This blog post was written by Mary Dimmick, RD, MS, CPT, CES, and FreeMotion Master Coach. You can learn more about Mary HERE.
A lot of people overlook shoulder strength and flexibility in their training. However, improved flexibility and strength in our shoulders can lead to an increased range of motion around the shoulder joints, as well as resistance to fatigue and injury. By dedicating some time to the shoulders, you can improve your ability to perform anything from everyday movements like putting the groceries away to advanced, compound weight-lifting exercises such as heavy squats, push-ups, and pull-ups.
Check out this list of six RIP:60 exercises that allow you to focus on effectively increasing shoulder flexibility and strength. Perform all of the provided exercises in a circuit for 2 to 4 sets, repeating the strength exercises 8 to 12 repetitions, and holding the stretch exercise for the designated amount of seconds. You may also pick and choose the exercises you feel are most appropriate and applicable for your individual needs.
Keep in mind that the RIP:60 straps also allow you to keep your core and legs engaged as you complete your shoulder work, which leads to improved proprioception and a relatively nice boost in caloric burn. As with any exercise, good form is key for optimal results and to avoid injury. If you are not sure what you are doing, or if you are feeling any soreness in your neck during or after the exercises, I strongly suggest you seek out the supervision of a trained professional.
Starting Position for First 4 Exercises
Lean back with your entire weight supported by the RIP:60 straps in a “low-load” position—somewhat close to standing upright. Your arms should be straight and palms facing each other. Be sure that you have a neutral spine and that your core is braced with a neutral pelvis (doesn’t tilt forward or backward). As you perform the exercises, be absolutely sure to maintain a braced core, as using the RIP:60 straps is also a great opportunity to work on strengthening your deep intrinsic core muscles. Also, do your very best to maintain a relaxed neck, which is easy to achieve when your shoulders are pulled down and back by the muscles of your back
Begin in the starting position. With straight arms, take a moment to retract your shoulders and feel the muscles of your mid-upper back contract. Next, flare the elbows out to the side to make 90-degree angles in your elbow. Meanwhile, rotate your palms to face forward. Really focus on “squeezing a pencil” between your shoulders blades and keeping your shoulders away from your ears. At the peak of the contraction, the orientation of your arms to head will resemble the letter “W”. As you return to the starting position, be sure to keep your shoulders down and back, and your neck relaxed as you straighten your arms and rotate your palms to return to the starting position.
Begin in your starting position. Again, take a moment to retract your shoulders, without notably bending the elbows. Squeeze that pencil between your shoulder blades as you develop tension behind the shoulders and upper back. Then, to perform the movement, lift your arms straight up into a “Y” position, keeping the RIP:60 strap in full tension the entire time (don’t let it fall loose between you and the anchor point). As you return to the starting position, focus really hard on keeping your shoulders down and back, and your neck relaxed as you straighten your arms and rotate your palms to face each other at the starting position.
Assume the starting position, which might need to be slightly further away from your anchor than you will be for the “W” and “Y”, since smaller muscle groups will be targeted. Keep tension on the straps the entire time. Tightly contract your lats down with upper back muscles in, and serratus anterior to lift your hands straight up into the air, with only a very small gap between your ears and the RIP:60 strap. Palms need to face forward at the top of the contraction. If you feel excessive strain in your neck, you might need to tuck your chin slightly toward your chest in order to lengthen the upper trapezius and enable the shoulders to drop down a little more (with conscious effort). Return to your starting position keeping your neck relaxed and back muscles tense.
- Reverse Fly
From the starting position, contract your rhomboids by retracting your shoulders and squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades before driving your mostly straight arms out to the side, keeping the RIP:60 strap in tension. Drive your arms out as far as you can until they are level with your body. Take time to feel muscles such as your lats, mid-back muscles, and posterior deltoid (NOT your neck). Activate then lean backward and control your straight arms back to the starting position. If you find you cannot complete this with 1) straight arms, then “soft” elbows are OK. Just do not actively bend the elbow. Or 2) without arching your back, then step away from the anchor point just a little more, even if you are almost fully upright at the starting position.
- Overhead Chest Stretch
Begin facing away from your anchor point and assume a staggered stance with your arms up, framing your head, and elbows bent to 90 degrees. Shift forward slowly in your stance until you can lift your chest up to achieve the stretch throughout your chest muscles and anterior deltoid. It is very important that you hold a gentle stretch with your neck relaxed, shoulders down, abdominals braced, and pelvis in a neutral position. If possible, your hands should be tilted slightly behind your body, and elbows tilted slightly forward. I usually have my clients switch legs after holding the first stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Overhead Squat
Begin by sliding the handlebars up the foot carriages so that you are working with the soft material. Place your hands in the foot carriage, with the material on the back of your hand (not your palm). Lift your arms straight in the air, as with the “I” exercise, and adjust your stance to be hip width apart. The RIP:60 straps should be fully in-tension as you press back on the foot carriages with your hands above your head.
Once you are in a completely upright position underneath the tense RIP:60 straps, perform a squat keeping your hands directly above your head. If you find your arms pulling forward, or your torso hinging forward, you might be leaning back too much. You may also try not going as low until you are able to keep your hands straight up above your head.
FreeMotion recently installed 36 Incline Trainers in the Mizzou Student Rec Complex at the University of Missouri and the feedback has been outstanding! Here’s an email we received from Diane Guse Dahlmann, the Executive Director of the MizzouRec Services & Facilities.
Our students have responded with enthusiasm over the installation of 36 FreeMotion Incline Trainers at the Mizzou Student Rec Complex. These newest FreeMotions have provided our Tigers with a whole new array of workout options. As a result, the new equipment has immediately become the first choice for cardio for our students.
It was clear after our testing last semester that Mizzou student voices said “FreeMotion” and “Incline Trainers.” When the time came to rotate our old treadmills this summer, the choice was easy — FreeMotion Incline Trainers, 36 strong for our Mizzou Tigers! And the equipment has been running hot every since they rolled in the door!
Not only are our the students thrilled with the new machines, but our fitness equipment technicians were overjoyed as well. FreeMotion was trouble-free during our tests, standing up to the vigorous use in our demanding environment.
Thank you, FreeMotion — your product is Tiger Tough and Mizzou Strong!
Diane Guse Dahlmann
MizzouRec Services & Facilities
Mizzou Aquatic Center
LOGAN, UTAH April 20, 2015—FreeMotion Fitness Inc., a leading provider of commercial fitness equipment, announced the addition of Dan Toigo as vice president of sales for North America.
In this position, Toigo will play a leading role in driving revenue growth. He will also be instrumental in strengthening relationships with distributors.
Toigo joins the company with over 24 years of experience in specialty fitness commercial distribution, direct sales, and national account management. Over the last 10 years he has been highly successful in senior management positions with Precor, Interactive Fitness, and most recently as the vice president of sales for Fluidity Studio Barre.
“We’re very excited to have a proven and experienced sales leader like Dan join our team,” said FreeMotion Fitness President and Chief Executive Officer Pat McGinnis. In the coming months, FreeMotion looks forward to increasing market share, continuing to develop innovative products, and advancing customers’ educational experience.
FreeMotion Fitness™, a subsidiary of Icon Health & Fitness, is a commercial fitness company best known for functional strength products like the Dual Cable Cross as well as the Incline Trainer with a gradient range of zero to 30 percent. FreeMotion also offers full cardio and strength product lines found at freemotionfit.com and freemotioncatalog.com.
“Our philosophy is to take club training to the next level,” explained McGinnis. “Instead of offering just fixed-isolated strength equipment, we bring club members cable strength with free range of motion. This mentality carries through our full product offering. We are constantly challenging the status quo so that club members can get the most out of their training.”
Club owners interested in increasing revenue through innovative, functional equipment should contact Pat McGinnis at 877.363.8449 or visit freemotionfit.com.
The FreeMotion Dual Cable Cross is one of the most recognized pieces of strength equipment in the world. This powerful machine functionally trains the muscles of the entire body to work together while building stability and coordination AND enhances strength by allowing users to perform movements that mimic activities in both sports and life. The Dual Cable Cross truly follows the philosophy of FreeMotion Fitness by allowing you to Train the Way You Move in Life and Sport. If you’re looking to take your training to the next level with the FreeMotion Dual Cable Cross download this exercise chart and give these exercises a try!
This weeks blog post comes to us from FreeMotion Master Coach Lee Labrum! You can learn more about Lee HERE.
CONGRATULATIONS!! You’ve just signed up for your first marathon!! Woo hoo!! 26.2 going down!! You are excited! You’ve told all your friends, family and coworkers and are committed to run a strong marathon. Then you wake up the next morning and think “Oh no, what have I done? I have no idea how to train for a marathon!!” Although a marathon may seem like an intimidating and exhausting endeavor as you EMBRACE proper planning and preparation you can not only make it through the 26.2 miles but do so with confidence and assurance.
E: Ease in to it.
Whether you are starting from scratch or already a seasoned runner it is important to build a proper base. This means making sure your scheduled marathon is a good 4 – 6 months away allowing your body to gradually strengthen and acclimate to the demands of marathon training. If you are starting from 0 – 15 miles a week, begin building to a solid base of 15 – 20 miles per week with your long run at least 5 miles. Once you have a solid base built – you are ready to start your training!
M: Make a plan.
It is important create a plan that begins with your current fitness level (be honest with yourself) and one that builds slowly and allows for recovery time so you can get to the starting line in proper shape, refreshed and ready to go – not beat up and injured. A simple internet search can direct you to a plan that will allow you to build it based on your entire running goals – not just finish time expectations. Find one that will take into account how many days a week you want to run, maximum miles per week, designated rest days and cross training days etc. Your training can include tempo runs, recovery runs, long runs and speed workouts. Adding variety to your training will not only help make it complete but also help you stay engaged and excited every day.
B: Buddy up.
Buddy up. This may sound a little corny but chances are if you have a training partner or group to turn to it can make all the difference in the world in how successful you are with your training. When you know your buddy is waiting for you not only will you be more committed to your workouts but you also become a major source of support for one another. One day you may be pulling your partner through a tough run and the next they’ll be helping you fight through fatigue. There is definitely strength in unity!
R: Rest and Recovery.
Rest – as in rest and recovery days as well as good old fashioned sleeping hours. These are two of the most overlooked aspects to training and probably the most difficult to achieve. There is something ingrained in us to work and work harder. Your body is designed to work but it also needs time to rebuild and repair. Skipping rest days will tax your body’s ability to recover and make you more prone to fatigue and injury. Make sure you take your scheduled rest days but also listen to your body and allow for extra rest days as needed. You don’t want to arrive at the start line feeling worn down, listless, tired and sore, with a lack of excitement for your race. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Make sure you get quality sleep at night!! That may mean adjusting your schedule to ensure a good 6 – 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
A: Accentuate quality over quantity.
One of my training buddies who ran collegiately began her college career with a coach requiring her to run up to 75 miles a week. She worked hard and put in her miles. Soon however she began to break down. Her coach realized that was way too many miles for her and cut her mileage back but ensured that she had QUALITY miles instead of QUANTITY. In other words, every run had a purpose and she worked hard to make them effective. Chances are you live a busy live. You have a family and a job and hobbies. You are not a professional athlete with doctors and trainers to monitor and guide your every step. Therefore it is up to you to ensure that the running you do has purpose such as tempo (race pace), recovery, speed, endurance and sometimes even just a fun run and not just “racking up the miles.”
C: Cross train.
Cross training. This is not a new concept and is frequently misunderstood and sometimes feared. You may hear runners say “I am not going to lift weights because I don’t want to be bulky”. Having a strong body from head to toe where all muscles enhance each other is not bulky. It’s called getting the most of every inch you have! Resistance training or strength training with a bit of focus on core and upper body will enhance your form and keep you upright when the going gets tough. Cross training can include a plethora of activities that not only take you out of the fixed motion of running but also strengthen your entire body and keep your mind fresh. Cycling, swimming, hiking and other cardio based activities are great for enhancing your aerobic conditioning. They also incorporate different muscles and muscle groups that will help you stave off fatigue during the marathon.
E: Educate yourself.
Research your race. Understand your nutrition and hydration needs. Become familiar with your shoes, clothing and gear you will be wearing on race day. These and many other aspects of educating yourself are vital to feeling confident when you toe the start line. You will be training for months so practice how you will run on race day. If your race is scheduled for early morning yet you train in the evening be sure to include some or your runs in the morning so you will know what adjustments you need to make including clothing, sleep and how early to eat your breakfast. If your race is hilly and you train only on the flatlands your calves and quads will be hating you midway through the race – unless you incorporate downhill and uphill runs in your training. If your race offers water and Gatorade but you only train with water be careful when you reach for the Gatorade if you don’t know how it will settle in your gut. What fuel to use and how often you refuel should be tested on every long run you do. This will give you confidence that you will be properly fueled to go the distance. No matter how cute or awesome the race shirt is be careful about wearing untried gear on race day. Chafing, blisters, overheating are things you can prepare for if you wear what you know works. Everything from socks and shoes to head wear – practice, practice and practice wearing what works.
Most importantly – have fun!!! This is a monumental moment in your life. EMBRACE it with excitement, confidence and the reality that you are AWESOME!!!
Happy running and best wishes!
FreeMotion Master Coach
ACE Certified Health Coach, RN