Add variety to your workout – try these variations to your chin up or pull up routine. Use a convenient Doorway Gym Bar which easily installs in a doorway frame of your home and still allows the door to close.
Granted, not all of these ab exercises can be done at home with your doorway chin up bar, but it will get the creativity flowing for your home practice! These exercises are for those who are looking to advance their chin up routine. Build up your strength with your home doorway chin up bar before taking your workout outside to the park like this gentleman.
Having trouble getting started with your chin ups? Check out this short video for two suggestions on how to begin your practice and build up your strength using your at-home doorway chin up bar. The Sunny Health & Fitness doorway bar is called a gym bar because not only can it be installed at the top of your door frame for pull ups and chin ups, but in can also be installed at the bottom of the door frame for sit ups and press ups. Great to add variety to workout and to build all over body strength.
Add this active-isolated stretch to lengthen the ITB without causing harm.
By Jim and Phil Wharton / Image by Asaf Hanuka / Published 03/08/2007 (from Runners World)
Along with calloused feet and a tolerance for Gu, runners tend to develop tight iliotibial bands (ITB). The ITB is a sheath of connective tissue that runs from the gluteus to the outside of the shin just below the knee. It helps extend the knee and stabilize the leg during running. Overuse and inflexibility can shorten the ITB, causing hip and knee pain. Many runners attempt to counteract this with the ITB stretch shown here. But because it stresses the leg and back muscles, this stretch has the opposite effect. The ITB and surrounding muscles tighten against this pressure, irritating these areas. Our “active-isolated” method (below) allows you to lengthen the ITB without causing additional harm.
Don’t Do This
Leaning forward (for a greater stretch) stresses the lower back and groin muscles.
The forced muscle contraction stresses the hip and knee joints, which impedes circulation.
The angle of the knee puts pressure on the patellar tendon of the kneecap and the quadriceps.
Lie down with both legs out straight.
Put one foot in the loop of a rope, positioning the rope between your heel and the ball of your foot. Wrap the rope around the outside of the ankle so that its ends are on the inside.
Contract your adductors (inner thigh), and sweep the leg across your body, passing just above the other leg. Keep your knee locked.
Once you feel tension on the leg, gently pull on the rope to extend the range of the stretch just a little more.
Hold for one or two seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
Adductor (inner thigh) muscles are activated, which relaxes the opposing muscle group.
Abductor (outer thigh) muscles ease into the stretch instead of being forced and held in a static position.
Back and neck are supported and relaxed.
A quick video showing how to perform this plank variation while on a Balance Board.
Balance Boards, Wobble Boards, and Balance Discs come in a variety of sizes and materials but essentially can be used interchangeably in a variety of exercises. Balance Boards, or Wobble Boards, are wood with a round base to create your unstable surface. While the Balance Discs are made of a soft inflatable vinyl.
Although these following exercises are intended for new mom’s trouble spots, you may find these exercises perfect for you too. Two of these exercises use small exercise balls. We carry three different sizes: 6″ Exercise/Body Rolling Ball, 7″ Exercise Therapy Ball, and a 9″ Exercise Therapy Ball. These small vinyl inflatable balls have many uses so feel free to incorporate into other exercises, such as holding the ball between your hands during crunches. The simple act of squeezing the ball between your legs or your hands activates additional muscles and brings more awareness to those areas.
The Wood Chop exercise is to be performed with a dumbbell or hand weight. Check out these options: Neoprene Dumbbell Weight Set (2, 3, 5lbs), Grip Weights (3 or 5lbs), or the Soft Weighted Toning Balls (2lbs).
Exercises to Tackle Your Trouble Spots
Exercise: Ball Squats
Exercise: Ball Squats
Do It: In a standing position, place a beach ball between your thighs (you can also use a basketball or a pillow). Holding ball firmly, bend knees into squat position, as if you’re going to sit in a chair (make sure your knees don’t extend past toes). Hold for two counts; return to start position. Repeat 20 times.
Why It Works: This targets the front of your thighs, plus your inner thighs, which have to work to hold the ball in place.
Exercise: Wood Chop with Dumbbell
Exercise: Wood Chop with Dumbbell
Do It: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a weight in front of you. Bend knees as if you’re sitting in a chair, so thighs are almost parallel with floor. As you bend, rotate shoulders to the left, bringing weight toward left knee. Straighten legs, twisting torso right as you raise weight diagonally over your right shoulder. Repeat 10 times; switch sides.
Why It Works: The squat incorporates your glutes and thighs, while the twisting motion targets your obliques, Pasternak explains.
Exercise: Walking Lunge with Trunk Twist
Exercise: Walking Lunge with Trunk Twist
Do It: Start with feet together, holding a ball in front of you with both hands. Step forward three to four feet with right leg, as shown, lunging forward until thigh is parallel to floor, knee over ankle. As you lunge, twist torso right, keeping head and pelvis facing forward. Bring torso back to front. Pushing off with right heel, bring left foot forward into a lunge and twist torso to left. Do 20 lunges — 10 each side.
Why It Works: Lunges target glutes, quads, and hamstrings. The torso twist works your abs, particularly the obliques.
The following half-round foam roller exercises were provided by J/Fit – the manufacturer of our 12″ Half Round Roller and our 36″ Half Round Roller. The half-round rollers are made of a dense “open cell” foam and are available in either red or white (depending on availability). Our round foam rollers are a high-density closed cell foam.
When performing the following, place the half round roller lengthwise with your foot or hand and place the curved side of the roller to the floor. The rocking action, that you will counteract muscularly, will be side to side.
Exercise #1 : Standing Balance
Start by balancing one foot on a half-round foam roller. Lift opposite leg so that your toes barely touch the floor. As balance progresses, lift one leg higher taking the toes off the floor. Further progress into squats with one leg.
Exercise #2 : Reverse Lunges
Start in a standing position with left foot on half-round roller. Bend both knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping your hips towards the floor. Take a step backward and lower the knee towards the floor. Return to start. Do 8-12 reps and switch to right leg.
Exercise #3 : Push Ups
Get into a push-up position, placing one or both hands lengthwise on the half-round foam roller. (One hand at a time for beginners). With your head remaining neutral, slowly lower elbows out to 90-degrees and slowly lower yourself down to the floor.
Beginners: Keep knees touching the floor.
Advanced: Keep knees off the floor.
Develop your balance and stability skills by using a balance board or balance disc in your workout. Learn how to do the Side Step by watching the following video – it’s just a few seconds long, so you can start practicing right away!
Here’s a quick summary comparing the balance board and balance discs:
Our round balance board is constructed of Birch wood and offers a 16″ diameter surface. The flat wood top is perched on a round base that allows for a 14-degree angle of difficulty to your workouts. A sandpaper surface makes it easy to stand on without slipping.
We offer two inflatable balance discs. Both are 13″ diameter. One balance disc is by JFit and is textured on both sides – one is knobby, and the other slightly textured to reduce slippage. Our Natural Fitness balance disc is smooth on one side, knobby on the other, but this balance disc is made with a non-toxic, eco-friendly, phthalate-free PVC elasticizer. The soft, inflatable balance discs are also a great tool to use to improve your posture. Place on the seat of your office chair and get the same benefits of using a stability ball without the bulk.
In seconds you can quickly learn how to use a balance board or a balance disc to increase the difficulty level of doing a Plank pose with a Crunch. Adding an unstable base to any exercise or pose will force you to incorporate additional muscles and will also train your proprioceptors to reduce the risk of injury.
Four more great exercises to do on either a full round foam roller or a half round foam roller. Choose between the 18″ Foam Roller, a 36″ Foam Roller, or an 36″ Half Round Roller. The full round rollers are made of a high density foam construction so they’ll keep their round shape longer so they’ll continue to roll and offer you the challenge you’re looking for. Please note that some exercises require two foam rollers to place individually under your feet or under hands & knees, etc.
Click here for the first four exercises that were presented in Part 1.
There are many different and challenging balance and stability exercises that can be performed on the foam roller. As we discussed in my previous post, the half foam roller can be used with the flat side up or down as a starting point. You may progress to the full round roller when mastery of the half roller has been accomplished.
Please also take note of the following general principles when training balance and stability.
- First, whenever possible train without shoes. There are many receptors in the feet that give feedback to the nervous system about joint position.
- Always engage the abdominals and the rest of your core musculature while doing these exercises.
- Make sure you feel comfortable doing all the exercises on a stable surface (the floor) before you do them on the roller.
Exercise: PRONE REACH ON THE FOAM ROLLER
- Place the foam roller parallel to your mat.
- Sit at the end of the roller with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor.
- Use the hands to carefully guide you onto your back.
- You should be balanced and supported on the roller from the head to the tail.
- Try to find your center and hold onto it during the exercise.
- To start, inhale and hover the left hand and right foot off the floor a few inches.
- Exhale and slowly decelerate them back down to the floor.
- If taking both the hand and foot off proves too difficult just take one off at a time.
- Inhale hover the right hand.
- Exhale slowly lower the right hand. Inhale lift the left foot.
- Exhale lower the left foot.
- Change sides.
After you have mastered the hovering move on.
- To start inhale and just hover the left hand and right foot off the floor a few inches.
- Exhale and slowly bring the left wrist in line with the shoulder and the right leg into a table top position (at the top the knee is over the hip and the knee and ankle are aligned)
- Hold inhale.
- Exhale and slowly decelerate everything down.
- Again, If taking both the arm and leg off at the same time proves too difficult try taking one at a time off.
- Inhale slowly bring the left leg into table top.
- Exhale slowly lower the leg back to the starting position.
- Inhale hover the right arm off the floor.
- Exhale slowly decelerate it back down.
- Change sides.
Exercise: BRIDGING WITH THE FOAM ROLLER
- Place the foam roller perpendicular to your mat and sit in front of it.
- Lie down on your back and place the roller under your feet.
- The roller should be at the arch of the foot.
- The feet should be hip distance apart and parallel.
- Eyes are to the ceiling and the arms are beside the body.
- Exhale and start to peel the spine off the floor starting at the tailbone.
- The roller should stay still as you roll up.
- Stop at the top of the shoulders.
- Make sure there is no weight on the neck.
- Hold and inhale.
- Exhale and slowly start to peel down again from the top of the spine until you return to the starting position.
To add on hold the position at the top and try to float one foot a few inches off the roller and set it back down.
- As you lift the foot no change should occur in the spine and pelvis.
- Change feet and when finished slowly roll down.
To advance even more you can hold at the top, float one foot up and extend the leg out at an angle or up to the ceiling.
- Again, the spine and pelvis should remain the same as you extend the leg.
- Gently bring the leg back down and change sides.
- When finished slowly roll down.
Exercise: TIGHTROPE BALANCE ON HALF FOAM ROLLER
Place a sticky mat and a half foam roller on top and parallel to the mat a few feet from the wall. You want it close enough to the wall that if needed the fingertips can touch and help steady you. First try this balance exercise with the flat side down and then progress to the flat side up.
- Carefully stand with one foot in front of the other.
- Hold the position with the legs long and arms hanging by your sides, extended out to the sides or extended out in front of you.
Add a squat.
- Keeping your center inhale, bend the knees and come into a squat position on the tightrope.
- The back heel may lift a bit.
- Exhale and slowly extend back up.
- Do 2 to 4 reps.
- Gently come off and change sides.
- Don’t be surprised if one side is easier than the other.
Exercise: SKIER ON THE HALF FOAM ROLLERS
Place a sticky mat and two half foam rollers one beside the other about hip distance apart on the mat.
Have a wall nearby or a gondola pole to help steady you as you step onto the half foam rollers and find your center.
Eventually you want to be able to do the balance without the wall or pole.
- Hold this position with straight legs and eyes to the horizon for 2 to 4 breath cycles.
- To advance you can add arm movement.
- Keep the body upright and centered, inhale and slowly sweep the arms up to shoulder level.
- Exhale and slowly bring the arms back to your side.
- Try to do 4-6 reps keeping optimal form and balance.
- To add on further add a squat.
- Inhale, bend the knees and hinge the torso slightly forward.
- Exhale, press into the feet and slowly stand up.
- Do 4-6 reps.
- To add on here, hold the squat for 20 to 30 seconds with optimal form and balance.
- Gently return to straight legs.