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

Friday 5, Giveaway Winner, and Strength move of the week!

Hi Everyone!
It’s been a fun week, and trust me, I’ve been enjoying the snow holidays for all their worth, because the last time I saw snow like this in the Carolinas was in 1992! Micah and I  and our adorable German Shepherd, Orion, played in the snow for quite awhile, and the best thing was watching Orion trying to “fetch” snowballs. HAHAHA My dog loves to entertain! I thought it would be appropriate to list 5 things I did in the snow, well, here they are. My brave husband has over a 30 minute drive, and he gave me a scare, when it took him 2 hours to get home driving through the snow, but when he got home, he had a red rose for me! What an awesome man I have!

For my Friday Five, I thought it would be appropriate to list 5 things I did in the snow, well, here they are.

1. Snowballs! Our dog thinks it’s fun to “fetch” back a piece, so, we’d toss them up in the air, and he’d go for it!
2. Fixed a really yummy Santa Fe soup recipe
3. Planned my first fit club for 21 Day Fix! (It’s going to be so much fun!)
4. Lots of workouts!
5. Clutter removing…I’m doing the 40 Days = 40 Bags of Clutter challenge

I’m changing subject rapidly, but I feel like I have a lot of ground to cover.  Last Friday, I hosted a giveaway for a Mash Up Conditioning Tempo Dvd….is (drumroll please) Courtney Fields! Congrats Courtney! Thanks for visiting the blog, and I hope that you’ll continue to do so in the future!

Now, onto the strength training move of the week: the squat. This is an essential move, and it’s super important that you start out with the correct form, because trust me, it’s tough to correct improper form on a squat, I’ve had to do this with many clients. The good news is, it’s doable. Today’s challenge is to do 1 minute of the squats described in this video. Pick a squat style, then go for it. Think quality, not quantity. Some extra pointers: 1. Keep your abs engaged throughout the entire movement, and exhale as you stand. 2. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and pause for 2 counts. This will help prevent squats from hurting your knees.
Squats are important for your metabolism in general, think large muscle groups burn more calories, and it’s a functional movement. SO without further ado, here it is. The squat!

This is my first video tutorial, and I’d love your feedback!

Have a wonderful Friday! Stay Warm!

-Julie

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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.

Christmas Memories…Getting back into my routine, Digital Cameras, and a Stocking De-Stuffer Workout

Hi There,
So, it’s been a wonderful, fun, crazy week! My husband turned 30 on Monday, so between birthday/graduation festivities, and Christmas, it’s been nuts around here. It’s all good though. I was able to get some precious retail therapy yesterday, which resulted in new workout capris, a red dress, a green blouse, tights, a new belt, and….dah dah dah dah….Riding Boots!!! I’ve been wanting some for forever…Thanks Dad, Mom, and GeeGee! I did workout on Monday and today, but am soooo ready for some normalcy in my workout routine…and clean eating again, I missed clean eating greatly.
It was my first Christmas with my husband’s family, so I wasn’t sure what to expect this year, but everything turned out wonderful for the most part. There were a lot of memorable moments, but one of the most special for me was hearing my husband read the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2. His dad normally reads, but wanted to recognize Micah’s coming of age, and 30 was the birthday that Jewish young men came of age in Jesus’ time…How cool to have my father-in-law recognize Micah husband as the leader of his home… teary eyes…

Then on to Parties…oh-my-lanta…I don’t think my energy levels can hold up to 5 days of parties like this…it was fun, but I’m so glad I have 2 more days off before I go back to work. I definitely enjoyed playing board games with Micah’s siblings and cousins, you never know what will happen…by the way, if you’ve never played Imagine Iff, you need too.

I thought it was really cool that Micah’s sister asked my mom what traditions my side of the family has at Christmas time. We did stockings with his family this year, and his sisters have no idea how something simple like that made me feel more at home.

But my husband always does some epic Christmas present every year, well epic to me…something that for whatever reason, I’m too cheap to buy for myself, but he always knows what I want. Well, this year, he got me a Canon Powershot camera, so expect the quality of pics on this blog to drastically improve! Here’s a pic of the two of us from the scavenger hunt I used to lead him to his surprise birthday/college graduation party! Each “clue” was a special memory of the two of us, at various points in our lives that led up to this point.This pic was brought to you by …ahem….my new camera. 🙂

Well I came up with a “Stocking De-Stuffer Workout” so you can break a sweat without leaving the house if you’re still recovering from guests. Why wait ’til New Year’s? You can do this workout with your own body weight or add weights. Just perform one set of each exercise, and move on to the next set without stopping. You can do it! I know it’s tough to get back into a routine, but the extra effort it takes is worth it!

Remember to let patience have it’s perfect work! I’m cheering for you!
Merry Christmas!

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!

Workout Wednesday:Tempo Training and how it works.

There are times when we work for every rep in strength training, and then there are times, when we mindlessly go through the motions. It’s easy to do this with body weight, and resistance bands, and I’ll admit…sometimes, I need a little help being mindful of my muscles working. That’s were tempo training comes in. Tempo training forces you to use your muscles instead of momentum to do the work, so that you’re focusing on the work of your muscles to do the job. Here’s an example: Squat – instead of down, up, down, up think of this motion in phases and use a different amount of time for each segment. For example, 3 sec. to lower into parallel. 2 seconds to standing and 2 seconds at the top of the movement, contracting the glutes. Try it. You’ll definitely feel the muscles working. It usually only takes about 3 or for exercises for a muscle group to get completely burnt out when done this way, but sometimes, it’s good to shock your muscles, and this is one of the best ways to do it.Think quality over quantity.

Squats: keep knees and toes in the same directions, no pidgeon toes! Place hands in front of you  lower 3 seconds, stand 2 seconds, squeeze 2 seconds.

Push-ups: Even those of you who can do full push-ups may want to do the modified push-ups this time. Lower 2 seconds, push up 2 seconds, pause 3 seconds. This will help enable you to do more full push-ups, and get great abs.

Reverse Crunches: Zip up those abs and keep ’em zipped! Lower 3 seconds, Lift 2 seconds, Pause 3 seconds

Single-Leg Dead Lift: Find a focus point. This move was never meant to be rushed any way. If you’re unsure, add resistance and try a stiff-legged dead lift. But most importantly , your back must stay straight, abs in!
Throughout the movement. If your back rounds, you’ve lowered too far. Lower 3 seconds, lift 3 seconds, pause 2 seconds. (Add that squeeze.)

Bicep Curls: Use tubing or weights for this one. Lower 3 seconds, lift 2 seconds, pause at the top 3 seconds…this is a killer with resistance bands.

Side Plank with Hip Dip: Zip it up! Lower 2 seconds, lift 3 seconds, pause 3 seconds.

I would love your questions/comments on anything posted on this page! Thank you for reading! And if you like what you see, share the love!
Exercise tutorials are available on http://www.acefitness.org/