Thursday, October 27, 2011

Are you prone or supine?

Let's talk vocab. Did you have vocabulary quizzes in grade school? I think I might have had them in high school, too. We had these little orange books with page after page of fill-ins meant to teach us proper use of words we probably wouldn't ever make a part of our everyday language. How much I retained from those lessons...who knows. But I would like to give you a short vocab lesson today (minus the quiz).

You might, if you work with a trainer, have heard the terms "prone" and "supine" on occasion. Let's talk about "prone" first. According to Merriam-Webster:

We'll focus on the second definition, as the first doesn't really pertain to fitness. Your "front or ventral surface" is obviously your chest, and "downward" is otherwise known as "face down." If your trainer were to use this in a sentence, he/she might say something like this: "Let's stretch our quads in the prone position today...reach behind you and grab your right ankle, pulling it into your bum while keeping your knees together." Make sense?

5 Exercises that Can Be Done in the Prone Position
1) Supermans (Core/Back)
2) Straight-Leg Abductions (Glutes)
3) Reverse Flyes (Upper Back/Rear Delts) <—You'd be on a bench in this case.
4) Back Extensions (Low Back)
5) Pressbacks (Triceps) <— Bench again.

While certain exercises require the prone position, others don't. Putting yourself in this position takes a load off the rest of your body. Translation: The muscles supporting the targeted muscles. This, in turn, means that your targeted muscles are targeted even more.

Let's not forget that today is Opposite Day (not really). Time to talk about the "supine" position.

Any guesses?

Yeah, you figured. "Lying on the back or with the face up." Obviously we do this a lot at the gym, but you might not know what to do if your trainer spouts out the following: "Let's do chest presses in the supine position today." To remember this versus the prone position, remind yourself that your SPINE is on the ground in the SuPINE position. that's clever.

5 Exercises that Can Be Done in the Supine Position
1) Leg Extension Crunches (Core/Hip Adductors)
2) Presses/Flyes (Chest)
3) Weighted Bar/Medicine Ball Pullovers (Lats)
4) Alternating Dumbbell Extensions (Triceps)
5) Bridges (Glutes/Hamstrings)

One thing to remember: Whenever you do exercises in the supine position, take care NOT to let that lower back arch too prominently off the ground. You'll see this happen when guys pile on too much during a bench press. (Dudes, if you have to totally arch your back off the bench when you press up all that're not really doing a bench press. Take some weight off, do it right. That'll impress me.)

Now go, shine at the gym with your new vocab words. (Oh, don't lie down. You "position yourself in the supine position.") Then head on over to the Merriam-Webster site and take their vocab quiz. See if all that schoolin' paid off. (I got 3,060 points...did you beat me?)

Question: What's your favorite exercise in the prone position? Supine position?

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