Combination Exercises for the Back and Chest

combination exercises for the chest and back

Summer is right around the corner (tank top season!) and I am hearing many female clients talk about wanting to lose back fat, arm pit pooches, and flabby arms.

Well, I think we know by now that we cannot “spot reduce” when it comes to losing weight, but we can STRENGTHEN certain areas by building muscle.

I am a BIG supporter of getting the most bang for your buck.

Meaning, I would much rather do a few reps of really hard exercises like pull ups, Turkish Get Ups, hanging leg raises, burpies, and combinations moves (shown below) than spend an hour on the elliptical or doing 3 sets of 16 reps of each muscle group (not that there isn’t a time and place for these things, because there is!)

The best workout is the one you will do!

I have been loving combination exercises that work your whole body, increase your heart rate, boost your metabolism, and blast your calorie burn through the roof… even after the workout is over!

Below are three exercises that focus on the back and/or chest, while working the core and other muscles as well.

These combination exercises can be done at home – all you need is a set of dumbbells (you could do this without the dumbbells and still increase your HR and get a great workout, but your strength benefits will not be as significant.)

Renegade Rows to Front Squat

Plank Push up to Bent-over Row to Reverse Fly

Side Planks Rotations to Push up to Triceps Kickback

For all exercises, keep core engaged and proper form, especially when jumping up and back down into plank.

3 rounds of 8-10 reps for each exercises!

wild workout wednesdayI am linking up today with Fit Foodie Mama for WILD WORKOUT WEDNESDAY! Be sure to check out some other great workouts/exercises by bloggers over on her site!

Also, if you would like to see more (15 second) exercises from yours truly, follow me on Instagram for (almost) daily “Moves of the Day

Do you do combination moves that hit many muscles at once? Any favorites?

What exercise(s) gives you the most “bang for your buck”?

My FAVE Podcasts #DishtheFit


Hello and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I am linking up (finally) with The Fit Switch and Jill Conyers for Fit Dish Tuesday. I have been looking forward to this topic (Your Favorite Podcasts) all week! I am been OBSESSED with podcasts right now… podcasts while I walk, podcasts while I clean, podcasts while I drive, podcasts while I sit outside and sip a margarita…

mango margarita

If you love margaritas as much as I do, Cinco de Mayo is a great excuse to enjoy one of these refreshing bad boys (not that I need an excuse to enjoy a marg!)

My FAVE Podcasts

Chalene Build Your Tribe podcast A few weeks ago I discovered Chalene Johnson’s podcast: Build Your Tribe and it was AMAZING!

I learned so much from the first one I listened to (which was about teaser videos on social media) and I wanted MORE! So I started a little notebook to write down all these great marketing ideas and social media tips and have been listening away ever since!

Chalene is an AMAZING motivator, she is very likable and trustworthy, and has extremely valuable tips for entrepreneurs. I seriously look forward to each day that a new one comes out, which is five times a week!

Amy Porterfield podcast Through Chalene’s podcast, I actually found another one that I LOVE: Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

While Amy does not post as often, her podcasts are jam-packed with info and easy to follow tips. She shares her struggles and successes as an entrepreneur and is very easy and enjoyable to listen to. She also makes a pdf. to go along with every episode that highlights important points and offers even more value to the listener.

social media examiner podcastAlong the same lines of marketing and social media (which I am fascinated with using the two together right now), The Social Media Examiner Show is another great podcast. What I especially love about this podcast is that the episodes are short and to the point, yet very informative.

I really enjoy listening to Amy and Chalene talk because they seem like pretty cool people, but when I have less than 10 minutes, The Social Media Examiner is the place to go! They have a larger staff and spend their time, money, and resources to deliver listeners current and relevant info.

podcast FitCastAnother podcast that I am subscribed to and am enjoying so far, even though I only listened to a few episodes, is The FitCast: Fitness and Nutrition Podcast.

They have a lot of guests on their show (including Molly Galbraith and Jen Sinkler, who rock) and I imagine the more I listen, the more awesome and inspiring people I will find to stalk follow on social media and podcasts! :)

Be sure to hop on over to  The Fit Switch and Jill Conyers blogs to check out the link-up! #fitfam

Do you have any podcasts that you love and/or recommend? Please share!

What do you think about the role that social media plays in marketing today?

When and How you should STRETCH and 9 Ways to do it

One of the most interesting things I learned when studying for the Personal Training certification last year was how many different ways there are to  stretch!

I knew of two or three different ways to increase flexibility and/or warm muscle up, but had no idea there were 9 different options when it comes to stretching.

Static Stretching is what most people think of when they think of stretching or flexibility. This kind of stretching allows a muscle group to relax and targets the end range position so that a greater length can be achieved. Static stretches are held for at least 20-30 seconds.

I generally recommend static stretching at the end of a workout or after muscles are already warmed up. This is where people can really increase a joint’s range of motion and improve flexibility.

Below I am performing a standing hamstring stretch with my leg on a bench and arms and torso rotated towards the stretched leg. The torso rotation adds an additional stretch and targets the muscles at a different angle.


There are actually two kinds of static stretches:

a. Active stretch – individual applies added force to increase intensity.

b. Passive stretch – partner or device provides added force. For example, you could use a band or towel to stretch the hamstrings in a lying straight leg raise hamstring stretch.

Dynamic Stretching is done at the beginning of a workout and prepares the body for exercise by mimicking the upcoming movements. Below are a few of my fave dynamic lower body stretches I like to do with my clients or in classes.

Exercises: stepping runners lunge w/ hamstring stretch, single leg swings, single leg touch downs, inside foot taps, and side lunges

Ballistic Stretching consists of bouncing exercises and triggers the stretch reflex (reflexive muscle contraction in response to a rapid stretch). This kind of stretching is used by athletes such as swimmers who do fast, bouncy arm circles before diving into the pool for a race.

This kind of stretching is not typically recommended as it could stretch ligaments too far if the movement is not controlled.

Active Isolated Stretching is less common but a great way to gradually increase flexibility. A stretch is held for about 2 seconds, then released to the start position, and then stretched again, repeating reps and passing the resistance point each time.

For example, bend and straighten the knee in a lying hamstring stretch (one leg held up in the air), this allows the hammys to relax and the quadriceps to contract. Exhale as you straighten your leg and stretch the hamstrings a little further each rep.

Myofascial Release is a technique that apples pressure to tight, restricted areas of fascia and muscle, inhibits tension in muscle by stimulating the GTO to bring about autogenic inhibition, and realigns elastic muscle and connective tissue from bundled and knotted to straighter fiber arrangement reducing hypertonicity (muscle tension).

This kind of stretching, although it resembles more of  a painful massage than a stretch, can be done before a workout to warm the muscles up or after to increase muscle length.

Below are some of my fave videos for and about foam rolling:

How to use a Foam Roller – Sarah Fit

Foam Rolling Mistakes – ATHLEAN

Full-Body Rolling Out Routine – Perfect Form With Ashley Borden

Foam Rolling for Runners – Sarah Fit

#FriskyFall Foam Roller Routine ~ Tone It Up

15 Minute Full Body Foam Rolling Home Routine – Jessica Smith

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is the final and most complex kind of stretching, in my opinion. PNF involves both the stretching and contraction of the muscle group being targeted. There are a few different kinds of PNF stretches. I will briefly cover them, but for more info check out PNF Stretching: A How-To Guide.

a. Hold-relax – isometric muscle contraction for 6 sec. in targeted muscles then relax and allow passive stretch for 30 sec.

b. Contract-relax – push against force for concentric contraction through full ROM of targeted muscles then relax and allow passive stretch for 30 sec.

c. Hold-relax with Antagonist Contraction – isometric hold like hold-relax technique then add concentric action of the opposing muscle group during final passive stretch.


Stretching takes time and discipline, but it is sooo worth it! Look, you can even do a static stretch while you enjoy your morning coffee! :)

Increasing range of motion in your joints will help you to perform other movements properly and safely, it will reduce low-back pain, decrease risk of injuries, improve posture, and increase circulation!

Two more posts about flexibility training and stretching…

Tips for balance and flexibility training
3 Resistance Band Moves to Improve Posture - shh fit happens


How long do you usually hold a stretch after your workout or run? (I am guilty of only 5-10 seconds…)

Do you have any go-to or favorite stretches you do before a workout? 

Any flexibility goals? (I would like to be able to do a split again!)

Plyo Box Power Workout

Today, I am linking up with Fit Foodie Mama for the Wild Workout Wednesday link-up! I will keep this post short so you can hop on over to her blog to check out some other great workouts and exercises! Variety is the spice of life!

wild workout wednesday

I have been working on adding power to my workouts lately and put together this total body circuit that really gets the heart rate up! All you need is a plyo box or a sturdy bench.  Continue reading

10 Things the “books” don’t teach you about being a Personal Trainer (What I’ve learned in the past 3 months)

drop i tlike a  squat

No, I didn’t learn to drop it like a squat! :)

Before I get into my lessons learned, let me give you a quick back story here. I have trained off and on over the past six years or so and have been teaching group exercise classes for the past four years, pretty much on a weekly basis.  Continue reading