Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – May 11

Romanian Dead Lift (for core, back, glutes, hamstrings)

dumbbell_dead-lift.jpg        romainian dead lift_m

Perform wearing flat training shoes or in stocking feet.
(2-legged: use either dumbbells or barbell; any weight you can comfortably hold for all repetitions).

  1. Use an overhand grip to hold the weights at hip level.
  2. Draw your shoulders back and keep your spine straight throughout the exercise.
  3. Push your hips back (hip hinge) as you slowly lower the weight toward the floor and below your knees.
  4. Press your hips forward to come into a standing position with the weights in front of your thighs.
  5. Repeat repetitions (as noted above) with single leg hip hinge (pictured below).
    Note: keep hips level.

(1-legged; improves lower leg & foot strength, stability, and balance).
                       Single-Leg-Romanian-Deadlift-1    1 legged dead lift

  


Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – April 27

Wall Sit and Stay (for core, back, shoulders, and leg muscles)

Wall Sit 3

Wall sits: Perform 1-3 repetitions of 30 seconds per sit, every day.

  1. Stand with your back pressing against a wall, arms along the sides of your torso with hands flat against the wall. Your feet are about 2-ft away from the wall, legs hip-width apart or a little wider. Toes may be pointed slightly outward.
  2. Slide your back and arms down the wall until your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle. Your shoulders, upper back, lower back and back of your head should all be flat against the wall. Distribute your weight evenly between both feet.
  3. Engage your abdominals, relax your shoulders and breathe evenly while counting to thirty. Recover for 15-seconds by standing up, shaking legs out, walking around.
    Then, repeat the remaining repetitions.

For progression: Hold arms out in front of your chest. Keep shoulders and lower back pressed against the wall.                 wall sit2


Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – April 20

Bird Dog Slides (for upper body strength, core stability)Note: Perform Bird Dog Slides on tile, concrete or wood floor surface, use a small towel, rag or other item that will slide across your floor surface. If this exercise is new to you, perform all repetitions by extending one limb at a time (i.e. you will have three points of contact with the floor rather than two).

bird dog slides

Source: RedefiningStrength.com

Bird Dog Slides (in bare or stocking feet); practice your walk out maneuver from last week to get yourself into position. Perform 10 – 15 repetitions, 1-2 sets every other day. Do all repetitions on one side  then switch to the other.

  1. Place a slider (or towel) under the ball of one foot and set up on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Drive your foot down into the slider and slide out, extending your leg while reaching your opposite hand toward the wall in front of you. Keep your hips square to the ground and brace your abs as you extend out. Feel your glute working to extend your leg as you drive down into the slider. Then slide back in, bringing your knee back under your hip as you touch your hand down to the ground. Feel your abs working as you bring your knee back in. Then again extend back out.
  3. Really press down into the slider as you extend and tuck. Move slowly and control the movement, bracing your abs and even pausing to feel your glutes when fully extended. Complete all reps on one side before switching.

Alternative exercise: Perform a traditional bird dog maneuver without a slide under your forefoot. From the quadruped position, extend the opposite arm/leg while keeping the hips level. Do all repetions on one side, then switch to lifting/extending the opposite limbs.


Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – April 13

Walk Out to Beast Plank (for upper body strength and core mobility, hip, knee, ankle flexibility). Note: If the walk out is a new maneuver for you, perform and perfect by walking your hands on the floor a short distance away from your body and then walk them back and shift (push) your lower body backwards to finish the movement with your standing posture. Bending your knees throughout the walk out will make this move easier.

Walk out (in bare or stocking feet) to Beast Plank
Perform 3 – 5 repetitions, holding each beast plank for 5-30 seconds. Repeat 1-2 sets every other day.

  1. Stand tall, reach for the ceiling, then bend at the hips to touch fingertips to the floor. Continue walking hands out in front of your body until your hands are underneath your shoulders.
  2. If your knees are not yet bent, bend them now, and hover them an inch or two above the ground. Your back should be flat, and your hips and knees form 90-degree angles. Your feet are flexed (a nice stretch)!
  3. Hold this posture, core engaged, neck neutral for 5 to 30 seconds. Then shift your body weight behind you by walking your hands back toward your feet. Stand up. You have completed one repetition.

 


Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – April 6

Reverse Lunge (for balance, posture, glute/hamstring/calf strength and flexibility, core stability) Note: If the reverse lunge is a new move for you, perform this exercise without adding weight. For balance, have a chair nearby or hold a wood dowel or walking stick. If you are an advanced exerciser, add weights by holding kettlebells, dumbbells, or a medicine ball to increase exercise intensity.

reverselunge-e1586183602768.jpg

Reverse Lunge (in bare or stocking feet)
Perform 10 – 15 repetitions, 1-2 sets every other day. Repetitions can be completed all on one leg then switch to the other; or alternate legs for each reverse lunge.

  1. Stand as tall as you can with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Look straight ahead and keep your torso (and chest) as upright as possible for the entire exercise maintaining a natural arch in your lower back.
  2. Keeping your abs engaged, take a step backward about 2-3 feet straight behind you. Raise your back heel to be on your toes while making sure your weight is on the front heel.
  3. Lower your body by bending your back knee until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and either perform all repetitions on one side or alternate backward lunge steps.

Tips:
(1) Your front knee should not pass your toes.
(2) Back knee should be close to a 90-degree angle.

 


Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – March 30

3-Way Leg Swings (for balance, joint mobility, range of motion, core stability, single leg strength) Note: In the beginning, perform smaller swings to maintain balance. The whole point of this exercise flow is to improve your mind-body connection and enhance muscle activation to improve your balance.

3 way leg swings

Source: RedefiningStrength.com

3-Way Leg Swings (in bare or stocking feet); Perform 10 – 20 repetitions, 1-2 sets daily.
NOTE: In the beginning, do each swinging leg exercise (i.e. forward/back) on one leg, then the other. As your single leg strength increases, attempt to do all repetitions for the 3-way swings first on the right leg, then on the left.

How to perform: Begin by standing on one foot. Feel your foot gripping the ground and engage the glute of the standing leg to help you balance. Brace your abs and stand up nice and tall. Stand near a chair or wall for balance as needed.

Keeping both legs fairly straight, but not locked out, begin to swing the other leg forward and backward. Start with smaller swings, then increase range of motion. Swing from the hip, don’t just bend your knee and kick your lower leg. The bigger your swings are, the more your standing leg will have to work to balance.

To warm up the joint, perform smaller swings during the initial repetitions and/or tap your foot down as needed to reset and stabilize. When holding onto a chair or wall, you will have removed the balance component of this exercise, however, you may now focus on hip mobility by engaging in larger swings.

Complete all reps of the forward/backward swing then, switch to the lateral swings. For the lateral swings, swing the leg up to the right and then to the left in front of your standing leg. You may even feel the outside of that glute working to raise the leg up as you swing it. The bigger your swing, the more you will open up your hip and force your standing leg to work hard to balance.

Next, perform the rotational swings by bending the knee of the moving leg to 90 degrees.  then bring the bent knee in front of you and open it out to the side. Bring the knee back forward, keeping the leg bent the entire time. Really focus on opening from the hip with this move. You should really feel the glute of the standing leg working as you rotate. The more your rotate, the harder the move will be, but also the more you will open your hips and get your glutes activated.  You will know you are doing this move correctly, as you will feel your foot, calf and even your shin muscles working to balance. You will also feel your glute and core engaging as you swing your leg to open your hip.


DECIDE…TO…MOVE

Living in a healthy, strong body does not happen by chance, but rather by choice. This is most honestly true if the body you are living in has celebrated at least 50 birthdays. If your current body is one of the 50+ year old models, do you regularly choose to move yourself in a way which might be construed as exercise? Do you walk, jog, lift weights, bike, dance, swim, go to a gym or fitness class at least once a day? If not, how about these activities: sweeping or vacuuming floors, washing dishes by hand; cleaning windows; gardening. Do not discount your household activities, they require bodily movement and as such, may be considered purposeful exercise for your body.

Whatever activities you do to move your body for well-being, the best fitness outcome will occur when you actively, mindfully move yourself every day. If not everyday, how about every other day? If you cannot or choose not to move yourself on purpose most days of the week, then prepare yourself, and your body for some disturbing news: if you do not change what you are doing today to become more active, by this time next year you will have gained weight and lost strength!

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. John C Maxwell

Now for the good news! Every day presents you with opportunities; perhaps that is part of the problem, too many choices. Regardless, every day provides you with at least 10 minutes from which you may engage yourself physically so as to build strength, stamina and flexibility. All you have to do is make a decision to move and then…MOVE IT!

“Do something today which your body will thank you for 10 years from now.”

Here’s what I do for myself to make it easy. This might work for you too. Just move for 10 minutes! If you don’t feel better after moving about for 10 minutes, then return to your former activity and try again a few hours down the road. This is how an inactive person becomes a more active person, 10 minutes at a time.

In case you find yourself in front of the television or computer screen for more than 10 minutes today, you can move it (your body) in between your sit time with some of these Move It moves:

  1. 10 squat touchdowns
  2. 10 high knee steps
  3. 10 wall or floor pushups
  4. 10 pogo hops
  5. 10 inchworms

To stave the decline of passing years upon your body, DECIDE TODAY to make physical fitness a PRIORITY in your life. I know this sounds like work to you, but I promise you this: If you will choose activities which seem like fun to you, then moving your body more minutes each day will seem less like work and more like a gift for yourself. Just move more and NEVER GIVE UP TRYING. 

 

 


Run Shared = Fun Shared

One year ago today I posted on my blog about my second running of the Cinco de Mayo 10K/5K event in Tucson. I’m not sure why I looked at my post from last year, but after reading it I knew I wanted to write about today’s experience, my third entry of this race venue on this first day of May, 2016.

Much like 2015, the New Year 2016 found me busily occupied with family caretaking duties until late March with little time to run except 1 or 2 days a week. During the month of April I was able to return to some regular training, but I knew it would be at least another month before I could be race ready for the summer season. However, it was during this time of refreshed training when I realized that several of my personal training clients desired to improve their aerobic conditioning. Wouldn’t this be a good opportunity to challenge them to enter the Cinco de Mayo 5K event and join me in walking the course?

Well, in short order we had a team of 7 individuals willing to put their best two feet forward for a race in which they would only have 3 weeks to train. While this is not how I usually prepare my clients to train for a race event, the urgency of the looming 5K certainly provided us all with an extra dose of focus and purpose for our aerobic training in the days leading up to today.

Now imagine my delight, and theirs too, when we discovered that two of our team members placed in their age groups this morning! Had I run today’s race, I would likely have placed too, but what I discovered was something even more valuable than another personal age group achievement: A joy shared, is a joy doubled.

What I cherish most about today’s event as it relates to all the days which have passed in this crazy busy Spring of 2016, is the tiny role I had in helping these fun-ready ladies reach and exceed their goals on race day today. Cheers and high-fives to all of Team Oracle!

 


Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 10 of 10

REVERSE DELTOID FLY! This is the tenth and last exercise in the functional fitness series. The reverse deltoid (shoulder) fly exercise targets the muscles on the posterior of the shoulders together with the muscles of the upper back. When this exercise is performed in a standing (bent over) position, the abdominal core, spine, glutes and lower back are also engaged.  A modified (seated) version of this exercise is also illustrated for those individuals who have lower back pain or weakness.

HOW TO: This exercise should  be initiated without hand weights first so as to develop the feel and posture of proper exercise form.

  • Stand with your legs about hip-width apart, arms at sides. Bend your torso forward and bend your legs slightly so that your arms extend below your body with your hands facing each other. This is the starting position.
  • IMPORTANT: First check your posture via a mirror before beginning the exercise; make sure your upper back is flat (not rounded); squeezing your shoulder blades together will help flatten your back.
  • Now, make a fist with each hand, knuckles pointing toward the floor, then, raise your arms out to your sides, while squeezing your shoulder blades together during the movement, maintain a slight bend in your elbows at the end of your upward arc, and do not raise head/chin upward.
  • Next, lower your arms (slowly) to the starting position. This completes one repetition. Perform eight to 12 repetitions (without dumbbells).
  • Once you can perform 1 to 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions while maintaining good exercise form, its time to add some light dumbbell weights to your workout. Start with dumbbells that weigh less than or equal to 5 pounds each.
  • Using the dumbbells, perform 8 to 12 repetitions. That is 1 set. Perform up to 3 sets.

 

8cfd5332633bc652_reverse-fly-reallly_xxxlarge (2)

Bent Over Reverse Deltoid Fly

 

 

 

 

 

 

MODIFICATION: Seated Reverse Deltoid Fly

seated-rear-deltoid-fly

Seated Reverse Deltoid Fly

Sit on the edge of a armless chair or bench with legs together, torso bent over legs, upper back flat (not rounded) and arms hanging alongside the outside of your legs. Then follow the ‘How To’ steps above to perform the seated version of this exercise.

This post concludes the functional fitness exercise series. I hope you have found this information helpful in guiding you towards a better understanding of your body’s capabilities in regards to ‘functional fitness’.

If you are able to practice these 10 exercises (as often as you can manage or tolerate) it may only be a matter of weeks (or a few months) before you notice increases in your functional strength and movement patterns.

I hope that whatever improvements you realize from these exercises will be enough to encourage and motivate you to KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!  Listen to your body, honor it with gentle, disciplined, functional exercise movements and it will serve you well for many days to come.
CHEERS & HIGH FIVE!


Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 9 of 10

WOOD CHOPS! This is the ninth of ten exercises in the functional fitness series. This exercise mainly targets the abdominal core (front, side, back) but it also requires shoulders and hips to engage and stabilize the body during the rotational movement phase. The wood chop can be performed with a dumbbell, medicine ball, cable pulley, or resistance band. This exercise has many progressions and variations and is suitable for most every fitness level.

HOW TO: Perform this exercise without a weight in your hand; practice moving through the entire range of motion un-weighted.

High to Low Wood Chop

  • Start with you feet wider than shoulder width apart, toes point slightly outward.
  • Clasp both hands together (or hold weight) elbows extended (but not locked), above and to the right side of head/body.
  • Rotate arms and torso downward towards left side of body.
    • Towards hip if standing
    • Towards knee if squatting
  • Return to start
  • Perform 8 to 12 repetitions
  • Switch sides; repeat exercise
modmedballwoodchop

Wood Chop standing

7d07848a13bf0a0b_medball-woodchop_preview

Wood Chop squatting


Low to High Wood Chop

  • Start with you feet wider than shoulder width apart, toes point slightly outward.
  • Clasp both hands together (or hold weight) elbows extended (but not locked), to the right side of body.
    • Towards hip if standing
    • Towards knee if squatting
  • Rotate arms and torso upward towards left side of body.
  • Return to start
  • Perform 8 to 12 repetitions
  • Switch sides; repeat exercise
low to high woodchop

Low to High Wood Chop

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember: Use no weight or something which weighs less than or equal to 5 lbs. when you first begin practicing this exercise. Because of the rotational aspect of the wood chop exercise, perfecting your form first will help prevent muscle strain in your lower/upper back.