'Physical Activity'

Girls Night TONIGHT!!!



9:15 – 10:30 pm

FREE Gym Bag with Snacks for First 100 Girls

Great Prizes: Ipod Shuffle, Yoga Mat, Headphones, Nutrition Consult with RD, Dave’s Fresh Pasta Gift Card, True Bistro Gift Card, Aerie Products

December 1st, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

BYL wishes all students at wonderful Thanksgiving!!

When you get back from Thanksgiving weekend, please remember that we will be hosting Girls Night Out at the Gym on December 1st from 9:30-10:30pm.

The gym will be closed for women only for the hour and there will be trainers, yoga instructors, and lots of fun activities to take part in.

The first 100 women get a gym bag with goodies in it, like Luna Bars!!!

There will also be raffle prizes, such as an ipod shuffle, gift certificates to local eateries (i.e. Daves Fresh Pasta),  and workout equipment.

November 22nd, 2011

Seated Row

The seated row is a machine you find in most gyms. It is a complement to the lateral pull-down, an exercise we showed you earlier this semester. It complements the lat pull-down because it works a similar primary muscle- the latissiumus dorsi – but using a different range of motion. The row also primarily works the biceps and rhomboids, while these muscles act as secondary muscles in the lat pull-down.

Walk into many gyms, and you’re apt to see someone doing the seated row wrong. A typical mistake is adding too much weight to the machine and pulling back with a force that does not allow for the back to stay straight. Marten, seen in this video below, will show you how to properly do the seated row. You can also read step-by-step directions at the ACE (American Council on Exercise) website, here.

Seated Row

Marten Vandervelde and Kate Sweeney

November 9th, 2011

Top 5 “Core” Exercises

While the “core” is a critical area of the body, the term itself is sometimes mis-applied and allows a lot of unqualified people to market themselves.  If you run into anyone who “trains the core” and you see crunches, bike twists, and supermans, be wary of the program and the person selling it.  These exercises are not beneficial and can even be harmful.  That said, here are a few exercises we really like, in no particular order:

  1. Anti-rotation press.  I introduce this in a tall kneeling position first.  One you are proficient, move to standing and then split standing or with the cable overhead.  Lots of variation, it encourages symmetry, and really hits the right notes.
  2. Farmer’s walk.  Try to use kettlebells or another item where the weight is centered under your hand.  Dumbbells are good but they tend to teeter at high weights so if you’re serious about farmer walks, try to avoid them.  Keep the chest up and out and let the arms hang from the shoulder sockets.  This is a terrific exercise for hip stability as well.  A 5-minute farmer’s walk (with untimed breaks) is a deceptively effective choice for a quick workout.
  3. Lunges and rear-foot elevated squats.  These exercises can make you sore but for all the right reasons.  I like to introduce these goblet-style, where you hold just one weight with both hands against your chest.  Progressing to 2 weights, a barbell on the back, offset (only weight in 1 hand) and/or holding the weight overhead are serious challenges for anyone.  There is a learning curve but with hard work one can reach high external loads very safely.
  4. Push-ups.  An old stand-by and for good reason.  If you can’t do full push-ups then I recommend you put your hands on a bench or box so that you’re at an incline.  Always try to get the chest to hand–level rather than doing partial push-ups.  If you get stuck, bracing and gripping the fingers really helps.  Elevating the feet or adding weight on your back will challenge anyone.
  5. Inverted Rows.  Basically this is a reverse push-up and a truly wonderful exercise.  For those who might struggle, raise the height of the bar.  For those who find these easy, put your feet up on a box or bench, use a weight vest and/or have a spotter put weight plates on your stomach.  I would like to plug the Turkish get-up at #5 but it requires technical precision and absolutely needs professional instruction.  If you can find a qualified kettlebell instructor, go for it.

Come to think of it, the above 5 exercises make a darn good workout.  Add in some hamstring/glute work and you’re way ahead of the average gym user’s routine.

By: Max Prokopy

Editor: Kate Sweeney

Disclaimer: Each individual is different. If you are new to these exercises, it may be best to consult a certified trainer. No attempt has been made to promote one particular fitness gym or performer.  No financial benefit is associated with any of the above recommendations.

1 comment October 31st, 2011

Increasing Flexibility: Response from our BYL Expert

Question: I am not very flexible at all – my hip flexors and quads tighten extremely easily. Do you have any stretching or exercise tips to help with this?


When you think of flexibility, you are looking at the range of motion (ROM) around a joint.

The first thing to do is determine whether you suffer from:

1) A lack of length. Length of a muscle has to do with genetics, training/sports history, age, injury history, posture, etc.; however, length can be easily changed with consistent flexibility training.

2) A high amount of tension. Muscular tension (tonus) is the continuous contraction of muscle at rest or the resistance of a muscle to a stretch. The list of possible causes are generally the same as those above. The treatment, however, is usually very different.

3) or a combination of the two.

Now that we have defined the two, how can you assess which one (or both) that you are suffering from?

To determine whether the problem is length, you should test your range of motion. One simple test is to lie on the ground, facing downwards. Reach back and gently pull your foot toward your gluteal muscles (glutes). If your heel without shoes can kick your glutes, your length is fine. Another great test is to have someone perform a hip flexor length test on you. You can do this for free by signing up for the Tufts Personalized Performance Program, where every student receives five free personal training sessions (http://ase.tufts.edu/physed/ppp/main.asp). This test can assess the length in the quad and the hip flexors. It can also give you information about issues with the illiotibial band as well.

To determine if tension is the culprit, you will need a friend or a trainer. He or she would perform the above laying-down test, but while bringing the heel toward the glutes, the helper would determine where the leg fights the stretch or becomes heavier in its resistance to the movement. Another way to check tension is to have a massage therapist or chiropractor palpate the area to determine whether there is a higher than necessary amount of tension.

Okay, so we have the culprit(s) length, tension or both. What’s the treatment?

Massage tends to have a greater effect on lowering tension while stretching is better able to increase length. Stretching is never supposed to hurt, so please remember not to push yourself on a stretch; you can hurt yourself. Below are the two best quad stretches for tension. The first is a more isolated quad stretch while the second involves the hip flexors as well.

  • Isolated Quad Stretch

  • Integrated quad and hip flexor stretch: by bringing the knee behind the hip the stretch on the hip flexors as well as the quad muscle the rectus femoris is intensified.

Massage work is easy to do on the quads. However, the hip flexors (specifically the psoas major and iliacus) are best treated by a competent therapist, as they are difficult to self manipulate.

  • Rolling both quads at the same time – this is a moderate version of massage.

  • By bringing the right leg off the roller you increase the intensity on the left leg in the below photo. To make it even more intense bend the left leg (like a hamstring curl).
  • Lastly, you could use the massage stick on your quads. You can use any cylindrical item to roll the muscles. Rolling pins work but are very intense.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be used in replace of one-on-one consultation with a certified personal trainer. If you have questions or concerns, please contact a professional to speak with about your individual situation.

By: Dan Kopsco

Editor: Kate Sweeney

1 comment October 26th, 2011

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