Feel Great

In The Gym: Matthew Ware

by Lauren Teng, fitness blogger

Chest Fly it up like Matthew Ware–Syracuse grad student by way of Alabama–to hit your Pectoralis major, minor, deltoids and biceps.

“If it doesn’t feel right, you’re probably doing something wrong.”

Such is the ultimate law for all you In The Gym’ers out there, dedicated to health and working up a great sweat without the hand holding of an expensive personal trainer at your side.  Your body is yours-—working out and taking care of it is one way to know it and be in touch with it.  If you’re aware of you’re body- when it feels good, when it feels healthy- you’re more prone to treat it well be it through eating better, not abusing it (too much) with alcohol and drugs, and being able to identify illness early on and deal with it accordingly.

Ballet teacher extraordinaire out of Chicago, IL, Fury Gold, always says: “You are not as fragile as you think you are.”  Push your limits, test your boundaries, and know the difference between what is “slightly uncomfortable” (says Chicago Dance Person of the Year Homer Bryant) and what is unsafe.

“Don’t overextend” is the next tip this Alabama boy advises.  Firmly plant your feet one in front of the other and lean with your body weight into the one most forward. When grabbing the handholds, your open arms should be in the plane of your front body—never in the back.  Engaging your core by pulling your lower abs up and towards your spine and the uppers down into your belly button, focus on closing your slightly bent arms together at a straight line in front of your sternum.  Most of the exertion should be coming from your chest muscles, though you’ll feel it in your deltoids and biceps as well.  If you feel like most of the weight is being carried in your back or like you have to bend your arms and pull in using your biceps- lighten your load.  By decreasing the weight you’re carrying you’ll be able to extend those arms and pull them in (imagine wide, quarter circles) using the full breadth of your arms and chest to create lean, and most importantly, flexible, muscle strength.

Take a cue from Ware and be sure to stretch before and after to keep your muscles warm and flexible, and so that the next day if you’re sore it’ll be a good sore in the belly of your muscles and not at vulnerable insertion points.