The Most Underrated Cardio Exercise

The Most Underrated Cardio Exercise

Want a great move to include in your bodyweight interval cardio workouts that isn’t jumping, but will for sure get your blood pumping?

Want a full-body core intensive move you can utilize in so many different ways?

Ready for a move you can modify to match your fitness level and progress when ready?

Then you’ll love this amazing bodyweight cardio move that will target your shoulders, arms, abs, obliques and even quads –

The Tabletop Crawl!

But wait?! Babies crawl…isn’t crawling easy?!


This crawl will not only challenge your body but also your mind and coordination.

Unlike the Baby Crawl, your knees are going to hover off the ground.

And with the Tabletop Crawl, unlike the Bear Crawl, you want to focus on keeping your butt down and knees just a few inches off the ground.

You also want to focus on that contralateral movement pattern, or opposite arm and leg working together. This is a great way to improve your coordination, especially for movements like running!

While you can focus on moving faster only and allow a bit more rotation of your core as you crawl, you can also use this move to work on that anti-rotational core strength.

And then you can crawl in every direction using this tabletop or bulldog position, even mixing things up by adding in rotational moves like the Sit Thru, holds or even other crawl variations to the flow!

All of these things make this crawling variation a killer cardio move.


So how do you do the basic Tabletop Crawl?

Start on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Starting out or to modify this move if you get out of sync as you go through this move, you can always come back to crawling on your hands and knees.

Tuck your toes under and then lift up onto the balls of your feet and hands so your knees hover just a few inches off the ground.

To start with the crawl forward, step forward with one hand and, as you do, step the opposite foot forward, bringing your knee in. Start with small steps and focus on keeping your hips still as you step.

Then step the other hand forward and other foot.

Think small steps as you brace your abs and keep your knees close to the ground. You can continue taking steps forward in this way with the opposite arm and leg moving together or you can reverse your direction and crawl backward.

When you crawl backward, be conscious of taking small steps, especially to start. This requires a bit more upper body strength than the forward crawl oddly enough and often we get more spread out, as we have a tendency to reach further back with our feet when crawling backward, placing more load on our upper body.

As you step one foot back, remember to step back with the opposite hand.

Using this basic forward/backward crawl, you can then add in occasional holds, or even a Sit Thru on each end of the length you’re crawling in. You can also add in little jacks or side to side hops if you want. Or you can even turn over to add in a crab crawl with this tabletop crawl.

You can also use this same crawling position to move LATERALLY.

How do you do the Lateral Tabletop Crawl?

The lateral crawl is a great move to improve your coordination and you may find the movement pattern a bit more challenging to start.

And if you’re thinking I’m too old for this move, you’re wrong! As we get older, including moves that work on our coordination and neuromuscular efficiency are even more key!

They keep us functional strong!

While you can make the lateral crawl an ipsilateral or same side working together movement, it is a great contralateral move.

To do the lateral crawl as a contralateral movement pattern with the opposite hand and foot working together, set up with your hands together under your chest and feet and knees about shoulder-width part.

Then step one hand out wide to the side so your hands are about shoulder-width apart as you step the opposite foot in toward the other. As your hands move apart, your feet move together.

Then to continue laterally, your foot on the same side as the hand you just moved will step to the side as you bring the opposite hand in to meet your other hand.

Move slowly to start keeping your knees hovering just off the ground. You can move as many steps as desired across the space you have then come back the other direction.

Focus on keeping your hips still as you move side to side.

Modifying The Basic Crawl:

While you can always go down to your hands and knees, to start, another way to modify this move that is often a bit more comfortable for the knees if your surface isn’t padded, is to use an incline.

For lateral crawls, you can use a bench as your incline and move along the length of it.

For forward/backward crawls, stairs actually work best as you can place your hands up on a higher step and crawl up a step at a time!

While often we will cheat and modify by allowing our butt to go up in the air during the basic crawl off the ground, we want to recognize this changes how we are activating muscles and will not give us the same ab or quad benefit that the basic tabletop or bulldog position does.

So using an incline can help us really master that positioning!


Crawling can be a great way to improve our coordination and our conditioning. It is a great move to include in an interval workout even with traditional moves we love like burpees, if we want to include jumping. It will work our entire core and get our blood pumping.

Try a fun Sit Thru crawling variation in this workout below:

–> 5 Cardio Moves For Fat Loss Workout

How To Fix Rounded Shoulders (4 EXERCISES)

How To Fix Rounded Shoulders (4 EXERCISES)

So many postural distortions or movement pattern compensations get blamed on a single joint or even muscle.

But often it is overload from multiple different areas adding up.

And that means we not only have to address many different muscles and joints at time to truly alleviate the aches and pains, but it also means we need that full 3-Step Prehab Process of Foam Rolling, Stretching and Activation.

This is especially the case when it comes to our shoulders and that rounded shoulder posture many of us have developed, leading to neck, shoulder and upper back, and even lower back, aches and pains.

This posture, and these aches and pains, stem not only from restricted shoulder range of motion, but also a lack of proper spinal and scapular mobility and stability.

Working not only on the mobility of our shoulder joint but also our spinal extension and scapular mobility and stability are key!

That’s why I wanted to share 4 moves that will help you work through the layers of this postural distortion to move and feel your best!

But before I do, I just want to mention that postural isn’t simply good or bad. We each have different builds and different movement and recruitment patterns.

However, we need to recognize the mobility restrictions and imbalances we personally have that our perpetuating our aches and pains to constantly be addressing them to move and feel our best.

And as we include the mobility and stability work to improve, we can’t simply stop doing these moves when things are “better.”

You can NEVER stop doing what made you better. If you’ve done rehab for a specific injury, that rehab simply needs to become PREHAB, included in your recovery routines and warm ups!

Now what are the 4 moves to fix that rounded shoulder posture?

EXERCISE #1: Lat Foam Rolling

Our lats have a direct impact on our shoulder health and that rounded shoulder posture, contributing to shoulder internal rotation as well as restricted shoulder flexion, or your ability to reach overhead.

Tight, overactive lats can restrict proper shoulder mobility, negatively impact your shoulder stability, and even impact your scapular mobility as well, which is why it is key we include a move to relax this muscle like Lat Foam Rolling.

To roll out your lats you can use a ball or roller. If you’re using a roller, lie on your side with the roller behind your armpit.

Reach your hand overhead with your palm facing up to stretch your lat as you roll.

Roll slightly up and down your side to find a tight spot and then hold. As you hold, reach your arm up overhead then sweep it down in front of your chest.

Move slowly breathing as you go to help the muscle relax and release.

You can even slightly rock forward and backward as you hold on a spot.

Then move the roller to another spot, working down the side of your back and shoulder blade. Then switch sides.

You can also use a ball if you know your exact trigger points and want to apply more pressure or even need to roll out against a wall because you can’t get down on the ground.

EXERCISE #2: Suspension Trainer Snow Angels

This is an amazing multipurpose move that not only mobilizes your shoulders, but stretches your chest, helps improve your thoracic extension and your scapular mobility and stability.

The key is not just going through the movement, letting it all come from your shoulders, but actually engaging your upper back to stretch out your chest and improve that scapular control!

Stretches should also help us ACTIVATE underactive muscles and restore proper flexibility and joint range of motion.

To do the Suspension Trainer Snow Angels, you will need a suspension trainer, rings or even towels or resistance bands anchored behind you. If you use bands, you want something that doesn’t really stretch much with the movement.

Using a Suspension Trainer, hold a handle in each hand and walk away from the anchor point with your back to the anchor point.

Extend your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height so that you feel a stretch in your chest. You may have to adjust slightly backward or forward as you begin to do the wave, depending on your mobility.

Then, standing still with your arms starting out at shoulder height, engage your back and brace your abs. You want to think about really extending through your mid and upper back without arching your lower back.

Raise your arms up overhead. Keep your arms straight as you extend overhead and even lean slightly forward to increase the stretch.

Hold for a second or two and then bring your arms out and down to the side, lowering them all the way back and down toward the ground.

Keep your arms straight as you bring them down.

Feel the muscles of your chest and even around your shoulder stretching as you lower your arms down.

Then bring them back up out to the side and back overhead. Move in a fluid, smooth “wave” as you lift and lower.

When you do the Suspension Trainer Snow Angels, you want to make sure you’re engaging your upper back to open your chest up as you raise your arms up overhead.

Feel your shoulder blades move as you raise your arms overhead and then lower them back down to your sides.

EXERCISE #3: Dip Hold Shrugs

So often we ignore the stability of our shoulder blades and don’t work to control every movement they do. We may include some retraction exercises to improve our posture, pinching our shoulder blades together, but we also have to remember that they elevate and depress.

Too often when we round forward, our shoulders end up shrugged up by our ears. This is why it’s key we also work on that ability to depress our shoulder blades and drawn our shoulders down.

A super popular move, and one I personally love to work on this movement, is the Mini Pull Up. However, this simple looking move is more challenging than we realize. It takes a lot more scapular control and strength than it seems like it would for such a small movement.

It also can’t be done at your desk.

Whereas the dip hold shrug can!

And an added bonus of this move is that it will remind us not to hunch and round forward while at our desk!

It’s key we also realize that this scapular movement is not only done when pulling but can be utilized during a press!

To do Dip Hold Shrugs, you can do these off a bench or chair. Place your hands over the edge of the bench, finger tips pointing back toward your butt as you extend your legs out and lift yourself off the bench and slightly in front.

Allow your shoulders to shrug up as you hold. Then press the bench away and draw your shoulders down, lifting and opening your chest slightly up toward the ceiling.

As you do this, don’t let your butt drift super far out in front of the bench or let your hips raise up. Often to try to make it feel like a bigger move we start moving other parts of our body instead of just focusing on the small unshrug.

Pause then relax back down, allowing your shoulders to shrug.

Again draw your shoulder blades down. Focus on really feeling those shoulder blades move as you unshrug and open your chest up slightly toward the ceiling.

If it helps, I like to think of this as a turtle popping its head out of the shell!

To progress this move, you can even do it off of dip bars. Or to modify, bend your knees and walk your heels back in toward the bench or chair!

EXERCISE #4: Extended ROM Scapular Push Ups

Along with learning to control elevation and depression of our shoulder blades, we want to be able to control protraction and retraction.

And I think it’s key we can do this through the full range of motion.

Moves like this too not only help improve our posture by allowing us to learn how to retract our shoulder blades, or pinch them together, but moves like this also allow us to learn how to engage our backs to properly row when not starting from a set position.

This exercise also strengthens the Serratus Anterior, which is a muscle often overlooked as being key to strength for our shoulder health!

To do the Extended ROM Scapular Push Ups, start from a forearm plank position off the ground.

You can also do these from your hands or a high plank position, however, that can allow you more room to move your hips. It can though be used to reduce the resistance on your core if needed.

With your elbows under your shoulders and your feet no wider than hip-width apart, make Sure your abs are engaged and your quads are flexed. Unshrug your shoulders to feel your back engaged.

Then round your mid and upper back up toward the ceiling, tucking your hips even to perform a slight posterior pelvic tilt. But do not just round through your lower back.

Really think about the rounding of your spine coming from pushing the ground away with your elbows and forearms.

Feel your shoulder blades draw as far apart as possible coming forward around your ribs.

Then slowly lower back down into the plank and, from here, pinch your shoulder blades together.

Make sure you aren’t shrugging as you pinch your shoulder blades together.

And do not let your hips sag as you perform the small retraction movement. We can often let our hips drop because we’re trying to make the move feel bigger.

Move back into the plank position then and repeat the round up.

If you can’t control this movement yet, reduce the resistance and modify the movement off an incline.

Using a bench or incline reduces the resistance on your upper body and core.

Really focus on feeling the movement of your shoulder blades. As you round, feel the muscles around your ribs and abs.

As you retract, focus on feeling the muscles of your upper back engaging.

Just make sure you do not shrug as you pinch those shoulder blades together!


The best rehab is prehab.

Include these 4 moves as a quick mobility routine in your day, just even 30 seconds per move or side, or add them into your warm up before an upper body workout.

But make sure to keep using the things that help you stay mobile and strong!

Foam Roll+ Stretch + Activate to prevent injuries and improve your mobility…

–> The RStoration Method

The Best Inner Thigh Exercise You’re Not Doing

The Best Inner Thigh Exercise You’re Not Doing

Do you want to tone and strengthen your inner thighs?

Then this move is exactly what you’re looking for!

While we want to make sure we include compound leg exercises in our workout routines that work our entire leg while targeting those adductor, or inner thigh muscles, we also want to make sure that we complement that training with some isolation moves to really hone in on this stubborn muscle group.

That’s why I want to share one of my favorite moves so you can target your inner thighs and really feel them working while improving your knee and hip stability as well.

And bonus!, you’ll work you’re entire core, especially those obliques and even that glute medius, to target two other stubborn areas the love handles and side butt!

So what is this amazing inner thigh and core move?

It’s the Bench Side Plank Adductor Lift or the Copenhagen Plank!

This move is deceptively hard though so be conscious of the cues as you set up and watch for the modifications so you can make sure you adjust the move to fit your current fitness level, needs and goals!

Better to regress and build up than to use a variation we haven’t yet earned!

Bench Side Plank Adductor Lift Form:

To do this move, set up on your side with your elbow under your shoulder and the inside of your top foot on the bench.

Dorsiflex that top foot hard, pulling your toe up toward your shin to create tension through that lower leg. This tension will protect your knee as you hold the side plank.

Lift up into a side plank from your forearm with your bottom foot on the ground and your top foot on the bench, pressing down hard into the bench. Make sure your shoulders aren’t shrugged and your elbow stays under your shoulder so you can properly engage your upper back.

If your elbow sneaks out beyond your shoulder, it will put more strain on your neck and shoulder.

Engage your upper back and feel your bottom oblique and glute medius working even to slightly allow that bottom leg to hover off the ground. Make sure you aren’t twisted to face toward the ground.

Feel the adductor of your top leg working already as you hold in this position. Again do not relax that top foot.

Then holding the side plank position, lift that bottom leg up to meet the bench. Feel the adductor or inner thigh of that bottom leg working to lift.

Move slowly lifting and lowering back down. You can touch the foot down, but do not disengage your core at the bottom. Feel your bottom glute medius and oblique working to keep you lifted in the side plank.

Perform all lifts on that side then switch sides.


The first way to modify this move is to hold the side plank with your knee on the bench or even upper thigh.

This reduces the strength and stability demands, especially if you’ve had knee issues in the past.

If you don’t have a bench, you can of course always use a stair, couch or table, but you can also completely modify this movement off the ground.

From the ground you will just stagger that bottom foot in front to then be able to lift.

One further modification if the side plank is a bit too much currently on your shoulder and core, is to switch to an incline variation using the bench with your elbow up on the bench. You will then stagger your bottom foot in front to perform the adductor lift.

Using the incline reduces the load on your upper body and can be good to help you build up.

If you’re fully starting at the basics, you can even perform this movement fully lying on your side; however, this does reduce remove the core bonus you get from that side plank position.


Remember that doing a harder variation is not better if you can’t focus on the correct muscles working.

Often people end up demonizing moves not because the moves are bad but because they didn’t use the proper recruitment patterns or did a harder variation they haven’t yet earned.

But pick the variation that matches your needs and goals to work those inner thighs while improving your hip and knee stability and core strength!

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The 3 Best LOWER AB Focused Planks

The 3 Best LOWER AB Focused Planks

Looking to mix up your core training and find something you really feel working those abs, especially the lower abs, while also helping you avoid an achy lower back?

Then you’re going to love these 3 amazing plank variations.

Planks can be both great isometric exercises, but also more dynamic movements to target and strength our abs.

And with some specific variations, we can target that lower portion of the rectus abdominis even more!

That’s why I want to show you 3 ways to use planks to target those lower abs…including one move that is a great untraditional and challenging plank option even if you can’t do traditional planks due to shoulder issues!

And at the end I’ll share a great quick burner layout so you can use these 3 moves at the end of your workout!


3 Lower Ab Focused Planks

1: Dolphin Planks

If you really want to target your lower abs, you need to include exercises that utilize the posterior pelvic tilt.

This tilting of the pelvis, tucking the hips toward the ribs, really engages that lower portion of the rectus abdominis while also working your glutes. And it is a great way to learn how to brace to protect your lower back from aches and pains as well.

While you can use the posterior pelvic tilt in a plank as an isometric hold, doing a plange plank, you can also include this tilting as a dynamic movement during the plank.

This dynamic plank variation using the posterior pelvic tilt is the Dolphin Plank and a great way to challenge your abs.

You will use that tuck up to engage those lower abs, but also challenge your abs to protect your spine as you test out your spinal extension, slightly dropping your hips toward the ground.

This forces your abs to brace as you extend, but be mindful you don’t end up simply engaging your lower back!

To do this move, set up in a plank from your forearms and toes with your feet together. Make sure your shoulders are stacked over your elbows and your upper back is engaged so your shoulders aren’t shrugged.

Drive back through your heels as you flex your quads to hold in a nice straight line. To improve your base, you can widen your feet out to shoulder width.

Then tuck your pelvis under toward your ribs, rounding through your entire spine even to tuck. Do not push your butt up in the air and end up shifting your shoulders back behind your elbows.

You really just want to round through your spine as you tuck your hips toward your ribs, engaging your abs and glutes.

Even think about drawing your belly button in as you exhale to pull your abs in hard.

Then begin to lower back down into that plank position. As you lower though, try to go a little past that straight line as if extending to slightly drop your hips.

You want to feel your abs almost FIGHTING against you lowering to prevent your back from really arching.

You’re testing out your ab brace as you extend.

Then tuck right back up, tilting your pelvis again.

Do not push backward as you do this movement. Keep your shoulders stacked over your elbows.

Pause in each position to really feel your core working. Really move slowly through the movement to focus on feeling your abs.

If you feel your lower back, either modify to the static plange plank hold or use an incline.

To modify this move an incline works best. The higher the incline the less pressure or strain there will be on your shoulders and even core so you can really focus in on those abs working.

You can also do this starting on your hands and knees but be conscious that, while it may look like the cat cow stretch, you are truly engaging your abs to round up. I like to call this variation the vomiting cat because I want my clients drawing in their abs as if trying to really hollow out their belly!

2: Lower Ab Plank

This move is not a traditional hands and feet or forearms and feet plank. But it is an amazing core isometric hold and a move that is great to target those lower abs.

I personally call it a Lower Ab Plank so wanted to include it as an option because often when people have shoulder injuries and can’t do planks they feel a bit lost about what options are out there.

So if you need to take your upper body and shoulders out of the equation, this is a great option to target those lower abs…although don’t forget about using the incline as well to regress moves and build up!

This exercise is advanced though and you need to have mastered that basic pelvic tilt hold to brace so you don’t feel your lower back or hip flexors only working.

To do the move, you will lie on your back with your arms down by your sides or hands behind your head.

To start you can raise your legs straight up toward the ceiling and tilt your hips towards your ribs to press your lower back into the ground. Or you can start with your knees bent to really set up the posterior pelvic tilt before extending your legs.

Maintaining that pelvic tilt, lower your legs down so they are only an inch or two off the ground and hold. Better to even hold up a few inches higher to keep that ab brace and even squeeze your glutes.

Focus on really bracing those abs as you hold.

If you feel your lower back taking over, raise your legs up higher or even bend your knees. You can even start with just one leg extended.

Lifting your head to perform an upper body crunch can both make the move harder, but also help by flexing your spine.

Make sure to breathe and focus on engaging those abs, keeping that tilt. You do not want your lower back taking over. If it does, your lower back and not your lower abs are getting worked by this move.

Better to modify and focus on those abs than do a harder variation where you compensate!

3: Body Saw

Extended planks or long lever planks have actually been shown to increase ab activation over the traditional plank, especially of the lower portion of the rectus abdominis.

That’s why it’s key to include some extended plank positions in your routine.

You just want to be very conscious you don’t overload your neck and shoulder OR let your butt start to hike up in the air as you do these moves.

One great dynamic way to include the extended plank position in your routine over simply holding is with the Body Saw.

The great part about this plank variation, like with all plank variations, is you can also modify this move off an incline.

And if you have wrist issues you can do it from your forearms or you can also give yourself more space and change things up by doing this movement from your hands to work your arms more!

To do the basic Body Saw plank from your forearms, set up in a plank position from your forearms and toes with your feet close together and elbows under your shoulders.

You want a nice straight line from your head to your heels. Make sure to engage your back to support your shoulders and make sure they aren’t shrugged.

Then begin to walk your feet backward, taking small steps. Keep your body in a nice straight line and don’t let your hips sag toward the ground.

Lengthen through your triceps and shoulders as you walk back.

Walk back as far as you can while keeping your core engaged.

Then walk your feet back forward until you are back in the standard plank position. You do not need to walk more forward than simply back so your shoulders are over your elbows.

Make sure you feel your abs bracing as you extend back. Do not push your butt up in the air or let your hips sag toward the ground.

Repeat walking back out.

Remember you can modify the move off an incline to reduce the strain on your upper body and core.

To advance this move as well, you can also add in sliders, sliding back instead of walking. That reduces traction and even makes that pull back in so much harder! Just make sure you can control the move before progressing!


Using these 3 plank variations you can really work your abs while targeting that lower portion of your rectus abdominis even more!

To use these as a workout….

Lower Ab Burner:

Set a timer for 20 seconds per move starting with the Body Saw then the Dolphin Plank and ending with the Lower Ab Plank.

Rest 20 seconds between rounds to make sure you can really focus on bracing hard each round and complete 2-3 rounds through.

You want to focus on short intervals so you can engage everything hard over just focusing on holding for longer and letting your lower back or hips become overworked!

The BEST results happen when our diet and our workouts WORK TOGETHER!

Check out my RS Formula for FABULOUS results:

–> 3-Step RS Formula


The Right Way To Get A Strong Lower Back (4 exercises)

The Right Way To Get A Strong Lower Back (4 exercises)

Many of us have thought to ourselves, “My lower back is so weak” when we’ve been suffering from lower back aches and pains.

We feel it during ab movements or deadlifts and think that we feel it because we need to strengthen it.

But what if the problem isn’t that your lower back is weak?

What if the issue is that it’s actually OVERWORKED?

This is all too often the case when it comes to our lower back.

The muscles there become overworked due to our daily postures which have created mobility restrictions and underactive abs and glutes.

So all of that strengthening you’re trying to do, all of those superman you’re doing, may actually be perpetuating the issues making them worse instead of better.

Instead you may need to be working on your hip and thoracic mobility while activating your abs and glutes to protect your lower back from being overloaded.

Remember the point of pain isn’t always where the problem started. And feeling a muscle work during a move may not be because it is weak. Instead it may be working when it shouldn’t and become overloaded.

So if you’ve been feeling your lower back during moves and thought, “I need to strengthen it,” try including these 4 moves in your warm up routine instead! And stop overworking your already overloaded lower back more!

Exercise #1: Thoracic Foam Rolling

If one area is lacking in mobility, we will seek out mobility from another area to compensate.

Because we often lack proper thoracic extension due to hunching over our technology or driving in our cars, we tend to compensate for this lack of extension by arching our lower back during exercises.

If you’ve ever felt your lower back during overhead pressing movements or bent over rows or back flyes, you may be arching your lower back in an attempt to maintain a neutral spine because of your limited thoracic extension.

That’s why it’s key we work to improve our thoracic extension to avoid seeking out mobility from our lumbar spine to compensate.

That’s why I love peanut foam rolling. It’s a great way to relax those muscles that may become tight along our spine while improving our thoracic extension.

To do this move, you can use a peanut, which can easily be made by taping two balls together or tying them in a sock. Lie on your back placing the peanut in your mid-back with a ball on either side of your spine.

Place your hands behind your head, pulling your elbows open as you relax over the peanut.

Breathe and hold for a second, then crunch up and relax back down. Do a few of the crunches, extending back over, before moving the peanut up your spine.

You can also reach your arms up overhead and sweep them open and out to your sides before crunching up to stretch out your chest further.

But focus on breathing to relax as you hold and allow your spine to extend over the roller.

To progress this move, you can use something like the Simple Mobility tool which has a larger diameter and will require more spinal mobility to relax over.

Exercise #2: Bench Hip And Quad Stretch with Rotation

Tight hip flexors, and a lack of hip and spinal mobility in general can lead to you overusing your lower back as you then aren’t able to properly engage your glutes or even your upper back and abs.

That’s why stretches to improve your hip extension and spinal mobility are key.

Too often if our hip flexors are tight, we end up feeling moves that should be felt in our glutes in our lower backs and quads. Not to mention we can develop hamstring synergistic dominance where our hamstrings start to become overworked instead of our glutes working when they should!

To address both limited hip and spinal mobility, I love this Bench Hip and Quad Stretch With Rotation.

To do this move, place one foot up on a bench or chair behind you and half kneel on the ground with that back knee down and front foot flat on the ground. Move out far enough that you can squeeze that back glute to drive your hip into extension while keeping that front knee aligned over that front ankle.

In this half kneeling position, place both hands down on the ground even with your front instep.

In this position it is key you squeeze that back glute to drive that hip into extension or you lose out on the hip flexor stretch. Having your back foot up on the bench flexes your knees to stretch your quads at the same time.

Then lift your hand closet to your front foot to rotate toward that front leg. As you rotate your chest open, don’t just move at your shoulder. Focus on engaging your upper back to rotate your chest open.

Reach up toward the ceiling then place that hand back down on the ground. Then lift your other hand up to rotate away from that front leg. You may find it harder to rotate one direction, especially away from the front leg.

Make sure to keep that back glute engaged the entire time to stretch your hips and engage your upper back to help you twist and rotate.

Do not let yourself rock out on that front foot and cheat, seeking out mobility from other areas!

Move slowly and work for about 30 seconds per side even before switching legs.

To modify, you can place your back foot on a block instead of up on a bench. You can also place that back foot on a wall if you don’t have a bench.

If you can’t kneel due to knee issues, do this from a runner’s lunge position, even modifying with your hands up on an incline.

Exercise #3: 3-Way Hip Circles

The best way to protect your back is to strengthen your glutes and your abs so they brace to help protect your spine so your lower back isn’t doing all of the work!

That’s why this 3-Way Hip Circle activation move is so important to include. It not only helps mobilize your hips, but also works on your core engagement, activating your glutes, abs and even obliques.

Avoid leaning away or rotating your pelvis as you focus on moving just at the hip joint.

In this drill you want to pause in each position as the donkey kick will target your glute max while the fire hydrant will target your glute medius and the knee tuck will engage both your hip flexors, but especially your abs if you focus on drawing in your belly button as you pull in to tuck.

By also fighting the urge to lean away you’ll feel those obliques working to keep your hips level toward the ground.

To do the 3-Way Hip Circles, start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Flex your feet.

Then, keeping your knee bent to about 90 degrees, kick one leg back like into a Donkey Kick. You may slightly abduct the leg to better engage the glute, but do not let the knee rotate open. Focus on stopping the move with your glute over arching your lower back to lift up higher.

Pause here even assessing if you feel your glute. If you feel your hamstrings, relax your foot or even kick slightly out. And make sure your hips stay level to the ground.

Then, without bringing your knee back down, circle it out to the side into a Fire Hydrant position. Do not bend your arms or lean away to try to get the leg up higher.

Pull your knee in line with your hip, keeping your knee bent to about 90 degrees. Focus on keeping your lower leg about parallel to the ground. Do not let your foot flare up higher. Feel the side of your butt working to hold the leg up.

Pause here then tuck your knee straight in toward the elbow on the same side.

Pull your abs in as you crunch and don’t be afraid to flex slightly through your spine. Focus on those abs working as you drive your knee into your arms.

Pause then repeat the move kicking back into that Donkey Kick position.

Move slowly focusing on avoiding rotation or arching of your lower back as you kick back.

Complete all reps on one side before switching.

You can not only modify this move but also simply add variety to it and a balance challenge, by doing this standing. You can also do a straight leg kickback if you really struggle with arching your lower back or your hamstring compensating.

The key is making sure you actually feel the glutes working. Because doing the right moves, without feeling the correct muscles working may only perpetuate the problem over correcting it!

Exercise #4: Pelvic Tilt Balance March

Improving your pelvic stability to properly be able to brace your abs during movement is key if you want to avoid lower back overload and injury.

It’s why the Pelvic Tilt Balance March.

It is far from an easy move but it is a great way to engage your TVA or transverse abdominis while working your rectus abdominis and obliques to stabilize.

Just make sure you advance it slowly over rushing it.

You don’t want your lower back to take over or your hip flexors to be doing all the work.

To do this move, place a larger foam ball or pilates ball right under the top of your butt.

You want to balance on this ball, pressing down into it with your arms down by your sides, palms pressing into the ground.

Then bend your knees to about 90 degrees, bringing them into that tabletop position. Better to have them slightly out than to tuck them more into your chest as that will make it easier.

Balancing here, slowly touch one toe to the ground, fighting the urge to rotate. Raise that leg back up then touch the other toe down.

Focus on bracing those abs and not letting your abs dome out or your lower back arch. If it feels like too much, bring the ball up slightly higher.

To advance from here, you may bend your elbows or even raise one or both arms off the ground. This will give you less of a base to assist with stabilizing.

But only progress as you’ve earned it. Better to modify and really feel those abs working!

Move slowly with this move and even consider starting without the ball to master that posterior pelvic tilt progression if you haven’t!


Too often our lower back becomes overworked due to hip and spinal mobility restrictions and weak or underactive abs and glutes.

But because we consistently feel our lower back during moves, we assume it is actually weak and instead try to do more to work it.

This only perpetuates the problem.

So make sure you’re also working to improve those mobility restrictions while strengthening supporting muscles so your back doesn’t become overloaded.

Remember where the point of pain is isn’t always where the problem started! And injury doesn’t only mean an area is weak!

Use these 4 moves in your warm up, even just spending 30 seconds per move to start to help you avoid those lower back aches and pains!

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4 Common Exercises You’re Doing Wrong

4 Common Exercises You’re Doing Wrong

Just because a move is “good,” or a key movement pattern to perform, or something really frequently included as a staple in many routines, doesn’t mean you deserve to do it.

Every movement variation has to be earned.

And doing a harder variation we can’t truly control or utilize to the fullest will actually hold us back. It won’t allow us to get as much out of the exercise and our workouts as doing an “easier” exercise actually could.

Often, if you do a move actually modified to your current needs and goals, you may feel the muscles being worked harder because everything is engaged correctly.

That’s why I wanted to talk about 4 exercises that are often in programming that people aren’t maximizing – 4 moves we don’t fully give them credit for being the challenging exercises they actually are.

And not only do I want to go over the reason to use these moves but the common mistakes I see people making and also the modifications we should be using instead to EARN these harder variations!

Exercise #1: Balance Lunges or Bulgarian Split Squats

The balance lunge or Bulgarian split squat is an amazing unilaterally-focused leg exercise.

Yet so often we aren’t really getting the true benefit of our back foot being raised up on a bench or in a suspension trainer.

While yes, the automatic instability of raising that back foot up does make it more challenging no matter what, the true point of putting your back foot up is to increase the range of motion you are working through.

Yet so often we place our foot up on something only to repeat the same range of motion we would when doing a split squat off the ground!

Sometimes the range of motion is even smaller actually because we aren’t stable and haven’t yet learned how to control the full split squat movement.

And on top of that, so often because we “can do” the move, we start to even add loads and completely miss out on the full benefit of this variation.

We have to remember that loads are not the only way to progress an exercise.

And that, if you’re going to include the Balance Lunge, you need to make sure you can utilize the increased range of motion. That is what creates the progression and benefit of this movement.

From there you can add loads, change tempos and even use different ways of creating that extended range of motion to adjust instability.

But you need to utilize the full range of motion first.

If you can’t work through the full extended range of motion, you may want to start with a lower bench or box to reduce the mobility and stability demands. Slowly increase the range of motion instead of just jumping to a bench.

You may even find right now you struggle to fully come to the ground during the basic split squat.

If that is the case, start with a basic split squat, even starting the movement from the ground to fully have to learn to control the complete range of motion!

Exercise #2: Double Leg Lowers

Double leg lowers have become an extremely popular ab exercise. But so often we end up feeling our lower backs or hip flexors over really targeting our abs.

In an attempt to correct this and do this harder variation we haven’t earned, we place our hands behind our lower backs and butts.

But this is a band aid. It doesn’t teach us to actually control the ab brace we need so we can build up.

It’s why we may need to regress to progress.

Because leg lower type movements, while they WILL work your hip flexors, are a great way to target that lower portion of the rectus abdominis more or what we often refer to as the “lower abs.”

And knowing how to brace correctly to protect your spine as you flex and extend your hips is also beneficial as you work to improve your heavier lifts!

So if you find your lower back engaging or only your hip flexors working, you can modify the double leg lowers in a few different ways.

But the key is learning to engage your abs using that posterior pelvic tilt.

This is a small movement that engages your abs and glutes.

Think about tilting your pelvis toward your ribs. Hold here as you do any movement in the progression whether it’s a single knee tuck, really taking things back to back to basics, double knee tuck or even single leg lower.

Only progress to the next level if you can maintain that ab brace and not feel your lower back taking over!

And if you do find you fatigue once you’ve built up to the double leg lowers, don’t push through. Instead modify with one of these variations so you can continue to target your abs.

Because we have to remember that the muscles we feel working are the ones getting the “benefit” of the movement. And if the correct muscles aren’t working we may be perpetuating recruitment patterns that lead to overload and injury…not to mention don’t actually work the muscles we want to target!

Exercise #3: Burpee

Love them or hate them, the burpee is often a staple in workout routines.

While many of us do recognize it is hard, it requires a lot more strength and mobility than we recognize.

And because the purpose of the burpee is almost always to be “cardio,” in an attempt to go as fast as possible, the quality of the movement often suffers.

We end up doing the worm during the push up portion. Or shrugging our shoulders in the plank. Or we land with our knees completely straight after performing a half-hearted jump at the top.

And sometimes, in an attempt to modify, we step back, but then to stand up, we end up having to do these stutter steps to bring our feet into our hands because we don’t have the mobility to truly step in far enough.

The burpee is a killer bodyweight move. And if you plan to include it, you need to earn it.

While yes, you can use the step back to reduce impact if you do have the range of motion to control the movement…and while yes, you can take out the push up to modify it as well so you don’t end up doing the worm, if you want to truly build up to that full burpee, try instead using an incline.

If you’ve been working to improve your push ups and build toward that full perfect push up from our toes, you may have been using an incline. And if you aren’t, start!

The incline can be a great way to reduce the load on our upper body and core so we can perform the push up correctly.

The incline also reduces the mobility demands during the burpee. It takes a lot more mobility than we realize to jump back in to efficiently stand up. Because your hands are raised, you need less hip and ankle mobility to jump back in and stand up.

As you feel comfortable with this move and can move quickly while performing quality reps, you can then lower the incline over time!

Exercise #4: Single Leg Glute Bridge

The bodyweight glute bridge may seem easy, but it’s a move that is so often done incorrectly. And then so often, before we’ve really earned it, we switch to the single leg glute bridge.

We may try to use the single leg glute bridge to get some unilateral benefits and work each side independently, but we have to recognize that it is a big jump in progression from the basic bodyweight glute bridge.

So before we even try the single leg variation, we need to make sure our glutes are actually powering the basic glute bridge. We don’t want our hamstrings or lower back compensating instead.

We don’t want to barely be able to lift up and trying the single leg variation or arching up super high because we’re hyperextended our lower backs.

A few key cues to help you better engage your glutes during even the basic bodyweight glute bridge are…

1. Before lifting perform the posterior pelvic tilt, tucking your hips toward your ribs. Maintain this throughout the bridge and don’t let your lower back arch to lift up higher.

2. Drive your knees toward your toes as you lift so you don’t push yourself backward and end up using more hamstring.

3. Engage your upper back, bending your elbows to drive your upper arms into the ground so you can focus on that pure hip extension.

Once you can control that basic glute bridge, you can then move into an 80/20 variation. This will allow you to focus more on one side or the other while still having a bit of assistance.

We have to remember that the full unilateral or single leg glute bridge isn’t just us having to lift all the weight on one side, but it is also us having to stabilize our pelvis and balance.

While still a simple move and bodyweight, it is more of an advancement than we give it credit for.

That’s why the 80/20 variation can be a good in-between so we can actually target each side while still working through a full range of motion targeting the glutes.

As you do feel ready to progress, just make sure your hamstrings and lower back aren’t engaging and taking over. This move is powered by your glutes!


Every move we include in our workouts should be done with a purpose. And we should only advance moves as we EARN those harder variations.

Sometimes, as much as it can hurt our ego, it is key we regress to progress and build up.

We are never above those basics and, at times, taking things back a step can help us improve any weak links!

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