Fully body/integrated exercises: Intermediate part 3

Standing hip abduction

Body part: Full body/integrated, abs, butt/hips

Equipment: Resistance bands/cables, weight machines/selectorized

High-low partner see-saw

Body part: Full body/integrated

Equipment: Resistance bands/cables

With a partner, stand facing one another each with one handle or end of a resistance band. With both partners keeping the arms straight, one parter will lower into a squatting position and bring the arms between the legs while the other partner stands with arms extended over head. Keeping the band taut at all times, partners will simultaneously switch positions so that one is always pulling up on the band and one is always pushing down on the band.

Kneeling hay baler

Body part: Full body/integrated

Equipment: Resistance bands/cables

Place a cable pulley at the lowest position, attach a rope handle, grip both ends of the rope so that the thumbs are pointed up to the ceiling, kneel down and place the left foot forward with right knee behind the body keeping the right side of body next to the machine. Keep the back straight while pulling the rope up to the chest then pressing it up in front of the left shoulder. Keep the hands close together (do not allow the upper body to move while bringing the rope across the body.) At the top of the movement pause for one second before slowly reversing the motion to return the weight to its original starting position.

Squat to row

Body part: Full body/integrated

Equipment: Resistance bands/cables

Stand with the feet hip-width apart, the hips straight, the back tall, and the knees slightly bent. Place the pulley at about waist-height, attach an attachment with two grips, hold a grip in each hand so that the thumbs are pointed up to the ceiling and the palms are facing each other. Lift the chest, hold the arms straight in front of the body, and push the hips back to begin lowering into a squat. At the bottom of the squat keep the arms straight and the back straight while pushing the feet into the ground to stand up. While standing up from the squat, pull the rope towards the body keeping the arms parallel to the floor and the elbows close to the sides; the hands should reach the front of the stomach. Pause and slowly straighten the arms, and drop down into the next squat (pull the arms towards the body while standing, and allow the arms to slowly straighten while lowering into the squat).

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Fully body/integrated exercises: Intermediate part 2

Lunge with Elbow Instep

Body part: Full Body/integrated, abs, butt/hips, legs – thighs

Equipment: None

Step 1

Starting Position: Stand with your feet hip width apart. Depress and retract your scapulae (pull your shoulders down and back) without arching your low back, and “brace” (engage your abdominal/core muscles) to stiffen your spine.

Step 2

Step forward by slowly lifting the right foot off the floor, stabilize your body on the left (stance / supporting) leg and avoid any sideways tilting or swaying in your upper body by maintaining the abdominal bracing.  Keep the left (stance/supporting) foot pressed firmly into the ground, hold this position momentarily before stepping forward with the right foot. The right (swing) leg should initiate contact with a heel strike first, slowly transferring your body weight into the right (leading/forward) foot placed firmly on the floor. As you lower yourself into the right leg, maintain a straight spine by leaning forward from the hips and lower your right elbow on the inside of your right knee.

Step 3

As you lower yourself into the lunge, focus more on dropping your hips towards the floor rather than driving your hips forward. This will help control the amount of forward movement of your shinbone (forward tibial translation) over your foot. Place both hands on the floor with the right slightly forward of the left and continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until your front thigh becomes parallel with the floor and your tibia (shinbone) is in a slight forward lean.  While in the lowered position with both hands on the floor, push back through the left foot to extend the left hip and maintain the abdominal bracing to keep the pelvis stable and increase the stretch to the left hip flexor.

Step 4

From the lowered position, keep your abdominals braced and push your hands into the floor to begin to raise yourself back to a standing position.  Press the right (forward) foot into the ground and drive the right knee backwards to create knee and hip extension and pull yourself forward into a standing position.  Keep your chest lifted and abdominals braced to maintain a straight spine and level pelvis while beginning to swing the left leg forward to initiate the next repetition and stretch in to the right hip.                                                         

Step 5

Continue the exercise for a specific number of repetitions or over a certain distance of travel.

Step 6

Exercise Variation: to add a stretch for the hamstrings before stepping in to the next lunge, push off of the floor with your hands, lean back and push the right foot in to the ground to straighten the right leg while shifting your weight into your left hip and stretch the right hamstrings.  Alternate with both legs.

Focus on maintaining the abdominal bracing through the entire range-of-motion of the movement to keep the spine stable and pelvis level.

Spider Walks

Body part: Full Body/integrated, arms

Equipment: None

Start in a push-up position with the hands shoulder-width apart and the legs straight out directly behind the body about hip-width apart. Push the toes of the left foot into the floor and squeeze the left thigh and glute while moving the right knee forward to the outside of the right elbow. While the right leg is forward, push back through the left heel to straighten the left leg. Then straighten the right leg and bring the left knee forward to the outside of the left elbow while reaching forward with the right hand. Alternate this arm and leg action for the desired distance.

Sprinter Pulls

Body part: Full Body/integrated

Equipment: None

Step 1

Assume a ½ kneeling position with your right leg forward, left leg back, and your torso, right tibia (shinbone) and left upper thigh approximately vertical to the floor.  Move your left arm into the forward position with fingers level with your chin, and your right arm into the back position.  Squeeze both arms to your sides with approximately a 90-degree bend in each elbow, fingers extended and wrists in the neutral position (wrists aligned with your forearms).  Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders back and down) and attempt to hold these positions throughout the exercise.  Align your head with your thoracic (upper) spine.

Step 2

Upward Movement: Exhale and explode upwards pushing from your glutes performing the following sequence:

  • Driving your left knee forward and upward (allow the knee-bend to open up slightly).
  • Driving your left arm backwards from your shoulders, while maintaining the 90-degree bend in your elbow and arm squeezed against your side.
  • Driving your right arm forward from your shoulders, until fingers are level with your chin (maintaining an approximate 90-degree bend in your elbow or less) and arm squeezed against your side.                

Step 3

Continue driving forward until your right leg (stance or support) leg moves into triple extension (extending your hip, straightening your knee and exploding onto your toes).  In this position, your body should be aligned vertical or in a slight forward-lean position with your head facing forward, aligned with your spine.  Attempt to hold this end position briefly, before returning slowly to your starting position.  Perform 5 – 10 repetitions and repeat with the opposite leg.

Step 4

Exercise Variation: This dynamic movement can be progressed by holding the triple extension phase for up to 5 seconds or holding a resistance cable or band in the forward hand to pull backwards.  Perform the movement using a slow, controlled tempo (pace), to master your technique then build towards a more explosive movement.

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Fully body/integrated exercises: Intermediate part 1

Bear crawl

Body part: Full body/integrated

Equipment: None

Start in a push-up position with the hands shoulder-width apart and the legs straight out directly behind the body about hip-width apart, keeping the knees bent. Push the toes of the left foot into the floor while squeezing the right thigh and glute. Move the left hand and the right leg forward to start crawling. Alternate the arm and leg movements while keeping the back straight and the hips and shoulders at the same height. Crawl for a desired distance.

Downward-facing dog

Body part: Full body/integrated, arms/back, Butt/hips, legs-calves, shins, thighs

Equipment: None

Step 1

Starting Position: Kneel on an exercise mat or floor and bring your feet together behind you. Slowly bend forward to place your palms flat on the mat, positioning your hands shoulder-width apart with your fingers facing forward. Slowly lift yourself into a push-up position, shifting your hands until your shoulders are positioned directly over your hands. Reposition your feet as needed to allow full extension of your body. Stiffen your torso by contracting your core and abdominal muscles to prevent any arching in your low back or hiking of your hips towards the ceiling.

Step 2

Upward Phase: While maintaining a rigid torso and full extension in your arms and legs, slowly exhale and shift your weight backwards by pushing your hips backwards and upwards. Maintain your head alignment with your spine, but slowly move your head between your shoulders as your body moves backwards and attempt to push your heels towards the floor. Maintain the stiffness in your torso to prevent the tendency of your back to arch. Continue moving until your body forms an inverted-V, keeping both arms and legs extended and a neutral (flat) spine. Allow a slight bend in the knees if required to achieve the inverted-V position.

Step 3

Downward Phase: Inhale and return your body to the starting push-up position, maintaining the alignment of all your body segments.

Lateral crawls

Body part: Full body/integrated

Equipment: None

Start in a push-up position with the hands shoulder-width apart and the legs straight out directly behind the body about hip-width apart. Squeeze the thighs and glutes and move the right hand and the right foot directly to the right. Once that hand and foot are on the ground, bring the left hand and foot towards the middle of the body. As soon as the left hand and foot are placed on the ground, start the next phase of movement with the right hand and foot. Alternate this arm and leg action for the desired distance.

 

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Fully body/integrated exercises: Beginner

Anti-rotation reverse lunge

Body part: fully body/integrated

Equipment: Resistant bands/cables

Stand with the feet hip-width apart and keep the hips straight with the knees slightly bent. Put the cable pulley at about chest-height, and stand with it directly to the left of the body. Grip a handle in both hands with fingers laced together, straighten the arms out in front, keep back straight and tall, while simultaneously stepping backwards into a lunge with the left foot so the left knee is close to the ground. Push off the right foot and bring the left leg forward to return to standing.

Forward linear jumps

Body part: Butt/hips, full body/integrated, legs-calves, shins, thighs

Equipment: None

Step 1

Starting Position: Stand with your feet hi-width apart, depress and retract your scapulae (pull your shoulders down and back) without arching your low back, and “brace” (engage your abdominal / core muscles) to stiffen your spine.

Step 2

Downward Phase: Begin your downward phase by first shifting your hips backwards then slowly moving downwards to create a hinge-like movement at your knees. Continue to lower yourself until your feel your heels about to lift off the floor. Try to maintain a flat back by bending forward at the hips. Keep your head facing forward or to the floor, and extend your arms to reach directly behind you while keeping the elbows straight.

Step 3

Jumping Movement: With ONLY a very brief pause at the bottom of your downward phase, explode forward and upwards through your lower extremity while throwing your arms overhead to achieve triple extension (pushing and extending your ankles, knees and hips simultaneously). As your jump into the air, try to keep your feet next to each other.

Step 4

While in the air traveling forward pull your legs in front of you while keeping your feet next to each other in order to prepare for the landing.  Your head should be level with your eyes looking to the spot on the floor where you want to land.

Step 5

Your legs should be in front of you with the feet parallel next to each other, bend the knees and flex the hips to prepare to absorb the impact forces of the landing.  Keep your eyes on the floor to prepare for the landing.

Step 6

Landing phase: Keep your feet parallel next to each other and attempt to land softly on the whole foot, let the balls of the feet hit the ground first and quickly roll down to your heels while sinking your weight back into your heels and hips.  Use the rapid bending of the hips and knees to absorb the impact forces of the landing, do not land with a straight or hyper-extended knee as this could create an injury.

Step 7

Exercise Variation: Perform multiple jumps in a row, minimize the amount of time on the ground, as soon as you land and absorb the forces in the legs and hips explode off the ground into the next jump.

Your body will follow your eyes so be sure to look to the spot on the floor where you want to land and keep your legs and hips soft, ready to absorb the impact forces upon landing.

Warrior I

Body part: fully body/integrated, butt/hips, legs-thighs

Equipment: None

Step 1

Starting Position:  Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward and arms by your sides. Stiffen your abdominal muscles (“brace”) to stabilize your spine, then depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders down and back) without arching your low back. Inhale.

 

 

 

 

Step 2

Exhale and take a larger step forward with your right foot while raising your arms to the ceiling, palms facing each other. Keep your right foot pointed forward and turn your left foot out to the side 45 to 60 degrees. Align your left heel with your right.  Begin lunging forward into the right leg while keeping your back (left) leg extended.  Do not allow the right knee to extend past the right toes. Keep the back (left) heel in contact with the ground. Slowly drop your hips and rotate your torso to the right squaring your shoulders and hips to the front of the matt. Support your weight by pushing through your left foot and reach through your arms up lifting your ribcage away from the pelvis.

Step 3

Hold this position for 3-5 slow, deep breaths (approximately 20-30 seconds) and repeat on the other side.

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Myofascial release

Myofascial release, also called foam rolling, is meant to release the “knots” in your muscles. These “knots” are known as myofascial adhesions. Fascia is the connective tissue that wraps and bundles muscles together. Myofascial adhesions develop due to a variety of causes such as stress, overuse, training, underuse, movement imbalances, and injuries. Myofascial release can help you feel better and perform better in your workouts by releaving these adhesions. Ignoring them can lead to further dysfunction.

The objective of myofascial release is to help an area to relax, and applying too much pressure can reflexively cause the opposite response.  When applying pressure to a sensitive area, you may experience some discomfort.  But you can learn how to control the amount of pressure and avoid pain. It is better to start with less pressure than too much. Once you are comfortable with your level of control, apply pressure to the most sensitive areas for approximately 20-30 seconds.

You may need to prioritize adhesions if you have multiple tight sites. When prioritizing, address the muscles you are working on that day and/or address the areas that are most sensitive.

Myofascial release can be done prior to and after your workouts. If performed before your workout, only focus on problematic areas. Myofascial release is meant to reduce tension and relax a muscle. Doing this to a healthy muscle may relax it to the point that the muscle is desensitized and affect its ability to contract during your workout. But for muscles that carry excessive tension, spending time on the front end of training can help reduce poor and imbalanced movements during your workout. Post-workout rolling can focus on all of major muscles worked, with an extra emphasis on the areas that appear problematic.

Myofascial release can help improve symmetry in the body.  By taking a few minutes during each workout, or each day if necessary, to work out adhesions, can help prepare for, and recover from, exercise more effectively. Tension can be released from the area, while blood flow and nutrients can increase, leading to healthier muscle tissue and a more effective fitness program.

Myofascial release exercises

Mid-upper back

  • Lean back against the roller, positioning it beneath your shoulder blades.
  • Raise your hips slightly and maneuver your body up and down to find sensitive areas.
  • Keep the roller between you shoulder-blade region. Avoid the neck and lower back, where there is little support.
  • Take slow, deep breaths.

Calves

  • In a seated position, support your body with your hands behind you to prop yourself up.
  • Place one leg on the roller starting at the lower calf (above the Achilles).
  • Roll your calf by moving your body slowly toward the roller.
  • Search for sensitive areas along the calf.
  • Turn the leg inward and outward to explore more areas.

Inner thigh

  • Begin in a face-down position and place the roller parallel to your body.
  • Work your way slowly to the upper groin area until you identify the most sensitive area.

Lats

  • Rest the roller at a slight angle toward the back side of your armpit.
  • Rock your body forward and backward and up and down to search for sensitive areas.

Gluteus maximus/Piriformis

  • For the glutes (Figure A), rest your weight your left elbow with the roller above the hipbone. Find the sensitive area and switch sides and compare.
  • For the piriformis (Figure B), which is often a sensitive area, sit on the roller and support your body with your left hand on the floor. Cross your left ankle onto the right knee and search for sensitive area. Switch sides and compare.
  • Use contact points on the floor to control the amount of pressure.

Outer thigh

  • The outer thigh is highly sensitive. Use caution and ease in.
  • From a side-plank position, place your right elbow on the floor and your left hand and left foot on the floor in front of your body. (Note: These are your main contact points to control the amount of weight you rest on the roller.)
  • Use contact points on the floor to control the amount of pressure.
  • Start above the outside of the knee and slowly maneuver your body over the roller toward your hip.

Types of foam rollers

For additional information, check out this article by Pete McCall, ACE Health and Fitness Expert: How and When to Use Foam Rollers and Myofascial Release in an Exercise Program.

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Sprint interval training

You’ve probably heard of interval training – workouts in which you alternate periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery period. This type of exercise increases fitness and burns more calories over a short period of time than doing the same thing for your entire workout. High-intensity exercise is activity performed at 8-10 RPE (rated perceived exertion) or 90-95% of your maximum heart rate.

You can achieve interval training using various mode (running, biking, rowing, stepper), but for this article, I want to discuss running sprint intervals.  Before I start, it’s important to state that interval training is tough. If you are new to running, you should spend a few weeks building your stamina with cardio workouts before adding interval training to your routine.

Be sure to include a warm-up and a cool-down.  To increase intensity, adding an incline is safer for your joints than running all out.  Do 15-60 second sprints with 1-4 minute recoveries. The shorter the sprint, the shorter the recovery time between sprints.  Start with at least four minutes total sprint time during a workout and no more than ten minutes.  Perform sprint interval training once or twice a week with at least 48 hours between these workouts.

Example workouts:

  1. 30 seconds sprint/90 seconds recover
  2. 30 seconds sprint/60 seconds recover
  3. 30 seconds sprint/30 seconds recover
  4. 30 seconds sprint/30 seconds recover,  1 minute sprint/1 minute recover, 2 minutes sprint/2 minutes recover, 4 minutes sprint/4 minutes recover, 2 minutes sprint/2 minutes recover, 1 minute sprint/1 minute recover,  30 seconds sprint/30 seconds recover

 

 

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