Tag Archives: plank

Unbreakable Strength Plus Run Spartan Workout

O M G! Guys, yesterday’s yoga flexibility routine was FANTASTIC! The majority of stretches were hip stretches, and believe you me, it was EXACTLY what I needed after my disastrous Monday 10 km run. You should definitely give it a try too!

This was me in the end of the workout.

yoga

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Today is strength training *you can also read it as one of Olena’s biggest opportunities haha!*. This kid makes it look so easy though!!!

baby-pushups

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*HOW CUTE THIS PICTURE ISSSS?! I’m dying!!!*

Anyhow, back to serious business! I mean, everything is serious about training for the Spartan Race 🙂

Repeat four times (taken from the Spartan training guide):

– Dumbbell Lunge 30 seconds each leg

– Split Lunge Jumps 30 seconds

– Plank Walk 45 seconds

– Shoulder taps 45 seconds

** 3-minute rest between sets

Run 20 minutes with heart rate in zone 3. (+ 30 squats for 30 days Spartan challenge!!!)

funeral for fat

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How do you challenge yourself? Any plans to participate in an obstacle course this year? If so, which one?

xoxo
Olena

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Getting Rid Of Love Handles: Because There is Always Place For Love But Not For Handles

Good morning darlings!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Mine was really awesome, here are some pictures for you.

Walk with Bella in the park

Bella 4.5 months - German Shepherd

Bella 4.5 months - German Shepherd 2

This week I have to really get cracking on my training for the first 13+km race of the Spartan Trifecta this year. I can’t believe that only 9 weeks is left. I am so pumped! Check out this year’s official video.

The topic that I’d love to bring up today is LOVE HANDLES. Why? Because true Spartans don’t have any! That being said, it doesn’t mean that someone with them cannot become a true Spartan. And that’s great news.

Losing weight around the waist area is one of the most challenging tasks for many people out there. Did you know that not only love handles don’t look very appealing, excessive weight around your waist can actually hurt your health?! According to Forbes, “Those individuals who are at their normal weight, but who have concentrated “central” obesity were more than 50% likely to die from all causes compared to those who were obese, according to results of a 14 year study recently presented at the European Society of Cardiology on August 27, 2012.” If you ask me, there is absolutely nothing lovely about it.

No to muffin top

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First of all, it is important to remember that proper diet plays a big role in getting rid of the excess weight in the mid section. No, you don’t need to starve yourself, but you do need to “avoid sugars, salts and unhealthy fats, and add fresh fruits, vegetables, good fats (like raw seeds or avocado) and lean clean proteins to your diet instead”, according to Kyla Gagnon in her interview with Huffington Post.

Doing planks, burpees and mountain climbers is an excellent way to get started. I personally got really excited when I came across the Spiderman Push Ups.

bootcamp-spiderman-pushup

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And the side crunches!

the-side-crunch

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Oh, and this new type of crunch!

abs-obliques-move-david-barton-400x400

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Wooooo! I can feel the burn already!!!

My workout today will consist of a 6-mile run, AB 500 workout and a 30 squats for 30 days Spartan Challenge. Let’s make that fat cry!!!

keep calm and make your fat cry

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What are your favorite exercises to keep your waist trim?

xoxo
Olena

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Spring It On: Jump Like A Champ!

As I was doing the 100 rep squat challenge from Fitness Blender yesterday, more specifically the squat jumps, I realized something. My jumping powers have disappeared!!!

I’d love to feel like this:

jumping_crazy_pictures_22

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But I feel more like this:

funny_sumo_ski_jumping

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Anyhow, you get the idea!

There are many benefits to jumping:

  • Strengthen muscles in the lower legs;
  • Get a great cardio workout in;
  • Can be done anywhere;
  • Improve endurance.

When I think about jumps, I have jumping rope, jumping jacks, mountain climbers and burpees that come to my mind. And that is soooo exciting!

i'm so excited

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Back in my rhythmic gymnastics days, I remember those sweaty killer summer workouts with no air conditioning inside when we had to jump for 30 minutes or so. They were super intense and so EFFECTIVE! Definitely, one of the best ways to shed some extra pounds! That being said, I found the following workout that seems like fun.

I also came across another at home circuit workout which incorporates  a variety of jumps *YAY* and I am super excited to complete it sometime this week.

at home circuit workout

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However, please, remember the safety measures in order to avoid the injury. According to Female Athletes First, these are the things you have to be aware of when jumping:

Take-off:

1. Use your arms when you jump, meaning, take your arms back behind your body for balance and to prepare for the jump. Jumping is a coordinated movement involving many muscle groups in the body. The muscles in the shoulders, back, chest, arms, core, hips, legs and feet all work together to put you in the proper position for take-off and to propel you up into the air. Strengthen these muscle groups for increased stability and power.

2. Use the thumbs-up rule, which is driving or punching your arms and hands with thumbs upward on the jump. This arm and hand motion can account for approximately 10 percent of the height jumped.

3. Knees should be bent at least 60 degrees or greater and hips flexed 30 degrees or greater before the take-off. In other words, bend your knees more and squat down farther before you jump. Your ankles will be flexed 25 degrees or greater if you do this.

4. Keep a neutral spine before take-off and not a rounded back or sunken chest position. You also don’t want to be bent over too much at the waist. To learn more about Neutral Posture, see our article in the Get In Condition section.

5. Keep knees over your feet. We don’t want to see “knocked knees” while in the squat prior to the jump.

6. Jump straight as an arrow. Maintain a tall hips posture and project them upward (and at times forward) for height and distance.

Landing:

1. Try to land softly, light as a feather, we don’t want to hear a loud landing.
2. Land on the ball of the foot and sink into your heel.
3. Land with flexed hip, knees and ankles to absorb the landing forces.
4. Maintain a straight back, neutral spine position.
5. Land with chest over knees and knees over the feet. Again, don’t land “knock kneed.”
6. With multiple plyometric movements, try to be like a super ball. Be as quick and elastic off the floor, the idea being to spend the least amount of time in contact with the floor.
7. Land on two feet if at all possible to help absorb the landing forces.

jumping

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What are your thoughts on jumping workouts? How do you incorporate them in your routine?

xoxo
Olena

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Don’t Get Left Behind—Strengthen Your Glutes: A 30-Minute Glute-Building Bodyweight Workout

My first ever Super Spartan Race is only 5 months away!WOOP WOOP! For those of you who don’t know what exactly it is, the Super Spartan obstacle mud race is 13+ km (8+ miles) long and provides 20+ obstacles. If you can’t successfully complete any given obstacle you have to do 30 burpees. In other words, if you’re really bad you can and up doing 600+ burpees along the way! And we all know that burpees aren’t fun, like, not at all!!!

Spartan Race

As someone who started running barely 6 months ago, I am excited and terrified at the same time. Wait! How dare you think that I’m scared of the distance?! *Pfffff! Haha!* I feel very comfortable running it. However, I’ve always been a very competitive person and simply want to have a better time than the middle of a pack. So I’ve got quite a challenge cut out for me! What do you think?

Currently, my training involves a lot of strength training *which I still have to bump up a notch or TWO!* and quite a bit of running, in order to improve my endurance. But in order to have a better time, I have to run FASTER. *OKAY! It didn’t take me THAT long to figure it out! Haha!* 

While doing a little research, I found out that a ‘secret recipe’ could be in my BUTT. *That didn’t sound right!* No, you are not hallucinating! Apparently, Gluteus Maximus muscles can make a huge difference when it comes to speed and, therefore, time. *I’m telling you, I always knew that my behind was a powerhouse! Haha!*

running-funny-pictures

According to Nikki Kimball from Runner’s World, “When we run, the glutes hold our pelvis level and steady, extend our hip, propel us forward, and keep our legs, pelvis, and torso aligned. So when our glutes are faulty, our entire kinetic chain gets disrupted. Studies link glute weakness to Achilles tendinitis, shinsplints, runner’s knee, and iliotibial-band syndrome. Indeed, many injured runners I treat come to physical therapy with strong abdominals and backs but weak glutes.” 

Some quite serious stuff, if you ask me! *By the way, in case you missed it, you can check out my previous post to learn more about common running injuries and how to prevent them.*

Got Glutes

I came across this 30-minute glute-building bodyweight workout, which means that it could be easily done at home without any equipment required!!! *a definite BONUS in my books!*

Running and Glutes: The 30-minute glute-building bodyweight workout

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What are your thoughts? What are your favorite ways to strengthen your glutes? How do you improve your speed?

xoxo
Olena

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Dealing With An Unforeseen Injury + A Great 20-Minute Total Arm Workout

Last week was really unsuccessful for me in terms of running and, to be honest, I was really looking forward to a 10 km weekend run. However, it wasn’t meant to happen.

Early Saturday, I decided to take my little German Shepherd pup Bella for a nice walk outside. My walk lasted a whole 2 seconds as I slipped off the top step of  our condo entrance with the little princess in my arms and flew down to the ground. To help you picture my grand fall, think of Kevin’s sleigh ride from a house stairway…

home alone

Just without a sleigh, on my back, and off this stairway:

Home Sweet Home

I know, I’m laughing it now, but it was really scary! There was  black ice on the stairs and the next moment all I saw was the sky. Anyhow, I’m glad that I didn’t hit my head as I was falling down and, thus, am still alive, and that my puppy didn’t get hurt either! Poor little thing!

As you can imagine, I really hurt my lower back and have to wait to run again for a couple of days, just to be safe. Oh well! I decided not to dwell too much on it and work on my arms meanwhile instead. *All I want is nice toned arms, is it too much to ask for? Haha!*

I started off my workout with this  Strong Arms, Back & Shoulders Yoga Routine from Tara Stiles for a warm up.

*I KNEW IT! You reaaaallyyyyy missed my recent plank workout! WINK WINK*

Then, since I don’t have any dumbbells at home, I grabbed two 1-litter jars of tomato sauce *That’s how you know I married an Italian!* and went ahead with the following Total Arm Workout.

Okay, I have to admit that I’ll probably have to invest in a set of dumbbells because doing Curl & Flip with JARS was somewhat *definitely an understatement!* challenging.

By the way, here is my *BY FAR* favorite ‘weight’!

Arm workout with Bella

What is your favorite arm workout? Also, how do you deal with injuries?

xoxo
Olena

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Your Body Will Plank You After This Core Workout

After reading my previous blog post, one of my fellow bloggers, Laura, pointed out to me that there is yet another great exercise to strengthen your core: the PLANK.

Usually I do include it in my regular workout; however, when I REALLY started thinking about it, I realized that I normally stick to a basic plank or a side plank. This is kind of silly, not because they are not good enough, but there is a great variety of planks that can benefit your body even more!

So what is the plank?

planking

Alright, maybe it’s not that simple, it’s a WORKOUT after all!

I know that it might sound too good to be true, but this exercise can pretty much tone your ENTIRE body. By doing different variations of this basic move, you can target your arms, back, core, legs, and booty. WHOA!

I found the following picture on Pinterest, which I think is pretty cool because you can see different types of a plank.

Plank you

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When doing variations of the basic plank, remember to:

  • make sure that your shoulders are stacked over your elbows and your body is in one straight line

When doing variations of the raised plank, don’t forget to:

  • lie flat on the floor, place your hands beneath your shoulders, and then push up
  • maintain a straight line between your toes and shoulders

When doing variations of the basic side plank, it’s important to:

  • lie on your side with your legs straight, then prop yourself up with your forearm so your body forms a diagonal line. Rest your other hand on your hip

This is what I did for my plank workout (repeat 2 or 3 times):

  1. Basic plank: 1 minute
  2. Basic plank with raised leg: each leg x 30 seconds
  3. Basic plank with raised arm: 5 reps each arm x 5 seconds
  4. Basic plank with both leg and arm raised: 5 reps each side x 5 seconds

And here is my take on a new type of plank: THE BELLA PLANK

Planking with Bella

*I knew you would love it!*

What are your favorite plank types? How do your incorporate the plank in your workout?

xoxo
Olena

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