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The Importance of Back Activation Exercises and Why You Should Give Your Best Stuff Away for Free: Joovv AMA with Cori Lefkowith

Joovv AMA with Cori Lefkowith

Cori Lefkowith is the owner of Redefining Strength, a functional fitness training facility focused on educating clients and trainers on unique training methods to help them move and feel better. Cori started Redefining Strength to help empower people through diet and exercise so that they can lead healthier, happier lives. You can follow Redefining Strength on Facebook for workouts, exercises, and daily fitness tips.  And make sure to check out Cori’s podcast for some killer fitness hacks.

We were honored when Cori agreed to participate in a Joovv AMA.  So without further ado, here are her answers to your questions…

What is the one fitness activity that you hate doing the most, but yields the best results?

This is super random, but back activation exercises. I LOVE glute activation and core activation moves, but for some reason, and I’m pretty sure it is because shoulder and spine mobility have always been my weak points, back activation exercises are always something I want to skip.

But they are literally ESSENTIAL. They are key to shoulder health. Preventing neck, shoulder, and upper back pain and injury. They are key to me deadlifting more, doing more pull-ups, and improved posture.

They are literally something I should be doing almost daily, but for some reason, I just don’t enjoy doing them!

On the flip side, you routinely post a lot of great workouts on your blog.  Do you have 1-2 all-time favorites?

Oh dang! This was a tough one because I feel like my favorite workout changes as I constantly am learning more. So here is one upper body and one lower body workout...

The upper body one I LOVE, because it builds your pull ups and seriously leaves your core smoked, is one from my Pull-Up Challenge Program. First, it’s 4-6 rounds of eccentric pull-ups for 5-8 reps. Then after finishing all of the rounds of pull-ups, you transition to the two supplemental supersets. Each exercise is done for 20-second intervals. These intervals force you to end up doing a higher volume and even push past failure.

In the first superset, you do pull-ups and handstands paired together with about 20 seconds of rest across 6-8 rounds. Then you move to the second superset, which is push-ups and pull-up holds. All I can say is Youch! It hurts so good :-).

One of my favorite lower-body workouts right now is this 20-rep, glute-focused one that combines activation moves with strength-training moves right within the bulk of the workout. Too often, we feel activation exercises that can only go in the warm up, but they can actually be great to use right within the workout. They help us make sure the correct muscles are constantly turned on during compound moves and really help ensure we are working those sleeping giants - aka our butt!

This workout combines Mini-Band Abductions, Weighted Barbell Bridges, Band Pull-Throughs, Single-Leg Deadlifts, Mini-Band Donkey Kicks into one burner series, which you do 3 rounds of. In the second series, you do Mini-Band Squat Jacks, High Box Step-Ups, Mini-Band Hip Thrusters, Slider Reverse Lunges and Frog Bridges for 3 rounds.

All I can say is...GLUTE SHAKEAGE! Haha.

If I opened up your fridge right now, what would I see?

You would see lots of salsas (love my salsas), greek yogurt, chicken, ground beef, broccoli, brussel sprouts, pickles, corn tortillas, avocados, peanut butter, mixed nut butter, eggs, heavy cream, coconut milk, the “guilt-free” guacamole from TJ’s (so, so good, I don’t even care about the stupid label on it, haha), Tamari, and cold-brew coffee. Those are my staples.

In the freezer, you’d find more frozen veggies, fruit, shrimp, and that quick-cook rice from TJ’s.  Did I mention I love Trader Joe’s!?!

What 3 supplements can you not afford to live without?

This was another challenging question. I use only one “supplement” consistently. And it’s whey protein. I have an iced coffee and whey protein shake every morning. I use whey protein in granolas and cookies. It is a perfect way to hit my macros and have some fun with recipes.

The only other supplement I ever play around with is BCAAs. I’ll get on and off streaks where I use BCAAs, but never use them consistently.

However, I can’t live without peanut butter. I know it isn’t a supplement, but I literally have 3 extras in the cabinet just “in case” I get low because I’d probably die if I ever ran out. And I get different varieties even. I have to get creamy, crunchy, and salted, and then another “nut butter” variation as well.

Do you get 8 hours of sleep per night?

It is rare that I get under 7 hours of sleep. And when I do, I know I need to make a change and reorganize how I’m prioritizing things. I rarely wake up with an alarm though. I actually only use one twice a week when I teach classes at 6 am. Other than that, I go to bed when I’m tired and wake up when I wake up!

You've had some really great guests on your podcast.  Over the past 10-20 episodes, what are 2-3 learnings that really stand out?

First off, thank you! There are some amazing people out there doing really cool things and I’m always excited to get to learn from them!

The lessons that have really stood out are:

  • Get outside of your comfort zone. So many of our guests have mentioned this in one way, shape or form. If you want to get anywhere in life, business, fitness, etc., you need to step outside your comfort zone and get comfortable being uncomfortable. That is where real change happens and how we grow better and stronger both mentally and physically.
  • Give your best stuff for free. This is another lesson we’ve heard repeatedly time and time again. So often in business, we are afraid to share our “secrets.” Trainers feel like they have to protect their knowledge or have some secret far too often. And guess what?! There really are no secrets, haha. Share your best stuff. Teach your clients. Build a relationship. That all comes by offering quality content and lessons for FREE! If you offer your best stuff for free, people will keep coming back and want to learn more from you!
  • CONNECT and network. Most people want to help. And what’s the worst that can happen if you reach out and they do happen to say no? Nothing!  Except they said no and now you need to reach out to someone else! But, you will eventually find someone that says yes. Trust me. Amazingly, most people that you truly want to connect with will say yes to helping you! And thinking you can do it alone is ego, not intelligence. And I say this as someone who thought egotistically for a while that they could do it “their way” with no help. It just doesn’t work that way. Connecting and seeking out a mentor will be the best decision you’ve ever made. It will save you from making tons of stupid mistakes. Plus, if you want to break the rules and do it “your way,” you’ve got to first truly understand what the rules are!

What is something you really enjoy that most people would be surprised to learn?

Oh gosh! Hmmm, I really enjoy sitting at home on my couch at night watching reruns of TV shows I’ve seen probably 100s of thousands of times and working on my laptop with Ryan and Coconut. It’s probably weird that sometimes I’d prefer to rewatch a show I can repeat every line to, and still laugh every time, instead of watching something new, but hey, I like weird :-).

Have you ever used red or infrared light therapy?  If so, what type of results did you experience?

I have to be honest, I haven’t, but now after looking at your site, I’m going to have to try it and get back to you! (Insert embarrassed emoji face here, haha).

What person(s) of influence are you closely following right now?

On the business side of things, I’m a bit obsessed with Russell Brunson currently. On the fitness side, I’m enjoying geeking out watching Brent Brookbush’s videos.

But honestly for me, it’s not so much people I follow, but problems I try to solve. I find that I learn the most when faced with a problem I’ve got to find a creative solution for.

If you could put a billboard anywhere, what would it say and where would you put it?

The billboard would say, “I win.” And I can’t pick a place since everyone needs to see this daily and say it daily. So instead, can I make it a screensaver that is forced to be shown on everyone’s computers? Haha.

Think about how many times we say negative things in a day, especially compared to how many times we say positive things about ourselves and our situations.

And guess what? What we say to ourselves creates our mindset. And our mindset influences our actions. And our actions, well our actions become our reality. So one positive thought like “I win” can literally change your whole life.

I firmly believe we are what we tell ourselves. So guess what!? I WIN! :-)

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Thanks again to Cori Lefkowith for being a part of the Joovv AMA family!  Also, don't forget to check out Redefining Strength when you get a chance.  We highly recommend it!

If you missed the chance to submit your question for this AMA, stay tuned for the next one.  We'll let you know in advance on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.