Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

Posts tagged “Bodyweight

Exercise Expertise: The Dead Bug

The almighty Dead Bug. It’s a great exercise! Many people are familiar with it, but not everyone implements a sound, logical progression into their routine.

Click on the link below to read my latest post over at! I expand on the Dead Bug exercise and lay out my current progression which covers 28 variations! That’s a lot of dead bugs! 🙂

I will continue to post links here, but as a reminder, I am no longer utilizing this blog as my main site.

Have a terrific Tuesday and keep expanding your exercise experience!

Sarah 🙂


-Progressing the “Dead Bug”-

The oh-so-dreaded Dead Bug…how my clients love/hate it so!

It is one of my favorite basic movements for teaching proper stabilization strategies, as well as the correction of faulty breathing patterns.

The “Wall Push” is an excellent variation that is excellent for beginners. Dr. Craig Liebenson has popularized the dead bug, combining the research and training of Pavel Kolar and Dr. Stuart McGill.  Craig’s article in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies on this exercise may be found at this link.

-MTM 1.0 Ebook!-

Roughly two and a half years ago I created the concept for my first ebook, MTM 1.0.

I wrote it by myself.

I edited it by myself.

I put together all the workouts and pictures for the corresponding exercises.

It got some really good reviews and overall I was very happy with the finished product!

I was just not very good about getting the word out, although I did sell a good number of copies.

In an effort to get the word out once more, I am knocking $5 off the original price.

You can snag a copy by visiting my MTM 1.0 page and paying through PayPal…

or you can simply CLICK HERE and order directly!

Please understand that I do not use an automated system to deliver the ebook. I will be emailing you a copy myself, therefore if you place your order while I’m unable to get back to you immediately, please be patient! I will get back to you asap that day! You have my word!

So, if you are a fellow fitness professional, check it out and feel free to put your own “tweaks” on the exercises and routines!

Or, if you’re simply looking for some new inspiration, you’re bored with your workouts at the gym or in-home, and/or you just need some new ideas…

grab a copy of MTM 1.0 today!

-FREE WORKOUTS Page Is Awesome!-

This is just a little update to let everyone know that I just updated my FREE WORKOUTS page to include each and every post that explains and/or shows a workout YOU can use!

I have listed each workout post, and all of them will open in separate windows.

So…if you’re needing a little inspiration, or just need some workout ideas, stop by often! I will be updating the page on a regular basis to provide more awesome content for y’all!

Check it out now by clicking here!

-This Is How I Do It!-

Always a good time!

Curious to see a little “on the fly” footage of Yours Truly layin’ down the law?

This was shot last Thursday during my PM boot camp. My initial plan was for us to be in an entirely different room, therefore I had to change up the workout. As it normally goes, I never really know how many people will be showing up to each workout, so i’m always forced to think on the spot (which I love)! This turned out to be a KILLER circuit with numerous modifications to suit all the participants! I think they all had a blast! 🙂

-The Best Bang for Your Fitness Buck!-

Yes, this is somewhat I am at the age of 19, weighing 100 pounds and using a machine that I haven't touched in at least a decade! That's the way we did things back in 1995!

As a fitness professional, I get asked all sorts of exercise-related questions on a daily basis. One of the top ones (aside from “how do you make that look so easy?” lol) is:

“What’s your favorite piece of fitness equipment?”

Nowadays, those of us who are obsessed with fitness are fortunate enough to have our pick of “nifty” gadgets! There’s kettlebells, Dynamax medicine balls, furniture sliders, JC Predator bands, Indian clubs, sandbags, and the ever-popular  TRX. So…which device tops ’em all in my book?

If it's good enough for Ellen, it's good enough for all of us!

The Shake Weight.

It’s amazing! It really is!

Okay, okay…I can’t continue…I am completely kidding. I feel the Shake Weight is a piece of crap, and I would hope that none of you believed me in the first place!

Seriously, with all of the amazing (and fun) options out there, at times it can be difficult for my ADD self to not go overboard with equipment choices when writing up programs for my clients and boot campers! I am a big believer in keeping things simple, especially with my boot camp workouts.

Yes, I do love to use my favorite gear, but I feel it is important for everyone to remember that the best piece of fitness equipment is the one that doesn’t cost a dime, is VERY portable, and offers a plethora of exercise progressions that build upon the basic patterns of human movement. With a little know-how and a ton of creativity, you can take this piece of equipment and come up with your own exercise “tweaks,” thus making it what I feel to be the best option out there!

So…what is it?

The chin-up is the king of bodyweight exercises, in my opinion!


“But Sarah,” you say…”that’s not exciting.”

I say you’re wrong!

The human body and all of it’s intricacies amaze me. The fact that we have the ability to move the way we do is something none of us should take for granted. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to use my body!

In addition to the reasons stated above, I feel that bodyweight training tops any fitness gadget for the simple fact that anyone at any level can do it. It’s not intimidating, doesn’t require a ton of initial skill, and paves the way for more advanced training that lies ahead (with fancy, cool equipment such as the TRX that I mentioned earlier)! This is why I feel it provides the best bang for your fitness buck!

To be brief, if you cannot properly control your own bodyweight during an exercise, how in the heck can you expect to safely perform it with 50 pounds of weight on your back? If your knees cave in when you squat and/or you don’t have sufficient hip mobility, doesn’t it make sense to “clean up” the movement first and THEN worry about making things harder? Many people can’t even squat properly, therefore things are complicated enough without the addition of a barbell, kettlebell, or weight vest!

Since I brought up the squat, let me throw out a few ideas that can lead to a myriad of bodyweight squat progressions (in no particular order). Here’s a few ways I “tweak” the bodyweight squat:

  1. Manipulate the arms (reach overhead, to the side, to the ground)
  2. Manipulate the torso (hinge, rotate, extend, shift)
  3. Alter the stance (slightly staggered, staggered, toed in/out)
  4. Stand on one leg (which can be further modified by the addition of 1 and/or 2, as well as)…
  5. Manipulate the “free” leg (while doing single-leg squats; drive it out as you descend, allow it to counterbalance, reach it out to the side, keep it triple-flexed at hip/knee/ankle, swing it thru)
  6. Change the speed (static hold, basic reps, slow negatives, pulses)
  7. Make it plyometric (jump up, forward, to the side, rotate)

You get my idea.

To get even more of an idea, check out one of my favorite blog posts featuring the Gary Gray squat matrix from my fellow fitness pro Jamie Atlas. You will see why I love this blog post! 🙂

My boot camp workouts rely heavily on the use of bodyweight exercises. Here we have burpees...everyone loves 'em (ha!), and there are tons of ways to tweak them up or down, depending on fitness level!

SIDENOTE: I have said it before, and i’ll say it again: it is an all-too-common practice in the industry for personal trainers to throw fancy exercises at new clients without first making sure that they are at a proper level using bodyweight alone. There are numerous reasons why this happens, and it is up to you as the client to arm yourself with the ability to be selective in hiring a fitness professional! Interview them first! Ask them if they know how to properly progress a client from de-conditioned couch potato to rockstar!

Until next time, stay active, love life, and LIVE IT!

Yours in Health,


-Fancy-Schmansy Push-Ups & Schtuff!-

The JC Predator Band

If you’re an advanced exerciser, you most likely enjoy finding different ways to “torture” yourself during workouts. Trust me, I know good and well how this is!

The JC Predator Band

The JC Predator Band

Monday, I threw together a nice little 20-ish minute workout for myself. I basically stuck with 3 “tools” and put together three tri-sets incorporating each. I used a Bodybar, my bodyweight, and the JC Predator band.

Here’s the lowdown:

1. 5-minute Bodyweight Warm-Up

2. Tri-Set 1: BB OH Kneel to Stand/Fire Hydrant Push-Ups (on handles)/JC Predator Hip Hinge to Row

3. Tri-Set 2: BB 1A Clean & Press to Windmill/Fire Hydrant Push-Up to Down Dog Flopover/JC Predator Static Squat with Alternating Arm Pull

4. Tri-Set 3: BB Lateral Reaching Lunge to Snatch/”Jazzed-Up” Plank to Pushup (added a T-Roll in elbow plank position and a Hand March in high plank position)/JC Predator Staggered Stance “10 to 2” Rotations

Check out some of the action!