For his dedication to creating a healthier community, Gulledge was named ACTIVE's Personal Trainer of the Month for April 2016. Here are five of his favorite exercises.
This article is part of a monthly series on ACTIVE.com. If you'd like to be featured as the ACTIVE Personal Trainer of the Month, contact email@example.com for consideration.
T-Press Push-Up1 of 8
- Engages the entire body, focusing specifically on the core muscles.
- Targets the pecs, triceps, anterior deltoids, abs, hip flexors and glutes.
- Utilizes isometric contractions to help improve stabilization and balance.
Start in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Lower yourself until your arms are at 90 degrees or less.
As you push back up, rotate to one side and simultaneously straighten that arm until the shoulders are in a stacked, vertical position. Briefly pause before returning to the push-up position, and repeat on the other side.
Coaching Tips: "When rotating onto the side, remember to lift the opposing arm using the rhomboid and subscapular muscles from the mid-back—not just the shoulders—while maintaining a straight arm. To make this even more challenging, use small dumbbells to add extra resistance."
Medicine Ball Chop2 of 8
- Utilizes the entire core and elevates the heart rate.
- Engages the body through the transverse plane.
"Many times, injuries occur in the transverse plane, twisting or turning," Gulledge says. "By repeatedly moving the body through this movement pattern, underutilized stabilizing muscles are engaged and become stronger and more resistant to injury."
From a quarter-squat position, hold a medicine ball just outside your knee with your arms fully extended.
Engage your core and swing the ball upward across your body to the opposite side. Simultaneously drive your hips upward, push off your right leg, and pivot from your ankle through your knee and hip.
Finish with the ball just above head-level with your arms maintaining full extension throughout the movement. Repeat for desired reps, then switch sides.
Coaching Tips: "Plates, dumbbells, and resistance bands can also be used to increase or decrease difficulty. Make sure to pivot to triple extension—ankle, knee and hip fully extended—at the finish position."
Bulgarian Split Squat With Hop3 of 8
- One of the best multi-sport exercises for hip stability and strength.
- Engages the entire leg, from the glutes and quads to calves.
- Promotes a proper running mid-foot strike.
- Engages leg muscles concentrically, eccentrically, isometrically, and allows for the stress-reflex response.
"If I had to choose one singular strength exercise to make a runner better, this would be it," Gulledge says. "It's also great for cyclists, as it develops power for quick accelerations or hard climbs."
Assume a split squat position with your rear foot on a bench, step or anything else slightly off the ground. Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Driving up off the front foot, hop off the ground slightly, and recover right back into the next repetition.
Coaching Tips: "If possible, do this facing a mirror. This allows you to ensure the knee of your lead leg does not dive inward and remains in line with the toe. Additionally, concentrate on engaging the lead leg gluteus medius (upper hip), which stabilizes the hip complex and keeps the knee in line."
Running Sit-Up4 of 8
- Great core exercise.
- Sport-specific to running and all sports that involve running.
- Promotes good running form, challenging the athlete to keep the upper body relaxed while the entire body is engaged.
- Builds the upper and lower abs and strengthens the hip flexors.
"Anyone who has tried these know how tough they can be," Gulledge says.
Lie on your back, engage your core, and lift your right knee into a 90-degree position. Simultaneously lift the left hand into the same position.
Your torso should rise until your shoulder blades are elevated off the floor. Your left leg should remain straight, but slightly elevated. Your right arm should also remain straight.
Switch sides by lowering your torso and bringing your legs back together, but don't allow your head or feet to touch the floor. Alternate sides, and continue this rhythmic pattern for a set period of time or reps.
Coaching Tips: "Keep your toes flexed and shoulders relaxed. Keep your head in line with your body, resisting the temptation to tuck your chin and bob your head to 'help.' For an added challenge, rotate slightly so your knee touches the opposite elbow, engaging your obliques."
Reverse Lunge with Kettlebell Rotation5 of 8
- Another great exercise for runners that develops strength and stability.
- Because minimal rotational movement exists while running, this helps minimize over-rotating when you swing your arms.
- The rotational movement engages your hips, forcing you to keep your hips and knees stable, and decreasing the likelihood of hip drop.
Hold a small kettlebell or dumbbell with your arms at 90-degree angles. Take a step backward with the left leg, lowering into a lunge position with both knees close to 90 degrees and the back knee nearly touching the ground. As you lower your body, rotate the weight to the right side.
Return to the starting position and lift your left leg so your left quad is parallel to the floor. Hold for one count. Repeat for desired reps before switching to the other side.
Coaching Tips: "This is another exercise that's great to do in front of a mirror. Focus on your hip and knee alignment, and keep your shoulders back and relaxed while holding the weight. To increase the intensity, attach a bungee cord to the rear leg to add resistance as it's lifted off the ground during the final phase of the movement."
Alan Gulledge6 of 8
- B.S. - Psychology (Brigham Young University)
- MBA - Marketing (Keller Graduate School)
- Certified Personal Trainer (NASM)
- Fitness Nutrition Specialist (NASM)
- USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach
- USA Track and Field Level 1 Coach
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Want more tips from Gulledge? Check out five of the most important tips he preaches to his clients below.
2016 Personal Trainer of the Month Series7 of 8
Are you interested in being featured as an ACTIVE Personal Trainer of the Month in 2016? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.