Monday, July 30, 2012

Functional Exercise number three!

First...I'm back!  Here to make your fitness dreams come true!  And I will begin to accomplish just this by offering an incentive.  It's the end of the summer, notoriously a time when folks lose momentum and slack off:  But I say NO!  We press on!  There is no off season!  There are no excuses!  There is no mercy! 

And with that in mind, I will offer an incentive.  Stay with your program.  Get to your training sessions, group or one on one.  I will be giving out a T-shirt to the winner for each month until the end of the year.  The most consistent client, that stays with their program, does their homework, and makes or makes up their scheduled sessions, will be the winner.  I will be keeping track.  And like Santa, I will know who's "naughty and nice".

Next, let's continue our foray into functional exercise.  As I remember, we had two already in our pockets, and now on to the third!

Hip extension with reverse fly (variation, Stork pose with reverse fly)

Functionality: This exercise improves your balance and coordination as well as strengthening your upper, mid and lower back, shoulders, glutes and legs.

Exercise: Stand tall with a 3-5-pound dumbbell in each hand. Extend your right leg back and place your toe on the floor keeping your right leg straight. Lean forward slightly at the hips, keeping your back flat and your abs tight. Lift your right leg behind you as you bring your chest towards the floor and lift your arms straight out forming a T at your shoulders, squeezing your shoulder blades together and keeping your head in alignment with your neck. Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg. As you get stronger, increase dumbbell weight and strap 2- to 5-pound weights on your ankles.

Stork pose variation.  Instead of lifting the leg and lowering with each rep, get into the leg lift position and hold that while continuing to perform the reverse fly exercise.  This focuses a bit more on the balance aspect, and isometric contraction in your low back and gluteals.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stair Climb with bicep curl, functional carrying and stair climbing

Continuing our foray into functional exercise, I am adding on this week.  Add this exercise to the previous one and you begin to have a workout, plus your cardio of choice.  If you see me regularly, we will do this in your workout this week.

Stair climb with bicep curl

Functionality: Whether you have stairs at your house or have to climb them elsewhere, using stairs as part of your fitness program will keep your legs conditioned — not to mention toned. Adding stair climbs with bicep curls will strengthen your arms and improve your ability to carry things up the stairs. This exercise will also boost your cardiovascular fitness.

Option 1: 
Stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs holding a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand. Climb the stairs while performing bicep curls. Perform 2 sets of 12 per side.

Option 2:  Walk or run down the stairs holding the weights but not doing curls. Repeat 5 to 10 times. Increase the dumbbell weight as your arms get stronger and mix up your climbs by taking two steps at a time for a flight or two.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Functional Exercise Series

Currently, the focus in fitness is on functional exercise.  As a trainer, I have had to learn hundreds of exercises with at least as many variations to make them harder or easier.  The fact remains, however, that in order to do what makes us happy, whether that's sailing or strolling or roller blading or cycling, we need some exercises that will encourage what we call "functional strength"; the kind of strength and coordination that comes from utilizing exercises that work multiple parts of your body in concert, to increase stabilization, power from your core, and better performance during your chosen activity.

With that in mind, let's start to examine some possible functional exercises that most of us can do.  We will look at a different one each week to start building a repertoire that you can follow.

1. Medicine ball squat with overhead lift

Functionality: Even though you lift things — like groceries, your kids, and other objects primarily with your arms, your legs and back are also key players. This exercise strengthens your legs, glutes (butt), lower back, arms and shoulders.

Stand with your feet wide, holding a light medicine ball in front of you in both hands. Squat down moving your rear back (like you are sitting in a chair), keeping your knees over your ankles and lower the medicine ball to the floor while keeping your head up and back straight, with your shoulders down and back, and your chest lifted. Return to a start position and lift the medicine ball up over your head. Repeat squat and lower ball to the ground. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions, and increase the weight of the ball as you get stronger.