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 ‘squats’

Day 1 Of 31 Days Of 30 Minutes In December 2012

Posted by terrepruitt on December 1, 2012

So today is the first day of the December 2012 30 Minute Movement Challenge.  There are so many things you can do, you know that right?  On the days I am teaching a Nia Class I will obviously get in 30 minutes of movement, but at this point, right off the bat, I don’t want to count that as my 30 minutes.  I would count Nia as my 30 minutes if I am doing it as a student.  Being a teacher and being a student are different, so I am going to count them differently.  I will be back today to check in with my 30 minutes completed.  But first some ideas on what you can do, yes?  You can walk.  Walking for 30 minutes is a great exercise.  If you walk fast enough and get your heart rate up it can be an aerobic exercise.  With your challenge you decide whether your 30 minutes will be aerobic or resistance training.  You can also add to it.  Moving for longer than 30 minutes.  Just make certain you are moving (in an exercise-y type of way) for at least 30 minutes.

There are so many things you can do.  I already mentioned walking.  There is my ten minute workout.  You can do that for 30 minutes consecutively or do three different 10 minute sessions.  If you have a device that allows you to create playlist of music you can make up a great playlist and dance for 30 minutes.  You could do 30 different exercises for a minute each.  Some examples:  squats, bicep curls, lunges, triceps kick backs, donkey kicks, push ups, inner thigh lifts, sit ups, triceps dips, frogs, hamstring kick backs, lateral flies, knee lifts, rows, reverse curls . . . . . . and 15 more.

The key is to get AT LEAST 30 minutes in.  The thirty minute time length was originally brought up to help people STAY healthy.  Many people need more than that to GET healthy in the first place.  But we are just doing a challenge for the month of December to make sure we are moving EVERY DAY.  With all that is going on during this season it is easy to skip the workout.  So committing to 30 minutes EVERY DAY will help.

Keeping to a schedule helps a lot.  Committing to a goal, also helps.  We also know that sometimes things do come up and even though we have a schedule and made a commitment there might be a day where we just didn’t get the 3o minutes in.  To help ensure you get it in I recommend doing it first thing in the morning.  I know that when I put things off for later in the day sometimes they don’t get done.  The things I do first thing always get done . . . . funny how that works huh?  If you happen to miss a day, that is fine, just pick it right back up the next day.

Remember you don’t even have to comment about what you did, just comment that you DID move/exercise/workout for at least 30 minutes!  So . . . . what do you think?  Do you have a plan?  Are you done with your 30 minutes? 

Posted in December 2012 30 Minute Movement Challenge | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Inner Thigh – Weighted Bar

Posted by terrepruitt on September 29, 2012

Squats are great for the legs.  The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a squat is sitting in a chair.  So with the legs somewhat close together, the feet about shoulder width apart you then lowering your pelvis/buttocks down as if you are going to sit in a chair.  When in reality a squat CAN be with a wider stance.  I am vaguely remembering a “conversation” via comments on my blog about squats in Nia.  We were talking about Nia squats being different from the squats in my Ten Minute Workout.  I believe squats with weights are different from squats without weights.  And I think that since I was focused on squats with weights I was not really thinking about side squats.  We do side squats in Nia but now I think of that as Sumo Stance.  The routine I am looking at right now has many squats in it.  The squat works the legs, both front and back.  The wider apart the feet the more the movement works the inner thighs.  Since I am looking at a routine that has a lot of side squats or sumo stances it had me thinking . . . In addition to squats a way to get the adductors is to do movements where the leg is brought in towards the midline of the body.  One exercise you might be familiar with is the inner thigh lift/raise.  As with many exercises there are different versions and variations, but the basic of this one is lying on one side of your body with your torso propped up on your elbow.  The “top” leg is back behind you with your foot flat on the floor.  The other leg is straight down and lying on the floor.  Then you lift the leg up toward the sky, keeping it parallel with the earth.  So the inner thigh is being lifted toward the ceiling.

Well, this is a great one to use the weighted bar with.  I had forgotten about my bar until recently.  Then I remembered this exercise.  I would recommend using shoes with the bar.  I did it without shoes and I had to hold my foot at an odd angle to keep the bar from hurting my foot.  I decided to continue my set without putting on shoes – because I didn’t want to stop – but I made a mental note to use shoes in the future.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaOne end of the bar rests on the foot of your straight leg.  The bar runs the length of your body.  The other end is up near your hands where you can secure it to the ground.  Then you simply lift your leg.  Make sure that the bar is resting firmly on your foot so it does not roll off and cause an injury.  This exercise really targets the leg/hip adductors, the muscles that pull the thigh towards your body.

As I stated there are variations of this, some could be:  dumbbells place on the thigh (and held securely!), instead of using the weighted bar.  It can be done without any weights at all.  And/or without weight, the upper leg and be in front.

I think it is a great idea to do different exercises to target the same muscles.  Especially since when you do a different exercise to target a specific muscle or muscle group there are usually different or additional muscles that end up getting used.  So it is nice to switch it up.

Might you switch it up and do thigh raises instead of squats?  Are you familiar with the inner thigh lift?

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

More Foam Roller Coolness

Posted by terrepruitt on August 11, 2012

Foam rollers really are cool, as I stated in my first post about them.  In my first post I talked about how great they are to help you stretch.  In my last post I mentioned that the foam roller can be used to do exercises.  I mentioned that exercises can be progressed by using different surfaces and that the different sides of the halved rollers can be used too.   Most exercises with the foam roller have to do with balance.  A standard exercise can be done with the a foam roller requiring greater stabilization in the core.  A stable core assists with balance, so using a roller adds the challenge of having to balance while doing the exercise.

One standard exercise you can do with the addition of a foam roller is a squat.  One foot would be placed on a halved roller.  Starting off with the roller placed horizontal would be an easier exercise than with the roller placed vertical.  The vertical position would be the one that would offer the greatest challange to your balance.  As mentioned in the last post you can use either sided of the halved roller, standing on the rounded side or standing on the flat side.  With the rounded side on the ground the surface the roller is on makes a difference.  A mat or a carpeted surface would supply more friction and allow the roller a better grip.  A smooth surface would add a greater challange.

A squat ending in a one-legged stance on the roller would be another exercise.  The roller position for this exercise would be horizontal with the flat side on the ground.  You would do the squat and come up to standing on one leg, the leg on the roller.

One of my favorite balance/stabilization exercises is to lie on the full rounded foam roller, just as if you were going to do the stretch I wrote about in my first post.  Lie with the roller along your spine from head to tail.  Lift your feet off the ground so that your lower legs are parrallel to the ground and your thighs are perpendicular, in Pilates the position is called table top.  The goal is to lift your arms off the ground so none of your limbs are in contact with the ground.  It might take a few trys.   You can use your arms to try to gain your balance.  Balance on the roller.  Balance as long as you can.

A great exercise for the glutes and hamstrings is the bridge.  A bridge can be done with your feet on the ground but adding the roller gives it that extra added intensity.  A bridge is where you lie with your back on the ground and press your hips to the sky squeezing your glutes and the back of your legs.  Using the full round roller put both your feet on it.  The height of the roller makes the move more intense and having to keep the roller stable and not allow it to roll make the squeeze even MORE intense.  Give it a try.

These exercises can be done by anyone wanting to gain, improve, or just play with their balance.  These are just a few exercises you can do with a foam roller.

Do you have a foam roller?  Did you try these exercises with it? 

Posted in Exercise and Working Out, Foam Rollers | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Resistance Bands for Stretching

Posted by terrepruitt on September 3, 2011

I’ve talked about resistance bands being great for strength training. The other day after having taught a Nia class with a lot of sumo stances in it AND after having done some weighted squats, I really needed to stretch.  I needed a really deep stretch and as I was trying to think of how to get it I remembered I could use my resistance bands for stretching.  The resistance bands I have are long flat sheets of rubber.  I don’t have the ones that are like rubber bands or tubes.  Mine don’t have handles.  Any type of band made for exercising will do.  There are so many ways to stretch using a band.  I will just name a few in this post and maybe do another post at another time.

The first one you probably have done when you pick up a band is just to hold it in each hand and let your arms “fall” to the side.  Obviously your arms don’t actually fall because you are holding the band, but you can feel the stretch in your arms and shoulders.  The great thing about bands is you can make the tension however you need it to be by the way you hold the band.  If you need a really deep stretch make the band really short and either pull or let your arms “fall”.  If you want a gentle stretch then hold the band closer to the ends.

Holding opposite ends of the band and allowing your arms to fall behind your body really allows for a stretch in the upper arms, shoulders, upper back and neck.

You can do side bends with an end of the band in each hand holding your arms above your head.  Again sensing the stretch in your shoulders and upper back, but with this stretch you also get your sides. Using the band for this stretch allows for a much greater stretch than without the band.

For the legs there are a few I want to share.  Sit down on the ground, fold the band in half then put your foot in the band at the fold, hold one side of the band in each hand.  Then lay down, keeping your foot flexed, bring your straight leg with the foot in the band up as far as you can.  Keep your other leg straight out on the floor.  Adjusting the tension of the band gives you the stretch you need.  You can bring your leg straight up and closer to your face for an even greater stretch.  The closer you pull your leg to your face the greater the stretch in the hamstrings and even calf.

Still lying on your back with your leg up and still holding the band let your leg fall ACROSS your body.  This is a further stretch for the hamstrings and gets the outer thigh.  With this stretch – again – using the band to pull your leg closer to your head gives you a bigger stretch. Hold the end of the band in the hand opposite the direction your leg is going, while the hand on the side of where your foot is gently pulls the leg towards your head.  Remember to be mindful of what you are sensing, often a stretch will cause discomfort but the muscles need to be stretched especially after a workout.  But pain is different than discomfort, so be aware of what sensation is present.

Another stretch you can do is from the same position of laying on your back, with your foot through the band, leg in the air, foot flexed, but this time let the straight leg fall away from your body.  With this stretch the hand opposite the side your stretching leg holds the end of the band and the hand on the side of the stretching leg can gently pull the leg towards your head. This stretch allows you to really sense the stretch in the inner thigh.  The closer your leg gets to the floor the more your inner thigh gets stretch.  And at the same time you can gently pull your leg towards your head enable the back of the leg to be stretched too.

Bands are such a great way to get some assisted stretching in without having to have another person there to help you.  It is like proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) by yourself.  As I mentioned before, please be mindful and aware of what your body is saying.  Discomfort at a tolerable level is acceptable but pain is not.

Posted in Helpful Hints | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Modifications and Variations

Posted by terrepruitt on June 30, 2011

So you have a list of ten exercises you can do ten times in ten minutes.  You might be able to do the whole thing more than once.  If not, you will be able to if you keep at it.  Try doing the workout for ten days and see what happens.  Also, there will be days that you can do it twice and then the next day maybe not.  That is always ok.  Everyday our bodies are different.  If you do it you WILL see improvement.  When an exercise gets to easy, try it fast or with more weight, or do more reps.  The ten of ten in ten is really just to get you motivated to do more, help keep you exercising when you are really pressed for time, or add to something you are already doing.  Yes, I have said these things at LEAST twice before, but I want people to understand I do not believe this is an all-emcompassing-this-is-all-I-have-to-do-for-the-rest-of-my-life-kind-of-workout.  But the ten minute workout can work for everyone.

There are many modifications and variations that can be done with these exercises.  Some modifications I have presented already in my Without a ball, a band, and a BOSU post.  Here are some more.

(#1) Lunges – You can do walking lunges.  Instead of bringing the leg you stepped out with back to “center”, bring your other leg out in a step.  Keep going.

(#2) Bicep curls – You can do the curls at the same time you walk.  Try it.  You might be surprised at the different sensation you have.  The walking adds an entirely different element.

(#3) Squats – You can try these with weights in both hands.  If you have the band and the BOSU as with the original “gym” 🙂 design use that.  Since you are already going to stand on the band on the BOSU, use the band while you do the squats.

(#4) Triceps kick backs – Standing on the ground with weights and just doing one arm at a time.  If you can get through the workout twice then you can do ten one round and then ten the next.  If you can’t do five then switch.  Or you could always do ten and ten.  Whatever works for YOU.  Remember, this is YOUR workout.  You have your own goals to accomplish.

(#5) Hamstring curls – Do one leg at a time.

(#6) Sit-ups – Do them on the rounded side of the BOSU or the stability ball.

(#7) Triceps extensions – Use the band or heavier weights

(#8) Push up – Put your feet on the BOSU and push up from the ground.

(#9) Bent over lateral raise – Cross the band holding the left end in your right hand and the right end in your left hand.

(#10) Stability ball pass – When your legs come up with the ball grab it and before rolling back down put it past your legs on one side then the other (or alternate on each pass), then roll down.  Then when you come back up before you “give your legs the ball” put it past one side or both, then give the ball to your legs and roll down.

These modifications and variations aren’t necessarily more difficult or easier.  They could be different for each and every one of you.  The level of difficulty could be exactly the same but it is just something different to do.  Or one day it could be easy and the next maybe not.  I just know that for me, when I have more than ten minutes after doing my ten minutes I am ready to do more.

What about you?  How does doing ten minutes of exercise make you feel?

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

Squats

Posted by terrepruitt on June 9, 2011

Squats are good for the legs, especially glutes and quadriceps.  There are a lot of ways to do a squat.  For my ten minute workout we are just doing a non-fancy squat.  The original design of this exercise in the workout is to do it on a BOSU.  The rounded side of the BOSU is on the ground and you stand on the flat side.  Adding the BOSU in the mix allows for more work to be required of the full leg and ankles.  It is great balance practice.  A squat is a lowering of the entire body as if you are going to sit down.  Only lower down to about sitting-in-chair height.  Butt “reaching” back for the “chair”.  Then come back up to standing.  For these squats have your feet from hip-joint-width to shoulder width apart.

I feel it is important for one to be able to sit and stand without having use your arms to support yourself.  Squats are one way to ensure you can move up and down without help.

What do you want to know?

Posted in Ten Minute Workout (Posts) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Early Morning Exercisers

Posted by terrepruitt on June 9, 2011

HELLO!  So here is my Ten Minute Workout placeholder post so that YOU can comment.

I have one reader/friend who is doing the Ten Ten in Ten daily and she might even get her great hubby involved in it.  He works a lot but it might be that he can squeeze in ten minutes.  Yay!

Another reader/friend was kind enough just to check in.  She said she is not doing the 10 minute workout but she is doing her Nia.  She just commented to let me know.

Well?  Check in.  Say hi.  Tell me what you have on your schedule today.

In addition to my ten minute workout, I am going to post about the third exercise in the ten — Squats.   And I will be back to let you know when I have actually done the quick workout.

________________________________________________________________________________________

June 9, 2011 at 11:31 am

I am posting this both as a comment and in the main post.

I did my ten minutes.  I am getting through it twice and I think there are two reasons for that (one I have stated already, but I am going to keep sharing it).  One is that because of my injured foot I am not going out very far on the lunges.  You might notice that doing a shorter step is faster and easier so you can do ten quicker.  I am working on being completely aware of my right foot and distributing the weight through all my toes — right now that is a huge challenge.  Two is — I think — because I am better at getting on the BOSU.  I can get on it faster and I know exactly where to put my feet now.

So . . . . what can you tell me?

Posted in Ten Minute Workout check-in | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Ten Minute Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on May 31, 2011

There are a lot of 10 minute workouts.  Ten minutes is really not a long time, it probably won’t get you to any lofty fitness goals, but that is where specificity comes in.  If your goal is to run a marathon or bench press 200 pounds then 10 minutes of working out won’t get you there.  You need to train specifically for specific goals.  Ten minute workouts are good for other things.  If you are really pressed for time and just need a quick fix.  If you are new to exercising.  If you are doing another form of working out and just want to add a little something more.  If you are recovering from an injury.  If you are just learning a new exercise.  If you have ADD.  🙂  There are a lot of good reasons and ways to incorporate a ten minute workout into your day.

There are also different ways you can do a workout for ten minutes.  Again, how you do it depends on why you are doing it.  If you are pressed for time sometimes just getting through it is what you need to do.  That ten minutes will just help you feel like you did something good for yourself even if the rest of the day is jammed packed with a lot of other stuff.  If you are just starting an exercise program it could be that getting through ten minutes is all you can do . . . it depends on the workout.  If you have a great program that you do, say cardio, like Nia, but you want to add in a little training with weights or additional stretching a 10 minute workout could be perfect.  And if you are recovering from an injury it could be that 10 minutes is all that you can do safely.  When learning a new exercise it could be that 10 minutes is all that your brain can take at a time.  Again, it all depends on why you are doing it AND what you are doing.

Before I hurt my foot, I had come up with a little 10 minute workout I felt was a good way to get a quick workout all over.   I designed it to be done with the workout tools and toys I have.  I only did it a few times before I hurt my foot.  Since I really was having to concentrate on teaching my classes, I pretty much stopped doing everything else.  So now I am feeling that a ten minute workout would be great for me because of a few of the reasons I stated above.

The list/workout is what you see pictured here.  It is nothing revolutionary it is just 10 exercises that you do 10 times each in 10 minutes.  In my next regularly scheduled post (Thursday) I will explain the list.   In subsequent regularly scheduled posts (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) I will give more detailed explanations of the exercises, modifications, and various things that come up related to this 10 minute workout.  And everyday, I will post when I have done it.  I will actually be doing some of the exercises in a modified fashion because of my foot.  I have to modify my activity based on my teaching schedule and daily activity.

Anytime you want you to can do this list.  Post in the comment that you did it too.  Ask questions and I will either answer them in the comments or in a separate post.  I think this is a great way for me to share some exercises with you. I hope you will join me in this 10 minute workout.  Really 10 minutes isn’t that long.  Ten exercises done 10 times each in 10 minutes.  Ten Ten in Ten.  You can do it.  And you can let me know when you’ve done it.  Ok?  What do you say?  Are you in?

Posted in Exercise and Working Out, Ten Minute Workout (Posts) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Quadriceps

Posted by terrepruitt on February 20, 2010

I subbed a Nia class in another part of San Jose today and so I had a different group of participants, and the routine we did today has a lot of bows in it.  Watching the class do the bow stance made me think of how a bow is somewhat of a lunge. Reminded me how we really do work a lot of muscles in our Nia workouts with all of the different exercises we do.  The bow stance is one of Nia’s 52 Moves.

Did you know you Quadriceps are made up for four muscles?  Maybe, but since we always say, “quads” we might be thinking of them as one muscle.  Of course, when we stop to think about it we understand that “quad” means four so it makes sense that quadriceps is four muscles.
 
Basically they work together.  It is not as if you can work just one.  Our quads extend the leg and flex the thigh.   They move our thigh towards our chest and kick our foot out (as an example).  Quads would be included in a “Push” workout.    Lunges and squats target the quadriceps. 

I am pretty sure you knew that the quadriceps were four muscles, but I thought I would just remind you.

Posted in Muscles | 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.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out, Hamstrings | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »