Yoga Tips

Yoga is a wonderful workout for many different reasons. Among them, it’s a good way for people of all ages to get active while remaining safe and comfortable. Additionally, it can help you learn to relax and get focused, and it’s a great tool for feeling better when stress becomes overwhelming. However, what about yoga workouts for people who want to take their routine to the next level? If you’re feeling bored or unchallenged by your workout, it may be time to think about how you can change it up while staying motivated.

There are many ways to go about it, and they’re all personal to your needs. Whether you want to boost your strength or learn how to get into deep meditation, there are several things you can do to improve your workout. By using specific tools and resources, you can take yoga to a whole new level. Think outside the box; use tech, apps, and online tutorials to your advantage.

Here are a few tips on how to give your yoga workout a boost.

Make Your Yoga Routine More Mobile

Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the U.S. because it can be done just about anywhere. So, when you’re feeling stressed, you can find a little space and practice meditation and stretches that will help boost your mental health. Individuals with busy schedules can fit it easily into their day, especially with mobile apps like Down Dog that provide tutorials and recommendations. If you’re in the market for a new device that allows you to run the latest apps and take your yoga practice with you on your journeys, check out newer iPhones and find one that fits your budget and data plan. If you’re an Android fan, don’t fret — there are plenty of top-notch Android phones that can do the exact same thing.

Try Something New

There are plenty of tools you can use that will boost your yoga workout, including stability balls and yoga straps. These tools will help you keep your workout fresh and exciting while giving you a new way to work different parts of your body, but it’s important to make sure you find the right ones for your needs. Also, do some research on the specific tools you’re using so you can make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit from them.

Create Your Own Workout Space

Yoga can be done in a variety of places, but it can be really helpful to have your own space to practice in. Since yoga and meditation go hand-in-hand, a quiet spot is ideal, one without any distractions and that has plenty of room for you to move around. So, look for a place in your home that is away from the main flow of traffic, and include a way to play music, use scented candles, and a comfy yoga mat so you can practice in style.

Go Outside

Changing the scenery can go a long way toward helping you find new inspiration with your yoga routine. If you usually take a class, consider looking for one that is held outdoors, or take your mat to a local park when the weather is nice and spend some time in the sun doing your poses. Not only will this help you enjoy your workout more, but it’s also a great boost for your mental health to spend time outdoors. You can even check online to see if there are any outdoor classes near you that will allow you to bring your dog along, as spending time with pets can help you reduce stress.

When it comes to workouts, yoga is one of the most beneficial. No matter how you choose to practice yoga, make sure you stay safe while you practice, especially when using tools. And when you’re ready, don’t be afraid to take things to the next level.

Assisted Split Squats

Last month, we introduced you to Assisted Split Squats, a stationary exercise to help you gain and maintain strength so that you may kneel down to the ground and then rise back up to standing. Once you have mastered the Assisted version of the Split Squat it is time to progress to the bodyweight unassisted Split Squat and then to the loaded version.

The mechanics for performing the bodyweight Split Squat are exactly the same as you did for the assisted. Start with your feet parallel about shoulder-width apart (see picture 1). While keeping your feet shoulder-width part step back with one foot approximately one stride length (see picture 2). This time let your arms hang down by your sides with your feet shoulder-width apart and one stride length from each other. Slowly lower your body until your front leg is at 90 degrees and your back knee touches or almost touches the floor. The back leg will also form a 90-degree angle. Pause and reverse the motion back up to the starting position. Make sure you push through the floor with the entire foot of the front leg and lift through the hips of that same leg. Complete for the prescribed number of repetitions then repeat on the opposite leg for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Please see one of BAC Personal Trainers if you have any questions regarding how to perform the assisted Split Squat exercise or how to include it your exercise routine. They would be happy to assist you.

Picture 1                                                    Picture 4

Assisted Split Squats

Kneeling down to the ground is a very normal everyday movement. We have to kneel down to pick something off the ground or to find something that we may have dropped. Kneeling down can become more and more challenging if we begin to lose some strength.
A stationary assisted Split Squat is an exercise that can help you gain and maintain strength in the lower body to allow you to kneel down to the ground and then rise back up to standing. It is the first progression of a Split Squat using assistance with only your body weight.
To perform the assisted Split Squat you need to start with your feet parallel about shoulder-width apart (see picture 1). While keeping your feet shoulder-width part step back with one foot approximately one stride length (see picture 2).

To start the exercise grasp a solid object (see picture 3 with a stable bar) with your feet shoulder-width apart and one stride length from each other. Slowly lower your body while holding onto the solid object for balance until your front leg is at 90 degrees and your back knee touches or almost touches the floor. The back leg will also form a 90-degree angle (see picture 4). Pause and reverse the motion back up to the starting position. Use the solid object to assist you up using your arms as much or as little as you need. Make sure you push through the floor with the entire foot of the front leg and lift through the hips of that same leg.

Complete for the prescribed number of repetitions then repeat on the opposite leg for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Please see one of BAC Personal Trainers if you have any questions regarding how to perform the assisted Split Squat exercise or how to include it your exercise routine. They would be happy to assist you.

Picture 1                                                    Picture 4
Picture 3                                                   Picture 4

Weekend Warrior Syndrome

Strategies for reducing the risk of Weekend Warrior injuries:

• Warm-up thoroughly prior to activity participation. A warm-up should include general body warm-up with light jogging and/or calisthenics. Tissue mobilization and release using a massage stick, foam roller or lacrosse ball. Short duration (10-20 sec) stretching exercises encompassing the major muscle groups 2-3 times on each.

• Warm-down after activity participation. Walk or do some light jogging to help flush out your system. Foam rolling, massage stick of the muscles used in the activity. Longer duration stretching (30-60 sec) for major muscles 2-3 times each.

• Recovery using massage, cryotherapy (cold) ice or an ice bath, whirlpool for the heat and jets, and pool for mobility and off-loading joints.

• Listen to your body. Don’t try to block out and push through what your body is trying to tell you. Know when to say when!

• Change up your activities. Repetitive participation can lead to overuse injuries.

• Try to balance activity during the week with activity on the weekend.

Jump In!

by Mike Locke, Fitness Director

1. Reduce overuse injuries. The repetitive stress of intense, specialized training contributes to overuse injuries. Depending on water depth, aquatic training can reduce impact up to 85%, resulting in less stress and reducing the likelihood of injury.

2. Supplement land training. Many land moves can be mimicked in water, and clients can practice movement patterns without worrying about impact. Shallow water is beneficial for vertical jump training, transitional depths are good for racquet sports training, and deep water is valuable for long-distance training.

3. Add variety or overcome training plateaus. Water provides resistance in multiple planes of movement, allowing for new types of overload. Working in a different environment reduces boredom and adds fresh challenges.

4. Increase muscle strength. Cardiovascular and muscle endurance training can occur concurrently in the water. Correct training techniques and equipment make it possible to build strength.

5. Supplement speed and sports training. Coaches can teach sport-specific moves in the water. Aquatic training improves core muscle recruitment to stabilize the body against the water’s forces.

6. Facilitate post-workout recovery. The hydrostatic pressure from immersion increases circulation, reduces swelling, and enhances recovery. Water training provides a comfortable environment for active-rest workouts.

Weight Stacks

At BAC we feature Cybex Selectorized Weight Stack Circuits comprised of VR-1 and VR-3 models.

Cybex VR-1 models have numbered weight stacks and either come with the same size plates in the entire stack or have a graduated weight stack that has smaller plates then transition into larger ones. The numbers on the plates provide an index as to how many plates there are. The plate number does not reflect the amount of weight each plate represents they are for index purposes. Each machine also has an add-on plate that hangs right next to the weight stack to make smaller weight increases.

Cybex VR-3 models have the approximate weight imprinted on plates and progress in 20lb increments. To one side of each stack are 3-round 5lb add on weights to allow 5lb increases prior to moving to the next plate.

Cybex Selectorized Weight Stack Equipment are variable resistance machines, which means as the resistance is lifted the weight changes through the range of motion giving more resistance when you have a mechanical advantage and less resistance when you do not. To allow the machine to efficiently deliver the appropriate resistance through the range of motion the user needs to move the resistance at a slow controlled speed. A typical recommendation is a 2-4 second lift, 1-2 second pause, and a 4-6 second lowering then repeat.

If you have any questions regarding the usage of our Cybex Equipment please see one of our BAC Personal Training Staff. They would be happy to help!

Treadmill Q & A

What is the lowest speed the Treadmill begins with?: .5 mph

What is the Highest Speed the Treadmill will run?: 12 mph

What is the Lowest % Grade/Incline the Treadmill will do?: 0% Grade/Incline

What is the Highest % Grade/Incline the Treadmill will do?: 15% *Woodway Performance Treadmill will Incline to 25% Grade.

Once we adapt to our initial treadmill workout intensity what variables can we manipulate to create a progressively challenging workout?:
1. Speed/mph: walk, jog, or run at a faster speed.
2. % Grade/incline: increase the height of the treadmill to walk, jog, or run up an increasingly higher incline.
3. Duration: Increase the amount of time you walk, jog, or run.
4. Load: Increase the amount of weight you carry while walking, jogging, or running i.e. weighted vest.

Trivia: Walking at 1% grade/incline is equivalent to walking on flat ground.

Stability Ball T-spine Extension

Preparation: Knees and hips close to the stability ball with hips back toward heels. Chest and abdomen lying on the ball with both hands behind the head. Spine should be in a neutral position.

Movement: From initial position lift the upper chest, shoulders and head up off the ball. Note it is a very small motion. The goal is to get into T-spine (Thoracic Spine) extension. Thighs, hips, and abdomen should remain in contact with the ball. Slowly lower back to the start and repeat.

Benefit: Most daily activities we participate in we have a forward flexed posture. T-spine extension assists us in not only strengthening the area but helping our mobility in our upper back. If you have questions regarding this exercise please contact one of our Personal Training Staff.

Courtenay McFadden

If you are a cyclist and have spent much time at our Downtown club, you know who Courtenay McFadden is.

My personal description of her in three words? Tough, Driven, Amazing ? in no particular order. I hired Courtenay when she was in her 2nd year at Western University to teach some Cycling classes for us. She showed up well prepared! She had a complete binder full of ideas, playlists, exercises etc. ? which was completely unexpected. Obviously, she was hired! Most of you that have been fortunate enough to take her classes in the past also know she makes and brings
homemade cookies to her classes on a regular basis.

Fast forward several years; you can follow her as she travels the United States, and the world, to race Cyclocross as a professional. What makes her story extra special is the fact that she has had two separate, excruciating hip surgeries, one year apart from the other. That kind of intensive therapy and recovery would make most people quit. The physical and mental stress she because I follow her, admire her, and learn from her, every day.

This year has been an epic year for Courtenay. She had her first “top of the podium” win, and this year has gone on to be her most successful so far!

Just recently, (the first week of December) Court was in Dallas, Texas to compete in the “UCI Resolution Cup”. This is a two-day event with races on both Saturday and Sunday. The course is intense, with tight, twisty corners, as well as foot-filled, wooded sections and a lot of variety. On the first race day, Courtenay was fast! She was completely focused, and by the end of the race, she was in a fast group of 4 other women. By the end of the race, she dug hard passed the other 3, and took first place!

The following day, the course was different, but she still went on to place 2nd. Amazing! She left the country to race in Nationals the following week. Although she always hopes to finish in the top 3, she came in 9th. No doubt she gave it 110% and we were so proud to watch her in Nationals again! What’s next? She is spending the next 5 weeks abroad in Europe to train and race. We will be sure to keep you updated. If you would like to follow her yourself, she is on Instagram and Facebook, and writes an amazing blog! Congratulations to Courtenay McFadden! What a story of inspiration and hope going into the New Year!!!

Jeri Winterburn
Group Exercise Director

Opening up your mid-back

Today’s lifestyle of computers, smartphones, driving, and television promotes poor posture, forward tilt to the head, forward rounding of the shoulders, and rounding of the upper back. Being in this posture can affect the ability of the thoracic spine to move, which can lead to a malady of compensations down the road. Neck, shoulder, and lower back are just a few of the aches and pains that can come from an immobile thoracic spine.

The side-lying torso rotation stretch is a great exercise to open up the thoracic spine while protecting the lower back. To perform the stretch you need a foam roller and some sort of pillow or head support. Begin by lying on one side, make sure your shoulders are stacked on top of each other and are aligned with your head and hips. Place your top leg on top of the foam roller with your thigh flexed to 90 degrees. Your bottom knee should be flexed to 90 degrees and your bottom thigh should be in line with the rest of your body. Extend your top arm up into the air and you are ready to begin.

Take a deep breath through your nose and then exhale through your mouth, while you gently rotate your head and look over your shoulder. While turning your head your arm begins to reach back toward the floor. Remember your head begins the motion, not your arm. As you rotate, make sure your top leg stays in contact with the foam roller. This protects the lumbar spine. Continue to exhale through the entire stretch and go to the tension, not through it. The movement should take you approximately 4 seconds back into the stretch, hold for 2 seconds and then 3 seconds back to the start. Repeat for 4-6 repetitions. With each rotation, you should feel like you get a little deeper into the stretch. Repeat on the opposite side.

Try adding it to your flexibility routine and see how much difference it makes. It is an exercise we can
do every day!

Mike Locke
Fitness Directo