Fitness for Self Defense

Strength for Self Defense

People work out to be slim, sexy, healthy and built, but what about working out to survive? I always tell personal training clients and group fitness class participants that we do push-​​ups so that we have the strength to push someone or something off of us in case of danger; that we run and perform cardio intervals so we can sprint away from any situation.

This week I had the chance to see fitness strength combine with self defense techniques when former WWE Diva Champ turned self defense expert, Eve Torres, visited a gym in New York. I had taken other self defense classes in the past, and they involved a lot of eyeball, adam’s apple and groin strikes. This class was different.

Eve is one of the stars of Investigation Discovery’s new show Surviving Evil debuting Wednesday, August 28th, 10/​9c. In anticipation of showing the world how ordinary people survived extraordinarily evil situations, Torres taught several free survival classes at New York Sports Club (NYSC).


“75% of assaults are by people we somehow know,” Torres warned. “You need to learn to set boundaries, and you have the right to defend yourself. If you are trapped, it can become a kill-​​or-​​be-​​killed situation, but there are tools that can greatly increase your chances of escaping.

Besides physical fitness and strength, she says awareness is key. “Knowing your surroundings and paying attention if someone is lurking or following you – so don’t get too involved in that magazine or iphone,” Torrres continued.

She then provided dangerous scenarios and moves to escape.

Move 1 – Establish a Base, Avoid the Ground

If you are sitting cross-​​legged on the ground in the park, for example, and someone approaches you in a threatening manner, the first thing you want to do is get to your feet in a way that puts them on guard, keeps your balance if they try to push you, and gives you a way to either run or defend. Bend the left knee and place the foot on the floor, quickly placing your right hand on the ground to lift your hips up and swing your right leg wide and outside of the hand (think of a football game at the line of scrimmage). Stand with your knees bent and your feet in this wide base position. “I never get up from a sitting position now without doing it this way, and you should stand up this way for the rest of your life” Torres said. “Once you practice and make it second nature, your body will respond naturally when the stakes are high. Avoid the ground at all costs.”

Move 1 – Establish a base, avoid the ground

Move 2 — Pull or Push in Base

If your attacker tries to pull you toward him or a car, house, or alley, you can resist from the base move by shifting your weight on the leg that is farthest from them, and straightening your closer leg. This looks similar to warrior II. “It seems counter-​​intuitive, but you may need to put your closer leg even closer to them so your base stays wide and you don’t fall into the attacker.

Get out of it: If he is pulling your arm with one hand, you locate the opening in his hand (when thumb meets fingertips in grip), bend your elbow and move it towards the attacker so your fist moves towards you and pops out of the grip.

Move 2- Pull or Push in base

Move 2- Pull or Push in base

If he is holding your arm with two hands, grab your fist with your other hand and perform the same pop-​​out while in pull-​​base stance. “These aren’t power moves, they are leverage moves,” Torres differentiated.

Move 2- Pull or Push in base

If the assailant is pushing you, you bend your knee closest to them and lean into them, straightening your opposite leg for resistance. Bend the elbow of the arm that is closest to them, lifting your arm near their neck and grabbing your fist with your other hand. Then you push your arm hard into their neck to create a frame and space between you. Push your hips back away from the person to get away.

Move 2- Pull or Push in base

Move 2- Pull or Push in base

Move 3 – Choke Hold

What if the attacker puts his hands around your neck? Torres suggests tightening your throat, dropping your chin, and stepping your strongest side foot back into base. Then quickly duck between his arms and out to the side of the foot you stepped back. (Think quick duck and swoop, “like a Beyonce hair whip”.)

Move 3 – Choke hold

Move 3 – Choke hold

Move 4 – Strike

The best way to strike the attacker without them seeing you “wind up” is the “Super Slap,” to get the element of surprise. From base position, use your strongest side arm and keep it loose, like a limp noodle. Whip your body from base stance to lunge stance starting with your legs for power and turning through your hips and shoulder. The arm will follow, and aim it with an open palm to slap the assailant’s ear. This will affect his eardrum and equilibrium and provide an opportunity to run away.

Move 4 – Strike

Move 4 – Strike

Move 5– Ground Attack

If your opponent does get you on the ground, and is on top of you with you face-​​up, lets say choking you, Torres says the best thing to do is not to try to punch and reach his face, because it will exhaust you if you can’t reach and if they are stronger, and hitting you. She recommends grabbing his arm that’s choking you on your left side, with your right hand and anchor it down toward your collarbone and chest while squeezing his right triceps (your left) with your left hand. Bend both knees and hook your left foot inside his foot. Left your hips and roll to your left. His leg and arm will be temporarily trapped by your arms and let, and he will roll over with you, allowing you to get on top, free and run.

Move 5- Ground attack

More info:

Want to try these out in person and see more of Torres’ 15 moves?

She tours the country teaching these moves, and provides discounts and free programs to locations like Military bases. To take her classes, or become certified to teach others how to survive, visit www​.GracieUniversity​.com

Investigation Discovery, NYSC and Eve Torres want you avoid being an easy victim. These moves and seminars prepare you to ID the danger, show that you were the wrong target, and use your fitness strength and training to subdue and run away from evil.


NikkiFitness Baby Bootie Camp Nominated for “Live! with Kelly and Michael” Show “Viewers Choice!”

A few months ago, my Baby Bootie Camp Video was featured in a Live! With Kelly and Michael segment! I had tons of fun showing off moves like Rockabye Thighs, Patty Cake Crunches and Tummy Time planks, and Michael had fun switching out his baby for a doll and freaking out the audience (and Kelly) with a little trick.

Check out the segment and vote for NikkiFitness Baby Bootie Camp as one of your favorites at this link: (it’s the 6th row down, first on the left)

You can also watch the segment on my website’s TV REEL page.

Thanks, and as always fit in your fitness, with your baby!


Strengthen Your Back With These 3 Moves


By NikkiFitness (Get more back workouts in my DVDs at

lower back pain and exerciseIf you’re prone to throwing out your back or if you suffer from chronic back pain, it’s crucial to add a few upper and lower back exercises to your workout. Even if your back seems fine, injuries happen to people everyday whether it’s from tripping and trying to catch your balance, bending over the wrong way to pick up something, or overexerting yourself in a kickboxing class. Before I became a trainer, I didn’t realize the importance of working my back as much as working my abs—until I hurt mine. Here’s some information about why you especially need to work your back muscles and three easy moves that will strengthen them.





Importance Of Lower And Upper Back Muscles

female upper backStrengthening your lower back muscles is important for people who don’t exercise on a regular basis, but it’s equally as essential for those who do but overlook the lower back. Think about it: If you have a bad lower back, you won’t be able to do ab crunches, bicep curls, lunges, or daily living activities so you need to keep those muscles strong.

Upper back exercises are vital as well, especially if you sit at a computer or hunched over a desk all day. Hunched posture can cause painful knots and strains, chiropractor bills, and give the wrong first impression. If your exercise routine includes pushups and bench presses, remember that you need to work the opposite muscle group, the trapezius and rhomboids.




AirplaneThis exercise will work both your upper and lower back. The airplane is performed by lying on your stomach with arms extended out to the sides at shoulder level.

  • Lift your head, chest, arms, knees and feet off the floor, leaving just your torso on the mat. Look at the floor and don’t crank your head up to look at the wall in front of you. By keeping your gaze on the floor, it helps keep the neck in line with the spine. Hold for 3 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times.
  • Next, speed up the move to 15 faster singles, not pausing at the top.
  • Finally, hold your arms, legs and chest up to the top of the move. Keep your legs and chest lifted, and ‘flap your wings’ by moving the hands up and down for 10 repetitions. As a bonus, this exercise also tones your tush!
  • Stretch. That completes one set. When you’re done with each set, do a cat
    stretch on all fours and drop the head while rounding the back up to the


Spinal Extension Balance Reach

spinal ext balance reach

  • To perform the balance reach stay on all fours on hands and knees.
  • Look at the floor as you reach your left leg up and straight behind you while raising your right arm straight in front of you.
  • Hold the leg and arm up for a count of 3 and release.
  • Straighten and lift your right leg and left arm simultaneously, hold for 3 and release to complete one repetition. Continue to look at the floor throughout the move. Do 10 reps for one set and finish with a cat stretch.


Back Extensions On The Ball

low back ball 2

  • Lay face-down on a stability ball with your belly button in the middle of it.
  • Move your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and balance on your toes.
  • Place hands behind your head and curl down over the ball.
  • Next, engage the lower back muscles and lift your torso up so that your head, shoulders, hips and heels are all in one diagonal line being careful not to arch the back.
  • Lower your back down over the ball. Repeat 15 times and do 3 sets all together mixed into your normal workout routine.



Back it Up

slimastics workoutFor more challenging back exercises like wheel pushups, stability ball, back extensions, and airplane supermans, check out my book and DVD, The Slimnastics Workout. I put back exercises in all my classes and DVDs to help others from falling prey to an injury.








Nicole Glor is the founder and president of NikkiFItness. She is a 35-year-old fitness expert, author of The Slimnastics Workout, and the star of 9 fitness DVDs including the new 2013 Seasonal Affective Disorder Workout video, Hard Core Abs DVD, Fit Travel Workout DVD, Booty Camp, The Slimnastics DVD, Red Carpet Runway Workout, Military Wife Workout, Baby Bootie Camp, and the Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout (Amazon). Nikki’s workouts have been featured in over 100 national media outlets including the New York Times, Live! With Kelly and Michael, Fox & Friends, GMA Health, Shape, Self, Fitness, and Women’s Health. She is also an AFAA certified NYC personal trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan, and a 200hr RYT YogaFit/Yoga Alliance trained yoga instructor. Her “Slimnastics” workouts focus on multitasking toning and plyomentric cardio intervals (HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training) to cut workout time in half and boost metabolism. Search for “NikkiFitness” on Facebook and Twitter, and get the free newsletters, music playlists, video demos and DVDs at

Traffic Workout: Objects in mirror will be slimmer than they appear.


By Nicole Glor


We hit traffic more than we hit the gym sometimes, so why not get a little workout with these 6 moves while sitting still behind the wheel? Whether on your way to work, or heading on vacation, this traffic workout will at least get your blood flowing, provide a stretch, and burn a few calories instead of wasting time.


Trainer’s tip: for safety, do these only in stand-still traffic, not while moving at a slow rate. You need to pay attention to the road first and foremost! You can also do this while waiting for your family to finish up at the rest stop! You can also do many of these moves as a passenger or on a flight using your tray. For a more intense travel workout, download the NikkiFitness Fit Travel Workout video (Amazon.)


1) Ab crunches: While seated behind the wheel, engage and contract the abdominals (pretend someone is punching you in the stomach) and bring shoulders closer to your hips. Work obliques by crunching the left shoulder towards the right hip, and the left shoulder towards right hip. Straighten back up to sit tall. That makes one rep. Do 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch by sitting tall and turning torso to the right, hold for 3 seconds, then left. Next, sit tall and grab your head rest with elbows up, elongate your abs and arch your back slightly while pushing hands into the headrest.

2) Wheel Push-ins: These work the same muscles as a push-up – the pectorals and arms. Put hands at 3 and 9 o’clock on the steering wheel. Squeeze the wheel with hands pressing in towards each other to work chest. Hold for 1 second. Do 3 sets of 20 press-ins. Stretch by sitting tall, interlacing your fingers together behind your hips, pushing your chest forward and shoulder blades together. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.

3) Biceps wheel pulls: Place hands at 5 and 7pm on the wheel with palms facing you. The wheel should be between your hands and you. Pull isometrically against the wheel (the wheel won’t move, you are just using it as resistance). Hold for 1 second and release. Do 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch by lengthening arms, palms up and pushing fingers toward the floor with your other hand

4) Upper back presses: Place hands gently on the wheel at 3 and 9 o’clock. Push your shoulders and upper back into the seat behind you and hold for 1 second to engage your trapezius and rhomboids. This move also improves your posture if it suffers while sitting behind the wheel driving. Repeat 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch by interlacing the fingers in front of you and pushing the palms toward the windshield.


5) Calf and glute raises:  Sit on the seat and put feet on car floor. Lift and lower heels while putting weight in the balls of feet and toes. Lower heels to the floor and engage your glutes to lift your butt off the seat. That makes one rep. Do 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch by straightening legs off the floor and flexing the feet, then pointing the toes, repeat for 10 seconds. You can also stretch by placing the right ankle over the left knee and gently pressing the right leg toward the seat with your hands. Repeat on other side.


6) Triceps dips: When you arrive at destination or at a rest stop–you can do mini triceps dips in your 
seat. Place hands by hips with fingers pointing in front of you. Lift and lower your butt off the seat by bending and straightening
 elbows for 1 rep.

 (Make it harder by opening your door and placing feet on the ground with legs straight.) Do 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch triceps afterwards by placing one arm behind head, elbow up and fingertips down the back. Push the elbow toward the back of the car with your other hand. Hold for 20 seconds, switch sides.


With this workout, you’ll be concentrating more on your body than on the cause of the delay, and road rage could be in your rear view mirror!