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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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘stable core’

Breathing – It’s A Good Thing

Posted by terrepruitt on July 11, 2013

Many people hold their breath while working out.  Or even just concentrating.  I was recently learning something and concentrating really hard and my husband said, “Are you holding your breath?”  I burst out laughing because I was in fact holding my breath.  I didn’t even realize it until he asked.  I thought it was funny that I was holding my breath and I thought it was extra funny because I remind people to breathe all the time.  Exercising and concentrating are two things that make people hold their breath so if they are concentrating while exercising it makes sense that it happens.  Also people tend to hold their breath when lifting something heavy.  This type of  maneuver or effect is called the valsalva maneuver or valsalva effect.  While some people who do heavy lifting claim it is good to do the valsalva maneuver and that it helps with the lifting others say it is not good and it does not help.  For me and my students breathing is ALWAYS in order.  How you breathe depends on what you are doing.  If you are lifting weights or doing exercises your breathing is different from when you are doing a cardio workout, such as Nia.

Breathing allows oxygen get to the muscles.  The muscles need that.  For me, I find that when I breathe I can move better.  That was actually the point of my husband asking me if I were breathing.  He could tell by the way I was moving that I was not breathing.  He was across the room and he could tell.  Even though the movement I was doing was very small by holding my breath my movements did not flow and were very sporadic.

One of my husband’s favorite sayings is “If you do not breathe correctly, you do not move correctly.”  He got that from a campy film called  Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins from 1985, but, I’ll be darned if it is not 100% accurate!

One way trainers and instructors ensure breathing is to have the client/student talk.  When you are talking you are breathing.  In Nia we sing, laugh, shout, and in general make all types of noises.  In Nia we call it sounding.  By engaging in sounding we are ensuring we are breathing.  It is necessary for the body, but it is also fun for the spirit.

A sound made my a sharp exhalation helps both with stabilization of the core, but to me it seems to do a better job of engaging the core muscles than just holding my breath.  This method could be utilized during lifting or an agility move.  Sometimes when doing an exercise that is challenging it can help to pant with either your tongue out as an animal would or with semi-pursed lips.  Also when a muscles seems fatigued it often helps to take that extra deep breath.  No matter how you breathe remember it really is important to do so.  And even though it might sound silly that we “forget” to breathe, it is a common occurrence.  So practice remembering to breathe.  Breathing is a good thing!

Do you ever find yourself holding your breath?  When?

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Plank Muscles

Posted by terrepruitt on March 19, 2013

While you are doing your plank you might notice some of the muscles involved in doing the plank.  As I am sure you know, there are many variations to the plank.  Many movement practices/exercise disciplines do planks.  There is a plank in yoga, in Pilates, in weight training . . . you probably have seen it all over.  That alone tells you that it is an exercise/pose worth doing right?  We even do planks in Nia.  If there is a version in so many different disciplines it could be that is because does a body good.  The plank we are doing in our Plank A Day Challenge is the plank on our forearms as opposed to the plank where your arms are straight (the position of the “top” of a push-up).  There are a lot of muscles used in this plank.

The muscles being used in a plank are the abdominal muscles, the back muscles, the muscles in the arms, the shoulders, leg muscles, and butt muscles.  So pretty much muscles in every muscle group.  You can understand why it is such a great exercise.  It is a full body workout.  So, while it might not utilize every muscles it calls upon a lot of them.  If you are participating in the challenge you might even notice that the endurance in the muscles is improving.

I often think of the plank as a great exercise to work on your core.  You might have heard “core” and “core muscles” before.  You might even wonder what they are.  And just like so many things there are so many answers.  I think of the core as a muscle group.  I think of the core muscles as the group that allows your body to remain stable and/or upright.  So sometimes that could include your quads if you are standing or doing a plank.

Having a strong and stable core helps us accomplish everyday things.  From sitting, to walking, to doing things with our arm as in pushing, pulling, carrying, etc.  A strong trunk helps us when we need to work with are arms.  Especially with our arms extended.  If we are do something with our arms out, say opening a window, grabbing a grocery bag and bringing it towards you, or pushing something in to a vehicle for transport, you rely a lot on your torso.  So when it is strong and stable it can support you while you do these task.

On top of the strong core having arms that are able to open windows, grab and hold groceries, pull them towards you or push things help with every day life too.  Be able to do all of these everyday things might be one reason the plank is in so many exercise disciplines.  It is a great functional exercise.  It is understood that it can assist with muscle strength and endurance.  And it is one of the exercises that gets a lot of muscles all at once!

Are you participating in our challenge?  Are you feeling your muscles?  You have probably felt the muscles used in a plank, right?

Posted in Core Muscles, Muscles, Planking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »