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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.
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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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SXSW Music & Fitness Lunch Break and Happy Hour

To celebrate SXSW, iGnite teamed up with Mecca Gym & Spa and DJ Mighty Mike to host a fun workout and happy hour on Thursday March 13th to a live DJ set. Not to mention, we had the added perk of overlooking some awesome live music at the Waterloo Records stage!

Thank you to everyone who came out! We had a blast… and are still dancing 🙂

   

Heart Opening Yoga Sequence

Video not showing up? Watch it here on YouTube
A written version of this yoga sequence is below.

by Meg O’Connell

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and I often get caught up in all of the festivities of the holiday, especially with children. It is also wonderful, while celebrating all of this love, to take the time to love on yourself. With all of the emotional events that we experience and witness, we close off part of our emotional capacity to ourselves and to others. We physically let go of our posture and emotionally feel tapped out. So, take a little time to focus on yourself. When you take the time to nurture yourself, you will feel more love in the world for yourself and for your loved ones. Feel your capacity to love grow!

Enjoy this short Heart Opening Sequence:

  1. Chest Opening with the Breath
    You can take this seated in Easy Pose or in Mountain Pose. Interlace your fingers at your heart center and inhale.  As you exhale, extend the arms forward and reach through your palms, letting the upper back round. Stay in the position for your next inhale, then with your exhale, separate your hands and reach the elbows back behind you. Then repeat this 3-5 times.
  2. Threading the Needle Twist
    Come onto your hands and knees, with the knees being just slightly wider than the hips. With your inhale, extend you right arm up to the ceiling and with your exhale, thread the arm back under the left. Repeat this 4 times and then switch to the left side.
  3. Supported Side Arm with bound ankle
    Still on your hands and knees (bring the knees right back under the hips), extend your right leg back, you can keep this foot on the ground or lift it. Float your left foot slightly out and inhale the right arm up to the ceiling, opening the chest and hips. Once you have your balance, bring your right hand to your right foot and press the foot into the hand, spiraling the chest open. Stay for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the left.
  4. Down Dog with bent knees
    Instead of working with the hamstrings, really focus on the chest. Keep the knees bent and really draw the chest back to the thighs. You can sway, twist —  whatever feels best to you. Take 5 breaths.
  5. Warrior 2 with bound hands
    Bring your right foot through into a lunge and pivot your left foot to the ground. Draw energy into the legs and then lift the hands and open the arms into Warrior 2. The chest and hips are now open to the right. Make sure there is life in the left foot. Bring your hands behind the back and interlace the fingers. Take a full breath in and fold at the hip to the inside of the right knee. Press the back of the hands up to the ceiling and let the head go. Try to keep the spin long. Stay for 5 Breaths. Transition back into your lunge and step back into your down dog. Repeat with your left leg.
  6. Cobra into Childs Pose
    From Down dog, lower your knees back to the ground. With your inhale, bring the hips forward, lowering them towards the ground and bringing your shoulders over your palms. The elbows might stay bent or straighten depending on your back and how it feels. With your exhale, draw the hips back to the heels. With your inhale bring the hips forward and open back up into Cobra, then exhale into child’s pose. Take this movement 3-5 times and then rest back into child’s pose. Bring your arms down to your side and take 3 breaths into the back of the heart. Feel your chest and belly expand against your thighs.
  7. Supported Spinal Savasana
    Take a blanket or towel and fold it so that it is long and skinny. Bring one end to the base of your spine. With the soles of the feet on the ground, roll the spine down along the roll. Let the shoulders roll over each side and the head should be supported by the blanket as well, so you might need a second blanket or block. Let the arms rest to the side or extend them over your head and then bend the elbows, resting the back of the forearm and hand on the ground. You can extend the legs if that is comfortable for you and let the toes fall open. Stay for 3-5 minutes, or as long as you want!

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Why EVERYONE Should Include Hill Running in Their Workouts

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

Hill runs….we LOVE to HATE them, but the benefits of doing these tough and challenging runs are HUGE and many!!

Here are just a few….

  • Improves leg muscle strength
  • Quickens your stride and expands your stride length
  • Greatly improves your cardiovascular system
  • MAKES YOU A STRONGER, FASTER AND HEALTHIER RUNNER!!
  • The benefits are QUICK to take to take effect. In as little as SIX WEEKS of weekly hill running, you can expect a significant improvement in your muscle power and SPEED!
  • Athletes who train on hill runs have much higher concentrations of aerobic enzymes — THE CHEMICALS WHICH ALLOW YOUR MUSCLES TO FUNCTION AT A HIGH INTENSITY FOR LONG PERIODS WITHOUT FATIGUE — in their quadricep muscles. Heightened aerobic power in your quads gives you improved knee lift while running and also accelerates each leg forward more quickly as you run, WHICH IMPROVES YOUR SPEED no matter what the distance you want to run!

Why Hill Running Works:
Hill runs force the muscles in your hips, legs, ankles and feet to contract in a coordinated fashion while supporting your full body weight, and your muscles contract more powerfully than usual because they are forced to overcome gravity to move you up the hill. The result is more power, which in turn leads to longer, faster running strides!

And Best of All…
COMBINING STRENGTH WORK WITH RUNNING STRENGTHENS TENDONS AND LIGAMENTS, REDUCES THE RISK OF INJURY AND IMPROVES OVERALL RUNNING FORM.

Knowing all of that, we should all try to incorporate some level of hill running in to our workouts. Try it out and let me know how it goes by replying below!

Keep moving!

Source: 
“Everything You Need To Know About Hill Training,” Runners World Magazine

Leave a reply and join the discussion

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Family Fitness FUNdamentals

iGnite Exercise Playdate

by Alli Phillips M.Ed.

A child’s first and most important teachers are her/his parents, and just as daily reading to our children helps develop literacy, daily exercise teaches our children healthy living practices.  Furthermore, exercising on our own, with a group, with neighbors and friends, and especially with our children and families, demonstrates that we value our health, as well as theirs.  Weaving exercise into daily routines teaches kids that fitness is a way of life, how we live, and how we live well.

The Cross-Training Playdate class I teach for iGnite is offered for women with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and provides moms the opportunity to get out, exercise, and “play” with other moms, while their children enjoy a built-in playdate of their own.  And, women who attend this class, while enjoying an exercise fix and some “mommy-time,” are also modeling healthy habits for their children and creating for them a “fitness-lifestyle” framework.

DEVELOPING A FITNESS LIFESTYLE
Suggestions for Mommies of Young Children (and Daddies too!)

MAKE A PLAN
Based on your current level of fitness, your goals, your work schedule, and your family’s routine, devise a daily exercise plan by which you achieve the weekly totals below:

  1. 100+ minutes of aerobic conditioning 
  2. 30+ minutes of muscular endurance and strength training
  3. 30+ minutes of flexibility and balance work
  • Write your plan in your calendar. 
  • Expect the unexpected…. Having kids means “stuff” will come up and there will be days, weeks, even months when you are not able to exercise as much as you’ve planned….
  • Keep an attitude of gratitude for your current level of health and fitness and your families’, and enjoy any amount of time you have for exercise.
  • Be kind, patient, and gentle with yourself when/if you do not or cannot stick to “the plan.”   It takes time to develop a fitness-lifestyle, and even after exercise routines are established, they are ever-changing and evolving. So, plan to….
  • Make changes to your routine periodically, mindful of what from your original plan is working and what is not, and what activities and exercise modalities “enhance and improve your quality of life.”

 

BREAK IT UP. SQUEEZE IT IN.
If you do not have a ½ hour or hour block of time in your day for a large “workout meal”, try to “break it up” and “squeeze it in” with shorter bouts of exercise, “exercise snacking,” throughout the day. Actually, the fitness benefits of “exercise snacking” are equal to or greater than those of longer-duration exercise if the intensity is higher. So… no time for your regular workout class? Run the stairs in your house between sets of push-ups and squats during your baby’s morning nap; after a picnic lunch with your toddler at the park, play chase between sets of lunges and dips; and/or after dinner take a family-walk in the neighborhood followed by a game of “Yoga-Simon-Says.” What a great day of exercise!… Make that a great day, period.

playdate3 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

  • Aerobic conditioning can be as simple as a walk or bike ride with your children, to/from school, the neighborhood library, or the grocery store. Or for moms of babies, “cardio stepping” on your front porch during your infant’s morning nap is a great way to get a quick aerobic-fix.
  • Muscular endurance and strength work need be nothing more than squats and push-ups thrown into your day whenever you have the opportunity.
  • And a few simple yoga poses like down-dog, warrior I, II, III, and plank, mixed into your daily routine will improve your balance and flexibility, not to mention calm your mind and open your heart.

MAKE IT FUN
As I mentioned, parents are role models and we teach our children by example, but our children teach us too! My children have taught (and continue to teach) me how to make exercise play, and vice-versa, how to make play exercise. With older kids the opportunities for “play-based fitness” are endless; sports are an obvious way to enjoy exercise with our children; but equally fun are good-old-fashioned playground games like tag, duck-duck-goose, hop-scotch, jump-rope, and relays. Also, neighborhood-public tennis and basketball courts and tracks may be available for trike-bike-and-scooter-riding; so while the kids run, ride, and/or scoot around, mommy can do the same. Finally, for moms with babies and very young kids, squats beside a baby’s crib or a child’s bed can turn into a game of peek-a-boo, push-ups with a 2-year-old on your back can become a game of “bucking-bronco,” and yoga poses can be integrated into “tummy-time” for infants or a game of “Yoga Simon Says” for toddlers.

abs

THE FUNdamental EXERCISES
These simple exercises are ALL you need for a well-rounded fitness program.  They can be integrated easily into the daily routines of women at various stages of mommy-hood, adjusted for all levels of fitness, and tailored to personal goals. And with a little imagination, creativity, and inspiration from your children, they can also be incorporated into “play.”

Lower Body 

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Step-Ups

Upper Body

  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Rows or Pull-ups

Core

  • Plank
  • Ab Crunches
  • Back Extensions

Flexibility & Balance

  • Yoga
  • Down Dog
  • Warrior I, II, III
  • Plank/Side-Plank
  • Twists

Cardio 

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Aerobic Stepping – on stairs, a curb, or low ledge
  • Jump Rope
  • Track, Tennis Court, or BBall Court Drills
  • Playground Circuits

plank

downward dog

…Now go play! 

alli teaching

Alli Phillips has years of experience teaching child-friendly exercise classes for moms in the Austin, Texas area, and she teaches iGnite’s Cross Training Playdate class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:45am in central Austin.

During this class, moms enjoy a cross-training opportunity while their babies, toddlers and pre-school age children enjoy the outdoors and playtime in the park. Lifting primarily body weight, this mom-specific class emphasizes functional fitness, fundamental strength training, cardiovascular conditioning and yoga-based flow. Not only does this class leave moms feeling rejuvenated and strong, but it’s a perfect time to model healthy habits and actions to our children.   All fitness levels are welcome.  View the class schedule here.

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Stay Active While Away: Your Go-To Travel & Vacation Workout

the only equipment you need!

Who says that staying in shape has to go out the window when you’re traveling? The energizing effects of starting off each day of your vacation with a quick 15-20 minute pick-me-up workout will have you enjoying the escape even more.  Staying active while away requires nothing more than 15 to 20 minutes and two light, inexpensive and easily packable tools: a jump rope and an elastic resistance band.

We’ve made things easy for you! Toss your jump rope and elastic band in your bag (together they weigh less than 7 ounces!), follow this workout created and demonstrated by iGnite founder Neissa Springmann three times per week (resting at least one day between workouts), and you’re good to go.

Repeat Exercises #1-5  three times with 30 seconds of rest between each exercise.  

Total Time: 15-20 minutes

Exercise #1: Jumping Rope
1 minute

  • Form: Stay light and on your toes
  • Benefits: Great cardiovascular exercise that works all muscles
  • Don’t have a jump rope? Jumping jacks are a great alternative.

travel workout 1

Exercise #2: Push-Up
1 Set of 10-15

  • Form: Position arms wide at a 90 degree angle, chest falls between arms, tighten core and firm glutes to protect the lower back and look at the tip of your mat (don’t allow your head to droop).  To decrease difficulty, drop to knees.
  • Benefits: Works chest, arms and core (when tightening the abdominals)

travel workout 2 travel workout travel workout 3 travel workout 4

Exercise #3: Squat to Shoulder Press
1 Set of 20

  • Form: While holding the handles of the resistance band, stand with feet hip width distance apart (6 -12 in.) on your resistance band. Squat, while keeping weight in the heels, eyes forward and chest open.  Come to standing while pressing the resistance bands above the head and firming the glutes. For less resistance, alternate arms.
  • Benefits: Works glutes, quads, hamstrings and shoulders.

travel workout newsletter workout 027 2 newsletter workout 028 2

Exercise #4: Plank
30 seconds – 1 minute

  • Form: Position body so shoulders and elbows are in alignment. Look slightly forward while pulling shoulders away from your ears, firming glutes and pulling abdominals up and in.  If lower back bothers you, lift glutes higher or drop to your knees.
  • Benefits: Works all core muscles (abdominals and lower back) and shoulders.

newsletter workout 041

Exercise #5: Alternating Lunge
1 Set of 20 (10 each leg)

  • Form: Start standing tall and looking forward. Step one leg out in front, making sure the ankle and knee are in alignment, with the back leg bent and the heel lifted up toward the sky. With a strong core and eyes forward, push off the front leg and come to standing again, to then alternate legs.
  • Benefits: Works glutes, hamstrings and quads.

newsletter workout 039 2 newsletter workout 037 newsletter workout 039 newsletter workout 038