Workout Wednesday: Glute Bridges

Hi There!
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a strength training move tutorial for the abs….well, today, it’s time for a lower body strength training move! Lower body is my favorite to train, but it wasn’t always that way! (No pun intended.) I love lunges, and plie squats, but bridges are probably my favorite move. Now, I know there has been a glute craze recently, but there are far more reasons to strengthen the largest muscle group in your body other than getting rid of cellulite! Here are 3:
1. To prevent back pain – your glutes are part of the posterior chain of muscles that include the erector spinae (the muscles that run vertically along side your vertebrae) and your hamstrings (backs of your legs). If one link in this chain is weak, then your back health is greatly put at risk, because the largest muscles in your body can’t do the job…think about it.
2. To burn more calories – muscle builds calories. The larger the muscle, the more calories you burn, but steady state cardio will not build muscle. Strengthening the glutes will burn more calories, because you need lean muscle to burn calories, even at rest…no muscle…no burned calories…no glutes, less calories  burned…Make sure you strength train the rest of your body too!
3. To protect your knees – I love squats and lunges, but depending on how they’re performed, a too much emphasis can be placed on the front side of the knee or the quads…Your muscles support your joints, and your hamstrings need to be strengthened as well. Glute bridges also strengthen your hamstrings, and your strength for certain movements, such as running will come from your glutes, not just your quads.

The how to: lie on your back. Feet flat on the floor hip width apart. (Feet should be about 12 inches from your glutes.) Pulling your navel toward your spine, press into your heels, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the floor…keep squeezing your glutes as you pause at the top.
Slowly lower your hips back to the start but don’t quite touch the floor. This is a great move to incorporate into the beginning or end of a workout!

Once you master the beginner version try this more advanced version! Just plant one heel into the ground. contract abs and glutes, and lift!

What’s your favorite lower body strength training move? Let me know in the comments below! Want better muscle definition, contact me to find out about a plan to help you get there!

Happy Hump Day!
Julie

Workout Wednesday: Pilates Core Tightener

 Ok, so you’ve been hearing about this announcement that I’m making…Well, I’ve decided to become a beach body coach! This was a big decision for me, and it will allow me to maintain my clients from other facilities that I’ve worked for in the past. I’ve been really blessed with the opportunity to participate and lead a challenge group for 21 Day Fix, beachbody’s newest program, and I have to tell you that as a personal trainer, this is legit. It deals with portion control, and daily habits. I’m very excited and can’t wait to take part in this!!!! Beachbody also has an online meal planner that you can use with any program, not just their programs, with lots of healthy recipes. This will free me up to do more motivational things with clients and classes! But this blog is not going to turn into just a plug for Beachbody. It’s about my journey, and while I love following programs. I want to share my story. There will be a separate page on the blog for 21 Day Fix (Along with before and after pics of me!) But I will still post my own material and recipes and thoughts to share with you about fitness in general. The purpose of this blog is to educate and inspire you, whatever fitness path you choose! 

Oh, and there’s going to be a blog giveaway on Friday! It’s a fitness dvd by Mash-Up Conditioning. Girls Gone Sporty provided the opportunity for me to work with the owners of this brand! They’re super cool and sent me a dvd to review, and let me tell you, it’s good stuff! 15 minute workouts…I mean come on! who doesn’t have time for a 15 minute workout, with minimal equipment involved? The workouts are beastly to, but also shown with modifications for every fitness level! This will be happening on Friday so keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook page! 
Here’s a sneak peek! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2uuDyVKQxU

Today, I’d like to provide a relaxing, yet challenging pilates routine, that will improve your flexibility in your hips and core. The point of this workout is not to be sweaty…It is to reconnect your mind with your muscles and aquaint you with how your body works. Your mind is very important to your workouts, and a study from the University of South Carolina Upstate (in my hometown!) states that participants experienced up to 26 % more muscle growth when they thought about the muscle they were using in a given strength exercise. These are some of my favorite pilates exercises, and you will definitely feel this workout. Remember to exhale forcefully on the exhertion of each repetition!

Curl-Ups: Pull your navel to your spine as you lie faceup with feet flat on the floor. Slowly roll one vertebrae at a time until just your shoulders are lifted. Hands are behind head with tension between your hands and head to support your neck. Roll backward slowly. Repeat.

Bridges:Lie face up with feet on the floor, navel towards spine. Squeeze glutes and press into heels to lift hips off of the floor. Hold for 5 counts at the top then slowly lower. For Leg touch downs: Keep hips lifted extend leg and lift into the air with leg extended lower down towards floor and lift. Repeat. Do this exercise slowly, and avoid if you have a weak back. 

Tabletop: Sitting on the mat, place hands on the floor just behind you and feet on the floor just in front of you.
Press through hands and feet and lift hips toward the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds. 

Mod. Side Plank with leg lifts: Prop onto your elbow, or a Swiss ball for more challenge. Keep your knee below your bottom hip, like a camera tripod. Maintaining this position, lift and lower top leg slowly.

Swimming: Lie on your stomach, navel drawn in. Arms in front of you, legs behind you. Exhale, and lift arms and legs, then inhale as you slowly lower arms and legs. Look below, not in front.  To make it easier, only lift arms, and prop a pillow under your hips. DO not hyperextend.

I love workouts like this to give my muscles and my mind a break, so put on some relaxing music, and go for it! The graphic’s below! have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂

 

Workout Wednesday: Total Body Tune-up

Here we are again! Snow, Snow, Snow!!!! Frankly, I would love for the snow to make up it’s mind whether it’s going to stay or go, but that’s just me. Speaking of snow…I’m always cold, but this winter is ridiculous! Our house doesn’t have central heating, so, I’m forever walking around bundled up, even though we live in the south. 
I have found some wonderful ways to keep warm:
1. Curl up with a good book, a blanket, and a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate.
2. Snuggle with my handsome fella. 🙂
3. Start baking things…our oven gets super hot, so it heats up the entire top floor of the house, which is really the only floor we use anyway.
4 Workout. Do some cardio. I’ll try out routines that I want to post, or pop in a cardio dvd. Either way, I feel better. 
5. Clean house…okay, so I’m desperate by the time I have to do this to keep warm, but it works great, so, there we go. I’m currently working on the 40 days – 40 bags of clutter challenge. Which was deperately needed at our house. I found out that I have 20 books that are great, but for whatever reason, their just taking up space…There’s even some fitness related ones too. (Check out juliesunshine22).

I love total body circuit training, and this one has some sure-fire arm and leg toners.
So, Stay warm, and get moving!

   
Squat down then while in a squat, reach left leg behind you diagonally. Return to squat then stand. Repeat, alternating sides.

Start out in Plank, hands wide. Bring right hand to meet left hand. Repeat, alternating sides.  
Butterfly Bridge: Perform a glute bridge. While hips are lifted, press knees apart, maintaining tension.Press knees together, then lower. Repeat.
Reverse Plank

Bicycle Crunch


Workout Wednesday: New Year’s Fat Blaster

Happy New Year all! SOOO I’ve been looking forward to the New Year with great anticipation! This marks a new chapter in married life for Micah and I as he has completed his biotechnology degree and I plan to start working on a degree in nutrition. 🙂 Call me a nut, but I actually enjoyed college for the most part. I’ve always secretly wanted to be a fitness model…lol, and today I’m the model for all of the pics in this workout. (Just a little 411 for those of you who’ve never met me in person.) A little tangent before I go into the tutorial for the workout: I’m so thankful that I’ve had people to spend Christmas and New Year’s with. There are many people who spent both these holidays alone, and I realize how blessed I am to have wonderful friends and family to spend both of these days with!
Today’s workout consists of the tabata method, and will knock out those problems areas, and count as a little cardio. So set your timers, and push through this one. It’s tough, but it’s over with in only 12 minutes if you push through it.

 Knee-ups:

Jump Rope: hop as quickly as possible. Focus on small skips. If you don’t have a rope, pretend you do.

Reverse Crunches: Use your muscles, not momentum. Your lift at the top won’t be a large movement at first.

 Side Traveling Squats: Beginners, don’t squat as low, and use a chair. Squat halfway, then reach right leg to the side. Stay low and bring left foot in same direction. Squat down lower, then stand halfway. Continue in the same direction, but during the next round, travel the opposite way. Use your best judgement on squat depth.

Glute Bridges: Heels must be pressed into the floor with feet about hip-width apart. Squeeze your glutes and pause at the top.

Dolphin – Shoulder Plank: Squeeze your shoulder blades through the movement. If you have weak shoulders, swap this for another shoulder exercise.

 Oh and last but not least, here’s the cute little graphic. If you like this workout, feel free to pin it!

 Some advice: During squats, you know your limits and what is safe for your knees, so you know how low you can go. Use your glutes, it takes stress off your knees. You should be squeezing your glutes during bridges also. During jump rope, keep your knees slightly bent, and really pull your lower abs in during reverse crunches, and dolphin planks.

Enjoy this one, it’s tough!

Disclaimer: Although I’m a fitness professional, not all workouts are suitable for everyone. Please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise/fitness regimen.

Wednesday Workout: A Fast and Serious workout

Happy Hump Day!!!
It’s been tough getting back into routine, more so workout-wise than eating-wise. Lately, I’ve been getting my arts and crafts on. Due to a tight budget, a lot of our Christmas gifts will be handmade this year, since I’m very artsy; we know a lot of people doing this as well this year. Unfortunately, this can be time consuming. Here’s where this workout comes in. It’s a 12-minute workout that will have your muscles screaming and heart pounding. It also involves  3 tabatas. You can make this an all body weight workout or add resistance to the squats and bridges. Let me tell you guys a secret, I gain weight in my lower body, but this format has gotten my legs back in shape quickly. Like 4 weeks quickly. So give it a try and let me know what you think!

Single-leg Burpees: (you may use regular burpees if too difficult.) Instead of hopping both feet back. Lift one foot off the floor and hop the other foot back. Be sure to keep your back straight and not rounded as you return to standing.
Bridges: Lie face-up, feet flat on the floor. Put your weight into your heels and lift your hips. Make sure your abs are tight and squeeze the glutes before lifting your hips off the floor. You should not feel this in your lower back. Want a challenge? Try single-leg bridges.
Squats: (Beginners, sit a chair behind you.) Feet shoulder-width apart. Sit back with your chest and shoulders lifted. Lower as close to parallel as possible.
Side Hip Lift + Kick: Get on one side with bottom knew bent and top knee bent. Prop up on elbow. Make sure you are in line from your head to your bottom knee, then lift your bottom hip off the floor. While hips are lifted, kick top leg in a straight line with the rest of the body. Lower and complete reps on one side.
Jump Rope: Keep knees slightly bent while jumping or shuffling. Use a fake rope if needed…hehe
Plank: Keep hips from sagging as you lift up on to your elbows. Keep weight in the heels. Don’t let your hips sag and don’t forget to breathe.
This workout will not only work your glutes and legs, but your shoulders and abs as well.
Let me know if you have questions!

Good morning!

First of all, Happy Veterans Day! I’m so thankful that there are brave men and women who risk their lives everyday for us all here in the US!

Today being Monday, I’m back in my workout and food routine full steam. Today is lower body day on my personal calendar, but it’s also a day on which I have to teach a really challenging group fitness class! Not that I mind the challenge, but it can be tough discerning how much I need to push myself when I have a challenging class to teach later. So I said to myself, “Self, you should just put 3 exercises together and do the whole circuit 3-5x…” So there you have it. I took two of the most effective lower body exercises, the squat, and the bridge, and paired them with an easy-to-do ploymetric (explosive) move, the jumping jack and got a great workout! This workout is a quickie toner for your thighs, glutes, and calves! The key here is adding the pulses, squeezes, and presses at the end of each set. pulses really involve the gluteus maximus, while squeezes target the inner thighs, and presses target the outer thighs. I hope you enjoy the workout. Warm-up by marching in place and perfoming 15 kick backs for each leg.Here’s the tutorial:

Squats:
Put your arms out in front to help keep your balance, put your weight in your heels as you sit back. Newbies, put a chair behind you. Pro’s, add some weights or a resistance band. Oh, and keep your gaze up. Squeeze your glutes to stand up.

Split Squats:
Keep your weight in your front heel, then lower straight down as low as possible. Squeeze muscles and stand. Repeat.

Glute Bridge:
Put your weight in your heels.Squeeze your bum before lifting, this makes sure the glutes are doing the work.

Jumping Jacks:
Keep your knees and toes the same way…and absolutely no pidgeon toes. This will hurt your knees.

Here’s the workout:


 ENJOY and keep perservering! You will reach your goals!

All or Nothing

So, this week has been a strange one…and when I say strange, I mean…STRANGE… phone not working, email not working. You name it. Miscommunications right and left, people showing up early, late, or not at all…*sigh*. One of THOSE weeks. It’s one of those weeks where my prayer life has been dramatically increased by 200%. Those of you who are reading are probably laughing hysterically by now, at least some of you are…unless this week has been that way for you. Between planning a major fundraiser for work, balancing home life, and trying to carve out just a little time for myself, between wasted hours waiting for people…who don’t care…my “grace-o-meter” is just “plumb tuckered out”. Friday, I went into the gym, determined to work hard and fast…I only made it through 2 sets of three exercises before I had to clock in for work, but man have my glutes and lower body been sore today…mission accomplished. The point is when you put your mind and heart into your training, you can make it work, no matter how little time you have, but if you just mindlessly work your way through exercises, it doesn’t matter how many you do…you won’t feel that “reward” the next day, and by reward, I mean delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A study by the University of South Carolina Upstate states that when told what muscle to squeeze during an exercise, participants experienced 25%  more muscle gain from their workouts. Amazing! 25%! That’s a huge number! The bottom line is it’s all or nothing. You can’t go through life giving 80%, if that’s your philosophy, then you will fail at careers, marriage, parenting, relationships (with God and others), but if you truly commit with your mind, not just going through the motions (no pun intended), then the rewards are endless.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Phil. 4:13

Try this exercise for easing low back pain and strengthening the muscles surrounding (glutes and hamstrings).
Hip lift/Bridge
Lie on your back, palms down and  heels pressing into the floor, close to seat, with feet hip-width apart.
scoop your abs in,and squeezing glutes, lift hips into the air.
Hold for 2 counts then lower, barely touching the floor.
(This exercise also stretches the hip flexors/psoas.)

This blog is no substitute for supervised exercise. Always consult a physician before beginning any physical activity regimen.