Lizzy Lives in L.A.

Living Healthy and Fit in L.A.


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Proper Squat Form

Happy Monday! I thought I’d start this fabulous week off by talking about our booty’s best friend: the squat. 

(Please note, I am not a doctor and this is not a prescription. Please check with your doctor before making any exercise changes or trying anything new if you’re not comfortable with it.) 

I love squats for SOOOO many reasons: 

1. They are a GREAT exercise for the legs, butt, and core. 

2. They are something you can do anywhere.

3. They help build the booty and keep it perky!

4. The squat is a practical movement. By this, I mean that it is used in our everyday lives. A non-practical movement? The tricep-kickback. Tell me when you do that in daily life…

5. Versatility! They can be used as an isometric movement (static squat), a heavy movement (heavy barbell squats), a plyometric (jump squats), and more!

I created a quick video of me squatting so that you can see what proper form looks like. Of course, it can take practice and patience, so keep working on it if you’re not there yet!

My three tips for performing a proper squat are: 

1. Sit back first. Many people start to bend at the knees first, but this puts you in the position to squat with your knees bending past your toes and your weight to be put in your toes, rather than your heels. Sit back and THEN drop down. This will keep your weight in your heels, utilizing your glutes and hamstrings more. 

2. Squat Down with your chest up. A good way to practice this is to wear a shirt with a logo on the chest and face a mirror while doing the movement. You should be able to see that logo in the same position for the entire movement. 

3. Push through your heels. When you get to the bottom of your squat (which ideally will be butt below the knees, or as we like to call it “ass to grass”) you obviously have to come back up! Push through your heels in order to promote the body to stay in it’s upright form and not put your weight back into your knees. 

I hope these tips help you to perform your best squat yet! Start with just body weight and move up to weights as you begin to get more comfortable with the movement. You can also practice Wall Squats to train your body to keep your chest upright during the movement. (Start as close to the wall as possible in order for you to perform the squat. Do 3 sets of 15 reps 3-4 times per week, working towards moving closer and closer to the wall). 

Wall Squat

Wall Squat

Happy squatting everyone!

Questions for the day:

1. What is your favorite exercise?

Mine is the deadlift, but squats are a close 2nd.

2. Did you watch the Superbowl?

Let’s put it this way, I fell asleep in the 4th quarter. No joke.


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Weekend Things

We made it people. It’s Friday, and the weekend starts….NOW. Well, not really for me. I have to work a bit this weekend, but I like what I do, so it’s not all that bad. I started my day with this new-to-me flavor of Fage. I’m a fan!!

fage

Workout

Yesterday’s workout was a heavy lift with some plyometrics sprinkled in. The plyometrics were an after-thought, but I’m glad I did them. The workout ended up being pretty tough, but fun.

Superset #1 – 4 Sets

Barbell Squats: 75 x 15, 95 x 10, 105 x 8, 115 x 6

Squat Jumps: bw x 10, bw x 10, bw x 10, bw x 10 

Superset #2 – 3 Sets

T-Bar Row: 35 x 12, 35 x 12, 45 x 8

Chin Ups: bw x 2, bw x 2, bw x 2

Then: (done separately)

Dumbbell Reverse Lunges: 15 x 15, 20 x 10, 25 x 8, 30 x 6

Barbell Bench Press: 65 x 12, 65 x 12, 65 x 12, 65 x 12

It was a great workout and I’m definitely sore today! It feels good. I’m working on squatting heavier. Squats are my weakest leg lift. My guru and very first personal trainer, Bret Contreras, told me that since I have long femurs, it’s very common to be able to do heavy deadlifts and hip thrusts but be weaker on squats. Just have to keep working at it!

Last night I made my favorite Chicken dish. I finally took some photos of the process too! Sorry for the crappy iPhone photos. Someday I’ll use the real big-boy camera and take some better ones.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with how I combat boredom at the airport…..:-D

Practicing Yoga...err something..

Practicing Yoga…err something..

In case you were wondering...

In case you were wondering…

I’m a child.

1. What is your favorite exercise?

2. Where is your favorite place to travel?

 


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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?