All Entries For exercises
Many people want to have flat abs, but have trouble getting them. Attaining visible abdominal definition depends on a low body fat percentage that isn't realistic for many and your genetics plays a part of it as well, but that doesn't mean you can't work towards a goal of having a slimmer tummy. While you can't spot train or target where you lose fat, you can work on those muscles to help you achieve flatter abs and a strong core overall.Read More ›
For some people, safety and form during a workout is a huge priority. For others, it's an afterthought. If you work out without the careful eyes of a trainer or instructor watching your every move, it can be difficult to know if you are exercising with proper form—even when you're really trying to.
Learning how to move with correct alignment isn't just about looking good; it can mean the difference between muscle activation and joint strain—or even injury.
Here are five exercises that are common—and may even seem simple—but are most often performed incorrectly by people of all fitness levels. Read More ›
If you haven't been in a gym recently you may be surprised to see trainers and fitness enthusiasts incorporating many new gadgets into their workout routines to help keep their training fresh and challenging. Having covered kettlebells, BOSU trainers and Body Bar workouts in previous Fitness Round-up blogs, now seemed an opportune time to introduce the TRX Suspension System.
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A few weeks ago I was reading through the message boards when I came across a post from Chris 'SparkGuy' Downie to a member who was asking about what type of strength training activities he could do without access to a gym or weight training equipment. Chris did not let that deter him from offering some great recommendations of performing body-weight exercises--exercises such as push-ups and squats which can be done at home or when traveling when access to resistant training equipment is not at your disposal.
This gave me the idea to link examples of body-weight exercises for you to refer to as the busy holiday travel season rolls around. Hopefully you will can take this with you when traveling and access to weights or machines is not an option. Read More ›
When I first started running, I thought for sure it would be a bad combination with yoga. Running is repetitive, it can be hard on the body, and it's fast.
After my first few runs, I felt sore and tight, despite my thorough stretching session afterwards. I spent all that time practicing yoga to loosen my muscles; it seemed silly to then tighten them up with one little run.
A few runs and a bit of research later, I changed my mind. Running and yoga complement each other quite well, and I don't need to end up sore and tight after my runs.
The breath control (pranayama) we practice in yoga actually helps me keep my breathing even when runs get tough, and it's especially helpful after a hard run. Plus, there is a certain peace that accompanies running (and walking). That repetitive motion allows your mind to clear, and the path that lies before allows your eyes to focus on the horizon. Add some motivating music, and you've got quite the relaxing and stress-relieving workout!
My friend Bob (BOBBYD31) SparkMailed me recently to ask about yoga. He's a runner and, like many of you, battles tight hips and hamstrings. He wanted to try yoga but wasn't sure where to start. I gave him some suggestions for DVDs and books--and did one better. I'm a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher, so I decided to create a routine for him and other runners to help them stretch out after a run and keep his muscles healthy and loose.
Here are a baker's dozen poses to help runners (and cyclists and walkers). Hold each pose for 5 breaths or longer if you'd like. You'll need a mat and a yoga block (or a chair) for these poses.
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If you are like me, you spend a large portion of your day sitting. And because of this, it isn't too uncommon for many of us to have tight hip flexors—the muscles responsible for flexing the hip or drawing the knees to your chest, as well as moving your legs front to back and side to side.
Your hip flexors are not a single muscle, but are actually a group of muscles which are comprised of the iliopsoas, the thigh muscles including the rectus femoris and sartorius, as well as the tensor fasciae latae, the inner thigh muscles including the adductor longus and brevis and finally the pectineus and gracilis.
Tight hip flexors are a common complaint amongst runners, too, due to the small, repetitive movement when running which can bring on injury if the muscles remain tight. If you suffer from tight hip flexors this may lead not only to hip pain, but lower back pain as well. Therefore, by doing stretches and exercises to help release the tension of the muscles, you may be able to prevent an injury from developing.
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Spring is around the corner, which means you'll be bringing your short sleeved and sleeveless tops out of storage in no time. Speaking of baring your arms: Are yours in tip-top shape? If not, you could help build strength and muscle tone in the most common problem area of the arms—the triceps—by adding some additional triceps exercises to your workout plan. Read More ›
Love handles, the spare tire, the middle age spread: Call it what you will, but nobody likes having excess flab around the waistline (not even when we name it cute things like "muffin" top). And while you can target the oblique muscles located on the sides of your waist by doing specific toning exercises, doing tons of abs moves alone isn’t enough to shrink your waistline. Your best love handle melting strategy involves the same principles for losing weight anywhere on the body: eating better foods (and less in general), and performing both fat-burning cardio along with muscle-toning strength training.
But like any exercise program, you should cater your exercises to your specific goals. And if whittling your waistline is one of your goals, you should be doing exercises to help you reach it.
I designed this workout circuit to help you target your waistline in a smart way: by keeping your heart rate elevated to burn more calories than you would simply lying on the floor and doing crunches. You’ll alternate a cardio move that also targets your core with a traditional oblique toner for maximum benefit. Read More ›
When you work out smarter, you don't necessarily have to exercise longer or harder in order to get results. "Lack of time" is the most common reason why people don't exercise, but is that really a good excuse? Truth is: You don't really need a lot of time to get a great workout. Short bouts of exercise—when done right—can give just as much benefit as longer workouts. Don't believe me? Try these 5 moves for just one minute each for a 5-minute workout that has full-body benefits! Read More ›
We’re officially into the busy holiday season, but that’s no reason to let your workouts get away from you. Next time you feel like skimping on exercise to hit the mall or bake another batch of cookies remember this: It doesn't take much to get a great workout.
That's why I designed this excuse-proof workout. You can do this simple, 6-minute circuit anytime (it's whisper quiet), anywhere (no gym required) and without any equipment. All that and it'll sculpt your body from head to toe, too. Read More ›
The holiday season has officially started, and you may have already noticed your fitness routine start to slip a little. To keep your motivation high in the crazy days ahead, we've created this fun, calorie-blasting cardio and strength circuit workout. The 12 moves in this routine don't require any sort of equipment, so you can do them anywhere. (No more excuses for skipping out on exercise during holiday travels!) Plus, did we mention that it's FUN? This workout constantly switches from one move to the next, so you never have time to get bored. Read More ›
I created this simple, five-exercise workout circuit to get your heart pumping and your muscles moving so you can torch some serious post-Thanksgiving calories. It doesn't use any equipment, and it can be done anywhere, even in a small hotel/guest room! The quicker you move and the more times you repeat the circuit, the higher your calorie burn will be.
Are you up for the challenge? Try it today and then comment below to tell us how you did! Read More ›
In today’s world, we all sit for too many hours each day. We drive instead of walking. We take the escalator instead of climbing the stairs. As a result, our posture suffers—and our necks get tight because we spend hours looking down at our smart phones. (What's so "smart" about that?) We forget to breathe because we are constantly multi-tasking. And as a result, we suffer from a multiplicity of ailments, especially chronic shoulder tension and back pain. We are more "connected" than we have ever been, yet we are increasingly disconnected from ourselves and what we need to do to truly live vital, healthy, and inspired lives.
So what can you do? The answer is MOVE. But more specifically, strengthen your core, which can help stabilize your spine, improving its fluidity and flexibility.
The following simple exercises are a powerful antidote to all that sitting. They are a potent time-saving combination of Pilates moves and yoga poses that will help you stop pain in its tracks, reduce stress (which can also contribute to back pain), and improve your spinal alignment. This series also stretches and strengthens the core and back.
So, want to feel stronger and longer, leaner and meaner, more fluid and flexible in just a few minutes? Grab your mat, and let’s get started! Read More ›
You don't need any fancy equipment to get a good work out. You don't even need a lot of space!
I teamed up with my friend Cassey from Blogilates.com to create this simple cardio workout to help you burn lots of calories in just a few minutes. As an added bonus, it's super quiet! You can do this if you have sleeping kiddos at home or even if you're trying to be quiet for your downstairs neighbors.
Are you ready to try it? Read More ›
To help you reshape your rear, I created a simple plan that takes just five minutes per day. If you're thinking, "Hey, I thought there was no such thing as 'spot' training," don't worry. It's true that using specific muscles won't help you trim that area of your body. That's why this plan combines fat-burning Tabata cardio intervals with targeted toning moves for your glutes. Along with your healthy, calorie-controlled diet from SparkPeople.com, you're sure to see results in how your jeans fit and how your body looks. Are you ready to try it?