By Ryan Unverzagt
Welcome back to another edition of From the Trainer! Hope everyone has enjoyed the summer so far with plenty of sunshine, heat, and humidity on the way. July has a couple of important dates to note. The first is the celebration of our nation’s Independence from Great Britain. The next day is my father’s birthday! There are plenty of reasons to celebrate this month which generally involves burgers, brats, and beer. Keep your health & fitness goals in mind while enjoying the summer BBQ’s. Eat and drink in moderation. Take advantage of all the local farmers’ markets by purchasing the fresh fruit and vegetables while supporting the area farmers as well as your health! My family farms in Wyoming and I know they appreciate when people support and recognize all the hard working families that bring food to your table.
With that said, I’ll move on to another exercise that can help you stay fit. I call it the Weight Plate Horseshoe. It targets the shoulders and upper trapezius muscles. I really enjoy this exercise because it challenges your balance, abdominal strength, and provides resistance from multiple directions. Many variations of this exercise exist, but I’ll describe just one version.
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a weight plate at one side with your arms straight (Figure 1). I suggest using a 10lb plate for women and a 25lb plate for men. Using your shoulders to lift, bring the plate up and out to the side of your body while keeping the arms straight. Continue to rotate the weight above your head (Figure 2), and then slowly let it down on the opposite side in the same fashion (Figure 3). A few things to remember during the exercise: Control the weight at all times. Avoid twisting your spine. Contract the abdominals while lifting, this helps stabilize the torso and isolates the shoulders better.
At this point, you’re only halfway through the exercise. Rotate the weight plate in the opposite direction to complete the “horseshoe”. This counts as only one repetition. Try one set of 8-10 reps before progressing to more sets and reps. You can add this exercise to any workout for variation. If you like more of a challenge, stand on top of a Bosu Balance Trainer to involve more of the legs. Enjoy the Weight Plate Horseshoe along with all the other fun summertime activities this month!