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What Muscles Are Getting Worked During a Swiss Ball Sit Up?Increase the challenge of your situps by performing them on a...

What Muscles Are Getting Worked During a Swiss Ball Sit Up?

Increase the challenge of your situps by performing them on a Swiss ball. Also known as a stability or exercise ball, the Swiss ball provides a wobbly surface for your situps instead of the solid surface of the floor. You cannot roll off the floor like you can off the ball. To avoid rolling off the ball, your core muscles will engage to keep you upright.

Ball Situp
You will receive the most core-strengthening benefits when you complete a Swiss ball situp using proper form. Sit on top of a ball with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. The right-sized ball will bring the angles of your hips and knees to 90 degrees when used. Walk your feet away from the ball until you are lying face up with the ball underneath your middle and upper back. Place your hands behind your head. Point your elbows out to the sides. Lie back as you stretch your abdominals. Tighten your abdominals by pulling your navel toward your spine. Exhale and sit up high enough to bring your shoulder blades off the ball. Inhale and return to the starting position.

Transverse Abdominis
Before you make one move in a situp, your deepest abdominal muscle, the transverse abdominis, is already contracting. When you flatten your core by pulling your navel toward your back, the transverse abdominis tightens. This muscle rests around the inside of your abdomen like a corset. Instead of pulling the strings to tighten the corset, you contract the muscle and flatten your abdomen.

Rectus Abdominis
The Swiss ball situp provides the best results in your rectus abdominis muscle. The RA is the most superficial of abdominal muscles. You often see the RA as a "six pack" on the core of those who have a reduced amount of body fat. The RA contracts when you shorten the distance between your ribs and pelvis as you do when you raise your torso during the situp.

Along the sides of your abdomen, you will find two pairs of oblique muscles. These muscles are placed on a diagonal as if putting your hands in your front and back pockets. The internal and external obliques contract when you bend to the sides and shorten the distance between your ribs and hips. During the situp, the obliques act as stabilizing muscles to keep you from rolling off the ball.

Top 10 Exercises for Females for a Flat AbdomenThe abdominals are the hardest place for most women to tone and flatten. ...

Top 10 Exercises for Females for a Flat Abdomen

The abdominals are the hardest place for most women to tone and flatten. Obtaining flat, strong abs requires a combination of proper exercises, cardiovascular activity to burn excess body fat, and a proper diet. Start an effective, top-notch workout routine to build your muscles and tighten your core. Examine your diet and ensure that you are eating healthy, clean foods and that you are not consuming too much, then incorporate cardiovascular activities most days per week.

Bicycle Crunches
In a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, researchers examined various abdominal exercises and determined which ones were more effective at activating the rectus abdominis, or “six-pack” muscles, and the obliques. Bicycle crunches were the best for the rectus abdominis and second best for the obliques. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and bring your right elbow to left knee, keeping right leg fully extended. Rotate your torso and repeat.

Hanging Leg Lifts
Hanging leg lifts, either suspended from your elbows in a Captain’s Chair, using abs straps, or hanging by your hands, target the deep abdominal muscles of the transverse abdominis. These muscles act like a girdle on your midsection, making your waist appear smaller while supporting your spine. Dr. Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico affirms that hanging leg lifts require your abs to stabilize your entire hip girdle and lower body, providing a highly effective and intense workout.

When you think of abs exercises, a chin-up is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. Renowned fitness expert Bret Contreras placed an EMG on various parts of the abdominal muscles and executed a number of exercises to see which exercises worked the best. The chin-up was one of the best exercises for both peak and average muscle activation in the rectus abdominis.

Ab Wheel
In Contreras' study, the Ab Wheel exercise was rated highest for muscle activation in all three major abdominal muscle groups of the external oblique, internal oblique and rectus abdominis, making it useful for total abdominal activation. Start on your knees and grab the handles of the wheel. Open your shoulders and push the wheel away from your body, dropping your hips as you open so your body fully extends. Contract your abs to pull the wheel back in, but do not allow your lower back to arch. Progress from your knees to your feet as you get stronger.

Suspended Reverse Crunches
Suspension trainers are a great way to incorporate higher intensity body weight exercises, suggests Jamie Baird, professional bikini competitor. A good suspension trainer has the capability of being hung from a doorway, branch or bar. Adjust the handles so they hang at shin level. To execute a reverse crunch, lie on your back and grab the handles of the suspension trainer with your arms straight. Tuck your knees up to your chest and press your hips into the air while using the suspension trainer for leverage. Slowly lower and repeat.

Suspended Pikes
Pikes target the entire core which consists of the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. Place your feet in the suspension trainer and hands on the floor so you are in a pushup position. Keeping your legs straight, pull your feet towards your body while simultaneously lifting your hips straight into the air. Control the movement on the way down and finish in pushup position.

Body Saw
The body saw is a progression from the plank. Place your feet either in the suspension trainer, or on a stability ball with your hands on the floor in pushup position. Keep your body straight and roll forward as far as you can. Then roll backwards as far as you can without breaking form in your torso.

Stability Ball Crunches
In Contreras’s abdominal study, stability ball crunches had one of the highest peak muscle activations of all abdominal exercises. The act of staying balanced on the ball while fully extending your abs requires extreme core control. Place your lower back on the ball, hands behind your head. Crunch up, but not to a full sit, and then extend back out until you feel a stretch through your midsection and repeat.

Side Planks
Side planks are a variation of traditional planks that are more effective at working the core and obliques. Lie on your side, body straight, with one foot on top of the other. Prop yourself up on your elbow and foot. Keep a straight line from your shoulders to your hips to your feet. Hold for as long as you can without breaking form, and repeat on other side.

Sprints are one of the best abdominal exercises that are often underrated. Not only does the high impact of the motion force your abs to remain stiff to support your spine and torso, but the intense activity burns a lot of calories and raises your resting metabolism, according to Dr. Jade Teta of the Metabolic Effect. Sprint as fast as you can for about 10 to 20 seconds, then recover for one full minute. Start with five rounds and progress to 10 as you get stronger.

How to Get a Bigger Butt on a TreadmillStrange as it may seem, sometimes bigger is better when it comes to your butt. If...

How to Get a Bigger Butt on a Treadmill

Strange as it may seem, sometimes bigger is better when it comes to your butt. If your figure is on the slight side, then enhancing your derriere can help to give your body definition and curves. Enlarging the size of your butt with lean muscle mass – and not unhealthy fat – is the way to go. Building your glutes, the main muscle group in your butt, with treadmill workouts two to three times per week can help you to be all beauty, with just a bit of braun.

Step 1
Warm up with five minutes of walking or light jogging at the beginning of your treadmill session. Gradually increase the pace as your body temperature and muscles begin to warm.

Step 2
Climb hills by increasing the incline on the treadmill; walking uphill places the emphasis on the posterior muscles of the body, especially the glutes. Start with a grade of 1 or 2 percent and increase slowly as you acclimate to the steeper incline. Take small steps when walking uphill, which can help to protect your ankles. Avoid the tendency to lean forward; elongate your spine and keep your torso centered over your pelvis.

Step 3
Lunge on the treadmill. Walking lunges strengthen your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. Performing them on a moving treadmill increases the amount of stress placed on your muscles. Slow the treadmill to an easy walking pace and hold onto the handrails for safety. Insert a set of 20 walking lunges into your treadmill workout every five minutes or so.

Step 4
Insert sprinting intervals into your workout. Sprinting requires a sudden burst of energy from your muscles; combining sprints with endurance runs can help to maximize the muscle growth in your glutes. Run as fast as you are able for 30 seconds and recover with walking or moderate jogging for one to two minutes. Repeat five to 10 times.

Step 5
Stretch your glutes after your treadmill session with Big Toe pose. Separate your feet by hip-width. Bend at the hips and bring your torso toward your thighs. Reach your hands down to your feet and take hold of the big toe and the second toe on each foot. Lift your glutes toward the ceiling; you should feel a stretch in your glutes and the back of your legs. Deepen the stretch by lifting your back up, yet do not let go of your toes. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

Stretches to Improve PostureWhen you have good posture, there will be three natural curves in the spine. The first curve...

Stretches to Improve Posture

When you have good posture, there will be three natural curves in the spine. The first curve is in your neck or cervical vertebrae. There should be a slight forward curve of these vertebrae while your ears are over your shoulders. The second curve is in your upper to mid back or thoracic vertebrae. There should be a gentle backward curve while your shoulders are aligned over your hip joints. And, the third curve is found in your low back or lumbar vertebrae. This is a gentle forward curve that should occur naturally without tilting your pelvis forward or backward too far. Your flexibility and muscular strength work together to maintain this good posture.

Upper Back and Chest
Stretches to improve an upper back slouch can be done while sitting or standing. The goal of this convenient stretch is to lengthen your chest muscles and to strengthen your upper back muscles. While you are in a tall seated position, bring your ears back until they are directly over your shoulders. Then, draw your shoulder blades toward your spine and down. Squeeze your elbows toward your hip bones and rotate your palms and forearms open. Breathe and hold this stretch for 30 seconds. You may also benefit from lying your upper back on top of a foam roller and carefully moving back and forth over it.
Lower Back and Abs
Good low back and pelvis posture means that your pelvis is not tilted too far forward or too far backward. A cat back and soup bowl stretch can help your posture by stretching your low back and strengthening your abs. To start, kneel down on all fours with your neck and back aligned straight. Inhale to prepare for movement and as you exhale scoop your navel up toward your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. Inhale again and relax your back until it curves and your abdominals move toward the floor. Exhale and repeat the exercise until tension leaves your spine.

Stretches to increase flexibility in your glutes, piriformis and psoas muscle groups can allow you to stand with better posture. Try a glute and piriformis stretch from a seated position. Grasp your right ankle and right knee and hug the inside of your right calf toward your chest for 30 seconds. Then switch legs. Next, stretch your psoas or hip flexor muscles. Start by lying on your back with your right leg stretched straight and the left leg bent with your thigh hugged to your left ribs. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides.

Your upper leg muscles are important for good posture. These key muscles include your hamstrings, quadriceps, inner thighs and your tensor fasciae latae. Stretch your hamstrings by standing and placing your left heel a chair. Keep your hips perpendicular to your thigh bone and lean your torso forward. Avoid locking your knee and hunching your back. Repeat with the other leg. Next, stand on one leg and raise the heel of your other leg up toward your buttocks. Hold it there with your hand and keep your thighs parallel. Repeat for the other leg. Stretch your inner thighs by doing a side lunge on each leg. Finally, stretch your tensor muscle by standing and crossing your right foot behind your left foot. Then push your right hip to the right side. Hold each stretch on each side for 30 seconds.

CrossFit vs. Traditional Weight TrainingCrossFit combines strength training, speed, weight lifting, endurance, gymnastic...

CrossFit vs. Traditional Weight Training

CrossFit combines strength training, speed, weight lifting, endurance, gymnastics and explosive jump training known as plyometrics to achieve a fast, intense full-body workout with lots of variety for the exercise enthusiast, according to physical education professor Michael Esco, writing for WebMD. Whereas CrossFit works many muscles together with fast transitions, traditional weight training focuses more on single and small groups of muscles in slower, more controlled moves.

High Speed vs. Slow Speed
CrossFit uses high intensity exercises in short workouts to target strength, endurance, flexibility, cardio, agility, balance, power, coordination and accuracy. Traditional weight training targets individual muscles in slow, coordinated movements that strengthen and build muscles. CrossFit burns more calories than traditional weight training and will burn more fat, according to dietician and CrossFit trainer Julie Upton in an article for the Huffington Post.

Variety and Support
One advantage many enthusiasts of CrossFit enjoy is that you seldom do the same workout in the same way again, notes Upton. The same people might describe traditional weight training as boring by comparison. CrossFit uses the workout of the day, known as WOD, to keep things moving and to prevent the muscles from becoming too accustomed to the same movements. Additionally, because many CrossFit users workout in CrossFit centers, they have the advantage of community support and competition with other CrossFit enthusiasts. If you need other people and variety to keep you motivated and coming back, CrossFit might work for you. If you don’t need community support and enjoy knowing what you will do with each workout, traditional weight training may be more to your liking.

Everyday Movement
CrossFit allows you to better prepare for everyday movement by not specializing in the way weight training does, says exercise physiologist Fabio Comana in an article for the American Council on Exercise. The emphasis on agility and being prepared for anything life might throw at you can help your body respond better if your body is called on to do things beyond the normal realm of movement. In contrast, traditional weight training can reduce your range of motion through its overuse of forward and backward planes of motion and moves that you don’t use everyday, according to orthomolecular physician Dr. Richard A. DiCenso in an article for

Injury Risk
CrossFit can put you at greater risk of injury if you are not careful, according to ACE-certified Personal Trainer Pete McCall in an article for the American Council on Exercise. Use of a competent CrossFit trainer, especially while you beginning, might decrease your risk, but it is critical to develop joint mobility and stability before you begin major CrossFit workouts to prevent damage to the hips, ankles and shoulders. The explosive movement in CrossFit can also lead to rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition where the muscles rupture and break down, damaging the kidneys with the bi-products of the muscle damage.

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Bodhi Fitness Center

Bodhi Fitness Center


35-11 Prince Street
New York, NY


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