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Strengthen your lower back with these five workouts. Two of them require equipment. Watch demonstration videos to learn how to perform them.
If you work a desk job, drive often, or sit a lot for other reasons, the strain this puts on your lower back can cause stiffness and aches. Other than stretching and performing aerobic exercises to get your body moving between sits, it’s likely you also need to strengthen those muscles.
But, if you struggle from chronic, debilitating back pain, please see a trusted chiropractor, physical therapist, or other spine specialist who can assess whether your back muscles are compensating for an underlying joint issue. Before you try the following lower back exercises, please clear them with your specialist.
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#1 – Bird Dog
The bird dog is an exercise you’ve likely done in a yoga or Pilates class before. It focuses on the diagonal positioning of your body, which means that you simultaneously move one arm forward while moving the opposite leg backward. Make sure you tighten your core while doing this move. You’ll also feel this one in your traps, shoulders, hamstrings, glutes, and abs.
#2 – Superman
Another calisthenics and Pilates exercise is the superman. To strengthen your lower back with this workout, lift up your chest, arms, and legs while lying on your stomach. You can “fly” side-to-side to pretend you’re the cape-draped superhero, or you can remain stationary. Pretending to fly is more fun, but either way, your glutes and “hammies” will also thank you for this exercise.
#3 – Pilates Swimming
Pilates swimming is like the bird dog and superman workouts combined. Lie on your stomach, lift your chest, arms, and legs, and simultaneously move one arm with the opposite leg; then switch. Pick up the pace to get a cardio boost!
You’ll feel this one in several different muscles groups, including the abs. After all, an important part of strengthening the lower back involves stronger abs. They’re connected and support each other.
#4 – Back Extension
The back extension requires the back-extension station at your local gym. If your spine specialist has approved this type of bendy workout, please perform it carefully. Cross your arms over your chest, and bend at the waist. Don’t over-arch your back when you pull yourself up. Your glutes, hamstrings, and abs also favor the back extension.
#5 – Weighted Back Extension
Hold a weight plate over your chest for the weighted back extension. Unlike the previous workout, you’ll start with a lower bend and pull up to where your chest is parallel to the floor. Your hamstrings and lower back (obviously) will feel the most impact. Again, please make sure this exercise is doctor-approved, especially since there’s more than bodyweight involved. If you feel pain, stop.
Track your lower back progress and more when you sign up for our annual Pro plan. With our advanced stats in a convenient app, it’s never been easier to stay motivated and meet your fitness goals!
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Rubber Band Theory of Personality (Are you Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?)
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Our personalities are flexible…but only to a point. Knowing yourself will help you as you chart your path to success. Set aside time to try new things outside of your comfort zone. Susan Cain wrote a powerful book that has resonated with hundreds of thousands of people — Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
In a team meeting, we discussed this selection from Quiet:
“We can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point. Our inborn temperaments influence us, regardless of the lives we lead. A sizable part of who we are is ordained by our genes, by our brains, by our nervous systems. And yet the elasticity that Schwartz found in some of the high-reactive teens also suggests the converse: we have free will and can use it to shape our personalities.
These seem like contradictory principles, but they are not. Free will can take us far, suggests Dr. Schwartz’s research, but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits. Bill Gates is never going to be Bill Clinton, no matter how he polishes his social skills, and Bill Clinton can never be Bill Gates, no matter how much time he spends alone with a computer.
We might call this the ‘rubber band theory’ of personality. We are like rubber bands at rest. We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much.”
Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs
Let’s make this practical. Check out the way Bill Gates and the team from Microsoft tried to pump up the crowd for the release of Windows 95:
Now politics aside, you can’t question that Bill Clinton could command a room. However, for an even more apples-to-apples comparison, let’s look at the way Steve Jobs works a crowd.
This video shows the product launch for the original iPhone. It’s long but just watch the first few minutes:
Both of these men are brilliant in their respective fields but these videos show the drastic differences in their personality. Steve Jobs was comfortable commanding a room with the sheer anticipation of the product creating excitement.
Bill Gates, on the other hand, didn’t look comfortable in that same settings and struggled to describe his product with words that illicit the same kind of atmosphere Jobs set.
Train Anyone, Anywhere in the World. How far will your personality stretch?
Honestly evaluate your own personality.
These are important things to know as you chart your path to success. How can we reconcile the tension between playing to our strengths/using our gifts and stretching ourselves outside of our comfort zone?
Now that’s even tougher question. How can you maximize your strengths and gifting while also not crippling yourself by never stretching outside your comfort zone?
If you never sat down and thought about that, we recommend doing so. What works best for everyone will vary but we recommend setting aside time for activities that are outside of your comfort zone.
You might be surprised to find an activity that with a little nurturing turns into a strength.
If you do some further digging for more recent Microsoft events, you can easily spot that Bill Gates has spent time developing his on-stage presence. He’s still not in the Bill Clinton or Steve Jobs stratosphere, but he’s definitely developed his voice.
Susan Cain Talks Quiet
Take a few minutes and watch Susan’s TED Talk about her book.
No matter your personality, you need a team that shares your values and vision. We’re passionate about growing your business. Schedule your demo today!
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How to Game Plan for Change (Real World Tips!)
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Surviving isn’t just for hikers; it’s for when your circumstances change. “The most successful are open to the changing nature of their environment.” Having a game plan for changing circumstances is critical for survival. One of our recent team meetings centered on how to survive being lost as explained in Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales.
The extreme unpredictability of nature carries a lot of parallels to operating your own business.
Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out…
Something unexpected comes along and you’re left out of sorts and scrambling to survive!
5 Stages of Being Lost
Here are the 5 Stages of Being Lost:
You’re disoriented but continue to “push through it.” You start to realize that you’re lost and get a little frazzled. You desperately search for any scrap of evidence to match what you think is going on! You start to break down rationally and emotionally. This is NOT good. You accept your lost condition and resolve to start fresh from where you are.
A lot of people tend to get stuck in steps one to four and never make it to step five. Unfortunately, those are not survivors.
Instead, the best thing you can do is get to step 5 as quickly as you can be recognizing your limits and focusing on your new reality:
Stop → Observe → Think → Plan → Act
“The most successful are open to the changing nature of their environment.”
Here are the Survival Rules for Life to help you out in any bind – whether you’re stuck on a snowy mountaintop or in the middle of a business breakdown:
Be here now – Develop an appreciation for full engagement with what’s in front of you. Know the limits of your experience – Just because something has worked in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t need to innovate in the future. Adaptability is key – You have to plan in order to be successful, but be ready to let go of your plan and adjust your course as you perceive changes in your environment.
Check out more about Deep Survival. The next time you’re caught off guard, how are you going to dig in and observe your situation so you can put together a new game plan and take decisive action?
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5 Tips to Improve Positivity (These Really Work!)
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Having a positive outlook will give you the “happiness advantage” as you pursue success. The pay to this advantage isn’t crazy complicated. This perspective turnaround can happen in 21 days. One of our recent team meeting topics was something we’re all familiar with: Training!
It was a little different, though, because we were focused on brain training, specifically: Training Your Brain to Be Positive!
Why is it important to train your brain to be positive?
According to Shawn’s research, when reflecting on something that’s happened to us, what actually happened doesn’t shape us as much as our thoughts or feelings about that event.
Shawn says, “90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world.”
People tend to think that as long as you continue to work harder and longer, you’ll accomplish more and therefore be happier.
Unfortunately, your brain works against you here and simply starts looking for the next goal once you achieve the original one. So if you place your happiness and fulfillment on the other side of some success, you’ll never actually get there!
Positive brain training can help to increase your happiness right now, which in turns boosts your performance in some unexpected ways:
“If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed… we’ve found that every single business outcome improves.”
Ready to start your brain positivity training?
Here are Shawn’s simple tips…
5 Tips to Boost Positivity
Here are five simple ways to boost your positivity, add some more happiness to your life, and increase your performance:
Take 2 minutes to write down 3 positive things in your life. If you do this daily for 21 days, you’ll rewire your brain for more positivity! Write down your thoughts by journaling. Exercise daily (Hopefully, you already have this covered! If not… ). Start practicing meditation. Add some random acts of kindness to your day!
How are you going to start training your brain to be positive?
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