Author Archives: Irene Pastore

Virtual Fitness: Straight Back Seated Cable Row

Back Strength and Core Stabilization

Straight Back Seated Cable Row

MUSCULAR BENEFITS: The Straight Back Seated Cable Row strengthens the muscles of the back: Trapezius, Rhomboids, Latissimus dorsi. Core stabilizers of the back and abdomen are also strengthened.

INSTRUCTIONS: The Straight Back Seated Cable Row is a strength training exercise targeting the back. Place both feet on the foot rest. Bend both knees. Reach forward and take hold of the handles. Keep wrists and back straight. Slowly pull handles toward your rib cage, without arching your back or neck. Keep shoulders neutral. Return to the start position as shown in the video.

LEVEL: The torso is unsupported during this exercise. Strength is required in the core muscles that stabilize the trunk in order to maintain a steady, upright position. While cables are not the first choice for a beginner, a novice may be able to perform this exercise as long as they avoid using more weight than they can handle, move slowly, and they don’t experience neck, shoulder, or back discomfort. The cable should be controlled without extraneous movement.

INCORRECT MOVEMENT: The following movement indicates using excessive weight: Arching the neck and looking up. Rounding the back. Bringing the chin toward the chest and looking down. Yanking the handles and moving too fast. Shoulders rising up toward ears. Leaning back.

MODIFICATION: Practise good form, rather than attempting to pull more weight. The outcome of too much weight is developing poor posture, suffering an injury, or both.

ALTERNATIVE: In general, cables are not the first choice for beginners. The seated machine alternative with a built-in chest rest, assists the user to maintain an upright position. The downside of this, is using too much weight and creating an overarched position in the low back while pulling the weight forward.


EXERCISE DOs and DONTs – As with all exercise programs, when using exercise videos that appear on this site, you need to use common sense. If your muscles are weak, either do the modifications, or don’t attempt this exercise if it’s too difficult for you. When starting an exercise program, be sure to discuss your plans with your healthcare provider

Please leave comments. It helps others to learn.

Virtual Fitness: Fitball Abdominal Curl Up

Abdominal Strength and Core Stabilization Exercise

Fitball Abdominal Curl Up

LEVEL: Ability to remain centered and steady on the fitball. Strong abdominals. Not for beginners.

INSTRUCTIONS: Lie on the fitball with your feet on the floor. Place fingertips next to your forehead. Bring chin toward chest. Slowly round your back and curl up bringing the ribs toward the hip bones. The small of your back remains on the ball when you curl up, as shown in the video.

VARIATION: Clasp your hands behind your head with both elbows pointed outward. This will add work to the exercise. Do not pull on yank on your neck. Use the strength of your abdominals to curl up.

MODIFICATIONS: 1) Cross your arms on your chest. 2) Reach your arms forward with elbows straight. Keep shoulders in place.

PREREQUISITE: Basic Abdominal Curl without the fitball. LINK

CAUTION: To prevent loss of balance, do not allow your feet to lift up off the floor. Do not attempt this exercise if you have no experience using a fitball.


EXERCISE DOs and DONTs – As with all exercise programs, when using exercise videos that appear on this site, you need to use common sense. If your muscles are weak, either do the modifications, or don’t attempt this exercise if it’s too difficult for you. When starting an exercise program, be sure to discuss your plans with your healthcare provider

Please leave comments. It helps others to learn.

Ted Talks Video: One More Reason To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Ted Talks Video: Why Do We Sleep?

Ted Talks Video: What Causes Insomnia?