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Catch up on all the activity this week at Devin Gray Fitness. This week I share two great protein-rich recipes, highlight a crucial ab exercise, and explain two exercise cues. Learn when to default back to a simpler exercise variation and a simple trick for working more muscle during a pushup.

Business Announcement: Precision Nutrition Certification

This week I registered for the Level 1 Precision Nutrition Coaching Certification. I’m incredibly excited to learn more from what I believe is the best and most knowledgeable nutrition company in the business. Best of all, this education will help me to bring even better results to all of our clients and readers.

Featured Recipes - Protein Power

Learn 5 great protein-rich and delicious recipes below. This may be a holiday article, but it’s a great share. I’m personally a huge fan of anything with pumpkin or sweet potato as a (tasty) base.

Click here to read about these 5 protein-rich recipes.

Featured Recipe - Paleo Jalapeno Chicken Wings

My girlfriend recently began a Paleo challenge and we found this great recipe for jalapeno chicken wings. I’ll be sure to share more of my favorite recipes from this site in the future.

Click here to learn how to make Paleo Jalapeno Chicken Wings.

Featured Exercise Video - Mike Hartman teaches Wall Press Abs

Wall Press Abs is a fantastic progression in the leg lowering series (training hip separation). Simply put, hip separation is the ability to keep your core & pelvis stable while having the legs scissored. One leg is maximally flexed (lifted near the navel) and the other is maximally extended (straight and nearly parallel to the floor)

Many leg lowering exercises are more difficult than they seem. I find that many of my beginning clients can successfully perform Wall Press Abs on day 1.


Key Tips:

  • Flatten the back into the floor, but don’t “crush” your back so that you feel lower back pain.

  • Focus on working just the abs and obliques. We are trying to “shut off” the lower back (lumbar erectors) and develop stiffness in the anterior core. Feeling the lower back work is counterproductive.

  • To make it tougher, exhale fully when the leg is extended straight ahead. You’ll be able to do less reps and spend much more time per rep, but reap greater benefits.

  • Start with 2-3 sets of 8 reps per side. Progress by fully exhaling (ALL the air) on each rep rather than adding reps. When that is relatively easy, move to Dead Bugs.

Exercise Tip - Know when to regress ab exercises

Hard and fast rule: If you have to hold your breath while working your abs, the exercise is too hard. Dial it back to an easier exercise and don’t advance until you own the position.

Use your breath to cycle and move through your core training. Exhale as you move through or into the stressful position. Easy example - exhale as you extend the leg on Wall Press Abs. If you have to strain and hold your breath with the leg extended on Wall Press Abs, it’s too hard. You’re better off regressing to strict Supine Heel Slides in this specific example.

In order to own the position, you should be able to breathe comfortably in an ideal posture.

Exercise Tip - Activate more muscle during your pushups and protect your shoulders with this cue

“Pull yourself down to the floor”.

That’s it. Pull yourself down to the floor using your shoulderblades, and then push the floor away to come back up. I just filmed a video with DoubleACS in Attleboro, MA on perfect pushup technique and emphasized this cue.

This will improve the involvement of your upper back and also protect your shoulders. If you let your shoulders drift forward (ahead of the body) you can gradually wear down and damage the anterior shoulder musculature (greater risk of impingement of the biceps tendon).

This tip also works well on bench pressing - “Pull the bar down to your chest.”

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