Training Tip from Ariel Hollibaugh IFBB Pro

By Sharon Braso Lewis

I had a great time hanging out with Ariel for an afternoon. During our fun conversations we managed to put together something we both found valuable for the Lady Lifters. For this article we feature Ariel's best training tip: Varying Your Foot Position

But first, a little about Ariel.

“I love causes that empower women and I think we need more of that in our society. Women helping each other and not tearing each other down.”

The quick rundown on Ariel is she started her fitness journey in 2012. In the past she felt uncomfortable with her body and knew that a life of drinking and partying was not the answer. She recalls, “I was tall and gangly. I wanted to know how to eat right and exercise. I remember seeing Rachel Gilmore online and I wanted to look like her. For the first time in my life there was a picture of someone that I could point to and say, 'I want to look like that'.”

So she found a trainer and started to prep for her first show, the NPC Rocky Mountain Championships in Golden, CO. She points out, “I didn’t do as well as I hoped but it was a great experience. I was proud that it was the best I’ve ever looked in my life and I loved being onstage. I remember getting off stage and saying, ‘I’m ready to do the next one and I want to win the next one.’ I later called my mom and told her I wanted to turn pro and go to the Olympia some day.”

Ariel got back to work and prepped for the next show a few months later and ended up winning the overall title. She then continued on to Junior Nationals (Chicago National Show), a few months later did North Americans (Pittsburg National Show). “Every prep it’s a mental game to push yourself harder and harder in order to be better, but I like it. For me, each prep was pretty brutal, lots of tilapia and at the gym for hours. However, there is a crazy part of me that likes some of the suffering and self discipline that it takes. The focus it takes to stay on task to diet and train for competition has helped me in so many ways. The discipline and self control forced me to figure out how to balance my life. I learned to love my body through the whole process even when I’m not shredded. And to really love myself in every stage of my life. ”

What got you inspired to study massage therapy?

“Ever since I was little I would rub my friends and family’s back and my mom would tell me that I gave great massages. I always had this passion to help people heal and knew I wanted a career doing that. I got chiropractic and massage work done on me when I was in the middle of prepping for a show and the massage helped me the most. It helps not only physically but with mental depression and anxiety. When I started working on people I was surprised to see how many people walk around with chronic pain everyday but you would never know because of how they hide it. People can really benefit from good nurturing touch.

3 Things About Ariel

  • She’s a planner. “I’m very meticulous in what I do and I like to do my research ahead of time.”
  • She follows the Ketogenic diet. “It may not work for everyone but it works well for me.I don’t get as many cravings and I have a lot of energy.”
  • She loves cats. “My 2 cats are like my babies but very independent. They have this innate sense of when I’m having a bad day or I’m not feeling good. They’ll snuggle up to me and make me feel better. They are my therapy.”

Her training tip for lifters is to vary your foot position. Just that simple adjustment may lead to big improvements in your muscle building. During leg extensions do a set with your toes pointed in, straight, then out. This will vary the tension in the quads. The same goes for hamstring curls or romanian deadlifts. Toes pointed in, straight, then out will vary tension in the hamstring. Of course, don’t forget changing your foot position during calf raises! By varying the foot position you should feel the changes in tension for the targeted muscle. Just in case, the included chart shows which muscles get activated according to foot position.

And it goes with out saying but must be mentioned here. Don’t forget about the benefits of a good massage.

Some studies have found massage may be helpful for:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Contact Ariel for more info.

You can find her here:
FB: Mile High Edge Athletic