MATRIX Personalized Fitness
More than just your muscles


Shane Sauer 0:00

Hi, I'm Shane.

Carolyn Rankin 0:01

And I'm Carolyn.

Shane Sauer 0:02

We're from MATRIX Personalized Fitness. In this video of our Foundations Of Fitness series, we're going to be talking about the chest, the back, and how we use those muscles in pushing and pulling. We're also going to be adding in the biceps and the triceps.

Shane Sauer 0:18

When we're talking about the chest and the back, we're talking about pushing and pulling in the horizontal plane. To show you how to do this, we're first going to learn how to squeeze and connect to the muscles. We're going to feel what it's like to actually squeeze versus to stretch. And then we're going to move into some functional exercises where we use those muscles.

Shane Sauer 0:35

So, the first one is going to be our chest. The name of the muscle is the Pec. The Pec, itself, runs from just inside the armpit, all the way across into the center of your chest. So if we're going to stretch this muscle, we're going to open up the arm nice and wide. So reach back, can you feel the stretch you're getting there?

Carolyn Rankin 0:52


Shane Sauer 0:52

Awesome. Now what I want you to do is just to roll the arm in, and try to bring the arm around and across right to the center of your sternum. So you really feel, (even further across) you get a nice, sweet, can you feel that squeezing in through here? That's an isometric contraction that we're creating. Go ahead and open up and stretch again. And we'll try the same thing on the other side. So feel your left arm go out wide to the side, creating the stretch from here to here. A little different? Then roll the bicep in and start to come across the body. So you can feel the squeeze in the upper portion, here. Now what you can do is use your own hand on this one to kind of touch the muscle itself. And notice, if there's a spot that feels a little bit softer than another, you can try to squeeze it tighter. And this is how we learn to use our muscles more efficiently. To actually create the contractions where we might be lacking it. Did you feel any spot tighten up when you did that?

Carolyn Rankin 1:40

Yeah, if I move around I can feel all different spots.

Shane Sauer 1:42

Awesome. So that's your chest muscle, okay. Could you tell the difference between the stretch sensation and the squeeze sensation?

Carolyn Rankin 1:48

Oh, yeah!

Shane Sauer 1:49

They should be very different. So as we're moving into the actual exercises, you want to make sure that when you're opening up the chest, you're feeling more of a stretch. And when you're pushing through, you're feeling the squeeze. And that's going to help you tell what you're doing and muscles as well.

Carolyn Rankin 2:00


Shane Sauer 2:01

So the exercise we're going to do here is a push-up on the TRX. What I'm going to have you do, is bring your hands right into the center. Now again, chest does pushing exercises. So a push-up is exactly that. As you start to lower your body forward and the elbows bend, the chest stretches. Do you feel that stretching sensation?

Carolyn Rankin 2:18

I do.

Shane Sauer 2:18

Now the main focus is when you're pushing back, you really want to squeeze the chest itself. So bring the arms towards each other and create the contraction right across the chest. Feeling that?

Carolyn Rankin 2:27

Mmm hmm.

Shane Sauer 2:28

One more time coming forward. And then pushing back. Feeling the squeeze. Awesome. Did you feel any other muscles working while you're doing it?

Carolyn Rankin 2:42

I feel my back muscles starting to work a little bit.

Shane Sauer 2:45


Carolyn Rankin 2:45

Yeah. And the side of my arm.

Shane Sauer 2:47

Yeah. You might be getting some sensations through the shoulders and through the back.

Carolyn Rankin 2:51

And through here a little bit.

Shane Sauer 2:53

All those muscles are working. They're helping stabilize, they're helping you do some of the movements, but the focus of the exercise should be the chest. That's where you want to put your brainpower and where you want to really put your effort. Ok.

Shane Sauer 3:05

Now, the opposite part of the body to the chest is going to be the back. The muscle we're working on, more specifically in this one, is Rhomboids. Now, the Rhomboids are muscles that run diagonally from the edge of your shoulder blade, right up and into the spine. So when we stretch this one, go ahead and bring your arms across the front of your body and let the shoulder blade drop down a little bit. Do you feel kind of a stretch back through here?

Carolyn Rankin 3:27

Mmm hmm.

Shane Sauer 3:28

Awesome. That's the stretch. Now from here, go ahead and take your arm out to the side. Think about pulling your shoulder blade into the spine and just a little tiny bit up. Do you feel the squeeze right in here between the spine and the shoulder blade?

Carolyn Rankin 3:39


Shane Sauer 3:40

Do you feel much up here in your trap? If you do, that just means you got the shoulder blade a little bit too high.

Shane Sauer 3:45

Okay, we want to try and isolate right in through here. And go ahead and stretch out again. This one's harder for you to palpate on your own. But as a personal trainer, I can help her get a little bit more sensation out of it. You can relax that arm and we'll move to the other side. So go ahead, arm comes across, feel the stretch.

Carolyn Rankin 3:45


Carolyn Rankin 3:45

Mmm Hmm.

Shane Sauer 4:02

And now as you bring the arm out wide to the side it doesn't matter what you actually do with the arm. It's really about the shoulder blade. Pulling it in tight to the spine, a little bit up. And as I feel in through here, do you feel my finger here?

Carolyn Rankin 4:13

Mmm Hmm

Shane Sauer 4:13

And here? Can you try and bring those closer together? Feel that bigger squeeze?

Carolyn Rankin 4:16


Shane Sauer 4:16

That's what we're shooting for. Really getting the back musculature.

Shane Sauer 4:19

Cool. So now the back muscles, the Rhomboids, are used for horizontal pulling. A simple exercise for that is called a row. Go ahead and take this band here. Just come into a nice stable squat position. As you're going to pull the band backwards, what I first want you to do is think about engaging the shoulder blade, finding the squeeze. Then bend your elbow and pull it back behind you and you'll be able to squeeze even tighter. Go ahead and release the band forward. And again, bending the elbow. Pulling the shoulder blade back. And squeezing tight through the back. Cool. Can you feel the work right back there?

Carolyn Rankin 4:52

Oh boy, yeah.

Shane Sauer 4:53

Were there any other places that you were feeling it?

Carolyn Rankin 4:55

A little bit, probably in the front here.

Shane Sauer 4:56

A little bit through the front, makes a lot of sense. So, perfect segue moving us into what's up next; the biceps and the triceps. So the biceps and the triceps are secondary movers for pushing and pulling.

Shane Sauer 5:08

The bicep is the muscle on the front of the body that Carolyn just felt squeezing during her rows. Its main action is bending the elbow. So what we're going to do here is again, go through a stretch, squeeze sequence. Go ahead and pull the arm back. Feeling the stretch right from your shoulder all the way back down into the elbow. Do you feel that?

Carolyn Rankin 5:27


Shane Sauer 5:28

Now as you start to come forward, bend at the elbow, and just make a muscle. Squeeze as tight as you can. Perfect. From there, you can also get a little bit more because the bicep will help pull the arm forward. Do you feel that tighten up a little bit more?

Carolyn Rankin 5:39


Shane Sauer 5:39

Awesome. So that's the squeeze for the bicep, go ahead and relax that and we'll do its pair of the tricep. It's on the back of the arm. Because they're paired, the actions are pretty much the exact opposite. The stretch is going to be bending the elbow and lifting the arm up overhead. That's really going to lengthen the tricep muscle. And now from here, she's going to take it down, start to extend it once. Feel a little squeeze back through here?

Carolyn Rankin 6:01

A little, yeah.

Shane Sauer 6:02

The arm also helps pull back so do you feel that squeeze intensify as you move backwards?

Carolyn Rankin 6:06


Shane Sauer 6:07

Perfect. So that's getting a nice strong squeeze back here to... Can you tighten up a little bit more in there? There you go, nice! There's always more, there's always more squeeze available. And relax. Cool.

Shane Sauer 6:16

So in recap, horizontal movements. Pushing, is your chest. Secondarily, it's the tricep. Pulling is your back muscles, your Rhomboids. And secondarily it's the biceps. You might always feel different muscles acting, but the most important part is that you're putting your brainpower into squeezing the proper ones when you're doing an exercise so you can get the most from those exercises.