Tag Archives: strength training


Check out this testimony from a friend of mine

↓ ‘GYM GUY’ John Moorhead ↓


John became curious about TYE4 this summer and decided to give it a try.  He’s following Jim Stoppage’s Shortcut To Shred program and discovered how a little bit of TYE4 conditioning makes a big difference…

“For the longest time, I thought Pilates was a Greek mathematician. I finally learned that it was something you did with your body to increase mobility and flexibility, preferably while wearing aqua-colored tights and listening to Enya. Therefore, as a man, I used to think of a few other “p-words” when I heard the word Pilates: pumpkin spice lattes, and pretentiousness.

Okay, so maybe that’s painting with a broad brush — but seriously, Pilates was never a form of exercise that I embraced, or even took seriously. I consider myself to be fairly health-conscious, but I’ve never been keen on the concept of group fitness classes, yoga, and other seemingly “graceful” methods of burning calories. I’ve spent the last ten years doing a mixture of weightlifting, mixed martial arts, and occasional bouts of rock climbing. Most of those involved blood, all involved pain, and pain was a right of passage.

Fast-forward a few years… pain had transitioned from a right of passage to a “way of life”. I had noticed friends of mine (mostly female) at my church mentioning this odd-looking bungee cord called “Tye4”. They wore it, did a bunch of Pilates-looking stuff, and usually followed it up with an Instagram post of a coffee, aimed to make Yuppies in the area salivate with envy. “I’ll pass” I thought. But I kept seeing it… kept hearing about the “burn” that it would give. I continued hearing about the flexibility, and the mobility, and the “strength” (yes, strength from a bungee cord). So, when I connected the dots that two of my favorite people from church — Ashley and Jeremy Benson — were distributing it, I let my curiosity get the better of me, and started asking them some questions. Those questions turned into “maybe it can help with MY pain, MY flexibility”.

Ashley and Jeremy were gracious enough to meet with me and my wife to show us some basic moves and stretches. Within minutes, I could tell that Tye4 was the real deal. Not only was I squaring-up my shoulders to wear it more comfortably, but I was pushing myself to stretch further to “feel” the Tye4’s resistance. It’s a psychological thing for me — the resistance sent a tactile cue to my brain to “push” into the stretch. This is good, because I have the flexibility of an anvil. The other thing that became immediately apparent after working with Jeremy was the symmetry it introduced to my body. Without the Tye4, it’s quite easy to stretch one arm a bit further, one leg a little less. But with the Tye4 forming a bridge across the axis of your body, if one side dominates, you feel the resistance respectively increase. Subconsciously, you make the adjustment. All muscles get worked evenly. It’s brilliant.

My wife also took notice of the effects… for at least a year, her shoulder was extremely sore during exercise, something akin to an impingement. After two days with the Tye4, the pain was negligible and she had full range of motion. A few days later, Ashley showed us some HIIT (high intensity interval training) techniques and put us through a quick ten-minute session… by the end of it, I was drenched. The resistance of each cable is very light… maybe between five and ten pounds, depending on the orientation of the cables. But what destroys you (in a good way) is that five/ten pounds being pushed in *every* direction. Coupled with HIIT, you will definitely exhaust the affected muscle groups.

We both loved it so much that we purchased one for each of us to use, and we have used it every day since. Most days, we use it as a warm-up routine to wake up our muscle groups and get the blood flowing. But a few days each week, we wear it throughout the workout. I especially love it on chest day — the Tye4 acts like an invisible spotter when you’re doing dumbbell chest press, the resistance keeping your form in check throughout the full range. Between sets, we do cardio-acceleration, miniature HIIT bursts for 60 seconds while the resistance taxes our muscle groups. You’ll be the wettest person in the gym, but that IS why you’re there, right?

Since we’ve been wearing the Tye4 in the gym for a few weeks, we have received a few stares. But just as I was skeptical at first, those stares have turned into “Hey bro, what is that?” and “What does it do?”, and that’s precisely when we share our Tye4 story with them. Special thanks to Ashley and Jeremy for the coaching, and helping us learn about Tye4. They truly have a passion for helping their clients become the very best version of themselves, and it’s exciting to help them spread the word about this unique device that is changing lives.
— John Moorehead



[This is from a guest post I wrote for Fitmark September 2013 – see it here.  Now, over a year later, I’ve continued using  Tye4 personally,  with test groups and with my clients.  If I had to rewrite this post, I would not change a word.  More on Tye4 here ]

There is a new fitness love in my life, and it’s called Tye4®. I attended the Official Tye4 Launch and Training Workshop in New York this summer and am now teaching five Tye4 classes a week and can’t stop talking about it! This new fitness tool has my creative exercise juices flowing and has given me a fresh excitement and hope for the health, strength, and the repair of our bodies.

The Tye4 is a wearable resistance. It’s a harness that can be worn higher or lower on the chest, depending on preference, with easy adjusting straps. It has a bungee that attaches to both feet separately, and one that attaches to both hands.

tye4collage.jpgIt was invented by Joan Breibart, Founder and President of the PhysicalMind Institute. She introduced the first Pilates certification program, the first Mat Work Pilates Video in 1991, ‘Working Out The Pilates Way‘ and other books, articles, and inventions that have helped the Pilates Method evolve and benefit our generation.

I teach two different classes: 1. Tye4 Fusion and Tye4 Pilates. The Tye4 Fusion class is a combination of aerobic, barre, strength training, Pilates and stretch. I start with a dynamic warm up that loosens our spine and hips and awakens the body to move. Using Tye4 gives us something to push or reach through (a closed kinetic chain) and enables greater stretch and lengthening. We move from warm up to full on sweaty, aerobic exercise. I give high impact options for some of the moves, but it is optional. The beat of the music is fast and we have fun feeling a full body burn.

Next, the music slows down and relaxes our minds so we can put full focus and concentration into the Barre moves. Here I use the Tye4 to assist in leg lifts and balancing. We don’t over work the hip flexors and because we are able to hold balance so much better and longer with Tye4, we feel a beautiful burn from our glutes all the way down into our calves in the stabilizing leg! I LOVE THAT! Honestly, this is where I start sweating! Hard work.

After Barre, I take my class through a series of strength moves, including pushups and plank. Again, using the Tye4 is changing the game! We use a front cross leg bungee variation when doing a modified pushup. The leg bungee cross “reminds” the body to keep the core engaged during the movement, and the crossed hand bungees provide resistance! I no longer have to nit pick on form. It just happens with Tye4! And modified or “girly pushups” create such a surprising burn!

I wrap up our class with Pilates down on the mat using Tye4 in each exercise. We now can move with more control, stabilize with more awareness, and stretch deeper. As I’ve heard from a few of my clients, “I can really feel my muscles now.”.

I agree with what About.com had to say about the Tye4, “What is so great about the Tye4 is that the lines of resistance feedback to the core of your body. This is very Pilates approach to fitness. It’s an effect we get from much of the larger Pilates equipment like the reformer, but getting that direct feedback with something as portable as the Tye4 is unusual.”.

Tye4 was invented in the Pilates world, but it is a creative, effective tool that can be used with many other types of fitness.

For more information, visit TheMethodPilates.com and ‘Like’ my my FaceBook page Nashville Fitness for the latest updates on classes, workshops, and Tye4 talk.

So far, I’m getting great feedback from every one of my clients who have tried it out. It seems to be quite addicting! If you can’t tell, I’m really excited about Tye4 and I hope you take some time to look into it. Maybe it’s something you can incorporate into your exercise routine or use to bring your clients to a new level of health!

Stay fit,
Ashley Benson
Fitmark Ambassador 2013



It was a year ago this week that I was flown out to NYC for the Pilates Style Magazine photo shoot that introduced Tye4® to the Pilates world.  This is an experience I’ll never forget.  The shoot lasted 5 hours and I was sore in EVERY SINGLE MUSCLE afterwards … so I know exactly what muscles are engaged while using Tye4!!!  I now KNOW exactly where my CORE is – I was even sore in my intercostal muscles (the one’s in-between the ribs)!  LOL

The atmosphere during the photo shoot was relaxed and it was a lot of fun.
I stayed in the most beautiful room with a view at the Hotel on Rivington.

This was a perfect place to rest, relax and focus on the upcoming shoot.



And of course, I cherished the time with my friend Monica Mendes Bittenbender (also featured in the story), as well as Yuu Fujita-Toews, PhysicalMind Institute Lead Teacher and the most valuable time spent with Joan Breibart – Founder of the PhysicalMind Institute, started the Pilates boom in 1991 and inventor of the Tye4.


Ashley Benson and Joan Breibart

The story was featured in the March/April 2014 edition of Pilates Style Magazine!

View here.


A few months after this, I was back in New York for TheMethod Pilates Tye4 Standing Pilates training – see here.


We are still discovering new ways to use the Tye4 and I am more in love with it today as I was the first time I got my hands on a Tye4 prototype  Feb. 2012 – a year and a half before it was even released!  See my original 2012 post here.

Thanks for taking a trip down memory lane with me.  I’m grateful and humbled by this experience, and SO EXCITED for what’s to come!!!



We just spent a great week in the cool little German town my parents live in – New Braunfels, Tx.  It’s a tourism town and a GREAT place to visit!  There are two rivers that run through the town, and I couldn’t help but use both of them as a backdrop for your next workout videos :).  First, we filmed behind Bubba’s Big Deck at Gruene River Co., right on the Guadalupe River.  It’s a gorgeous location with it’s huge old trees, the river rapids and the interesting wildlife all around.  In the summer months, this is an awesome place to tube the river, kayak or just hang at the bar and watch all the river traffic pass.


Continue reading


Strange thing:  The past 2 weeks, I have had a number of you ask  what you need to do to tone your inner thighs.  Funny that this seems to be a theme in my life right now, so I thought I’d help you out and give you some exercises that WILL TONE UP those thighs!  In this video, I am using a Tye4@ which I find to be so much more effective than doing the same exercises with body weight alone. Take a look…
If you live in the Nashville Area, you NEED TO COME TRY OUT ONE OF MY TYE4 CLASSES!!!  I’m starting new classes in Brentwood next week at
 I’ve got limited space, so don’t wait to sign up.
Questions?  Email me!
Follow my Tye4 Facebook Page
Tye4 Pictures and Review HERE
Tye4 Launch in NYC this summer HERE

Photos by Jene’


Find out why exercising in the SAND is a great way to add variety and intensity to your workout in my guest post on
You will also get some great exercises to do in the sand as well!  
Go check it out and share the love!!!



Here is a quick workout you can do ANYWHERE!
This is a ZIG-ZAG routine which means you will do one strength exercise followed by a higher intensity exercise using the same muscle group.
Workout Options
  1. Get through exercises 1-8 with little to no rest in between.
  2. Perform exercises 1-8, rest 2 minutes, and repeat 1-8.
  3. Set your clock for 30 minutes and begin.  Rest at the end of exercise 8 and then start back at 1.  Write down how many sets you did of each, and try to beat your record next time you do the Zig-Zag workout!
Hey, don’t forget to be safe.
Happy Lifting 🙂

WEEKEND WORKOUT – Lunge and Lift

Try this workout this weekend!  Do it at HOME OR AT YOUR GYM!
  • Remember to warm-up & stretch 5 minutes before you begin.
  •  Be sure to use good form with each exercise.
  • Be creative with the resistance… if you don’t have dumbbells, then use something from your home like a gallon of water!  
1. Back Row w/Dumbbell – 30 sec.
2. LUNGE to the next exercise
3. Bench Dips – 30 sec.
4. LUNGE to the next exercise
5. Bicep Curl – 30 sec. 
6. LUNGE to next exercise 
7. Push-Ups – 30 sec.
8.LUNGE to next exercise
9.Squat Jumps – 30 sec.
10. LUNGE to next exercise
11. Up-Right Row w/Kettle Bell – 30 sec.
12. Sprint back to the beginning.
Repeat 3-4 times!

Fitness Vacation Recap 5: Sand Bag Workout & Seashells

I’m finally finishing the Fitness Vacation recap.  I took last week off to rest and enjoy Thanksgiving with my family.  We had a great week- hope you did too!

As I planned for this trip, I tried to incorporate as much variety for our workouts as possible.  I absolutely love the resistance training up on the roof top with my gym equipment…

 but what about out on the beach?  
Well I wasn’t about to take my precious dumbbells out to the sand and sea, 
so I had to be creative!  
It only took a few minutes to put them together.
Here are some of the exercises we did:


Like the kettlebell, the SAND BAG provides uneven weight distribution:
  1. The muscles have to work together as one unit. 
  2. The stabilizers muscles must do their job in order to control the bag.
  3. The CORE must be engaged in every move. 
All good stuff!  
We could feel it after the workout!
 Now for a JOG ON THE BEACH.
So what’s next…
No question about it:  LUNGES!!!  
Oh, and why not?  
Now we are just having fun.

Thank you, Kay, for taking this picture at the very second I look like I have it all under control!  LOL
I love shells and always have – I still have my shell box full of beach memories from my childhood!  I’m fascinated with the fact that each shell has a history.  Every single one has its own unique story!  What a miracle!  I also feel a need to know what each one is.  I realize that’s a big undertaking for me, but I found some help from iloveshelling.com 
Being this was my first time to this area, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was really happy with our treasures!  I think we may have found some extra special beach bling on the count of HURRICANE SANDY.
 We found a whole sand dollar EVERY DAY we were there!

 We also found the most beautiful Pin Shells!  I couldn’t stop collecting them.

Ok, I think these are shark teeth or something????  
If you know, PLEEEEASE tell me!
 And what in the world is this???????
 A local on the beach told me this was a dolphin vertebra.  I saw an image online of a shark vertebra that looked like this. 
What do you think?

The rest of my collection…

If you know about any of these shells, PLEASE share! 
 What did I find?  
They are all so unique and beautiful.
This was the end of this awesome week, 
NEW outlook. imagination. skill
towards a healthy life.

 Thank you 
– KAY – 
for documenting and sharing the wonderful memories made on this trip 🙂
If you have a group interested in coming on a 
Health & Fitness Vacation, 
contact me and WE WILL TALK!



According to Women’s Health:
  • 2 sessions per week can REDUCE overall body fat by 3% in 10 weeks without reducing your calorie intake… that’s as much as 3 total inches off your waist & hips!
  • The new muscle BOOSTS your metabolism!
  • It’s the way to SCULPT and SHAPE the body
  • It burns more calories over all than cardio alone:  The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research discovered that  women who did an hour-long strength workout BURNED an average of 100 MORE calories in the 24 hours AFTER THE WORKOUT than they did when they had not lifted weights.
  • With 3 sessions per week, you could loose15,600 calories a year AT REST = about 4.5 lbs of fat!
  • Replace 10 lbs of fat with 10 lbs of lean muscle and you’ll BURN an additional 25-50 calories a day without even trying!
  • Research has also found that lifting weights is BETTER than cardio at burning off the intra-abdominal fat… the kind that is close to and surrounds our organs.  This is the fat that is associated with diseases from diabetes to cancer.


Read more at Women’s Health
Try these total body workouts and exercises