The Perfect Park Workout!

When you're crunched for time and don't want to miss out on a workout, do this routine ANYWHERE to tone arms, legs, back and core.  This workout requires no equipment! 

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20 Pushups 
20 Reverse Lunges/leg (shown in picture) 
20 Mountain Climbers/leg
20 Squat Hops 
20 Superman's
20 Slow Bicycles 

Repeat 3 times 


USEFUL MODIFICATIONS:  

Pushups- Use knees if needed.
Reverse Lunges- If you have knee pain, bend back knee less than front knee (shown in picture). 
Mountain Climbers- If you have wrist issues, perform mountain climbers on a bench/chair on forearms . 
Squat Hops- Again, if knees are bothersome, take the hop out of the squat.

Workout Wednesday: Create Your Own Gym. Use Your Own Body.

Ellyn in Eastern Washington. Photo Credit: Stephen Matera 

Ellyn in Eastern Washington. Photo Credit: Stephen Matera 

Going to the gym doesn't have to mean you need to master the newest machines or lift free weights. Sometimes the only thing you need is you. If your primary goal is to lose weight or get strong, keep it simple by utilizing your own body weight to work out. 

There are hundreds of ways to challenge all systems of the body through body weight exercise. For example, the circulatory system is stimulated through longer duration, moderate intensity exercises such as running, jumping jacks, power skipping or even just jumping up and down or side to side. 

The muscular system, meanwhile, can be targeted through strength exercises such as planks, push ups, lunges and squats. Each of these targets specific muscles to improve strength.

Another benefit of body weight exercises is their inclusion of balancing components. When using machines, the body doesn't need to balance any weight because it can only push or pull the weight via the cable. Because the cable guides the movement, most of the balancing action is eliminated.

For example, let's look at the differences between doing a leg press on a machine versus doing a standing squat. The machine is set up for a "generic human," and a cable guides the resistance, thus eliminating any balancing possibility. With a squat, however, you're in control of how the weight is distributed by having proper form from your feet all the way up to the crown of your head. You're forced to balance your own body weight. The same principal holds true when comparing machines to free weights, as free weights still challenge the body to balance. 

There are many ways to progress any body weight movement, such as increasing the number of sets and/or reps. You can also shorten your break time, lengthen the duration of the exercise or add supplemental weight when appropriate. 

Client Success Story: Linda from Capitol Hill

Linda joined Wellness By Little in January 2015 looking to increase her overall strength and to improve her balance and posture. On day one, we did baseline testing together and her numbers were as follows: Push Ups: 6 Plank: 1:25  Wall Sit: 1:25    With many months of dedicated training and pushing to the places Linda did not think were possible she increased muscular strength in her upper body, core and lower body.  On 7/9/15 we re-did Linda's baseline testing and her results were impressive: Push ups: 17 Plank: 1:53 Wall Sit: 2:40  The numbers speak for themselves and Linda reports to feel increased muscular endurance specifically in her yoga practice. She's able to hold positions longer and her stamina throughout classes have improved. 

Linda joined Wellness By Little in January 2015 looking to increase her overall strength and to improve her balance and posture. On day one, we did baseline testing together and her numbers were as follows:
Push Ups: 6
Plank: 1:25
Wall Sit: 1:25  

With many months of dedicated training and pushing to the places Linda did not think were possible she increased muscular strength in her upper body, core and lower body.

On 7/9/15 we re-did Linda's baseline testing and her results were impressive:
Push ups: 17
Plank: 1:53
Wall Sit: 2:40

The numbers speak for themselves and Linda reports to feel increased muscular endurance specifically in her yoga practice. She's able to hold positions longer and her stamina throughout classes have improved. 

 

 

Body Weight Workout

This routine can be done in your home by simply using your own body weight. NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED!
 
Circuit One
Side plank push ups x 15
Reverse Lunge with Step up x 15/leg
Mountain Climbers 1:00 minute
Repeat 3x
Circuit Two
15 Burpees (using step as modification if needed)
20 Squat hops (take out hop as modification)
Jog for 2:00 minutes @ moderate pace
Repeat 3x

Demonstration of reverse lunge step ups.

Demonstration of reverse lunge step ups.

Wellness By Little clients Adrian and Khanh demonstrating side plank push ups in their Madison Park home. 

Wellness By Little clients Adrian and Khanh demonstrating side plank push ups in their Madison Park home. 

The Ultimate Jump Rope Challenge

When was the last time you jump roped? It's cheap, portable and strengthens upper and lower body while also requiring some serious cardiovascular endurance.

If you're new to jump roping or trying for the first time in a while try this workout:

50 jumps>15 sec rest and repeat 5 times.

If you're wanting more of a challenge try this:

100 jumps>15 sec rest and repeat 5 times  

If you're familiar with double unders this is the ultimate jump roping challenge:

10 double unders, rest
20 double unders, rest 
30 double unders, rest
40 double unders, rest
50 double unders, rest
60 double unders, rest
50 double unders, rest
40 double unders, rest
30 double unders, rest
20 double unders, rest
10 double unders, DONE!

The rule is this: once you've completed 10, move onto 20. If you fail to complete 10, you have to start over again. For example: If you make it 59 but not 60, you must start at 50 again.  

Good Luck! 
 

Feel the Burn With This Stair Workout!

Stairs are a great way to get a quick, yet intense workout in your day.  Try these moves to get your legs and glutes stronger:

Find a set of stars that has 20 to 50 steps.

1.     Up and down once, single step on each stair

2.     Up with two steps on each stair, single step down

3.     Up sideways (right leg leading), single step down

4.     Up sideways (left leg leading), single step down

5.     Up skipping one step, single step down

Repeat five times.

Get Strong Quick With Kettlebell Swings

If you were looking for a single exercise to care for the human frame you’d probably look for an exercise that helped us regain our posture from one of sitting hunched over to one that was upright, extended, and open. The kettlebell swing is an exercise that helps strengthen the body and can overcome all the negative effects of sitting. This exercise can also strengthen your heart and help you lose weight, too. 

Before you get Started:
To perform a proper kettlebell swing, you have to first master the principles of a proper squat. Meaning weight is placed in the heel, knees are tracking over toes, core is engaged and chest is up. Although these swings do not require you to take a full squat, the foundation is very important to have. 

How to do a Proper Kettlebell Swing:

From squat position, drive the hips forward squeezing glutes, core and quadriceps, bringing kettlebell up to about eye level. The kettlebell will raise with your momentum on the way up and drop with gravity on the way down. Allow your body to move with that speed rather than forcing the kettlebell to do something different. 

These swings can be added into a strength circuit. Swings are a great way to get the heart rate up in a short period of time because it is a multi-joint exercise. 

My 4 Favorite Stability Moves

Stability Ball Session

In the following order repeat this circuit 3 times:

1. Plank Knee Tucks x 15

1. Plank Knee Tucks x 15

2. Stir the pot x12 each direction.  - In plank position make small circles in each direction

2. Stir the pot x12 each direction. 
- In plank position make small circles in each direction

3. Hamstring Curls x20 - From bridge position with hips high, bend knees to bring ball towards rear. 

3. Hamstring Curls x20
- From bridge position with hips high, bend knees to bring ball towards rear. 

4. Stability Ball Exchange x20 - Exchange stability ball from hands and feet with low back firmly planted on ground. 

4. Stability Ball Exchange x20
- Exchange stability ball from hands and feet with low back firmly planted on ground. 

3 Moves to Work Arms, Cardio and Core

The Chaturanga Push Up - this exercise alone incorporates hamstring flexibility, core and upper body strength. They can be performed often and I highly recommend office workers to get away from their desk a couple times a day to do these. 

Chaturanga Push Ups x10 (Modification: use knees) 

50 jumping jacks

1:00 plank hold

30 second side plank hold/side

Reapeat 3x

 

 

The Ultimate Full Body Balance Workout!

Today's workout Wednesday is all about balance. EQUIPMENT NEEDED: dumbells. 

Single leg bicep curls with dumbbell x12/leg

Single leg overhead press with dumbbell x10/leg

Single leg squat x20/leg

Single leg dead lift x10/leg

Core:

Single leg lifts x30 total (laying on back/15 per leg)

Repeat 3x

 

 

Plunge Into Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises are also known as "jumping" or "explosive" movements that are designed to be maximum force in a short period of time. The benefit of performing plyometric type exercises is to increase muscular power. These movements mimic exercises such as skiing, football, basketball and soccer, so athletes to the active adult can see benefits from performing plyometrics. Because the nature of these exercises and the potential for increased stress on joints, muscles and tendons precaution and/or modifications should be taken if you have an injury.

Plyometric Workout - No Equipment Needed:

Squat Hops x20
Burpies (w/ push up) x20
1:00min Plank

30sec Rest then repeat 1x

Lunge SwitchUps x20
Plank Jumping Jacks x30
1:00min Plank

30sec Rest then repeat 1x

Jumping Jacks x50
High Knees x50
Side to side hops x50
Front to back hops x50

30sec Rest then repeat 1x

Workout Wednesday: TRX Style

The TRX suspension trainer was developed by Navy Seals and is intended to use gravity and body weight to challenge the muscular system. The reason I love TRX is that it is safe and there are simple ways to make an exercise easier or more difficult depending on your level of athleticism. For easier modifications, simply changing the angle of your body in comparison to the TRX will make it less difficult while adding a hop to lower body exercises can add intensity. The below exercises are rated for beginner's to intermediate. 

Repeat circuit 3 times. 

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The 20 Minute Hill Workout

Min 1: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 1.0% incline
(The First 3 minutes is a steady paced walk)
Min 4: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 2% incline
Min 5: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 3% incline 
Min 6: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 4% incline
Min 7: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 5% incline
Min 8: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 6% incline
Min 9: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 7% incline
Min 10: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 8% incline
Min 11: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 9% incline
Min 12: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 10% incline
Min 13: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 11% incline
Min 14: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 12% incline
Min 15: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 13% incline
Min 16: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 14% incline 
Min 17: Treadmill @ 3.5mph @ 15% incline
Min 18-20: Cool down. Treadmill returns to 1% incline at 3.5mph. 

MODIFICATION TO MAKE EASIER: Make your walking pace 3.0mph.

MODIFICATION TO MAKE HARDER: After you've reached the 15% incline, go back down 1% every minute until the treadmill returns to 1% incline. (It's the reverse of what you just did). 

FUN FACT: This treadmill workout is adapted from a test that firefighters have to perform for their annual stress test. With a doctor present, electrodes are placed in specific locations on their chest to get an EKG report of how their heart reacts to exercise. Often times, this test is performed on a Super Treadmill which reaches a 40% incline. This allows the firefighter to exercise until fatigue which creates a baseline for returning years.

Bosu Ball Total Body Conditioning Workout

Incorporate this circuit into your next workout routine. These exercises require flexibility, balance, core and leg strength. Repeat circuit 3 times.

1. Single Leg Dead Lift  

Standing tall with balancing leg, hinge from the hip (keeping hips parallel), with belly button pulled in towards the spine and lower kettlebell towards the ground. Reach chest and crown of the head towards the front of the room, while back heel extends long. 

2. Mountain Climbers 

From plank position on bosu ball with core engaged, bring one knee up towards the arms. Alternate legs. 

3. Burpee with Bosu Ball

Starting in plank position, jump or step feet forward to squat position. Placing weight in the heels, stand up  and press bosu ball overhead. Lower back to starting position and repeat. 

The Modified Push-Up

I will admit that push ups are one of my least favorite exercises to do. They are hard and it doesn’t take many to feel the burn. I think many females can relate to the fact that more often than not the push up gets neglected over other exercises. 

During my teacher training with SloBody yoga we talked about why men are better at doing push ups than women. There is a reason! If you look at where men are the broadest/heaviest, it’s commonly the shoulders and for women it’s the hips. Women can thank having to bearer children for that one! From a biomechanical standpoint when performing a push up the body is mimicking a second class lever system with the axis located at one end (the feet), the resistance in the middle (hips) and the force at the opposite end (hands pressing against ground). If more weight is located at the center point you can see why it would be harder to press up from a push up than if the weight was added to an end point such as the arms/chest. 

So here’s the answer. Instead of neglecting push ups, modify them! The most common way is to do “girl push ups” although I don’t love this method as it doesn’t support a full range of motion push up. What I mean by full range of motion push up is having the ability to bend the elbows to 90 degrees while keeping chest and hips parallel just like you would in plank position. Two things I monitor very closely with my clients is that they aren’t rolling up as if they were doing cobra position in yoga and that they are lowering down more than 2 inches from the starting position. If you can only lower down 2 inches before feeling like gravity will take over and you’ll flop to the ground then listen up! 

Shown here is a user friendly method to performing a complete push up with a little love from a resistant band! This modification allows for full engagement of the pectoral muscles, triceps, anterior deltoid, serratus anterior and the midsection as a whole. Using the resistant band takes weight off of the central point allowing a full range of motion push up, core engagement and the ability to complete push ups to fatigue which is a key factor in building muscle.

This article is featured in January's West Seattle Herald:             http://www.westseattleherald.com/2014/01/22/features/wellness-little-modify-your-pushups-and-get-g

3 Exercises to Strengthen and Lengthen Low Back, Glutes & Increase Torso Mobility

Superman's 

Benefits:
-Strengthens the lower back region
-Indirectly strengthens the gluteus maximus muscles as well as the hamstrings. 
-The lower back muscles from the hips to the neck are stretched and strengthened. 


Seated Forward Fold

Benefits:
-Stretches the hamstrings and calves. 
-Stretches the spine and lower back.
-Calms the mind and relieves stress and anxiety. 


Triangle Pose 

Benefits:  
-Strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, and chest. 
-Stretches and opens the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves as well as the shoulders, chest, and spine.
-Increases mental and physical equilibrium.
-Helps improve digestion.
-Reduces anxiety, stress, back pain and sciatica.