Belly Button to Spine… What Does That Mean?!

At Boot Camp the other night I had a student ask about proper abdominal contraction during ab workouts. My response was the often heard “…ensure your belly button is drawn back towards your spine”. She looked at me like this ————–>

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Here is a better explanation of this concept…

Are you sitting down? Okay, sit up straight, and try this.

Suck in your gut as much as you can. Notice how you feel as if your belly button turns up. Your waist sucks in. It’s also quite difficult to breath.

Let that out. ūüôā

Now, imagine you are using your stomach muscles (abs) to pull your belly button backwards. Not back and up, just straight back. So that your belly button touches (of course it won’t literally) your spine.

You should notice that it feels more muscular, less tummy-sucking, and that your belly button feels straighter, not tipped up, and that breathing is a lot easier than sucking in your tummy.

I notice that when I suck in my tummy my spare roll above sucks in nicely. But when I pull my belly button to my spine it doesn’t anywhere near as much.

Check out the blog entry Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back for a better explanation of the reasoning as to why your back may hurt when doing an ab workout. Here is a great brief article from Livestrong.com too…

Muscle Contractions
When doing ab exercises, make sure to use muscle on the way up and down, and pause in between each movement. Don’t let gravity bring you down after an upward movement. This will create concentric, eccentric and isometric muscle contractions. You’ll get the most benefit from eccentric muscle contractions, such as lowering yourself during a crunch or sit-up. Don’t let yourself fall back down after you sit up — slowly lower yourself using your core muscles. Introduce constant tension by not lowering yourself all the way after a crunch, sit-up or pull-up. If you keep your shoulders off the floor after lowering yourself from a sit-up or crunch, you’ll keep tension in your ab muscles, creating isometric contractions.

Direction
To increase the benefit of your ab workouts, move side to side, not just forward and back. For example, in addition to doing crunches by moving up and down, reach across your body with one elbow toward the opposite knee. Lie on your side and raise your shoulders off the floor to work your obliques, located on the side of core. Use a medicine ball to do twists. Hold the ball at arms’ length in front of you. Turn to the side using your core, then hold the ball. Return to the center, then move in the opposite direction. Change the technique by placing the ball on the floor, next to your hip each time. If you use an ab wheel, roll forward and backward, then add forward rolls veering to the left and right to work the obliques.

Compensatory Movements
You can work your abs using a variety of exercises. You can use an ab wheel, kettlebell, stability ball, medicine ball, weight machines or do body weight exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, hip raises, bicycle kicks or kipping pull-ups. With all of these exercises, it’s important to use your core muscles to perform the movements to prevent back and neck strain. As you begin to tire during your workout, avoid using your hips and back to help you move up or down — this could lead to a back injury. Don’t pull yourself up with your hands if you have them behind your neck during sit-ups and crunches.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/375907-ab-workout-techniques/#ixzz2M1YIgUka

Hearts on Fire Event a HUGE Success

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Participants and instructors from the Hearts on Fire event show their love!

On Sunday I celebrated Valentine’s Day and showed my love of fitness by hosting a fundraiser for the¬†Chequamegon Health & Fitness Center. A few other AMAZING instructors donated their time and energy to the Hearts on Fire fundraiser which included Zumba, Intro to CrossFit, Spinning, and a Kickboxing Circuit. The event was designed to not only raise funds for the gym, but also to expose women to fitness options other than the standard treadmill and elliptical. We rotated the group through the various workouts and it was a huge success as 24 women participated in 120 minutes of frantic fitness FUN! ¬†I ran the kickboxing circuit portion of the evening and even though the physical space and available equipment limited the possible stations, we had a great time! The ladies loved being able to punch and kick their way through the evening! ¬†Below is the workout, which you will see had adaptations for plyo and conditioning stations as well so that we could¬†accommodate¬†the number of people who participated!

Hearts on Fire Kickboxing Circuit:   = 24 minutes plus instruction and cool down…= 30 min

1 minute at each station ‚Äď use tabata timer

Station 1: Heavy Bag (N) Round Jab Cross Combo (rounds 1 & 3) Hooks on round 2
Station 1a: Jump Rope
Station 2: Heavy Bag (S) Roundhouse rapid fire kicks (1 minute each leg, or 30 seconds x 2)** on these kicks work on power and exhale with every kick making sure to pivot and rotate your hips for full contact.
Station 2a: Burpees
Station 3: Speedbag Speedbag play ‚Äď slow and steady and increasing as coordination improves
Station 3a: Push ups
Station 4: Maize/ heavy bag Rapid Fire Uppercuts (round 1 & 3)
Station 4a: Alternating punches in a sitting/horse stance

Can also add in a jumping jack station, bicep curls, squat bar, shoulder press, weighted v-sits,

Mash-Up It Up! This Playlist Gets Em’ Moving!

I love mash-ups. It is probably the only reason I still watch Glee from time to time…?

This week’s playlist incorporated some great new songs by The White Panda. I was personally pretty jazzed about this week’s music since I incorporated Thrift Shop into the playlist and it was completely worth the endless singing of the catchy bridge for the next 6 hours…

I wear your granddad’s clothes
I look incredible
I’m in this big ass coat
From that thrift shop down the road

You can’t help but bounce along to the infectious beat!

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Sub-zero temps got you down? Jump on Spin Airways for an affordable escape!

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The weather in Northern Wisconsin is positively miserable. It’s been below zero (think -27, not -5… my gosh we live in NORTHERN WI, it takes arctic chill before we flinch much) for a few days now. I decided my Thursday night class needed a tropical ESCAPE to warmer climates!

Here is the playlist we used to spin our way through the Caribbean and Mexico! Add in an inflatable palm tree, fun disco lighting, and some frozen “drinks” (Crystal Light Mocktails) post workout and it was just the vacation we all needed!

Here’s the playlist! This was probably one of my favorite classes so far!

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A Killer Treadmill Workout

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With temperatures at -16 degrees today the treadmill is the only option! This is the treadmill interval workout we used at our big New Year’s Day event! It is a butt-kicker but will make the 35 minutes fly by!

AMRAP & Tabata Workout for Boot Campers!

AT HOME or BOOT CAMP: AMRAP and Tabata Workout

This is a great workout in less than an hour that can be done individually or in a group setting! Wondering what a tabata is? ¬†Check out “What is Tabata Training.”

AMRAP (As Many Reps (or Rounds) As Possible): 15 MIN

20 of each:

Speed Skaters: Jump to your right, landing on your right foot and stretching your left arm across your body. Quickly transition to the other side, jumping to your left foot and crossing the right arm across the body. Consistently switch back and forth until finished with the reps.

Sumo Squats:¬†squats with your feet wider than hip width and with toes pointing out‚ÄĒrequire a unique combination of hip flexibility and glute and inner-thigh strength.¬†

Plie Jacks: Start in a low plié squat. Hop up as high as you can and click your heels in together at the center. Land back in a plié squat. Repeat for reps.

Ski Jumps:¬†Bend your knees slightly, reach your arms back and jump over your object. Land with both feet on the ground and stop for one second, stabilizing yourself. Repeat: Jump, land, stop, jump, land…


3 sets of the dreaded stairs!
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Then on to the tabata!…¬†

TABATA: 16 rounds 20 sec/ 10 rest

v-ups
superman
weighted russian twists
plank ups

TABATA: 16 rounds 20 sec/ 10 rest

bicep curls
tricep dips
wide arm pushups
globe jumps

Ho! Ho! Ho! Holiday Spin Class

I’ve¬†previously¬†noted in other posts¬†that I LOVE any excuse to have a themed spin¬†class. ¬†I had a ton of fun with our Spooky Halloween Spin Classes in October and have been anxiously awaiting the need for another cheesy holiday themed playlist. Enter… Christmas & Hanukkah!

Even Santa like to cycle!

Even Santa likes to spin! 

I have had the playlist under construction for the past three weeks and I have to say I am thrilled with the final Ho Ho Ho Ho-liday Playlist! ¬†I get to teach this class three times this week! ¬†Thankfully I HEART Christmas music so I won’t want to scratch my eyes out after listening to these songs three times in four days.

Last night was the first of the three classes and I hung Christmas lights around  the room s and took the Mr. Christmas projector temporarily out of our front yard (these are amazing and it makes it look like snowflakes are falling throughout the room). The whole environment was very festive and all the students even came in their own festive attire. My own Santa hat only lasted through the warm-up, but it was fun for those couple of songs!  We had a lot of fun and it really got the class into the holiday spirit!

Winter Workout Tips

Winter

The Northern Grrrls may be used to frigid Wisconsin winter temps, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to force ourselves out the door into temperatures in the teens to get that workout in! We have started our Runners World #RWRunStreak challenge and it is truly helping push us all to get outside or on the treadmill for that extra workout! See the blog from greatestwealthishealth below for more tips on how to break those winter blues!

Winter Workout Tips.

via Winter Workout Tips.