Month: April 2013

Are you fit for hiking?

As the snow starts to melt and the flowers start poking their heads through the frozen ground, hikers across the Puget Sound area are dusting off their boots and trekking poles as they prepare to resume their exploration of the vast Pacific Northwest! Will you be one of those hikers this year? Better yet, will you be PREPARED to be one of those hikers this year?? Below is a simple series of exercises designed to strengthen the muscles used while hiking. Most people tend to focus solely on quadriceps strength in regards to hiking. While the quads are very important (especially for the decent), the glutes and core muscles help prevent injuries to your ankles, knees, hips and back.

These can be incorporated into a regular, normal routine or at the completion of a cardio session!!

Warm-up

  • Hip Bridges – 10 reps
  • Knee Drops – 10 each side
  • Walking lunges – 1 lap (feel a stretch in the hip flexor, keeping the stomach strong!)
  • T walks/Birdfeeders – 1 lap (no weights. Take 3 steps in between each 1 to bring you to the next leg)
  • Curtsey Squats – 10 each side

Main Set:

  • Step Ups – 10 each leg (Stay on the same leg for all 10, then switch. Bring opposite knee up to add a balance component.)
  • Walking lunges with 15lbs dumbbells – 2 laps
  • Lateral quick steps over the BOSU – 10 each side (start at the side, move sideways over the BOSU staying as low as you can. Be sure to bring each foot down to the ground before you change directions.
  • Standing squats with 15lbs dumbbells – 20 reps
  • Band side steps – 1 lap
  • Plank Mountain Climbers (knee to opposite elbow) – 10 each side
  • Repeat x3

Cool Down

  • Knee to chest stretch
  • Figure 4 stretch
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Hip flexor stretch
  • Foam roll calves, quads, IT band, hip flexors

Top 10 Pilates Questions

I’m new to Pilates. How do I start?
The best way to start if you have never tried Pilates is to begin with an orientation. In an orientation, a certified Pilates instructor will teach you a beginner lesson on the Pilates equipment, and then direct you to the class you would like to take.

How do I make an appointment for my orientation?
Contact Danielle Zack, Pilates Director at dzack@sacdt.com or (206) 443.1111 x246.

What is the difference between mat classes and private instruction sessions?
Pilates is intended to be done one-on-one under an instructor’s supervision and guidance, and mat classes are meant to supplement the work you do with your instructor. Both are valuable, though, and will strengthen your body. Private sessions are tailored to your individual needs so if you have injuries or specific physical concerns this is your best choice. Mat classes are designed for the general population and there is less individual attention.

What are the prices?
The average cost for a single Pilates session in the city of Seattle is $71.70 per hour. The SAC offers the highest quality instruction for nearly 40% less!

  • Private Session – $50
  • Duet Session – $31/client
  • Group Session – $25/client

How long are the lessons?
All sessions are 55-minutes in length.

What should I wear?
Please wear comfortable, fitted workout clothes and clean socks (no shoes needed).

Where do I go for my first Pilates session?
Come downstairs to the Pilates Studio, which is located across the Café next to the cycling room. Please feel free to enter and sit down next to the desk. If this is your first appointment, some paperwork will be on a clipboard with your name on it for you to start filling out. The instructor will be finishing up teaching a client, so feel free to watch. You’ll be next!

What if I make an appointment and I have to cancel?
All cancellations require 24 hours notice. All cancellations must be directly given to your instructor via email or phone messages. All appointments cancelled with less than 24 hours notice will be charged the full session amount.

Where do I go for mat class?
All Pilates mat classes are located in the Mind/Body Studio, which is across the basketball court.

Which Pilates mat class is right for me?
If you are a brand-new beginner, please come to the Introduction to Pilates Mat class on Saturday at 8 a.m. If you have very little experience with Pilates, please come to any Fundamentals Pilates Mat class. If you have some/moderate experience with Pilates, please come to any Fundamentals or Intermediate Pilates Mat class. If you have extensive experience, please feel free to come to any class, including the classes marked Cardio-based mat, magic circle mat, and Saturday’s advanced mat class.

If you have severe injuries or just concerns, please feel free to contact Danielle Zack for a recommendation.

Sweat filled full body circuit!

If you have been looking for a full body workout that takes between 30-60 minutes, here it is!

Jumping pull ups (10-15)
Row Machine (1 minute sprint on 10)
Push ups (10-15)
Repeat 2-3 times

Box Jumps (10-15)
Box Push (Down the hallway and back)
Lunge switches (10-15 each leg)
Repeat 2-3 times

Medicine ball chest throw with 10-20lbs (15-20)
Versa Climber (1 minute sprint)
Bench dips (10-15)
Repeat 2-3 times

Jump squats (10-15)
Stairs (3 full sets)
Burpees (10-15)
Repeat 2-3 times

Rep counts for all levels:
Beginner: 10 reps
Moderate: 12 reps
Advanced: 15 reps

Set counts for all levels:
Beginner to Moderate: 2 sets
Moderate to Advanced: 3 sets

If you have any questions about the exercises above, please contact Amber Gruger at Agruger@sacdt.com.

The beauty of a crystal clear swimming pool

All swimming pools have pretty much the same rules. One rule in particular will be at any swimming pool you go to, that is “Please shower before you enter the pool”. This rule is there for a very specific reason. And no it’s not to annoy you. Pool chemistry can be a tricky thing. If you get in without showering your perfume, sweat, make-up and what the day has proceeded to leave on you can throw off the chemicals of the pool. You might think I haven’t been anywhere I haven’t done anything to cause the pool chemistry to go off balance. If everyone has that thought then the pool will never be clean.

In order to help keep the pool chemistry in balance is that everyone showers prior to getting in. So, keeping that in mind on your next visit to the pool please remember to shower before you get in.

Summer core prep with the Side Plank yoga pose

Vasisthasana = “best, most excellent posture”

Vasisthansana or “Side Plank Pose” is a very rich core exercise indeed. As summer approaches and we want to look our “bikini” best, time to add Side Plank to your routine.

Most summer athletic sports require a strong core and flexible side waist. Think, reaching for a football pass, keeping your balance on your mountain bike while ripping up a tricky trail, or max length for free style swim. Side Plank will strengthen your Serratius (deep side muscles) and Latissimus Dorsi (the big group of outer corset muscles that span from your shoulder blades and wrap around your side waist to pelvic region). This pose will also strengthen wrists, shoulders, arms and legs, while creating flexibility in your hips. I will give modifications for those with injury in the arms.

Let’s Play

  1. Start in Down Dog and tune into your breath. Once your breath is steady and engaged, then start your practice. This will help you stay focused.
  2. Roll forward to Plank Pose
  3. Move your right hand underneath your nose on the mat, and spread your fingers wide like a pancake. IF you have injury in any part of your arm, please drop your bottom knee on the floor to support your body weight from here on out.
  4. Carefully roll to the side, opening hips and stack your feet on top of each other, lifting the hips as high as you can, reaching the left hand straight up to the ceiling.
  5. If you are feeling fresh, lift your top leg a few inches off the other while lifting hips. This will increase your balance and strength practice.
  6. Hold Side Plank for 5-10 breaths and repeat on opposite side.
  7. Rest in Child’s pose with hands by hips for 10 breaths before moving into the rest of your practice.

Modifications

  1. Drop bottom knee to the floor, and keep it there.
  2. Rest on forearm for side plank instead of wrists, to protect injured parts.
  3. Engage your core, and lift kneecaps for max focus on strength. Stay like a board, not sagging in the hips, shoulders, etc.
  4. BREATH!

Side Plank is one of my favorite poses to build the core strength and awareness for more complex poses and inversions. I am available for private Yoga coaching at Seattle Athletic Club, if you have any questions about this pose or want to enrich your on going practice!

Member Spotlight: Lori Dickinson

Lori lives and works over 40 miles away from the Seattle Athletic Club. She drives here religiously every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to participate in Swim Conditioning. I can always rely on Lori to show up with a smile on her face and eager to jump in. She helps me keep count of the set they are swimming. Her enthusiasm for swimming shows in every length she swims.

She has been a member of the Seattle Athletic Club since the club opened its doors in the 1980’s. Lori started in the swimming program just a short time after joining, going from only being able to swim one length of the pool to participating in the entire workout. She has been actively participating ever since, making her three swim workouts a high priority every week. Swimming has kept her healthy, happy, and relatively injury-free for a long time, she doesn’t plan to ever give it up.

“I’ve had various competitive goals during my swimming years, for 2012 I set a goal just to compete against myself–to swim 250 miles for the year. At the time I set the goal I really didn’t think too much about it, I calculated the number of yards I usually swim in a week and multiplied it by 52 weeks in the year.

What I didn’t think about was the inevitable snow and ice and marathon road-closures that make being late for practice a regular occurrence. I didn’t think about the work and family emergencies that would pull me away from practice. I didn’t take into account a bout with the whooping cough that took swimming away as an option for a number of weeks, or the fact that both Thanksgiving and Christmas hit on swim workouts days. During the summer I realized that hitting my goal was actually going to require some pretty aggressive work on my part.

From that point forward I made it a point to stay late after class if my yardage hadn’t met my daily goal. When the club closed for the summer maintenance I joined another club to keep my weekly yardage up. As the end of the year approached I counted out the number of workouts left, added up the anticipated mileage for each one and realized that I had to swim every single yard in every single workout to make my goal. If a snowstorm or illness prevented me from getting in I knew I wouldn’t make it.

Thanks to my coach, Kelli, who was tracking my mileage just as closely as I was, I got in a couple of extra yards here and there on top of my plan. It wasn’t just my coach that kept me motivated, the other members of the class have always been super supportive of each other, so they helped a lot, too. I hit my 250 mile goal with 2 miles to spare on the last workout of the year. Hooray!”

I look forward to seeing Lori 3 days a week. Thank you Lori for all of your hard work!

A Runner’s Guide to Maintenance

Running is a very dynamic sport that involves several different joints to function in correct alignment to absorb and react to impact efficiently. A routine that strengthens to prevent injury, creates length, reinforces proper movement patterns, and treats or prevents inflammation can help you become a stronger and safer runner.

Mobility warm ups:
A general warm up might be too limited to maintain proper strength, flexibility, and stabilizer activation. Here are a few extra movements for optimal joint function.

Ankles:

  • Using a combo balance board for ankle circles, lateral and medial motion, and forward and back wobble motion. If you do not have a balance board, you can do multidirectional toe taps, ABC’s, or ankle circles.

Hips:

  • Move from a hurdler’s stretch position to a track start position with the toes up to warm up and lengthen the front and back of the hips. An alternative is forward and back leg swings.
  • Folding forward touch down to an elevated surface like a step, or grab under the toes and transition from the forward fold to a deep squat with knees out and the heels up while using the arms to stretch the inner thighs and groin area. An alternative is a lateral leg swing, pendulum motion. Make sure that you are warmed up properly for this kind of motion.
  • Figure 8’s or circles can be done in a controlled movement or in a ballistic leg swing. Make sure to maintain a neutral spine and tight core for safety.

Spine:

  • Move from a flexed spine into extension on the floor, or use a resistance band or stability ball for added traction.
  • Lateral bends reaching up and over done in a controlled movement lengthen major muscles, such as: lats, quadratus lumborum, and the psoas.
  • Lateral twists can be done in a ballistic motion from the arms or lying down with the legs as windshield wipers.

Exercises:
When it comes to an exercise routine make sure you have these simple, yet important basics in your repertoire.

  • A leg strengthener that is general and highly effective for spinal integrity, core strength and proper length/ tension relationships of the body is a barbell squat. This can be done with light weight body bars and can progress from there.
  • An upper body strengthener that utilizes core and shoulder stabilizers is a pushup. You can do a ball pushup using the stability ball under the hands for added activation and increased difficulty.
  • Chin-ups or pull-ups counter-effect shoulder elevation that is common in runners and again integrate a lot of core and stabilization.
  • An overhead shoulder press is good not only for shoulder stability, but range of motion and health of the shoulder joint. If you are doing this correctly with complete range, you should be able to extend the elbows straight with the weights held directly above you without extension at the lower back or shoulder elevation.
  • Core or spinal stabilizers have the greatest importance for endurance athletes. A plank or leg lifts for added psoas activation are great choices for runners.

Strength and mobility aspects of fitness are important to maintain as a runner to complement your running program. In addition, proper flexibility and massage will keep the body healthy and will aid in recovery. If you have additional questions, or would like more advanced options please contact personal fitness trainer Amber Walz.

Genuine Movement: Mobility Routine


Mobility is the ability of a joint to move in a functionally adequate range of motion. It is the foundation of movement ability because it allows your body to be comfortable in stable positions. Mobility is the opposite of the stiffness, tightness and restriction that many of us experience everyday. I have noticed several lower body “hot spots” in SAC members lately. Ankles, knees, hips and even upper backs (thoracic spine) are commonly tight which leads to difficulty in squats, jumping and sports. Many people assume that these malevolent joints are caused by muscles being too short but mobility is actually much more complicated. Mobility is in part determined by nervous system control of all the tissues surrounding a joint which means that increasing mobility at a joint really depends on changing the neuromuscular system. The bad news: this means that passive stretching will probably not make a long lasting improvement. The good news: using smarter mobility exercises can help you overcome immobility in as soon as 2-4 weeks of consistent practice. Genuine Movement is a program that teaches great movement ability in a semi-guided format. Here are some Genuine Movement mobility drills to get you moving naturally and spontaneously. Please contact Hunter Spencer at Hspencer@sacdt.com with questions or for more information about Genuine Movement.

½ Kneeling Stretch

  • Targets: Ankle, knee hip
  • Lean forward until you feel a moderate stretch in the thigh or calf
  • Return to starting position. Repeat.
  • Oscillate continuously for 10 reps
  • 2 x 10

Rib Pulls

  • Lying on your side with top knee pressing into the support
  • Keep knee above hip level
  • Rotate shoulders away from bent knee
  • Hold 3-5 seconds and return to starting position
  • 2 x 6

Squat Progression

  • Targets: Ankles, knees, hips, upper back
  • Use small silver box
  • Start with arms overhead
  • Bend down and touch box with straight legs
  • Continue pressing into the box as you drop your hips down into a deep squat
  • Lift one arm and look at your hand, hold 10 seconds
  • Switch sides and repeat
  • Lift both arms overhead and return to starting position
  • 3 x 6

Please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Hunter Spencer with your questions.

Tips for sharing lanes in the pool

From the time we are babies we are taught to share. With this simple teaching the hope is as adults we continue to use this practice. This goes with so many different things in life.

You think “I need to get my laps in, I will go swimming today”. You head to the club. In the locker room you put on your swim suit and cap with goggles in hand you head to the pool after you have showered. You’re all ready to jump in and swim as you walk onto the pool deck you think to yourself “what’s this? All the lanes have someone in them!” There is a swim lesson in one lane, someone jogging in another lane and the other lanes have one person swimming. What do you do? Do you wait for a lane to open up? Do you get mad and leave?

There is a simple answer to those questions and leaving is not it. This is where the life long lesson of sharing comes into play. Watch the swimmers see who fits in with your level or speed of swimming. You can wait for them to stop and see you standing on the deck to ask them if they will share with you. You may think I don’t want to disturb someone’s pace; you can climb in making sure not to get in the way. Stand off to the side when they stop ask if they would like to swim circles or split the lane in half.

If you are the person swimming and see someone looking for a place to swim you can offer to share your lane with them. It is also possible to ask the jogger and lesson if they wouldn’t mind sharing a lane so you can swim laps.

Lap lanes can hold many people in them. If you leave :05 – :10 seconds between you and the person in front of you there will be plenty of room for a lot of people. If you were on swim team growing up you always shared lanes with possibly 10 or more people. It’s nice to have the pool or lane to yourself. Sometimes we get so used to it that the first thought is “What? My lane has someone in it.”

All in all there is plenty of room for everyone. All we need to do is SHARE.

Pilates Exercise of the Month: The Scissors

Benefits:
Strengthens the abdominals, increases spine flexibility, stretches the hamstrings and hip flexors.

Starting Position:
Lie down on mat and bring your legs up to a 90 degree angle, toes pointed. Arms long by sides, palms down.

  1. Inhale; prepare the body and scoop abdominals inward. Exhale; continue to lift your legs up to ceiling (toes to ceiling). Inhale; bring the hands underneath the hips with finger tips pointed outward and the wrists supporting the back and hips.
  2. Exhale; scissor the legs; one leg moves over the head as the other leg moves toward the mat in the opposite direction. Switch legs and continue to scissor. Keep the hips and pelvis still as you move legs; pulsing slightly.
  3. Inhale; bring the legs back up over the hips (toes reach to ceiling). Exhale; allow your back to roll down to the mat, slowly and carefully, one vertebra at a time.
  4. Complete 3-5 sets

Head to Toe Checklist:

  • Do not roll onto the neck
  • Keep the elbows parallel to each other (or as close as possible) & cradle the pelvis with the hands
  • Keep torso rock solid as you scissor
  • Breath fully and deeply to facilitate the scissor motion

Visualization:
Imagine the legs opening wide like a handheld fan, then closing and opening to the other side.