Benefits Of Massage - Self Care

Many already view massage as an important approach to relieving muscle pain or as a means to relax.  Your body needs as much recovery time as it does workout time, and a massage is a great way to help your body recover from your intense workouts. 

Pain Relief; You may not need as much pain medication if you get massages regularly. -

Reduce heart rate; Regular massage helps to reduce stress and improve blood flow, thereby enabling the heart to pump the same amount of blood with less effort, which can lead to improved heart health. 

Improve lymph flow; The lymphatic system rids the body of wastes such as bacteria, viruses and toxins. Regular massage helps to promote healthy lymph flow by working to reduce fatigue and stress, and stimulating the body to remove potentially damaging waste products, thus maintaining its natural defense system. 

Massage Benefits

Improve skin health and nourishment; Regular massage helps to increase blood circulation, exfoliate dead skin cells and tone the skin, which encourages cell regeneration and assists in excreting waste products. The result is healthier, better-looking skin. - Helps work out contusions (knots) built up by muscular imbalance.

injury Preventions; Much like foam rolling and other forms of self myofacial release, massage can help break up knots, improve blood flow to the area and help you maintain healthy, hydrated muscle.

Four Exercises To Help You Condition For Ski Season

Hitting the slopes is a total blast and will be best enjoyed when you are in good "ski condition."  Skiing requires skill, athletic endurance, balance, and strength.   An exercise routine with combining plyometric, isometric, stability, strength,  and core exercises will make your ski experience so much better!   Don't forget to spend some time "foam-rolling" and completing dynamic stretches before you jump in!

 

The following are some of my top exercise choices for getting yourself into ski shape.  I chose exercises that require little equipment so you can complete most of them in the comfort of you own home.

The  Lateral Jump - Stand with your chest up and with your hips thrust back. Dip your knees slightly, then explosively push off your right leg and move horizontally to your left. Land on your feet, and stick the landing so that your body stops moving. Wait for a moment, and then push back off your right leg, landing on your left one. 

 

Lateral Jump

The Wall Squat -  The basic wall squat is great because of the squat like position you are in as you descend the mountain on your skis. Lean your back against a smooth wall. With your feet shoulder-width apart, slide your back down the wall, making sure your thighs are parallel to the ground and your shins are perpendicular. Cross your hands over your chest. Use all your strength and push against the wall. Continue pushing as hard as you can for as long as you can. As your muscles tire, slide down the wall and rest before repeating the exercise. By actively pushing against the wall, you make this exercise far more challenging  than just leaning against the wall and holding the squat position for an extended period of time.

  1. Pistol Squats - Not only do you need balance to ski, you need to build single limb strength.  Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, parallel to the floor. Raise your right leg off the floor and hold it there. Flex your right ankle so that your toes are higher than your heel. Your right leg should be straight. Brace your core. Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can. As you lower your body, raise your right leg so that it doesn't touch the floor. Pause, then push your body back to the starting position. Keep your torso as upright as possible.  If this is too challenging for your first try         your body to a bench or grab a set of TRX straps and use them for support.
Pistol Squat

 

  1.  Hip Bridges / Hip Thrust- simple, classic, relatively easy and a good way to develop strength in your hamstrings and gluteus.  Position your feet so that they are flat on the floor and close to your butt. Place your hands next to your hips, palms facing up. Push through your heels and lift your hips as high as you can towards the ceiling. Hold this position for as long as possible. Alternatively, lift and lower your hips for a predetermined number of repetitions. If you find this exercise too easy, hold a weight across your hips or use one leg at a time while holding the other leg out straight.

    Now go exercise and enjoy the slopes this season!

     

Five Great Push-Up Variations

When people ask me what my favorite exercises are push-ups are one of the top of the list.  Every time I work out with a client,  on my own, many and I repeat MANY push-ups are done. Push ups are one of the first exercises we learn, and one of the most forgotten exercises.  We tend to hang out at the gym waiting for equipment while we could simply drop and do 20.   Push-ups are great for upper body conditioning, shoulder stability, and you can add some abdominal development to the mix.

The following are my favorites with some images below.  Integrate some of these into your workout today!

1.  Traditional Push Up - Balance your weight on your toes and palms, with your hands a comfortable distance apart, probably just beyond shoulder-width. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Squeeze your ass and brace your abdominals, and keep them that way for the duration of the exercise. Slowly lower yourself to the floor, pause, and push yourself back up.  Do as many as you can, rest and repeat a few times.

2.  Rotational Push Up - The same as the traditional but as you come up rotate your body so one arm lifts.  Repeat on both sides.

3.  Barbell Push Up -   I'll often do a set of barbell bicep curls then drop the bar and complete push-ups on it. Hold the barbell steady on the floor and lower your chest to the bar and push up.

4. Plyometric Push Up -  Develop upper body power by setting up for a traditional push up.  Press hard enough to launch yourself off the floor a few inches, land into your push-up and immediately press back up.   Plyometric push ups are fun and challenging.

5. Elevated leg Push Up -  Place your legs on a bench with your hands on the floor in a traditional push-up position.  Lower yourself and complete the push-up.  I love this because it creates more focus on the upper body.

Traditional Push-Up

Rotational Push-Up

Barbell Push-Up

Plyometric Push-Up

A Favorite AB Routine - Quick & Effective!

Check out the following (very unprofessional)  video showing one of my favorite ab routines.  I complete this at home ( shown in the video) or in the gym when I have limited time, space, or no equipment is available.   Each exercise can be modified with weights, medicine balls, body bars, and leg position depending on your body and desired intensity. 

Go get your 6 pack!

R

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