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.
iGnite instructor and running expert Alli Phillips shares her top 5 tips for proper running form and technique to improve running efficiency and speed, prevent common running injuries, and allow runners to enjoy this most elemental, fundamental, and wonderful exercise for a lifetime. Running with better form will make you more efficient and faster; and vice versa, running faster makes you more efficient and improves form.
1. Upper body alignment
Stay in a stacked vertical plank: head in alignment with shoulders, ribs and hips.
Strong core: all runners should have a strong core to support that vertical plank, so be sure to include some good core strengthening exercises into your running routine
Relax the shoulders
2. Lower body position
Pelvis under ribs: keep hips neutrally aligned under the ribs. Think of your pelvis like a bucket, not tipping it one way or another, hold it steady under your vertical plank.
Strong glutes: be sure to incorporate glute-strengthening exercises like squats, lunges & step-ups in your running routine because strong hips & glutes will help maintain that neutral pelvis
Keep soft, slightly bent knees through all points in your run, keeping your knee like a loaded spring. This reduces the impact on your joints.
Feet under the hips
3. Foot placement or strike
You want to the foot to land right under the hip when you’re running
Forefoot takes the weight
4. Forward lean
When you run, you want a slightly forward lean with your full body
Lean & drive from your hips (or your center of mass)
Maintain neutral connected plank position as you lean forward
Fast Turnover: to go faster, simply increase the rate of your step — don’t widen your stride
Quick light steps
DRILL: Sub-Max Sprints Complete this drill after a 10 minute warm-up. This drill will teach your body how to maintain proper running form at a higher cadence/speed.
Run in place 5-10 seconds focusing on body position and high cadence/turnover
Lean or “fall forward” and run fast for 20-60 seconds or until your cadence slows and/or form is lost
On this beautiful spring day it really is difficult to not feel optimistic. But, in the event the bight blue sky, glorious shades of green and bluebonnets aren’t doing it for you, check out this a-maz-ing video. And, we dare you not to watch it at least three times and pass it along to other friends. Actually, do watch it several times and pass it on to as many people as possible. This optimistic video is addictive and your cheeks may hurt from smiling so big. It’s that good, so consider yourself warned!
So maybe you don’t feel like you are “climbing a mountain,” but just think of all of the places you go everyday. From the inside, the daily grind might not seem exciting or adventurous, but if your shoes could speak, we’re pretty sure they’d say, “We love all of the places you are going. Don’t stop living and GIVE ME MORE!”
And, if it’s an athletic shoe that you iGnite in or work out in, but haven’t replaced in the past six months, we’re pretty sure your shoes are saying, “Please replace me! I can’t keep up with your pace and if you don’t replace me your body will soon be hurting!”
Use this Luke’s Locker couponby April 30 to replace your old shoes, and watch this week’s video to learn what other people’s shoes are saying to them:
Have you ever considered writing a gratitude or love letter, to yourself? We know it seems strange, but consider how much more we might appreciate and love ourselves if we acknowledged and focused on our unique qualities, fully-functioning body parts, and positive characteristics, gifts and journeys — instead of the negative things about ourselves!
For some inspiration, check out this video and remember: YOU. ARE. AWESOME.
Complete 20 reps of each of these 5 exercises, resting 20-30 seconds between each exercise. Repeat the circuit 2-3 times, according to your ability level.
1. Wall Sit with a Ball Raise
With a 6 pound medicine ball (or whatever weight is comfortable for you), sit against a wall in a deep, wide squat. Keep the toes facing forward with your weight in your heels, and engage your core very tightly so that if someone were to punch you in the stomach it would be firm. Firm up your core so there is no arch in your back and raise the ball up against the wall and then down between your legs. Keep your legs wide enough so that the ball can come down between your knees.
Complete 20 ball raises.
2. Ab Toss
Facing the wall, sit down on a mat with your legs out in front of you and upper body leaned back at a slight angle and hold the medicine ball at your chest. If you have a weaker back, sit straighter up. Legs are slightly bent and soft, or if it doesn’t bother your hip flexors, more straightened out.
Next, throw the ball straight against the wall in a chest pass, absorbing to catch it in a fluid motion — no stopping and then throwing.
Complete 20 throws.
3. Basic Glute Raise on the Ball
Lie down on your back, placing your heels on top of the medicine ball with your knees fist-width distance apart. Place your arms by your sides and keep your shoulders pulled down away from your ears.
Lift your glutes high up and down for 20 reps at a steady pace, inhaling down, exhaling up.
To increase the difficulty level, extend one leg upwards and complete the glute raises on a single leg.
4. Russian Twist
Sitting on a mat parallel to the wall, place your legs out in front of you with soft knees and lean your upper body back at a slight angle, holding the medicine ball at your chest. Twist to the side away from the wall with the ball, engaging your core, and without tapping the ground with the ball in a healthy and safe twist.
Next twist back towards the wall and throw the medicine ball against the wall in one fluid motion. Catch and absorb the ball and twist again. Inhale on the catch, exhale on the throw. Be sure to do this all in one fluid motion, not stopping between catches and throws.
Complete 20 on each side.
5. Prone Superman (or “Barking Dog”)
Lie on your stomach a few feet from the wall with the medicine ball and lift your legs and upper body off the ground.
Roll/throw the ball hard along the ground against the wall and catch it as it comes back at you. Complete 20 throws.
Rest the neck afterwards by turning the head side to side.
*If you have a bad lower back, be careful with this exercise — you may want to skip it. Alternate exercise: Perform a basic back extension, keeping the legs on the ground and raising and lowering the upper body off the ground.
We think it’s safe to say that we all enjoy feeling physically beautiful, but we also think it’s safe to say that feeling physically beautiful is fleeting. It comes and goes, and often times depends on who we are standing next to. Ugh. It’s that comparison thing! We think you’ll agree with the women in this video who share the times they feel the most beautiful, which, interestingly, have nothing to do with appearance.