Strength 101: Frog Crunches

Hi There! So let’s talk abs again! With summer on the way, we’d all probably like to make sure that we’re making the most of our ab workouts right? So many times we hit the fibers of our upper abs, but neglect the fibers in our lower abs. This is where these frog crunches come in. This move came straight out of 21 Day Fix, and it’s simple, but whoa, is it ever effective! You’ll want to start out by lying on your back/supine, with your legs extended, toes turned out. Your lower back should not be arching off the floor. Maintain toes turned out, bring your knees toward your chest, and simultaneously crunch up off the floor, bringing head towards knees. Exhale, drawing belly button in as you crunch. Try doing anywhere from 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Your abs play an important role in protecting your back, ladies, especially after having children. I haven’t had children yet, but I’ve seen many women who don’t exercise between pregnancies, and develop major back problems because their core muscles haven’t been strengthened. So my point is core training is vital, not just for aesthetics, but for making everyday tasks easier.
How to: Lie on your back. Beginners bring legs straight up to a 90 degree angles, the more advanced may lower their legs closer to the floor. Turn toes out as far as possible, pressing heels together. Place hands behind head and look at your belly button. For those with gentle necks, place a towel behind your head, and hold onto each end. Crunch up, bringing your knees towards you and exhaling. your knees will separate, but your toes must remain turned out. Inhale, extending your legs and lowering your head. Repeat.

This is a great move that will have your abs burning on rep 2…trust me. What’s your favorite ab move? Tell me in the comments! Have a great day and come back on Friday as I dish on food! (Pun intended.) 🙂

Strength Training 101: Woodchoppers

Hi Friends!
Hope you’re having a great week! This week, I wanted to touch on an exercise that is great for your core, but is often done incorrectly. You can even anchor a resistance band under one foot, and perform them that way, just make sure the band doesn’t slide as you rotate your foot! 🙂
Here’s the breakdown: Start with abs in and dumbbell in hand. (You can either practice this move with no weights at all, which I recommend for beginners.) You won’t need a very heavy dumbbell, either. Squat down, holding dumbbell in both hands by right knee. Twist and rotate with straight arms, moving dumbbell up diagonally to the left. Slowly rotate and lower dumbbell back to the right side in a squat. This move should never be rushed, and abs should be contracted throughout this movement.

This is a great move for working the obliques, but should not be performed with momentum for safety reasons. This move is great for not only working the core, but also getting a total body cardio workout! Get out there and get moving!

Happy Workout Wednesday!
Julie 

Friday Five and MashUp Conditioning dvd giveaway!

Hi everyone well, today is Friday 5! This week, I’m sharing 5 new awesome opportunities, I’ve been provided with this week! Find 5 good things that have happened to you this week and comment below. There’s so many crazy things going on in the world that sometimes we need to detox our minds. Philippians 4:8 “If there is anything praiseworthy or of good report, think about such things.” So take a break from all the drama, and count your blessings!

1. I was chosen to take part in a study regarding audiobooks and exercise. 🙂
2. I just found out Monday that Kidstunes (my real job) wants to begin working on community classes in order to bring movement and music to more children! 🙂
3. I’m a Beachbody coach!
4. I’m going to be sharing my story on website, and will be guest posting on 2 blogs in the upcoming weeks!
5. My husband and I sing and play in a band that will be doing a canned good drive for CUOC (Christians United Outreach Center) in Asheboro in a couple of months! I love giving back and helping people

If you deal with a lot of stress or depression, as I have in the past. A great way to move past it is to give back to someone else!

Oh and here’s the giveaway you’ve all been waiting for! Girls Gone Sporty provided me with this opportunity to review a fitness dvd from Mash-Up Conditioning. I loved working out with the Tempo dvd! Each of the 7 workouts contains 5 minute of strength, 5 minutes HIIT, and 5 minutes of mind/body exercise…Micah and I were huffing and puffing after the 1st 5 minutes! I teach hour long tabata classes that are intense, but this was intense and showed modifications for all fitness levels. Stacey and Jamie have some pretty impressive credentials, and the workouts are fun easy to follow, and best of all, you’ll be breaking a sweat in no time! I love the exercises they used, there are fresh and challenging exercise combos, and for those of you plyo people, this is a great dvd for you! The more advanced modifications include plyo, but the beginner variations are suitable for healthy pregnant women! There’s something for everyone!

Here’s the giveaway information!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a wonderful Weekend!  

Fitness Friday: The Truth About Glutes Training.

For those of you who’ve read my post on Monday, there seems to be a recurring theme this week. Glutes training…yes, I said a dirty word…lol. We North Americans of the protestant variety have this outlandish ideas that training this group of muscles is taboo…When people ask me what I’m training on a particular day, and I reply “glutes”…there are often snickers, winks, and creepy looks. eewww…The thing is, for women this muscle is sooo important – to metabolism, overall body fat, back pain relief, and so much more. The thing is, this group of muscles is the largest group of muscles in the body. The larger the muscle, the more calories it burns…do the math. These muscles are responsible for hip extension and hip rotation. They are very important. Have you ever noticed people who carry all the weight on the front of their body. (i.e., gut). They tend to have a much greater tendency for low back pain, all because they have weak glutes. The muscles in the front of their bodies over compensate for this, and as a result, the whole backside of their posterior chain is weak and prone to injury. Training legs, and glutes 2x a week will help with this. It doesn’t have to take hours, it can take minutes of your time. Here’s a tough workout, but it will help you get your glutes in shape. Remember my article on supersets, well here’s the chance to apply that knowledge! Drink lots of water and eat your veggies and protein, and you’ll be on the right track!

Warm-up: Do 20 small plies with heels close together and hips tucked under. This is not a large movement. Bend your knees, maintaining abs and hips, then straighten legs, contracting glutes. 

Side Lunge to Curtsey: Standing with feet together. Step right leg out to one side. Lower, really pushing hips back, then push off right leg to return and curtsey lunge back with your left leg. This one works wonders, in my personal experience, and targets the entire leg area. 
 
Squats: Use a squat machine, or squat with a resistance band or dumbbells.  Keep your feet wider to engage the glutes. Lower to parallel, then return to standing, squeezing glutes.

Jump Squats: Lower into a 3/4 squats. Lift off explosively, contracting glutes. Land with knees bent. Make it Easier: If you’ve never performed plyometric movements, substitute this for body weight, full-range squats. 

Hamstring Curl on the Ball: Lie on your back, with feet on an exercise ball. Dig your heels into the ball and curl your legs towards you, contracting your hamstrings and glutes. Slowly curl the ball away from you, maintaining lifted hips. 

Hip Thrust: Yes, I just wrote that on paper… grow up. Sit on the floor with a weight across your hips and shoulders against a bench or chair. Squeeze glutes and lift hips to parallel with floor, pause, then lower, but don’t touch the floor. 

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/