Tag Archives: exercises

The Quickest Way to Great Abs…Sprints!

iGnite - Advantages of Sprints

What is the KING of getting great Abs??

A. 1,000 crunches
B. $19.95 Ab Cruncher from an infomercial
C. Sprints

Woo hoo! How easy and less time consuming is the correct answer C – SPRINTS!!!

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

YES, they are uncomfortable & YES, they are challenging!! But, if you are not uncomfortable or feeling challenged, then most likely you are wasting your time.

As a matter of fact, ask any good strength and conditioning coach what they do to work on their athlete’s midsection and they will not tell you crunches. Sprinting is a required component of 90% of all sports and therefore the major component of any athletes training.

WHY SPRINTS?
Crunches and other ab exercises focus almost exclusively on the rectus abdominis muscle. This is a narrow range of development. Total degree of muscle activation and length of time that muscle is under tension are major determinants of muscle function and growth. There is no exercise that generates more force in the abdominal musculature than sprinting, and therefore NO exercise can mimic the developmental stimulus it provides.

When sprinting, the arms and legs are pumping and exploding like pistons. This immense force being generated on either side of the body pulls and twists the spine and body back and forth, and side to side. The only reason the body stays ridged and upright is because of the tremendous degree of force and pressure elicited by the contraction of the abdominal wall. The entire abdominal cavity is forced to engage in one monumental effort to stabilize the trunk. This force is so powerful that even ONE ten second run can induce massive muscular stimulus on the midsection.

ADVANTAGES OF SPRINTS:

BURNING FAT:  Sprints literally teach your body how to be an effective fat burner. Unlike steady state aerobics, sprint training produces a metabolic ripple that leads to enhanced fat burning for days after the workout is over. Almost ALL traditional ab exercises fail miserably in their ability to burn fat.

AFTERBURN = FAT LOSS: The sprint is so powerful for fat loss because it sets into motion biochemical reactions that turn on your fat burning machinery. This concept is popularly known as the metabolic afterburn effect. It represents the body’s attempt to recover, repair and regenerate after intense exercise. Anyone who has run a 100 yd dash or a HILL sprint knows what the beginning stages of the afterburn feels like. This intense exercise releases a “chemical soup” that is one of the key benefits leading to fat burning for hours and even days after the workout has ended.

BURNS FAT AT REST:  Sprinting also trains the body to be a more efficient fat burner at rest. Sprint training turns on fat burning enzymes and keeps them on.

The most important thing to remember is that intensity is an individual thing. You can reap the benefits of this training by just putting on your gas pedal a little bit more when you are doing your cardio!

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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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3-Step Full-Body Resistance Band Workout

Resistance bands are an easy and convenient way to get a great full-body workout whether you’re in the gym, outdoors, at home or traveling.  iGnite founder Neissa shares her favorite resistance band exercises that work your body from head to toe.

Complete 3 rounds of these 3 exercises for a challenging full-body workout:

ResistanceBandWorkout-011. Chest Press with Stationary lunge
(10 each leg)

  • Equipment: use a heavier resistance band for this exercise and others that work the chest and back
  • Muscles Worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, chest, core
  • Difficulty Adjustment: Adjust your resistance level by widening or shortening your stance, stepping forward or backward.
  • Form: Keep your knee and ankle in alignment and arms at 90 degrees. Inhale down, exhale as you extend.

 

2. Squat + Standing Row
(set of 10-15 reps)

      • Equipment: Use a heavier resistance band for this exercise and others that work the chest and back
      • Muscles Worked: quads, glutes & hamstrings, lats & rhomboids (all back), biceps, core
      • Form: Pull with palms facing up, elbows in against your sides, and squeezing the shoulder blades together
      • Difficulty adjustment: Adjust the resistance level of your row by stepping forward or backwards

 

3. Squat with Shoulder Press and Optional Jump

  • Equipment: Use a lighter resistance band so that you can fully extend the arms overhead while standing on the bands
  • Muscles Worked: glutes, quads, hamstrings, shoulders, core and cardio
  • Form: Sit back in your squat like you are sitting in a chair with chest up and looking straight ahead
  • Difficulty adjustment: Increase the amount of cardio work by including a jump after alternating squats

 

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5 Step, Full-Body Medicine Ball Workout

Video not showing up? Watch it here on YouTube
Like this video on our Facebook page by Jan. 31, 2014 & be entered to win a FREE Dynamax medicine ball (a >$75 retail value)!

This 5-step full-body workout created by iGnite founder Neissa Springmann uses only a medicine ball.  Complete the 5-exercise series 2-3 times (depending on your fitness level), resting 20-30 seconds between each exercise.  Feel free to use a lower weight medicine ball that is appropriate for your personal strength level.

If you prefer written instructions to watching a video, we’ve written up the entire workout for you here:

First, be sure to warm up for 3-5 minutes. Good warm up options are:

  • brisk power walk
  • jumping jacks
  • march in place

Exercise 1: Overhead Knee Tap

  • Reach high above your head with the medicine ball, engaging the glutes and the core, and lift one knee and bring the medicine ball down to tap the knee.  Then lift the ball back up above your head and place the foot back on the ground.  Stay tall and be sure not to round your back.
  • For those with sensitive shoulders:  hold the medicine ball in front of you and bring your knees up to touch the medicine ball.
  • Continue alternating legs and complete 20 reps.

~ Rest 20-30 seconds ~

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 1.40.55 PMExercise 2: Squat to Chest Pass

  • Stand a 4-5 feet away from a wall or column (adjust distance according to your comfort level). Holding the medicine ball, squat down with your weight in your heels so that your glutes and quads are activated, pulling in your belly button.  On your way back up to standing, toss the ball against the wall straight in front of you with power so that it bounces back straight to you.  Absorb the ball as you catch it while squatting back down.
  • Complete 20 reps.

~ Rest 20-30 seconds ~

Exercise 3: Jumping Jack to Military Press

  • Starting with holding the medicine ball at your chest, complete a jumping jack, pressing the ball above your head each time you jump your legs out.
  • Low-impact version: Instead of jumping legs out and in, simply alternate stepping legs out and in while pressing the ball above your head.
  • If you have sensitive shoulders: hold the medicine ball at your chest while completing the jumping jack.
  • Complete 20 reps.

 ~ Rest 20-30 seconds ~

Exercise 4: Sumo Squat to High Toss

  • Step your legs out into a wide “sumo squat,” pointing your toes out away from your body at  a 45 degree angle.  Squat nice and deep, and as you rise back up, toss the ball as high as you can against the wall.  As soon as the ball comes back to you, squat and absorb the catch.   If necessary, slow down the exercise to maintain good form.
  • Complete 20 reps.

 ~ Rest 20-30 seconds ~

Exercise 5: Kneeling Overhead Tricep Toss

  • On your knees and relatively close to a wall, firm your glutes and tighten your core by pulling in your belly button. Lift the ball above your head and bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle, keeping the elbows pulled in close to your ears.  Toss the ball against the wall and catch it, keeping your lower body and core still and activated.
  • Complete 20 reps.

 

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11 Exercises to Keep You Injury-Free

by Molly McCauley

by Molly McCauley

We all know to take the time to add cardio movements and strength exercises into our workout routines, but do we spend enough time stretching?

Stretching — both dynamic and static — is important too! Injury is preventable, especially if you take the time in each workout to actively warm up your muscles before you start and then cool them down for the final five minutes.

Here are some of my favorite dynamic exercises to use to warm-up your body. Make sure to warm-up for a minimum of 5 minutes before beginning your workout.

  • Glute kicks
  • High knees
  • Side shuffles
  • High skips
  • Walking lunges with a twist or side reach
  • Side lunges
  • Squats

After your workout, statically stretch the muscles you worked to reduce tension and increase range of motion. Hold each stretch for at least 15-20 seconds. Take the time to stretch your upper and lower body. I recommend performing these 4 static stretches for a great full-body stretch and cool-down:

  1. Chest and shoulder stretches using a long resistance band
  2. Spinal twists
  3. Stretch each of your quads in alow lunge with your back knee on the  ground
  4. Hamstring stretches using a long resistance band

Remember to make time for stretching — and enjoy it!

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