Gold's Gym: Alexandria - South Van Dorn

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Cool-Down Flexibility Exercises for Senior CitizensCooling down after a workout plays an important role in any well-roun...

Cool-Down Flexibility Exercises for Senior Citizens

Cooling down after a workout plays an important role in any well-rounded physical fitness routine, and emphasizes that a cool-down may help reduce the risk of muscular injuries. Seniors frequently struggle with reduced mobility due to aging muscles and chronic conditions such as arthritis, but a cool-down that focuses on flexibility can improve range of motion and may even reduce muscle pain.

Stretching with Yoga
Yoga can help stretch virtually every muscle in the body. Its focus on breathing can help you cool down and calm down after an intense workout. A 2005 study published in the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine" found that yoga could help reduce osteoarthritis-related knee pain, and a 2008 study published in the same journal concluded that yoga can reduce the risk of falls in seniors. You can do yoga at home with the assistance of a video or yoga book, or through a class with a qualified yoga instructor. If any pose is painful, try adjusting your posture or simply trying a different pose.

Dynamic Stretches
Dynamic stretches move your muscles through their range of motion, potentially increasing joint mobility. Try rolling your shoulders forward and backward, moving your neck from side to side and rolling your neck. Rolling your ankles and wrists can help loosen up tense muscles and improve range of motion. To loosen muscles in your trunk, try standing with your spine straight and then leaning from side to side using only your torso while keeping your legs and spine straight.

Static Stretches
Static stretches are stretches that you hold to improve the flexibility in an individual muscle or group of muscles. You should not force these stretches, and they should not hurt, but you should feel the stretch. Most static stretches should be held for 20 to 30 seconds. Try sitting on the ground with your legs straight and reaching for your toes to stretch your hamstrings, then using a towel or exercise band to pull your feet in toward your torso to stretch your calves. Stretch your back and shoulders by sitting up straight, bending your elbows and then pushing them back toward your spine.

Stretching Recommendations
No matter what stretching routine you use, you shouldn't experience pain or popping during a stretch. Stretch at least once a day, and always use stretching as a cool-down because it's risky to stretch cold muscles. Avoid forcing yourself into a stretch or holding stretches longer than a minute or so; most stretches should only be held for 30 seconds. Slow, deep breathing can help you deepen your stretch without experiencing pain. If you suffer from joint pain, ensure that your joints are properly supported as you stretch. For example, yoga poses that require you to place your knees on the ground will be more comfortable if you use a knee-supporting block.

Leg Raises ExerciseAt the front of your hips are a collection of muscles that are often overlooked when it comes time to...

Leg Raises Exercise

At the front of your hips are a collection of muscles that are often overlooked when it comes time to work your lower body. Leg raises, which can be performed in a variety of ways, are effective at building strength in these muscles. Incorporate at least one type of leg raise in your workouts whenever you’re targeting your lower body so that you maintain a proper strength balance among the muscles in your hips.

Muscles Developed
Leg raises target the hip flexors, a collection of muscles located at the front of your hips. The biggest workhorse here is the iliopsoas, a term used for the iliacus and psoas muscles. Other hip flexors that contribute include the tensor fasciae latae, pectineus, sartorius, adductor longus and adductor brevis. Together, these muscles work to flex your hip joints, or lift your upper legs forward.

Hip Flexor Prep and Recovery
Before jumping into leg raise exercises, perform a five- to 15-minute dynamic warmup to increase blood flow and body temperature. Walk, jog or jump rope for a few minutes and then perform a battery of hip flexor dynamic stretches, such as walking straight-leg kicks, leg swings and high-knee walks. After you're finished with all sets of leg raises, walk for five minutes and then stretch your hip flexors. The kneeling hip flexor stretch is performed with one knee in front of the other so that your legs are in a staggered position. Lean your hips forward to feel a stretch in the hip flexor of your back leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Lying Leg Raise
The lying leg raise exercise uses the weight of your leg as resistance, but you can increase the load by wearing ankle weights. Lie on your back on an exercise mat with your legs straight. Keeping your knee extended, lift one leg until it’s vertical. Lower it back to the floor with control, stopping it just short of touching, and then lift it up again for the next rep. Repeat until you feel a burning sensation at the front of your hips. Increase the number of reps you complete as you build strength.

Hanging Leg Raise
For the hanging leg raise, you’ll need an overhead bar. Reach up and grip the bar with your hands set just wider than your shoulders, palms facing forward. Hang from the bar with your legs straight. Lift your legs while bending your knees to bring your thighs to your chest. Raise them until your hips and knees are fully bent and then lower your legs back down with control, returning to the starting position. If you need to increase the resistance, wear a pair of ankle weights or squeeze a medicine ball between your feet. Complete each set until you feel the burning sensation at the front of your hips, gradually building reps as your strength improves.

Standing Leg Raise
If you have access to a cable pulley or an exercise band, you can perform leg raises while standing. Attach one end of the cable or exercise band to one of your ankles. Stand with your back to the cable pulley or where the band is attached. Place all your weight on your free leg. Drive the knee of your attached leg up toward your chest. Lower your foot back to the floor and then repeat. Complete each set until you feel extreme fatigue and are almost unable to complete the exercise with good form, and then switch.

Do Kettlebell Swings Work the Obliques?Kettlebells are excellent for cultivating strength and dropping body fat. While m...

Do Kettlebell Swings Work the Obliques?

Kettlebells are excellent for cultivating strength and dropping body fat. While most drills are forward-oriented and focus on hip drive, the basic swing can be used to strengthen the obliques as well. There are also other kettlebell exercises for developing rotational strength. These exercises also work the obliques.

The Basic Swing and Bracing
The basic swing works the obliques through a concept known as bracing. When you're bracing properly, you'll contract the low back, glutes and abdomen. This includes the obliques. Exhale at the top of the swing. Stand erect with arms at shoulder level. Contract the abs as if expecting a fierce punch to the stomach, and squeeze your glutes and inner thighs. As gravity pulls the bell downward relax and inhale. According to Corey Wesley, Russian Kettlebell Challenge instructor and kinesiologist, repeat this breathing pattern for the duration of the set to ensure you're protecting your lower back while exercising the obliques.

Around The Body Pass
Unlike most kettlebell exercises, the bell doesn't go through the legs. Instead, it will orbit around the body. According to Jeff Martone, creator of the Crossfit Kettlebell certification, grasp the kettlebell by the handle, making sure that your grip with the right hand is somewhat off-center, closer to the side nearest the little finger. The bell then is moved using a counterclockwise motion. As the bell approaches the low back, pass it to the left hand. As the bell approaches the belly button, pass it to the right hand. Look straight ahead and keep the elbows relaxed. To work on the skill, perform three to five sets of 10 repetitions. This drill will work the obliques while preparing the body for advanced rotational drills.

The Figure Eight Drill
The figure eight drill is similar to the body pass as the motion is rotational and the bell is passed from one hand to the other. However, there are key differences. The bell doesn't move around the body in a circle, but through the body in a figure eight, while the hip motion mimics the basic swing. Start by standing straight. Push your butt back but not down. With your right hand, pass the bell to your left hand as it passes through the legs, shifting your head toward the left foot. You'll drive forward with the hips like a basic swing. Repeat these steps as you pass the bell to the right hand.

Rotational Skill Workout
Just like with the basic swing, these exercises require bracing to maximize abdominal work and protect the low back. Introduce rotational drills into your workout slowly as a warmup or a skill day. Perform three sets of the basic swing, around the back and figure eight, respectively. You'll keep the weight between 15 and 25 pounds. Focus on bracing and proper technique. Stop short of muscle failure.

What Are Some Hardcore Exercises to Lose Weight?While jogging and step aerobics are good forms of exercise for fitness a...

What Are Some Hardcore Exercises to Lose Weight?

While jogging and step aerobics are good forms of exercise for fitness and weight control, advanced exercisers may find these activities a bit tame. Rather than suffer through workouts that don't provide you with much of a challenge, why not do some seriously hardcore exercises to kick your fat burning and weight loss efforts up a notch. Be warned -- hardcore exercises can leave you feeling tired and sore, so make sure you are fit enough before you attempt them.

Bend Down for Burpees
Burpees use just about every muscle in your body -- from top to bottom. Because of this, they use a lot of calories and will also drive your heart rate sky-high. Burpees are definitely a hardcore exercise. To perform a burpee, squat down and place your hands on the floor. Jump your feet out and back into the pushup position. Do a single pushup. Jump your feet back into your hands and then leap high into the air. Land on slightly bent knees and repeat. For a short, sharp, fat-burning workout, see how many repetitions you can complete in 10 minutes or see how fast you can complete 100 reps.

Swing It to Win It
Another exercise that uses a lot of muscles at the same time -- while burning lots of calories -- is the two-handed kettlebell swing. If you don't have a kettlebell you can use a single dumbbell instead. The kettlebell swing also provides a good butt exercise. Hold your weight in both hands in front of your hips and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your legs, push your hips back and lower the weight between your thighs, as if you were preparing to hike a football. Push your hips forward and use this momentum to swing the weight up to shoulder height. Keep your arms straight. Lower the weight and repeat. Try doing one set of 10 swings every minute for 10 minutes or three to five sets of 30 to 50 reps using a moderately heavy kettlebell.

Sprint to the Top
Jogging and running are OK, but hill sprints take the prize for being totally hardcore. Find a hill with a 10 percent incline that is 50 to 150 yards long. After a few minutes of light jogging and dynamic stretching to warm up, run up your hill as fast as you can and then walk back down to recover. Do five to 10 sprints initially and build up to 20 sprints in total. Add an extra hardcore element by doing a quick set of pushups or squats at the top of each ascent.

It's Hammer Time
One of the more unusual hardcore exercises you can do is hit a used SUV tire with a sledgehammer. Swinging a hammer provides a full-body exercise that is not only challenging but also a tremendous stress buster. Hold the handle firmly in both hands and swing it from your left and then your right shoulder to ensure you develop both sides of your body equally. For a brief fat-burning workout, hit your tire as many times as you can in 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence eight to 10 times. This is called Tabata interval training. Alternatively, hit your tire for three minutes and then rest for 60 seconds to mirror the demands of boxing.

Stretched Back Dumbbell RowsDumbbells have many benefits including being easily manipulated into new positions. The dumb...

Stretched Back Dumbbell Rows

Dumbbells have many benefits including being easily manipulated into new positions. The dumbbell row is a back-strengthening exercise that targets your latissimus dorsi. While you do not want to round your back during the exercise, you can add a greater range of motion and a slight stretch to your back with a simple hand position variation.

Dumbbell Rows
The single-arm dumbbell row is performed with one knee and hand on a weight bench. The other leg is straight, and in the free hand, you hold a dumbbell. Your back is straight and parallel with the floor. You begin with your arm hanging straight down from your shoulder and your palm facing the bench. As you exhale, bend your elbow and raise the dumbbell toward your side near your hip. Raise your elbow higher than your side while keeping it close to you. As you inhale, straighten your arm and return it to the starting position.

Hand Position
You stretch your back at the bottom of the dumbbell row. In the starting position, instead of facing your palm toward the bench, face your palm toward your supporting leg to feel the stretch across your upper back. As you exhale and lift the dumbbell, slowly rotate your wrist until your palm is facing the bench. Keep your hand facing in as you lower the dumbbell. When you reach the bottom of the movement, slightly increase your range of motion by turning your palm backward again.

Round Back
You want to avoid stretching your back by rounding it toward the ceiling. This position limits your range of motion and makes it very difficult to strengthen your lats. Instead, contract your core, flatten your back, straighten your spine and keep your neck in line with your spine. The flat-back position protects your shoulder blades and focuses the muscle concentration on the lats.

Workout Guidelines
Your back can be strengthened two or three days a week. Aim to complete one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of the dumbbell rows. Your back needs time to repair after the workout, so allow for one or two days of rest in between your row exercise sessions. Use a weight that feels challenging for your final two repetitions of each set and one that requires you to rest for one minute in between sets. Always warm up before your workout with five to 10 minutes of light cardio.

Gold's Gym: Alexandria - South Van Dorn's cover photo

Gold's Gym: Alexandria - South Van Dorn's cover photo

Gold's Gym: Alexandria - South Van Dorn

Gold's Gym: Alexandria - South Van Dorn


255 S Van Dorn St
Alexandria, VA

Opening Hours

Monday 05:00 - 23:00
Tuesday 05:00 - 23:00
Wednesday 05:00 - 23:00
Thursday 05:00 - 23:00
Friday 05:00 - 22:00
Saturday 07:00 - 20:00
Sunday 07:00 - 20:00


(703) 461-0040


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