Month: October 2013

Pilates Exercise of the Month: SPINE TWIST

Pilates Exercise of the Month: Spine Twist (November 2013) 



Purpose:  To work the muscles of your waistline (olbique abdominals) and wring the  stale air from your lungs as you stretch the muscles of your back.


1.  Sit very tall with your arms stretched to either side of the room; palms down, fingers long.  Legs are straight and held tightly together; toes point up to the ceiling.


2.  Inhale deeply, pull your navel into your spine; as if you were being cinched at the waist.


3.  Exhale, for 3 counts, twist your torso to the right.  Sit Taller and increase the rotation with the next 2 breaths.  You can sustain one long exhalation, or a gradual exhale on each count.


4.  Look toward your back arm as you turn.  Stay perched on top of your hips, lifting taller and straighter; squeezing your buttocks and legs.


5.  Inhale deeply, return to center with your chest high.  Keep your arms in your peripheral vision, shoulders down.


6.  Repeat to the left side, lifting even taller and longer through the waist; returning to center.


7.  Repeat 3-5 sets on each side.  


Visualization:  Imagine you are wringing the air out of your body as you would wring water from a wet towel.


Modifications: Sit on a foam custion, edge of mat or cross-legged if you have tightness in lower back, hamstrings or hip flexors. 


Head to Toe Checklist:

Don’t let the back shoulder hunch up when turning.

Legs should stay even when twisting.

Use your breath to increase the stretch.

Don’t sink into your back as you twist.  Lift tall out of your waist.


Are you getting your recommended 10,000 steps in each day? October was national walking month, here is a away for you to set a goal to walk 10,000 daily steps into the start of  November.

Most smart phones have an application on them to record your daily steps such as:

For iPhone users try:

For Android users try:

  • Noom Walk or Noom Cardio Trainer
    The Cardio Trainer application tells your speed
    and tracks your distance and provides a map of your journey.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has a recreational walking website which offering three walking maps divided into. You can request a printed copy be sent to you: North Seattle, Central Seattle and South Seattle. So grab a family member, workout partner from the SAC or just go exploring by yourself to reach that goal of 10,000 steps each day of October and see your body change.

Congratulations to our Swimmers!

Congratulations to our Swimmers!
The Seattle Athletic Club is the premier host of the Aqua Dynamics Swim Team, a youth swim team that competes year round. (The team is up to 14 members this year) and continues to improve each day. The swimmers have been working incredibly hard over the last few months.
The team just competed in the first two swim meets of the fall season, and our swimmers showed huge improvements from even just a few months ago!
Here are the Highlights from the last two meets:

Sockeye Sprints: (Oct. 5th)
Kaya Daggatt: Swam a Personal Best in every event
MacKinlay Daggatt: Swam a Personal Best in her 50 Back, 50 Breast and 50 Free
Seth Baker: Swam a Personal Best in every event, dropped 5 seconds in 50 Backstroke and 3 seconds in 50 Free
Donovan Blackham: Swam a Personal Best in every event, dropped 3 seconds in 50 Free
Alex Novosselov: Swam a Personal Best in 50 Breast and 50 Free, dropped 1 sec in 50 Free
Noelle Merino: Swam a Personal Best in her 100 IM, 50 Fly and 50 Free, dropped 2 seconds in 50 Free
Theron Baker: Swam a Personal Best in every event, dropped 3 seconds in 50 Free
Vivian Baker: Swam a Personal Best in 25 Back, 25 Breast and 25 Free. She also swam the 100 IM for the first time as a 7 year old!!

October Challenge (Oct. 12-13)
Evan Gwinn: Swam a Personal Best in every event, dropped time in every event including: 19 sec drop in 200 Free and 15 sec drop in his 200 IM!
Noelle Merino: Swam a Personal Best in every event, dropped 9 seconds in 200 IM, 6 seconds in 100 Free
Alex Novosselov: Swam a Personal Best in every event, dropped 11 seconds in 100 IM, 3 seconds in 100 Free
MacKinlay Daggatt: Swam a Personal Best in 50 Free and dropped 3 seconds in one week!!
Sydney Thomson: Swam a Personal Best in every event
Donovan Blackham: Swam a Personal Best in 50 Back and 50 Fly, dropped 1.5 sec in his 50 Back from the previous week!

I would like to thank the Seattle Athletic Club and all of its members and staff for supporting our team!

Coach Stephanie

Land/Water Swimming Circuit


Below is a workout that I enjoy because it involves swimming along with calisthenics and plyometrics. These are two of my favorite things to do when exercising and you can combine them together into one circuit workout. If you cannot decide between the pool and the weight room, try this exercise and get them both done at once.


Warm up:

120 swim


Main Set:

40 sprint (free)

10 push ups

40 sprint (your choice: fly, back, breast, or free)

10 dips (chair or floor)


Rest for 1 minute and repeat 2-3 times


40 sprint (kick)

10 jump squats or squats

40 sprint (Kick of choice: fly, back, breast, or free)

10 lunges on each leg


Rest for 1 minute and repeat 2-3 times


Cool Down:

120 swim



There are many different variations and ways to do an exercise like this. If you enjoy it please let me know. If you have any questions or would like a different workout version contact Amber Gruger at


Pilates Exercise of the Month – TWIST

IMG_0381 IMG_0380 Twist



By:  Jocelyn Paoli, Stott Certified Pilates Instructor


Purpose:  This advanced exercise strengthens and stretches the olbique adbominal muscles, stabilizes the shoulder and puts balance and control to the test!


Starting Position: Sit sideways with your weight on one side of the pelvis. Bend the legs and place the top foot over the bottom one. Place your hand, palm down, fingers facing away from you, underneath your shoulder.  Your top hand rests on knee.


  1. Inhale; In one movement, lift pelvis away from floor, straightening the legs; raise the upper arm to shoulder height; fingers pointing to ceiling. The body is in a straight diagonal line; arms straight &  aligned with each other.


2.  Exhale, lift pelvis high, reach free arm (top arm) down toward mat, rotating trunk, as the arm reaches under the body.


  1. Inhale, return to previous position with the body in a straight diagonal line.


  1.  Exhale, now, take our arm and reach it back, allowing upper body to twist toward ceiling, resisting pelvic rotation.


5.  Inhale, return to your long diagonal position of step 3.  Exhale lower body to starting position. Complete 3-5 times.


Visualization: Imagine you are suspended by a strong spring attached through your belt loops and up to the ceiling.


Head to Toe Checklist:

*  Keep your hips still as you twist

*  Keep scapula stable

*  Maintain alignment of the head with the spine

*  Don’t lean all your weight into your wrists or knees



Begin going in one direction, then add on.



I’ve recently had several people ask me what the benefits of strength training are as we age. It seems that this question continues to get asked a lot and I decided it might be most helpful to provide and share one of the many reasons.


The tendency towards inactivity naturally increases as we age; leading to many age-related degenerative issues and diseases.  Just think of your grandparent’s frailty, stooped posture, unsteady and uncoordinated movements, loss of strength and sagging skin due to muscle loss. What I’d like to stress here is; it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the most prominent benefits to strength training as we age is maintenance of muscle tissue.


Why is this important?


As we age our bodies go through Sarcopenia which is a loss in strength from a reduced muscle mass and a loss in mobility from the reduced functional capacity of the muscle. These muscle changes happen because of issues between motor unit restructuring, protein deficiency and changes in hormone concentrations. This motor unit restructuring is the most important to maintain, as it causes the death of and/or decreased production of specialized motor neurons that send electrical impulses to the muscle fibers. This leads to nearby motor neurons to take over for survival, often with less precision and coordination in motor unit firing. This process usually begins at middle age (around 40) at a rate approximately half a pound muscle loss per year. Around the age of 50, this rate can double and it accelerates further towards the age of 70. If an individual is inactive, these numbers can exaggerate further.


Strength or resistance training can prolong, even slow this process. In one study by Roth, Ferrel & Hurley 2000, ( strength training was discovered to have a positive effect on the body’s neuromuscular system, protein synthesis and hormone concentrations by increasing production rates in response to strength training stimuli. Strength training (or better known as lifting weights) stresses the muscle by requiring the neurons to fire between the brain and muscle fibers in a more synchronistical way. The more motor neurons fire, the more muscle fiber recruitment involved which leads to a more coordinated, faster muscle contraction and greater muscle force production. Muscle mass helps to maintain protein synthesis rates which is needed for muscle tissue growth and regeneration. This may explain why individuals with a higher level of lean muscle mass may heal faster upon injuries (another benefit!).


Several human hormones responsible for muscle protein metabolism and closely related with protein synthesis usually decline due to age and atrophy. These hormones levels can be maintained however, through a continual strength-training program and were shown to improve when inactive individuals incorporated lifting weights into their exercise program. The overall take home message here is, if you don’t use it you will lose it!


The human skeletal muscle is a truly amazing, adaptable organ. Muscle will grow when repeatedly stressed during an intensive and progressive training program. No matter what the current motor neuron loss, muscle will hypertrophy using the neurons it current has. No matter one’s age or fitness level, studies have shown that muscle strength and mass can be regained. It is always advisable to seek the professional advice of a personal fitness trainer, especially if new strength training or experienced in age. Correct form and lifting mechanics, intensity, frequency and current fitness level all need to be factored in a strength-training program. The program also needs to progress at the appropriate overload rate to avoid injuries and gain improvements.


To maintain lean muscle, strength, coordination and mobility, it is important to continue to strength train or begin it now! You will keep your body functioning optimally well into your ‘experienced’ years, prevent degenerative issues and create a healthier version of you!  For further information on personal fitness training at SAC, please contact Kendra Kainz.