What it Takes to Have a Healthy Relationship with a Personal Trainer

Gabriel Ferrer Featured Image

Have you ever worked with a teacher or a coach and felt like something was off?

Chances are something was missing in your relationship.

We sat down with one of our Personal Trainers from Chicago, IL to talk about how he’s helped people lose weight, gain strength and build confidence.

We uncovered two essential things he creates to be the best Personal Trainer for each client: Trust & Candor.

Naperville Trainer, Gabriel Ferrer began lifting weights in high school and bodybuilding around 24 years old when he became a full time police officer.

His passion for health and fitness hasn’t wavered for decades and motivated him to transition from police-life to being a Certified Personal Trainer.

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You Have to Have Trust

It’d be a little crazy to expect everyone to walk blindly into a workout with a Personal Trainer, knowing nothing about them or what they do, and trust them completely.

But trust is vital in getting results.

You want to be able to trust that what you are doing inside your workouts is going to yield results. If you’re new to slow-motion strength training, learn more about the science behind it.

And you want to be able to trust that your Trainer can safely and efficiently coach you to get the results you’re looking for.

One client Gabriel is particularly proud of is a woman named Leann and the trust they’ve built together. According to him, their personalities clashed in the beginning, making it a little tough to connect with one another.

Now, she’s one of his superstar clients. 

“I’m there to challenge her every day, constantly being kind and cooperative. I like trying to make it a teamwork thing every time she comes in. I always say, ‘What are we going to be able to do today?’”

By taking this approach to their 20-minute sessions together, Gabriel was able to earn her trust and show up for her, every workout. He has continually challenged her to make progress and meet her goals. 

“I would never say just trust me blindly. I want people to challenge what I'm doing, because hopefully, I'm good enough at what I do to where I can explain it or show you and get your buy-in through actually experiencing it.”

Gabriel Ferrer Photo

One of the advantages of working with a Personal Trainer is we are aware of how it feels to be in your workout shoes. And we're aware of the exact moment in a workout when it becomes challenging, when the body wants to cheat its way out of an exercise and when it's crucial to keep pushing.

Gabriel’s clients feel good knowing that somebody they trust is watching them go through that challenge, and keeping them on track safely.

“I think anybody who wants to be good at something is always going to be learning from somebody else. Having that objectivity of somebody that's not you, assessing the situation and guiding you, is invaluable.”

Just like Gabriel, we don’t expect you to trust us blindly either… Don’t just take our word for it. Hear what a few of our clients have to say about trusting their trainers…

Candor is Key

Another key piece of Gabriel's ability to build trust with clients is using one of The Perfect Workout’s core values: Candor.

Our trainers value speaking openly and honestly for the best interest of the client. 

And we aren’t going to promise what we can’t guarantee.

This is a vital component of the trainer-client relationship and achieving results in a realistic and sustainable way.

There is thought behind how we train you and how you progress. Being able to have an open dialogue about how that works and what it takes to meet each goal is important.

“One thing I always ask my first-time clients is, ‘Are there any questions, comments, concerns, or anything you want me to know?’”

One of Gabriel's clients had recently been trying to lose weight.

Each week the scale showed incremental progress, about ½ to 1 pound down at a time. 

All she could really see was the slight changes each week and didn’t seem too thrilled with the results. What she didn’t realize was from November 2020 to January 2021 she went from 160 lbs to about 145 lbs.

She lost 15 pounds.

Having a candid moment with this client, Gabriel was able to help her shift her paradigm and educate her on healthy, sustainable weight loss.

By the end of the conversation, she was actually very happy with her results and was excited to share the good news with her boyfriend.

“Having somebody there that you trust to coach you through this is invaluable. Which is why I'm a coach.”

We encourage you to ask questions, do your research, and challenge your trainers to be the best they can be! We are here to guide you, educate you, and help you get results.

How The Perfect Workout is Pioneering the World of Virtual Training

pioneering virtual training

When the first shelter at home orders were mandated, we pivoted from our in-studio personal training to online personal training.

We offered immediate support to our clients and a solution to maintaining health, boosting immunity when it mattered most and having jobs for our trainers.

We created an exciting new way of offering our workouts, with lots of help from our early adopters (both clients and trainers). This allowed us to develop a product and system that is our Virtual Training today.

The first iteration of in-home training was ingenious, and helped many clients stay on track with their health and fitness goals. Since then, we have invested more time, resources and innovation into our Virtual Training Program and are excited to share the next steps with you.

We’re Evolving: App Development

Moving all of our personal interactions onto platforms like Zoom added a layer of concern when it comes to security, privacy, and feeling safe. 

Our clients also experienced frustrations when they couldn’t access account information, and it took too many steps, links and clicks to meet with their trainer. 

So, we’ve decided to develop The Perfect Workout App featuring our own video software.

This will allow trainers and clients to connect 1-on-1 without third-party software like Zoom or Facetime for added security and convenience.

With The Perfect Workout App, clients will also get to see real-time workout progress, easily share the program with family and friends, receive nutrition coaching, and seamlessly manage appointments – all in one place.

It’s our way of giving clients access to more tools, more resources, and more education.

 

the perfect workout safety standards fitness innovation app

We’re Innovating for the Future: Couples & Group Virtual Training

Initially, our Virtual Training program offered immediate support to our clients and a solution to maintaining health, boosting immunity, and having jobs for our trainers. (We deeply appreciate our early adopters!)

Our clients can continue to build strength, get healthier, and improve their immune system during the pandemic and beyond – no matter where they are around the world.

We’ve also received many requests from our clients to add family members and friends from out of state train with them in their sessions.

And we’re excited to now introduce a new service to make your training experience more inclusive with Couples & Group Virtual Training!


Not only is this going to make training more fun and sustainable for a lot of people, it's going to bring families together, no matter where you live, during a time where that may not be possible. Now and in the future.

Mom & Daughter Prove What’s Possible, Training 1000+ Miles Apart

virtual training possible

Believe it or not, it’s actually been on our list for some time to create a Virtual Training program because a lot of our clients aren't always able to make it to our studios.

With the pandemic, it became even more obvious for us that it was time to innovate.

Luckily, a special mother and daughter duo were already testing the waters of Virtual Training before we knew how vital it would be for everyone…

In October 2019, Robin Lancaster traveled to Texas to visit her daughter Hannah McKinley, a trainer at The Perfect Workout.

Robin has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and it's always been a little bit of a struggle for her to maintain her fitness.

So, while Robin was in Texas, Hannah decided to put her through a workout in one of our studios. Robin loved the workout and wanted to continue with it but The Perfect Workout currently doesn’t have locations in North Carolina.

This gave Hannah the idea to train Robin virtually when she got home.

After some trial and error, they figured out how Robin could do slow-motion strength training with limited equipment and live coaching from Hannah over the computer.

In just three months of Virtual Training, Robin lost 15 pounds.

She’s also drastically improved her strength and improved her quality of life in everyday activities

One of the key pieces to her success was the 1-on-1 coaching she received from Hannah, in addition to our science-backed strength training methodology.

Client loses 15 pounds with Virtual personal trainer before and after results

We've helped a number of clients with MS improve their quality of life by:

  • increasing strength
  • improving balance and stability
  • creating independence in daily activities
  • providing them with a workout they can do with MS and for life!

Read about some of our clients below!

“She feels like she can enjoy being out in the yard and doing what she wants to do. She's even got [muscle] definition. She said she's never seen that before.” – Hannah

What they didn’t know was that Hannah and Robin were laying the groundwork for what would become The Perfect Workout’s Virtual Training Program.

When the first shelter at home orders were mandated, we were able to quickly pivot from our in-studio personal training to online personal training.

The work they had done to improve Robin’s health ultimately helped us offer slow-motion strength training to everyone, no matter where in the world they are.

These incredible women proved to themselves and the rest of the world that there was still a way to stay strong, healthy, and lose weight by doing slow-motion strength training virtually.

For More Than Just A Six Pack: Get to Know the Ab Crunch

Personal Training Carlsbad CA

The Ab Crunch is a client favorite when it comes to exercises.

Sometimes it’s because of a misconception about what it can do for belly fat.

Other times, it’s because clients know how it can help their mobility goals.

Let’s dig into what the Ab Crunch can do for you…

Muscles Used

The rectus abdominis, or “abs,” are the muscles many of us would like to display in a bathing suit. Besides the aesthetics, they’re an important muscle group for function.

The Ab Crunch machine trains the abs as well as another pair of important muscles. However, performing this exercise requires attention to detail. There’s a small difference between proper execution and lower back strain with the ab crunch. We’ll discuss all of those details later in the article.

The rectus abdominis starts at the bottom of the sternum (chest bone) and the front of the ribs. It runs down to the top of your pubic bone (part of the pelvic girdle), which is just above your genitals.

The main function of this muscle is to pull your spine into a ‘C’ shape, bringing your chest and midsection closer together.

Fitness Trainer Carlsbad CA

Of course, the abs are most known because of the “six pack.” A “six pack” has that appearance because of connective tissue.

As the abs flow from the ribs to the pelvic girdle, there are three segments of connective tissue in the middle. This where the “six pack” gets its upper, middle, and lower portions.

Also, a sheet of connective tissue (linea alba) runs vertically, splitting the abs in half and causing it to look like there are six muscles instead of three.

Secondary muscles in the ab crunch are the external and internal obliques. The obliques are located in the area that many refer to as their “love handles.” (We’re covering all of the fun stuff today.) 😉

How It Works

Regularly performing the ab crunch to the exhaustion point of “muscle success” will strengthen your abs and obliques and possibly make them more aesthetically noticeable. However, I have to warn you: Seeing your midsection muscles is largely a result of low body fat levels.

The less fat between your skin and your abdominal muscles, the easier it is to see definition in your abs.

And losing body fat is mainly a result of positive dietary changes. Wanting to see your abs may beckon a change to your diet more than the use of the ab crunch machine.

Believe it or not, the rectus abdominis does not exist only to make you look good in a bathing suit. It is also functionally significant. The abs are critical muscles for respiration and childbirth.

In addition, they are major stabilization muscles.

Every exercise or sports movement focuses on a small group of joints. For example, throwing a baseball mainly involves the elbow and shoulder joints. For this to occur with optimal efficiency and effectiveness, muscles in various parts of the body (like your abdominals!) contract to hold other parts of your body relatively still.

Personal Trainer Carlsbad CA

Performing the exercise looks like this: 

I mentioned previously that the abs work to pull your chest and midsection closer together, causing your spine to curl into a ‘C’ shape.

The proper range of motion for the ab crunch is small compared to most exercises. The exercise may include only four or five inches of movement in each direction. It’s common to exceed this amount, and that’s where some problems occur.

To avoid overextension problems that can lead to discomfort or targeting the wrong areas, follow these simple steps:

  1. In the ab crunch, as you “curl” downward, your lower back should press into the lower pad. (Your upper back should also stay firmly pressed into the upper pad.)
  2. If your lower back is about to peel off the pad, this is a cue that you’re at the end of the range of motion and need to reverse direction and begin returning to the starting position.
  3. When the lower back is removed from the pad, the midsection and thighs are now moving closer together. This motion is a hip-based movement called “hip flexion.”
  4. Hip flexion uses other muscle groups, and these muscle groups exert some force on the lower back. Examples of exercises that use hip flexion are sit-ups and leg lifts. While the abs assist in these exercises, the hip flexors are the dominant muscles.

In summary, “curl” down on the ab crunch machine no further than the point where you feel your lower back will start leaving the back pad.

Using the ab crunch will strengthen your abs and obliques, muscles that not only help you look good on the beach (with proper nutrition) but also with critical life functions.

Strength Trainer Carlsbad CA

Maximize Your Ab Crunch in 2 Minutes or Less

In order to get the most out of your 1-2 minutes on the Ab Crunch, your coach will guide you through these four things:

  1. Full Range of Motion (and no further!): Full range of motion helps avoid shortcutting the targeted muscles. Think “ribs to hips” and “belly button to spine” to squeeze your abdominal muscles properly.
  2. Relax Your Feet and Hands: Avoid letting your hands or feet take over carrying the weight to “muscle through” the movement. You want the primary contraction to live in your abdominals. The goal isn’t to get as far as you can. It’s to let the targeted muscles reach muscle success.
  3. Neck Relaxed: Try to keep the neck as static and relaxed as you can to keep the tension in your abdominal muscles and not in your neck.
  4. Muscle Success: How could we leave this out?! Achieve muscle success and thoroughly fatigue your abdominal muscles to help build your strength.

Strengthen your abdominal muscles and work toward visible abs with a 20-minute workout.

Why Strength Training is Part of Her Plan to Live to 100

Personal Trainer Falls Church

Linda Maldonado broke her ankle in 2014 and it left her feeling hesitant that she could stay active and do the things she wanted to do. She was concerned about the future.

But her vision for the next several decades was to thrive. And she wanted to optimize her health and become strong enough to live to 100… yes, 100!

And with The Perfect Workout, Linda realized she could do all of that. Keep reading to learn how building muscle and strength has let her continue being as active as she wants to be in her 70s.

Life Before Strength

Linda joined The Perfect workout the month she turned 70. She wanted to develop as much strength as possible to counter her osteopenia and improve her balance.

Years earlier, Linda came across research showing the benefits of slow-motion training, but was worried she’d get bored with it.

So she continued to exercise on her own, going to the gym for cardio, lifting free weights and taking yoga classes. But after some time she felt like that approach wasn’t helping her get any closer to her goals.

I want to optimize my health and stay strong for the next several decades. I plan to live to 100 at least!

Linda Maldonado

But that only makes sense if those decades are full of health and vigor. (Learn more about how slow-motion strength training can help you live longer.)

Linda searched for slow-motion strength training and found the Falls Church, Virginia studio just minutes away from her home – perfect.

Personal Trainers Falls Church

Optimizing Her Health

Before The Perfect Workout and after her broken ankle, Linda was no longer sure she felt up to a trip to Machu Picchu with all those steps and altitude.

“Now, with the strength I’ve gained has come the confidence to do whatever I can – and we did climb two days at Machu Picchu in 2018, each day achieving 150 flights of stairs! With surprisingly NO pain or problem in the days afterward. That felt like a huge achievement.”

Just as the pandemic lockdown started in early 2020, Linda fell on her hands during a walk and injured her elbows, so she wasn’t able to lift any weight for several weeks.

Luckily, The Perfect Workout had launched their new 1-on-1 Virtual Training Program. Linda met with her trainer Melissa, virtually, twice a week, focusing on lower body exercises with the equipment she had at home (free weights and a ball).

Fitness Trainer Falls Church

“That worked really well – she was creative and flexible and always came up with great ideas.”

Especially in a time like quarantine, having the option to train virtually was a beneficial option for Linda, but she’s very happy to be back in the COVID-safe studio working with her trainer in person.

100 Here She Comes!

Linda will be the first to say, “This really does work!”  

The 20 minutes of exercise are challenging and intense but she can see and feel positive results.

“When I told my husband I leg-pressed 270 lbs, he said I must mean 170… hard for him to believe!”

She decided she always wants to keep up with her 20-minute training sessions. In fact, she first started training at The Perfect Workout just once a week, but quickly realized she would get better results with two sessions a week. It truly is all you need to get results, and in a fraction of the time.

Having the right method is one big lever to getting successful results. And the other is having the right trainer. Both of which Linda is experiencing on her path to living to 100.

“Having a personal trainer makes a huge difference. The trained staff know how to observe you, listen to you, make changes and tweaks that work for improved effectiveness. I always feel safe and I know my trainer has the skills and interest to make this the best possible experience for me.”

Whether you’re also on a path to 100, wanting to optimize your health, or have a specific goal like reversing Osteoporosis, becoming healthier starts with just 20 minutes, twice a week.

Start training with a Personal Trainer today!

How Tom Got Diabetes & Blood Pressure Under Control, Naturally

personal trainer

A Mediterranean escape on the itinerary.

A plan to get in shape.

A perfect workout to help get him there.

Then COVID hit.

Read about our client Tom Curry’s story of keeping up with his get-in-vacation-shape plan during quarantine and the surprising health improvements he made training at home.

His Vacation Motivation

Tom’s story started with his wife, Cathy. She had been training in our West Plano studio for about a year and a half before she finally got Tom to try it out. The only exercise Tom had been doing was walking his dogs twice a day. It was better than nothing, but not nearly enough to get in shape for a big trip they had planned.

Going to Greece was on the horizon for the Curry’s and Tom had made it a goal to get in shape for it. 

“We were going to be doing a lot of walking and I just wanted to make sure I could handle all of that for the trip.”

Tom had done weight training before but never tried the slow-motion strength workout we do at The Perfect Workout. In less than a year, it’s proven to be more effective than anything else he’s done.  

With just two, 20-minute workouts a week, Tom feels like he has more energy each day, especially the next day after his workout. And he is getting the benefits of a cardio workout with strength training. 

“I never was a big cardio fan. The idea of getting on a treadmill and doing that was not ever very much fun. I'm getting cardio with this workout, because I can certainly tell my heart's beating faster!”

Tom got in the groove of training at the studio twice a week and felt excited about his new workout regimen and how it would help him tackle the hills of Greece, and then COVID hit.

COVID Didn’t Halt his Progress

“I was skeptical of this at home (Virtual Personal Training) at first just because I'm not very good at doing things here at the house.”

Many people struggle to keep up with their workouts at home, which is why having a Personal Trainer, even via video, makes each session productive and worthwhile. 

“It’s motivation knowing that I'm connecting with somebody, even if it's on a computer screen.”

Luckily, being a resident in West Plano, TX, Tom didn’t have to quarantine nearly as long as other parts of the country, so he was back in the studio as soon as it opened back up.

After going back [to the studio] I didn't lose any ground. That was nice not having to start all over again. I can certainly tell now that I'm back in the studio that I'm a lot stronger than I was.

Tom Curry

But Tom is considered “high-risk” in COVID-terms so he needed reassurance that the studio would be a safe place for him to workout if he returned.

Tom was in excellent hands returning to the studio since we are by-appointment-only and adhere to all CDC guidelines on distance, masks, and sanitation, We've even gone one step further and installed HEPA air filters in each room, which cleans the air every 2-3 minutes, just like on airplanes and in hospitals. See what else we’re doing to keep you safe.

“They're doing a great job keeping it clean and the number of clients down. I'm in one of those categories they say you got to be really careful So far, I've felt safe.”

Diabetes & Blood Pressure Under Control

Tom has Type II Diabetes and almost a year ago he was having problems managing his A1-C levels. His Doctor was changing his medications to see if they could get it under control. After dropping one type of medication, his A1-C levels spiked up to 7.4 (anything over 7 is considered “bad.”) 

During quarantine and over the course of his Virtual Training Sessions, Tom was able to lower his levels back down to 6.4. 

“I dropped a full point during the pandemic doing things at home!”

In addition, his blood pressure dropped as a result of his 20-minute strength training workouts.

Feeling Good About Health Again

“I sing the praises when somebody asked me about [The Perfect Workout] because I think it's, far easier to go do something like this than to spend 45 minutes in a gym- 25 minutes on a treadmill and, and then trying to pick out your own routine with weights which you're inevitably going to screw something up.”

Tom is extremely happy with all of the Personal Trainers he’s worked with. They’ve all been very encouraging and are personally invested in his progress. He feels like the entire team has been very engaged in helping him make positive changes in his health.

“I really feel good about my health.“

How Susan Tripled Her Leg Strength After Total Knee Replacement

Personal Trainer Menlo Park CA

Total Knee Replacement can sound really scary to those who face it.

Major surgery. Painful recovery. And little certainty that everyday activities will get easier.

Susan Kubiak knew she needed an expert to help her beyond rehab. Read on for her journey of building incredible strength physically and mentally at The Perfect Workout.

Susan Kubiak was coming out of a total knee replacement in July 2019. After three and a half weeks in skilled nursing she transitioned to a formal rehab program to continue strengthening her knee. 

Once that program ended, Susan started looking at alternatives that allowed her to continue exercising twice a week with an instructor- two things that had worked for her during her 3 months of rehabilitation.

Susan researched big box gyms, Crossfit, personal training and her search ultimately led her to The Perfect Workout. 

“One of the things that was so attractive to me about it is that I had been using the Nautilus equipment for the leg press. That was an identical piece of equipment that I had used in my physical rehabilitation program. I was confident that that was a solid way to go.”

Data-Driven Motivation

“The other thing that I really like about the program is the ability for it to keep data. I really appreciate looking at that. It's highly motivating to me to see that I am making progress.”

At The Perfect Workout we track the amount of weights that you're lifting so we can see your strength progress, but we track so much more than that. We also track:

 

  • Workout Settings: Our staff keeps a detailed profile on your seat settings, modifications and overall program so you can get the same excellent workout with any trainer, at any of our locations.
  • Time under Tension: which is the amount of time spent on the exercise, and we use this as a benchmark to understand if it's time to increase resistance or scale it back
  • And other measurements such as body measurements, weight tracking, and before and after photos if its a method you’re interested in… but no pressure from our Trainers!


This is a science-backed program and we want our clients to have access to this data to really understand what slow-motion strength training is doing for your body.

Stronger Than Ever

One of Susan’s proudest achievements so far has been building up strength, particularly on her favorite machine… The Leg Press. 

When she left physical therapy, Susan was pushing 80 pounds (on the same leg press we use in the studio). Six months later, she is pushing 225 pounds. In that short amount of time she’s been able to increase her strength by 280%. Impressive!

Now that she’s proven her body won’t let her down with this safe and effective method, the thing Susan is most proud of is her mental strength.

“You can be your worst enemy, if you will trust your head, your body will follow. I can physically perform these tasks in the right way with encouragement and education. I don't let my head get in the way of letting me down.”

The trainers at The Perfect Workout have been able to help Susan create a stronger muscle-mind connection and it has left her feeling strong and empowered.

Strength Trainer Menlo Park CA
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“The positive nature of the trainers and the background that they have is just so encouraging for me, and particularly in something that I'm not an expert in. They're the experts, I need their help. I need their guidance.”

Susan recently celebrated her 66th birthday and feels like having an exercise program that allows her to perform strength training safely, but intensely is vital.

“And the science behind this is just incredible.”

How to Build Strong, Defined Thighs

Personal Trainer Mill Valley CA


Want firmer thighs and a lifted booty? The Leg Curl is an exercise you don’t want to skip.

If you’ve been training with us, you know our 20-minute workouts target the entire body including one of the biggest muscles- the hamstrings.

If having a strong, firm thighs and a lifted backside is something you’re striving for… keep reading.

The Muscles Used

The hamstrings are large muscles that make up the back of your thighs and are the primary movers worked in the Leg Curl. In addition to the hamstrings, this power exercise also targets the calves.

These main muscles targeted by the Leg Curl are largely responsible for the appearance of your thighs and lower legs and train the muscles that are responsible for running speed.

To learn how to target the hamstrings along with your buttocks, read our article on the Leg Press.


How it Works

The hamstrings contract to provide knee flexion, which is the technical name for the movement performed during the Leg Curl. Each hamstring is a group of four muscles that start on your pelvis (around the bottom of your buttocks), cover the backs of your thighs and attach to the lower leg, just below your knee. The hamstrings have two major functions: to flex your knee, and pull your thigh backward (hip extension).

Performing the exercise looks like this: 

The Leg Curl (seated in particular) begins with you seated and legs stretched out in front of you in between two pads. Your feet are flexed with toes pointing straight up to engage the muscles in the back of the leg and upper body is upright and relaxed.

As you begin to move the weight, you’re trying to pull your heels close to your buttocks, keeping your toes pointed up throughout the entire range of motion. Once you have reached your full range of motion- you’ve brought your heels back as far as they can go, you want to squeeze your hamstrings in the contracted position for approximately 3 seconds and slowly resist the weight back to the beginning position.


Like all exercises, you avoid resting in between repetitions and slowly push yourself to reach Muscle Success.


Why Do It?

Building the muscle fibers in the hamstrings can provide a firm appearance to the backs of the thighs, and can also create an ovular shape. This can be seen if you look at the back of someone’s thighs from a side view.

The Leg Curl is a very efficient exercise, in that the calves (gastrocnemius) assist the hamstrings in flexing the knees. Many women wear high-heeled shoes because the elevated heels force the calves to contract, making the leg look more defined and shapely. Using the Leg Curl can create that same muscularity in the lower legs without needing the shoes.

Hamstrings in Day-to-Day Function

The hamstrings are a major muscle group responsible for pulling the leg down after the knee rises. The foot drives into the ground and propels you forward. The acceleration comes from the leg and foot being pulled down as fast as possible. The faster the foot can move downward, the greater the acceleration.

For any athlete who sprints, such as those playing baseball, softball, and football, the Leg Curl trains a muscle that is critical to maximizing acceleration.

You don’t need to be an athlete or play competitive sports to benefit from this exercise. Performing the Leg Curl regularly will help to improve leg strength and overall mobility for anyone.

Maximizing Your Leg Curl in 2 Minutes or Less

In order to get the most out of your 1-2 minutes on the Leg Curl, your coach will help you achieve these three things:

  1. Full Range of Motion: A full range of motion helps to give a thorough workout to the targeted muscles. Think “heels to butt” and give those hammies a big squeeze as you strive for each repetition.
  2. Flex Your Feet: A fuller range of motion can be accomplished when the ankles are dorsi flexed, meaning the tops of your feet are pulled towards your shins. If your toes are pointed down as you flex your knees, your calves will be multitasking with two responsibilities, and they will do poorly in each. Keep your toes up to make sure your calves can do their best in flexing your knees.
  3. Muscle Success: You knew it was coming! Achieving muscle success by fully fatiguing the hamstrings will help you build the strength you’re looking for.

Whether you desire firm, rounded thighs or to run faster during your favorite sport, the Leg Curl is a quick & efficient way to achieving strong and sexy stems.

Strengthen your legs and define your entire body with a 20-minute workout.

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Finally, A Workout You Can Do For the Rest of Your Life

Strength is the underlying factor in independence.

It’s a well-known fact that strength, along with muscle, decreases with age.

As our strength drops below the level required to perform daily activities, we cross the threshold of independent to dependent.

One way to avoid dependency in old age is to strength train.

When it comes to strength training with the elderly, though, some people may have some concerns. In this article we will dive into how older adults can benefit from slow-motion strength training and why it's a workout you can do for a lifetime.

 

How old is too old for strength training?

Researchers in Denmark set out to answer this question with a study that split 23 men and women, between 85 and 97 years old, into either a strength training or control group for 12 weeks. The participants were mainly living in nursing homes or at their own homes, although just about all of them were dependent.

The strength training routine was performed using heavy weights on the leg extension only, which trains the quadriceps. Training sessions occurred three times per week, and the load used was adjusted every two weeks to stay at 80% of the latest one-rep max.

In addition to the one-rep max test, the training men and women performed pre- and post-study tests for isometric strength at four different knee angles. Muscle biopsies were also used to see the change in muscle fiber size.

The results were as follows: 

    • Isometric knee strength increased at all four positions, with an average increase of 37%.
    • Overall muscle size increased 9.8%.
    • Type 2 muscle fibers increased 22%.
    • Also, no injuries were reported during the training.
    • The control group (who didn’t perform any strength training) experienced no changes in strength or muscle size.

 

arx adaptive resistance exercise

 

The Importance of Type 2 Muscle Fibers

Type 2 fibers produce the greatest amount of strength and power. For athletes, type 2 fibers are the ones responsible for producing efforts such as sprinting, swinging a golf club, throwing a ball, and jumping.

In people who struggle with daily activities, these fibers provide the power necessary for getting out of a chair, holding a bag of groceries, or even holding an arm up to blow dry or comb hair.

Research has consistently shown that aging causes type 2 fibers to deteriorate quicker and to a greater extent than type 1 fibers (which perform basic high endurance, low strength tasks like standing, walking, etc.).

Increasing type 2 fiber size is of greater need for seniors.

As a result of strength training for 12 weeks, men and women with an average age of 89 years gained significant strength and increased muscle tissue while no injuries were noted.

How old is too old? Here’s a quote from the researchers:

“We believe that it is never too late to improve muscle function and increase muscle mass and therefore recommend that greater focus should be placed on heavy resistance exercise training in the future rehabilitation and preventative treatment of the elderly population.”

 

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Reverse the Effects of Aging

Two studies, performed by separate groups of researchers in Spain, provide hope that even some of the oldest adults can reverse some of the effects of aging to improve their independence and functional abilities.

The participants in these studies performed two to three months of strength training and benefited by gaining strength, muscle mass, balance, and became more capable of performing basic living activities... and just about all of these individuals were in their 90’s and lived in nursing homes.

“Sarcopenia” is the term for muscle atrophy (losing or shrinking muscle size) and strength as we age. The average strength loss is about 15% by our 65th birthday.

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In 2014, 13 men and women, with an average age of 93 years, completed about three months of twice-weekly strength training along with balance and gait training.

At the conclusion, these individuals were quicker to rise from a chair, were able to stand from sitting more frequently within a small period of time, demonstrated better balance, and became stronger and more muscular.

Strength gains were noticed in the upper and lower body, including muscles that move the knee and hip joints.

Another study, published in 2011, featured eight weeks of only strength training for men and women between 90 and 97 years old. In this study, the participants trained three times per week. Lower body strength increased about 17%, or an increase of 23 lbs. in the maximum amount they could leg press.

When looking at these results, it’s clear to see that we have a choice in how we age. Our actions play a role in how much muscle mass and strength we have as well as how functionally-able we are in our older years. Strength training provides us with an opportunity to control those factors for the better, even in our 90’s! I think the researchers in the 2011 study summarized the point well in their final statement:


“These findings support that regular physical training, with a special focus of resistance 
exercise, is feasible and useful over the entire lifespan.”

 

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References

Cadore, E. L., Casas-Herrero, A., Zambom-Ferraresi, F., Idoate, F., Millor, N., Gómez, M.,…& Izquierdo, M. (2014). Multicomponent exercises including muscle power training enhance muscle mass, power output, and functional outcomes in institutionalized frail nonagenarians. Age, 36(2), 773-785.

Serra-Rexach, J. A., Bustamante-Ara, N., Hierro Villarán, M., González Gil, P., Sanz Ibáñez, M. J., Blanco Sanz, N., … & Lucia, A. (2011). Short-term, light-to moderate-intensity exercise training improves leg muscle strength in the oldest old: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society,59(4), 594-602.

Kryger, A. I., & Andersen, J. L. (2007). Resistance training in the oldest old: consequences for muscle strength,fiber types, fiber size, and MHC isoforms. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 17(4), 422-430.

 

Bye Bye Flab! One-Stop-Shop for Sculpted Back & Arms

Want a better upper body?

One brief exercise could be your ticket to more defined arms, sculpted shoulders, and a leaner looking waist.

If you read our leg press article from a few weeks ago, you’ll recall that the leg press is the one-stop shop for just about all lower body muscles.

When it comes to the upper body, the Lat Pulldown is the one-stop shop. 

 

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The Muscles Used

In one set of the lat pulldown (LPD) – roughly 1 to 2 minutes – you can train pretty much all of the major muscles in the upper body. 

These muscles are the prime movers in the lat pulldown.

  • Latissimus Dorsi (the “lats” or wings of the back)
  • Trapezius (“traps” or upper back)

In addition, there are other major muscles involved:

  • Pectoralis Major (chest) 
  • Posterior Deltoids (shoulders)
  • Biceps brachii (front of upper arm)

 

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How it Works

With the LPD, you start seated in the machine with your arms raised in front of you, holding onto the handles. As you pull the handles down toward the ground, your shoulder blades are also pulled down, and the lower traps perform that action. As your upper arms come down, your elbows flex (or bend), bringing your wrists closer to your shoulders.

This is where your biceps come into play. Your forearms are heavily utilized in the LPD as well. The forearms have the most fundamental role in the pulldown: maintaining grip of the handles. And finally, your abdominal muscles are used significantly to stabilize your torso during the exercise.

 

 

 

How LPD Blasts Flab & Sculpts

You might be wondering how does this exercise eliminate a flabby upper body and leave me looking sculpted?

Training the lats improves the shape of your back. As lean muscle tissue is added to the lats, it gives a ‘V’ shape to your back. If you feel you have “love handles,” gaining muscle in your lats might help them become less noticeable.

The pulldown also helps improve aesthetics with your arms. As mentioned, your biceps and shoulders are key players in this exercise, and this exercise will help make your upper arm muscles more defined.

 

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Do the LPD, but Do it Right.

To get the most out of the LPD, work with one of our Trainers to get proper coaching and guidance at any of The Perfect Workout studios.

In the meantime, here are some helpful tips:

  • When performing the pulldown, don’t think of the main goal as pulling your hands or the handles down. Focus mainly on pulling your elbows to your sides. The lats are the main muscle group used, and focusing on your elbows and upper arms can assist you in becoming more aware of the lats as you train.
  • As you transition from the positive (pulling down) to the negative (slowing letting your arms up), your shoulders will subconsciously rise (or shrug). Pull them down, or “unshrug,” This action will force your back muscles to work harder.

Fatiguing your muscles to “muscle success” is where you'll receive the most value with the LPD.

In just one short set performed one or two times per week, you are training the major muscles of the upper body while improving the shape, tone and strength of your back and arms. 

 

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