Monthly Archives: July 2017

DIP Exercise

The dip is an exercise used in strength training. Narrow, shoulder-width dips primarily train the triceps, with major synergistsbeing the anterior deltoid, the pectoralis muscles (sternal, clavicular, and minor), and the rhomboid muscles of the back (in that order). Wide arm training places additional emphasis on the pectoral muscles, similar in respect to the way a wide grip bench press would focus more on the pectorals and less on the triceps. To perform a dip, the exerciser hangs from a dip bar or from a set of rings with their arms straight down and shoulders over their hands, then lowers their body until their arms are bent to a 90 degree angle at the elbows, and then lifts their body up, returning to the starting position. Short people are able to cope better with a narrower grip, but not with a wider one. Due to natural flexibility in the shoulder joints, it is important to try to “lock” them as much as possible during this exercise. Otherwise, the supporting rotator cuffs may become strained.

Usually dips are done on a dip bar, with the exerciser’s hands supporting his or her entire body weight. For added resistance, weights can be added by use of a dip belt, weighted vest, or by wearing a backpack with weights in it. A dumbbell may also be held between the knees or ankles. For less resistance, an assisted dip/pull-up machine can be used which reduces the force necessary for the exerciser to elevate his body by use of a counterweight. One may also use resistance bands hooked under his feet to help if he lacks the strength to properly perform a dip. In the absence of this equipment, a lighter variation of the dip can be performed called the “Bench Dip”. The hands are placed on one bench directly underneath the shoulders or on two parallel benches. The legs are straightened and positioned horizontally; the feet rest on another bench in front of the exerciser. This variation trains the upper body muscles in a similar though not exact manner as the normal dip, whilst reducing the total weight lifted by a significant amount. This exercise can be done also off of the edge of a sofa, a kitchen counter, or any surface that supports the lifter.

Step DIP:

  1. Find an assisted pull-up/dip machine at the gym. Most gyms with extensive weight sections will have this piece of equipment. It has a platform where you place your knees or feet and weights that can be adjusted to counterbalance your body weight.
  2. Ask for assistance from a gym employee or personal trainer the first time you use this machine. If you are a first time weight lifter, assistance will reduce the likelihood of injury.
  3. Set the weight to approximately two-thirds of your body weight the first time you do a dip. The more weight you use, the less of a challenge the exercise will be. Try out this easier setting while you learn proper form.
  4. Let your arms hang down at your sides and grasp the handles on the dips bars on either side of your torso. The handles are usually covered in rubber for traction. Wrap your fingers around the outside and keep your thumbs on the inside.
  5. Kneel on the platform. If the platform is on the ground, rather than at knee height, it is likely a standing platform.
  6. Form a plank with your body. Imagine you are doing a pushup and you have one straight line from the top of your head to the knees. Lift and flex your stomach muscles inward to keep this strong position during the duration of the exercise.
  7. Relax your shoulders. They should be as far from your ears as possible. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders.
  8. Bend your elbows directly behind you. As you do this, the platform will lower slightly. Bend them until your elbows are parallel with your shoulders, at a 90 degree angle from your forearms.
  9. Pause, and then push your weight into your hands to straighten your arms all the way. Repeat eight to ten times with two to three sets. Rest for 30 seconds between sets.
  10. Adjust your weight setting as you get stronger. Reduce the amount of weight by 5 to 10 lbs. as the exercise gets easier. When the amount of weight you use is one-half or less of your body weight, you can move on to bench dips.

Push Up Exercise

A push-up (or press-up) is a common calisthenics exercise performed in a prone position by raising and lowering the body using the arms. Push-ups exercise the pectoral muscles, triceps, and anterior deltoids, with ancillary benefits to the rest of the deltoids, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis and the midsection as a whole. Push-ups are a basic exercise used in civilian athletic training or physical education and commonly in military physical training. They are also a common form of punishment used in the military, school sport, or in some martial artsdisciplines. In the past this movement was called a floor dip. In the “full push-up”, the back and legs are straight and off the floor. There are several variations besides the common push-up. These include bringing the thumbs and index fingers of both hands together (a “diamond push-up”) as well as having the elbows pointed towards the knees. These variations are intended to put greater emphasis on the triceps or shoulders, rather than the chest muscles. When both hands are unbalanced or on uneven surfaces, this exercise works the body core. Raising the feet or hands onto elevated surfaces during the exercise emphasizes the upper (minor) or lower (major) pectorals, respectively. Raising the hands with the aid of push-up bars or a dumbbell allows for greater ROM (range of motion), providing further stress for the muscles.

Step Push Up:

  1. Assume a face-down prone position on the floor. Keep your feet together. Your weight should be on your chest.
    • Position hands palms-down on the floor, approximately shoulder width apart. They should be about next to your shoulders, with your elbows pointed towards your toes.
    • If you are on a relatively cushioned surface, such as a carpeted floor, you may also support yourself on your fists between the first and second knuckles for a greater challenge. If you are on a less forgiving surface, consider investing in some push up grips, (they look like handles you put on the floor).
    • Curl your toes upward (towards your head). The balls of your feet should touch the ground.
  2. Raise yourself using your arms. At this point, your weight should be supported by your hands and the balls of your feet. Make a straight line from your head to your heels, and contract your abdominals to keep your hips from sagging. This position is called a “plank,” which is used for other various exercises. This is the beginning and the end position of a single push up.
  3. Pick the type of push up that works best for you. There are actually three types of basic push up variations that use different muscles. The difference is where you place your hands while in the plank position. The closer your hands are together, the more you will engage your triceps. The wider apart they are, the more you will engage your chest.
    • Regular: your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders. This works both your arms and your chest.
    • Diamond: put your hands close together in a diamond shape, keep them directly under your chest. This will require you to engage your arms much more than a standard push up.
    • Wide-arm: place your hands a good way’s out from your shoulders. This version mostly works the chest and requires less strength in the arms.

Pull Up Exercise

A pull-up is an upper-body compound pulling exercise. Although it can be performed with any grip, in recent years some have used the term to refer more specifically to a pull-up performed with a palms-forward position. The term chin-up, traditionally referring to a pull-up with the chin brought over top of a bar, was used in the 1980s to refer to a palms-away (overhand/pronated) grip, with a palms-toward (underhand/supinated) grip being called a “reverse-grip” chin-up. In later decades, this usage has inverted, with some using “chin” to refer to a pull-up done with a palms-backward position. In spite of this, “chin” is still regularly used refer to overhand-grip.

The most popular current meaning refers to a closed-chain bodyweight movement where the body is suspended by the arms, gripping something, and pulls up. As this happens, the wrists remain in neutral (straight, neither flexed nor extended) position, the elbows flex and the shoulder adducts and/or extends to bring the elbows to or sometimes behind the torso. The knees may be bent by choice or if the bar is not high enough. Bending the knees may reduce pendulum-type swinging. A traditional pull-up relies on upper body strength with no swinging or “kipping” (using a forceful initial movement of the legs in order to gain momentum). The exercise mostly targets the latissimus dorsi muscle of the back along with other assisting muscles.

Pull-ups (including chins) can be done with a supinated, neutral or pronated grip (often called “chin-ups”, “hammer grip pull-ups”, and “pull-ups”, in order). Grips may match each other or be different (mixed grip). Grips may also rotate throughout the movement, such as by doing them on rings or rotating handles (false grip). The range of motion used by trainers can vary. The fullest possible range is with straight arms overhead (elbow directly above shoulder), to pulling when the arms are at the sides (elbow directly below shoulder). People sometimes only train portions, such as avoiding locking out the arms at the bottom, or stopping when the head/chin/neck touch the bar. Positions within the range are also trained isometrically, as in flexed-arm and straight-arm hangs for time. The width of the grip may also differ. When grabbing and holding the bar during the pull-up, the hands can be apart at shoulder-width, or wider, or narrower enough to touch each other. This may make the pull-up more difficult and may limit the range of motion compared to the shoulder-width grip.

Step Pull Up:

  1. Grip a pullup bar with your palms facing whichever direction you prefer. In general, having your palms facing towards you is most efficient. When you pull yourself up with your hands facing this way, you give your biceps and lats a better workout. Pulling yourself up with your palms out is considered the most difficult way to pull up your bodyweight but also gives deltoids and pectorals a good workout. Start with your arms fully extended.
  2. Pull your bodyweight up until your chin is just barely above the bar. You may have to strain, but keep pulling until you’ve lifted yourself up using your back and biceps.
    • In order to keep your bodyweight centered, you can cross your feet beneath you as you lift yourself up.
    • Remember kicking your feet to gain extra momentum isn’t helping anything.
  3. Lower yourself until your arms are fully extended. Lower yourself in a controlled way to work the muscles harder and prep yourself for the next pull.
  4. Do another pullup. Once your arms are almost extended, start pulling up again. Repeat for as many reps as you can. Don’t let your number of repetitions bring you down; you can only get better. If possible, do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Sit Up Exercise

The sit-up (or curl-up) is an abdominal endurance training exercise commonly performed to strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles. It is similar to a crunch (crunches target the rectus abdominus and also work the external and internal obliques), but sit-ups have a fuller range of motion and condition additional muscles. The movement can be made easier by placing the arms further down away from the head. Typical variations to achieve this include crossing the arms to place the palms on the front of the shoulders and extending the arms down to the sides with palms on the floor. The ‘arms on shoulders’ variation is also used to make the incline sit-up easier. More intense movement is achieved by doing weighted sit-ups, incline sit-ups with arms behind neck and even harder by doing the weighted incline sit-up.

It begins with lying with the back on the floor, typically with the arms across the chest or hands behind the head and the knees bent in an attempt to reduce stress on the back muscles and spine, and then elevating both the upper and lower vertebrae from the floor until everything superior to the buttocks is not touching the ground. Some argue that situps can be dangerous due to high compressive lumbar load and may be replaced with the crunch in exercise programs. Strength exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups do not cause the spot reduction of fat. Gaining a “six pack” requires both abdominal muscle hypertrophy training and fat loss over the abdomen—which can only be done by losing fat from the body as a whole.

Step sit up:

  1. Have your knees bent and the balls of your feet and heels placed flat on the ground.
  2. Place your hands on opposing shoulders, so that your arms are crossed over your chest, or behind your head. This allows you a central rising point.
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles gently by drawing in your belly button to your spine.
  4. Keeping your heels on the ground and your toes flat to the ground, slowly and gently lift your head first, followed by your shoulder blades. Focus your eyes on your bent knees, all the while gently contracting the abdominal muscles. Pull up from the floor until you’re at a ninety-degree angle, or when the elbows are on, or past, the knees.
  5. Hold the position for a second. Slowly bring the torso back to the floor but try to keep it slightly elevated off the ground. This means not to place your back flat to the ground but to keep a slight, yet relaxed, arch.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 for the remainder of the exercise. Only do two to three if you’re a beginner and slowly build up the amount over time, as your strength increases. Then hopefully you will lose weight, too!