How to Keep Cholesterol in Check

How to Keep Cholesterol in Check

How to keep Cholesterol in Check
plaque in artery headed to heart

In this article, we explain the importance and the potential dangers of cholesterol. With a simple solution, you will find out how to keep your cholesterol in check, in just 4 weeks.

 

“It is possible to have too much of a good thing.” – Aesop

Too much water.

Too much sun.

Too much exercise.

And your body would say this is also true about cholesterol.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a wax-like substance that our body uses to develop other necessary substances like hormones, vitamin D, the membranes of cells, and bile.

We need cholesterol. 

Too much of it can be dangerous though, hence why cholesterol-controlling practices such as strength training have become so highly sought after. 

Going back to the concept of too much of a good thing becoming bad, an excess of cholesterol is considered a “risk factor.” 

In other words, when high levels of cholesterol exist, people are more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or develop diabetes or heart disease. 

A 2020 study published in the journal Circulation estimates that 38% of US adults — about two out of every five people — have high cholesterol! When you combine that with the prevalence of heart disease, which kills over 600,000 people annually in the US, it’s clear that keeping cholesterol in check is a national health concern.

How Much Cholesterol is Too Much?

There are a few measures used to determine whether you have a healthy level of cholesterol or too much of it. (Technically, the ways in which we measure cholesterol aren’t directly measuring cholesterol itself. We measure other particles that relate to cholesterol.) 

Keep Cholesterol in Check Infographic

The following are the most common measures of cholesterol:

  1. HDLs: high-density lipoproteins. These are commonly referred to as the “good cholesterol.” This is the only measure of cholesterol that we want to increase to improve health. 
  2. LDLs: low-density lipoproteins. These are referred to as “bad cholesterol.” 
  3. Triglycerides: these are particles of fat which are found in the body and blood stream. 
  4. Total cholesterol: a total number that includes LDLs, HDLs, and a fraction of the triglyceride total. This is the most comprehensive assessment of cholesterol quantity. Total cholesterol can be skewed by any of the lipoproteins and triglycerides, so if you have high “good cholesterol,” your total cholesterol can also appear high when “bad cholesterol” is normal.

Ideally, we want high HDLs and low LDLs, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.

How to Control Cholesterol

How do we accomplish that and minimize our risk of having heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke?

how to keep cholesterol in check with diet and exercise infographic

Diet to keep your cholesterol in check

A few dietary approaches are shown to work:

  • Eliminate the consumption of trans fats. Trans fats are artificially created fats found in some vegetable oils (try olive oil or avocado oil instead!), baked goods, and non-organic peanut butters.
  • Eat more fiber, specifically soluble fiber. Fiber blocks the absorption of cholesterol from the foods we eat. Foods high in soluble fiber include black beans, lentils, chia seeds, flaxseeds, dried fig, and dried prunes.
  • Consume whey protein. Whey supplementation can reduce triglyceride levels.

Exercise to keep your cholesterol in check

In addition to dietary strategies, another success method is…strength training!

Strength training is a well-established way to manage cholesterol levels. In fact, a research article which tallied the results of 29 studies and over 1,300 adults concluded that strength training reduces total cholesterol, LDLs, and triglycerides. 

These changes could happen after as little as four weeks of training.

Researchers noted that strength training is additionally helpful for controlling cholesterol when people consistently attend their workouts, lose weight, gain muscle, or lift very challenging weights. 

If improving cholesterol levels is important to you, consider combining strength training with some of the dietary approaches listed above. 

Having high cholesterol is an indication that you might be headed toward heart disease, the number one cause of death in the US. 

Fortunately, you have a large say in your own outcome. You can keep your cholesterol in check with a few simple diet changes and a strength training program. 

A single month of strength training with The Perfect Workout can make a significant positive change in your cholesterol… and overall health.

  1. Kelley, G.A. & Kelley, K.S. (2008). Impact of progressive resistance training on lipids and lipoproteins in adults: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Elsevier, 48, 9-19.
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Top 5 lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/reduce-cholesterol/art-20045935
  3. Sarin, H.V., Ahtiainen, J.P., Hulmi, J.J., Ihalainen, J.K., Walker, S., Kuusmaa-Schildt, M. … Peltonen, H. (2019). Resistance training induces antiatherogenic effects on metabolomic pathways. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 51(9), 1866-1875.
  4. Virani, S.S., Alonso, A., Benjamin, E.J., Callaway, C.W., Carson, A.P. … Tsao, C.W. (2020). Heart disease and stroke statistics — 2020 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 141(9), e139-e596.

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

From Overweight & Weak to Fitness Instructor in Her 80s!

Sally Determan Fit at 80 from strength training

Sally Determan was nearing her 80th birthday feeling “old and out of shape.”

Off-balance, weak, and overweight, Sally felt like she was paying a big price for years of living an unhealthy lifestyle and little to no exercise.

Fast forward 3 years, Sally is in the best shape of her life and has newfound stamina and strength to help others live a healthier lifestyle! 

As Sally approached her 80th birthday, she noticed that she was getting tired easily and everyday tasks were becoming more difficult.

“I also grew concerned about falls.”

She knew a change was needed and she couldn’t spend the rest of her life slowly declining. So, she started with trying to lose weight.

Sally began her journey at Weight Watchers where she lost some of the excess weight and incorporated water cardio into her routine.

She knew she needed to do something to increase her muscle and bone strength (to prevent falls) but lacked the motivation and know-how to lift weights at home. 

“I HATED the idea of loud, busy, glitzy gyms, filled with lycra-wearing folks 40 or more years younger than me!”

She needed guidance, privacy, and accountability.

Shortly after, Sally saw The Perfect Workout online and realized there was a Falls Church studio (not a gym!), offering a free introductory session. She figured she had nothing to lose by giving it a try, and the idea of 20 minutes, twice a week fit into her schedule.

Sally joined The Perfect Workout in January 2017 and made wonderful progress in improving her strength, stamina, and weight management.

Infographic Strength Training

After all that she’s accomplished so far, Sally is proud of her ability to keep up — actually, lead — other water cardio participants who are ten to fifteen years younger than her. 

“The entire concept that I am a physical fitness guru is astonishing!”

Knowing how important it is to have someone lead her through your workouts, and fitness journey, Sally gives a lot of credit to the team at The Perfect Workout.

“Each of the four trainers with whom I've worked have been excellent — and fun.”

Now, Sally tells people about her slow-motion strength training workouts when they ask her how she got in such good shape. She explains the method, including the concept of going as long and as hard as your muscles permit — very slowly — and how little time it takes.

The Perfect Workout Client Quote

Can Strength Training Help You Live Longer And Pain-Free?

Can Strength Training Help You Live Longer And Pain-Free?

Woman holding neck wanting to Live Pain Free

Accepting illness and physical deterioration used to be the norm because we just didn't know any better. It was all just a part of getting old. 

But now that we know better, we can do better. Our health is in our control even as we age.

The same is true for health. Pain, independence, and premature death are common age-related concerns for many adults. These concerns, though, are just that: concerns. They aren’t guaranteed. 

In fact, there are specific approaches you can take to avoid these side effects of aging. In this article, we’ll address how strength training is one of those approaches.

The Most Common Age-related Concerns that can be avoided with Strength Training

Living With Pain.

According to the CDC, 49.6% of seniors have diagnosed arthritis. This produces a number of side effects, which can vary depending on what joints have arthritis. Common side effects are issues with walking form, limited range of motion, limited function, disability, and pain.

Losing Independence.

About one in every 14 seniors require personal care assistance, according to the CDC. About one in every six adults age 85 years and older live in a nursing home. 


The loss of independence is due to a few factors. Arthritis and other sources of pain limit physical abilities and could lead to relying on others. Strength is one of the biggest factors in determining how well we can physically function.

We lose about 3-8% of our strength per decade, which adds up when reaching our older years. Independence is also lost when major injuries occur and the individual never fully recovers. 

About a third of older adults suffer at least one fall every year. The CDC states that 20-30% of falls lead to injury. Some injuries, such as hip fractures, lead to the permanent loss of independence

Premature Death.

The average adult lives 79 years in the US. However, many don’t reach this point for a variety of reasons: 

the onset of chronic disease, a lack of exercise and overall movement, and many other reasons. 


(If you’re reading this and are thinking, “This is bringing me down.” …keep reading. There’s a happy ending.)


As noted at the beginning, you have a lot of control in what happens with your life. You can take actions to improve your health and longevity. Starting and maintaining a strength training program can prevent or decrease pain, maintain independence, and lengthen your life.


Don’t take our word for it, though. Let’s look at the research:

    • Arthritis/Pain. A few months of twice-weekly strength training substantially reduced arthritis pain, disability, and improved joint range of motion. Training also led to big improvements in strength for the muscles that support the arthritic joints.
    • Fall Risk. A research review which included over 100 studies showed that strength training decreases the risk of falls for older adults.
    • Physical Functioning. As little as 12 weeks of strength training can increase strength and balance in adults between 85 and 97 years old! The increase in strength translates to greater ease with general daily activities: walking long distances, walking upstairs, carrying groceries, etc.
    • Longevity. People who strength train are more likely to live longer lives. A 15-year study of adults 65 years and older showed that strength training at least twice per week was connected with a 46% reduced risk of death. In other words, strength training was linked to one in every two adults living a longer life.

If you take anything from this article, remember this: many side effects of aging are optional. You have control over how you age. You also have an influence on how long you live. 

As the research showed, strength training twice a week can reduce pain, enhance overall function, add strength, build balance, reduce the chances of falling, and might increase your life expectancy.

With slow-motion strength training, we can revolutionize the way people exercise… and live! Share with a friend today,

New to The Perfect Workout? Get a FREE Introductory Session.

  1. Baker, K. R., Nelson, M. E., Felson, D. T., Layne, J. E., Sarno, R., & Roubenoff, R. (2001). The efficacy of home based progressive strength training in older adults with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial.  Journal of Rheumatology, 28, 1655–166.
  2. 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. Age36(2), 773-785.
  3. El-Khoury, F., Cassou, B., Charles, M. A., & Dargent-Molina, P. (2013). The effect of fall prevention exercise programmes on fall induced injuries in community dwelling older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Bmj347, f6234.
  4. Foroughi N., Smith  R. M., Lange, A. K., Baker, M. K., Fiatarone Singh, M.A.,  & Vanwanselle, B. (2011). Lower limb muscle strengthening does not change frontal plane moments in women with knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Biomechanics, 26, 167-174.
  5. Kraschenewski, J. L., Sciamanna, C. N., Poger, J. M., Rovniak, L. S., Lehman, E. B., Cooper, A.B., … Ciccolo, J. T. (2016). Is strength training associated with mortality benefits? A 15 year cohort study of US older adults. Preventative Medicine, 87, 121-127.
  6. 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.

Decreased Risk For Fall: Improving Balance for Seniors

Decreased Risk For Fall: Improving Balance for Seniors

The Perfect Workout Client happy that she improved her balance

How Beth Decreased her Risk For Fall in 6 months

A progressive neurological condition that affected Beth Johns’ coordination and balance was slowly increasing her risk for a harmful fall.

As she approached her 60s, Beth stopped trying to manage her health and fitness alone and sought out an exercise program at The Perfect Workout.

Beth lives with a condition called Ataxia.

What is Ataxia?

“Ataxia describes a lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements, such as walking or picking up objects.” (Mayo Clinic)

This condition can cause:

  • Poor coordination
  • Balance problems
  • Unsteady walk and a tendency to stumble
  • Difficulty walking in a straight line
  • Difficulty with fine motor tasks, such as eating, writing or buttoning a shirt
  • Change in speech
  • Involuntary back-and-forth eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Difficulty swallowing

Beth in particular, would often feel unsteady on her feet and easily lose her balance. 

“I've fallen a few times and was really worried and discouraged that my condition was progressing much faster than I had expected it to. The more I worried about it, the less I felt like doing.”

Beth was approaching her 60th birthday and knew she needed to take a different course of action. 

She tried doing strength and balance DVDs on her own but found it was hard to stay motivated. 

Beth knew that joining a gym wouldn't work for her because she really needed the one-on-one support. She needed someone there to guide her, teach her how to exercise correctly, and keep her accountable.

Woman Celebrating International Ataxia Awareness Day

After doing her research, Beth found The Perfect workout. She felt reassured when she saw people her age improving some of her same areas of concern, like falling

The idea of being able to see results in 20 minutes, twice a week without having to be in a public setting was very appealing. 

In November, 2020 Beth joined the Southwest San Jose studio and began her training program.

Beth’s goal was to strengthen her core and increase her overall strength to decrease her risk of falling. She had also recently had been diagnosed with osteopenia and knew it was important to do weight-bearing exercise to improve her bone density

Within 7 months, Beth has noticed significant improvements.

  • Gained strength
  • Back isn’t stiff in the morning anymore
  • Improved her posture and has good balance on her feet
  • Can squat down and stand up without falling over
  • Physical therapist says she’s improved a lot in the past year.
Testimonial Improved Balance From Wife with Husband

“All of the trainers I've worked with have been wonderful. Patient and encouraging. They've pushed me to do much more than I thought I was capable of. Candice got me started. Maria and Kylie have definitely kept me going!”

 

Feeling physically stronger and steadier makes Beth feel like she’s taken charge of her Ataxia and has greatly improved her mental wellbeing. She now sees that Investing in her physical health is an investment in her future, especially as she gets older, and encourages others to do the same.

 

“Friends that I haven't seen in a while say that I really look great! I definitely feel more confident. I know that it's only going to get better.”

 

The Perfect Workout is for regular people, just like Beth. It's not intimidating. It's a personalized experience and the trainers are there to help support your success. And it’s possible to see results in just 20 minutes, twice a week.

7 EXERCISE MYTHS: How Slow-Motion Strength Training is the Solution to them All

7 Exercise Myths: How Slow-Motion Strength Training Is The Solution To Them All

Exercise Myths Man Leg press

You could be sabotaging your workouts with 7 exercise myths.

Today we will identify those myths and prove that Slow-Motion Strength Training is the best possible form of exercise you can do to get the results you want.

One of the most common things we hear after someone tries our method for the first time is,
“I’ve been exercising the wrong way my entire life.”

And chances are, you might be too!

In this article, we are going to dive deep into the exercise methodology that has helped us provide the perfect workout to over 40,000 people in the last 20 years and all the reasons why you won’t want to exercise any other way.

Exercise Myths Chart

We know there are a million workout options out there to choose from and although we’d love to show you how our method beats them all, for the sake of this article we will be comparing Slow Motion-Strength Training to two of the most common ways in which people exercise: The Traditional Method and Aerobic-only method.

LET’S DEFINE EACH METHOD:

Slow Motion Strength Training (SMST):

Each exercise is performed by lifting weights or added resistance for approximately 10 seconds and lowering the weight for another 10 seconds with correct form and proper resistance. The ultimate goal is to achieve momentary muscular failure (aka. muscle success) within 1 to 2 minutes. Then on to the next exercise!

Slowing the lifting speed reduces momentum on each repetition and activates the muscles instantly and more effectively. As a result, more muscle fibers are used and ultimately strengthened. One session consists of anywhere between 5-9 exercises and is generally performed 1-2 times a week.

Play Video

Aerobic Only Method

According to Health.com, Aerobic exercise is defined as moving “your large muscle groups (think legs, glutes, and core) at the same time, usually in a rhythmic way, and for an extended period of time.”

This includes activities like running, walking, biking, and swimming, and they range from low to high intensity and can be performed anywhere from 30-90 minutes, 2-7 days a week typically.

Exercise Myth Woman Riding Bike

The Traditional Method:

We call this “traditional” because we believe it's the most widely practiced approach to exercise. This method is a combination of both strength training and aerobic exercises.

A common traditional exercise program consists of lower body strength training, upper body strength training, abdominal exercises and aerobic activity such as running or cycling. Most of the time, the training days are broken up into what is commonly referred to as ‘splits” where one day is focused on one area of the body, and the other day is focused on another, and so on.

Depending on the person, they may spend anywhere from 3-6 days a week in the gym for 1-2 hours. So for this example we will use a 4 day a week, 1 hour a day program.

Exercise myth woman traditional training battle ropes

Why do we exercise in the first place?

It’s important to outline why we exercise, identify the benefits of exercise and to make the distinction between exercise and recreation.

Exercise gives us physical benefits whereas recreation fulfills our psychological and emotional needs. According to High Intensity Exercise philosophy: exercise is performing a demanding and meaningful activity, anatomically and safely, of a sufficient intensity to stimulate the body to make anatomic and metabolic adaptive growth changes within a minimum period of time.

Anything else is considered recreation.

Exercise Vs Recreation compared

It is possible to experience all three types of benefits from exercise, but the reason why we make this clear distinction that exercise is high-intensity strength training, and anything else is recreation. So, we want to prioritize exercise first.

Why?

The benefits of exercise largely outweigh the benefits of recreation, and enhance your recreation. The benefits of slow-motion strength training will have an overall effect on your life: such as helping you become a better runner, giving you more energy to play with the grandkids, and improving your golf game by increasing your strength to hit the ball further. 

So by prioritizing exercise over recreation, you get a trickle-down effect that makes your recreational activities easier and more enjoyable.

So many of us end up confusing actual benefits with assumed benefits when it comes to exercise. I could probably wager that 90% of you reading this article have done activities like running, burpees, stair climbers and other things you absolutely hated doing, because you thought it was the thing you needed to do to reach your goal or to achieve a specific benefit.

So in order to prove to you that SMST is the best exercise method out there, we’d like to debunk some myths about exercise while simultaneously illustrating how SMST is the solution for you.

MYTH 1: I need to do “cardio” to get any cardiovascular benefits.

Many people will exercise to improve their Cardiovascular system. When you exercise the muscles in your body, particularly the larger muscles, it increases blood flow. This increase in heart rate and blood flow stimulates the capillaries in the bloodstream to expand. This expansion allows for more oxygen to enter the blood making your heart more effective in removing waste and toxins from the system.

Why is this a benefit?

By supplying the heart with exercise, you reap the Cardiovascular benefits such as:

Exercise Myths Cardiovascular benefits of strength training

(Read more about Cardio Benefits from Strength Training Here)


Who wouldn’t want that?

The common approach to getting these benefits is doing aerobic activity– also known as “cardio.”

Think about your own experiences. Think about how running a mile, hiking a steep hill, or even just tackling the flight of stairs at the end of the day makes your heart feel like it’s going to beat out of your chest.

Can you achieve them by doing the Traditional Method or Aerobics only? Yes.

However, with SMST you do it faster, more efficiently and it’s definitely safer on your body.

Aerobics, particularly high impact aerobics like running or plyometrics can be hard on the joints

Your genetics play a significant part in determining whether or not you will run into joint issues such as arthritis or osteoarthritis, and activities like aerobics can worsen the issue. The downside to that is most people have to find out the hard way by either getting injured or suffering from chronic knee or other joint pain from years of aerobics, and they had no idea it was hurting them.

One of the things that makes SMST so exceptional is that there is virtually no stress or strain put on the joints when performed correctly. In fact, the muscles are primarily under the load of the weight the entire exercise, making it both safe and effective. So, it is safe for everyone– joint issues or not– and you don’t have to find out the hard way!

Exercise Myths Full Range of Motion

Let’s Talk a Little Bit More About Strength Training and the Cardiovascular System.

Remember how in the beginning of this article we specified that the goal of SMST is to achieve muscle failure?

Lifting weights to momentary muscle failure has been proven to be a successful factor in improving the Cardiovascular system.

Studies have found that “Resistance training performed to failure can induce acute and chronic physiological effects which appear to be similar to aerobic endurance training, which in turn produces similar enhancements in CV fitness. “ (from: Resistance Training to MMF)

While strength training in general provides several improvements to the cardiovascular system, many benefits are received or amplified only when training to muscle success.

For example, after three months of training, men and women of various ages had enduring improvements in overall blood flow due to muscle success training. Training to complete exhaustion increased artery size in another study.

This is a good thing because larger arteries are less likely to experience a heart attack-causing blockage in the same way that adding lanes to a highway reduces the chances of having a traffic jam. Finally, pushing to muscle success also increases the ability of arteries to expand when blood flow increases, which reduces the stress experienced by artery walls.

SMST has a positive effect on your cardiovascular system, without the danger of affecting your joints, as it does with aerobic exercise.

MYTH 2: I need to do “cardio” to lose weight.

Just doing cardio? Oh, you’ll lose weight alright. By just doing aerobic activities like walking, running, elliptical, etc. you lose overall body weight– not just fat.

Along with fat, you lose muscle, bone, and tissue that support your ability to walk, run, balance and perform daily functions with ease and strength.

A 2007 study put overweight and obese women through 25 weeks of a restricted diet that was complimented with either “aerobic” activity, or strength training, or no exercise at all. Both the strength training and “aerobic” groups lost 26 lbs. of fat, slightly more than the women who only dieted.

Exercise myths The Formula for Weight Loss

However, here’s the difference: the strength training group not only maintained their lean mass (muscle, bone, water, and other organs), but actually gained a little. The “aerobic” and diet-only groups lost two and three pounds of lean mass. (Read more about this study- Losing Fat and Fat ONLY)

There is really no evidence that aerobic exercise or cardio is required for fat loss. In addition, simply increasing your activity level to burn extra calories is not efficient for fat loss. The single most effective method for fat loss is proper nutrition.

Ever heard the saying, “You can't out-exercise a bad diet.” There’s some truth to that!

Fat loss programs work best when you combine proper nutrition, slow motion strength training, and drinking water. Aerobics isn’t not needed to lose fat.

See image below for a study comparing fat loss results between methods:

Exercise myths Darden diet comparison

MYTH 3: More Repetitions, More Exercises, the Better.

The saying, more is NOT better absolutely applies here.

Weights are generally lifted for sets of multiple repetitions. Each time you lift and lower a weight, it is one repetition. Multiple repetitions makes up a set, and once you have stopped or taken a break from lifting the set is over.

The most common way to lift is used in the Traditional Method where you lift for 3 sets of 10 repetitions, whether you hit muscle failure or not. Lifting speeds vary but on average let’s assume the traditional speed is 2 seconds lifting, 1 second pausing, and  4 seconds lowering.

The Slow-Motion Method we use at The Perfect Workout uses lifting for 1 set until muscle failure. If the exercise is performed for 1-2 minutes, which is the recommended length of time to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness, then that generally ends up being 3-6 repetitions. The lifting speed used is 10 seconds lifting, 0-3 seconds pausing, and 10 seconds lowering.

Exercise Myths Slow motion vs traditional

Multiple studies have shown that doing extra work– multiple sets vs. one set– does not produce greater results. In fact, studies have shown that SMST can produce about a 50% greater increase in strength for both men and women than regular speed training.

Another important and sometimes overlooked factor is the amount of time spent recovering. SMST is only performed 1-2 times a week in comparison to the Traditional Method of 4 times a week.

There’s a reason for that!

The body needs enough time to rest, recover, and grow stronger. When doing high intensity exercise like SMST, we found that most people get best results from working out every 72-96 hours.

Exercise myths recovery resources

We want just the right amount of exercise stress in a given period of time, and no more. Working out again before the body has made changes may hamper results.

So, more is not better. 

MYTH 4: Lifting Heavy Weights is Not Safe.

Picture a bodybuilder, lifting a barbell with massive weighted plates above his head while he grunts, holds his breath and veins start popping out of his reddening forehead.

Of course that looks unsafe… and unless you’re a trained Olympic Lifter, it is.

First let’s see if we can reframe the mindset here and replace the idea of “lifting heavy weights” with lifting with “enough resistance.”

What’s heavy to me may be light for you, or vice versa.

Finding enough resistance is a crucial part of achieving muscle failure in a timeframe that is going to be effective…. And that is unique to the individual.

In one study, participants performed a routine with light weights and high reps or a routine with heavier weights that limited them to fewer reps. Both routines were similar in that all sets were performed to the fatigue point of “Muscle Success.” The training lasted six weeks.

Play Video

(Read More about Recovery & High Intensity Exercise)


The light-weight group performed about three-times as many reps…and gained less strength and muscle! In fact, the heavier-weight group gained about three-times the amount of strength.

Electromyography tests showed the heavier-weight, low-rep routine stimulated progressively more muscle fiber usage throughout the study. This was not the case for the low-weight group.

This result is important for a few reasons. It means heavier weight is needed to perpetually challenge muscles. It also explains why the heavier weight group gained more strength and muscle (more fibers trained means more fibers were improved). (Read More about this study- Enough Resistance is Critical)

As long as you maintain good, proper form, the exercise becomes safer as the muscles become more deeply fatigued. In fact, the last reps are the most productive reps performed, and they are also the safest since they are physically unable to produce enough force to strain (assuming form is not broken).

The rep in which muscle success is achieved is potentially the most productive rep. Don’t cheat yourself out of the last “impossible” rep; embrace it. 

MYTH 5: If I lift weights, I’ll get big & bulky

We hear this mostly from the ladies, and you’ll be happy to know that it's actually really hard to get big and bulky, especially if you are a female.

Strength Training in general creates lean muscle mass, and the keyword there is lean (not mass). Muscle takes up less space in the body than fat does.

Muscle

  • More Dense
  • Takes up Less Space
  • Burns More Calories
  • Improves Bone Mass
  • Reduces Injury Risk
  • Increase Definition

Fat

  • Takes Up More Space
  • Can Lead To Obesity
  • Increased Risk Of: Disease,
    Diabetes, High Blood Pressure,
    Kidney Disease, Stroke,
    And Other Diseases

MYTH 6: I need to do fast repetitions

It makes the most sense to compare SMST with the Traditional Method here, considering Aerobic-Only does not include lifting weights whatsoever.

SMST uses the 10-10 approach to lifting speeds, meaning you lift the weight for 10 seconds and lower it for another 10 seconds.

In addition, there is no rest between each repetition. The muscles stay fully loaded (working at all times) until the point of muscle failure is achieved.

Why do we go so slow?

By slowing down the lifting speed we reduce the chance of injury during the exercise. Most injuries come from excessive force and momentum.

Imagine running as fast as you can at a wall– there’s a lot of acceleration behind you. That collision will surely hurt and result in injury.

Now imagine placing your hands on the wall and pushing against it with 25% strength, then 50% strength, then 100% strength. There’s practically no acceleration and the force against the wall can be controlled and abandoned at any time.

There is no collision, and certainly no injury.

Play Video

MYTH 7: High Intensity isn’t Safe. Low Intensity is safer.

Workouts must be brief if they are going to be effective. You can either work out hard or you can work out for a long period of time, but you cannot do both. We want just the right amount of exercise stress in a workout and no more.

Evidence has shown that one slow motion set per exercise yields the best results when you work hard for a short period of time and achieve muscle failure.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

Exercise Myths Cardio Benefits

Cardiovascular benefits can be achieved through all 3 methods we outlined today. SMST is the best solution because these benefits can be achieved faster, more efficiently and is safer on joints. The Traditional Method uses force and momentum, which are injury-causing movements. Aerobics can be hard on the joints, particularly for those prone to cartilage degeneration and arthritis.

Exercise Myths you do not need aerobics to lose weight

You do not need to do aerobics to lose weight. You can achieve fat loss with any of the three methods compared in this article, but a proper diet will yield the best results and SMST will aid in efficiently helping you gain fat-burning muscle.

Exercise Myths more is better

More is not better when it comes to exercise. This applies to the amount of repetitions you do as well as the number of workouts per week. The body best responds to short, brief and intense strength training exercises and needs ample time to rest, recover and grow in between sessions. Anything beyond that can hamper results, which is why doing SMST 2 times a week is all you need.

Exercise Myths weight lifting isn't safe

Lifting heavy weights or strength training with enough resistance is safe when done correctly. In fact, it gets safer with every repetition when using our slow lifting speeds. Exercising with enough resistance will use more (and deeper) muscle fibers that stimulate growth in the body. 

Exercise Myths faster is better

Exercising with slow speeds (when lifting weights) also prevents common injuries that result from using excessive force or momentum. Making the exercise safer and more challenging which contributes to it being an extremely effective method.

Exercise Myths lifting weights makes you bulk

Lifting weights does not make you big and bulky. It adds lean muscle mass to your body which helps to burn fat. Aerobic only exercises don't build muscle, yet often accelerate the loss of muscle, bone and tissue. So don’t waste away with aerobic only, and make time for strength training!

We exercise for a number of reasons, goals and benefits.

With that being said–
If you love to run, please by all means RUN!
If you love to swim, swim your hearts out!
If you love the high you get from a spin class or a bike ride in the mountains, do what makes your soul happy!

We’re not interested in getting on a soapbox and saying slow-motion strength training is the only thing you should ever do to move your body.

Not one bit.

What we want you to take away from this article is that slow-motion strength training is truly the best possible thing you could be doing for your health and fitness and will help to enhance all other areas of your life including the activities you love to do and how you feel about yourself.

Family at beach

Remember, Exercise by our definition can get you these benefits:

  • Decreased Body Fat*
  • Increased Basal Metabolic Rate*
  • Increased Strength*
  • Increased Bone Density*
  • Increased Cardiovascular Efficiency*
  • Increased Glucose Tolerance*
  • Increased HDL Cholesterol*
  • Decreased Blood Pressure*
  • Increased Resistance to Injury
  • Improved Flexibility
  • Improved Immune System

**Biomarkers of Aging
(From Dr. Alexander's High Intensity Exercise)

Exercise Myths Chart

Can you achieve all of these benefits with Aerobics only?

No. The Aerobic-Only won’t increase your strength, bone density, resistance to injury or necessarily help you lose fat.

Can you achieve all of these benefits with the Traditional Method?

Possibly. The Strength training aspect alone will provide you with more life changing benefits than anything, but again you run the risk of sacrificing three very important pillars to exercise: safety, efficiency and effectiveness. The areas to be concerned about with this method is not gaining strength (if strength training is not efficient) and getting injured (if workouts are not performed safely).

Can you achieve all these benefits with Slow-Motion Strength Training?

Yes. But you knew that by now right?

And the best part is you can do it in 20 minutes, twice a week.

Our trainers are waiting to help you get started.

Information used in this article derived from the following sources:

Muscle Success-Why to do it

Losing Fat and Fat ONLY

Enough Resistance is Critical

When Strength Training Becomes Cardio

Is One Set Enough?

Resistance Training to MMF

Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D. (and others) Effects of Regular and Slow Speed Resistance Training on Muscle Strength, Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 2001, Vol 41, Iss 2. Pp 154-158

The Nautilus Book, Ellington Darden, Ph.D., Copyright 1990 Contemporary Books, Chicago, IL, P. 85

Total Conditioning: A Case Study. Athletic Journal. Vol. 56: 40-55, 1975

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11447355

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/epub/10.1161/01.CIR.0000048890.59383.8D

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis?

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis?

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis

With multiple sclerosis (MS), it can feel like your life is out of your control. People with chronic diseases like MS are two-to-three times more likely to suffer from depression. And although feeling discouraged when dealing with a chronic health issue is understandable, studies show that mindset can play a powerful part in the journey to managing a disease like MS. 

Those who feel like they have control over their health often have better health outcomes. This isn’t just a testament to the power of positive thinking; people who believe they have control are more likely to regularly participate in healthy behaviors. Those behaviors can influence factors such as lifespan, quality of life, and whether the condition progresses.

Multiple sclerosis is no exception. While it can be a daunting condition, health habits have a large impact on how – and if – the condition progresses. One of these health habits is strength training.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Before getting into the benefits of strength training, let’s talk about Multiple Sclerosis. MS is an autoimmune disease that affects about a million Americans and over 2.3 million people worldwide. 

The affected population is growing too, with an increase over 300% since the 1990s. There is no known cause of MS. Genetics and environment both play a role in the risk of developing the disease, with family members and those in locations with less sunlight seeming to be at the greatest risk. Women are also at a greater risk, with diagnosis most commonly occurring between 20 and 50 years old.

MS features lesions on the myelin sheath, which is a tissue that covers nerves. The sheath helps with delivering messages quickly to other parts of the body. When it’s damaged, the ability of the central nervous system to communicate with other parts of the body is affected. 

 

People with MS experience a number of potential challenges as a result: 

  • Difficulty with walking
  • Fatigue
  • Strength loss
  • Heat intolerance
  • Dizziness
  • Balance issues
  • Difficulty with precise movements and other symptoms.
How can Strength Training help Multiple Sclerosis Diagram
mage source: Healthline

Strength Training and MS

The symptoms and MS’s progression are not guaranteed, though. An article authored by researchers in Denmark detailed the results of 16 strength training research programs for those who are living with MS. A number of benefits were observed. 

Strength training leads to a reduction in fatigue, one of the most common MS symptoms. Strength training enhances overall mood, lower body strength, and balance. Perhaps stemming from the increase in strength and balance, training led to more ease with daily activities. These activities include walking long distances, standing from chairs, and stair-climbing. The majority of studies showed these benefits were obtained from training twice per week.

All of the above benefits are meaningful contributions to quality of life. There might be a more important benefit, though. Strength training might stop MS progression. Those who strength trained for six months experienced a lack of lesion growth during that time. The researchers also observed that strength training might even help the brain tissue regrow!

Is Strength Training Safe for Those With MS?

These benefits all sound promising, but there’s an important question to ask: Is strength training safe for those with multiple sclerosis? 

In the 16 studies discussed in the Danish research article, workout session attendance ranged from 90-100%. Drop-out rates ranged from 0-13%. No major injuries or side effects were reported in any study. In short, people with MS made almost all of their workouts, the vast majority of people finished their workout program obligations, and no major issues occurred. 

The Perfect Workout is uniquely advantageous for people with MS. As noted before, those with MS often have an intolerance for heat. The Perfect Workout studios are clinically controlled environments, keeping the temperature between 65-68 degrees and fans that can be used upon request. All studios have water coolers with available cold water. (Even if you’re Virtually Training, the brief nature of the 20-minute workout leaves little time to work up a sweat.) In addition, every client has a dedicated Personal Trainer who tailors the workout to the client’s needs and challenges.

If you have MS, don’t let the disease control your future. Control your own future. Strength train twice per week to reduce fatigue, enhance strength and balance, make daily activities easier, and possibly halt the progression of MS.

  1. Helgeson, V.S. & Zajdel, M. (2017). Adjusting to chronic health conditions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68(1), 545-571. 
  2. Kjolhede, T., Vissing, & Dalgas, U. (2011). Multiple sclerosis and progressive resistance training: a systematic review. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 0(0), 1-14. 
  3. Kjolhede, T., Siemonsen, S., Wenzel, D., Stellmann, J.P., Ringgaard, S., Pedersen, B.G., …Dalgas, U. (2017). Can resistance training impact MRI outcomes in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis? Multiple Sclerosis Journal, DOI: 10/1177/1352458517722645.
  4. Cobb-Clark, D.A., de New, S.C., & Schurer, S. (2014). Healthy habits: the connection between diet, exercise, and locus of control. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 98, 1-28.   Link: https://www.iza.org/publications/dp/6789/healthy-habits-the-connection-between-diet-exercise-and-locus-of-control
  5. Berglund, E., Lystsy, P., & Westerling, R. (2014). The influence of locus of control on self-rated health in context of chronic disease: a structural modeling approach in a cross sectional study. BMC Public Health, 14, 492.      Link: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-492

Ultra-marathoner improves times with Slow-Motion Strength Training

emma cruz personal trainer

After battling running injuries and overcoming an eating disorder, ultramarathoner Emma Cruz turned her health journey into a career helping others.

In high school, Emma was a runner and suffered from an eating disorder.

I discovered that running was amazing, but the eating disorder was not.”

Emma decided to learn more about running and how to nourish her body, but she didn't stop there. She went on to study health, fitness, and nutrition and got a degree in Health Sciences. 

Running became a bigger and bigger part of Emma’s life as she took on half-marathons, full marathons, and ultimately became an ultra-marathoner. (An ultramarathon is a long-distance running race longer than a marathon – longer than 26 miles 385 yards/42.195 km.)

Running was so rough on my body and my joints.” 

And although she found that yoga helped ease some of the tension in her body, she realized she wasn’t doing anything to build strength.

Ultimately, Emma found slow-motion strength training and was blown away by her results.

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20 Minutes Twice A Week:
Life-changing

“It was surprising how quickly I managed to put muscle on. I couldn't believe that it worked!”

Learning how to effectively strength train helped Emma become more connected with her body. It helped improve her running speeds and the way she feels about her body.

With a background in health science and a love for strength training, Emma decided to become a Certified Personal Trainer specializing in slow-motion exercise methodology and helping others achieve better health in two, 20-minute sessions a week.

Emma Cruz Personal Trainer

Changing Clients’ Lives Too

One of Emma's clients, a woman in her 80's, couldn’t walk without a cane when she first began training at The Perfect Workout. 

After training for three months with Emma, her client was able to ditch the cane and walk on her own. 

Read another incredible story about how Adele Biancarelli got strong enough to walk without assistance too!

Stories like these motivate Emma because she’s able to see the powerful results she can help her clients achieve in such a short amount of time. 

No matter your ability level or athleticism, whether you’re someone looking to improve your running speeds or have a goal to walk without a cane, slow-motion strength training has the power to change your body and your life. 

And all it takes is 20 minutes, twice a week.

Too many people sacrifice their health and quality of life because they allow themselves to get weak and out of shape. With The Perfect Workout, you can safely reshape your health and body in just 20 minutes, twice a week. Guaranteed.

Strength Training: Exercise for ALL Ages

Strength Training for All Ages

My friend recently decided to “retire” from playing full-court basketball. Since his 43rd birthday, he’s suffered a few aches, pains, and minor injuries after each day of full-court games with younger friends. He is now going to opt for half-court games with friends, which involves much less running. “Full-court basketball is a young man’s game,” he told me. “I had to stop playing at some point.”

Full-court basketball, all-nighters, dying one’s hair pink…there are some things that we enjoy in our teens and early 20s but aren’t a good fit for adulthood. Strength training…is NOT one of those things.

Strength training is a lifelong exercise choice. It’s safe and effective, regardless of age. The goals people have for strength training generally change with age. However, the probability of reaching those goals doesn’t change. Whether 35 or 95 years old, strength training will improve your health and fitness.

A Workout For All Ages

Whether you're a busy mom looking for something quick and efficient, or a senior in need of a safe way to exercise you age, we have a program for you. While each body is unique, our principles of exercise remain the same – this allows us to serve people of all ages and abilities. Select your age range below to learn more about The Perfect Workout for you.

Before we get to talking results, let’s talk safety. Strength training, especially using The Perfect Workout’s slow-speed method, is extremely cautious. Injuries in exercise and sports are caused by an excess of force on tendons, ligaments, bones, or other tissues in the body. The lack of bouncing, jumping, and rapid movements make strength training an activity with very little force, even when a very challenging weight is used. While the exercises are challenging, they do not put an extreme level of stress on the body. 

If strength training was dangerous, the highest risk population for experiencing injuries would likely be older adults. Therefore, let’s look at the injury rate for older adults who strength train. A research article published in the journal Sports Medicine discussed the results of 22 studies with adults, 75 years old and older. Out of the 880 older adults who strength trained in these studies, only one person had a negative health experience. Just one person! The conclusion: strength training is very safe and highly unlikely to cause injury. 

Safety is important, but we also want results. Strength training leads to many health and fitness benefits. The needs and goals for strength training often differ with age. Let’s discuss what strength training offers people at the various stages in their lives.

Strength Training in Your Twenties and Thirties

Strength training provides a range of benefits for younger adults. Men and women can gain strength and muscle within two months. That muscle also enhances male and female attractiveness, according to studies on physical characteristics that men and women find appealing.

Adult athletes also benefit from strength training. Long distance times, sprint speed, and vertical jump all improve after a few months of training. In addition to performance, athletes also become more resistant to injury.

strength training in your 30s

Strength Training in Your Forties and Fifties

The same athletic benefits apply to adults in their 40s and 50s. In addition to the aforementioned running benefits, men and women can improve their golf game through strength training. Three months of strength training increases driving distance by seven percent while also reducing the risk of common golf injuries (i.e. lower back pain). 

Reducing or preventing lower back pain, plus enhanced strength and muscle, are benefits for all adults in this age range. Other important benefits are preventing age-related weight gain, improving sleep quality, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases that often occur in this age range. Examples of those diseases include heart disease, many types of cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

strength training in your 40s

Strength Training in Your Sixties and Afterwards

Muscles aren’t a “young man’s game.” Men and women of all ages can gain both strength and muscle. The previously mentioned research article from the journal Sports Medicine showed that just 1-3 days of strength training per week led to big improvements in strength and muscle size for adults who are 75 years old or older. Other benefits frequently experienced by those 60 years or older are stronger bones, improved balance, a lower fall risk, enhanced memory and focus, reduced blood pressure and blood glucose, and increased protection against the development of many chronic diseases.

strength training in your 60s

Strength training offers a wide array of benefits, for fitness and health. While you might eventually retire from all-night parties and playing full-court basketball, there’s no need to retire from strength training. Strength training is safe and healthful exercise for life.

Alvarez, M., Sedano, S., Cuadrado, G., & Redondo, J.C. (2012). Effects of an 18-week strength training program on low-handicap golfers performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(4), 1110-1121. 

Grgic, J., Garofolini, A., Orazem, J., Sabol, F., Schoenfeld, B.J., & Pedisic, Z. (2020). Effects of resistance training on muscle size and strength in very elderly adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Sports Medicine, 1-17.

Nickols-Richardson, S. M., Miller, L. E., Wootten, D. F., Ramp, W. K., & Herbert, W. G. (2007). Concentric and eccentric isokinetic resistance training similarly increases muscular strength, fat-free soft tissue mass, and specific bone mineral measurements in young women. Osteoporosis international, 18(6), 789-796.

Paw, M.J., Chin, A., Van Uffelen, J.G., Riphagen, I., & Van Mechelen, W. (2008). The functional effects of physical exercise training in frail older people: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 38(9), 781-793.

Sell, A., Lukazsweski, A.W., & Townsley, M. (2017). Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men’s bodily attractiveness. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 284(1869).

Singh, D. (1993). Adaptive significance of female physical attractiveness: role of waist-to-hip ratio. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(2), 293-307.

Winett, R.A. & Carpinelli, R.N. (2002). Potential health-related benefits of resistance training. Preventive Medicine, 33(5), 503-513.

This Trainer is Helping All Ages Build Strength & Better Health

Sarah Demott Personal Trainer

Sarah DeMott grew up thinking she knew the necessities of exercise and nutrition. But when she learned being healthy and strong would take more than eating whole grains and doing aerobics, she took a new approach to fitness.

“I thought that weightlifting was for the dudes to get stronger and bigger. It was just definitely out of my realm of what I thought that I needed to do.”

Sarah learned quickly that strength training was most definitely for women and it was something she needed to incorporate into her lifestyle.

Once she changed her routine by incorporating slow-motion strength training and a strict diet, Sarah was able to get into the best shape of her life.

“I was 180 pounds in high school, very unhealthy. I believe all the muscle I built doing slow-motion strength training helped me get down to about 132 pounds. I became a believer pretty quickly.”

Now, Sarah is leading the team in Clear Lake, TX and helping clients reshape their bodies and health too.

Sarah Demott Tree background

Strength Training No Matter Your Age

As a personal trainer, Sarah gets to work with people of all ages, physical abilities, and fitness goals. 

One young woman, Nicole, lives with a major chronic fatigue syndrome. Nicole had to use a wheelchair most of the time because she wasn’t able to stand for extended periods. 

She hadn't driven in years, she had to stop going to school because she couldn't walk across campus anymore, and she was on multiple medications and injections every day.

But none of them were helping.

What ultimately helped were two major things: slow-motion strength training and changing her diet.

When Nicole first started training with Sarah, she needed assistance getting from machine to machine. As Nicole got stronger and was able to increase resistance on each exercise, her life started coming back together.

She was able to get out of the wheelchair, she started running again, and even was able to go up and down the stairs without help – something she couldn’t do before.

At one point Nicole was afraid she wasn’t going to be able to walk down the aisle at her wedding, so that became a big goal for Nicole and Sarah to work toward.

With a lot of consistency and hard work, Nicole was able to stand up on her wedding day and walk down the aisle towards her new life, and Sarah was there to witness it.

“It was amazing, so beautiful. She is a completely different person today than she was when I first met her.”

Sarah is working with another woman whose goals are a little different.

“She's a lifer. And it's not because she loves me. It's not because she loves the workout. She visually sees the decline in her mother and how she can't take care of herself. And she doesn't want that.”

At The Perfect Workout we work with a lot of people in this middle stage of life where focusing on the future feels more important than ever. We meet them where they’re at and work with them to take control of their health and future. 

Sarah recently helped a male client take control of his life. He had severe diabetes, was overweight, and the doctor told him he needed to do something about it.

“His doctor told him, if you don't change something, you're gonna die in probably about two years.”

He began by making changes to his diet, becoming more active in his daily life, and found a personal trainer at The Perfect Workout.

After making those changes to his diet, lifestyle, and consistently doing slow-motion strength training, he’s gotten his life under control. His diabetes is no longer an issue and his doctor is very happy with his progress.

The Perfect Workout Mindset

You can get effective exercise in a small amount of time. We’ve been programmed to think that quantity is better than quality, and that's not the case. 

You don't have to spend an entire day working out and putting that much strain on your body to get the same (or better) results as you can get in 20 minutes, twice a week.

“People see a difference in their bodies in such a short amount of time, especially people that have never done weightlifting before. It doesn't take very long for your muscles to snap out of that stagnant state that they've been in for so long.”

Another thing people struggle with is time. The Perfect Workout method is only 20 minutes. Everybody has 20 minutes that they can focus on themselves. It's not only good physically, but mentally too, because you're doing something for you

“I can say working on physical health and mental health is extremely important. Take that time and focus on your own health, because you can't pour from an empty cup.”

Too many people sacrifice their health and quality of life because they allow themselves to get weak and out of shape. With The Perfect Workout, you can safely reshape your health and body in just 20 minutes, twice a week. Guaranteed.

Exercise Equipment for Virtual Training: What You Need to Know

Virtual Training exercise equipment

Virtual Personal Training with our slow-motion strength training method has proven equipment is not necessary…

Results can be achieved without using an exercise machine or equipment!

Read more here about how you can get a great workout with or without equipment.

But that doesn’t mean people don’t want equipment.

We compiled a list of recommended equipment for Virtual Training Sessions and where to buy it. Shop our recommended equipment sources here.

You might be wondering…

  • What equipment do we recommend for Virtual Training?
  • Why is this equipment recommended?
  • What exercises use equipment?

We’ll cover each of those questions in this article.

What Exercise Equipment is Recommended and Why

With over 40,000 case studies and over 20 years of service, we have plenty of experience customizing workouts for unique situations. Providing the safest and most effective exercise variation is a big part of our 1-on-1 private training.

While fitness equipment isn’t necessary, there are four tried-and-true pieces of equipment that can be useful for unique situations:

  • Resistance Bands
  • Dumbbells
  • Mini-Exercise Balls
  • Exercise Benches

 

What Are Resistance Bands Used For

A better question is: What AREN’T resistance bands used for?!

Resistance bands are incredibly versatile, especially if you don’t have actual weights. They can also be used to make an exercise more or less intense.

Upright Row Resistance Bands

For instance, if you struggle with push-ups, your trainer might have you secure one end of the resistance band over the top of a door as an anchor, then loop the other end of the band over your body as you get into push-up position.

With the resistance band looped around your body, the tension from being attached to the door will cause the band to support you and make the bottom half of the push-up easier.

Or maybe push-ups are too easy for you!

If that's the case, resistance bands can also be used to make exercises more challenging. You would just grip the resistance band in both hands as you do the exercise, making sure the band is across the back of your shoulders.

The upper range of the push-up gets more challenging when you do a push-up with resistance bands like this.

Shop resistance bands here.

What Are Dumbbells Used For

Also known as hand weights, dumbbells provide more resistance when you want to make an exercise more challenging.

They range in weight and can be made out of cast iron or concrete, sometimes coated in neoprene, rubber, or a plastic casing.

Men and Women using dumbbells

Compared to an entire barbell, dumbbells are especially useful for isolating specific muscles. With a barbell or machine, you might run into a situation where you’re gripping with both hands but one side is definitely carrying most of the weight. With dumbbells, one side can’t overcompensate for the other.

Shop dumbbells here.

What Are Mini-Exercise Balls Used For

Mini-exercise balls can be easy to underestimate. “I mean, they’re just a ball, right?”

Wrong! They’re GREAT for balance and stability.

But what does that mean for your workout and your results?

It’s another way to provide structure for your form. When you focus on stabilizing an area of the body, you’re able to contract specific muscles more effectively.

More contraction = more intense.

More intense = more efficient and effective workout.

Exercise Ball

Maybe you're someone who struggles to keep your knees aligned with your toes on a wall squat. In that example, your knees might cave in or push out – causing the exercise to lose effectiveness as the muscle contraction moves to other unintended parts of the body.

Your trainer might have you put an exercise ball between your knees to help train your body to stay aligned.

This would force your knees to keep a certain position which allows you to stop worrying about what your knees are doing and just focus on squeezing your glutes and pushing through your heels.

Shop exercise balls here.

What Are Exercise Benches Used For

Similar to our favored Nautilus machines, exercise benches stabilize the body and help structure it in a way that reduces risk of injury.

“Okay, but doesn’t a chair accomplish the same thing?”

Adjustable Dumbbells and bench

With a chair, couch, bed, or table, you’d probably have to grab several pillows to get a similar angle with less stability.

You can easily adjust incline for the seat back with an exercise bench or weight bench and be confident you won’t fall over with a tower of pillows. 😉

Another perk of an exercise bench is it provides a sturdy, flat surface a little higher from the ground for those who struggle getting up and down from the floor!

Shop exercise benches here.

Just reading about the different types of equipment might make you feel inspired to try a new version of an old exercise.

Our Certified Personal Trainers know there are limitless ways to customize your workout. They’ll choose an exercise variation based on your goals and medical needs to find the safest and most effective version every time.

No matter where you are or what fitness equipment you do or don’t have, you can always get in a great workout.

Read more about what exercise variations you can do with different levels of equipment here.

Makeshift virtual training equipment

If you felt inspired to try a new exercise, or if you’ve been dying to get some trusted equipment for yourself…

Be sure to check out our recommendations today!

Exercise equipment is in high demand and availability is extremely limited, so we recommend taking a look ASAP.

Consider setting alerts on your phone or subscribing to restock notifications from the seller and check back often if you run into items being out of stock.

Shop exercise equipment here.

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