Category Archives: Workouts

Our 5 Favorite Fitness Apps

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Our iGnite leaders are sharing their favorite fitness apps to help you with strength training, run training, HIIT workouts, yoga, stretching and more! Since we always have our phone with us, a customized workout can be just a few clicks away.  These apps are great to use when you are traveling or when you may only have 10-15 minutes to squeeze in a quick workout. Here are our Top 5 Favorites:

 

sworkit

Sworkit  – Your own personal trainer! Sworkit provides you with personalized video workouts by real trainers. Videos of each move and audio coaching lead you through each session. You can work out to pre-made routines or design your own.

The app includes choices from strength, cardio, yoga or stretching with a duration anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes.  No equipment required.

 

timer-app

Interval Timer – This app helps you keep track of your work and rest periods during workouts. We use it in iGnite classes to keep track of tabatas (ex: 40 seconds of squats/15 seconds of rest) or any other type of HIIT workout.

Interval timer can be customized to any length and has different beeping noises for work and rest.  It is the perfect workout companion.

 

runningRunning for Weight Loss – This app has unique interval plans of running, walking and sprint intervals for maximum calorie burning. You can choose from different training programs with levels of difficulty from beginner to advanced.

You can also use the app to train for a 5K, 10K or whatever your goal may be. It tells you detailed statistics such as distance, pace and calories burned throughout and at the end of the workout.

nikeNike+ Training Club – Get expert guidance from Nike master trainers.  Choose the amount of visual guidance you get in every workout, and use the audio cues to take your eyes off the screen. This app has over 100 strength, endurance or mobility-focused workouts designed by Nike athletes and trainers. You can enter and record other activities you do, like running, tennis, etc. and keep track of your fitness life.

 

yoga

Daily Yoga – This app has more than 500 yoga poses with instructions and over 50 complete yoga sessions. The yoga sessions include soothing background music. There are three different intensity levels and several duration choices to choose from. You can find the routine that’s right for you.

 


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How to Effectively Glide in Your Breast Stroke

The versatile breast stroke can be used as a relaxing or safety stoke as well as a powerful, racing stroke.  In this video, iGnite Swim Instructor Sha Klatt explains the correct form to use while executing the breast stroke.  Using long-time iGnite swimmer Janet Chastain as her model, she demonstrates how to focus on the glide.

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Class Highlight: Hydro-Fit

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Hydro-Fit Class

Sha Klatt

by Sha Klatt

If swimming laps is not for you, consider our new Hydro-Fit program! Water exercise is all about moving water and creating resistance to get an effective non-impact workout.

Swim2Hydro-fit is a full body workout that will lengthen and strengthen your muscles, build your cardio endurance, as well as increase your mobility. This workout incorporates the use of a variety of equipment including aqua flotation belt, water resistant bar bells, kick boards, and fins that keep this program fun and challenging. This class is effective whether you want non-impact athletic training or if you need to stay active while you heal and recover from injury.

IMG_0091Benefits of Hydro-Fit Workouts:

  • Builds cardio endurance
  • Increases mobility
  • Provides non-impact resistance training
  • Uses variety of equipment — keeps it fun!
  • Allows for injury recovery
  • Provides full body workout that sculps, lengthens, strengthens
  • Restores your body, mind and spirit with aquatic therapy
  • Ends with Hot-Tub mini spa
  • Feels great all day!

Come enjoy the water, hydro-fit is exercise that feels good!

View Class Schedule

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Total Body Bosu Ball Workout Series: Part 1

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

The Bosu ball is one of the most effective, diverse, functional and inexpensive pieces of exercise equipment on the market. It can be used and is beneficial for all fitness levels.

In this 5-part series, Neissa demonstrates five exercises (with modifications) that can be performed on the Bosu ball, with the goal that each exercise be performed for three sets, or a total of three rounds. Each week Neissa will provide five additional exercises progressions on the Bosu ball.

Finally, Neissa ends the video with encouragement on neighborly love and the importance of letting your light shine bright!

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A Time-Saving, Full Body Workout

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Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

How many of us convince ourselves that we would love to work out regularly, if only we had more time? Enter HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (or HIIT).

HIIT training involves repeated bouts of all-out high intensity effort followed by varied recovery times. The intense work periods may range from 10 seconds to 8 minutes long, and are performed at 85 to 95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate, the maximum number of times your heart will beat in a minute. “Using HIIT you’re going to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time,” says Tom Holland, Exercise Physiologist. “Mixing CARDIO AND STRENGTH TRAINING at a high intensity gives you the ULTIMATE FULL-BODY WORKOUT”.
HIIT training can easily be modified for people of all fitness levels and special conditions. HIIT workouts can be performed on all exercise modes, including cycling, swimming, running, and of course our group exercise classes! Of course, my personal favorite HIIT workout is hill sprints and burpees.-a total body workout in 20 minutes!

Benefits of HIIT Training:

INCREASED METABOLISM:  HIIT can give you a day-long metabolism boost. This is due to the fact that we consume more oxygen during intense activity than in slower, steady state exercise. This in itself can increase post-exercise metabolism, and means that we continue to burn calories long after exercising.

BURN MORE FAT:  We burn both fat and carbohydrates when we exercise, but the proportion varies according to the INTENSITY of the exercise. Many studies have proven that shorter high-intensity workouts result in greater fat loss than steady-state cardio sessions. This means you get a whole lot more bang for your buck when you sweat it out in a HIIT session, rather than spending TWICE as much time jogging.

YOU LOSE WEIGHT, NOT MUSCLE:  While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight loss comes from fat stores—a win/win!!

YOU BUILD A HEALTHIER HEART:  Most people are not used to pushing into the anaerobic zone (that lovely place where you cannot breathe and you feel like your heart is trying to jump out of your chest). But in this case, extreme training produces extreme results! One 2006 study found that after only 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, and maintain the same pace!!!

NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED:  One of the real advantages of HIIT is that you can work out without the need of weights or cardio equipment. When I am on vacation I always slip in a 30 minute HIIT workout whenever I can. Beach sprints are an amazing HIIT vacation workout! Anything PLYOMETRIC (exercises based around having muscles exert maximum force in short intervals) will get the job done—accelerating your heart rate and increasing your speed and power. This can include squat jumps, burpees, or jump lunges.

IT IS QUICK:  HIIT is an extremely efficient way of squeezing in a great workout into a short space of time. The fact that maximum results can even be achieved from a session that lasts less than 30 minutes means that HIIT is the ideal type of workout if you are on a tight schedule. Due to the extreme level of intensity of HIIT, you can get all the benefits of a rigorous gym session in a mere fraction of the time!

FullSizeRender-151Examples of HIIT workouts we do in our iGnite classes consist of hill sprint repeats,
Tabatas, explosive medicine ball and sand bell circuits, Plyometric circuits, and stair repeats. There are endless possibilities!

One final message — due to the high intensity of HIIT training, it should only be done 3 times a week. All fitness levels can benefit from this type of training!

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4 Moves to Increase Your Flexibility

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

iGnite leader Amy Younkman shares 4 moves to increase your flexibility to get you on the path to increased mobility, reduced chance of injury and just plain feeling great!

1. Passive Hamstring Stretch

Pretty much all of us could use more flexible hamstrings, right? Who doesn’t want to be closer to touching their toes? This passive stretch is a safe and excellent stretch for the hamstring, best done in a doorway or on a corner where 2 walls meet.

Passive Hamstring Stretch

Passive Hamstring Stretch

  1. Lying on your back, lift one leg up the wall, while the other leg stretches out along the ground inside the doorframe.
  2. Settle the pelvis onto the ground and position the upward leg so that you feel a gentle, but not too intense stretch.
  3. Breathe and hold for 3 – 5 minutes.
  4. If you are recuperating from a hamstring tear or strain or need a less intense stretch, move the body further away from the wall so that you do not feel strain in the injured hamstring.

2. Front of Hip/Psoas Stretch

Stretching out the front of the hip/psoas muscle is something not many of us think to do, but it is a crucial area to stretch, especially for runners. Not only does the psoas enable you to walk and run, but it also promotes good posture.

Front of Hip/Psoas Stretch

Front of Hip/Psoas Stretch

  1. Come into a low lunge position on your knees, with the right foot in front and both knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
  2. With hands on the hips, lift the hip points up and root the tailbone down as you draw the navel towards the spine (creating a posterior tilt). You will feel a deep stretch in the front of the left hip.
  3. Lift your left arm on the inhale, exhale and side bend over to the right.
  4. Stay here and breathe for 8 breaths as you feel a deep stretch in the front and outer area of the left hip.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

3. Thoracic Spine/Chest Opening Stretch

After long days of hunching forward, sitting at desks, sitting in the car, and on and on, this stretch feels incredible — allowing you to open up your chest and counteract all of that forward bending.  Goodbye, hunchback!

Spine Stretch / Chest Opener

Spine Stretch / Chest Opener

  1. Lie back on a foam roller (a rolled up yoga mat can work as well) with the roller just below the shoulder blades.
  2. With knees bent and bottom on the ground, reach fingertips behind your head as you lengthen your neck.
  3. On the inhale, curl back over the the roller
  4. On the exhale, knit the ribs together as you curl up and draw elbows together.
  5. With each successive breath, see if you can find more ease and expansiveness as you coordinate movement with breath.
  6. Repeat 8 – 10 times.

4. Bridge Pose

The perfect pose to tie the first three stretches together!

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent, heels in line with your sit bones, and toes pointed straight ahead.
  2. Root down through all four corners of both feet as you press your arms into the mat and lift your hips.
  3. Lengthen the back of the neck and feel a nice stretch along the sides of the neck.
  4. Firm your glutes, and stretch your knees out over your ankles, as you stretch the front of the hips while strengthening the hamstrings and glutes.
  5. Stay here and breathe for 8 breaths
  6. Slowly lower the hips as you gently lay the spine down, bone by bone.
  7. Repeat 3 – 5 times.

 

Photos by Catherine Sanderson

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iGnite Simple 7 Park Workout

“Simple 7” Total Body, Body Weight Circuit in the Park

Even though school has started, having a quick and simple total body, body weight workout that can be done at the park while the kiddos are playing is always handy to have in your back pocket. Having recently moved to San Diego, iGnite Founder Neissa Springmann, shows us just how simple that circuit can be in beautiful Mission Bay Park.   All you need is a bench and some playground bars…and a bay breeze doesn’t hurt either!

Following a 3-5 minute warm-up (brisk power walk or jogging,  jumping jacks, jump rope — anything to get your heart rate up and body warm), perform a set of 10-20 reps per exercise and repeat the circuit 2-3 times.

1) Squats / Squat Jumps

Squats: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10- 20 reps

Benefits: Strengthens the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.  When adding a jump, the core and calves are strengthened.

Steps:

  1. Either place your hands behind your head with your arms at a 90 degree angle by your waist, or with gently place your hands on the back of a chair
  2. Stand with feet hip-width distance apart (6-12 inches)
  3. Squat, while keeping weight in the heels, eyes forward and chest open. Lift your toes while squatting to keep your weight in your heels. I like to have a bench under me, as I try to tap my glutes on it.  This way I know I’m not cheating my glutes and hamstrings!
  4. Stand and firm your glutes.
  5. * Bonus Upgrade* iGnite Your Exercise: Add a jump at the top of your squat for a squat jump to add more of a cardiovascular and explosive component.
  • Important note on form:  To protect your knees, keep your weight in your heels. While squatting, avoid allowing your knees to come together and keep them at a hip-width distance apart.

2) Push Ups

Push Ups: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10 – 20 reps

Benefits: Strengthens chest, arms and core

Steps:

  1. Position arms wide at a 90 degree angle
  2. With control, lower your chest between your ams, tightening your core and firming your glutes to protect your lower back, and look 6 inches in front of you to keep the neck in neutral alignment (do not allow your head to droop).
  3. To decrease difficulty, drop to knees.

3) Split Squats

Split Squats: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10 – 20 reps per leg

Benefits: Improves core strength and balance, as well as agility because it isolating legs; strengthens the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings; Reduces risk of injury by minimizing strength and muscular differences between your left and right side

Steps:

  1. Elevate one foot on a step or bench behind you.
  2. As you lunge and bend your front leg to a 90 degree angle, focus on moving your torso up and down, not pushing it forward. Keep your weight balanced evenly through your front foot and press into the floor with your front heel to come back up to the start position, which works and tones more lower-body muscle
  3. Do not lean forward or let your front knee extend past your front toe.

4).  Assisted Pull-Ups

Assisted Pull Ups: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10-20 reps

Benefits:  Strengthens all of the back:  latisimus dorsi, rhomboids;  Strengthens all upper body and core:  chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders

Steps:

  1. Find a low bar and walk your body carefully underneath it.
  2. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, keeping your core tight and your body straight (no sagging).
  3. Draw your shoulders away from your ears, engage your glutes and core, and slowly pull your chest up to the bar, engaging your back muscles.
  4. Slow and with control, lower down.  Going slow is more difficult, but it’s more effective and safe!

5). Step Ups

Step Ups: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10-20 reps per leg

Benefits:  Strengthens glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and core

Steps:

  1. Place one foot entirely on a bench (letting your heel hang off de-emphasizes the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings and can cause injury to your knee!)
  2. With athletic arms, a tall and upright posture, abs engaged and eyes forward, press through the whole foot of the standing leg.  With power, lift the opposite leg to a 90 degree angle.
  3. With steady ease and control, lower the lifted leg to softly touch the ground.
  • Important note:  If you have weak quads, hamstrings, glutes or knees, find a shorter bench. Your leg length will determine how tall the bench should be.  Ideally, you want the leg that is on the bench to be at or below a 90 degree angle.   An angle more than 90 degrees can lead to knee injury and does not benefit the hamstrings, glutes or quads.

6) Tricep Dips

Tricep Dips: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10- 20 reps

Benefit:  Strengthens triceps

Steps:

  1. Place your palms, fingers facing forward, on the edge of a bench or chair
  2. Sit up tall with straight arms, eyes forward, shoulders down and back, chest out, elbows squeezed in tightly and glutes off of the chair (glutes ≤3 inches from the edge at all times)
  3. Slowly bend your arms (no more than 90 degrees)
  4. Slowly press up to straight arm position and repeat
  5. *Bonus Upgrade*  For a more advanced dip, position your legs straight or keep one leg lifted and straight while the other leg remains bent.

Important notes:

  • Avoid tricep dips if you have a shoulder injury
  • Never dip beyond a 90 degree angle. This places negative strain on the shoulder, increasing risk of injury.
  • Be cautious if dipping on rolling or swivel chairs. An ideal dip setting is on a secure and non-mobile bench or chair. If dipping on a rolling chair, place the chair on carpet and in a secure location, preventing chair movement while dipping.

7). Superman Low Back Extensions

Superman Low Back Extensions: iGnite Simple 7 Park WorkoutComplete 10-20 reps

Benefits: Primarily strengthens the lower back,  increases back flexility and stretches the hip flexors.  Indirectly strengthens the glutes.

Steps:

  1. Lying on your stomach, bring your arms to a 90 degree angle
  2. Draw shoulders down the back, firm glutes and lengthen legs
  3. With your gaze at the ground and never up, slowly lift and lower the upper body and lower body
  • Important note:  Avoid a jerking or balistic movement as this is counterproductive and can cause injury to your lower back and neck.

iGnite San Diego Coming Soon

Be on the lookout for iGnite San Diego to be starting soon!


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4 Moves to Release Tension in the Neck & Shoulders Using a Tennis Ball

If we feel tight or tense anywhere, it’s often in our neck, shoulders and upper back. Yoga leaders Amy Younkman and Cary Fyfe share 4 fantastic and easy ways you can use simple tennis balls to release that tension from the comfort of your own home or even while traveling.

 

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Stay Cool in the Pool: Swim Workout to Build Endurance

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Sha Klatt

Sha Klatt

We are in the glorious days of SPRING SWIMMING!  With the temperatures starting to rise, It is a wonderful time of year to be in the water.

“Swimming is amazing therapy, peace, tranquility and exhilaration…not to mention low-impact on joints as well as a great full body, head to toe workout,” says swimming leader Sha Klatt.  While we all know It’s important to cross train in our workouts, we might not always think of swimming as the perfect way to give joints and bones a break while creating long lean muscles from head to toe and incredible lung power. Well, it is!  Not to mention, you get to stay cool on those too-hot-for-a-jog days.

Not a regular swimmer? No problem. Sha has put together a fun summer swim workout that will keep your core temp down while you get toned from head to toe.

So, give your bones and joints a break, jump in and use this outline for your next workout!

“Stay Cool in the Pool”
Endurance-Building Swim Workout

As you get started with swimming, pace yourself: cut this workout in half and build up your endurance until you can complete the entire workout.

Become “one” with the water and let the water work it’s magic.  You’ll feel amazing when you’re finished!

Warm-up: 200m  Swim (8 lengths of a 25m pool)
Start with a body stretching warm-up in the water.  Swim your choice of strokes, but swim very slowly, reaching your arms out as far as they can go while you glide through the water. This helps lengthen your muscles and gives a good stretch.

500m Freestyle Pyramid:

  • 2 x 25m (2 lengths of the pool): Rest 20 secs after each 25m.  On the 2nd 25 swim a little faster (that’s how you “build”)
  • 2 x 50m (4 lengths):  Rest 30 secs after each 50m.  Increase your speed with each segment.
  • 2 x 100m (8 lengths of the pool): Rest 30 secs after each 100m.  A little bit faster now, and sprint the 2nd 100!
  • 2 x 50m (4 lengths):  Now you can start to pull back on your speed, rest 30 sec.
  • 2 x 25m (2 lengths):  This time slow it down and feel the power in each stroke, long glide.

400m Kick (lower body only):

  • With fins on and holding  kick board out in front of you, kick for 100m (4 lengths) of each kickdolphin kick (butterfly) for 25m, backstroke kick (flip over on your back) for 25m, freestyle kick for 25m, then remove fins for breaststroke kick for the last 25m.

300m Pull (upper body only):

  • Place a pull buoy between your legs and squeeze your them together tight.  Using your arms only, “pull” each stroke for 100m of backstroke, 100m of breaststroke and 100m of freestyle

200m Sprints:

  • Swim 4 X 50m of freestyle all out!  Rest 30 seconds after each 50m

200m Warm-Down:

  • 50m Ab kick: with fins on, turn around so your back is facing the direction you want to swim and pull your knees up into your chest like you are sitting in a chair with your head above water, calves along the top of the water. Using your abs to hold your torso up as you kick, lean slightly backwards at about a 45 degree angle while you kick backwards with your fins, completing 2 lengths of the pool
  • 50m Swim slow, your choice of stroke: stretch out
  • 100m Relaxing side kick with fins and kick board

 – – –

Need a little more inspiration to get you on board with swimming? Check out this great article Why I Swim by Lynn Sherr.

Each week at Swim Fit we go over techniques and tips that help participants enjoy the water and improve swimming skills. No matter what level swimmer you are, Sha can help you improve and reach your health goals. We always end the workout with a mini “spa session” in the hot tub or steam room — you leave feeling amazing and carried through the day!

If you have any questions about the iGnite swimming program, email Sha at sha@igniteyourlifenow.com.

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3 of My Favorite Strengthening Exercises

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

“Having been a runner most of my life, it is only in the last 7 or so years that I have actively and regularly strength trained with weights and bodyweight …Running for 40 years became very boring and also was not great for my joints — mainly my knees — because I was not strengthening the muscles around my joints and knees.

…My epiphany was realizing that once you build long lean muscle doing resistance training, your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) greatly increases, so now even while I am resting, I am burning more calories than I ever was in my 30’s, 40’s and even my 20’s because I now do regular strength training!”
 Read more about Kathleen’s journey from runner to strength training enthusiast

Here, 3 of Kathleen’s favorite strength training exercises to Power Up your body and your exercise routine:

Complete 15 reps of each exercise, with a 30 second rest between each exercise.  Find the right amount of weight to use by selecting a weight that is difficult to lift after 10-12 reps.

bulgarianlunge_igniteyourlifeStep by Step:

  1. Using free weights in each hand, elevate one foot on a step behind you.
  2. As you do a lunge, focus on moving your torso up and down, not pushing it forward. Keep your weight balanced evenly through your front foot and press into the floor with your front heel to come back up to the start position, which works and tones more lower-body muscle.
  3. Do not lean forward or let your front knee extend past your front toe.
  4. Complete 15 per leg.

Benefits:

  • Dramatically improves core strength and balance, as well as agility because it isolates one leg
  • Produces noticeable muscle and strength gains in the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings
  • Reduces risk of injury by minimizing strength and muscular differences between your left and right side

weightedrenegaderow_igniteyourlife

Step by Step:

  1. With your hands on the weights at shoulder’s width apart, extend your legs outward into a full push-up position. This is your starting point, ending point and point of stability.
  2. Tighten your core, firmly straighten your left arm, and slowly row the right weight upward until your upper arm is slightly higher than your torso.
  3. Hold one second at the top and then slowly lower the weight back down.
  4. Keep your chest and hips parallel to the floor throughout and try not to rock or sway to one side.
  5. Repeat the same motion with your left arm. Again, keep your core engaged and tight throughout this exercise. This is a great core exercise!
  6. Complete 15 per side.

Benefits:

  • It’s a compound exercise that strengthens your muscles throughout your back, including the trapezius, lats, rhomboids, simultaneously working the biceps, forearms, and rear deltoids.
  • Works the muscles that draw back your shoulder blades, improving posture
  • Forces the abdominals to contract and work hard to stabilize your body — especially the obliques — strengthening the entire body from head to toe in the process!

deadlift_howtoStep by Step:

  1. Using heavy free weights or a barbell, stand up straight with shoulders down and back.
  2. Bend (hinge) from the hips, keeping a flat back: when bending down, act as if you are holding a tray of drinks and need to close the door behind you with your backside. This helps you push your hips back instead of rounding your lower back — a form blunder that puts you at risk for back problems.  Keep the weights as close to your legs as possible, as if you are shaving your legs with the weights or barbell.
  3. Go down as far as your flexibility will allow you, then squeeze your glutes as tight as possible to lift the weights back up to standing, keeping shoulders back and down away from your ears. Squeezing the glutes will engage your butt rather than straining your lower back.
  4. Remember to always keep those abdominals tight, as you should with any strength exercise that you do!
  5. Complete 15 reps

Benefits:

  • One of the top glute strengtheners
  • Increases your core strength and adds to core stability
  • Targets all of the muscles responsible for your posture and enables you to keep your back straighter during regular daily activities
  • Works your lower and upper body, including your back muscles
  • Develops the muscles you need to carry things, such as heavy grocery bags and suitcases
  • Builds amazing grip strength — your forearms also work hard!
  • Can help prevent injuries by increasing the strength of your muscles and critical tendons and ligaments. Supporting joints with strong muscles is crucial to preventing injury, especially in the hamstrings and lower back.

Power Up | iGnite Your Life

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