Tag Archives: Compound Exercises

7 Workout Tips to Maximize Results and Efficiency

If you’re like most people, finding time to exercise is a challenge. In fact, for many of our clients, it’s such a difficult feat that they become discouraged and just skip it altogether. While exercising essential to health, when it comes to time constraints, it is often one of the first things to be pushed aside. For this reason, and many others, we are big proponents of high intensity functional fitness training. This type of training allows you to get the most out of your workout, and to workout anytime, anywhere, for any amount of time that you are able to. Yes, even 5 minutes. Who really doesn’t have 5 minutes? If you want the most out of your workout, in the shortest amount of time possible, read on.

7 Workout Tips to Maximize Results and Efficiency

  1. Do Not Always Rely on Equipment. We talked about the relative inefficiency of machines in this post. Reliance on machines is not only unnecessary but can even be detrimental to your overall health and fitness goals. If you’d like to use equipment, we recommend keeping a kettlebell or a couple of dumbbells at home or at work to use. If you don’t have these available, try using something in your environment: laundry detergent, gallon on milk, bag of kitty litter, a large rock, a pet or a child…the list is endless! And if you still don’t have anything available, the beauty of functional fitness is that you can actually do a very effective workout using body weight only. BAM! No more excuses.
  2. Do Whole Body Movements. One common mistake when working out is focusing too much on the large muscle groups: hamstrings, quads, back, etc. But focusing only – or primarily – on these areas can result in imbalances, pain and even injury. We recommend whole body (or compound or multi-joint), functional movements that affect and benefit every large and small muscle group in the body. Learn more about the many benefits of compound/multi-joint movements in this post. Some examples of these include air squats, burpees, and kettle bell swings.
  3. Be Ok with Sweating, and Breathing Hard. If you want the most out of your workout, and in a short amount of time, your workout needs to be high in intensity, you need to sweat, and increase your heart rate. Yes, it can be hard. But remember, it’s only for a short amount of time!
  4. Take Rest. Make sure you’re incorporating rest periods, in both short and long workouts. There are multiple factors influencing the duration and frequency of rest periods; this article breaks it down.
  5. Switch It Up. There’s no reason you can’t have a little fun with your workouts. It’s beneficial both psychologically and physically to vary up your routine and get creative. Vary up the movements, the style (tabata, power interval, etc), and the environment. The more interesting you make it, the more likely you are to want to continue.
  6. Don’t Skip the Stretch. We are big advocates of incorporating yoga into any workout routine, and it’s not unusual for us to add in yoga postures between and after sets. Make sure you take the time to stretch after working out, take several deep breaths with each pose, and allow your body to enjoy it. Don’t think of it as additional time added to your workout, but rather a necessary part of your workout.
  7. Be Kind to Your Body. This is a big one. Listen to your body and honor what it’s feeling. Modify the movements to avoid pain. Modify workouts to accommodate for injury or illness. Read more about why its important to keep moving, even when not feeling well, here.

So there you go. We hope you use these 7 Tips to Maximize Results and Efficiency in your workout routine. Just remember: exercising doesn’t need to be dreaded, it doesn’t have to be laborious, and it definitely doesn’t need to take a long time. If you need help getting started, or just need a little guidance to improve your performance, contact us for a free consult to learn about our personal training, private yoga sessions, or group fitness or yoga classes.

7 Ways Functional Movements Are More Beneficial Than Exercise Machines

As functional fitness has become more and more mainstream, the fitness world – and gyms – have had to evolve to keep up. Research has shown that whole-body, multi-joint movements and high intensity workouts are extremely effective, as we discussed in our previous post.  Still, the appeal of exercise machines such as the elliptical, the stairmaster, and a plethora of other resistance machines, remains for many. Machines are easy, and routine. You can set your pace on the elliptical or treadmill and read a book or zone out listening to music. Some gyms even have movie theatres where you can plop yourself on your elliptical for an hour or so while watching an old favorite on the big screen, and leave feeling like you did a great workout for yourself. Simply said, machines make working out easy.

But working out isn’t supposed to be easy.

If we’re looking for easy, aren’t we missing the point? It’s called “working out” because it’s work. It can be fun, and I’m all about making fitness fun, but it shouldn’t be easy. Working out should, if done effectively, be challenging and stimulating to mind and body. That’s how you reach your optimal health, and your health and fitness goals, not by doing what’s easy or monotonous. Here are 7 Ways Functional Movements are More Beneficial Than Exercise Machines:

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  1. Mindfulness. Zoning out isn’t an option when you’re moving and working your body in the most effective ways. In fact, zoning out can lead to stress and injury. Functional fitness requires you to be mindful and to pay attention to your body, the mechanics of the movements, your form and your level of intensity. Being present leads to stress reduction and improved overall physically and mental health.
  2. You can do it anywhere. One of the reasons the functional fitness movement has caught on is because, let’s face it, Americans want convenience. Using free weights, or even better – body weight movements – is convenient. You don’t need to be tied to a gym or a bulky machine to get a great workout. You can literally do functional movements anytime, anywhere. That’s why they’re functional, duh.
  3. They are functional. It’s worth repeating. Functional movements are functional. Thats means they are exercises that translate to everyday activities and movements. With these movements, your body moves in three dimensions, which is how your body moves in daily life. Machines on the other hand, do not. Machines force us to move on the path of machines, rather than on the path of our bodies.
  4. Man making burpees during strength training in gym.More muscles are engaged. Through functional fitness exercises, the whole body is engaged, and more muscles are working to stabilize the weight. Machines on the other hand tend to focus more on larger muscle groups, ignoring some of the other muscles necessary for stabilizing, which can result in injury.
  5. More efficient. Functional fitness is more efficient than working out with machines. A 5-10 minute functional fitness workout can be more beneficial (and yes, burn more calories) even than an hour on an elliptical machine.
  6. They stimulate the mind. Just as functional movements work the whole body, they also work the mind. The mind and body work together to move through the exercises and various movements. Functional fitness workouts are constantly varied and high intensity, making them fun and intellectually stimulating too.
  7. It’s how our bodies were meant to move. We weren’t created to rely on machines to move our bodies. It’s really that simple. Functional fitness allows our bodies to move the way they are supposed to move, and to do movements that keep our bodies functioning optimally, despite our culture of sitting and minimizing movement. It’s a way of allowing our bodies to do what they naturally do best, and we are often surprised by what our bodies can do when given this freedom!

Curious and ready to try Functional Fitness for yourself? Contact us  to try our online functional fitness services, or if local to Philadelphia, a class or private session!

Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Keeping the “Fun” in Functional Fitness

Keeping the “Fun” in Functional Fitness

If you’ve ever tried a functional fitness class, you’ve probably noticed that it is unlike most fitness classes that you’ve done before. I remember when I first tried a Crossfit class years ago and was immediately struck by two things: 1) How unique and weirdly fun the class was, and 2) How HARD this unique and weirdly fun class was. Like many, I was hooked. I continued taking classes, learning about the style as much as I could, and went on to become a Crossfit Level 2 certified trainer. When opening Water and Rock Studio, we made functional fitness one of the fundamental components of our studio. Why? Because we believe that whole body, multi-joint functional movements are integral to overall health and performance. Read this post to learn more about the benefits of multi-joint movements. We’ve seen the results, we’ve experienced the results, and we want to inspire others to join in the fun!
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The Water and Rock Studio Approach

Our philosophy for functional fitness is as unique as the movements we use. We’ve taken what we have learned – and continue learning – and have put our spin on it. We believe that working out should be

Accessible. First and foremost, we believe in making fitness accessible to everyone: every age and every fitness level.
Empowering. We provide you with the tools to make this an ongoing part of your lifestyle, not just a once a week trip to the gym, and not something that you need to dread. Functional fitness teaches us that we don’t need a lot of equipment, a large gym, or a lot of time to get in shape, reach our goals, and have fun doing it!
Varied. We use varied movements that work the whole body, rather than isolated muscle groups. Each class is different, and you will rarely do the same workout twice!
Integrative. We provide an integrative approach to all of our private sessions and classes. Functional fitness is no different. It’s not unusual for us to throw in striking or yoga postures throughout the workout, or to end with meditation.
Intense. Research shows that short, intense workouts can be more beneficial than an hour on the treadmill or elliptical. We encourage intensity, while also honoring each student’s personal level and threshold. We want you to work hard, to gain maximum health benefit, and within our safe and supportive environment.
Innovative. We strive to keep our functional fitness sessions and classes new, fresh, and outside the box (no pun intended, crossfitters). You never know when our classes may require flipping tires on the sidewalk, egg races, reverse burpees, or running to the nearest playground to, well, play!
Fun. This is key. As I said, this was one of the things that initially drew me to Crossfit, and one of the tenets of this style that I did not want to lose sight of. We have fun creating the classes, and we want to make sure our students have fun too. That’s not to say they lack intensity or integrity, rest assured.

Intrigued? Get rid of that repetitive elliptical, step outside of your treadmill box, and come see for yourself what it’s all about! Contact us  to try our online functional fitness services, or if local to Philadelphia, a class or private session.

The Misunderstood Core

The Misunderstood Core

How many times have you heard a fitness or yoga instructor point to his or her abdominals and say “core”? As in “strengthen your core”, “activate your core”, or “this works your core”. To many clients that we see, “core” is synonymous with “abs”, which is not entirely accurate. The core, it seems, is grossly misunderstood.

What is the “core”?

The core is a group of muscles that includes, but is not limited to, the abdominals. The muscles of the core involve back, side and front muscles of the body, extending from the sternum all the way down through the gluten and hamstrings. The job of the core is to stabilize and support the spine. My guess is that the core was aptly named because it is at the core of every movement our body makes, and without it most physical movement would be challenging if not impossible.
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What types of exercises strengthen the core?

Having a strong core is imperative to a healthy fitness routine. Kettle bell swings require a great deal of core strength to stabilize the movement and support the spine effectively. When throwing a punch from fight stance, the core is working to prevent you from overtwisting or turning, and helps drive and power the strike. In yoga, the core muscles are engaged and working during every asana to assist with balance and stability, and to help keep other parts of the body stable as well.

Just as the core is misunderstood, so are core exercises. Isolation exercises targeting the abdominals such as crunches are good, but they are just that: isolated. Doing isolated movements only can actually lead to impaired performance outside of a gym. In order to improve performance our bodies must be viewed as more holistic, both in mind-body connection and in terms of muscular strength. Maximum performance comes from muscles learning to work together.

We recommend whole body, multi-joint exercises, done at a relatively high intensity, for maximum health benefit and core strength-building. These can be done with or without weights, and can be done anywhere, no gym needed! Some fundamental exercises to try are:

  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Burpees
  • Thrusters
  • Sumo Deadlift Highpull
  • Kettle Bell Swings
  • Planks/Side Planks

Here Japheth demonstrates three fundamental exercises that help strengthen and engage the core. You can try these on your own at home:

Adding weighted movements can also help work the core muscles tremendously. Here is Japheth demonstrating a Sumo Deadlift High pull:

Working with a certified personal trainer can be a great way to get started on building and maintaining core strength, and learning more about how your core works. Contact us at Water and Rock Studio if you’d like to schedule a free virtual or in-studio consult!


Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Compound/Multi-joint Exercises and 6 Reasons Why You Want to Do Them

Compound/Multi-joint Exercises and 6 Reasons Why You Want to Do Them

What are Compound Exercises?

Compound exercises, or multi-joint movements, involve more than one joint and muscle group at a time, as opposed to an isolation exercise, or single-joint movement, which only works one muscle/joint at a time. Compound exercises are an important part of any exercise routine for several reasons. In this post we’ll explore how these simple exercises can benefit you, and we’ve included a short instructional video to get you started!

Benefits of Compound/Multi-joint Exercises

1. Functional. Compound exercises help strengthen your body the way it actually works in real life. These exercises simulate daily multi-joint tasks such as picking up your child, shoveling snow, vacuuming, and going up and down stairs.

2. High Intensity and Effective. Compound exercises are intense, because of multiple muscles and joints that are being used. This intensity makes the exercises more effective as well, at gaining strength and lean muscle mass, losing body fat and weight loss, and overall health.

3. Efficient. Challenging multi-joint exercises do not require a lot of time to be effective. Done at a high intensity, these exercises can take your health and fitness to a new level, even with 5-10 minutes a day!

4. Burn more calories. According to The American Council on Exercise, “the body expends 5 calories of energy to consumer 1 liter of oxygen. Exercises that involve more muscle tissue require more oxygen, which helps the body increase its net energy expenditure.” In other words, coupons exercises burn a lot of calories, fast.

5. Improve heart health. Single-joint exercises such as
biceps curls use only a limited amount of muscle tissue; In contrast, compound exercises that involve large amounts of muscle tissue, challenge the heart to pump thus increasing cardiovascular strength.

6. Dynamic Flexibility. Yes, compound exercises can actually make you flexible! When paired with a few yoga postures following each workout, multi-joint exercises can help alleviate muscle tightness and misalignment. The American Council on Exercise says “exercise that involves an active range of motion can be considered a form of dynamic stretching, which involves moving a joint through a range of motion to lengthen the surrounding tissue…Over the course of a number of repetitions, the contractions and activity in the involved muscles elevate the temperature and inhibit activity, which reduces tension and improves length.”

Some examples of compound exercises include
-push press
-kettle bell swings

Here is a quick video of Japheth demonstrating a 5min workout to get you started.

As with any workout regimen, it’s important that you get proper training by a certified professional. Contact Water and Rock Studio today to help take your health/fitness to a whole new level with compound exercises!