Goal Specific Resistance Training Series: Strength

Strength training is a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of increased resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles.

Strength based training commonly uses the technique of progressively increasing the force output of the muscle through incremental weight increases and uses a variety of exercises and types of equipment to target specific muscle groups. Similar to power training this is a moderate-high intensity, short duration (2-6 reps) exercise triggering type 2 muscle fibers to optimize performance.

• Reps-6 or less
• Sets-3-6
• Rests-2-5 min
• Weight- at least 85 percent of 1 rep max or whatever you can rep 3-6 times

Strength Based Exercise examples:
• Barbell bench press

barbellbrenchpresseccentric      barbellbenchpressconcentric
• Rear Delt Barbell Row

reardeltbentroweccentric      reardeltroweccentric

Strength based training is part of our 4 week series on Goal Specific Training. When properly performed,  all goal specific strength training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being, including increased bone, muscle, tendon and ligament strength and toughness, improved joint function, reduced potential for injury, increased bone density, increased metabolism, improved cardiac function, and elevated HDL (“good”) cholesterol.




Goal Specific Resitance Training Series: Hypertrophy

First off, what is hypertrophy? Hypertrophy is the tearing and rebuilding of muscle fibers to ultimately increase muscle size as the fibers repair themselves. Hypertrophy training can be a more general or broad type of training. There is more leeway in ways you train to achieve hypertrophic results. This means that the glossary of exercises you are able to perform is larger than it is for power and strength due to the generality of the training goal. The main goal of this exercise is to increase muscle mass. No, that does not mean it is just for men, it is just as beneficial for women to build muscle mass as well.

• Reps-8-12
• Sets-3-6
• Rests-30-90sec.
• Weight-65-85 percent of 1 rep max or whatever you can rep 8-12 times

Hypertrophy Based Exercise Examples:
• Wide Grip Lat Pull down

Lat Pull down eccentriclat pull down concentric

• Dumbbell Bicep Curl

bicep curl eccentricbicep curl concentric

Hypertrophy training is part of our 4 week series on Goal Specific Training. Give this training a try if you if you are in need of mixing up your exercise routine and/or looking to gain lean muscle mass.





Goal Specific Resistance Training Series: Endurance

Many of us may feel fatigued early on in our exercise. This means our muscles are being worn out quicker than they should be. Muscular Endurance training is essential in order to improve the longevity of your exercise and/or the ability to perform in a sport or activity without becoming fatigued early on. This type of training is a good way to assist in improving aerobic performance, but is not a substitute.

  • Reps-12 or more
  • Sets-2-3
  • Rests-30 sec. or less
  • Weight 65 percent or less of you 1 rep max or whatever you can rep at least 12 times

Think of endurance based training as less weights, more repetitions.  A lot of endurance based exercises use body weight for resistance, such as the exercise shown below:

Endurance Based Exercise Examples:

  • Push-ups (primary muscle target: chest)

pushup extension phasepushup extension phase

  • Alternating Frontal Raise (primary muscle target: shoulders)

front raise initial positionfront raise concentricfront raise alternating

Endurance training is part of our 4 week series on Goal Specific Training. Give an endurance based training program a try to decrease the chances of early onsite muscle fatigue,  or to make it part of your periodization schedule to mix up your routine. It is a crucial element of fitness for athletes such as distance runners, swimmers, cyclists and rowers.  It’s also important for success in many team sports like soccer, basketball, and field hockey.






Sleep Your Weight Off!



A good night’s rest is important. We know it and we hear it all the time. Quite frankly, it is very logical – if we don’t get a good night’s rest the next day we are tired, crabby, and experience a lack of energy. For these key reasons, sleep is most definitely important. But, there is one other important fact that individuals tend to forget about when hitting the pillow later than intended – proper regulation of hormones and potential weight control. Research has been telling us over and over again that we need to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each and every night. But besides feeling rested, why is it important? Particularly, why is it important to weight control? Read on!

Two main hormones control our appetite – leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that lets our brain know we are satisfied. Once our brain gets the message, our appetite is suppressed. Leptin is produced by fat cells in our body. Ghrelin is the hormone that lets us know when we are hungry. It is secreted by the stomach. To keep the two hormones straight, think of ghrelin as the growling hungry hormone – the sound your stomach makes when you need to eat something stat!

Several research studies have been conducted on the correlation of ghrelin and leptin levels in the body and the amount of sleep an individual gets. One particular study was conducted with 1,027 participants from a Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study. They concluded that participants who slept less than 8 hours a night was proportional to an increased BMI. In addition, they also found that less sleep was associated with increased ghrelin levels and decreased leptin levels. Meaning you have more of that growling hungry signaling hormone and less of the satiation (feeling of fullness and content) floating around in your body. According to the researchers, “(This) hormonal pattern is consistent with decreased energy expenditure and increased appetite and obesity.” Think about it. Have you ever gotten only 5 or 6 hours of sleep and then noticed the following day you could not get full or satisfied with anything you ate? Did you find yourself eating more than you normally would? More likely than not, it was due to the fact that your hormones, leptin and ghrelin, were out of balance causing miscommunications between your brain and your stomach.

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), in 1960 over 1 million individuals were surveyed to see how much sleep they would get each night. The average was 8.0 – 8.9 hours each night. In years 2000 to 2002, the NSF found the average American slept 6.9 – 7.0 hours each night. Today, it is closer to 5.0 – 6.0 hours each night. According to a Medscape sleep research article, “Sleep loss alters the ability of leptin and ghrelin to accurately signal caloric need and could lead to excessive caloric intake when food is freely available. The findings also suggest that compliance with a weight-loss diet involving caloric restriction may be adversely affected by sleep restriction.”

In conclusion, be sure to not put sleep on the backburner if you are looking to live a healthy lifestyle. Even more important, don’t short change yourself with losing precious zzzzz’s if you have a weight loss goal. Getting appropriate (and much needed) sleep consistently on a daily basis is important mentally, physically, and emotionally.






Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

If you have watched any television in the past six months you have most likely heard an advertisement, or two, or three, for prebiotics and/or probiotics. More often than not, these terms are used interchangeably, which is unfortunate as it confuses the consumer (you). Continue reading on to ensure you do not make the mistake so many do when it comes to misusing terminology. We are going to help ensure you know the difference and benefits of both probiotics and prebiotics.


The term probiotic comes from the Greek word pro, meaning promoting, and biotic, meaning life. Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast. They must be kept alive because they can be easily killed via heat or stomach acid. You already may be thinking, “Isn’t bacteria back for us?” After all, as a society we do take precautionary measures to avoid bacteria such as washing our hands, using hand sanitizer, and taking antibiotics when we are sick. So why would we want to ingest bacteria? Because, our digestive system contains many types of “good” bacteria and they are important for basic human functions within our body. For example, when we take antibiotics to overcome a common cold, the medicine does not know the difference between “good” and “bad” bacteria, both of which we need a good balance in our digestive tract. Therefore, the antibiotics wipe out all bacteria. Hence why there is a current scare in our nation of “antibiotic resistance” because we are killing good bacteria in our gut. To offset this action, you can eat items with natural probiotics to increase growth of the “good” bacteria back in to our gut.

For the most part, taking probiotics is safe to take and has few side effects. You can get them naturally by eating items (in moderation of course) such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkrautprebiotics1
  • Miso soupprebiotics2
  • Soft cheese (like Gouda)
  • Keifer
  • Sourdough bread
  • Tempeh


Overall, it is better to consume the nutrition sources of probiotics (and prebiotics) because you get additional nutritional benefits. A plus to eating the food form of nutrients is that they are more readily available for absorption and digestion. There are supplemental versions you can take, but as always, talk with your doctor before taking any pills to ensure they are safe for you and your health conditions.

Additional research is still needed to confirm exactly what probiotics help with. As of right now, there is promising evidence that probiotics could help:

  • Prevent and/or treat:

o   Vaginal yeast infections

o   Urinary tract infections

o   Eczema in children

  • Prevent and/or reduce the severity of colds and flu
  • Treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • Treat diarrhea
  • Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
  • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections


Prebiotics are a special form of dietary fiber. It is a natural, non-digestible item found in foods that are linked to promoting growth of “good” bacteria in your gut. Research is still in the works for prebiotics as well, but there is strong evidence that prebiotics could improve gastrointestinal (also referred to as GI) health and enhance calcium absorption.

The following are food items that contain natural sources of prebiotics (again, in moderation):

  • Asparagus
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Leeksprobiotics2
  • Artichokesprobiotics1probiotics3
  • Bananas
  • Oatmeal
  • Red Wine
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Legumes
  • Soybeans

As a quick recap, probiotics are “good” bacteria found in foods that contain live bacteria, similar to the bacteria found in the gut. Foods that contain prebiotics feed the “good” bacteria that are already found in your digestive system. Both prebiotics and probiotics work synergistically together to restore and improve GI health. There is a lot of exciting research being done on bacteria in the gastrointestinal system. Keep your eyes open as scientists and doctors continue to reveal the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics.







Stretching For Optimal Performance

Benefits of a Proper Warm Up

There are many benefits that come from proper warm-up and stretching. Proper warm up and stretching can improve muscle strength and power, a lowered viscous resistance in muscles, increased blood flow, increased range of motion, and enhanced metabolic reactions. However, most importantly proper pre workout activity can prevent injury and unnecessary soreness. The proper warm-up and stretching regimen is nothing but beneficial.

Recommendations for Types of Stretching

But what is the proper warm-up? Proper warm-up and exercise should consist of functional dynamic activity and should be done as a separate exercise before and after your main exercise regimen. A general warm-up period may consist of 5-10 minutes of slow activity such as jogging or skipping. Other warm-ups should consist of similar movements that you will be encompassing in your main exercise regimen for example arm circles if you will be working your shoulders that day. Now, what is a proper stretching technique? There are multiple ways to stretch, but prior to exercise we want to perform 8-12 minutes of dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching focuses on movements that can increase your range of motion. Dynamic stretching should be functional to your exercise or sport you are performing that day. For example, if you will be working your legs it would be proper to stretch your hamstrings by doing walking toe touches.

Walking Toe Touch

Stretching Techniques to Avoid

There are certain types of stretching warm-ups that you do not want to partake in prior to exercise or at all. One type of stretching that used to be abundant during exercise is ballistic stretching. Ballistic stretching uses a bouncing type movement where the end position is not held. This type of stretching is one to avoid because it can create micro tears in muscle, fascia, ligaments, and tendons. Another stretch that should be done post exercise but not pre exercise is static stretching. Static stretching is when a stretch is performed and the end position is held for an extended amount of time. Static stretching can cause your muscles to be elongated past the optimal muscle length resulting in a temporary decrease in strength and power. Static stretching should be performed within 5-10 minutes after exercise to help improve range of motion, reduce blood pooling, and muscles soreness.

Examples of Dynamic Warm-Up

Depending on your exercise for the day your warm-up and stretching regimen should vary. Here are some examples of pre exercise warm-ups and stretching:

Lower body:

High knees: 2 sets of 10 seconds segments

High Knees





Walking toe touches: 2 sets of 10 repetitions

Walking Toe Touch




Walking lunges: 2 sets of 10 repetitions

Walking Lunge





Upper body:

Arm circles: 20 seconds

Arm Circles





Push-ups: 10 repetitions





Trunk twists: 10 repetitions each side

Trunk Twists






Written By: Jacob Castner

If you have any further questions feel free to respond to our blog or email us at info@anwertowellness.com

Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 3rd ed. N.p.: Human Kinetics, 2008. Print.

CORE: The Forgotten Concepts

CORE pic

The first thing that comes to mind when most individuals hear the term core are those washboard abs (short for abdominals). Lo and behold, it is not just the abs that are important to a strong and functional core – it also includes your lower back. The center of your body is your core, including abdominals and lower back, and it is responsible for supporting a majority of your body weight. Only doing crunches and sit ups will leave you with only half the results.


Why is including core work important in your weekly exercise routine? Because it helps improve your balance, stability, and will make most daily life activities easier if this part of your body is strengthened. Not only that, but it will also lead to reduced back pain. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 60-80% of adults in the USA experience low back pain and it is the second most common reason individuals seek a doctor. Save yourself a trip to the doctor and try out some of the exercises below to increase your overall core muscles.


For beginners, start off with 1 set of each exercise, 10 repetitions each 2-3 times a week. Intermediate and advanced exercises can do 2-4 sets of each exercise, 15-20 repetitions of each 2-3 times a week. Start each exercise in the position the exercise shows, then following the movement instructions. Make sure to give yourself 24 hours rest, just like strengthening any other muscle, to allow for proper recover. Many individuals want a flat stomach so they do ab exercises every day. Unfortunately, you are most likely doing more harm than good since the muscles do not have the amount of time needed to repair and recover.



  • Start by lying supine with neutral spine angles and the arms to the side of the body.
  • The legs are bent into triple flexion (at the hips, knees, and ankles.)
  • Start with the feet up in the air and the thighs perpendicular to the ground.
  • Slowly lower the legs.
  • Return to the start position.



  • With core activated and glutes squeezed, lift hips off ground to form a straight line between knees and shoulders.
  • Hold and slowly return back to floor, touching floor momentarily then repeat.
  • If your client feels their hamstring cramping, check their pelvis for correct alignment. Pelvis should be neutral – asis and psis should be even or horizontal. If there is a misalignment correct it. If you aren’t sure then gently stretch the quads and try the exercise again.





  • With the core and glutes activated, lift the chest off the floor, lift arms up and back towards the hips rotating the thumbs towards the ceiling.
  • Pause momentarily at the top of then lift then return to starting position, at all times keeping the chin tucked into the chest.
  • Upon completion of the movement, repeat.
  • Don’t over emphasize arching of the back to lift the chest off the floor. Only lift to where the client is comfortable – now lower back pain should be felt. If so check sequencing of glutes, erectors, and hamstrings.



  • Lie supine on the ground.
  • The hands should be to the side of the body with the shoulders on the ground.
  • With the upper body still, lift both legs at the hips off the ground as shown (ensure to keep the legs straight).
  • Pay close attention to the video to observe the relative timing of this dynamic movement pattern.



  • The head should be positioned with the chin tucked and the hands by the ear so that they DO NOT support the head (that is the roll of the neck flexors).
  • Lift the shoulder blades off the ground by contracting the rectus abdominus … once in the air, turn the shoulders to one side (as shown).
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Alternate until desired repetitions performed.