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.

Quadrupled Hip Mobility

Our hip joint structure is meant to be mobile, tilting forward and backward, hiking left and right, and rotating in all directions. Sitting more frequently or for longer periods of time during the day can affect the hip’s ability to move optimally. Lack of mobility dramatically affects how your lower body moves and can affect your spinal function. Done on a regular basis, hip mobility exercises can make a huge impact on your hip’s ability function. One of the easiest positions we can perform exercises for hip mobility is a quadrupled position or simply put, on your “hands and knees”. This is the developmental position that we learn to crawl in prior to learning how to walk. Quadrupled position helps you maintain spinal positioning while moving the pelvis, thus adding core strength benefit. Here are some of the exercises you can perform in the quadrupled position to increase the mobility of your hips and pelvis.

Quadrupled starting position:
Start with your hands on floor with fingers pointed forward and wrists aligned under your shoulders in a straight line. Keep your spine in a neutral position with a normal lumbar curve. Your knees should be directly under the hips in a straight line and your feet should be flexed forward.
1. Pelvic anterior/posterior tilts – While maintaining spinal position, tilt your pelvis forward then backward. Increasing the arch to the lower back then flattening the lower back as you “Tuck your Tail”.
2. Pelvic lateral tilts, or “wagging your tail” – While maintaining alignment, shift your pelvis left and right just like a dog would wag its tail.
3. Pelvic circles; both clockwise and counter-clockwise – While maintaining alignment draw a circle with your pelvis like you were doing the “Hula” or a “Hula Hoop”.
4. Rocking forward and backward – Starting in the quadruped position, rock your hips back toward your heels then reverse directions and take your shoulders past your hands.
5. Rocking diagonally left and right – In the starting quadrupled position, rock your hips diagonally back toward your right heel and then reverse back to your left shoulder. Repeat on the opposite side.
6. Rocking circles clockwise and counter-clockwise – Starting in the quadrupled position, take your hips in a rocking circular motion clockwise right to left. Repeat in a counter-clockwise motion.

Try performing one set of 10-20 repetitions in each direction while trying to maintain spinal alignment. Performed on a regular basis a few times a week you should begin to notice a difference in your hip mobility. Great to do first thing in the morning, prior to exercise, or after extended bouts of sitting.

If you have questions regarding alignment or how to perform any of these exercises please see one of our BAC Personal Training Staff.
Mike Locke
Fitness Director

Equalizer Dip

Take two Equalizers and place them side by side. Stand in between the Equalizers then bend down and grasp the foam portion of each handle. Place both feet outside the Equalizers just on the other side of the front feet. Knees are bent and the arms should be straight. Lower your body down between the equalizers
by bending the elbows. Make sure not to lower yourself down any further than 90 degrees of your upper arm. Extend your arms lifting your body back up then repeat. In this position you may if needed use your legs to assist you.

“The Stork” Outer Gluteal Activation

The “Stork” is a static hip exercise for strengthening and activating the lateral Gluteals, Gluteus Medius, Gluteuas Minimus, and the Piriformis muscles. This set of external hip rotators are responsible for abducting the leg out away from the body, rotating your leg outward, and stabilizing your femur at the hip. Non-activity and injury can cause this group to become weak which can affect the overall performance of your hip complex, affecting your gait and in some cases cause knee, hip, and lower back pain.
A static exercise like the “Stork” means that the exercise requires you to hold the position for a set duration, much the same as an isometric where the limbs and joints do not move but the muscles are contracted. The duration can be as short as 10-20 seconds to as much as 30-60 seconds depending on the prescription.
To perform the “Stork” take an inflatable balance disc, foam pad, or even a moderately firm pillow and place it against the wall. Turn sideways to the wall so that your shoulder is next to the wall with your feet about shoulder width a part. Lift the leg closest to the wall and trap the disc between your lower thigh and the wall with your leg not quite 90 degrees. Stand tall and put your wall side hand on the wall for balance. Begin by driving your body into the disc with you outside leg. Your wall side hip should not touch the wall. Keep the outside leg straight throughout with the body tall. Hold for the prescribed duration and repeat on both sides 2-3 times. Please see our BAC Personal Trainers to learn more about the “Stork”.

“Standing Donkey Kick”: Glute Activation

The Static Hip Series is called the “Donkey Kick”. The “Donkey Kick” is a static hip exercise for strengthening and activating the Gluteus Maximus and the Hamstrings. The Gluteus Maximus and the Hamstring muscles work in concert with each other to extend your hip. Extremely important muscles for gait in walking and in running. Injury and inactivity can dramatically affect the performance of these two groups which in some cases may cause modifications to gait and running mechanics, increasing the chances of injury and or pain.
A static exercise like the “Donkey Kick” means that the exercise requires you to hold the position for a set duration, much the same as an isometric where the limbs and joints do not move but the muscles are contracted. The duration can be as short as 10-20 seconds to as much as 30-60 seconds depending on the prescription.
To perform the “Donkey Kick” take a “Ballast Ball”, Stability Ball with sand material in the bottom, or a regular Stability Ball. Note that a “Ballast Ball” has a little more stability that a standard Stability ball. Pin or trap the ball at the base of a wall, a corner works even better as the ball will not roll around as much and you have a wall to stabilize and balance yourself with. Turn your back to the wall and the ball and then place the sole of one foot against the ball. Your support leg should be far enough forward, that the knee of the foot that is on the ball is slightly behind the front leg. Standing tall drive the heel of the foot on the ball into the ball. You should feel a contraction in the Gluteus Maximus and hamstrings. Hold for the prescribed duration and repeat on both sides 2-3 times. Please see our BAC Personal Trainers to learn more about the “Donkey Kick”.

Rollga foam rolling hip, back, neck

Rollga foam rolling hip, back, neck series:

Hip bridge for tissue around sacral spine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piriformis for tissue release in the hip rotators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-back for tissue release between the shoulder blades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neck for tissue release for the cervical spine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 to 20 rolls of each position. Pain should be less than a 4 on a scale of 1-10 (1 being no pain 10 being intense pain). These exercises can be performed on a daily basis.

Ski Conditioning Preparation

You don’t have to wait for the snow to start falling to get ready for ski season. Start your training now and you’ll be sailing past those other ski bums on your way down the mountain. Dusting the competition or showing off to friends are not the only reason to get in shape before the ski season. Skiing is an activity that requires a variety of skills; strength, endurance, balance, and coordination. Hit the slopes without developing these skills and you may be in for more than embarrassment – you might even hurt yourself.

This is where sports-specific training comes in. Generally speaking, sports-specific training programs involve focusing on the various skills associated with a particular activity. Depending on the sport, this may include health-related measures of fitness such as agility, balance, coordination, power, speed, and reaction time. Most sports require a mixture of these components.

Skiing is a sport that relies heavily on skill-related fitness. A traditional fitness program, which includes a combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercise, will only take you so far. A specific training program to develop specific skills for skiing will take you from the peaks to the valleys in record time.

There are several ways to begin a sports-specific training program. The simplest way is to include several new exercises in your regular workout schedule. For example, performing wall sits that require you to “sit” against a wall will help you build up the isometric strength needed for the tuck position in skiing. Squats and lunges will build lower body strength for skiing tough terrain like moguls. Exercises such as crunches to work your abdominals are essential in creating a solid “core” for balance and agility.

It is important to train your body to withstand and absorb the impact associated with skiing. Plyometric movements, such as hopping from side to side, develop muscle power and strength as well as improve agility.

A great way to integrate these elements into your existing routine is to create a circuit training program, which involves rapidly moving from one exercise to the next. You can set up a circuit in any large room or at your club’s aerobic studio. Many health clubs offer this type of class specifically for the ski season. Be sure and place all of your stations before beginning your workout so you don’t have to stop in the middle. Set a specific time limit for each exercise as well as a set period of breaks between each station. Thirty seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest are common interval periods. Then, simply turn up the music and make your way down the circuit. You might even want to create your own music tape with timed interval of music for exercise and silence for rest periods.

Try these stations to help you gear up for the slopes; use the slide for lateral training, perform one-legged squats to develop balance and strength, and use a step-bench platform to improve power. Try catching a bean bag as it drops off your forearm to improve reaction times or bounce two tennis balls to improve coordination. To improve agility, create your own slalom by running between two comes. In sports-specific training you are only limited by your imagination.

Do your lifting before you hit the lifts! BAC offers a killer Snowsport Conditioning Training Class as well as a class for Recreational Skiiers.

Utilizing Resistance Machines

Since the invention of the first variable resistance machine in the late 1800’s, machines have become a major part of resistance training programs throughout the world.

Why have they become so popular? For one, they offer many users a larger degree of safety as compared to using other forms of resistance training. Users do not have to worry about being trapped by the weight or having a weight fall upon them. So safety is a big plus but do not be lulled into a false sense of security. Any piece of resistance equipment can cause injury if used improperly with poor technique and too much resistance.

Secondly, machine users often feel using such equipment allows them more ease of movement. They can change resistance quickly and efficiently and do not for the most part have to worry about coordinating and stabilizing their body, which can be a plus in some instances.

Lastly, variable resistance equipment through it’s design can provide users with the opportunity to train some body movements which would be nearly impossible to do by other means, i.e. hip abduction and hip adduction.

What should we keep in mind if we want to utilize variable resistance equipment?

1) Learn how to adjust the piece for you. Many pieces of equipment can be adjusted to fit your limb and torso length.

2) Learn the mechanics of the exercise. How to apply force effectively, how you need to stabilize, and know what your posture should be while performing the exercise.

3) Learn at what speed of movement you need to be at to receive the most benefit. Most if not all weight stack style need to be performed at a slow consistent speed to maintain a consistent strength curve. Not only can going too fast increase your chances of injury, it can also decrease the overall benefit of the exercise performed. Exercise speed should be somewhere from 2 seconds or more on the contractive phase (weight moving off the stack) to 4 or more seconds on the eccentric phase (weight moving back to the stack). Keiser type variable resistance equipment is one of the only styles in which you can perform the exercise at any speed and still retain a consistent strength curve.

4) Make sure to contact a Fitness Professional if you have questions. Ask for assistance. It will increase your success and decrease your risk of getting injured.

If used properly variable resistance training equipment can enhance any routine and provide you with many different training options. Train smart and be safe.

Cardio Crash Course

When you’re hanging out with people who exercise a lot you hear the word cardio all the time.  Cardio – which in medical jargon  is short for cardiovascular exercise, means “for your heart.”  It is the kind of exercise that strengthens your heart and lungs and burns a lot of calories.

There are literally dozens of reasons to pursue this sort of exercise – everything from eliminating that spare tire, to lowering your stress level and blood pressure.  Once you understand the basic concepts involved in cardio exercise, you can better design a workout program based on your goals.

How hard do you need to push yourself?  Maybe not as hard as you think.  No, you will not benefit much from walking on a treadmill at the same pace you stroll down the store aisles; they don’t call it working out for nothing.  On the other hand, exercising too hard all of the time can lead to injury and make you more susceptible to burn out.  Also, the faster you go, the less time you can keep up the exercise.  Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, you may gain just as much, if not more, from slowing down a little and going longer.

To get fit and stay healthy, you need to find the middle ground: a moderate or aerobic, pace.  You can find this in a number of different ways.  Some methods of gauging your intensity are extremely simple, and some require a bit of arithmetic.  Here are a few of the most popular ways to monitor your intensity.

The talk test.  This is the simplest way.  You should be able to carry on a conversation while you’re exercising.  If you’re so out of breath that you can’t say, “help me!”  You need to slow down.  On the other hand, if you’re able to belt out your favorite song at the top of your lungs that’s a pretty big clue you need to pick up the pace.  Basically, you should feel like you’re working hard enough to breathe hard, but not so hard that you think your lungs might explode.

Perceived exertion.    This method uses a numerical scale, typically from one to ten, that corresponds to how hard you feel yourself working – the rate you perceive that you are exerting yourself.

An activity rated 2 would be something that you could do forever, like sitting on the couch watching the rain fall.  A 10 represents all-out effort, like the last few feet of an uphill sprint, about 20 seconds before your legs buckle.  Your typical workout intensity should fall somewhere between 6 and 8.  To decide on a number, pay attention to how hard you’re breathing, how fast your heart is beating, how much you’re sweating, and how tired your legs feel-anything that contributes to the effort of sustaining the exercise.

Measuring your heart rate.  This is a more precise way of monitoring your pace.  Your heart rate is called your pulse, and you can determine this number either by counting the beats at your wrist or neck or by wearing a heart rate monitor.

Your heart rate can tell you a lot about your body – how fit you are, how much you’ve improved, and whether you’ve recovered from yesterday’s workout.  But how do you know what heart rate to aim for?  There’s no magic number.  Rather, there’s a whole range of acceptable numbers, commonly called your target heart rate zone.  This range is the middle ground between slacking off and knocking yourself out.  Typically, your target zone is between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, the maximum number of times your heart can beat in a minute.   

The most time-honored method for determining maximum heart rate is for men to subtract their age from 220 and for women to subtract their age from 226.  Keep in mind that this formula gives you only an estimate.  Your true max may be as many as 15 beats higher or lower.  Also, this formula is generally used for activities during which your feet hit the ground.

Using that easy formula to find your max, find your target heart rate zone by calculating 50 percent and 85 percent of your maximum.  Here’s the math for a 40-year-old man:

220 – 40 = 180 (this is his estimated maximum heart rate.)  180 X .50 = 90 (This is the low end of his target zone.  Below this number and he’s not working hard enough. 180 X .85 = 153 (This is the higher end of his target zone.  If his heart beats faster than 153 beats per minute, he should slow down.

Okay, so now you know how to figure out your target heart rate zone.  But how do you know if you’re in the zone?  In other words, how do you know how fast your heart is beating at any given moment?  You can check your heart rate in two ways: taking your pulse manually or using a heart rate monitor.

When you’re just starting to work out, you may not have a good sense of how hard to push yourself.  And you may be working out harder than you actually need to.  Actually, this happens to advanced exercisers and athletes all the time.  Left to their own devices, they try to out-do themselves every day.  The smart ones use a heart rate monitor to remind them to slow down.  However, for most of us the problem is getting into a higher gear.

Finally, why can’t we work above the higher end of our aerobic zone?  The point at which your extra oxygen supply runs out and you slip into the reserve mode is referred to as your anaerobic threshold.  When you’re in poor physical shape, your body isn’t very efficient at taking in oxygen, and you hit your anaerobic threshold while exercising at relatively low levels of exercise.  As you become more fit, you’re able to go farther and faster, yet still supply oxygen to your muscles.  By monitoring your heart rate, you can be careful not to become anaerobic (gasping for air, feeling that burning sensation in your legs) and forced to stop exercising.