February Fitness Tips

  • Published
  • By Michelle Walker
  • 169th Force Support Squadron

Editor's note: As of December 15, 2020, 169CES started a renovation to the Base Gym and to the surrounding area to improve the drainage and upgrade the gym. They apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause but the facility will be closed for a few months. They plan to have the facility back open by March and hope it enhances your experience. In the meantime, Ms. Walker is operating out of the JAFRC, by appointment, and may be reached via her email at: michelle.walker.9.ctr@us.af.mil

Here are five tips for having a healthier 2021

  1. Drink more water. Water helps as an aid in digestion, and helps to flush bacteria from the bladder, normalizes blood pressure, stabilizes heartbeat, as well as maintaining hydration.
  2. Eat more fiber: Don’t fear carbs! A high-fiber diet helps you feel full, lowers cholesterol, helps control blood sugar levels and maintains bowel health/regularity. Good sources of fiber include whole fruits, vegetables, potatoes (especially the skin), beans/legumes, whole grains (such as brown or wild rice, quinoa, barley, farro and whole grain pasta).
  3. Eat more plants. Purchase whole fruits and vegetables in their natural state and prepare as desired (raw, roasted or sautéed). Include bean/legumes and nuts. Try to include at least one fruit or vegetable with each meal.
  4. Eat enough for breakfast. Think of it as fueling your day! Having a good (as in balanced, with some fiber and protein) breakfast will help control your appetite throughout the rest of the day.
  5. Eat fewer processed foods. Processed meats are high in sodium and usually high in saturated fat. Processed plant-based meats are also high in sodium and often high fat also. Snack foods, sugary cereals and candy are nutritionally void and do not satisfy your hunger. Prepared foods such as boxed, flavored rice mixes, instant potatoes and canned soups have added sodium.

A Dumbbell Ab Workout With Some Surprising Core-Challenging Moves


The key to a strong core is not the crunch.

Many of us pick a couple of the same core exercises—crunches, anyone?—and end up doing them over and over again. But a dumbbell ab workout can shake things up because it’ll challenge you to incorporate some surprising core moves that you might not necessarily think of as abs exercises.

There are two main ways you work your abs: through movement and anti-movement.  Traditional abs work uses movement to challenge your core, often through flexion, like with crunches. But anti-movement can be a really effective way to work your core too.

With these kinds of abs exercises, you’re training your core to resist movement, which boosts core stability.  You do this through anti-flexion, where your spine resists folding forward under load (like with a deadlift), anti-extension, where you resist the extension of your lumbar spine to prevent your low back from hyperextending (like with a plank), anti-lateral flexion, where you resist bending from the side (like with a suitcase carry), and anti-rotation, where your core resists twisting (like with a single-leg deadlift).

While anti-movement abs exercises can look like traditional abs exercises—as the plank does—many of them play double duty as upper- and lower-body exercises too. And using dumbbells for added resistance can help kick them up a notch.

These exercises will challenge your entire core, which is important in helping you lift more weight in your workout as well as function better in everyday life, whether you’re twisting to the side to pick something up or lifting a heavy box over your head. Plus, a strong core can help prevent and reduce lower back pain.

Since these dumbbell moves are pretty varied, try picking three or four that you like to string together into a circuit for a simple dumbbell ab workout. Try doing 10–12 reps of each move and repeat the circuit three times. You can also choose one or two to swap for a similar exercise you're already doing but no longer feel pumped about.

Renegade Row With Push-Up

  • Start in a high plank holding a dumbbell in each hand on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you wider than hip-width apart (it'll help with stability), and your core and glutes engaged. This is the starting position.
  • Pull your right elbow back to do a row, raising the dumbbell toward your chest and keeping your elbow close to your torso. Keep your abs and butt tight to prevent your hips from rocking.
  • Lower the weight back down to the starting position.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor to do a push-up.
  • Push back up to plank position.
  • Then, pull your left elbow back to do a row, raising the dumbbell toward your chest and keeping your elbow close to your torso. Keep your abs and butt tight to prevent your hips from rocking.
  • Lower the weight back down to the starting position.
  • Do another push-up. This is 1 rep.

Targets the deltoids, pecs, latissimus dorsi, triceps, biceps, and core.

Single-Leg Reverse Fly

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Hold a weight in each hand with your arms resting along the sides of your legs, palms facing each other.
  • Hinge forward at the hips, lifting your right leg straight out behind you until your torso is parallel to the floor. (Depending on your hip mobility and hamstring flexibility, you may not be able to bend so far over.) Gaze at the ground a few inches in front of your left foot to keep your neck in a comfortable position. The weights should be hanging down toward the floor.
  • With a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lift the weights up and out to the sides until they're in line with your shoulders.
  • Then, lower them back down with control. This is 1 rep.

Targets the deltoids, rhomboids, trapezius, and core.

Alternating Overhead Press

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and rest them at shoulder height, with your palms facing forward and your elbows bent. This is the starting position.
  • Press one dumbbell overhead, straightening your elbow completely. Make sure to keep your core engaged and hips tucked under to avoid arching your lower back as you lift your arm.
  • Slowly bend your elbow to lower the weight back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat this movement with the other arm. This is 1 rep.

Targets the deltoids, trapezius, and triceps.

     Russian Twist

  • Sit with your knees bent out in front of you, feet flexed, and heels on the floor.
  • Hold one dumbbell in front of your chest, and lean your torso back until you feel your abdominal muscles engage.
  • Slowly twist your torso from right to left. Remember to keep your core tight (and breathe!) throughout.

Targets the core, specifically the obliques and rectus abdominis.

Reverse Lunge With Twist

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold one dumbbell at your chest with both hands, gripping it on each end. This is the starting position.
  • Step back (about 2 feet) with your right foot, landing on the ball of your right foot and keeping your heel off the floor.
  • Bend both knees to create two 90-degree angles with your legs. Your chest should be upright and your torso should be leaning slightly forward so that your back is flat and not arched or rounded forward. Your right quad should be parallel to the floor and your right knee should be above your right foot. Your butt and core should be engaged.
  • Slowly rotate your torso to the left. You should feel a nice stretch in your midback.
  • Twist back to center, and then push through the heel of your left foot to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side, stepping back with your left foot, lowering into a lunge, and then slowly rotating your torso to the right.
  • Twist back to center, and then push through the heel of your right foot to return to the starting position. That's 1 rep.

Targets the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, soleus (calf), and core, specifically the obliques.