Active Life DC: What is your favorite exercise and why?
Johanna Kracke of Vigor Fitness:
"Squats! Why, because there are endless variations to work the whole body: jump squats, squat and press, lateral squat, split squat, bosu squat, single leg squat, kettlebell variations...you get the idea. I also have to say running, because that’s my personal go-to stress reliever. "
Ivan Black of Reformation Fitness:
"The burpee....it does the complete job. One move that covers all the bases."
Ivan Black demonstrates burpees
Jaime Andrews of Jaime Andrews Fitness:
"Tough question, but if I have to choose just one, I would pick the kettlebell swing as my favorite exercise. Not only does the kettlebell swing burn a ton of calories, scorch fat, build muscle and boost endurance, it also strengthens the core, helps improve posture and prevents lower back pain. I actually keep a kettlebell in my apartment! It takes up little space and is so versatile. "
Neeechie Greer of FITT Bootcamp and the Beta Academy:
"Since I must choose (wow, this was tough!) my favorite exercise is an Overhead Medicine Ball Wall Toss w/ a Slam Squat. This is a combination I randomly tried (while I'm sure it's nothing new) and began challenging myself with a few years ago and it is a beast. Typically the Overhead Toss is done in an open area or with a turn to rebound the ball off the wall. I was in a small space with high ceilings so I didn't have the standard rebounding or distance space. I decided to rebound from an overhead position. This move increases power in my lower body (glutes, quads and calves) and increases strength in my back extensors and core muscles especially as I transfer power from my lower to upper body.
To give myself more upper body work I add the slam as I move into the loading squat for the toss. This targets my lats and triceps and continues to build on the improvement of coordination of muscle activation when transferring from upper to lower body movement to maximize power the initial phase of the exercise provides. And of course there's an element of speed, agility and quickness involved to be able to catch the ball in this position. I can never become bored or reach a plateau because there are so many variations (different mb weights, direction of toss, distance from wall, squat style, etc.) I can add to make it challenging and to target my body in various ways."
Aaron Gamble of Sport&Health:
"I have a huge appreciation for yoga because of the expansive amount of health and wellness benefits. The unlimited possibilities really stimulate your creativity, awareness, and mindfulness. With the right intention, yoga can allow you to be your own doctor, physical therapist, psychologist, trainer, etc."
Alexx Zamudio of VIDA Fitness:
"Hanging Push-Up Ab Crunch with 2 TRXs
The TRX hanging push-up ab crunch is a callisthenic exercise that primarily targets the chest and to a lesser degree also targets the groin, shoulders, biceps, forearms, abs, quads, triceps, lower back, and hip flexors.
You work every single muscle while doing it."
Karim Al-Jabbar of Sports Club/LA:
"My favorite exercise is the one done with precision. We adapt to what we do. If we perform with poise and composure under the purposeful stress of exercise, then that carries over to handling the stresses of life with poise and composure. Mishandled stress is arguably the number one cause of all disease."
Josef Brandenburg of the Body You Want:
"My favorite exercise is the Bulgarian split squat (to be politically correct, this should be called the rear foot elevated split squat - RFESS). When training my interns I always like to joke that the primary benefit of this exercise “is that it’s just awful.”
The real reasons why I love the RFESS are:
- It lets you work crazy hard – it burns so good!
- Allows you to get very strong – you can progress on this for years.
- It’s super safe – the limiting factor in this exercise is your legs not your lower back which is the opposite of the barbell back squat.
- Allows people with foot problems to do split squats – bunions and other foot issues are very common. If you try to make these kinds of feet do split squats or lunges you’re going to put them in pain and maybe even send them to a foot surgeon! This variation (as you don’t use a traditional bench) let’s you work (and work hard) around these very common issues.
Here’s a video demo of a variation of the RFESS from way back in my 20’s before I had my own facility or staff:
Caveat: Many women find doing this exercise on a bench (as in the video) very uncomfortable for their feet and ankles (this is even if you don’t have a bunion). This is because women’s footwear is brutal on their lower body, causing them to lose a lot of their foot and ankle mobility, or to get foot cramps (which are no fun during a workout!). There is a very simple way around this issue – don’t use a bench. You can use a TRX, a low box with a nice round pad on it, or, best of all, try one of these Single Leg Squat Stands. "
Ingrid Nelson of PureRyde:
"My favorite exercise is plank. I love plank because it works absolutely everything, shoulders, back, neck, thighs, calves, glutes, quads, chest and let's not forget ABS! You can execute a plank in a million different ways. On top of all of those good reasons plank can also offer a mental challenge that some "others" cannot."