Monday, August 27, 2012

Functional Exercise of the Week...

Today's exercise is the push up with hip extension:

Functionality: This exercise strengthens your chest, shoulder and arm muscles, as well as your core muscles and glutes.

Exercise: Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands wider than shoulder-distance apart. Extend your right leg straight back and pull your belly button up towards your spine, and tightening your core muscles. Keeping your leg lifted, lower your chest to the ground until each of your elbows is at a 90-degree angle, about fist distance from the floor, and then push up. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg.

As you get stronger, consider doing this on your toes, with one leg extended as described above. A typical progression might be to perform this on your knees, in a quarter position, move to a 3/4 position (back flat, knees at the end of the lever arm), and progress to your toes into a full push up, eventually adding in the extended leg.

Monday, August 13, 2012

More Functional Exercise!

Knee lift with side raise

Functionality: This exercise improves your core strength and balance, while also shaping and strengthening your shoulders.
Exercise: Stand tall with a small weight (2-5#) in each hand, arms to your sides. Lift your right knee until it reaches hip level while simultaneously lifting your arms straight out to the side to form a T at your shoulders. Hold at the top with the knee lifted and shoulders in the T for 2 seconds.  Make sure your belly button is pulled back towards your spine, bracing your abs, then lower to start position. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg. Feel free to increase the weight of the dumbbells as you get stronger.  Please remember, form is important, but even more important is to keep MOVING!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cobra Pose...for lower back strengthening

This pose is fantastic, if done correctly.  Hold feet together tightly, and keep them on the floor.  Place the hands below the shoulders, and lift, using mostly your back strength.  Start with a hold of 5 seconds, and progress to 10 seconds.  Please note, this is NOT a press up.  A press up utilizes the arm strength, to push the back into position.  This is utilizing the back extensors to do the majority of the work, and the arms are only there for support.  Opinions differ on the neck position.  In Bikram, and other strict yoga classes, the chin lifts, and you look purposely up to the ceiling.  Some prefer to keep the head in alignment with the spine.  I feel that it can be beneficial for your mid to low back either way, and you can add the chin lifting if you have no contraindications.

Race Prep, Dirty Girl...

Today's race prep...anyone can join in for a good workout!  Just follow the instructions below:
Run, 2min
10 squats, jumping if you like
10 lunges per side
10 push ups, plyo if you can
10 pull ups, with jump and slowly lower down
10 knees to elbows (per side), prone
Repeat 10 times.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Melissa's Blackjack workout

Today's workout:  21 each of 7 exercises with 15-30 seconds recovery between.

Clean and press, watch form, back stays flat
Jumping pull ups, underhand grip
Push ups, full military if possible.
Bicycles, both sides equal 1
Star sit ups
Jump squats
Power lunges, both sides equal 1

Diagonal Reach with Medicine Ball

Continuing out foray into functional exercise, making your body work together more efficiently and fluidly as a unit, is the Diagonal reach with medicine ball.

Functionality: When you reach for your boots off the top shelf of your closet, pay attention to how your body moves — one arm reaches up while the opposite leg slightly lifts to the side. This exercise works all the muscles — arms, shoulders, legs — involved in lifting something diagonally overhead as well as lowering it.

The Exercise: Stand tall holding a medicine ball at your chest with both hands. Lift medicine ball diagonally overhead to the right, straightening your arms, while extending your left leg to the side, making a diagonal line from the medicine ball to your toes. Lower to start position. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg. Increase the weight of the medicine ball and strap 2- to 5-pound weights on your ankles as you get stronger.  Additionally, as you get better at the balance of this exercise, you can increase the range of motion to reach up to the side, and then down to the opposite side.  Back has to stay flat, if you are increasing the ROM!
Medball diagonal