Summer is gone, but your CORE workouts should stay!

Fall is officially here…

As the leaves begin to fall and we start to layer up it becomes more and more challenging to keep up with our daily workouts. As the weather gets cooler heavy comfort meals begin to replace our fresh salads and snuggling up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa replaces our evening summertime after dinner walks.

Should our workouts change with the seasons?

Fall is a beautiful season and you should enjoy snuggling by the fire, but just because you are swapping the summer bikini for thick bulky sweaters does not mean you should skip out on those workouts, especially core! Yes your tummy may be hidden during this season but core strength is so important for your balance, coordination, and protecting your lower back from injuries! This is very important as we head into a season filled with snow and snow sports! A strong core will make you even stronger on the slopes!

CORE work you can do in the comfort of your home~

This core series is so simple you don’t need anything! This is a great series to start your day, to boost your metabolism, warm up your body, and prepare your muscles for the day!

The Bilateral Bridge Series– complete 3 rounds

  • Bridge hold– keep your toes up, hold the bridge position for 30 seconds, focusing on your glutes and lower abdominals  IMG_7299
  • Active Bridges– keeping toes up actively lower hips to the ground and bring them back up 20 times.
  • KickOuts– holding the bridge position, alternate kicking out one leg and then the nextIMG_7302

The Single Leg Bridge Series– complete 10 reps on each leg; complete 3 rounds

IMG_7306

Planks Around the World– hold each position for 30 seconds

Side Plank

Be sure to do both sides!

Reverse PlankForward Plank

Mountain Climbers- 30 seconds; 3 rounds

Moutain ClimbersPlank Rotations– complete 10 total; 3 rounds

Plank Rotations

Plank Steps- Complete a total of 10; 3 rounds

Plank Steps

It will make the difference!

Use this series daily and you will feel and see the difference in your glutes, arms and core!

 

 

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Your September Workout- Conquering the KettleBell

My First Impression…

I have to admit the first time I was introduced to this block of solid metal I was quite intimated. Watching individuals swing this heavy piece of equipment around made me a bit nervous for them and others around. A colleague of mine, Frank, finally convinced me that I just had to try the Kettlebell, with promises that my workouts would forever be changed by mastering my fears of throwing metal around.

It was a bit awkward at first but wow was he right! My legs, back, and core had never felt something like this before. And yes my workouts have been forever changed by the Kettlebell.

A piece of exercise equipment to invest in!

Kettlebells are available almost everywhere now, even Target! Now ladies, as much as a plastic pink 8 lb Kettlebell seems like the perfect tool for you, skip it. Invest in the real deal! We exercise because we want our bodies to change, correct? To change we must be challenged. Challenge yourself with a 15lb-25lb Kettlebell. I purchased mine from Perform Better, keep an eye out for their great sales! Check them out here:

Kettlebell

http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product2_10151_10751_1004711_-1_1000420_1000156_1000156_ProductDisplayErrorView?utm_source=google%2Bproduct%2Bad&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=kettlebell

Many gyms now offer access to Kettlebells but if you are one that has a hard time making it into the gym I highly suggest keeping one for the house. Kettlebell workouts can be done inside or outside. All you need is the Kettlebell.

What to do with this Solid piece of metal?

Now what to do with this hefty lug of metal? You can do so so much, I love the Kettlebell because it requires muscular recruitment from the entire body. When doing Kettlebell exercises think: hips and core! Here are 3 of my favorite lower body dominant exercises:

1. The Kettlebell Squat

holding Kettlebell with shoulders retracted, feet a bit wider than hip width, squat hips back with abdominals engaged, Kettlebell between legs, then return to standing squeezing the glutes and lower abdominals standing tall. Hint: try these facing a wall first, you want to keep your chest directly over the knees (don’t hunch forward).

Kettlebell squat

2. The Kettlebell Goblet Squat

holding the Kettlebell upside down, with a hand on each side of the handle, repeat the same move as above.

Goblet Squat

3. The Kettlebell Swing

this is a hip dominant exercise – do not rely on your upper body strength to swing the KettleBell – I promise you will burn out more quickly – drive with the hips and core! Squat hips back, Kettlebell swings between the legs, then squeeze the glutes forward, tighten the lower abdominals and allow the momentum of your hip movement to swing the Kettlebell to shoulder height. Pull the Kettlebell back down to start position and continue the movement. This should be a quick movement, think cardiovascular demand!

Kettlebell SwingKettlebell Swing

Check out this YouTube video for the entire series-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGcF_2mg_o0

Conquer the Kettlebell

Once you get over the fear of swinging metal I promise your body will thank you! Enjoy!

Christy’s PowerPilates- The Spine Stretch

What does the Spine Stretch do?

The Spine Stretch focuses on articulation and spinal flexion, while offering a hamstring string stretch and pelvic stabilization. This exercise goes hand and hand with our posture theme for the month!

What muscles does the Spine Stretch focus on?

  • CORE
  • Hip Flexor
  • Spinal Erectors (helps spine stay up straight)

How to show your spine some love…

Seated high on SITS bones, legs extended and slightly wider than hips, feet flexed, arms extended forward at shoulder height and width. Inhale grow long through the spine, lifting ribs away from hips.

Spine Stretch

Exhale scoop abs and spine into a ”C” shape while maintaining upright pelvis, stretching forward as if lifting up and over a beach ball, tuck the chin to chest, hold. Inhale began to roll the spine up each vertebra at a time as if roll up a wall behind you.

Note:If you have tight hamstrings, keep a slight bend in the knees

Spine Stretch

Hints to keep in mind…

-Keep pulling the shoulders down away from your ears as you round the spine forward

-Fight to keep the pelvis from rolling back onto the tailbone, pelvis stays upright as the spine moves

-Keep the ribs closed, don’t let them splay open as you inhale away from the lower body

-Once in forward stretch, create opposition of abs and arms reaching away from each other

-As you roll up to seated position make sure you are initiating from your CORE and not lifting your head to come up. Your head should be the last part up

-Roll up as you sit tall, not back

-The focus is not how close you can get to the toes but more about keeping the pelvis upright

Christy’s PowerPilates- Pilates Principle #2 BREATHING

Pilates is focused around moving with the breath.

Thus, making it easier to move with a natural rhythm, allowing the mind and body to fully connect to each other. Using an exhale breath on the trickiest part of the exercise gives the CORE the power it needs to execute the movement. All Pilates moves start with the breath and move through the CORE, then finally focusing on the muscles at hand. Pilates movements follow a code. Inhale on rotation and extension, exhale on flexion. Moving the spine with the breath ensures the inner workings of the body are receiving a full workout as well.

How to breath
Pilates style

Inhale:
Place your hands on your rib cage, inhale the ribs into your hands, allowing them to open away from the spine. This ensures the breath is coming from the ribs and not the belly.Breathing

Exhale:
Began to exhale the breath as if you were to fog a mirror in front of you. This is known as the ”Haaaa” breath. Keeping your hands on your rib cage, you want to fully exhale the breath until you’ve exhausted every bit of stale air remaining in the lungs. Doing so allows fresh air to rush in and occupy the lungs. Joseph Pilates called this the ”internal shower”. Practicing the ” Haaa” breath on the exhale automatically forces the CORE to contract, pulling the navel to the spine and closing the upper ribs together. Once the CORE is in this position inhale through the nose expanding through the ribs once again, this time keeping the CORE engaged.

 

Your Total Body July Workout!

July is full blown summer!  Summer usually also means travel season.  It can be hard to workout in a hotel gym and even more difficult to lug around gym equipment on these fun trips!  What you need is a workout that can be done anywhere, anytime, and more important not take up too much of your beach lounging time ;).

This workout is set in 5 sections:

  • Warm up– this section focuses on posture and stabilizing the hips, glutes, and core
  • Strength session– this section focuses purely on gaining muscular tone and proper muscular engagement
  • Cardio- this section focuses on increasing the heart rate with short sprints and shorter rest periods
  • Core- yep focus on that tummy
  • Reset– this section corrects any postural imbalances (compensations) created during the workout

Warm Up-

  1. Single Leg Bridge- 10 per leg; 3 sets.  For a full explanation and video  CLICK HERESingle Leg Bridge Single Leg Bridge
  2. Airbench- hold 1-2 minutes.  CLICK HERE for a full explanation and video.Airbench
  3. Planks Around the World- 30 sec hold in each position. For a more detailed explanation and variations CLICK HERE.Planks Around the World

Strength- **repeat these 3 exercises for 3-4 sets**

  1. Multi-directional lunges- 10 each direction: forward lunge, lateral lunge, reverse lunge, & rotational lunge.  For more details CLICK HERE.Lunges
  2. Push Ups- 10 reps!  If push ups are too challenging for your current fitness level hold a plank for 30 seconds!  Stay tuned for future posts for a total push up breakdown.
  3. Neutral Squats- 20 reps.  CLICK HERE for more on the neutral squats.Neutral Squat Neutral Squat

Cardio- repeat this cardio series 3 times through with only 10-30 seconds of rest between each exercise!  These are done as quickly as possible.

  1. Jump Squats- 30 secs.  For more details CLICK HERE.Squat Jump Squat Jump
  2. Rest 10-30 seconds
  3. Jumping Jacks 30 seconds
  4. Rest 10-30 seconds

Core

  1. Side Hip Dips-20 reps per side; 3 sets. CLICK HERE for more details!

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

    Side Plank Hip Dip Level 3

Reset-

  1. Airbench- 1-2 minutes

Christy’s PowerCore Pilates- The Roll Up

This Pilates exercise is a great way to start or end your work out. Executing the roll up properly works the core and hip flexors, while stretching the hamstrings as well as focusing on spinal articulation. The key to this exercise is moving with the breath.

 

There is both a beginner set up and intermediate set up:

  • Beginner: If your core is weak bend the knees and plant the feet on the mat. Use the backs of the knees to help get you up. Once up straighten the legs in order to get the full stretch.
  • Intermediate: Legs are extended on the mat squeezing knees and ankles together, feet flexed and parallel. Press through the heels to help get your upper body up

Pilates Roll UpPilates Roll Up

How To:

Lying supine (on back) arms are reaching overhead, inhale the breath to prepare, exhale tuck the chin to the chest and raise the arms in line with ears. Curl up as if you were peeling your spine off the mat, continue forward and reach over your toes, creating a ”C” shape with your spine. Inhale hold the breath. Find the opposition in this moment, legs and finger tips reach towards the toes as the abs pull back into the spine. Exhale pull the navel to spine, roll back articulating the spine back to the floor. Engage glutes and control the decent using the CORE while reaching your arms forward. Once the shoulder blades reach the mat the arms float overhead. Repeat 10x

 

Monitor:

  • Keep pulling the shoulders down and away from the ears
  • Keep your ribs closed, as if wearing a corset. Don’t let them splay open
  • If feet are lifting off the ground, try the beginner level or try placing a ball between the ankles and giving it a little squeeze. Pressing out through the heels will also help

How To Get The Legs YOU WANT!! Part 2

Summertime legs anyone :).  Strong toned legs aren’t only sexy but allow you the freedom to enjoy the fun activities of SUMMER!  Beach volleyball anyone, hike up in the mountains to see a beautiful waterfall, or a family soccer game??  Give yourself the gift of strong legs so that you can truly enjoy summer to it’s fullest without being forced to “sit out” the fun!

If you missed out on the Part 1 of this DO ANYWHERE leg series check it out here:

SeXy STRONG Legs Part 1

The SeXy STRONG Leg series Part 1 focused on the breakdown of the mechanics of a proper lunge; this week we make the lunges dynamic!  This will put more demand on your balance… SeXy STRONG core anyone?

Follow along with this simple DO-ANYWHERE video~

Or these PHOTOS~

  • Walking LungesWalking Lunges
  • Walking Lunges with Overhead ReachWalking Lunges with Overhead Reach
  • Walking Lunges with Knee Pull InWalking Lunges with Knee Pull In
  • Walking Lunges with RotationWalking Lunges with Rotation
  • Lateral Dynamic LungesLateral Walking Lunges

Summer Sexy Strong Legs can be yours!!  Repeat this series 3-4 times/week followed by 30 minutes of cardio.

Christy’s PowerCore Pilates- The Hundreds

This Pilates move is a great way to warm up the body, practice breathing techniques, start circulation flow, and best of all a great way to work the core!

There are 3 position options for this move.

  1. Hook lying (beginner) knees bent, feet planted on the mat.
  2. Table top (intermediate) knees up and together, inlined with the hips.
  3. Straight leg (advanced) legs out a 45 degree anglePilates

How To:

Inhale to prepare, exhale curl head and chest up to the bottom of your shoulder blades. Fold forward from upper torso, not your neck! Chin is tucked, looking at your belly button, arms at sides hovering 2” off the mat, fingertips are reaching past your hips. Pulling the navel into the spine, begin pumping the arms up and down in a small range of motion with rapid pace. Inhale 5 breaths while pumping the arms, exhale the breath for 5 while pumping the arms. Complete 20 sets of these (hence 100)

Monitor:

  • Pull shoulder blades down and back, away from your ears
  • Pull abs up and in. Don’t allow lower abs to ”pooch” out
  • Keep neck long. Reach long out of the back of your neck

Things to remember:

  • Squeeze knees/inner thighs together
  • Visualize pressing a ball under water for arm resistance
  • Keep small range of motion on pumping action
  • If there is too much pain to keep the head lifted, leave the head down until core is stronger

How to get the legs you want! Part 1

It’s summer!  And with summer weather we all want to be rocking our shorts!  Are you happy with your legs?  Would you like to add some tone to those legs?

Plus with stronger legs you will have no problem with those summer hikes and bike rides along the beach.

The secret to getting the legs you really want is good old fashion strength training.  You can try the fancy creams, lotions and potions but for long lasting results you are going to have to put some work in!

Today we start with the basics.  We will be going through lunges in all 4 planes of motion.  These can be done ANYWHERE and without any EQUIPMENT… during this beautiful weather I prefer taking my workouts outside (in fact to even save some $$ sometimes I will even freeze my gym membership for the summer!).

Complete all 4 of these variations 3 times thru.  Great news- you will be done in under 20 minutes!  Repeat this series 3-4 times per week.

Lunges

Follow along with this short video or the photos below!

Check out these easy to follow photos, complete 10 reps per leg per exercise- repeat 3 circuits

  1. Forward LungeForward Lunge
  2. Lateral LungeLateral Lunges
  3. Reverse LungeReverse Lunges
  4. Rotation LungeRotational Lunges

Check back in 2 weeks for the Dynamic Lunge Sequence!

Lunges Part 2