Tag: muscles

Fall Into Pilates

 Tuesdays/Thursdays | 5:10 pm

In the Pilates Studio with Lindsey Jackson A perfect class for developing core strength. Twice weekly we’ll use the specialized Pilates apparatus called the Universal Reformer, which utilizes spring-resistance to gain core strength, develop muscle control, and increase flexibility while working your gluteals, abdominals, and back muscles.

  • Space is limited to 4 participants.
  • 6 Sessions for $180

For more information or to Reserve your spot , please contact instructor Lindsey Jackson at ljackson@sacdt.com or call 206.443.1111 x242.

Kettlebell front squats for you!

What happens when you only have 15 minutes to workout?  For the majority of us 15 minutes means nothing happens.  A lot of time we get it in our heads that we have to have at least 30, 45, or 60 minutes to get a workout in and anything less wouldn’t be worth the bother.  Well as I can report from my own experience and any of my clients that show up late to a session can attest, a whole lot of good stuff can get done in 30 minutes or less.

One great way to making efficient and productive workouts in a very short amount of time is to:

  • Move quickly
  • Use big muscles
  • Use power exercises
  • Incorporate full body movements
  • Take few rests

One very valuable exercise for any workout but especially for short workouts is the Kettlebell Front Squat.  Here’s how it goes…

 

Kettlebells

Grab one kettlebell (for progression use two kettelbells in rack position), hold it tight to your chest with your hands on the low Kettlebellspart of the handle and maybe slightly on the round part of the bell (see left side picture).  With the bell on your upper chest descend down into a deep squat.  Getting your thighs below parallel should always be the goal (see right side picture).  However, to get to full depth in any squat you need to keep your feet flat, your chest up, your hips under you (not behind you), and to maintain tension in your muscles (not relaxing in the bottom).  This is the easiest with weight on the front of your body as the weight counterbalances your backside.  So not only is the KB Front Squat great for strength it is also a great exercise to help you understand posture in a full depth squat.

 

Why is this squat so darned good?  Front squats are one of the best ways to increase strength in your quads, which in turn increases stability in your knees.  The increase in depth also helps you fire more muscle fibers which will in turn increase your heart rate as well as caloric burn.  Using your big muscles means a lot of effort goes into the movement thus increasing the results of strength from the exercise.

Here is a very basic and fun way to incorporate the front squat with a short and effective workout.  So the next time you only have 15 minutes to workout there should be no excuses!

  • 10 Push-ups
  • 10 Kettlebell Front Squats
  • 10 Bench Tricep Dips
  • 10 Kettlebell Front Squats
  • 10 Ab Crunches on the exercise ball
  • 10 Kettlebell Front Squats
  • 1 Minute “Sprint” on the Elliptical.

Repeat for a total of 3-5 times through.

 

For more information on effective workouts please contact Adriana Brown at abrown@sacdt.com

Pain in the neck? Relief may lie in how you move.

By Peggy Protz, Feldenkrais® Practitioner

Neck pain really can be a pain in the neck. Especially if the pain affects your ability to move easily and comfortably. Ask anyone who has experienced a whiplash, a pinched nerve, or a bad tension headache. Pain caused by these conditions will often restrict the natural, free movement of the head, creating an experience of life that is limiting. A real pain in the neck!

The pain can easily spiral downward into more discomfort. As you try to keep your head still to avoid pain, muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back begin to tighten up. This is understandable, as your body intelligently wants to protect you from further injury. The increased muscle tension, however, can actually cause more discomfort. One way to disrupt this cycle is to begin moving in a gentle way.

Try this experiment…   Sit on the edge of a chair that has a firm, flat surface. Have your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart and your thighs parallel to the floor. Rest your hands comfortably on your thighs. Gently turn your head a little to the right and to the left, keeping the movement in a range that is easy and not painful. Observe how far you turn by taking note of what you see in the room around you.

Next, keeping your head in the center, slowly look downward, lowering your chin to your chest. Allow your chest to sink, relax your shoulders, and think that you are bending your whole back backwards, creating a “C” shape from the top of your head to your tailbone. This position may feel like slouching.

Now reverse the movement. Slowly lift your chin off your chest, looking straight ahead as you straighten your back. Push your chest forward and gently pull your shoulders back. Think that the top of your head is being pulled upward toward the ceiling, causing you to sit taller on your seat.

Repeat the motion: lowering your head as you bend your back, lifting your head as you straighten your back. See if you can feel the pressure of your hips rolling back and forth on the chair; leaning back on your tail bone, then forward on your sit bones.

Begin to coordinate your breathing with the movement. Exhale as you look down, relaxing the chest. Inhale as you lift your head, expanding the chest. Allow your whole body to relax into the motion.

After you’ve done the exercise five or six times, stop and rest with your eyes closed, noticing the feeling in your shoulders, back, and neck. Open your eyes and turn your head again, like you did at the start. See if it feels easier or if you can turn a little further. Notice if you see more of the room around you.

This is an exercise I often share with my students and is something you can do anytime to relieve tension. The back and forth movement or your spine sort of “resets” your nervous system, allowing your body to relax and learn a new way moving, without you having to think about it. With gentle practice, the better way becomes the natural way, and perhaps that pain in the neck won’t have to be such a pain in the neck!

For more guidance on how to reduce neck and shoulder pain, join Peggy for the “Pain Free Neck and Shoulders” Feldenkrais workshop, Saturday February 7, 2 – 4:30pm in the Mind Body Studio

Get Fit and Slim Fast: LIFT SOME WEIGHT!

I often hear from female clients and female members that they don’t like to lift weights, especially heavy weights because they don’t want to bulk up. I know I’ve written about this topic at least twice before. Maybe the third times the charm.

The illusion of bulking up is just that. If you really were bulking up from lifting weights quite a few stars would have to align to result in such things.
• One, you would have to be lifting HEAVY twice a day.
• Two, you would have to be eating nothing but boiled chicken and broccoli.
• Three, you would have to be pushing yourself to the ends of your strength during every workout.
• Four, you would have to workout hard 5-7 days a week consistently.
It’s incredibly hard to put on large amounts of muscle mass and for the average gym-goer takes a long time to add any real size in muscle. Women especially have a much harder time putting on size, we do not have the testosterone, the same fat deposits (women have much more affinity to hold fat in the arms and hips than males do), and women have smaller muscle size in general. So any noticeable size in muscle is super hard to accomplish. You can get stronger and you may see your muscles more (generally that’s just a result of losing body fat and less about having huge muscles), but lifting enough to have serious guns will probably never happen.

What will happen if you push yourself and lift heavy weights? You will get stronger. Who doesn’t want to be stronger? The stronger you are the easier lifting your grandchild is. The stronger you are the easier it is to start the lawn mower. The stronger you are the easier it is to climb that hill. Strength means you can do more for yourself, you can be confident in your physical feats (will I or won’t I throw out my back lifting the dog into the car?).

What will happen if you lift heavy weights? You will lose body fat. You will increase your muscle fibers (fibers, teeny tiny fibers), which means that your muscles will burn more calories every day to function. Adding extra fibers means that your whole body will need to utilize more calories every day to sit, to walk, and especially to exercise. How sweet is that?! Without doing any long cardio or scaling way back in calorie intake you can lose body fat just by increasing your squat weight and doing fewer reps. Sounds good to me!

What will happen if you lift weights? You will increase your bone density. You will feel a bigger sense of accomplishment (When was the last time you got off the exercise bike after your regular 45 minutes while reading the paper and said, Man I can’t believe I just did that, I’m awesome!). You will have better body composition, that strapless dress will look so much better with stronger arms, I swear! You will move better and with more confidence.

Lifting heavy weights is as much (sometimes way more) cardio as it is strength. It takes a ton of energy to perform heavy lower body exercises and thus increases your heart rate substantially. Lifting heavy is comparable to sprinting up a hill. That sounds like a great way to kill two birds with one stone!

I hope more women get in the weight room and really work hard with the weights. I am a total believer in pushing yourself and lifting “real weights”. The women that take my lifting classes all look AMAZING. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not churning out huge, beefy, bulging biceped women. Strong means fit. Strong means lean. Strong means healthy. Strong is beautiful. Let’s get strong!


For more information on how to start a strength training program please contact Adriana Brown