute water bottles I realised S’well has the best design (in my opinion).

 

They have a lovely collection with lots of designs to choose from. You can even get the bottle personalised (however, those can’t be shipped outside US). Other than simple and lovely design the S’well bottle stays cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. It is pricey but I think it’s a great investment, especially for your special fit girl!

 

If you’re Europe based I recommend you check out EQUA. It’s a brand from Slovenia. I bought from them before and I can only say good things about their products. Lovely designs with engraving option on the bottle cap and they offer worldwide shipping.

 

Pair the water bottle with a yoga mat and you have one very happy girl. Yoga mats are not only great for doing yoga but also for any floor work (like core exercises) and stretches. If you decide to go with this gift idea buy a yoga mat that is non – slip and sturdy.

 

I’m planning on buying a yoga mat for myself soon and out of all the websites I browsed here are the brands that I like: Manuka Life, Manduka and Gaiam.

 

If you’re UK based Manuka Life is the perfect option. It’s affordable, offers good quality and simple designs! It would be my first choice but unfortunately they do not offer international delivery.

 

Manduka mats are pricey but they come with a lifetime guarantee so the price is justified. I read quite a few reviews on Manduka mats and majority of people seem to be very happy with the purchase. They offer mostly simple, plain designs which you can’t go wrong with.

 

Gaiam yoga mats are, in my opinion, perfect for beginners. Their mats have such dreamy prints that make you wanna get on your mat and practice. What’s better is the fact they’re all affordable. Gaiam ships within the US but you can order their products from Amazon if you’re outside the US.

 

 

#5 Custom gift box

fitness gift guide

Are you still having a hard time deciding what to gift your fit girl? If so, this last option might be the best choice for you. You can make it as personalised as you want and it is affordable.

 

Firstly, let’s start with the box. You can easily buy one (decorated) at the store but I recommend you put in the effort and decorate it yourself. That sh*t is much more appreciated ‘cause she’ll know you put the thought and time into it.

 

Now, what to put in the box you ask? Well, anything that will come in handy for her workouts. Here are a few things you could get:

  • Silicone hair ties
  • Deodorant
  • Facial wipes
  • Lip balm
  • Sports nutrition samples
  • Protein bars
  • Shaker bottle
  • Sporty underwear

Those are just suggestions to get your mind thinking 😉

 

Since it’s a custom gift box it completely depends on you and your budget so combine it however you like!

 

 

Alrighty guys, that concludes the Christmas gift guide for a fit girl. I hope this was helpful and informative to you and if you have any other questions feel free to ask me! Come back to this post after Christmas and tell me if your girl was happy with the gift 😉 

Happy shopping,

M, xo

09/12/2017

Bodyweight Back Exercises – No Equipment Needed

 

bodyweight back workout

With 2018 just around the corner some of you might be thinking about New Year’s resolutions already. Usually the most common resolutions are to become healthier, leaner, fitter or lose weight.

 

However, we end up not caring much about what we do or what we eat throughout December because “we’ll start on January 1st”.

 

Maybe I’m getting a little off topic here but I just want us to end this year on a high note. Push harder with our workouts than we did the past 11 months, lift heavier, run faster, eat healthier. That’s the main reason for today’s blog post which is all about bodyweight back exercises.

 

There are quite a few amazing back exercises but when it comes to working out at home with minimal equipment it’s harder to get creative. Recently I noticed I don’t enjoy training back anymore and I realised it’s because I kept doing the same exercises.

 

Something had to be changed so I did some research and discovered many new ways in which you can hit all major back muscles.

 

Below you will find 5 of my favourite bodyweight back exercises that I include in my weekly back workouts and rotate them in order to avoid hitting plateau.

 

This back workout is bodyweight and doesn’t need any equipment. However, you will need two chairs or something sturdy for the last exercise. Other than that you can make the exercises easier or harder based on your fitness level.

 bodyweight back workout

 

Bodyweight Back Exercises With No Equipment


 

Angel of Death (Reverse Snow Angel)

How to perform: 

Begin by lying flat on your stomach. Arms at your side and feet hip-width apart. Palms are pointing to the ceiling. This is your starting position. Now lift your chest, arms and legs slightly so they’re hovering of the floor.

 

Move your arms up until your biceps are close to your ears. During this movement rotate your hands so the palms face the floor. As you do this, move your feet outwards simultaneously.

 

Hold here for a second then return to starting position by moving your arms back down at your side and your feet inward. That makes one rep.

 

Step up the challenge:

Once you feel like you mastered this exercise challenge yourself by adding weights. I usually hold 1.25 kg plate in each hand and it makes the exercise 3 times harder. Considering Angel of Death is a challenging bodyweight exercise adding just that little bit of weight will work your muscles in a whole different way.

 

Sets & reps: 12 – 15 reps x 3 – 4 sets

Muscles worked: trapezius, lower back, erector spinae, deltoids, gluteal muscles

 

 

Reverse Plank (Supine Plank)

How to perform:

Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended ahead of you and your palms on the floor, shoulder-width apart, slightly behind you.

 

From here simply press into your hands and through your heels, as if you’re trying to push the floor away from you. Engage your core and lift your hips up while squeezing your glutes.

 

Your body should be in one straight line from head to toe. Toes are pointed, legs and arms are straight, glutes and core engaged and your gaze slightly up and in front of you. This is the position, now you just need to hold it for as long as you can.

 

Step up the challenge:

When you can comfortably hold the reverse plank for 2 minutes, work on decreasing your base of support. This means performing reverse plank with one leg lifted the whole time or alternating between legs a.k.a. marching reverse plank.

 

Sets & reps: hold as long as possible x 4 sets

Muscles worked: erector spinae, lower back, gluteus maximus, deltoids, hamstrings, rectus abdominis, obliques

 

 

Divebomber Push – Ups

How to perform:

If you know yoga basics I can explain this in a simple way. In order to do a divebomber push – up begin in downward dog and from there move into upward – facing dog. Stay in this position for one – two seconds then return to downward dog. That makes one rep.

 

All of you, who aren’t yogi bears, fear not, here’s a simplified explanation. Begin by forming an upside down V shape with your body.

 

This means hands and feet are firmly planted on the floor and your booty is pushing towards the ceiling. Keeping your back flat and knees slightly bent to avoid locking.

 

Place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. This is your starting position. Lead with your head and begin lowering the shoulders as you allow your chest to brush the ground. Let your head swoop between your arms and your chest open as you look up to the ceiling.

 

Now you’re in the so-called upward – facing dog. Stay in this position for one – two seconds then act as if you hit a rewind button. Following the same path push your hips up and come back to the starting position.

 

Step up the challenge:

Since divebomber push – ups are pretty darn tough I recommend you only work on building strength so you can increase the rep range. The “trick” is to focus on form and do not get discouraged if at the beginning you can do only one or can’t do any at all. Just keep putting in the hard work!

 

Sets & reps: 10 reps x 3 sets

Muscles worked: pecs, erector spinae, lower back, lats, deltoids, triceps, gluteus, quads, hamstrings

 

 

Bird – Dog Exercise

How to perform:

Every once in a while it’s good to go back to basics and this exercise is a perfect example. Start this exercise on all fours with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.

 

Make sure your feet aren’t going outwards but they’re rather forming a straight line with your knees. Slightly tuck the pelvis under, draw naval to spine and engage your core. Keep your spine and neck neutral as you gaze down between your palms.

 

From here extend one leg back and opposite arm forward at the same time. Reach your hand out as far as you can, as if you’re trying to grab something. Press through the heel that’s lifted as if there’s a wall behind you and hold this position for 3 – 5 seconds.

 

Gently release your hand and knee to the floor and repeat on the other side.

 

Step up the challenge:

Bird – Dog is a pretty basic exercise so there are a few ways you could make it more difficult once it becomes easy for you. You can add weight by simply holding a light weight plate in your hand.

 

Another way you can make this exercise harder is by getting into a high plank and extending your arm and leg from there.

 

Sets and reps: 10 reps (each side) x 4 sets

Muscles worked: lower back, middle back, gluteus, rectus abdominis, deltoids, hamstrings

 

 

Elbow presses

How to perform:

Earlier I mentioned you will need two chairs for this exercise so go ahead and grab them. Place the chairs next to each other but keep a shoulder-width distance between them. Get in between the chairs and lower yourself down to place each elbow on one chair.

 

Keep your feet in front of you and the knees bent. Lift your toes so you’re pressing through your heels, engage the core and look straight ahead of you.

 

Now using only your lats slowly descend then explode back up. Make sure you’re digging your elbows into the chairs to have a strong base of support.

 

Step up the challenge:

In order to make this exercise more difficult place weight plates on your lap. The amount of weight you’ll be using is completely up to you but I recommend you start light then work your way up.

 

Another way to step up the challenge is by extending your legs out straight, digging your heels into the floor. This way your base of support will be smaller which in turn will make the exercise more difficult.

 

Sets and reps: 12 – 15 reps x 4 sets

Muscles worked: lats, delts, core muscles

 

 

I hope these exercises inspire you to get creative when you plan your next back workout and if you have any questions feel free to ask me. Also, let me know in the comments what you think of these exercises and what other bodyweight back exercises do you do, I would love to try them!

 

P.S. apologies for the extremely bad video quality, it’s the best I could do atm 🙁

 

Enjoy your workout,

M, xo