I’ve got the moves to chisel and sculpt your legs to perfection. Now that the weather’s warm, get ready to show off your gorgeous gams in a short skirt by doing 1-3 sets of each of these 4 exercises, 2-3 times a week.
ALL OUT LUNGES
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Step your right foot back about a stride’s length then bend both knees until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Immediately stand back up and swing your right leg forward a stride’s length, bending both knees as soon as your foot touches down.
Next, jump up in the air and switch leg positions, bending both knees again as soon as your feet touch back down. Use your arms throughout to both power and balance your movements.
Super active quadriceps, strong hamstrings and monster gluteal muscles are what propel a road bike across pavement. Just take a look at the lower bodies of famed cyclists such as Lance Armstrong or Cadel Evans and you will see some serious power pent up in their legs. In professional racers, the contractibility of muscle fibers is beyond efficient, and the speed at which they fly up steep grades is unimaginable.
While we may not boast the title of ‘Tour de France winner,’ we can still enjoy trying our best in a local bike race or just having fun while riding along our neighborhood bike path. Either way, nursing our well-used legs is of great importance. Post ride or race, ice and massage are crucial for speed of recovery, and so is yoga.
The following yoga poses are superbly beneficial to anyone who enjoys spending time in the saddle, i.e. the bicycle seat.
You might as well call this ‘cyclist’s lunge,’ as it is helpful for runners and riders alike. With the front knee directly over the ankle and the back leg stretched as far back as possible (toes on the ground) the psoas muscle receives a lovely stretch for restoration of length and suppleness. In cycling, the psoas muscle is responsible for bringing the knee forward at the top of the pedal stroke, as well as keeping the pelvis stable while pedaling. (more…)
If the dreary weather has you chomping at the bit to plan a sun soaked Spring Break, you may want to start planning your bikini bod as well. If the eating over the holidays and low energy from the winter blues have left you self conscious about your saddlebags, leave the “leg work” to us.
The butt/thigh area is a big trouble zone for many, and despite what most think, squats and lunges are not enough to get rid of your saddlebags. While these exercises work you forward and backward, making them great for the hammies and quads, to hit the saddlebag area you have to work on an angle.
The following exercises will shrink your saddlebags, and these are personally some of my favorites to do because you can perform them laying on the ground, surfing the ‘net or watching TV. Not that I’m recommending that, it would probably be more professional to tell you to concentrate on your working muscles, breathing deeply and watching your form closely. So do that.
After a full day of snowboarding, skiing or snowshoeing the muscles of the hips can shorten and tighten. Flexible, open hips are a must for winter athletes. Without them performance may decrease while the risk of injury increases.
The following hip opening yoga poses are a must for keeping the lower body healthy and limber.
Warrior I and Crescent Lunge for the Hip Flexors
The psoas muscles, located along the front crease of the hips, are the powerful muscles that give winter athletes control, stability and strength. When they are tight, the low back suffers and as a result, injury can occur.
Yoga poses that stretch the psoas muscles are warrior one and crescent lunge. Similar to a runner’s lunge, these poses extend the front of the hip, giving those mighty hip flexors a dose of elasticity. For best results, be sure to tuck your tailbone under slightly.
During this hectic time of year your yoga practice is especially helpful in reducing anxiety, but if you cannot fit in a full yoga class, practicing on your own is second best. Restorative poses like forward bends top the list to release stress and refresh the mind and body, but it is important that they are done correctly.
The following principles are categorized by body part and action to help you practice safe and effective restorative forward bending yoga poses.
Imagine your pelvis as a bowl of water and your spine as the stream of water that spills from the bowl. By placing both hands on your hips and tipping your hips forward first as if to pour the water onto your feet, you set the forward bend up from your hips rather than from your lower back. This prevents the action of lumbar lordosis (rounding out) from your lumbar spine, which can stress the discs of the lower back.
If your hamstrings are tight, simply bend your knees. This will allow your pelvis to tip forward with ease without rounding your lower back. Also, you can bend your knees if you feel tension behind them and if you feel a tugging sensation on your sitting bones. It is best to feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle, rather than at the attachment points (sit bones and backs of knees). This helps to protect your tendons and ligaments from excess strain.
2. The creaking noise I’m hearing is not from my stairs, it’s from my knees.
I’m not sure what caused it: whether it’s my years of sports playing goalie and catcher in high school or rugby in college. It could be the stress on my body from the extra 120 pounds of weight that I had less than a year ago. Maybe I’m just getting, dare I say it, … getting old??
The good news is I’m not in pain…yet. However, this could be the warning signs of something greater and as a health care professional I should not be ignoring things. I am considering taking some supplements to help lubricate my joints like I’m the tin man in the Wizard of Oz.
The hips are somewhat of a problem area for some women. The following workout will target and tone this region.
Although genetics plays the biggest role in the shape and structure of the body; dedication and hard work will always pay off. The hip region, also known as the coxa, is a synovial joint (ball and socket joint) and basically consists of the hip bone (innominate bone) and femur (thigh bone).
Slide boards have been used by speed skaters and hockey players for years and years now and are becoming ever more popular in fitness facilities today. A slide board is a super slick mat that has blocks on each side used as stoppers and to push off. Cotton-like material booties should be placed over your shoes in order to allow movement across the mat (socks can be used as well). Slide boards are intended to improve the strength, endurance, and stability of the hip and hip stabilizers. This type of cross-training is a great way to get your cardiovascular training done all while reducing the risk of hip injuries.
Pictured here, J.R. Celski, a U.S. Olympic Team short track speed skater, appeared on Biggest Loser 9.6 to demonstrate the slide board for the contestants and lead them in a challenge. (more…)
Hip pain is a common injury and somewhat confusing because there are so many causes. The hip joint is a synovial joint, which means that it is one of the most movable joints in the body, and its main function is to support the weight of the body in both static (standing) and dynamic (walking) postures. The hip has seven main movements, making it so susceptible to injury. These movements consist of extension and flexion on or from spine or thigh, abduction and adduction of the femur, internal and external rotation of the pelvis, thigh, or spine, and lastly circumduction (circular movement) of the femur or pelvis.
Hip injuries again have several causes, such as:(more…)
Today, we are focusing on using correct posture throughout your workout. This is a huge topic and I feel that it can make a difference in your workouts. Correct technique and maintaining good posture keeps your body in-line, over-compensation free, and decreases your risk of injury. You might have to decrease your weights in order to do so, but it will be worth it in the long run. I have a few demonstrations below to help you picture a few exercises.
Push-Up: Notice how his body is in-line from his neck to is feet. Try not to drop your head while performing this exercise.
Crunch: Keep it simple, do a crunch not a sit-up; better on the spine. Also notice how he is not pulling on his neck. Try to keep your head back and in-line with upper spine.
Standing Tricep Extension: Notice how her feet are shoulder width apart, head is up and in-line with spine, and her back is not hunched over. You will notice one of these three struggle if you are trying to lift too much weight.
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