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Killer Core Conditioning

Keeping your core conditioned during the "holidaze"!!!

TRXstrap plank

Not long ago, I sent a fellow trainer a text asking for some killer core exercises.  I was not disappointed when trainer Davis Murphy sent a short list of great ideas including the Plank with Sandbag Drag.  What is funny about his suggestion is that I thought he wanted me to try doing his exercise idea using the TRX suspension trainer.  In fact, he meant for me to try the exercise on the floor!  Well, our misunderstanding led to the creation of the TRX Plank with Sandbag Drag.

This exercise proved to be a super fun chanllege and a great addition to my current core program (see below).  With the holidays (or for some of you, the "holidaze") upon us, we all need a little extra "something" to get us through the busy schedule of parties and fantastic FOOD.  Try adding one or two sessions of this core conditioning program to your weekly workouts (I like to do it on my long, slow cardio days) for a new challenge.

The traditional plank exercise is a wonderful isometric core stability exercise that targets the abs, back, shoulders, hip flexors, glutes and even calves (primary muscles: erectors, rectus abdominis and tranverse abdominis; secondary muscles: traps, rhomboids, rotator cuffs, delts, pecs, serratus anterior, gluteus maximus, quads and the gastrocnemius.

The TRX Plank with Sandbag Drag is "simply" a progression of the traditional plank.  The progressions included in this version of the plank are:

  • Reducing contact with the floor
  • Reducing overall stability
  • Increasing the resistance on all of the muscle groups involved
  • Adding a dynamic componet
  • Adding changes in directional force
Now that you know what muscles on the body the exercise works, here is the "how to" along with some professional tips to increase your success and THE BURN!!!
Equipment you will need:
  • TRX suspension straps
  • Sandbag or dumbbell
  • Mat or Airex pad for your knees (optional)
  • Mat for your hands (optional)
  • Position the TRX so that the rigid handles hang at about knee height on your body.
  • Put your feet in the straps and get in the straight arm plank position.
    • Make sure that you have a neutral spine or slightly lifted glutes
    • Tighten your glutes
  • Position your weight or sandbag just below and to the left of your left hand.
  • Exhale, tighten your core, press your left hand into the floor, drag the bag or pick up the weight and move it to the right.
  • Maintain your hip position, do not scissor your legs and do not swing from side to side.
Notes and Regressions:
  • The TRX Plank with Sandbag Drag is a VERY advanced exercise.
  • To progress this exercise, play with your leg position, the weight, the reps or duration and the cadence of the exercise.
  • To regress this exercise, you can try a few different things:
    • While still using the suspension straps, squeeze your glutes, widen your leg position and use a more narrow hand position.
    • If the exercise proves too challenging to do in the suspension straps, try doing it on the floor first - without any suspension.  Once on the floor, play with your leg position - wider is easier and narrow is harder - one leg off the ground is even harder.

Kimberly Putman's Current Core Program

  1. TRX  Plank with Sandbag Drag - 1 minute duration with 5-25 lb dumbbell or sandbag
  2. TRX Bent Knee Sit Ups with 60 degree knee bend, hands behind the head - 2 minute duration (or reduce duration and increase knee bend)
  3. TRX  Plank with Sandbag Drag - 1 minute duration with 5-25 lb dumbbell or sandbag
  4. TRX Seated Pilates V Static Hold with strong exhalations - 1 minute
  5. TRX  Plank with Sandbag Drag - 1 minute duration with 5-25 lb dumbbell or sandbag
  6. TRX Tic Tocks - 2 minute duration with a 2 count hold at the bottom of each repetition
  7. TRX Pendulum Oblique Twist - 1 minute duration (can regress to knees to chest, knees to opposite elbow or simple suspended plank hold as needed until you can sustain exercise duration for 1 minute)
  8. TRX Side Plank (15X3 each side) - alternating hip lift with knees to chest
  9. TRX Pendulum Oblique Twist - 1 minute duration (can regress to knees to chest, knees to opposite elbow or simple suspended plank hold as needed until you can sustain exercise duration for 1 minute)
  10. Weighted Ball V-Up Roll Up with Controlled Leg Extension to Floor - 1 minute duration (if preferred you can do Reverse Curls for 1 minute)
  11. TRX Pendulum Oblique Twist - 1 minute duration (can regress to knees to chest, knees to opposite elbow or simple suspended plank hold as needed until you can sustain exercise duration for 1 minute)
  12. Weighted BOSU Dead Bug - Tabata style (30/20X6)
  13. TRX Pendulum Oblique Twist - 1 minute duration (can regress to knees to chest, knees to opposite elbow or simple suspended plank hold as needed until you can sustain exercise duration for 1 minute)
  14. Parallel Standing Cable Twists with Anti-Rotation Holds (15X3)
  15. Kneeling Cable Cross Body Lift with Rope (15X3)
  16. Standing Cable Wood Chop with single handle (15X3)
  17. Weighted Single Side Bird Dogs  - 1 minute duration each side
  18. Back Extension Exercises of your choice
  19. Weighted Hip Bridges on Big Ball - 2 minute duration X3
  20. Cable Hip Extensions - rear and inner thigh crossovers 15X3 or Same Side Balance Quadraped Floor Work for hips and glutes
As always, enjoy the new exercise, take a stab at my Current Core Program and contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions!  If you are new to exercise, make sure that you get clearance from your doctor before staring ANY fitness program, and keep in mind that both the exercise introduced in this blog along with the Current Core Program are designed for those with a more advanced level of fitness.


Posted in Fitness


10 Sets Program or GVT

5 Day Cycle - Weight Lifting Challenge

10 Sets Program or GVT

Each month I have been writing about different weight training systems to further client education about the different styles that are available and to help others keep routines fresh. This month I would like to focus on one that works really well with a partner because those that consistently train with a partner are more successful with both fitness progress and life long fitness commitment than those that train alone.

The name of the system is the 10-Set System, otherwise known as German Volume Training. As you might imagine from the name, 

Posted in Fitness


Beat the Summer Heat; Cool Off Your Workout!

3 Workout Challenges for Swimmers and Water Aerobics

Beat the Summer Heat; Cool Off Your Workout!

Why not use these warm summer days we still have left to shake up your exercise routine? Sure, you alternate between walking, biking, stair climbing or using the elliptical. That's great! But what about really shaking up your cardio routine by adding two days of swimming and water aerobic style exercises to give your metabolism an added boost?

Posted in Fitness


Cardio or Weights First? Which Order of Operations Creates the Best Overall Results?

Choosing the Best Routine For Your Needs

Cardio or Weights First?  Which Order of Operations Creates the Best Overall Results?

Clients often ask me what should I do first, cardio or weights? The truth is, it depends! First determine your ultimate goal: overall health, fat loss, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscle tissue increase? Most people are interested in a combination of all of these benefits and in that case, the one-size-fits-all answer is NEITHER.

Huh? Yes, neither! I actually recommend that you combine your cardio and your weight training together for a HIIT workout (high intensity interval training workout). You will have greater weight loss due to both higher calorie burn during the workout and the higher “after-burn” effect as a result of this intense training style. You will have increased flexibility, muscular endurance, muscular growth and increased metabolism. Make sure you have an adequate 10-15 minute gentle warm up to make sure your body is properly prepared.

If you are strictly interested in muscular growth, or cardiovascular endurance, then I offer the following advice. Focus on your main goal first – so for muscle building - do your heavy lifting first, followed by the cardio appropriate to the stage of training you are in. For cardiovascular endurance, do your cardio first followed by the type of weight training exercises that will support (or reduce the risk of injury/unbalanced muscle strength) your cardiovascular mode.

Our September 2, 2012 Fitness Blog provides an example and more information about how to design an appropriate HIIT for yourself. Our November 15, 2012 Fitness Blog on the Ten Sets Program otherwise known as German Volume Training gives a great example of a heavy lifting style that will help you put on the muscle you want.

In summary, focus on your main goal, enjoy your workout and love your results!

Posted in Fitness


Create Your Ultimate Physique!

Multi-plane and Multi-joint Exercises

Consider Multidimensional Exercises to Create Your Best Body Ever! 

How excited can you get about multi-dimensional exercises?  The answer: as excited as you can get about creating the most balanced, beautiful and strongest body you have ever had!

What do you need to do to achieve this new amazing physique?  Try adding a number of multi-dimensional (meaning multi-plane and multi-joint) exercises to your routine.

What does this mean?  First, let’s go over the planes of movement in which the body can work.

The first plane is the sagittal plane.  It divides the body into right and left halves.  On the picture, this is the plane that bisects the body in half, left to right.  Movement front to back happens in this plane.


            Flexion:  Decreasing the angle between two bones

            Extension: Increasing the angle between two bones

            Dorsiflexion: Moving the top of the foot toward the shin (only at the ankle)

            Plantar flexion: moving the sole of the foot downward (pointing the toes)

The next plane is the frontal plane.  It bisects the body in half front to back – see on the picture the plane the cuts the body laterally.  Movement in this plane is side to side (lateral).


            Adduction: Motion toward the midline

            Abduction: Motion away from the midline of the body

            Elevation: Moving to a superior position (only at the scapula)

            Depression: Moving to an inferior position (only at the scapula)

            Inversion: Lifting the medial border of the foot

            Eversion: Lifting the lateral border of the foot

The third plane is the transverse plane, and it divides the body top to bottom.  Movement in this plane is rotational and parallel to the waistline.  Note: Moves like jumping up to standing from a squatting position is moving through the transverse plane.


            Rotation- Internal (inward) or external (outward) turning about the vertical axis of the bone

            Pronation- Rotating the hand and wrist medially from the bone

            Supination-Rotating the hand and wrist laterally from the bone

            Horizontal Flexion (adduction)- From the 90-degree abducted arm position, the humerus is flexed (adducted) in toward the midline of the body in the transverse plane

            Horizontal Extension (abduction)- Return of the humerus from horizontal flexion

Now that you know what the planes of the body are, let’s discuss why working in multiple planes will lead to creating an amazing body! 

To get the body that you want, you need to have healthy, strong physical base from which to perform daily life activities as well as your intense exercise routines.  You need healthy joints and strong stabilizing muscles.  You need to have excellent balance and flexibility.  Finally, you will need endurance and power.  The best way to get all of these is to train your body with a TON OF VARIETY.  Multi-plane work is just one important facet of the variety your body needs for peak performance.

Now that we know why we should train in multiple planes, here on some ways we can train in the various planes of the body.

  • Walk or quick side shuffle laterally on a track, the treadmill or in the pool.  
    • NOTE: Make sure you alternate the lead leg equally and keep your foot parallel to the plane (keep your foot in a natural alignment to the body and do not lead with your toe).
  • Even though backwards movement is in the sagittal plane, it still provides variety.  Backward or reverse walking is a directional movement different from our normal movement.  You can walk backwards on a track, the treadmill or the pool.
  • Create a cardio or resistance training routine that incorporates safe twisting movements, perhaps using a weighted ball, the cable machines or doing body-weight exercises like front kicks touching the alternating knee or toe with the opposite hand.
    • NOTE: Using cable machines are a great way to train the body in multiple planes because the weight is constant in any direction and you can work the body standing up, sitting down and even lying down (basically you can train in any position relative to the machine with constant tension).
  • We can also perform movements that cut through the transverse plane.  These movements would be things like burpees that take you down to the ground and then require you to jump up towards the sky.
    • NOTE: Any exercise that gets you down low and then up high is multidimensional because it requires you to move through a plane.

Now you know why and how to train in multiple planes.  What does it mean to perform multi-joint exercises (also known as compound exercises).  It is just what it sounds like.  It means that during any particular exercise, we train using multiple joints.  For example, the squat, a favorite multi-joint exercises, requires flexion through the hips, knees and ankles (the bench press, pushup and military press are all examples of multi-joint exercises). 

Why do we want to perform multi-joint exercises?  There are a number of reasons.  First, they are challenging.  In order to change the body, we have to challenge the body.  These exercises require more coordination and energy.  Because of this, they burn more calories.   Burning calories means the potential of shedding fat.  Multi-joint exercises can also build lean muscle – so they transform our physique by helping us to increase muscle size (visually creating shape/tone and chemically burning additional calories in the body).

Finally, multi-joint exercises are considered more “functional”, as they tend to more closely mimic daily life activities.  Wellness enthusiasts like functional training because training movements that mimic daily life activities tend to make us less prone to injury from our daily activities.

Kimberly’s Current Multi-plane/Multi-joint Exercise Routine

10-minute warm-up walk on treadmill alternating between forward, lateral and reverse walking

Weighted Squat with overhead press

TRX Low Row

3X, alternating the exercises

Weight Reverse Lunge

Push-up with T rotation

3X, alternating the exercises

Weighted Lateral Box Step-up

TRX Suspension Tricep Push-up

3X, alternating the exercises

Weighted Ball Sumo Squat Ball Toss

Tabata style (30/20X6)

Cable Reverse Cross over

Weighted TRX Suspension Lateral Lunge

3X, alternating the exercises

As always, please make sure you are cleared by a medical physical before starting any exercise routine.  This routine can be modified to suit any fitness level.  Consider the risk of performing any twisting movements before trying out any of the exercises listed that require spinal twisting.  These types of exercises are not suitable for all individuals.  If you have any questions, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "> This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Posted in Fitness


Donating Food This Holiday Season

Tips to make sure that you are donating the healthiest options.

Donating Food This Holiday Season

Throughout the holiday season many businesses, community organizations and churches hold food drives, and the food banks throughout Austin and Travis County greatly benefit from people’s generosity.  When making a donation, it is important to donate food that is safe and nutritious. By keeping a few simple tips in mind, you can enhance the value of the food donations you make.


Posted in Coaching, Fitness, Culinary


Drink Your Salads!

3 Salad Smoothie Recipes; using fruit, salad greens and vegetables!

Drink Your Salads!

Yes, you read that right. I am urging you to drink your salads. I spend a lot of time trying to constantly improve my eating habits. Last year, I began having salads for lunch everyday. I added all kinds of things to my salads (all healthy choices, of course).

What happened, though, was that the bulky nature of the salad filled up volume in my stomach without providing me with enough caloric density to power me through the afternoon hours.

What to do? Keep the salad by blending it with fruit and milk substitute, add other calorie dense food to lunch and feel more satisfied! It was a super delicious and nutritious decision. I am able to control my afternoon cravings, have more fruit and veggies during the day, and I love the fresh taste the smoothies provide.

Most salad greens work well –

Posted in Fitness, Culinary


High Intensity Interval Training

Incredibly Efficient Training

High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training is appropriate for all fitness levels. Personally, HIIT is my favorite mode of training for both me and my clients. I often do HIIT training two or three times per week – alternating the focus between the upper and lower body. I love the efficiency of the training style – if you are pushed for time – HIIT is a great way to include cardiovascular and resistance training into one 30-45 workout.

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How to Use your Weight Training Routine for More than Just Great Biceps

The Joy of Body Over Mind

How to Use your Weight Training Routine for More than Just Great Biceps

My personal training clients often ask me “how do you make yourself get through tough workouts without someone pushing you?”. My answer is a combination of reasons (including but not limited to pride, competitive drive and the desire to enjoy cookies on a regular basis…) but mainly I am able to get through tough workouts because I use my training time for more than just an opportunity to burn calories and tone muscles.

Think about your focus, meditation, confidence, overall wellness and accomplishment.

Posted in Coaching, Fitness


Is Slow Weight Training a Gimmick or Really Effective?

Slow Motion Fitness - My Opinion and Advice

Is Slow Weight Training a Gimmick or Really Effective?

Rarely a week goes by that a client, friend or family member does not ask me about the true efficacy of Slow Motion Fitness Training. They all tell me that they have seen on TV or talked to a trainer or a friend about this "revolutionary" weight training system that allows a person to perform super slow weight training for only 30 minutes one time per week with amazing results!

Most of those asking me this question already have a feeling that the idea of training for only 30 minutes per week is not "enough" to really improve muscular tone and provide lasting fitness and health benefits. Bottom line, that "feeling" is right. Programs – and there are many national and local Austin chains pushing this Slow Motion Training for only 30 minutes per week – are, in my opinion, a gimmick.

Posted in Fitness


Launching Inspired Fitness

IFW Launch

Launching Inspired Fitness

I have to admit that when I mentioned to several fitness clients that I was changing the name of my business and rebranding they were surprised. They all told me that they loved the current name of the business (Encourage Fitness) and felt it really embodied the spirit of my philosophies about training and exercise. I was actually happy about the initial resistance of the name change that I received from those clients. It showed me that I was right when I first chose the name Encourage Fitness, but it also underlined why the new name was very fitting.

Posted in Fitness


Metabolic Resistance Training

Raise your BMR and melt away fat!

Metabolic Resistance Training

The fitness section of our October newsletter is going to have in depth information about Metabolic Resistance Training. I wanted to give our blog followers a head start on this style of training before the newsletter comes out.

Posted in Fitness


Metabolism, Energy, Glucose and You: The Mystery Solved!

Daily Menu and Workout Ideas Included

Metabolism, Energy, Glucose and You: The Mystery Solved!

Do you ever wonder how to unravel all of the advice you hear, read and watch on TV about the “right” way to eat in order to maximize your weight loss, raise your metabolic rate, and increase your energy?  I am going to help you sift through all of that information and give you a plan to follow each day.

Posted in Coaching, Fitness, Culinary


October Newsletter - Metabolic Resistance Training

More information on MRT including 2 new workout challenges!

October Newsletter - Metabolic Resistance Training


Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) is focused on working your whole body during each workout session using multi-joint free weight exercises in a circuit-training manner.  Specifically you are performing heavy weight resistance training and cardiovascular training in the same workout with minimal rest in between exercises and sets. Your heart rate will remain elevated during your entire workout.

Because your heart rate never fully recovers during this very intense workout, your body must work overtime to recover during the hours and days post workout. It is widely believed that it is this intense recovery period that causes an increase in your basal metabolic rate and, therefore, an around the clock fat burn to happen in your body.

Posted in Fitness


Tabata Training

What is Tabata Style Training?

What is Tabata Training?

Tabata Style Leg Workout

Tabata training is a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) created in 1996 by a Japanese doctor.  It was originally designed to include 20 seconds of extremely intense activity followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated eight times for a total of four minutes of activity and rest.  You can use this training method for strength exercises, cardio exercises or a combination of both when you perform Tabata style workouts.

Used to improve the aerobic and anaerobic systems, Tabata style training, like all forms of HIIT, is believed to have added calorie-blasting benefits beyond what you burn during the intense training intervals.  It is believed that this type of training produces a caloric “after burn” effect. The theory is that the recovery efforts by the body temporarily raise your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and thus you burn more calories at rest.

So, here it is!  Try it and see amazing results.  You will need to select your own weights, but I have included suggested repetitions or time intervals for each exercise.  The goal is for you to be generally spent at the end of each suggested movement.  If you would like to download a Tabata timer for your smart phone, my favorite app is the Tabata Timer by KATR Software.

Leg Workout with Tabata Intervals

8-10 No-weight single leg squats to bench combined with a forward lunge on opposite leg

15 Single leg extensions (suspension strap or machine)


Squat ball toss with 15 pound weighted ball Tabata Style (20/10 X8)

15 Bulgarian lunge

15 Sumo squat


30 Walking weighted single leg dead lift with a lunge in between each alternating hinge

15 Hamstring machine


1 minute each leg reverse set off bench

BBB Inner thigh large exercise ball drops (supine, ball between feet, legs perpendicular to the floor, hinge at the knees


Lunge jumps alternated with squat jumps Tabata Style (20/10 X8)

1 minute Heavily weighted glute lifts on large exercise ball

1 minute No-weight glute lifts on large exercise ball


Mountain Climbers on Slide Discs Tabata Style (20/10 X8)

Posted in Fitness

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