Happy Workout Wednesday! I know this is a busy time of year, but all the more reason to workout! Working out releases endorphins that make you feel good which is good for your mind, body, and spirit.
A great quick full-body workout is a plank! Make sure your hands are below your shoulders and you have a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Keep your core tight and hold this position. Here is a great workout series:
1 minute straight arm plank
30 seconds rest
1 minute side plank on right
30 second rest
1 minute side plank on left
30 second rest
1 minute forearm plank
LEG PULL DOWN
Start in a plank position with your hands right below your shoulders and hips in line with your body (shown above).
Lift one leg towards the ceiling and pulse it twice then place it back down. Then lift the other leg pulse it twice then place it back down. Do 10 sets!
This is a great exercise that works your entire body including your core, scapular stabilizers, lumbopelvic stabilizers, and you get gluteus maximus work!
Check out the video here : http://youtu.be/YB0zv950YNk.
Pilates is a full body workout that is low impact which makes it great for anyone, at any age. Pilates helps people to move better, feel better, and perform at their best. This wonderful exercise system was developed by Joseph Pilates helps people:
- Build strength and tone muscles
- Improve balance
- Increase flexibility and mobility
- Develop core strength
Joseph Pilates created Contrology which later turned into Pilates, over 80 years ago. Exercises are performed on a mat or a specially designed Pilates equipment including the Reformer, the Trapeze Table or Cadillac, the Wunda Chair, the Magic Circle, and Barrels. The Pilates system includes exercises for every part of the body and applications for every kind of activity. When Pilates was first created, it was so far ahead of its time that it did not begin to achieve popular recognition until the first few years of the 21st century. Over 10 million people are now practicing Pilates in the United States and numbers are growing every year.
People with back injuries may also benefit from practicing Pilates as the movements performed help to strengthen the back muscles without placing any pressure on them particularly on the Reformer or Cadillac.
So why not give Pilates a try!!!
Open Leg Rocker
Sit up and balance between the sits bones and the tailbone with the knees bent, the feet off the floor and the hands on the ankles, or as close as you can get. Open legs so the knees are pointing out and the feet are together.
INHALE: straighten one leg and balance
EXHALE: bend the knee to return to the starting position.
INHALE: straighten the other leg and balance.
EXHALE: bend the knee to return to the starting position
INHALE: straighten one leg then the other and balance with both legs open in a V position. (Image shown)
EXHALE: engage the abdominals and roll back, keeping the arms straight and the legs in a V. DO NOT roll past your shoulder blades.
INHALE: take a sip of air at the end of the roll.
EXHALE: pull the abdominals in and roll back up to the V position. Lengthen the spine in the V without arching the back.
Do 4-8 reps.
The purpose of this exercise is to develop pelvic stability, core control, coordination and balance. It also helps improve scapular stability.
I find this exercise challenging. But is it good to do things that challenge us because that is how we can improve. A great place to start or if you can’t roll, hold the pose in the above image to work on balance and core control.
The Pilates Roll Over
To start lie on your back with your hands at your sides, your legs together and your feet pointed.
Step 1: Exhale. Engage your core and lift the legs up toward the ceiling to prepare.
Step 2: Inhale. Roll your lower back off the mat reaching your legs overhead until they are parallel to the ground. Press your upper arms into the mat and roll up until you are balanced no higher than the top of your shoulder blades. Do not roll up onto your neck! (shown above)
Step 3: Continue to inhale and open your legs shoulder width apart and flex your feet.
Step 4: Exhale. Roll down, keeping the legs shoulder width apart, engaging your core and pressing the upper arms into the mat to make the roll smooth and steady. Keep the chest open and the back of the shoulders on the mat. Lower the legs as far as possible without letting the back arch off the mat.
Step 5: Continue to exhale and bring your legs back together and point the feet to start again.
Do 3 reps beginning with toes pointed then do 3 reps beginning with feet flexed and shoulder width apart.
Not only is this exercise fun it also helps you develop core strength and control, increases your flexibility, teaches you how to articulate the spine, and stabilize your shoulders.
What is your core?
We hear so much about the importance of the core muscles and having a strong core. We know that Pilates is great for strengthening your core, but what exactly is your core? While most people think it’s simply your abdominal muscles, it is actually much more.
The core, or powerhouse, is the foundation of every exercise in Pilates and in life. Learning to use it as a dynamic center is the key to efficient, graceful, and balanced movement. The elements of the core include:
- Transverse Abdominis (deepest abdominal layer)
- Pelvic floor
- Multifidius (muscle along your spine)
These four systems work together to stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine when stress is placed on them as in lifting, bending, sitting, twisting, walking, running, or jumping. Lumbopelvic stabilization is important, because the bones of the spine are both mobile and delicate without the stabilization provided by the deep muscles that surround then.
The core stabilizes the spine through a complex series of interconnections between muscles and fascia. The first link in the chain consists of one set of the deep muscles of the spine, the multifidi. The second link in the chain, the transverse abdomens, acts like a corset to draw in the abdominal muscles and decrease the diameter of the waist. When the transverses abdomens contracts, it creates tension on the lumbodorsal fascia which surrounds the multifidi. The pressure of the casing against the multifidi also helps to create space between the vertebra which is called decompression or axial elongation.
The pelvic floor acts in conjunction with the diaphragm to create the top and bottom of the cylinder formed by the transverse abdomens, the spine, and the spinal muscles. The primary purpose of the pelvic floor is to hold the contents of the abdomen up against gravity and to control what comes out and when.
A great exercise for the core is a plank. Line your hands under your shoulders and keep a straight line from your shoulders to your feet and make sure to keep your hips in line with your body. Then hold for 60 seconds, break for 60 seconds, then repeat two times doing a total of 3 planks.