Category Archives: Exercise

March Workout Challenge- Let’s Do This

I’m challenging everyone to accomplish one new exercise , move or pose this month.   Choose something that you were never able to do before.  It doesn’t matter what it is…it can be standing on one leg for 30 seconds;  if you were not able to do it before,  it counts.

Here are a few examples of exercises or new moves to challenge your body and challenge you to believe that you can achieve more than you ever thought!

Here are some ideas for exercises:

Crow Pose/Crane Pose-

This is my personal challenge for the month because I’ve never been able to do this pose  (pictured above).  I will also choose one exercise challenge.

  • 1. Bending the knees slightly, bring your palms flat on the floor about shoulder distance apart.
  • 2. Place the knees on the back of the upper arms.
  • 3. Start to come forward, lifting the head as you go.
  • 4. Take feet off the floor, one at a time, so you come to balance with both feet up.

Looking up  YouTube videos will also be helpful.

Pike Push-up-

  • 1. Begin in push-up position with hands in a wide diamond (fingers pointing toward each other).
  • 2. Bend at waist, lifting hips up and coming onto toes (walk them in a bit if needed) so body forms upside-down “V”. Bend elbows to lower head toward hands.

V-ups-

  • 1. Sit on floor or mat. Lie supine with hands on floor over head.
  • 2. Simultaneously raise straight legs and torso. Reach toward raised feet. Return to starting position. Repeat.

The Contest

*Comment on what exercise  you choose to challenge yourself with this month. Remember choose anything, not just what is outlined here.

*Then subscribe to my blog 

*Then share my blog on your Facebook page and your name will be submitted into a drawing.  I will be giving a $50 G.C. to Sports Authority or if you are one of my clients you can choose to apply it to your training package. Drawing will take place on March 15th, 2014 at noon. 

Notes

Please consult a physician before attempting any exercise and always listen to your body.  If something doesn’t feel right, DON’T DO IT!

O.K.  Let’s Go!!

To Stretch or Not to Stretch: That is the Question

Should we stretch or not?  There is a lot of debate among experts if stretching helps or hinders performance.  One, a study  published  in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2010; 24 [9], 2274–79),  “concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you may find yourself feeling weaker and wobblier than you expect during your workout. Those findings join those of another new study from Croatia, a comprehensive re-analysis of data from earlier experiments that were published  in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. Together, the studies augment a growing scientific consensus that pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive.”

A Few Key Terms:

Flexibility is mobility or range of motion around a joint.  You probably know some “double jointed” people, which is really a joint that is hypermobile.  There are many reasons, that I won’t get into now, for hypermobility but it can lead to painful injuries such as dislocation, fractures, disc prolapse, ligament sprains, muscle strains, pulled tendons and so on.

On the other hand, there are those that can barely reach behind them, or those that can’t touch their toes- Inflexible   

Stretching is the movement or exercise we do to try and improve our range of motion.  According to About.com, “Biomechanic experts and physical therapists generally use the norms for normal range of motion around a joint as the basis for determining muscle imbalances.”

Does Stretching Hamper Performance

Most of the studies, I read, conclude that static stretching hampers performance in strength and explosive power, more so than endurance.   However, many studies conclude that  , for endurance events: “performance was significantly greater in the non-stretching vs. the stretching condition, for an endurance event with significantly greater energy expenditure during the stretching compared with the non-stretching condition.”

What should athletes do to Improve Performance

Warm-up dynamically, by moving the muscles that will be called upon in your workout.  Dynamic stretching  combine the stretch and warm-up.  Examples of this would be :

  • walking lunge
  • high-knee running
  • butt kickers
  • carioca
  • side shuffle

 Everyone is Different

 There are a variety of reasons for increased or decreased Range of Motion (ROM).  After years of training a variety of different clients, I’ve come to understand that everyone is different, their genetics, their injuries, their muscle imbalances.  I start to get concerned when limited ROM prevents my clients from doing normal activities.  Also, I’m concerned for athletes doing repetitive movement and training for a sport, resulting in muscle imbalances.

Experts still debating on the stretching issue. Always consult your physician if you are going to start an exercise program or perform any at home testing.

 

Important Questions to Ask

 

 Have you ever had more flexibility?

Has your flexibility changed recently? 

Is your flexibility or lack of preventing you from doing normal activities?

Do you do anything repetitive (work or sport)? 

 There may be many reasons why you may not perform the following flexibility tests optimally. But that is for another post. Remember; never overstretch a muscle to get a better score. Always know your limits and don’t push it.

Here are a couple of common tests that can be performed to see if you are at the optimal ROM for a joint. 

Groin Flexibility Test–  (Sometime called Butterfly)  Sit on the floor with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor and legs together. Let your knees drop sideways as far as possible keeping your feet together. The soles of your feet should be together and facing each other. Hold on to your feet with both hands, and pull you ankles as close to your body as possible. Measure the distance from your heels to your groin.

Use the table below to convert the score measurement to a rating.

Ratings           Score

Excellent         5 cm

Good              10 cm

Very Good     15 cm

Fair                 20 cm

Poor                25 cm

Trunk Rotation Test–  Mark a vertical line on the wall. Stand with your back to the wall directly in front of the line, with your feet shoulder width apart. You should be about arms length away from the wall, though you may need to adjust the distance from the wall once you start the test. Extend your arms out directly in front of you so they are parallel to the floor. Twist your trunk to your right and the touch the wall behind you with your fingertips, keeping your arms extended and parallel to the floor. You are allowed to turn your shoulders, hips and knees as long as your feet don’t move. Mark the position where your fingertips touched the wall, and measure the distance from the line. A point before the line is a negative score and a point after the line is a positive score. Repeat for the left side with your feet in the same position.

Take the average of the 2 scores (left and right sides). Use the table below to convert the score measurement to a rating.

Ratings         Score

Excellent         20 cm

Good              15 cm

Very Good     10 cm

Fair                 5 cm

Poor                0 cm

My Favorite Stretch   (tight glutes and back)

Sit in a chair with your leg crossed (Like a man sits). Sit up nice and tall.  Keep your back flat.(.do not round it) then lean forward. You will immediately feel it in your glute area.  You can also try this stretch lying down.

What are your favorite stretches for tight muscles that are causing you pain or limiting you?

Notes:

I am not a doctor, please consult your physician when attempting any new exercise or stretch.

What in the World is Pilates?

A Little “Pilates” History

The following excerpt is taken from www.josephpilates.com  “In 1880 near Dusseldorf Germany, Joseph Pilates was  born . As a child, Joseph suffered from several health ailments: asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever.  In an effort to restore his own health, he studied anatomy books and reinforced what he learned by observing animals in the woods.  When Britain entered World War I, his German citizenship led to his imprisonment along with other German nationals as “enemy aliens.” Despite the unfortunate circumstances, this was a fundamental time in the development of his method.  During his imprisonment Joseph taught his exercises to fellow compatriots, and later he acted as a nurse-physiotherapist of sorts. Here he developed the first concepts for his innovative machines by disassembling the camp bunk beds and using the springs as a form of resistance to rehabilitate the injured and bed-ridden.  One of the greatest examples of the immense benefits of practicing Joseph Pilates’ holistic approach to health is the outbreak of a terrible influenza in 1918. The 1918 influenza epidemic decimated populations all over the world; areas of close co-habitations of people, such as internment camps, were especially hard hit. However, all those who followed Joseph’s routine survived due to their good health.”

In Short –Does it Work?

 An eight-week study published in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport studied the effectiveness of a Pilates exercise program on healthy adults (average age of 25) who had enrolled in a Pilates course for the first time (26 females, 2 males). After an eight week course, the Pilates exercise group showed a significant improvement in decreased body fat, improved flexibility for hamstring and low back muscle groups, and improved abdominal muscle endurance.

STOTT Pilates

There are different Pilates certifications..this in mine: I’m certified by STOTT Pilates for this reason: STOTT PILATES incorporates modern exercise principles and the original Pilates method and are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and re-balance the muscles around the joints.  STOTT makes it applicable to sport-specific training and everyday life.

Pilates makes everything …better!

Why Pilates

*Pilates focuses on the flexion, extension and rotation of the spine. It also  strengthens all of those deep ab muscles and muscles around the spine

*Reduces joint & lower back stress

*Balances flexibility with strength Leads to better muscular symmetry

*Heightens body awareness

*Non-impact, easy on the joints

*Can be customized to suit everyone from rehab patients to elite athletes

*Complements other forms of exercise

*Improves sports performance (golf, skiing, skating, dancing, equestrian etc.)

*Improves balance, coordination & circulation.

Beginner- Two Pilates Exercises

 The Roll-up-  Lie back with legs straight and arms extended above head next to ears.

Bring arms forward, tilt chin down, and slowly curl upper body up, reaching hands to toes.

Half Roll Back- Begin seated on the Mat, tall and lengthened, ensuring your feet are hip-distance apart. Curve your spine and roll back as far as possible while keeping feet on the mat

Start with 10 reps of each of these.  Usually this is just the beginning for the entire repertoire.  More to come!

 CAUTION: Please note the following important cautions before attempting STOTT PILATES exercises. Consult with your doctor before beginning this or any other exercise program, as not all exercises are suitable for everyone. This or any other exercise program may result in injury. If you experience pain or discomfort during exercise, stop immediately and consult your doctor. To reduce risk of injury, never force or strain during exercise.