Curious to know what might help you improve your health quicker, focusing on strength vs flexibility?
Which is better for health improvement, strength vs flexibility? Have you ever wondered which part of your fitness program you should really be focusing most of your time on? It’s an interesting question, and while I might spark some controversy with my comments on this topic, I truly believe it’s relevant to helping you make the most of your workouts and can make a huge difference to help you reach your wellness goals. But before I share my thoughts with you, I have a question… Which of these two aspects of fitness do you PREFER to focus on – Strength or Flexibility?
Continue Reading ‘Strength vs Flexibility: Which is Better for Health Improvement?
The upper body strength benefits of incorporating handstands into your weekly workouts are huge. In daily life we don’t typically spend much time upside down on our hands. But, being upside-down is great for developing balance, body awareness and control, and improving arm and shoulder strength. Plus being in a handstand position has some great benefits for a healthy spine. In a handstand, you’re countering the effects of gravity to lengthening the spine in a completely different way!
Continue Reading ‘Pilates Exercise Progressions: Use Handstands To Develop Strong Arms & Shoulders
Improve upper body strength and conditioning with your Pilates Workouts
Are you eager to incorporate hanging exercises into your workouts? Have Hanging Leg Lifts and Chin-Ups been on your wish list of exercises you’d like to be strong enough to do? Or maybe rock climbing is in your future…
Baby steps may need to be taken in your Pilates training program to progress to full hanging exercises… So here are a few recommendations from a gal who personally took on the challenge and has helped her clients successfully add a little bit of hanging to their weekly workouts.
Why Add Hanging Exercises To Your Workouts?
Aside from the forearm and grip strength gained from hanging, there are a lot of very tight back, shoulder and chest muscles that get a chance to let go in a hanging position. And even more importantly, I’ve discovered that hanging can be an excellent fascia release exercise! There are so many great benefits to be had from one position – dangling from our grippy little fingers.
Developing the strength for Pull-Ups and Leg Lifts is another topic entirely! To get started the first step is to work up to being able to just hang.
Prepare, Plan and Progress Slowly…
Chances are, hanging exercises are not in your current workout program. If you have a healthy body, I’d like to encourage you to consider working your way up to the challenge! Plan to progress slowly, it might take you 3-4 months of dedicated prep work, or even 6 months to a year before you are ready to challenge yourself to un-assisted full hanging exercises.
There are so many great Pilates exercises that can help you get ready to hang. Here are my top five to get your arms and shoulders prepped and ready to add full hanging exercises to your workouts.
Continue Reading ‘Pilates Arm and Shoulder Exercises to Progress to Hanging with Ease
As I was writing my Top 5 Tips for Gardening without Back Pain article, I realized how important talking about squatting and lunging is for gardeners. You can’t safely get up and down off the ground to dig in the dirt without being able to get up and down off the ground! And in some form or fashion this will involve the hips, legs and back having both the strength and flexibility to do a full, deep squat and deep lunge.
Are you training your deep squat muscles and lunging muscles in the gardening off-season? Or just expecting them to kick in and start working when you start doing the million-and-one deep squats and lunges you have to do when Spring arrives and it’s time to get out to the yard to start planting and pulling weeds?
Continue Reading ‘Getting Ready for Gardening Season: The Importance of Deep Squat Exercises and Lunges in Your Pilates Training Program
Are you ready to get your body in shape? Are you looking for fun new core exercises to help build strength and improve your fitness? Tired of doing the same old crunches?
Pulse your way to a tighter, stronger mid-section and better whole-body health with just 10 minutes of Pulse Power training.
Check out this Pulse Power workout core exercise video for the first 4 abdominal exercises in the book. This video will get you revved up to learn the next 8 exercises.
You will be amazed that such “little” pulses in your Pulse Power Workout
can produce such a BIG burn.
Pulse Power fitness is a fast and effective targeted training program to keep your body strong, fit, flexible and injury-free. A Pulse Power workout is perfect first thing in the morning, or as a warm-up before a more intense cardio or weight-training workout.
This newly-released Kindle e-book is fully illustrated with easy to follow exercise descriptions for your at home workouts. The targeted Pulse Power fitness training exercises are designed to improve your body awareness and increase your deep muscle support to improve posture, strength, and flexibility for better balance and body control.
Improve your whole-body health, look good and feel great with the twelve simple exercises in the 10-Minute Pulse Power Daily Dozen. These exercises are easy to do at home, at the gym, or on the road if you travel.
The Pulse Power Daily Dozen e-book is currently available for Kindle.
Developing stronger muscles is an important part of fitness training at any age. With a regular strength training program (even 20-30 minutes, 2-3 days a week) you can:
Reduce Body Fat
Increase Lean Muscle Mass
Burn Calories More Efficiently
Muscle mass naturally decreases with age, but here’s the good news…
STRENGTH TRAINING CAN HELP YOU PRESERVE AND ENHANCE YOUR LEAN MUSCLE MASS AND INCREASE STAMINA – REGARDLESS OF AGE!
You don’t have to turn into a bodybuilder to develop stronger muscles! And there are several great choices and methods you can use to workout at home or at your local gym.
Exercise options to develop muscle strength
Body Weight – There are lots of great exercises you can do with little or no equipment. Using your own body weight for resistance is a quick and easy way to get a strength training workout! Do exercises like Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Dips, Sit-Ups, Crunches, Lunges, and Leg Squats.
Resistance Bands and Exercise Tubing – Exercise Bands and Resistance Tubing are an inexpensive, lightweight option for muscle strengthening. Bands and Tubes generally come in different colors (which means different amounts of resistance – easier and more challenging) to help you get the most from your workouts.
Free Weights – Barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells are all traditional tools for strength training, but you can also make your own weights, or use anything that provides you with varying amounts of weight to move and lift!
Weight Machines – These you will find at your local gym and health club, or can purchase home-use machines at your local sporting goods store.
No need to worry about bulking up, or looking like a bodybuilder, unless you’re planning on spending hours in the gym lifting lots of weights to really strive for this type of physique.
A general strength and conditioning program will help increase your muscle tone, strength, and stamina, so that you can enjoy an enhanced quality of life, but not leave you looking like the incredible hulk!
General Guidelines for a Strength Training Program
Begin with a weight that you can lift for 8-12 repetitions. On the 12th repetition you should just barely be able to finish the motion.
Repeat each exercise (8-12 repetitions) one to three times. Each of these is called a “set.” According to the American College of Sports Medicine, performing more than one set, “may elicit slightly greater strength gains, but the additional improvement is relatively small.”
Perform a minimum of 8 to 10 exercises that target all major muscle groups and work through a full range of motion. This includes: Chest, back, shoulders, arms, upper legs, hips, abdomen, and lower legs. Not sure what to do – a session or two with a personal trainer can be an excellent jump start to your workout program to help teach you how to do each exercise correctly, and help develop a workout program to meet your needs and goals.
Give your body time to recover between training sessions. Rest one day between workouts, or have a trainer help create a weight lifting program that has you alternating different muscle groups on different days to ensure you are getting the necessary rest to recover.
When you can easily do more than 15 repetitions of any exercise, increase the weight or resistance.
Note: It’s always best to get your physicians approval before you start any new exercise program. Remember to start gradually and increase your time, number of exercises, and resistance slowly. Always listen to your body and stop if you feel pain. It is normal to notice mild muscle soreness from a strength training program, but sharp pain and/or swollen joints are a sign that you’ve over-exerted and need to back off a bit.
Getting Results from Your Strength Training Program!
You will begin to notice improvements in your strength and muscle tone in only a few short weeks. And remember, for most people 20-30 minute strength conditioning weight-training workouts, two to three days a week, is sufficient to help improve your health and wellness.
With consistent strength training workouts it’s possible that you can even increase your strength fifty percent or more within six months!
Enjoy Whole-Body Strengthening Without Any Fancy Equipment!
A great body position on push-ups, makes the exercise so much easier to do! And with great technique you’ll be getting a lot more bang for your buck from every repetition to improve your upper body strength and fitness.
Push-ups in Pilates normally are done at the end of a Mat workout, but they’re a great exercise that you can do anytime, anywhere without any fancy equipment to maintain your fitness.
To Start the Exercise:
Stand with your feet in a V-position, arms extended over your head.
Walk your hands down the front of your body while you bend forward to reach the floor.
Walk your hands out on the mat taking 3-5 steps to get into a long and strong push-up position.
While you are getting into your push-up position…the following things should happen in this order:
Heels lengthen away from the head
Tailbone tucks under and reaches towards the heels
Lower abdominals lift up and in
Glutes & Inner thighs squeeze
Shoulder blades pull down the back
Spine lengthens through the top of the head
To do a Push-Up and keep a great body position, the sequence of what happens is really important.
Inhale to lower the whole-body, exhale, pull the low belly up, shoulders down, then engage the muscles under the shoulders, around the ribcage and into the belly to help lift the body up while straightening the arms.
Here’s a video clip with my fitness tips and a Push-Up demo to help you improve your body position and Push-Up power.