Why, Hello Triceps! 3 Strength Exercises for Triceps that Pop

Why, Hello Triceps! 3 Strength Exercises for Triceps that Pop

3 Exercises for truly beach worthy triceps…

1. Diamond Pushups

Place the tips of your pointer fingers together and the tips of your thumbs together to form a diamond shape with your hands. Start from a plank position and lower your body so that your chest stays over the diamond. To get those triceps working a little extra, keep your elbows close to your body. Explode back up to complete the diamond pushup.

Complete 10 to 20 reps or challenge yourself to see how many you can get – with good form – in a minute.

2. Tubing Triceps Extension

Attach one end of the tubing to a post/tree/helpful person at about shoulder height or slightly higher. Stand facing away from the attachment point. Tuck your tailbone under so that you’ve engaged your glutes and abs. Start with your arm bent so that you are holding the tubing above your shoulder and your palm is facing your cheek. When you look down at your shoulder, you want your chest to be perpendicular to your arm. Your elbow should be slightly higher than your shoulder. Keeping the elbow in stable, extend the arm. Return to the start position and repeat.

Do 10-20 reps and then switch sides. If you find that your elbow moves, you can stabilize the elbow of the working shoulder by taking your opposite hand and applying light pressure to keep the elbow in place.

3. TRX Triceps Extension

If you have access to a TRX, this is one of the best tricep exercises out there. Stand facing away from your attachment point with the TRX extended to mid-length. Start with the arms straight out in front of you and the palms facing down. You’ll want the elbows slightly higher than the shoulders. Bend at the elbow until your hands are even with your temples – extend to complete the motion.

Just as with the tubing triceps extension, you have to keep the elbow in relatively the same place in order to put the most emphasis on the muscle you are trying to target (the triceps).

Do 10-20 reps. Remember to keep the core engaged. Also, keep the arms parallel at all times and move only at the elbow joint (as opposed to the shoulder joint).

Try it!

If you want to get crazy (and bring your triceps along for the ride), super set ‘em. For example, do a set of 10 Diamond Pushups and then finish your arms off with a set of tubing triceps extension.

We have more triceps exercises up our sleeves so make sure you a. check back or subscribe to our Facebook page – http//facebook.com/ puravidaurban and b. come in to the studio if you need help (schedule your class at www.puravidaurban.com/schedule-a-class).

Try these out, and leave a comment if you have a personal favorite or a fantastic modification…

Strengthen Your Rotator Cuffs for Healthier, Injury-Free Shoulders

Strengthen Your Rotator Cuffs for Healthier, Injury-Free Shoulders

Why you need to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles…

The glenohumeral joint is at the junction of the hummerus (the bone you might associate with your upper-arm bone) and scapula (the bone you might associate with your shoulder blade). Your hummerus sits in a relatively shallow dip in the scapula (called the glenoid fossa).

On the plus side the relatively shallow groove characteristic of the glenoid fossa allows us to have a wide range of motion in a variety of planes: you can lift your arm in front of your body, you can lift your arm out to the side, you can move your arm in a circular motion, you can rotate the arm so that the palm faces upwards (supine) or downwards (prone). You can swim the backstroke or do your most righteous air-guitar moves – thank you glenohumeral joint!

The downside of having a shallow joint surface is that the joint is more prone to injury. Just think of it this way – more ways to move, more ways to get injured. So it’s important that you take the time to appreciate those smaller stabilizing muscles in your shoulders.

That said, here are 2 exercises to make your rotator cuff muscles stronger. Do them at low weight (tubing will do the trick) and high rep (expect to feel a burn).

1. External Should Rotation – attach the tubing to a pole/tree/other human. Stand with your left side perpendicular to the tubing. Hold the tubing in your right hand. Your right hand should be about over your bellybutton and your right arm should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Stand up tall – tuck your tailbone under (tilt your pelvis to engage the glutes and abs). While keeping your right elbow glued to your side, move the right hand (right arm is still at a 90 degree angle) away from the attachment point.

Tip: When people do this I see them change their stances in all sorts of ways to avoid using just the external rotators in the shoulder. Make sure you use your core to stay stable throughout your ENTIRE body – that includes the opposite shoulder.

Complete 15 to 20 reps and then switch sides.

2. The Cactus – put the tubing around a pole/tree/other human. Stand facing the attachment point. Hold one end of the tubing in each hand and bend your elbows so that you have a 90 degree angle. Lift the elbows away from the body so that they are level with the shoulders – keep your 90 degree angle. Don’t feel it yet? Good. We haven’t started. At this point you should be able to place one point on each elbow and a point on each shoulder and if you drew a line between the points, it would be straight – keep this line during the entire exercise. Stand up tall – tuck your tailbone under (tilt your pelvis to engage the glutes and abs). Rotate at the shoulders so that the forearms go from being parallel to the floor to perpendicular to the floor – you now look like a cartoon cactus (hence the name)!

Tip: As you get on in your reps, you may be inclined to let the elbows drift forward – don’t do it! Maintain the straight line from elbow to shoulder to opposite shoulder to opposite elbow.

Complete 15 to 20 reps and then switch sides.

Confused? Come in and see us at Functional Movement! We’ll help you out with your form.

It’s cost by donation (with no minimum – aka if you don’t learn anything, don’t leave us a dime). Saturdays at 3:30pm (sometimes with the special addition of a Saturday at 10:30am). 30 minutes. Sign-up using the schedule.

Did you like this article? Have questions? Have a favorite exercise we didn’t mention or experience using these exercises? Let us know! Leave a comment below…

3 Leap Day Plyometric Exercises

3 Leap Day Plyometric Exercises

My roommate celebrated Leap Day – after all, it happens only once every four years! – by taking jumping photos at GAP. If you’re thinking of taking your own Leap Day photos, here are 3 Leap Day Plyometric Exercises that will make for some great Leap Day pics…

1. The Star Jump – Jump up as high as you possibly can while spreading your arms and legs wide apart. Bring your legs back together to nail the landing.

2. The Rock Star – Jump as high as you can while bending one leg behind you and Tebow-ing (that’s a word, right?) with your head and opposite arm.

3. The Mario – Jump as high as you possibly can while bending one leg (driving the knee forward) and extending the opposite arm – 1-Up!

I know everyone has amazing verticals, but keep that camera low to the ground for added height! Happy Leap Day!

Do you have a favorite leaping exercise? Did you take a few Leap Day photos? We want to hear from you! Comment below…

2 Ways to Improve Balance Using a Foam Roller

I have 2 fantastic balance exercises for you that involve the foam roller (yes, you can use it for more than that glorious/sometimes painful myofascial release). But first, lets take a second to talk about balance. By now you’ve probably figured out that we LOVE balance. And we love it for two primary reasons…

1. Because balance is necessary – muscle balance dictates your posture (and increases or decreases your likelihood of injury), rest-activity balance dictates your recovery (and increases or decreases your likelihood of injury), your ability to balance while standing/walking/running/transitioning from any of those states can – a pattern emerges – increase or decrease your likelihood of injury.

2. Because balance is fun – it is FUN to play with your balance. A few years back I had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time with a two-year old named Chester. Chester knew how to walk, but his gate was still relatively unstable. I’d take him to the Underhill Playground and he’d spend most of the time tottering back and forth from the pavement to the plastic matting. He was fascinated by the lip where the matting met the blacktop – it was angled to the ground (as the matting was slightly higher) and he thought it was a blast to try and walk along and over the edge.

As an adult, you can enjoy both of the wonders of balance. You can appreciate your strengthened sense of balance AND you can have some fun with it – here’s where the foam roller comes in!

If you happen to have a foam roller lying around the house, give these 2 exercises a try…

1. Lie the foam roller on the floor in an area that is clear of clutter (you don’t want to trip on anything if you have to step down). Step up on to the foam roller. Stand there – see how long you can maintain your balance. If you have to step down, see if you can beat your time.

2. Lie the foam roller on the floor in an area that is clear of clutter (again, you don’t want to trip on anything if you have to step down). Step on the foam roller with one foot. Bend your opposite leg so that your foot is off the ground. See how long you can hold. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Can you do it? Give our readers an idea of how long you made it. Easy? Hard? Variations? We’ love to hear from you – leave a comment below!

Live in the Brooklyn area and want to have some fun with foam rollers? We have cost by donation Functional Movement class every Saturday from 3:30 to 4:00! Drop-in or check out the schedule to sign-up.

Motivated Monday: Shot of Advice from Wayne Gretzky

Motivated Monday: Shot of Advice from Wayne Gretzky

It’s Monday, so of course, that means it’s “time to be the best!”. Today’s Motivated Monday comes from Wayne Gretzky. Wayne Gretzky was one of the greatest hockey players in the history of the NHL. He currently holds 54 records (and shares 7) with 15 of those records achieved during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Gretzky has all those records (and the nickname “The Great One”) for a reason – he played and played and played and played and played. He has hours, upon days, upon years of experience playing hockey. Granted he had some given athletic talent to work from, but it’s his tenacity – the willingness to persistently take action – that propelled him to success.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

Have you ever thought: “Self. This is it. Tomorrow I start my diet or tomorrow I exercise.” Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. When this is how you’re feeling take a shot of advice from Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky’s key to being such a phenomenal hockey player was the action he took. He was ALWAYS taking action. If you never take action, there’s no way you will ever gain the experience you need to reach your goal. Nor will you ever enjoy the experience for the sake of the experience.

While it’s tempting to do so (every chance I get), I’m not going to list the health benefits of working out and healthy eating in this post. You KNOW that exercise is good for you and you KNOW it makes you feel great. You KNOW eating healthy food is good for you and you KNOW eating healthy food makes you feel great.

Take a chance and do it today! Take a shot at something that will make you healthier (and happier). Making changes to your fitness routine (or lack thereof) or changes to you eating habits can be just as frightening as it is exhilarating. This can be especially true if you’ve tried to make a change in the past, and failed. The key is to 1. Keep on trying and 2. Learn from what you’ve tried in the past (why didn’t it work?).

So swallow that shot of advice with a little shot of courage (yes, puns entirely intended). Remember, you will succeed (just like Gretzky), but only with effort and experience.

Thoughts, comments, ideas… Let us know! Leave a comment…

If you’re in the Brooklyn area and you want a little help getting started (support can make a huge difference!), come in for a $10 Trial Fitness Bootcamp Class, Vinyasa Yoga Class or TRX Training Class…
first brooklyn fitness class button



“The Official Website for Wayne Gretzky | Gretzky.com.” The Official Website for Wayne Gretzky. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. <http://www.gretzky.com/>.

3 Choices to Make to be as Healthy as Paula Deen

3 Choices to Make to be as Healthy as Paula Deen

I recently had a nutrition client come in. I remarked that she has an advantage in getting started with healthy meals because she loves to cook. Her response: while she does love to cook, she can “Paula Deen out” with the the best of them. Deen announced in January that she has Type 2 Diabetes. What’s sad is that, probably in her case (as in many cases), Type 2 Diabetes is avoidable – and even reversible – through preventative measures such as making good exercise and nutrition decisions.

Here’s 3 must do choices to make and actions to take so that you can be as healthy as Paula Deen – and conversely, what you can avoid doing (or do instead) to escape this disease.

1. More BUTTER, please! Paula Deen loves cooking (and she’s fantastic at it!). But many of the recipes she provides are fried and heavy on the cheese and butter. If you’re looking to harness your cooking skills 1. Not all cooking oil needs to be butter – you can use a host of other oils while cooking (olive oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil). There’s a lot of choices out there – even among olive oils! If you’re looking for something new (or just more information), this is one of my favorite shops for oils and vinegars: Fiore. 3.Try something that’s not as refined – challenge yourself to eat meals where you could look at the food and say “I know EXACTLY” what that is (aka eat food that’s less processed). That is a grain of brown rice. That is a leaf of kale. That is a walnut. The list could go on for days because there are SO many foods out there – many of which you may have never tried, but that you may learn to love. Just out of curiosity, we threw the ingredients from Paula Deen’s 10 latest recipes into the word cloud maker – wordle:

Wordle: Paula Deen Recipe Ingrediants

2. Don’t move. Diabetes is only one of the many health concerns that correlate with obesity – a problem that over 33.9% of American adults face. When you want to maintain a steady weight, your calories in must equal your  calories OUT. If your caloric balance is off, you must move more (or you must consume less). Yes, it’s good to exercise for weight loss purposes, but even more important, exercise increases bone density, and releases hormones that block stress and improve mood. Just like with eating (perhaps trying new dishes and savoring a little creativity), try to have some fun with exercise. We aren’t all thrilled by the same activities. You love swimming, I love basketball – po-ta-to/po-tat-o. The most important thing is to find what you love to do and DO IT. That might change over time or even within seasons. Recognize that that’s ok. You can change what you do – it might even be GOOD for you to cross train! If you have trouble getting out on your own, join a group like New York Social Sports or Zogg Sports.

3. Rely on medicating symptoms rather than taking measures to prevent ill-health. Paula Deen’s not healthy. Fine. She can start moving and start eating nutritious foods. Wrong. The part that is most disturbing is that, instead of learning how to cook healthier meals and causing a tremendous ripple effect by sharing that information with her fans (she has nearly 1.7 million Facebook followers), Paula Deen has become the spokes person for the Novo Nordisk, pharmaceutical company that supplies her diabetes medications. Maybe she’s actually taking better care of herself behind the scenes (and she does have a special website just for diabetes friendly recipes). While she does have an immediate need to treat her symptoms, I hope that, even as the spokes person for Novo Nordisk, she is also working towards a healthier lifestyle (eradicating the unhealthy lifestyle that caused her diabetes in the first place).

Questions? comments? let us know…


Board, A.D.A.M. Editorial. “Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors.” Type 2 Diabetes. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Nov. 0000. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001356/>.
“Choose the Right Cooking Oils — for Great Taste and Nutrition.” EverydayHealth.com. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. <http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-recipes/oils.aspx>.
“Paula Deen on Diabetes Backlash: Some ‘were Kinda Mean about It’” Bites. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. <http://bites.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/24/10496737-paula-deen-on-diabetes-backlash-some-were-kinda-mean-about-it>.
“Pauladeen.com.” Recipes, Home Cooking and Decorating —. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. <http://www.pauladeen.com/>.
Brooklyn Yoga: Welcome Back

Brooklyn Yoga: Welcome Back

This morning’s yoga class centered on the idea of coming back. How many times do we tell ourselves we’re going to do something–break a bad habit, start a new habit, connect with someone, work towards a daily goal–only to find ourselves off track? The wonderful thing about yoga, like each new day, is that it always welcomes you back. You can pick up right where you left off. And it doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to yoga or have been practicing for years, because yoga, like each sunrise, never passes judgement. If practiced with an open heart, it can provide a comfortable, welcoming place to come back to, time and time again. You’ll find that the more you practice yoga, the more the poses will start to feel like home.

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come, come.

What is something in your life you can come back to this week? Maybe it’s an inner or outer behavior, something you’ve been working on or want to change. Maybe it’s a special person you’ve been out of touch with that you can reach out to. Make this the week to come back, with a joyful heart, and open yourself to the possibilities that await.

This post was written by instructor, Molly Gillin.

Sign-up for her class! or learn more about Molly

Motivated Monday: light-up your chest muscles with a little advice from Tom Edison

Motivated Monday: light-up your chest muscles with a little advice from Tom Edison

It’s Monday, so of course, that means it’s “time to be the best!”. Todays Motivated Monday comes from Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison – inventor of both the lightbulb AND the phonograph.

“I failed my way to success” – Thomas Edison

Next time you’re in a Brooklyn Bootcamp Fitness Class remember that failure is part of the learning process. When you fail to do a rep with proper form and a coach corrects you, you can then adjust (learn from your failure) and go on to succeed in making the most out of that particular exercise.

However, this part of the process of failing is only the first step. Once you have the first step down – once you’ve made the EFFORT to learn – you must now gain EXPERIENCE. You must push yourself to failure over and over. As your body adapts and becomes stronger, you’ll take longer and longer to reach failure. But eventually, you’ll reach your goal.

Take pushups for example. Let’s say you come in here for the first time and you learn the proper form, but you can only do 5 modified pushups until your arms fail on you. Just because you have the proper form doesn’t mean that you’ll suddenly be able to complete 20 full pushups. It may take many sets of failing to get to 20 until you FINALLY reach your goal! You’ll get there, but it takes time. You must literally “fail [your] way to success”.

So, when you aren’t getting the results you want to see, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t on the road to success, it only means that you might need to either 1. try a new approach (correct your form) or 2. give yourself a little more time to adjust (gain experience) and learn (try different methods of getting to your goal – back to our pushups example, maybe you do some chest press exercises or vary your hand placement).

We want to here where you’ve failed, but finally found success… Leave us your story of “failing [your way] to success”…


“Quotes to Overcome the Fear of Failure.” Motivational and Inspirational Quotes. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. .

“THOMAS EDISON’S INVENTIONS.” Thomas Edison Home Page. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. .

2 Medicine Ball Power Moves for a Stronger Core

2 Medicine Ball Power Moves for a Stronger Core

Building core power is essential for sports performance – weekend warrior style or otherwise. We have a couple Medicine Ball favorites that will add power to all of your motions by improving explosive movement capability through your core.

Medicine Ball Core Power Exercise #1… The Medicine Ball Slam

With feet just beyond hip width apart, take the medicine ball over your head and slam it straight down on the floor in front of you. Catch the ball and repeat. To make it more challenging, pick up your pace. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Medicine Ball Core Power Exercise #2… The Medicine Ball Oblique Slam

With feet just beyond hip width apart, take the medicine ball above your head. Rotate to the right as you slam the medicine ball down just outside of the right foot. Catch the medicine ball, bring it over your head – back to the start position, rotate to the left and slam the medicine ball down just outside of your left foot. That’s one rep. Repeat 5 to 8 times.

With both of these exercises, it is ESSENTIAL that you use your ENTIRE body. I sometimes see people that are new to the exercise at our Brooklyn fitness bootcamps attempting to use just their arms – this defeats the purpose of a the core power exercise – to develop explosive force. You will be using your arms, but you will also use your legs and your CORE.

Have you tried this exercise? Let us know how it went. Love it? Hate it? Leave a comment…

Recovery isn’t a chocolate chip cookie – it’s a dark green vegetable.

“Am I overtraining?” – this question very rarely comes up, but every once in a while we get a Brooklyn Fitness Bootcamp goer who is concerned about overtraining. If you think you may be overtraining, consider instead – am I under-recovering? Am I giving my body the appropriate amount of rest that it needs.

The concept of under-recovery is difficult to measure because – just like many aspects of fitness – it depends on bio-individuality. There is no set number of days to take off between lifting (one to three days) or between cardio-training sessions (not more than 2 consecutive days). What you should know, is that your body NEEDS time to recover. That’s right not wants – NEEDS. Proper recovery (both in the form of rest and nutrition) will keep all of your systems functioning at peak – including your immune system (which can be compromised by overtraining)!

So how can you tell if you’re not getting enough rest? to measure subjectively, consider the following two questions: Are you finding your workouts draining? Do you feel fatigued instead of invigorated by working out? For a more objective measure: Are you still able to reach your Heart Rate training zones when doing cardio? Are you seeing improvement in terms of the adaptation your are seeking (for example, greater cardiovascular endurance or muscle strength).

As a general rule, when lifting weights, wait for the soreness to subside before you lift again. You want to be at a point where you have complete range of motion. It is a MYTH that you MUST be sore after you lift. If you take the time to stretch adequately (dynamically, statically and myo-fascially) you shouldn’t be very sore or very sore for very long. Can you lift 2, 3 or even 6 days a week? Sure! Just make certain that you’re giving any given muscle group adequate recovery time. For example, if I do a full body lift on Monday, I wouldn’t do a full body lift on Tuesday, but I could probably do one on Wednesday. Keep in mind, it does depend on my individual recovery time and several other factors (am I getting enough sleep, am I eating for maximal recovery, am I drinking enough fluids? – what is the quality of the rest and fuel that will power my workout?)

When doing cardio, do give yourself a minimum of one day off a week. Resting heart rate can also give you some insight into your training. Take your resting heart rate in the morning when you wake up (before you get out of bed). Ideally, it would be taken when you naturally wake (without an alarm clock); however, as this is difficult to find time to do, you can also take it upon awaking to an alarm. Take your resting heart rate for three days straight and then find the average. According to sources at Rice University, there is a difference between the stress placed on sympathetic nervous system versus the parasympathetic nervous system and  resting heart rate. Thus, in sports that require sprinting you may find that the resting heart rate is elevated; where as, in sports that require great deals of endurance, you may find that resting heart rate is significantly decreased.

It is also possible to overtrain without exhibiting objective symptoms – in which case, you must judge subjectively. The following resources provide some excellent information. In any case, for the every day athlete, it’s important to remember that gains CANNOT be made without rest and that the body is a master of adaptation – you will enjoy more gains when you take the time to adequately rest and fuel. There is no way to find a definitive answer to the question of overtraining – you must pay attention to your own body and recognize the signs of fatigue. Remember, recovery isn’t just something your body wants – it’s something your body NEEDS.

If you have experience with overtraining/under training let us know or if you have a special way of knowing when you’re doing too much – leave a comment!



“How Many Days a Week Should You Lift???” DB Strength & Conditioning. Web. 16 Feb. 2012. <http://dbstrength.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-many-days-week-should-you-lift.html>.
“John Berardi – Muscle Recovery.” Dr. John Berardi, Ph.D. Web. 16 Feb. 2012. <http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/training/weightlifting.htm>.
“The Overtraining Syndrome.” Rice University. Web. 16 Feb. 2012. <http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/overtraining.html>.