Tag Archive for hamstrings

My Top 5 Exercises

Hey friends!

It’s been a whirlwind of a week over here. I definitely wore myself out both physically, and mentally. Work has been pretty crazy and all over the place, and I’ve been kicking butt in the fitness department. Between running, rock climbing, hiking, plyometrics, HIIT, and heavy lifting, I’ve literally  been doing it all. Next week I am even planning on taking an adult gymnastics class, so stay tuned for a recap of that! For now, I’m battling a little cold, but hoping I will heal myself by creating cocktails like this:

sickness cocktail

and drinking lots of fluids.

The Core 5 Exercises 

With all of the different types of exercises out there, things can get pretty confusing. There are so many different movements and ways to perform those movements, that sometimes it can make your head spin. Of course, you can target your muscles in many different ways, but there are some basics that I believe are what build your foundation. Not only are they functional exercises, but they are strength building and work your entire body simultaneously. If you master these, consider yourself a master of strength. 😀

1. Push Ups

We all know what a push up is, but are you doing them properly? When done correctly, the pushup will work your pecs (chest), deltoids (shoulders), abs, and triceps, but even your legs, glutes, and lats must work as stabilizers in order to do a push up correctly.

Modification: Start from your knees until you build up strength to do a proper push-up. The same flat-back form and movement should be kept.

2. Pull Ups

I have a love/hate relationship with pull ups. They are such a GREAT exercise, but take a lot of work to become good at. There is really only one way to get better (and do more) pull ups, and that is to…wait for it…DO PULL UPS. But you may ask, how do I work on pull ups if I can’t do a single one?! Well, there are several modifications that help you practice the movement until your strength is built up enough to do pull ups on your own. Here are a few options:

Options #1: Band Pull Ups – both legs

band pull upOption #2: Band Pull Ups – one knee in (same as above, but using only 1 knee in the band)

Option #3: Band Pull Ups – one foot in, straight leg (instead of your knee on the band, you put your foot on it. Both legs stay straight)

3. Back Squats

The back squat is definitely an important exercise for everyone to learn and practice. I always tell people the best ab exercises I know of are squats and deadlifts. Like the push up, this is a full body exercise. Your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and abs are all working very hard during this exercise. Your back is used as a stabilizer as well. The proper back squat involves a nice athletic stance, with your chest out, shoulders back, flat back, and abs pulled in through your belly button. Here is a video by my good friend (and my first trainer! He taught me all of these moves back in 2007) Bret Contreras. The video talks about proper form, problems, and corrections. It is well worth watching!

4. Deadlifts

Probably my favorite exercise of all time. There are several different types of deadlifts, but for our purposes, I am speaking of the Conventional Deadlift. Unlike the squat, the deadlift is a hinge at the hips. This exercise works your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, upper back, and abs. It is another exercise that requires a lot of attention to form, as not to injure yourself. Learning your form on this exercise is the first priority before adding weight. Once again, I’ll let Bret take this one:

5. The Hip Thrust

Back in 2007, I learned about the hip thrust first hand from, of course, Bret Contreras. In his small Scottsdale gym that I trained with him at, I was introduced to this move and forever fell in love. With the exercise, not Bret. The hip thrust is absolutely the best glute exercise out there. It is a power movement that uses SO many muscles and truly targets the glutes in a way that squats and deadlifts just don’t do (not to take away from them, just a different reaction from the muscles). I am posting another one of Bret’s videos, as he is one of the first people to spread the word and research this amazing exercise in depth.

Side note: Bret is now selling the Hip Thruster machine! (you better believe I’m talking my gym into getting one.)

So there you have it folks. I can guarantee that if you master and practice these 5 moves, you truly need nothing else. Of course, you can always supplement with other exercises and focus on speed, power, or strength (which will all give you a different way to use these moves), but these are staples. Learn them, practice them, and watch your fitness level take strides.

– What is your favorite exercise?

– Do you practice any of these exercises regularly? If so, which is your favorite/least favorite?

Hamstring Fiyah!


Hey guys!! Sorry my posts have been so sporadic. I’m moving to Los Angeles on Saturday, so I’ve been tying up the loose ends here.

I’m finally getting over the horrendous cough I had. It’s been a week and  a half, and I’m finally able to work out again as of Sunday. I’m still coughing a little bit, and my ribs are sore, but I’m not going to complain. It’s funny how sickness makes you appreciate your health so much more!!

I haven’t been able to do much cardio, since my lungs are a little pre-occupied with coughing, but I’ve done some. Aside from that, I’ve just been watching what I eat and getting in my weights. I haven’t done much plyometric work either, and I’m excited to get back to that, hopefully next week sometime. I don’t want to push it and end up sick again!

This is the hamstring/glute workout I did yesterday. It had me sweating like crazy. I’m not sore today, surprisingly, but it was a great workout!

Leg Workout

Deadlifts: 95 x 15, 95 x 15, 115 x 12, 135 x 8, 135 x 8

Superset of:

DB Step-Ups: 20 x 15, 20 x 15, 20 x 15

Quadruped Hip Extension(one of my faves): 20 x 12, 20 x 12, 20 x 12

45* Hyper: 10 x 15, 10 x 15, 10 x 15

I finished with 20 minutes on the elliptical to cool off and move my legs around 🙂

Enjoy! Let me know if you try it and what you think. (Of course, use weights that are appropriate for YOU.)

Lifting the Dead

Woah. That’s an inviting title, right?

Before you all run away thinking I’m the spawn of the devil, have no fear, it’s not what you think.(Although some may argue…?)

I’m talking about deadlifting.

By far, my favorite exercise. For one, it targets my favorite muscle groups(glutes and hamstrings), and two, it’s just fun.

The Workout

Today was a really good one. I started with a 20 minute jog on the treadmill to warm up. Then it was weight lifting time!

5 sets of Deadlifts- high reps, 95×15, 95×15, 95×15, 115×12, 115×12

3 sets of Hip Thrusts- 65×12, 65×12, 65×12

3 sets of Reverse Hyper- 10×15, 10×15, 10×15

3 sets of Reverse Lunges-15×12, 15×12, 15×12

2 sets of Quadrupled Hip Extensions using the Reverse Hyper – 40×10,40×10

2 sets of Glute Ham Raises- bwx5, bwx5

My glutes are going to be sore manana methinks!

I finished up the workout with 30 minutes on the stairmill. Speed intervals at Level 8.

Didn’t even break a sweat! (hahaha, right.)


I mentioned that eating has been really great. I’ll give a snap shot of what my days have looked like.

Meal 1: Protein shake and 1/4 cup of oats(more on this later)

Meal 2: Post workout protein shake(just protein powder +water), Ground turkey pita wrap and veggies.

Meal 3: 4 oz. turkey, 1/4 avocado, hot sauce, mas veggies

Meal 4: Usually another protein shake. or sometimes spinach and egg whites. Veggies of course.

Meal 5: Usually one of the meals above.

Meal 6: 1 cup spinach, 1 egg, 5 whites, and more veggies!

So basically I eat a lot of vegetables. 🙂

Here are my thoughts:

The past 2 ish weeks I haven’t been consuming very many complex carbs. Aside from oats/wheat bran in the morning, I haven’t had any other complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, etc.

I feel incredible. I think that my body likes this way of eating. I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t eat those complex carbs, because they are essential. I am actually going to experiment with brown rice and see how I feel with that in a few meals of the day. Slow digesting carbs like that are really important in helping to build muscle, keep muscle, and for your body to run efficiently. This doesn’t mean I am eating low carb. Veggies contain carbs, and the amount I’m eating still gets me to about 100-150 grams of carbs each day.

Yesterday i ate my usual 1/4 cup of wheat bran with 1/4 cup oats mixture and I was exhausted  afterwards and could feel the carbs. I don’t like that weighed down feeling. This morning i left out the wheat bran and just had the 1/4 cup oats. I felt okay and couldn’t really feel the carbs again.

Basically, I am going to keep experimenting and see what works for me. The only way to be successful is to follow what fits you. For now, this is what fits me, so I will continue to document how I’m feeling, looking, etc.

Anyways, I’ve rambled enough and I’m off to take a spin class with a fellow blogger and my roommate!!

I’m high on life!!! 🙂