Weekend Challenge: Full Body Strengthener
I love this weekend’s exercise – it’s a simple yet challenging move that strengthens your whole body and leaves you feeling energized.
The Full Body Strengthener is a stand-up exercise that you can “take with you” to the office, home, or wherever you may find yourself.
And as an added bonus, I’ll share with you easy ways to offset the bone-damaging free radicals produced during exercise.
Let’s get started with today’s move, that works the abs, arms, shoulders, legs, lower back, and hips. That’s why it’s called the Full Body Strengthener!
Let’s look at the muscles involved in today’s exercise.
- The Quadriceps, or quads, are made up of four muscles that run along the front of your thigh. They are the main muscle group associated with squats, although as you’ll see, many other muscles are involved in today’s exercise as well.
The quads help with knee joint stabilization and pelvic alignment. Strong quads help build bone in the femur and femoral head, areas you’ll want to strengthen to prevent fractures.
- The glutes (buttocks muscles) are also associated with squats, and for good reason. These large, heavy muscles, especially when worked evenly as in today’s move, promote alignment and strength of the hips. They are also essential for a strong gait and steady balance. Your lower back muscles are also connected with your glutes, which is one of the ways these squats strengthen the low back.
- The erector spinae muscles are deep inside your body, close to your bones, and run all the way from your neck to your pelvis. They consist of three strips of muscle that attach directly to your vertebrae as they run from the base of your skull to your hip bones. Even though they don’t show superficially, the erector spinae are essential for vertebrae alignment and density.
- Your abs are also worked by the Full Body Strengthener. Specifically, the motions develop the rectus abdominus, the superficial tummy muscles that you can easily see and feel. You need strong abs to maintain balance and proper posture, and to engage in deep breathing.
- Your obliques are the muscles of your sides, and like the abs and erector spinae, are considered core muscles. When you turn or twist your torso, you’re using your obliques. They work with the erector spinae to stabilize the spine, and working the obliques strengthens the ribcage.
- The deltoid muscles get a workout with this exercise, too. These are your shoulder muscles, and are responsible for most shoulder rotation. Therefore, they are important muscles for proper posture and preventing dislocation of the shoulder joint in case of a fall or lifting a heavy object. In addition, working the deltoids strengthens the shaft of the humerus bone, to which they are anchored.
- The triceps are the muscles along the backs of your arms, and today’s exercise is just the thing to firm them up. You use your triceps when you straighten your elbow. Interestingly, the triceps muscles originate at the outer part of the scapula (shoulder blade), and from there it meets the other two triceps heads at the anterior part of the humerus. They all attach at the elbow joint, so working toward strong triceps means you’ll stabilize your elbows as well.
- Finally, the trapezius muscle covers the top of your shoulders and fans out across your upper back. The traps are especially important in preventing rounded shoulders, forward head posture (FHP), and Dowager’s Hump. They align and strengthen the thoracic vertebrae, and help support your head and extend your neck.
As you can see, the Full Body Strengthener covers a lot of ground! So let’s get started with how to do it.
Grab a dumbbell or can of food to begin. Choose whatever weight is most comfortable for you, as long as you can put both hands on the ends.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take the weight in both hands, holding it by cupping your hands over the ends.
- Hold the weight in front of your chin.
- Keeping your back straight, bend your knees into a full squat and come back up.
- As you come back up again, bring the weight up over your head and straighten your arms. You’ll be standing straight up with your arms over your head.
- Bring the weight back to the front of your chin and repeat the squat-and-stand motion approximately 10 times. Make sure you don’t go past your comfort level; doing fewer than 10 is fine at first. You also might prefer to do more than 10 depending on your fitness level.
Along with nourishing your bones with vital nutrients, exercise is one of the most important things you can do to rebuild and rejuvenate your bones. In addition, regular exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. In fact, research shows that exercising actually lengthens your lifespan.
Ironically, though, exercise produces free radicals that can cause oxidative damage – especially with prolonged, intense exercise.
How Exercise Produces Free Radicals
Skeletal and heart muscle are the best known source of free radical production during exercise. A recent study suggests that the cells’ mitochondria consume a great deal of oxygen during cellular respiration, and with the generation of superoxide, the oxygen might lose an electron, thus making it a free oxygen species (free radical).1
The sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of the heart and skeletal muscle also come into play. SRs are organelles that consists of sacs or tubes surrounded by membranes. The SR’s job is to control the balance of calcium storage, release, and reuptake. Certain enzymes are produced during this biological balancing act, and these enzymes generate superoxide, which influences calcium release through oxidation of a calcium receptor.1
That’s just the tip of a very complex iceberg; but simply put, cellular respiration during exercise produces free radicals through a variety of biological processes.
And of course, free radicals and oxidative damage hurt bones. So it makes sense to make choices to compromise for this effect.
How To Offset The Exercise Paradox
It’s clear that exercise is healthy; but it’s also clear that free radicals are generated during a workout. So it’s important to offset this “side effect” to protect your bones and your body by eating and drinking plenty of antioxidant-rich foods and beverages.
This is where the concept of “pre- and post-Densercise foods” comes from, and it’s why the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System includes a detailed yet easy-to-follow Eating Guide.
The Eating guide explains which antioxidants are not produced by the body, and must therefore be ingested, such as Vitamins C and E, and beta carotene – to mention a few. The Eating Guide goes on to describe which foods contain these antioxidants and when to eat them.
Before working out, for instance, it’s important to eat foods that have a low Glycemic Load, such as sweet potato, pumpkin seeds, oranges, and cantaloupe to prevent excessive fatigue brought on by insulin spikes. Low GL foods also tend not to interfere with your body’s own antioxidant production.
In the Eating Guide, you’ll also learn that several plant phytonutrients, including beta carotene, require dietary fat for increased bioavailability. That’s why I recommend that foods containing beta carotene and other fat-soluble antioxidants be dipped in olive oil, or consumed with some fat.
This delicious dip is perfect to eat with pre-Densercise™ fruits.
Free Radical Terminator Dip
- 6 ounces plain, unflavored yogurt (at least 2% fat)
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1/2 tablespoon honey (adjust to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- a few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
- Mix all ingredients in a bow or in a blender, and serve with fruits.
Densercise Protects Against Free Radical Damage In Multiple Ways
Densercise™ is an effective workout and bone-builder, but it is not overly intense, so it protects against excessive free radical production brought on by prolonged exercise. And as mentioned earlier, the Eating Guide gives your clear directions about how to minimize free radical damage nutritionally, both in a protective sense (before Densercising) and in a restorative sense (after Densercising).
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
With the comprehensive Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, you know you’re getting the “total package.”
Keep exercising and enjoy the weekend!
1 Powers, Scott K. and Jackson, Malcolm J. “Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress: Cellular Mechanisms and Impact on Muscle Force Production.” Physiol Rev. October 2008. 88(4): 1243-1276. Doi: 10.1152/physrev.00031.2007. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2909187/