Authors Posts by Paul Plakas

Paul Plakas

Paul Plakas
Paul Plakas is a well-known fitness expert and personal trainer for more than 20 years. Paul has also been featured on Slice TV network shows "Taking it Off" and "X-Weighted."


The truth behind the language used to sell health products


Companies in the fitness and nutrition industry are not always interested in your health, but instead, in relieving you of your hard-earned money.

Everyone wants to lose fat; get a six pack; have more energy; look younger, and live longer. The fitness and nutrition industries are keenly aware of this human angst, and so they advertise their products or services with words and phrases that get our attention. More often than not, these words or phrases do not mean anything; they are either hollow, or are irrelevant to the product being sold to us.

The top five most meaningless words and phrases which companies use to convince us to hand over our money:


    Everyone wants long, lean, and toned muscles. Few people want to be short and bulky. Companies that sell services in yoga, Pilates, or dance often dangle the promise of “long, lean, and toned muscles,” to convince people to spend money on their programs. People can definitely derive health benefits from any of these programs. However, the unfortunate reality is that if you have the genetics for short thick legs, there is nothing you can do to lengthen them.

    When such promises are made, the term “long” is often interpreted by the consumer to mean an actual lengthening of the extremity. Companies’ claims about these services actually mean that the flexibility or range of motion may increase around a particular joint. Muscle length will not change, but there may be change in the amount of joint movement. However, the message, “Come to our Pilates class and increase the range of motion in your hip flexors,” does not have quite the same ring, or selling attraction.

    The term “lean” refers to the amount of body fat. The most effective treatment for fat loss is to follow a nutritious diet, comprised mainly of plant-based sources, with the calories not exceeding the energy you expend daily. Exercise, though helpful, plays a small role in fat loss, as compared to diet. It takes five minutes to eat an 800 calorie piece of cheesecake, and up to two hours of intense exercise to burn it off.

    When people hear the term “toned,” they think “lean with muscle definition, but not bulk.” Tone simply describes the state of your muscles; specifically, the state of tension in the muscle. “Normal muscle tone” means that there is a right amount of tension in the muscle at rest, and that the muscle is inherently able to contract when commanded to do so. “High muscle tone” means the muscle is tense and tight, even though it is not doing anything. When high muscle tone is present, arms and legs become tightly contorted, as in the case of patients with cerebral palsy. “Low muscle tone,” on the other hand, means muscles at rest do not have enough tension, and consequently have a mushy, slightly sloppy feel to them.

    Thus, the tone of your muscles is involuntary, so you cannot change it by lifting weights. However, you can shed the layer of fat covering your muscles, and with strength training, give your body more definition, thereby achieving a “toned” look.


    Companies that sell vitamin-rich energy drinks and supplements often advertise their products by promising you will be less fatigued and more invigorated by the consumption of these drinks. In reality, vitamins do not give you energy, because they contain no calories. Energy drinks contain some calories in the form of sugar which are quickly absorbed and used up by the body. The stimulants in the drinks, such as caffeine, have more of an effect on your nervous system. After consuming one of these drinks, you may feel more alert temporarily, but this effect soon fades. Moreover, side effects, such as an increased heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenalin—attributable to the stimulants in these drinks—can have a long term negative impact on your body, if consumed in large quantities.

    Rather than relying on energy drinks, you can increase your energy in these three ways:

    Sleep eight hours plus, per night, to allow your body to recover and de-stress from daytime activity. Proper sleep allows you to recharge for the following day by balancing hormonal levels.

    Improve your cardio-fitness and muscular strength through exercise, so that regular every day activity and sport feels easier to perform.

    Eat a diet which contains healthy carbohydrates, so that you have the calories necessary to fuel long, hard, intense work.

    “Exercise, though helpful, plays a small role in fat loss, as compared to diet.”

    “Detoxify” and “cleanse” are probably the two most common words used today to sell you useless products. You can find books and goods selling month-long cleanses, 14-day detoxes, 7-day cleanses, and even one or two-day programs—if you are in a real hurry. Companies which sell detoxes and cleanses usually focus on juicing, fasting methods, and/or drinking concoctions such as distilled water with lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Supposedly, this will help clean out your organs. Currently, no research exists to support any program, drink, or fast that detoxifies or cleanses your body. Nor are experts able to identify any specific toxins that are removed through these cleanses. The human body has organs—mainly the liver, kidneys and intestines—that do the job for us. If you eat a mostly plant-based diet (75% of your entire food intake); drink water; sleep well, and go to the bathroom regularly, you are as clean and toxin-free as you can be.


    The word “vitality” is used to sell numerous products, mostly in the form of supplements. Products that claim they can help delay the aging process use this word. Many people have no idea what vitality means, but they want it anyway. It generally relates to having more strength, energy, a feeling of being healthy, and a zest for life. Hearing the word vitality in the context of supplements leads people to believe that these goods can replace healthful living. Hope in the possibility of a product which is a panacea consumes us all, and makes us gullible to the dubious claims of advertisers. Good genes; not smoking; sleeping well; regular exercise; eating a healthy diet, and being around people you love will give you all the vitality you need.


    Your “basal metabolic rate” refers to the calories you expend at rest. Many people, products, and even respected TV programs and hosts try to sell you the promise of leanness by boosting metabolism. Products such as green tea, spices, and coffee beans have all been touted to boost metabolism. At this time, other than products containing ephedrine and caffeine, there exists no research that reveals a direct correlation between a product and a significant boost in metabolism that would have a long term effect on fat loss. While pills containing ephedrine and caffeine do work, their use is accompanied by dangerous consequences, such as increased heart rate; increased blood pressure; irritability; anxiety; stress on adrenal glands; stroke, and possibly, death. And, once you stop taking these pills, your metabolism reverts back to your norm.

    Effective ways to increase your metabolic rate without exposing yourself to the risk of death are to:

    Add muscle through weight training— about 6-8 calories per day for every pound of lean tissue added. Results can be significant when 5-10 pounds of lean mass are added over time.

    Engage in high-intensity exercise. You get a temporary metabolic boost for 1-2 hours post-exercise, (not 36 hours, like some fitness scam-artists claim).

    Eat a bit more protein. You expend more energy digesting protein than by eating fats or carbohydrates.

    Most of us desire to lose weight, slow the aging process, increase energy, and acquire long-term health. We so want to believe that there is a special pill, workout program, or drink that will make this dream of a younger, slimmer, fitter body a reality for us, that North Americans will spend over 100 billion dollars this year trying to achieve these objectives. History tells us that, so far, pills and potions do not work. We are an increasingly overweight society depending on medicine to keep our sickly bodies alive. Instead of wasting money on the magic bean, spend your dollar wisely on healthy food you cook yourself, fitness and active vacations with your family, and do not feel bad about enjoying the occasional treat.

    “‘Detoxify’ and ‘cleanse’ are probably the two most common words used today to sell you useless products.”


Which stage will you fit into?


Have you ever wondered how other people live and eat compared to yourself? Human beings vary quite extremely in the amount of fat they carry on their body. The quantity of fat affects our health and fitness. In the 25 years I have been working in the personal training business I have seen patterns of behavior and lifestyles that are consistent with varying body fat levels in people. From that, I have identified five levels of health and fitness that most people can categorize themselves into. The goal is to first be aware of your habits and what new behaviors you must gradually develop to move up to healthier stages of existence.

Stage One: Couch Potato

Individuals in this stage have a dislike or even slight fear of fruits and vegetables, mostly vegetables. It would be similar to trying to get a healthy person to eat a worm. In my experience a couch potato sees pan fried mushrooms, tomato sauce in pizza and french fries as vegetable servings. They will typically eat at a fast food restaurant daily and order food delivery for dinner almost every night. Men and women in this stage typically take less than 2,000 steps per day. The only daily movement is walking to their car, the bathroom, the fridge and you guessed it, the couch. They have no awareness of what an elevated sustained heart rate feels like. If they did start exercising the experience of a hard beating heart would feel like an alien is trying to burst through their chest. The couch potato watches an average of six plus hours of TV/computer at home. Most people in this stage often have accelerated disease and are morbidly obese (BMI 35+).

Stage Two: Sedentary

Individuals in this stage consume at least one piece of fresh fruit daily. They may even venture and have lettuce and tomato on a sandwich. Trips to fast food outlets and ordering in typically happen four to five times per week. Packaged food and convenient frozen dinners typically make up the other meals in the week. There is no structured exercise, but some light movement occurs with housework and maybe walking the family dog a couple times per day for 15 minutes at a time. People in this stage walk up to 5,000 steps per day. Television and computer time is at least four hours plus per day at home. People in this stage are often obese (BMI 30 +).

Stage Three: Lightly Active

Individuals in this stage consume two to three pieces of fruit daily and make a point of eating a salad with one of their meals two or three times per week. Fast food and ordering in typically happens a few times per week as well. Leftovers from dinner prepared from scratch at home make up the other meals of the week. In this stage, structured exercise begins with three times per week consistency on alternating days and 60 minutes in duration. Activities chosen are moderate in intensity, such as group classes, yoga, pilates, walk/jog. Television and computer time make up for two or more hours at home. People in this stage walk up to 8,000+ steps daily. Even with this amount of movement people are often overweight in this stage with a BMI of 26-29.

Stage Four: Active

Lifestyle habits in this stage include having some form of fruit or vegetable at every meal. Fast food is consumed on rare special occasions. Dinners are made from scratch with weekends used to go out to restaurants. Lunches are premade the night before and brought to work so that poor eating choices are more difficult to make. Structured exercise (five times per week) with specific fitness goals exist to help with keeping focused and consistency. The intensity of exercise varies from moderate to high. Television and computer time is kept to only when a favorite show is on, usually one or two hours maximum per day. People in this stage take over 10,000 steps per day and have a normal health weight with a BMI 20-25. 

Stage Five: Very Active: Very Fit, Very Lean

People in this stage consume 75 per cent of their diet from plant-based sources. They view fast food and processed food as toxic to the body creating disease. Individuals exercise daily and create active adventurous weekends and holidays. Television is rarely watched and computer time is mostly just for work. These people take over 15,000 steps daily, seemingly always moving. Engagement in some form of competitive sport is common in this stage. People in this stage are muscular and lean and may even have a higher BMI due to the extra muscle they are carrying.

Most individuals can identify with one stage more than any other. It is also very easy to share characteristics of two or even three stages. The questions you need to ask yourself is “How much are you willing to change your lifestyle for a leaner, fitter and healthier body?” At the beginning it seems like some of the sacrifices are too overwhelming. However, once enjoyable healthy habits are formed and a leaner fit body is created, it no longer feels like a sacrifice.



Human disposition, lack of time and bad habits cause obesity

Cape Town, South Africa - June 21, 2011: drive-thru

Starvation has killed more human beings in the history of planet Earth than from any other method. You can take war, disease, murder, old age, death by shark attack and add them all up. Starvation out does them all. It was not until post World War II that obesity became a recognized problem. Sure there were some overweight people before then, but they were the rich and royalty. What has happened in the past 70 years to create such an epidemic of fat when in the previous 70,000 years people died because they had no body fat?


Everyone knows eating spinach is a good nutritious food choice and doughnuts are an unhealthy option. People understand that daily exercise is a good idea and sitting on the couch all day long will not contribute to a fit, lean body. If we understand what choices should be made for long term health, why do most of us keep making the wrong choices? I believe it comes down to human predisposition to seek pleasure, a lack of time to devote to healthy eating and exercise, and big food companies taking advantage of these shortcomings.


Human beings have a “reward” part in the brain. There is an area in the brain where pleasure hormones are released which allows you to feel good. This section of the brain is important for the survival of man. It motivates someone to seek reward when discomfort is present. If you are cold you seek warmth. If you are hungry the search for food overwhelms your attention. The longer you go without a basic life necessity the more you desire it.

The problem with the modern reward brain is that it has become desensitized. We have hijacked our pleasure response by the abundant consumption of high fat sugary foods available to us. In the past, a piece of fruit would have been a rewarding high sugary treat that would make someone feel pleasure. Today a piece of fruit does not cut it. Today we need a hot molten lava cake with vanilla ice cream to get the same pleasurable release. This desensitization becomes even more pronounced if someone is stressed or depressed. 


The number one excuse/reason people give for not being active is time. Why is it that no one has any time? In my opinion it is mostly due to finances. Most people find it difficult to make the amount of money necessary to lead the quality of life they desire. In order to send your children to school, buy clothes, pay the mortgage and feed your family, you must spend anywhere from 8-14 of your waking hours working, getting ready to work and travelling to work. This does not leave much extra time for making quality food choices and physical activity.

People are sitting down most of their day in their cars, at work or at home. Next to lying down to sleep, sitting is the laziest position the body can be in. Very few calories are being expended which prevents body fat being used as a fuel source. Pre-WWII, many people made money by working with their body. Post-WWII people made their living working with their mind.

The fast food industry preys upon people’s time disadvantage perception. They make it almost impossible not to eat fast food. Why does the average North American family eat fast food three to four times per week?

– There are hundreds of thousands of locations, virtually on every city block.

– Food is cheap. You can feed a family of four for under $20.

– Food tastes really good. The high fat-sugar-salt combination satisfies the reward brain temporarily.

– It is time efficient. People can eat in minutes without ever having to leave their vehicle.

“If you are cold you seek warmth. If you are hungry the search for food overwhelms your attention.”


No one should completely deny themselves of all the foods they love. This can only lead to bingeing. Think of the “Law of Diminishing Returns.” The first two to three bites of chocolate are the best part. Each subsequent morsel tastes slightly worse than the previous. Once you have enjoyed the best part of your treat there is no deprivation. If you continue to eat into your 10th, 20th, 100th bite, you are doing it for other reasons than pleasure. Here are some scenarios:

– Maybe you are eating a whole bowl of nacho chips because you are hungry. In this situation you may not have done a great job eating earlier in the day, missing breakfast or lunch.

– You may eat an entire carton of ice cream in front of the television late at night. This is a habit you have formed over your lifetime. You associate eating with sitting on the couch and watching television. You may not even stop to think if you are hungry or even desire ice cream at that moment. You may be eating subconsciously. 

– Your marital/personal relationships may be suffering. To deal with the depression, chocolate peanut butter cookies may be your temporary feel good solution. Dealing with the root cause of the depression is the long-term solution.

There are a couple of approaches with the time obstacle. First, do not feel you need to set aside a full 30 minutes to get a worthy exercise session done. Particularly in obese people, three 10-minute sessions spread out in your day can be more beneficial. Someone just starting to exercise will have a lower fitness level. They would have a tough time keeping their intensity elevated for a full continuous 30 minutes. They would have an easier time exercising harder for 10 minutes at a time. The overall calorie expenditure would be higher for the same 30 minutes because more can be done in each bout.

Secondly, try to kill two birds with one stone. Spend your exercise time with your children. Take your family swimming, sledding, or kick a ball around. It’s quality time with your kids, exercise for you, and they see an active role model and are in turn less likely to be obese in their adult life. 

You know what the right choice is. Find out the obstacle preventing you from making the right choice. You may need some help from a trainer, friend or family support. It is not impossible to be lean for a lifetime, it is just hard. The hard is what makes it so worthwhile. It would be a shame if you lived an entire lifetime of obesity never knowing what your amazing body could have looked like or done if you just had the willingness and skill to give it a solid effort. 



Change your sports to compensate for age and injuries

Senior als Wintersportler im Raureifwald

The one thing I fear most as I age is not being able to physically perform the same way as I could in my youth. It is inevitable that as we get older aerobic power declines, muscles atrophy and our nervous system slows down. How I deal with this impossible to win battle will be especially difficult for me. A great majority of my life’s happy moments came for me when I was doing something physical.

Playing sports, working out and the feeling of being fit is exhilarating for me. You can almost say it is an addiction. If I take more than two days off from doing something physical something just does not feel right. I feel sluggish, weak, soft and less happy.

Now at 47-years-old, the abuse I have subjected my body through has taken its toll. Every day I experience some kind of lower back pain, right knee pain plus shoulder/neck discomfort. On bad days I am limping around after playing sports hard. On good days I feel a mild ache at various joints throughout my body. There is not a day that goes by without some form of body discomfort. I know a change in activity and intensity level may be good for me. I am thinking more yoga might be a start, taking up swimming or even pilates might help keep me in shape and still get my exercise fix. Then I give my head a shake and say, “dude you are you nuts, you are bent but not broken.”

Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I think these activities are a waste of time, they are just not for me. I would not get the same adrenalin rush doing downward dog as I would busting through two defencemen and shelving a puck over a goalie’s shoulder in ball hockey. Learning to engage my “power house” is not the same as catching another cyclist on a hill climb blowing past him while my lungs are searing, legs burning and heart about to burst through my chest. I know if I am suffering they must be a bit too. The person that can stand the most pain wins in cycling.

“No matter what your injury or pain issues are, there is always something you can still do.”

I have separated my shoulder from crashing my bike, wrecked my lower back from ball hockey and squatting heavy and I also deteriorated my knees from years of volleyball. After all the injuries over a lifetime there is always a short time that must be allowed for the healing to occur.

The key is to stay in the game. I have managed to work around injuries. You need to evaluate what movements and loads cause you pain. You also need to develop the body awareness of what is bad pain (delays the healing process) and what pain you can tolerate that aids in the healing process. This comes with experience and by working with a professional to assess your movement patterns and what compensations you are making to avoid pain.

To accommodate all this, I switched from playing ball hockey to ice hockey. There is less impact on the knees. I stopped doing heavy rear barbell loaded squats which I found my back had a difficult time supporting. I concentrated on other squatting variations that place load on my lower body without the extra stress to my spine. Some variations I do are one leg balance squats with a forward reach, one leg step ups, and goblet squats. For some cardiovascular work in the winter time I took up cross country skiing, another great activity for your exercise time while minimizing the impact forces on your knees and back. For my shoulder I had to stop doing bench presses, bodyweight shoulder presses and chin ups for a time because they caused me too much pain. I experimented with other movements to train my upper body that I was able to do in a pain free environment such as rowing movements, cobra flys, and light range of motion exercises with dumbbells. The lesson is no matter what your injury or pain issues are, there is always something you can still do. If you can only aqua size then so be it. You are still in the game – well sort of.

One risk factor to obesity is recovery from an injury. Trying to keep your body fat levels normal is difficult. You may be annoyed that you cannot exercise the way you desire, plus you are eating high sugar/fat foods to get some immediate self gratification for the emotional low you are in. We all know that Haagen Daz Cookie Dough Ice Cream will not solve your problems – well maybe for a few minutes but certainly not in the long term.

To avoid aging too quickly people need to become aware of their loss of function. Accepting that you can no longer do an activity like you once did is too easy. There needs to be a bit of a fight or a backup plan to put in place. I hear too many people say, “well I can’t do that I’m too old” or “I used to be able to do that when I was younger.” You still can stay fit, healthy and trimmed, if you stay in “the game.”



Personal factors often determine how much fat you burn

During my long career in the fitness industry, one of the most common questions I hear is, “what exercise is best to burn body fat?” 

paul plakusIf you had asked me this question 25 years ago I would have probably said either cross country skiing or running at 10 kph. The reason I would have picked these two activities is that they were consistently at the top of most charts that would list estimated calories burnt for a particular activity. Today, I would answer this question differently.

Before we get to my answer, we need to understand that fat is used as a fuel source when your energy output (exercise and daily movement) exceeds the amount of energy you put into your body (food and drink). When it comes to exercise, the key is to burn calories. A calorie is a unit of heat energy. If you ask your body to do something that gets your heart rate elevated very high, in combination with many muscles contracting intensely, you will burn many calories.

The question becomes, in a 60-minute workout, what activity burns the most calories in that time period? The answer is: Anything that motivates you to get most of your muscles contracting and heart rate at maximum.

If someone was so inclined they could jump up and down as fast as possible flapping their arms wildly for an hour and they would burn an insane amount of calories. The reality is who would ever do that? You would think after a minute or two the person would get either really bored or wonder if their families are booking a room for them in a mental institute.

The amount of calories expended goes up the harder you make your body work. Some factor would have to exist that would make you want to put your body through some very hard work. Here are three factors that are key motivators for someone to go out and push their body to the ultimate limits of exhaustion—all for the ultimate goal of becoming leaner.

When you are enjoying yourself time seems to pass by more quickly. Here’s a few scenarios. Person #1, l will call her Nikki, walks on a treadmill alone in the basement of her home. Trying to lose a few pounds, she watches the time click by very slowly. A 60-minute workout feels like it took double that time to complete. A combination of boredom and no one around to visit with makes it unmotivating for Nikki to keep the elevation and speed high on the treadmill. She may finish the 60 minutes, but she could have worked much harder. 

Person #2, I will call her Tara, meets with her neighbour and together they embark on an outdoor walk around the trails in their community. The cool, crisp morning air, the beautiful scenery, plus trying to keep up with her friend makes the workout enjoyable and challenging. The time passed is not even noticed. Tara even looks forward to their next walk together. The bottom line is the exercise you pick for weight loss should provide you with physical and mental pleasure. If it does not, you will not work hard and are more likely to be inconsistent with your exercise.

The activity you pick should have a goal other than just weight loss. Keeping your mind engaged in the moment and not wandering off thinking about the stresses in your life is vital for intensity and consistency. The number one choice of activity for me to stay lean is sports. I love playing hockey, any racquet sport and bike racing. When you are engaged in sport, your mind is focused on the objective of that activity. Competition against others or the clock gives you a reason to work and move vigorously.

Pick an activity that will make you better at something that is important to you. If you can develop a skill set or specific fitness that matters to something going on in your life you are more likely to not miss the exercise sessions and focus on getting better. The fat loss now becomes a by product of your activity choice not the focus. Here are some examples:

Your husband and children are fit and proficient at cycling.
You have not been on your bike since you were a child. They want to cycle 50 kilometres to the family farm. You want to be a part of the adventure, but your weight, fitness and bike skills are lacking. Picking cycling as your activity to lose weight is a great idea because at the same time you develop a skill, are spending quality time with your family and are a great role model for your children.

You are a stay at home mother.
The hardest parts of your day are carrying laundry up the stairs and moving furniture around to vacuum underneath. You struggle because your muscles lack the strength necessary to accomplish the tasks more easily. Picking weight training as your activity to lose weight is a great idea. You build muscle to make your daily routine feel less exhausting. You are able to accomplish more plus feel less lethargic at day’s end. Simultaneously, your increased muscle tissue helps to boost your metabolism, further contributing to fat loss.

“Keeping your mind engaged in the moment and not wandering off thinking about the stresses in your life is vital for intensity and consistency.” 

It amuses me to watch infomercials selling fitness equipment to help people lose weight. They place really good looking lean people on the equipment, show how convenient the piece is to use plus promise amazing results easily and quickly. Whether you use a stationary bike, treadmill, rower, tread climber, Bowflex, elliptical, stair climber or whatever…. it does not matter. When it comes to fat loss, burning calories is all that matters. The more you can burn during the time you are exercising the more fat loss will eventually occur. To burn a calorie you have to increase your body’s temperature. If you want to burn many calories thus decreasing the size of many fat cells you have to make your body work long and hard. Will you be motivated to kick your own ass consistently over and over again walking on your treadmill in the basement of your home? Probably not. Plus, don’t think the model on the infomercial did that either. 


the Park bench workout

Turn your environment into your own personal gym

Wouldn’t it be great to get a resistance training workout without paying gym membership fees? Does exercising outside in fantastic weather appeal to you?

Instead of sitting at a playground supervising your kids playing would you not like to save time and get your workout in also? Believe it or not all this is possible. Approximately 25 years ago I designed a quick intense workout program that you can perform with just a park bench, your body weight and some tubing.

The goal is to move through each exercise with little or no rest. Beginners should aim for 10 reps, intermediate level is 15 reps and advanced exercisers can perform 20 reps for each exercise.

Perform the circuit for three sets. The circuit is designed for general overall fitness training all components of fitness such as: muscular endurance, cardio, core strength and functional movement.

Try this park bench workout circuit for a firmer and fitter body:


pushup 1

pushup 2









  • Facing bench placing your hands shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your head, shoulders, hips and heels aligned. There should be no sagging or elevation at the hips.
  • Lower your sternum to the bench coming as close as possible to touching it. The focus should be bending at the shoulders and elbows.
  • Be aware of your head jutting forward as you lower.



one leg balance lateral 1

one leg balance lateral 2









  • Stand facing sideways to the bench and place the inside foot flat on top.
  • With good erect posture use mostly the leg on the bench to step up while preventing the other foot from touching the bench.
  • Hold the position for one second to show complete control then lower under control (not falling fast) back to the ground.
  • Keep the heel on the bench at all times pressing evenly with the toes.
  • Make sure the knee cap is aligned with the second toe at all times.



one leg sit down squats 1

one leg sit down squats 2









  • Pick one leg to balance on.
  • Push your hips back to sit on the bench.
  • Once you sit down stand back up trying to maintain balance.
  • Through out the movement keep your chest up avoiding an excessive bend forward.
  • The goal is to keep the kneecap lined up with the second toe. Most imbalances occur from the knee collapsing inwards.
  • Repeat reps for the other leg.



upper back tube rows 1

upper back tube rows 2









  • Wrap the tubing around a secure part of the bench.
  • Sit with good posture in a half squat position.
  • Pull your elbows backwards bringing your shoulder blades together.
  • Avoid rounding your back during the movement.
  • For added resistance either step backwards from the bench or use thicker tubing.



one leg power step up with knee drive 1

one leg power step up with knee drive 2









  • Place one foot on the bench.
  • Drive your foot into the bench launching your body upwards with enough force that your foot leaves the bench.
  • Simultaneously drive your knee upwards with the other leg.
  • Maintain good upright posture and the knee cap lined up with the second toe.
  • Repeat for the same reps on the other leg.



plank with torso rotatation 1

plank with torso rotatation 2









  • Place both hands on the bench shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your head, shoulders, hips and legs aligned.
  • Most incorrect postural compensations occur with the head collapsing forward, the lower back arching excessively and the hips elevating.
  • Feet closer together makes the movement more difficult.
  • Rotate your torso and hips removing one arm from the bench reaching for the sky. Rotate back to the bench repeating for the opposite side.


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