Chapter 3 - The Pull and The Push

Our core includes both our backs and our abs. Don’t forget to work your back as much or even more than your abs. We often omit back exercisesand focus more on our cosmetic “six-pack” until there’s pain. But, do we balance out the core work by doing an equal set of back exercises? Usuallywe are stronger in our front side, which leaves our back weaker and our core imbalanced.

Exercise 1 - The Pull

Our core includes both our backs and our abs. Don’t forget to work your back as much or even more than your abs. We often omit back exercises
and focus more on our cosmetic “six-pack” until there’s pain. But, do we balance out the core work by doing an equal set of back exercises? Usually
we are stronger in our front side, which leaves our back weaker and our core imbalanced.


The Pull is an exercise that will help strengthen your back. You can do this exercise using a cable system or an elastic, resistance band. Anchor your resistance at a height just below your shoulders by your lower rib cage. Your core engagement and correct posture will help to build proper strength and back alignment, creating better body balance.

  • Facing the bungie, or perhaps in the gym, you can find the cable tower.
  • Anchor the resistance cord chest high but no higher than your shoulders.
  • Take a few steps back to create a tight pull.
  • Stand in your ready set position.
  • Hold the handle in a neutral grip slightly turning your palms up.
  • Inhale.
  • Then, exhale as you activate your core. Pull your shoulder down and your shoulder blades together, retracting your scapula.
  • Pull back, toward your lower rib cage and to your hip.
  • Pause for a few seconds
  • Remember to stay tall and keep your core stable.
  • Do you feel your spine lengthening? Do you feel taller?
  • On the inhale, allow the arm, shoulder and shoulder blades to return to your starting
    position.
  • Take a few steps back to create a tight pull.
  • Stand in your ready set position.
  • Hold the handle in a neutral grip slightly turning your palms up.
  • Inhale.
  • Then, exhale as you activate your core. Pull your shoulder down and your shoulder blades together, retracting your scapula.
  • Pull back, toward your lower rib cage and to your hip.
  • Pause for a few seconds
  • Remember to stay tall and keep your core stable.
  • Do you feel your spine lengthening? Do you feel taller?
  • On the inhale, allow the arm, shoulder and shoulder blades to return to your starting position.

Do 10 reps (assuming you are conditioned enough to do so and cleared by your medical healthcare provider). Repeat on the other arm. Ask yourself: “Is one side stronger than the other? Does one arm have more range of motion?” If you find a weaker side, repeat a second set of 10 reps on the weaker side.


Check and test to see if you are out of balance each session. Keep doing double the reps on the weaker side until you no longer feel an imbalance. In most cases, the imbalance will correct itself fairly quickly. It is important to use one arm at a time to measure for the imbalance. After you have mastered this movement and stabilized yet increased your range of motion, then you can began to progress and work leg balance. Stand on one leg and pull with the opposite arm. Try the other side, too.


If one side is stronger than the other, do an extra set on the weak side daily, until your strength equalizes. Always check for an imbalance. With consistent training, corrections happen quickly. Once you find your strength balance, it’s important to maintain it. Your body will quickly return to its original imbalances if you don’t make this strength training workout part of you weekly routine.

Exercise 2A - The Push

    • Using a cable system or an elastic resistance band, anchor the resistance at a height just above your shoulders. With your back toward to the pulley or anchor, take a few steps away to create tension.
    • Stand in your ready set position.
    • Hold the handle in a neutral grip slightly turning your palms up.
    • Inhale
    • Then, exhale as you activate your core.
    • Push shoulder down and shoulder blades together, while pushing your arm forward to a shoulder height position.
    • Pause for a few seconds.
    • Remember to stay tall and keep your core stable.
    • Do you feel your spine lengthening? Do you feel taller? If not, then ___
    • On the inhale, allow the arm, shoulder and shoulder blades to return to your starting position.

    Exercise 2B - The Bench Press

    The one-armed bench press using a dumbbell is a variation of the above movement. It can be done on a bench or on the floor lying on your back.

    • To set good posture, bend your knees as needed with your feet to the floor or on a bench to allow for the natural arch in your lower back.
    • Press your low back into the mat or bench.
    • Relax your neck so your head is centered over your shoulders.
    • Gently push your head into the bench or mat while releasing your shoulders down and pressing your shoulder blades into the bench or mat.
    • Inhale
    • Hold a dumbbell in your hand using a loose natural grip. Try not to overgrip.
    • With your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle by your rib cage, hold the weight in your hand directly above your elbow.
    • Then, exhale as you activate your core.
    • Push shoulder down and shoulder blades together, while you push the weight over the center of your chest.
    • Pause for a few seconds.
    • Remember to keep your core stable.
    • On the inhale, allow the arm, shoulder and shoulder blades to return to your starting position.

    Do 10 repetitions. Repeat on the other arm. Ask yourself: “Is one side stronger than the other? Does one arm have more range of motion?” If you find a weaker side, repeat a second set of 10 reps on the weaker side.


    Check and test to see if you are out of balance each session. Keep doing double the reps on the weaker side until you no longer feel an imbalance. In most cases, the imbalance will correct itself fairly quickly. It is important to use one arm at a time to measure for the imbalance. After you have mastered this movement and stabilized yet increased your range of motion, then you can begin to progress and work leg balance. Stand on one leg and pull with the opposite arm. Try the other side, too.


    If one side is stronger than the other, do an extra set on the weak side daily, until your strength equalizes. Always check for an imbalance. With consistent training, corrections happen quickly. Once you find your strength balance, it’s important to maintain it. Your body will quickly return
    to its out-of-balance state if you don’t make this strength training workout part of your weekly routine.