Fitness, Whole Health

Essential Glutes

Many of the jobs/careers out there require extended periods of sitting.  When sitting too much for too long, the glutes (buttock muscles) begin to not work as efficiently as they should.  This leads to tightening and shortening of the hip flexor muscles which can lead to injury, back pain, obesity and osteoporosis.

Also, other muscles will begin compensate, taking on the work load.  The hamstrings, low back, quadriceps and calves may become too strong in comparison creating imbalance, increasing the risk of injury.

Strong glutes:

  • Stabilize the pelvis for walking and running to prevent injuries at the hip, knee, and ankle.  (Weak glutes can contribute to pulled muscles in your hamstring or groin.)
  • Help with back pain – strong glutes support the back.  When the glutes strong, the lower back doesn’t bear the brunt of activity.
  • Improve athletic performance – gain speed and agility with stronger glutes
  • Increase power- a stronger gluteus maximus buttock muscle, largest muscle in the body, works to create lots of power to improve daily life.
  • Give the body a nice shape.

To strengthen the glutes train them about once a week.  Start with an aerobic warm up for about 10 minutes, then perform the exercises described below to build your glutes:

  Hip Bridge
  • Lie on your back with knees bent, feet about shoulder width apart and flat on the floor.
  • Pushing through the heels, press hips up toward the ceiling.  Maintain back, hips and thighs in a straight line.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds.
  • Repeat 10 -20 times.
  Lunge, with or without dumbbell
  • Stand with legs shoulder width apart (wide stance), back straight and head up. May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Step forward, bending both legs simultaneously until thigh of front leg is parallel to the floor.  The heel of the back foot will come off the floor.
  • Straighten legs to rise up.
  • Repeat action on same side for 8-12 reps.
  • Switch sides, and repeat action for 8-12 reps.
  Squat, with or without dumbbell
  • Stand with head up, back straight and feet pointed slightly out.  May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Squat by bending knees and pushing hips out behind until thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Keep abdominal muscles tight; maintain body weight on heels.
  • Push through heels to stand back up to standing/starting position.
  • Repeat action for 8-12 reps.
  Standing Side Leg Lift, with or without leg weight
  • Stand with head up, back straight and feet about hip distance apart, toes pointed forward. May use leg weight with this exercise.
  • Lift right leg out quickly.  (May hold onto a support, if needed.)
  • Slowly lower it back to start position, taking 3-5 seconds to do so.
  • Repeat 10 – 20 times
  • Repeat action with left leg, 10 – 20 times.
  Step Up, with or without dumbbell
  • Keeping head up and back straight, place right foot on a bench, step or a box.  May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Bring left leg up toward chest, then place left foot on the step-up surface, so that both feet are now on the step-up surface.
  • Step down with the left foot, keeping right foot on the step-up surface.
  • Repeat on both sides, doing 15 reps on each side.
  Kick Back – with or without leg weight
  • Get down on ‘hands and knees’.  May use leg weight with this exercise.
  • Bring left leg to chest, keeping hips level.
  • Now drive leg back and up so that it is straight out and slightly up.  Contract glutes and hold the contraction at the top for a couple of seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the process with the right leg.
  • Repeat, alternating legs.
  • Complete 20 reps on each side.
  Wall Sit
  • Stand with back against a wall.
  • Slide down until knees are at a 90 degree angle, thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for 20 – 60 seconds, or more.
Fitness

Rapid Fat Burn with Circuit Training

What Is Circuit Training?

Circuit training is a programmed series of body conditioning exercises set on a specific course. Weight training and aerobics work well for this purpose. The time between exercises in the circuit is short; move rapidly the next exercise. After completion of the prescribed circuit, repeat it starting at the first exercise. Continue to repeat the circuit until the set amount of time is up.

Since each exercise station changes up the muscle group being worked, no rest is needed when moving between sets of exercises. The exercises are performed in rapid repetitions which raises heart rate. When the heart rate is boosted lots of calories are burned. When done with the session, calories will continue to be consumed for a few hours more.

You decide what exercises to include in the series. The course can be quite simple or complex, whatever suits your needs. A typical circuit should work each section of the body. An example circuit is described below.

#1. Run in place as quickly as possible. Pump arms while moving legs. Easier:  slow down or march in place. More difficult:  raise knees higher (to chest). Do this Warm-Up for 2 minutes only at the beginning of circuit session.

 RunInPlace

#2.  Bench Dip:  Keeping elbows close to sides, lower body almost to floor.  Then press upward until arms are straight.  Easier:  Knees bent and feet flat on the floor. More difficult:  Straighten legs; put feet on chair in front. Do 10 reps per set.

BenchDip

#3Crunch – Bent Knee:  Lay on back, knees bent, arms straight at sides. Keep head & neck in line with spine, tighten abs. Raise shoulders & upper back toward ceiling. Low / middle back & arms stay on floor. Do 15 reps per set.

CrunchBent Knee

#4.  Full Squat: Head is up; back is straight; feet are pointed slightly out. Squat until backs of thighs touch calves. (Easier: thighs parallel to floor). Keep abs tight; balance weight on heels. Adjust arm position for balance. Do 10 reps per set.

FullSquat

#5Wall Push Away:  Facing wall, place hands (fingers up) on wall about shoulder width apart. With body straight, elbows up and heels on floor, lean into wall. Hold position for 4 seconds, then push away using arms. Do 15 reps per set.

WallPush Away

#6Crunch Twist:  With legs bent, tighten abs & raise upper body and 1 leg. Twist to touch opposite elbow to raised knee. Alternate sides. Do 15 reps per set.

CrunchTwist

#7Lunge:  With feet hip width apart, step into a deep forward lunge. Front knee should be aligned with ankle; back knee pointing to the floor. Push back leg to straight keeping rear knee raised.  Hold this position for 7-10 seconds. Repeat with other leg.  Perform the lunge 10 times for each leg.

Lunge0001

#8Standing Bend:  Stand with feet together and reach overhead with palms touching. Bend body to one side as fa as possible. Repeat on other side. Do this Cool Down Stretch only at the end of circuit session.

StandingBend0001