The back contains many muscles – the latissimus dorsi (lats) are the biggest and broadest middle-back muscles, and these are accompanied by the trapezius (traps) in the upper back heading towards the neck from below and both sides, and also a range of deeper, smaller muscles.
Here’s a workout I used while in the USA recently. It uses machines exclusively, and the workout for back typically uses a higher percentage of machine-based exercise compared to free weights. Its easy to devise pushing exercises with free weights, less so for pulling exercises – the single arm dumbbell-row is a notable exception.
I doubt you’ll have exactly the same machines in your gym (unless it’s the same one I recorded this of course!). But I am sure there are machines which reproduce the same movement.
Give this a go – once a week is ideal – keep the form good, and see how the numbers improve over time.
I’m very pleased to announce that I am now offering Personal Training again in all my locations. Whether your objective is to lose fat, gain muscle or a bit of both, I am here to help.
I only take clients aged over 50. Many of my previous clients have said they tried younger Personal Trainers but didn’t get on well with them – sometimes they felt that a PT in their own age group would be better at setting realistic and achievable goals, devising a relevant training approach, and understanding the constraints that years and experience bring. All areas that I focus on, being well in the better half-century of life myself.
I believe that taking up fitness, even later in life than most, will help you add years to your life, and life to your years. That’s a key philosophy I use for myself and my clients.
I have a range of one-to-one options including ‘I train you’ training and a ‘Train with the trainer’, shared exercise approach. I offer training in three locations, Beaconsfield, Oxford Circus and Islington, and I’m pleased to say all three offer a COVID-aware environment with cleanliness and social distancing as top priorities.
As you know, I am a big believer in the benefits of exercise for those over 50. And it makes me feel good when others – especially professionals in fields such as sport, longevity and nutrition – feel the same way about it that I do.
So I was pleased when Neil and the guys at Insure4Sport came for a chat and interviewed me on this; well, it is my favourite subject after all!
They published the article, which includes a video interview with Rob Riches – the guy that got me into fitness – as well as me discussing how important this subject is for my age group. Or ‘essential’, as the title has it. Take a look at the article on the link below, and once again many thanks to Neil and his team at Insure4Sport.
I did a photoshoot with great photographer Simon Howard on the occasion of my 60th birthday. It’s not the best that I’ve looked, but I don’t think its too bad for someone of my age – especially as you know I was obese 10 years earlier.
It only lasts a minute, so it’s a cramming down of two hours activity – but I hope you get a flavour of what it’s like.
This is a new supplier to me, none of the gyms I regularly use have their kit.
So, although the movements were familiar, there were slight changes in angle or feel in most of the products. Nothing at all weird, just slightly different to my usual options. They provide good equipment, absolutely nothing I didn’t like, I recommend the kit based on my experiences, and wish them much success.
I was recently asked by SunLife to feature in a video promoting something close to my heart – that life can and should be great after the age of 50, with new experiences and enjoyment around every corner waiting to be discovered.
I agree massively with Sun Life’s view that ‘You’re never to old to start something new’ and – as you know – the new thing for me was turning my health around with the discovery of the joys and benefits of getting fit. So here is the video, produced by Kingdom Creative for Sun Life, and my thanks to both for permission to reproduce it here.
Here are three leg training machines that are a little different to ones I’ve used elsewhere. Filmed at Watson Gym Equipment stand at BodyPower, and many thanks to them. Here are my thoughts on the relative merits of each.
Check out the video: click here then select the first video on my video wall.
This particular 45° leg press has a feature I’ve not seen before in that the footplates can be joined together as is most common, or can be separated with different resistance on each side. This gives the chance to have differential resistance if one of your legs is weaker than the other. With footplates disconnected you can press both legs in sync or alternating. Using in sync gives you the ability to check if one leg has a greater range of movement then the other (then work on that one). Alternating enables you to put more mental focus in the press on just the one pressing leg. An excellent piece of equipment.
The Leverage Squat Machine is the closest machine I’ve found to reproducing the traditional back squat but adding some safety features, concepts that will enable some people to get far more benefit. For those with shoulder flexibility issues, the positioning of the hands on a part of the machine forward of the body is a big bonus. It’s far enough forward to be non-weight bearing so leg resistance isn’t reduced. And for those a little concerned with balance and stability, this movement gives all the benefits and feel of the back squat without the possibility of tilting or ultimately falling in any direction. As you can’t lean towards one side, any unwanted unequal forces down the spine and posterior chain are removed. Meaning you can go heavier and torture those quads, hams and glutes more!
Finally, the Vertical Press. The position of the lower body here is it’s unique feature. By pressing with the weight exactly vertically, the full resistance of the weight is borne by the legs especially the quads at all times – you are working with 100% of the gravity component. With the weight of the carriage known, the full force of the weight needs to be pressed giving maximum focus with precision on resistance amount with no lateral element. I found it works the legs in a direct way that isn’t fully possible in any other position.
I don’t think your upper leg training should be exclusively on any of these machines / but add them to your leg day mix to discover new and efficient ways of training those pins safely.
Remember to check out the video to see all three machines in action!
Club La Santa on Lanzarote is well known as a sunny training location for pro athletes, as well as being a fab holiday resort in beautiful sunshine. We were there last week for a holiday with very much a fitness focus.
But how good is it as a destination for gym fans like me? Take a look at my video review – with comments that are totally my own!
Season Two of my Fit Happens TV series is now ready!
Initial TV transmission in the UK is in May 2017 by the Community Channel.
Season Two is five half-hour episodes similar in format to the episodes 1-4 of Series One, but bigger and better with an extra cast member – joining Keith Cormican and me on the studio sofas and in fitness locations globally – is top fitness personality Nicola Feustel.
As well as improving the looks of the sofa-sitters massively, Nicola brings massive knowledge and experience from working on her own fitness, individual clients and group training.
There are many new features in Season Two – a new logo, more segments, more subjects, more cameras – our first drone footage – and a massive crew of highly-talented media production individuals putting it together.
Expect to see crossfit, boxing, spinning, fun-running, bike testing, group workouts, a brand-new ultra-cool kitchen with great new recipes, and new workouts and exercises all over the place!
Plus more expert guests to join the three of us from the world of fitness.
I sometimes get asked if there is just a single workout that I would recommend to work all the key muscles in just one workout. And one that includes some cardio element as well as effort for the muscles.
The answer is that there is – and its the workout I specifically use for a few days before going on stage in a fitness model contest. To me, this workout ticks both boxes – its a perfect whole-body workout – plus a great pre-show conditioning session that works everything to the level I need before that big day.