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If you are interested in this division but are unsure of the requirements, read on to learn how you can develop a winning fitness routine by incorporating the three mandatory strength moves in all national-level NPC and IFBB shows.

By: Alissa Carpio

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

If you've ever been interested in competing in fitness, there is no better time to start than now! With the increasing popularity of the figure division, new opportunities are arising for talented fitness girls very quickly!

The biggest misconception with fitness routines is that they require gymnastics ability. THIS IS NOT TRUE! The elements of a routine are strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular, which are three of the components of physical fitness. If you want to compete in fitness, master some complex strength and flexibility movements, and you will be well on your way to perfecting a 2-minute fitness routine! Anna Level and Adela Freidmansky are two great examples that you do not need gymnastics to succeed in fitness competition.

In the NPC, the fitness routine component lasts 2 minutes and may include elements of dance, aerobics, martial arts, gymnastics, or strength and flexibility. The routine is judged 33% on strength, 33% on flexibility, and 33% on cardiovascular. This is a competitor's chance to be creative with moves and show off her physical fitness level to the best of her ability. Intricate costumes are worn, props may be used, and music is professionally mixed to best enhance the overall presentation and tempo of the routine.

[ FIND OUT HOW THE NPC WILL JUDGE YOU! CLICK HERE! ]

If you are interested in this division but are unsure of the requirements, read on to learn how you can develop a winning fitness routine by incorporating the three mandatory strength moves in all national-level NPC and IFBB shows.


One-Arm Push-Up

The one-arm push-up displays strength of the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles of the body. It is a difficult move to master, but with diligent training and patience, can be achieved.

  • Keep feet spread slightly farther than shoulder width. The more spread apart your feet are, the easier the move. Judges will mark down for this. Make sure both knees are facing the floor throughout the movement.

  • Place hand where it feels most comfortable, usually slightly outside and above the shoulder joint, with fingers facing slightly inward.

  • Place other arm tight against the side of the body and the back of the thigh for balance and control.

  • Keep the entire body rigid and tensed, to ensure control and ease of the movement.

  • Lower your body slowly until your shoulder is parallel with your elbow. Avoid dropping the opposite shoulder; both shoulders should be kept in a straight line, parallel to the ground during the entire movement.

  • Explode back up in a controlled, yet smooth movement, and lock out the elbow at the top of the push-up.

  • Keep eyes and head facing forward throughout the movement, rather than facing the floor.

Practice this push-up by doing 3-5 consecutive reps on each side, resting, and repeating for a total of 3 sets. If you can't do the push-up on your toes, first practice it on your knees until you can reach the toes position. Practice one-arm push-ups at least 3 times a week for fastest results. Once you master this move, you can try variations such as altering hand placement, hinge push-ups, or one-arm one-leg push-ups.


Straddle Hold

The straddle hold displays strength of the abdominals, shoulders, triceps, hip flexors, and quadriceps. It also involves flexibility to reach the desired straddle position width during the hold.

  • Sit on the floor in a straddle position. Place hands underneath pelvis to start the movement. Tense the legs and point the toes before driving up through the shoulders and arms to lift the body off the floor.

  • Using your abs and hip flexors, simultaneously curl your body so that your feet lift off the floor and are ultimately higher than your hips.

  • Keep head facing forward throughout the movement. Hold the press for at least 5 seconds before lowering to the ground.

  • An alternate position is one hand in front of you and one hand behind.

To learn this move, practice it in two parts: part one will be pushing the body and hips off the floor and holding that position; part two will be lifting the feet off the floor as high as you can and holding that position. Practice this move in parts until you are able to lift your entire body off the floor at once.

Use an aerobic step to practice this move until you can lift your feet higher than your hips. This will help you strengthen the necessary muscles and feel the movement in the air until you are able to perform it on the ground. Once you master this move, you can vary it by rotating around on your hands 180 or even 360 degrees. You may also alter it by bending one leg in toward your body.


Leg Extension Hold

The leg extension hold, or "L" hold, requires strength of the abdominals, shoulders, triceps, hip flexors, and quadriceps, as well.

  • Sit on the floor with back straight and shoulders back, legs together straight out in front of you. Place hands at your sides, between your hips and knees. Use a hand position that is comfortable for you. Tense the legs and point the toes before driving up through the shoulders and arms to lift the body off the floor.

  • Using your abs and hip flexors, simultaneously curl your body so that your feet lift off the floor and are ultimately higher than your hips.

  • Keep head facing forward throughout the movement. Hold the press for at least 5 seconds before lowering to the ground.

To learn this move, practice it in two parts: part one will be pushing the body and hips off the floor and holding that position; part two will be lifting the feet off the floor as high as you can and holding that position. Practice this move in parts until you are able to lift your entire body off the floor at once. Use an aerobic step to practice this move until you can lift your feet higher than your hips.

This will help you strengthen the necessary muscles and feel the movement in the air until you are able to perform it on the ground. Once mastered, this move can be varied by twisting back and forth slightly, or by adding turns as in the straddle hold.

What Is The Hardest Mandatory Fitness Move To Learn?
One Arm Push-Up
Straddle Hold
Leg Extension Hold
Full Split-Front
High Kick
Full Split-Side

Pic Taken With Permission From: NPCNewsOnline.com.

Good Luck!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Fitness Routine Training:  Three Mandatory Moves!
alissa.carpio@yahoo.com

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