When I first was drafted to my team, I literally knew nothing about skating for speed or power. I was a true rookie, learning everything from page one. My captain said this was a gift. She said that I could learn good form first then skill would come with ease afterwards. Most veterans who didn’t learn this way ended up with bad habits and found it harder to fix form after doing it a certain way for many years. Bad habits are truly hard to break!

So after a week of working with a few clients, I noticed a particular form fix that I had to address with those who were both new and old to exercise. As easy as it sounds, it is not as easy as it looks. Today’s fix is focused on the lateral lunge.

There are tons of articles that go over proper squatting form (like this, this and this) and it is surprising how a basic strength move is so elusive to tame. But, as difficult as it can be to tame a wild pegasus, that beautiful beast will later help conquer a princess-hungry krakken. All mythical creatures aside, if you have learned from proper squatting technique that the squat comes from the hips and NOT the knees, then you will quickly learn that the lateral lunge uses the same principal.


To execute a lateral lunge in proper form, there are a few points on the body to pay attention to:

- First, the hips. Remember that like the squat, the hips initiate the movement, as if sitting back in a chair. Keeping the chest upright, hinge the hips back and keep the knee and ankle in alignment with weight in the heels. Be sure not to hunch those shoulders and arch that back just to get closer to the ground, only go as far as the lower body will support the weight and in time the lower the lunge will become.

- Secondly, keep in mind where the foot falls in the lunge position. The tendency is to step the foot out and leave it pointed in that direction. Instead, keep both feet pointed forward, in the same direction that the rest of the body is facing. This exercise is focused on the upper leg and not the lower, so leave the lateral movement focused there.

- Lastly, try not to lunge so far that the legs are overextended. We aren’t trying to do the splits or Van Damme it between two semi trucks. If it is too difficult to stand back up without having to hop out of the lunge or wiggle awkwardly back to the center (or end up failing to Van Damme and pulling a Channing Tatum), then adjust for a shorter distance so form (and groin muscle) doesn’t suffer.


AuthorLizelle Din

Now that I’ve shared some of my favorite productivity tools to work(out) from home, I’ll share some of my favorite moves with them that can be done as a complete workout. These moves hit the major muscle groups and train movements that keep your body balanced and ready for action. Enjoy!


First Things First

Foam Roller

Before even starting your workout, spend some time with the foam roller. Hit areas that feel tight—such as quads, glutes, calves, lower back and hamstrings—making sure to spend at least 30 seconds working on each area. Using only your bodyweight, roll gently back and forth along the muscle. Once you are done, go ahead a do a dynamic warmup (walkouts, squats, leg swings, etc.) to get those muscles ready to move.


Now, the Workout

Do the exercises in order, one after the other until you have completed the set. Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat the circuit 2 more times for a total of 3 sets.

1. Walkout to Push Up - Bodyweight

Stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart. Bending at the hips and keeping legs straight, plant each hand on the ground and begin to walk forward into a plank position. Upon arrival in a plank, execute a push up and walk back up to standing.

*If a push up cannot be done in proper form, come down to the knees for the push up or do a half push up.

Reps: 10

2. Pistol Squat - Suspension Strap

I am slowly making my way to unassisted pistol squat territory. The only way I have made it this far is with lots of practice and the help of my suspension strap. With the strap attached securely to the door, walk back holding the straps until arms are fully extended but not locked. Balancing on one foot while activating every inch of your footbed, lower into a squat as if you were sitting back in a chair, going only as far as you feel comfortable while using the straps for minimal balance and assistance as the non-weight bearing leg extends straight out in front of the body. Return to standing.

Reps: 5 each leg

3. Pull Ups - Pull Up Bar

Oh, the elusive pull up. Good thing the pull up bar was made to practice in the comfort of home. I am not going to go over form here really, what matters is going slow and remembering to engage the core. Whether that is a traditional pull up, a neutral grip pull up, a chin up or assisted band pull up—go to the max that can be done in proper form.

*If doing a pull up in not in the toolbox yet, go to the suspension strap and start building that upper body strength with suspension strap pull ups instead. I've attached my suspension stap to my pull up bar so I can sit directly under it (please make sure the pull up bar is secure!). Sit directly under the straps with legs straightened or bent at the knee in front of the body. With shoulders and arms aligned, pull the body up until the handles meet the armpits and pause. Return to start and repeat.

Reps: Max in proper form (or 10 with suspension strap)

4. Swings - Dumbbell or Kettlebell

Grab the dumbbells or kettlebell with both hands and stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder length apart. Hinging from the hips, bring the DB/KB back towards the tailbone, then thrust hips forward to swing the DB/KB as high as the hips drive them. Remember, the arms aren’t doing the work, the hips are. Ever see swing dancers where the guy pulls the girl through his legs until she is in the air and back on her feet? All from the hips.

Reps: 15

5. Knee Ups - Pull Up Bar

This move is pretty straight forward. It lovingly works on grip strength and exhaust the core in the same manner. Hanging from the bar, but not letting shoulders droop from bodyweight, bring knees up to the chest and pause. Lower back down and repeat.

Reps: 8 to 10

6. One-Leg Deadlift to Row - Dumbbells or Kettlebell

I like to build workouts that integrate a lot of balance training, and this exercise is one of my favorites. Doing the deadlift with one leg not only works on balance, but engages the core to hold the weight in hand and keeps one from tipping over. Glutes and hamstrings do the same by bringing the upper body back to standing. With one foot slightly off the ground and the other firmly planted, hinge at the hips, lowering the dumbbells down towards the shin. As the upper body lowers, the free leg raises behind to body until the spine and back leg make a straight line parallel to the ground. From here, pull the dumbbells up to the armpits for the row, lower back to the shins and reverse the movement. Repeat the same movement on the other leg and that is one rep.

Reps: 10

7. Chest Press to Fallout - Suspension Strap

This one is a favorite for shoulder stability and working all the stabilizing muscles in several directions. I wish I had done more of these in my dodgeball days. The ol’ arm is still as creaky as a rusty door hinge. Stand facing away from the door with straps on the outside of the arms. Feet will be closer to the door so the body will be in a suspended prone position. Lower the body as arms expand into a chest press. Then, as the hands come back in front transition in the fallout position, raising the arms above the head and making the body a straight line. Return to start and that is one rep.

Reps: 10

8. Snowboarder Jump - Bodyweight

I am pretty sure this is just called a 180º squat jump, but I guess this is what the kids are calling it these days. It is like when my junior roller derby girls starting saying “swag” all the time. (Shrug.) Start facing to your left in an squatted position. Loading your legs, jump while turning the body with the hips (hips, hips, hips), landing softly facing to the right, back in a squatted position. Jump back in the same direction to start, then repeat on the other side. That is one rep. My old speed coach used to drive this tip into our brains when we wanted to turn smoothly on skates. The hips are like the gas pedal and steering wheel of a car, the body can’t produce power and direction without them.

Reps: 1 minute

Extra Credit

Cardio Blast: Jump Rope

Tacking on a metabolic finisher at the end of a strength set is a great way to burn calories and build endurance long after the workout is done. Take a quick trip outside to finish the workout with this 15 minute jump rope routine adapted from Real Simple and reward yourself with a nice cool down and stretch afterwards.

1. Basic Jump: 1 minute on; 1 minute rest

2. Alternating Leg Jump: 1 minute on; 1 minute rest

3. Basic Jump/Alternating Leg Jump Combo (8 Basic / 8 Alternating): 1 minute on; 1 minute rest

4. High Knees Jump: 1 minute on; 1 minute rest

5. Zig Zag Jump: 1 minute on; 1 minute rest

(Keeping feet close together, jump up and turn the hips to one side at the same time. On the next jump up, turn hips in the opposite direction and repeat.)

5. Endurance Jump (can switch between Basic and Alternating jumping): 5 minutes non-stop


Great job! How productive are we feeling now? No one can call you a slacker in pajamas after this one.


“Everyone knows how to do push ups.” NOT. Every week I remind my boot campers how to perform a push up in good form. Sometimes it is because they want to push harder or not look like the only person who can’t do a proper one. But I can’t stress this enough, a push up in bad form isn’t doing anyone favors. It also isn’t shameful to not be able to do even one, because this sucker takes a lot of practice and build up.

A push up is one of the most basic exercises that builds upper body and core strength. No equipment is needed, not even this and there are no excuses that can justify leaving it out of your workout (unless you are injured/have joint restrictions, then you are absolutely excused).

Proper Form: 3 Things to Focus On

Spine. I am a big defender of spine health. So when doing any exercise I will always mention this first. When executing an exercise from a prone position, it is best to keep your spine in a neutral position. Note that I am not saying “straight” but “neutral.” The difference is that when the spine is in neutral, it is allowed to perform as it should with the natural curves in motion. Pushing the spine into a straight position is forcing it into an unnatural state. Neutral also means not letting the spine hyperextend. When in a prone position, don’t look like your cat, stretched out over couch and under the coffee table. Only a cat can be comfortable and look cool in that position.  

Elbows. What part of the arms are pushups actually working? Pushups utilize anterior and medial deltoids (shoulders) as well as the triceps and pectorals (chest). They are a ton of variations on pushups and there are a lot of arguments on which is actually the true one, but I’ll stick to the form that I feel works best for the major muscle groups used. When lowering to the ground, keep the elbows close to the side of the body, bending 90 degrees towards the feet.

Neck. Keep the neck neutral as well. A common compensation I see in pushups is when the neck drops down and forward. A little trick to know if the neck is in the right spot is to actually look a few inches in front of you rather than straight down.

How to Build Up

Start with planks. Having stability throughout the core and shoulders is a key component. Don’t worry about lowering just yet. A proper plank is all about keeping the neck and spine neutral and the shoulders directly over your elbows/wrists. Learning to engage the core, quads and glutes will keep pushups in proper alignment rather than looking like someone is about to break out the worm.

On your knees. Don’t knock anyone doing push ups on their knees. I would rather have a client do pushups on their knees in perfect form any day of the week until they build the strength to go to the next level. (See previous.)

Halfsies. I like having my clients learning how to hold a pushup halfway before even attempting to lower all the way. This still gives the core and shoulders more control without losing form.  

Now are we ready to tackle the pushup?

AuthorLizelle Din

Are we having fun with burpees yet? I know I’m … not. This week’s ADOTW involves a burpee-like move and adds agility to all the already awesome goodness. Think of it as an ode to my hometown footwork fame plus a crossfit addict’s need to add plyos to EVERYTHING.

Figure 8 Up-Downs

Set 2 cones a few feet apart, just wider than shoulder width apart. Starting in the middle of the cones, shuffle around them in a figure 8 motion. When you return to the start, pause, place your hands on the ground in front of your feet while bending your knees. Next, jump back into a plank position with your neck and spine in a neutral position and immediately jump your feet back to your hands. Stand up, adding a vertical jump at the end, then repeat the figure 8 motion in the opposite direction. Do 10 to 12 reps or see how many you can do in 1 minute.

Pro Tips

- Use your whole body to perform the drill: swing your arms and drive the actions with both your hips and legs.

- When jumping back into a plank, you shouldn’t look like you are trying to do the worm on the way back. Concentrate on keeping your body as flat as a board as you push back up. Since this is a full body move that means your arms and core are doing work too.

- Look up! Train as if you were training for your sport, so don’t be caught looking at your feet when you could be focusing your eyes on what is happening around you.

- Form over speed: do a run through once or twice at a slower pace to get the rhythm and form right. Speed in these drills won’t benefit you if you are running through them like a wacky waving inflatable tube man. Once you’ve gotten a handle on technique, go for speed.

AuthorLizelle Din

Did you just throw up in your mouth a little bit? Yeah. I did too. The burpee. The motherload of exercises. No one likes to even acknowledge that this exercise has essential benefits, just that it sucks the life out of your very soul no matter how fit you are. If you happen to know a person named Megan (aka Sara Problem), then you have agreed to do her birthday burpee challenge for her upcoming 44th birthday. That means starting with just 1 on day 1, adding a burpee to the previous day’s count and ending with all 44 on the last day. Someone very smart and pretty did the math and that means 990 burpees in 44 days. I think I just threw up in my mouth again.

I am not one to try fitness challenges on my own. But doing something in solidarity is definitely better than going at it alone, especially for someone awesome. So in honor of this birthday burpee challenge, today’s FFOTW is, you guessed it, the burpee! For the challenge, it was requested that everyone do a traditional old-fashioned burpee (which excludes the push up) so I will go over form for this particular burpee.

1. Stand straight up, feet shoulder width apart.

2. Bend down and place hands on the ground just in front of your feet and jump your feet straight back behind you, ending in a plank position.

3. Jump your feet back to your hands in one swift motion and keep your knees bent.

4. Immediately follow up with a vertical jump, driving with your hips and your hands extended above your head and land softly with knees bent.

Pro Tips

- A burpee involves power. If you are concentrating on form, it is important to remember where the power comes from—your hips! That means in-between steps 3 and 4, you are loading for the jump, not standing up in between and losing that power. Think of thrusting your hips from the squatting position to execute the jump.

- This traditional burpee does not require a push up or lowering down to the floor. BUT if you choose to add these steps, remember:

- Your push up requires good form too—neutral neck and spine with your core engaged

- If you are lowering to the ground, you shouldn’t look like you are trying to do the worm on the way up. Concentrate on keeping your body as flat as a board as you push back up. Since this is a full body move that means your arms and core are doing work too.

- Power comes from form first, speed second. Start slow until the technique is there, then go for speed.


Want to learn more about burpees? Check out:

Where Do Burpees Come From? (Spoiler Alert: Not Hell) | via Greatist

How to properly do a burpee demo (video) | via Hockey Training Pro

Five Reasons Why Burpees Should Be Your Favorite Exercise | via 12 Minute Athlete


Follow my progress on Instagram, or join the challenge on Facebook.


AuthorLizelle Din