Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Posts Tagged ‘Sit-up’

Without a ball, a band, and a BOSU

Posted by terrepruitt on June 28, 2011

If you are going to embark on doing the Ten Minute Workout, you can do it without a ball, a band, and/or a BOSU.  You definitely don’t need those things.  I would think if you were planning on exercising at home you would have at least one set of dumbbells.  The issue might be that your dumbbells are too light. Since I do not know your fitness level or your goals, please keep in mind that I am speaking in general and that YOU are responsible for your health and well-being.  With your goals established you need to use the proper weight.  The following information is to give you ideas on how to do things differently than originally proposed in the Ten Minute Workout, but you are responsible for doing things safely.  If you have questions on what to do to help you reach your goals let me know.  Listed are the exercises of the ten that required either a stability ball, a resistance band, and/or a BOSU.

Keep in mind it all depends on what you want the results to be.

(#3) – Squats:  You can do squats standing on the ground.  The BOSU added the extra element of having to balance.  If you don’t have a BOSU and you still want to work on balance while you do squats, you could try doing them on an inflatable pool float.  Be careful!  But you will notice that standing on something with air in it makes you have to balance more than just standing on the ground.  If you think about it that is what a BOSU is.  It is just plastic filled with air.  If you don’t have something inflatable you can stand on, you can still get a little balance work in by holding something somewhat heavy in one hand.  Or even try a bottle of water and let the water slosh around.  Do five, then switch hands.  Or you could just close your eyes.  You would be amazed at how much that throws off people’s balance.

(#4) – Triceps kickbacks: For this you don’t want the weight to be too heavy.  You should be able to complete the ten, but not necessarily too fast or easy.  And don’t have the weight be too heavy that you have to swing it to get the movement done.

(#5) – Hamstring curls:  With this you can either lay on your stomach and put a weight between your feet/ankles and pull your feet back to your butt.  Down to the ground and back to your butt.  Or you can stand and “Kick” your butt, one leg at a time.  (Yeah, the same move we used to do in Jazzercise.)

(#8) – Push ups: Use the ground instead of the BOSU.  Or something higher (STABLE coffee table, stair, whatever works and can be incorporated into your “gym”) than the ground if you prefer

(#9) – Bent over lateral raises: I actually like these better with a dumbbell.  Remember that the details about your shoulders still apply.  Hold a weight in each hand, bent over slightly and with a straight back, and open and close your arms.  This weight will probably need to be less than the one you are using for your biceps curls.  But again, it depends on YOU and your goals.  That is not a definitive statement, just a general one.

(#10) – Stability ball pass:  Well, without the ball it is really just a V Sit-up.   Lay down raise your legs while rising up with shoulders and arms to meet your legs.  You body forms a V.  Arms over your head while you lower upper body and legs to the ground.   If you don’t have a stability ball you would always try using a different ball, but that is up to you.  Either way it is a V sit-up.

Does that help?  Remember the basic form of the exercise still applies; straight back, only forearms moving, etc. or whatever applied to the original exercise.  I am not aware of what equipment you have but there is always something to do without any equipment at all.  Even without dumbbells.  Body weight exercise are great.  If you have any questions let me know.  ALSO, please feel free to SHARE what you do use or what you workout with.

Posted in Hamstrings, Ten Minute Workout (Posts) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Stability Ball Pass

Posted by terrepruitt on June 25, 2011

This is number 10 in the Ten Minute Workout or number one if you are doing the set from number 10 to number 1.  The Stability Ball Pass is basically a sit up, but you are adding your legs into the mix.  So it is a V sit up.  You move your body to form a V.

Lie down on your back holding the ball between your lower legs more toward your ankles and feet, raise your legs with the ball still between them, at the same time bring your head, shoulders, upper chest and arms up to meet your legs with the ball.  Grab the ball and lower your upper body back down to the ground as your legs go down too.  While you are lowering your upper body down you are still holding the ball in your hands, your arms go over your head so the ball lands on the floor.  In this ten minute workout that is designed to be “one”.  Then lifting upper body while holding the ball to meet you legs, giving the ball to your legs and laying down again is two.  When you get comfortable and feel ready you can always call this whole thing “one” and do ten that way.

The ball and bringing you legs up might distract you from your upper body, but don’t let it.  Think of doing a regular sit up so your upper body is doing the correct movement, then add the legs with the goal of grabbing the ball.

As with all exercises squeezing all your muscles will help them work to their full potential.  If you want when you exchange the ball from legs to hands or hands to legs hold it for a moment with an extra squeeze.

So . . . does this make sense?  You got it?

Ok . . . .now you have details of all ten exercisesWhat questions do you have?  Do you want some explanation on how to do any of these with alternate equipment?  Or with no equipment?  Have you been doing the exercises?  Have you had any revelations or challenges?  Let me know.

Thank you.

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Push up

Posted by terrepruitt on June 21, 2011

Would you believe me if I told we do push ups in Nia?  Ha!  We do a lot of exercises in Nia, but we do them to music.  We are dancing and flowing from one move to the next.  We allow for the individual to do them their own way.  People might not even realize they are doing a push up, just like the sit ups they are disguised.  It is not a disguise of deception, not at all.  It is that we are in the moment and it is truly a dance so one just doesn’t realize it is a push up.  Sometimes it is a military push up, but sometimes not.  Sometimes it is from the knees, or sitting down or even standing and using a wall.  But there is pushing involved and the upper body is utilized.

For this Ten Minute Workout we are using the BOSU.  The round side is on the ground.  So we are using the flat side to hold onto.  Push ups have never been my favorite exercise to do because I have never been really good at the military ones.  But I could do them, but now I am sticking to the on-the-knees version to stay off my toe.  You do with your legs what is comfortable.  Even though my execution of a push up can be improved upon I love the push up because it is a multi muscle working exercise.

In this workout we have just gone from sit up (on the ground), to overhead triceps extensions (on our knees), and now we are doing the push ups.  I think having done the triceps extensions on the ground is one way to help you make it through the 10 exercises in the 10 minutes.

With the round side of the BOSU on the ground, I grip the edges of it.  Mine has “handles” and I use them.  I stay on my knees and use my arms to push me up and allow me to come down.  Even on your knees there are different ways to do it.  You can keep your legs down, using your shins and the top of your feet for additional stability or your can lift your shins and feet off the ground.  Remember no matter how you choose to do the exercise you are not stuck doing it that way for the entire 10 or the second pass through.  So experiment.  Listen to your body and decide what works best for you at that moment.  Remember your goals and adjust your movements to help you to achieve them.

Only go as low to the BOSU as you can and still be able to push back up.  Using the BOSU requires you to use equal strength in each arm because you have to work to keep the BOSU level.

One of the key things to do to get the most out of a push up is to keep the body straight and move the entire body down and entire body up.  Even if you just go down a little, the straight body is working arms and core.  If you just let your upper body down and push it up you are missing out on the exciting portion of a push up.  It works soooo many more muscles if you engage your torso and have it move with your arms.

You see what I am saying?  (As I am typing this I imagined you getting on the floor and trying it.  I am sure you sense the difference.  Even if you don’t go down that far.)

As I share with my students in Nia class all the time, there are technical ways to do an exercise or a movement, but not everyone can do it that way — the body’s way.  It could be a matter of needing to learn it or work up to that or it could be that our body is not physically able to do it.  Whatever the reason, I believe it is important to know how to do it properly and then be aware of how we are doing it.  Then we can listen to our body.  When we try to do it the technical way our body might say, “Oh yeah, that is just not going to happen.”  Then we can adjust.  We can learn, is it not going to happen because it is painful or is it because I need to work a little bit to get to that level?  Then we can make a decision and a conscious choice.

Know how to do a push up, then decide how you are going to do it.  Don’t just let the pattern of your movement dictate how you execute an exercise, decide for yourself make a choice then do it.  As I said before, it could be that you do five with your whole torso then need to give your arms a break . . . . but that doesn’t mean you have to stop, just do the push up with your arms and not bring the whole body down and up.  Or you do three on your toes then decide that you really want to have a straight back so you switch to your knees.  Then on your next set you do all knees.  Whatever you decide, make sure it is something you are aware of and then do your push ups your way.

What do you have to add?  Share?  Comment?  Question?

Posted in Ten Minute Workout (Posts) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Overhead Triceps Extension

Posted by terrepruitt on June 18, 2011

For this Ten Minute Workout, our triceps extension is going over the head with dumbbells.  I have posted in the past a way to use a weighted bar lying down.  For this exercise use the amount of weight that is appropriate for your own individual goals, so that could mean you use two dumbbells or one.  Hold the weights behind your head.  Your neck is comfortable and relaxed, it is NOT being pushed forward.   Your elbows are pointing up at the sky, which for me puts my forearms right at my ears.  Keeping your upper arms still, “push”/move the weights toward the sky.  Don’t swing the weights, just bring them up, only your elbow joints move.  Your shoulder joints don’t move, your upper arms are still.  You are also concentrating on keeping your shoulders down**.  They should not rise up to the ears or become scrunched.  They stay down.  The movement is not a swing.  Momentum is not used to complete this exercise.  Please be very, very careful of your head and neck.

Since this exercise is right after the sit ups and right before the push ups in the ten minute workout.  I do it from a kneeling position.  Since I am kneeling, I position myself up right with a straight back.  Your torso does not need to move in this exercise.  Remember, the triceps are doing the work, so no swing and no momentum and that includes your body.

**(Shoulders “down” tip) I was once told by a Pilates instructor – to assist with keeping my shoulders down – imagine putting my shoulder blades in my back pockets.  Which really just means to pull your shoulder blades down.  I used to habitually bring my shoulders up to my ears, by using the thought of my shoulder BLADES instead of actually concentrating on my shoulders I keep my shoulders down without feeling as if I am be pushed down.  To me, the body sensation is different.  I feel it improves my posture because it is bringing my shoulders down AND back no matter when I employ the method.   But, yes, I still have to remember to do it.  🙂

With all that there is to do in this exercise, this is not necessarily one that you do fast.  Sometimes fast might mean hitting yourself in the head with the weight.  (I would imagine.  I mean, of course, I’ve NEVER done that. 🙂 )   So take your time and don’t rush.  You have ten whole minutes to do ten reps of ten exercises.

Got it?  Let me know what questions you have.  Or how this works for you.

Posted in Ten Minute Workout (Posts) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sit ups

Posted by terrepruitt on June 16, 2011

As with most exercises there are many modifications that can be made to a sit-up.  But for now, in this Ten Minute Workout this is a basic sit-up.  Probably would be called more of a crunch than a sit up, but YOU can put the amount of movement in it that you want.

Lie on the floor on your back.  Knees up, feet on the floor, slight tilt of the pelvis toward your chest.  Keeping an imaginary apple or orange under your chin lift your head and shoulders off the ground towards your knees.  The purpose of the imaginary fruit is to keep you from collapsing your chin to your chest, especially if you are using the hands-supporting-head/neck method.  With that form sometimes there is a tendency to actually push the head to the chest.  But the idea is to keep space between the chin and chest and just lift your head, shoulders, and upper chest upwards and towards your knees.  Squeeze your abdominal muscles on the lift and at the top.  Pause for a second. Allow the movement to be smooth and fluid.  If you find yourself jerking up or using momentum to do the movement, try LESS movement or fewer reps.  (Yes, yes, the idea is ten of ten in ten, but it is ok to learn a move.  It’s a journey we are on.)

This is one of the exercises that most of us are familiar with.  This is an exercise most of us have done in our life.  So this is one that is easy to play with and modify.  So many ways to do it.

People might not realize or even notice but we do sit ups and or abdominal work often in Nia.  But the way we do them is as a dance so I think people don’t realize what we are doing is even an abdominal exercise until the next day when they have that nice feeling of a muscle that had some attention paid to it.  Nia makes it more like play than work.

Ok . . . . comment away . . . . . . 😉

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Terre’s Ten Ten in Ten

Posted by terrepruitt on June 2, 2011

Here is the Ten Minute Workout with some explanation.  Questions and comments welcome.

1 – Long lunges: lunge with a long step with a dumbbell in each hand down at your side then come back up to standing.  Each “step” is one.

2 – Biceps Curls: hold a dumbbell in each hand, keep upper arms still bring dumbbell to bicep and then down.

3 – Squats:  lower down as if you are going to sit in a chair then stand up while standing on the flat side of the BOSU.

4 – Triceps kickbacks: each hand holding one end of the resistance band, arms are pulled back with elbows back (past your ribs), pull the band back straightening the arm (only forearms move) while standing on the band on the flat side of the BOSU in a slightly bent over position. Keep a straight back.

5 – Hamstring curls:  lie down legs on the stability ball (the ball is about half way up the calf) and pull the ball back rolling it towards your butt and then roll it back out while in bridge position.

6 – Sit ups: knees up feet on floor lift shoulders off the floor, then lift more, somewhat more of a crunch.

7 – Triceps Extensions:  weights in hands behind your head (hands are close together or even holding both weights), elbows pointed to the sky, lift weights to the sky only moving at the elbow straightening your arms.

8 – Push ups: using the BOSU (round side on ground).

9 – Bent over lateral raises with band: each hand holding one end of the band, open arms out to side while standing on the band on the flat side of the BOSU in a slightly bent over position. Keep a straight back.

10 – Stability ball pass: lie down hold ball between your feet/ankles raise your legs holding the ball while rising up with shoulders and arms to meet your legs (as in a V sit-up) grab the ball bringing it over your head to the floor.  Lift up back up lifting legs and give the ball back to our legs. (Count “one” at each ball touch down)

As with ANY exercise or exercise program, be careful and be sure you are able to safely do the exercise you engage in.  If you need doctor’s clearance, be sure to get it.

Do ten repetitions of these ten exercises in ten minutes. Repeat if time allows.

What questions do you have?  Let me know.

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Sit-Ups – messed me up

Posted by terrepruitt on June 1, 2011

Ok, so I did my ten minute workout.  I did it in the afternoon instead of the morning because I had Nia class to teach today and afternoon is the time my schedule allowed me to do it.

I ALMOST did all ten exercises twice in 10 minutes.  I was going very fast.  I am not able to do the length of lunges I want because of my right toe/foot, so that makes it faster–I think.  But I had my list propped up (the list pictured in the Ten Minute Workout post) and I jumped from my triceps kick backs to sit-ups.  When I looked up to see what was next I realized that I skipped hamstring curls so I did those.  Then I did my sit-ups again.  So I got messed up . . . it wasn’t really the sit-ups that messed me up.  🙂  Then as I was doing the last set of stability ball passes, I realized I was counting only on the top touch down.

So, I think that because I was going so fast I was basically able to do the list twice going over by 33 seconds.  But YOU do it your way.  Slow, fast, heavy, light, whatever you need to do to get moving for 10 minutes.

Ok, so?  Did YOU do it today?

Posted in Ten Minute Workout check-in | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Pull Workout – Sample

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2009

–Lat pull down while squatting (on Machine)
–Bicep dumbbell curls with walking lunges

–One arm dumbbell row (on bench alternating sides)
–Hamstring curls using stability ball

–Kettlebell swing
–Stability Ball Hand/Foot Pass Sit-up

–Back extension on stability ball
–Straight leg deadlift with Kettlebell alternating legs

–Wide grip row on Machine
–Single Leg Squat using bench

As you can see the first two exercises prove that the generalization of push muscles being on the front and pull muscles being on the back is not great, but for some it is helpful although not entirely accurate. You use your back muscles and your biceps to pull. With most movements more than one muscle or more than one muscle group is being used, but usually we say the exercise works which ever muscles it works the most. As with the Lat pull down, it is called a Lat pull down because the Latissimus dorsi is responsible for most of the effort, however in most cases your biceps are assisting. There are other muscles in your back that are putting in some effort too and it depends on which kind of lat pull down you are doing. Yes, there are different kind.

Usually when the exercise being done is with free weights there is less muscle isolation. Some machines do a great job of muscle isolation. Sometimes an exercise can be considered both or neither and it is add to a workout to work a “popular muscle”. The sit ups were added because most of the time people want to work the abs. I think of the single leg squat as either a push or a pull because sometimes I really feel it in the glutes and sometimes I swear it is all quads.

This is just a sample of what a “pull workout” could look like. The weight used, the reps done, the speed in which do it and how many times you do it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. This can be done different ways. It could be done all in a row as listed or done in sets. Depends on what you want.

The picture is of the Cable Cross Machine at least Freemotion calls it that. I call “the Machine”.  It lives at the gym in San Jose.

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List Of Ten Favorites (Exercises)

Posted by terrepruitt on November 12, 2009

Today is “whatever” Thursday, I wanted to find some pictures to post, but nothing really struck me.  I have thought about it all day and I couldn’t come up with anything.  Then I thought of lists.  People are always posting lists.  In fact, my last post was somewhat of a list; a list of benefits of resistance training.  On my short drive after class from Santa Clara to San Jose, I decided to post ten of my favorite exercise in no particular order:

1)  Dumbbell Chest Press (especially on a stability ball)
2)  Upright Row (on one Pilates DVD I have she calls this the “Zip Up”)
3)  Lat Pull Down with Alternating Backward Lunge
4)  Tricep Kickback (with a dumbbell)
5)  Standing Tricep Pushdown
6)  Heel Raises
7)  Wood Chops
8)  Bent-Over Row
9)  Bicep Curl
10) Sit-ups (on the BOSU) (she did NOT just say that, oh yeah, I did)

Of course, I love Nia for my aerobic (cardio) workout and with that I get a lot of these same motions as some of my favorite exercise, but this is just a list of some of my favorite exercises I like to do with equipment and/or weights.

Comments?  Questions?  What are your favorite exercises?  What do you like to include in your workout?

Share your list.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »