Form Fitness Private Training Studio - Christchurch Personal Trainer - weekly health and fitness tip

By: Form Fitness  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Exercise


The correct technique for core stabilisation and effective oxygenation

The correct breathing is important for not only for oxygenating your tissues but also for stabilising your core. An athlete takes around 15 breaths a minute – over 20,000 breaths every day.  The form and rhythm of this breathing influences every movement you make.

The most common faults in the gym with breathing are chest breathing and the breath being uncoordinated with the movement. There are 3 parts to effective breathing:

1)      Inhale into the lower third of your lunges – this is where most of your oxygen receptors are and is the most important phase of breathing. If you watch a baby breathing you will see their stomach move in and out as they push their diaphragm down and inhale and fill the lower half of their lungs. This is exactly what you should do, belly breathing.

2)      Fill the middle third of your lungs by expanding the ribcage. If you place your fingers on the side of your ribcage, as you breathe you should feel your ribcage widen by around 2 inches.

3)      The easiest phase of breathing – the chest breath. For many people chest breathing is the only breathing they do, limiting the oxygenation of their tissues and stability of their core. If you struggle with your breathing or powerful movements, breathing may be your problem.

The correct breathing also helps to increase your intra abdominal pressure, this in turn helps to stabilise your whole body and exert power into your movements.


Breathing helps to stabilise the core, however as soon as you exhale you lose this stability, so then when and how should you exhale?

With powerful movements small hole exhalation is the most effective way of maintaining your intra abdominal pressure and stability. When you exhale, breathe out suddenly and do so through pursed lips so that the exhalation is almost forced. The sudden push momentarily increases intra abdominal lung pressure which pushes the diaphragm down and strengthens the core. You will also find that it also causes the upper abdominal wall to retract assisting stability even more.

To benefit the most from small hole exhalation you must master the timing of the breath with the movement. The sudden exhalation must be timed exactly with the instant of greatest effort in the movement. If you exhale before this point you can lose up to 20% of your power.

Half of your breath should be expelled suddenly through pursed lips and the other half evenly to maintain core strength throughout the whole movement.

Practice your three part breathing and then incorporate it into your exercise and you will notice more core stability and strength along with greater power exhalation.

Happy lifting,

Janelle and the Form Fitness Team

Posted 3 days, 2 hours ago at 6:45 pm.

Resistance training is more and more commonly becoming a part of endurance athletes training regime. For those of us that are time limited or aging (gracefully of course); strength training, flexibility and agility becomes an even more important part of one’s training…especially for runners. Running can be hard on the joints if not done properly, and it’s hard to improve technique if there are imbalances in the body or a lack of time to get out there and run, run, run!

Resistance training is no longer just about looking good and increasing muscle size; with purpose it will decrease chances of injury, and increases our ability to run faster and for longer. The key though is to train properly, it’s not about training harder, it’s about training smarter.

Decreasing chance of injury

The likelihood of getting injured as a runner is high due to the loads on the body that running produces. By eliminating muscle imbalances in the body, we decrease our chance of injury by having the ability to move with proper technique and form.

Training movements rather than muscles is the key to unlocking our potential in running. Our body always moves as one unit and we need to train it that way.

Stretching tight areas of the body to eliminate restriction that can affect form is also important. Commonly endurance athletes follow a generic stretch routine that doesn’t focus on their particular tight areas. Restriction in a particular area of the body can also lead to injury.

Protecting joints

If our muscles are not strong enough to support the activity we are doing our joints will end up taking more load than they deserve. Strength training exercises improve the strength of the muscles around our joints so that they are protected. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “exercise helps keep the joints flexible…and the muscles around the joints strong.” Weight bearing exercise helps promote strong bones and healthy cartilage, both of which support your joints.

Flexibility or lack of it can also make joints unhappy by pulling the joint out of alignment. If this goes on for long enough pain in the joint may follow and the body’s whole kinetic chain will be negatively affected.

Increasing speed and endurance

As a runner training in the gym functionally will improve your run economy, efficiency and power output. Training functionally is about training movement patterns and training the body in a way that is functional to what we are going to do outside the gym. Core strength plays a key role as it connects our body so we move as one unit.

If our core muscles are strong (including our lower abdominals, back, shoulders, hips and gluts), then we have a greater ability to propel ourself forward quicker and for longer. That last kick at the end of a race or feeling of holding a pace until the end of a run can be greatly attributed to core strength (and that doesn’t mean more situps!).

Often we think that speed work is the key to getting faster, but unfortunately it often leads to injury and time out from running. Introducing speed work into training programmes is ideally done once one has a solid base of run fitness, and a strong muscular foundation.

Happy training! – the team at FORM Fitness

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Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 2:16 pm.

3 Aspects to Optimum Health

How do you acquire optimum health? Is it eating organic foods, foods with a heath tick or not eating at all. What do you need to eat to be healthy and have a body that functions at its best…

1)      Eat like a Cave Man

The human body was designed to function on fresh whole foods packed full of nutrients. Humans however have depleted the soils, put chemicals in the things they eat and processed foods so much that it barely resembles what it was in the first place.

The first thing to remember in your quest for optimum health is to eat as many basic, non-processed, natural and organic whole foods as you can, just like a caveman. You are what you eat and our body is comprised of the nutrients we consume. The quality of the food we consume will determine how well our body functions.

2)      Supplement with vitamins, minerals and natural health products

The second thing to remember is supplement with vitamins, minerals and natural health products to make up for the deficiencies in our diet due to the deterioration of our food. It may surprise you to know the few following facts:

  • By the time food reaches the supermarket shelf its vitamin content will have decreased dramatically. A recent UK survey showed that a runner been purchased at the supermarket had 11% of the vitamin c content it would of had when it was fresh.  
  • The same goes for oranges – a study was done on vitamin C content on oranges which after they are picked measured 180mg of vitamin C and the same day after being stored at a local supermarket had dropped to 0mg! (Ref:Dc M Colgan (1982 “your personal vitamin profile”, US, Quill Publishers)
  • Microwaving also damages the nutrient content of food more than any other cooking method. Here is an example of the Flavonoid  loss of broccoli after cooking:
Cooking Method Flavonoid Loss
Microwaving 97%
Boiling 66%
Steaming negligible

Deficiencies in micro nutrients such as vitamins can cause many problems including inability to cope with stress, muscle cramps, eye twitches, problems sleeping, lowered immune system and much more.

Supplementing with a good multi vitamin such as the Solgar VM2000 or Omnium can avoid these issues and prevent you from getting sick.

3)      Exercise Regularly

The third thing to remember is to exercise on a regular basis – if you don’t use it you lose it. They did a study on hospital bound patients and found that being sedentary cause a loss of strength of up to 1% a day. That is significant!  

Exercise goes hand in hand with nutrition and is just as important as feeding your body with quality food. It also aids in the prevention of disease and keeps your body operating smoothly. Exercise assists in reducing mental and muscular tension, improves posture and improves the digestion of food while increasing strength and energy levels and helps to maintain a positive mind.

Without it the body will start to wear and tear, lose strength, compromise movement patterns and ends up riddled with injury, pain and disease.

So Remember, these three important aspects of optimum health:

  • Eat like a caveman – basic, non-processed, natural and organic whole foods
  • Supplement with a multivitamin/mineral
  • Exercise frequently

In doing these things living life will be far more enjoyable and good health will never hold you back from achieving your goals

Posted 2 months, 4 weeks ago at 12:26 pm.

Posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago at 3:30 pm.

Form Fitness Beckenham is now on Facebook and we would love you to join us!

Posted 5 months, 4 weeks ago at 10:51 pm.

Keywords: Exercise

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Resistance training is no longer just about looking good and increasing muscle size; with purpose it will decrease chances of injury, and increases our ability to run faster and for longer. For those of us that are time limited or aging; strength training, flexibility and agility becomes an even more important part of one’s training…especially for runners.