FIT 4 The Road Archives - KT's Personal Training
7 Body weight exercises you can do anywhere

7 Body weight exercises you can do anywhere

Body weight exercises are a great way to stay in shape if you have minimal equipment at home or while you are traveling. They are effective and you can do them anywhere, making them the perfect solution to life on the road, a short break or at home.

Here are a few simple bodyweight exercises you can do while you are parked up for a couple of days.

  1. SQUATS

The squat is a staple of any bodyweight program for your legs.  Anyone can squat and you can make them harder or easier depending on your fitness level.  Here’s how to do the perfect squat:

Start with your feet slightly wider than your hips and arms crossed over your chest (or if more comfortable straight out in front of you).  Your weight should be evenly distributed in your feet.  Next slowly move you hips back and down until there’s roughly a 90 degree angle at your knees.

Make it easier: don’t go down as far.

Make it harder: Do it slower.  Count to 3 on the way down and 3 on the way back up again.

  1. DYNAMIC LUNGES

Here is a great opportunity to challenge your strength and balance.

Start standing with your feet hip distance apart.  Take a big step forward and bend your knees until both front and back knee are at 90 degree angle at the bottom of the lunge.  Make sure you stay balanced and controlled by keeping everything moving in a straight line.  Next push off your front foot and bring your front leg back to the standing position.  Repeat on the other foot.

Make it easier: Don’t go down as far and hold onto something to help with your balance.

Make it harder: Add some weight and hold it in front of you arm bent at chest height.

  1. PUSH UPS

Start with your hands a little wider than your shoulders and your feet hip width apart. Lower yourself under control until your elbows reach 90-degrees and then press away from the ground. Make sure to keep your core tight to keep your lower back from arching.

Make it easier: Feel free to perform push ups from an incline position.

  1. TRICEPS DIPS

Keep those arms in shape with triceps dips. The triceps are the muscles in the back of your arm between your elbow and your shoulder. To do a triceps dip, sit on a chair with your hands either side of your bottom. Move your bottom off the seat and slowly lower your body down until there is a 90-degree angle at your elbow. Remember to keep your chest lifted and your shoulders away you’re your ears.

Make it easier: Incline your body against a wall, with hands at shoulder width and lower your body towards the wall

Make it harder: Moving your feet further away from your hands will increase the difficulty of this exercise.

  1. SUPERMAN

There are so many bodyweight options to train your chest and arms, but often your back muscles get left out. A fantastic way to make sure your shoulders stay healthy is by making sure your back is nice and strong. Supermans are an awesome way to work your back without weights.

Start by lying face down with your arms out in front of you. Next, activate your glutes (butt muscles) and back muscles to slowly lift your arms and legs a few centimetres off the ground. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold this for a couple of second and then release your arms and legs back to the floor.

Make it easier – If this is too tough or you feel pain in your lower back, try lifting just one arm and the opposite leg, then alternating to the other side.

  1. GLUTE BRIDGE

There is no better way to undo all the sitting we often do than the humble glute bridge. Start on your back with your feet close to your butt and about hip distance apart. Push your heels into the ground and raise your hips ensuring that the weight is evenly distributed between each leg. The key with the glute bridge is to ensure your hips remain in the correct position by bracing your core throughout the movement. Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground and repeat.

Make it harder – Want to make it more challenging? Try doing a glute bridge with a mini band.

  1. PLANK

A strong core is crucial for maintaining good posture and reducing your risk of injury. Planks are an excellent way to build up your core strength and you can make them easier or harder depending on your fitness. Start on your belly with your elbows underneath your shoulders and your feet hip width apart. Draw your belly button in towards your spine and lift your hips so your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels. You shouldn’t feel any tension through your lower back.

Make it easier – If you struggle to hold a plank on the ground, then incline your body on a railing, arm chair or steps.

WANT MORE ADVICE?

If you want to know how to put together a program, tailored to your goals and exercise level then you might be interested in my BACK ON TRACK program.  Drop me a message and we can soon get you started and BACK ON TRACK to a healthier, fitter and stronger you.

Survive the drive: Rest stop recharge

Survive the drive: Rest stop recharge

We are all like to travel at out own paces when seeing this great country.  Some people like putting in a big days drive to get to the next adventure while others like to limit their driving to a couple of hours a day.  Whatever your preference driving for long periods of time (or even just a couple of hours) without taking breaks can wreak havoc on the body. I don’t know about you, but at the end of a long drive, I can feel totally exhausted and then you have to set up camp!

There are actual physiological changes your body goes through on those long driving days; for both the driver and the passenger. For instance, your inactive lower body muscles send a signal to your brain to slow your metabolism. Your blood circulation slows as well, which leads to all sorts of ill-effects: foggy brain, raised blood sugar levels, fluid pooling in the lower legs, and inflammation, amongst many other joyful things. Google “sitting disease” and you can get all the gory details. So that post-drive sluggishness isn’t just me! It’s an actual “thing.”

We have had it drummed into us that we should stop every two hours for a rest to recharge the body and the brain, but what are the best ways to do this.  Why not try 10 minutes of being active. You could simply go for a walk, but that might get a little boring; plus it neglects our upper bodies. To keep things interesting, I have come up with a “rest stop recharge” workout for you to try.

Yes, you might get quite a few funny looks from fellow rest stop visitors; but it’s worth it. You’ll feel more energised, alert, and ready to hit the road.

I filmed it when we were pulled up at camp, so it can equally be done when you have had too much of the sitting around as well!

HOW IS IT DONE?

Complete each exercise for 30 secs before swapping over with your driving buddy.

You can complete 2 rounds of this mini circuit.  I between each circuit do a couple of laps around the car/van.

Combo 1 : Step ups + pushups: Complete 5 step up on the one foot before swapping feet!  Great for the glutes, as well as giving those chest muscles a bit of a stretch after all the sitting.

Combo 2: Lean in lunge with shoulder raise + Forearm plank and kick back: Getting those hips mobile is a must, together with a plank to strengthen the core.

Combo 3: Pass the bottle: This one will work on that core stability as well as give that upper back some mobility.

If you have any questions, just send me a message.

If you are interested in a program to increase your fitness, lose weight, increase muscle or improve any aspect of wellbeing such as mobility and flexibility, I can design a program specific to your needs via my Online Personal Coaching Program

Join me my on my Facebook page Fit 4 the Road as I keep fit and healthy while traveling this great country.

Tips for Healthy driving posture

Tips for Healthy driving posture

The way you sit in your drivers seat can either mean a joyful drive or a miserable one.

As travellers we can spend long stretches of time behind the wheel. The trouble with that is, our bodies were designed to move. If we are static for long durations, our muscles are no longer acting like sponges… squeezing out blood with contractions, and soaking it back up with relaxation. Besides compromising our circulation, our driving posture places our joints in more vulnerable positions. This is why it’s so important to take the time to set up your seat. You want your driving posture at its most optimal to ensure you’re protecting 3 things: joints, circulation, and safety.

Good driving posture comes down to 5 basic steps. As long as you keep in mind the motivation behind the adjustments, like keeping your joints as open and neutralized as possible for both less strain on them AND better circulation, then the rest of it should start to make sense.

 

5 Steps for Healthy Driving Posture

 

STEP #1:   Adjusting your distance from the steering wheel

  •   Move seat forward enough so that your heel remains down when depressing either pedal. 
  •   Knees should be bent around 120 degrees even when the pedals are depressed. (Any less than that decreases leg circulation.) 

STEP #2:   Adjusting Your Bottom Seat Cushion

  •   Make sure your hips and knees are either in line, or your knees can be lower than hips. (This opens your hips for better circulation and places less strain on low back).
  •   Assure that you feel equal pressure all along the backs of your thighs. (If not, you might want to consider adding a wedge cushion).
  •   Do the 2-finger measurement test. Place 2 fingers on the back of your knee to see if you’ve got enough space there so the seat edge is not cutting off your circulation. (Shorter people, you may need to add a back rest cushion to achieve this.)

STEP #3:   Adjusting Your Back Rest

  •   Recline the back rest to an angle of 100-110 degrees. (This improves circulation through your hips and decreases pressure on your spine. Reclining any more than that places strain on your neck.)
  •   Adjust the lumbar support so you feel even pressure all along your back. (If you’re unable to adjust your seat so you feel even pressure, consider adding a lumbar cushion).

STEP #4:   Adjusting Your Steering Wheel

  •   Bring the steering wheel down and toward you to lessen the strain on your shoulders, neck, and upper back.
  •   Ensure your shoulders remain against the backrest when you’re holding the wheel, and your elbows are not locked out.
  •   Hold the steering wheel at 9 and 3 (or lower if you can do so safely) to take strain of your shoulders, neck, and upper back.
  •   Be symmetrical, so both hands are holding the wheel in the same way. Don’t drive with one hand on top of wheel. (That forces your shoulder off the back rest and is taxing on your spine. Plus it’s less safe.)
  •   Keep your wrists neutral (straight) as much as you can. Over-flexing or extending them for long periods causes strain on the muscles and ligaments, and it cuts off circulation to the hands.

STEP #5:   Adjusting Your Head Rest

  •   Raise the top of the headrest between the top of your ears and the top of your head.
  •   Ensure the back of your head comes in contact with it comfortably.
  •   If you can do so comfortably, use it occasionally while driving! (It gives your neck a break from holding up your head.)

Then there’s the common sense things, like taking your wallet out of your back pocket, taking frequent driving breaks, switching drivers if possible, and limiting how much driving you do in a day… all of that will also play a role on how well you feel coming out of the drive. That’s what this whole thing is about anyways, feeling energised, healthy, and ready to enjoy the adventure!

Exercise for falls prevention

Exercise for falls prevention

Most people take balance for granted; navigating each day without thinking or effort. Unfortunately, as you age, losing your balance is a common issue making older adults more susceptible to falls and injury. Sadly 30% of adults over the age of 65 experience at least one fall per year.  In our travels so far I have had to help at least two people over the age of 55 off the ground, where they lost their balance on a seemingly innocent bit of ground.  I really felt for them, not only were there external grazes, but the hidden joint and muscle bruising they may have sustained which might just ruin their plans for the next couple of days while they recover. But what if there was a way to prevent the falls from happening in the first place?

Amazingly, the number one activity for falls prevention in older Australian’s is exercise; but what type of exercise is best for preventing falls?

HOW MUCH EXERCISE?

As with all exercise, every individual is different, but a combination of various types of activities, including a walk on most days, will have the best outcome. For optimum results, try doing a little bit each day; even 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in evening. You could also try incorporating a few exercises while waiting for the kettle to boil, such as some calf raises while holding onto the kitchen bench. Or adding in some leg extensions or seated marches during the ad break of your favourite TV show.

TYPES OF EXERCISE FOR FALLS PREVENTION:

RESISTANCE EXERCISE

Maintaining strength is not only important to keep our muscles healthy, it also helps us perform daily activities (like getting out of a chair or stepping over something when we are out site seeing) and has an important role in maintaining balance. Resistance exercises can be performed using your body weight, resistance bands, or even using common household items like cans of food. Moving your muscle under a greater resistance promotes an increase in muscle mass and therefore great glucose uptake.

BALANCE EXERCISE

Declining balance is common as we age. Practicing both static balance and dynamic balance, in a range of different foot positions and environments are great ways to maintain and improve your balance.

Group exercises classes, including Tai Chi being, are a great option for balance training.  In Queensland, the government have created the Stay on Your Feet Program to keep older Queenslanders active and independent.

GET THE “RIGHT” ADVICE

If you need help getting started or you’d like to get some professional advice specific to you, why not drop me a message.  An a  qualified personal trainer with a specialisation and keen interest in older adult training, I can help answer any questions you might have.

If you are interested in a program to increase your fitness, lose weight, increase muscle or improve any aspect of wellbeing such as mobility and flexibility, I can design a program specific to your needs via my Online Personal Coaching Program

Join me my on my Facebook page Fit 4 the Road as I keep fit and healthy while traveling this great country.

Balance Building Workout

Balance Building Workout

Some would argue we only have 5 main senses, and that a sixth sense does not exist. I disagree! I’m not talking about the one from the movie, I-See-Dead-People. I’m talking about the I-Know-Where-My-Arm-Is kind. Otherwise known by its nerd name as Proprioception.

What Is Proprioception?

Proprioception is our ability to sense where our body is in space. In a nutshell, it’s our “sense of self.” A quick example: Imagine it’s pitch black in the van and you need the bathroom. Would you be able to walk to it? As long as nothing is in your way, you’ll likely get there perfectly fine. You can thank your proprioception for that. It’s what’s helping you put one foot in front of the other even when you can’t see a thing!

Proprioception plays a huge role in our daily lives and we likely don’t realise it. It’s mostly at a subconscious level, although we can definitely draw our attention to it when we choose. It’s very much intertwined with our ability to balance. When proprioception isn’t working properly, we’ll see things like clumsiness, falls, bumping into object and all sorts of movement inefficiencies. As with everything in our bodies, if we don’t use our proprioception skills enough we lose them.

All of that was my long-winded way of saying THAT’S why it’s so important to make sure we’re doing exercises that target balance. Because through balance training we also increase our proprioception… a skill that’s alarmingly underappreciated.
Let’s put balance exercises back on our health and fitness radars.

In this blog, I demonstrate 6 balance exercises and describe variations depending on your fitness level and exercise experience.

EXERCISE 1: Walking Lunge Robots

Stand with your feet together and good posture. Lunge forward on your left foot while simultaneously rotating your trunk to the left. Place all your weight on your left foot and raise your right foot in a single leg balance hold for 1-3 seconds. Next, repeat the movement on other side by lunging forward on your right foot while rotating your trunk to the right. All your weight shifts to the right foot and raise your left foot to hold a single leg balance for 1-3 seconds. That entire sequence was one rep.

BEGINNERS AND SENIORS:  Take out the balance hold. Instead, you’ll simply lungewalk forward (with the trunk rotation) on your left foot and then your right without any stops in between lunge steps. And make sure you’re doing this along a wall or rail for safety!

EXERCISE 2: Arabesque Windmills

Stand on your left foot, with your left knee slightly bent. Reach your torso forward as you lengthen and lift your right leg behind you. Reach your arms out to your sides and hold for a moment. Once you are stable, slowly rotate your right arm forward while your left arm goes back, and then rotate the other way. This is one rep. You absolutely do not need to touch the ground as I’m demonstrating in the pic. You can simply pike forward from your hips as much as feels right for your level, and then do the rotations from that point. Do 5 very slow reps and then switch to other leg.

BEGINNERS AND SENIORS: Keep your back leg’s toes on ground and keep your torso upward as you rotate your arms. Please make sure your back is not rounded! The lean-forward motion that the advanced exercisers do comes from the hips and not the back. This takes practice and experience to learn, so to be safe keep yourself more upright and don’t attempt to bend forward past your ability level as you attempt this move.

EXERCISE 3: Split Squat with Front Leg Raise

Stand with good posture in a split stance—one foot forward and the other back. Back foot’s heel should be raised, and ensure your weight is evenly distributed between the front foot and the ball of the back foot. Lower self  down to perform a split squat. To do this, your hips drive straight downward and your chest stays directly above your hips, no leaning forward. As you raise back up from the split squat, simultaneously raise the front leg off the ground, shifting all your weight to the back foot (heel goes down for this). Hold your front leg raised like that for 3 seconds, that’s one rep. Do that 5 times and then switch sides.

BEGINNERS AND SENIORS: For the balance hold portion, instead of holding leg up, you’ll place the toe of your front leg down while keeping all your weight on the back leg. As for the split squat portion, only lower yourself as low as you feel stable, don’t go too deep into it… and do be mindful of your posture. Your torso should be upright with a straight spine as you lower into the split squat.

EXERCISE 4: Grapevines

Stand erect with your knees slightly bent. Staying on the balls of your feet, do a quick step to the side with your left foot, and then quickly step your right foot behind your left. Another quick step to your left again with your left foot, and then bring your right foot in front of your left. Continue this pattern. Eventually switch and go the other direction. Continue practicing grapevines for 1 minute. Work on building your speed as your skills improve over time.

BEGINNERS AND SENIORS: You’ll do the exact same foot pattern, however, you’ll take your steps down to a slow walk. Make sure you’re upright with good posture and not looking at your feet. Use your peripheral vision and your proprioception to continue your sideways steps safely. I highly recommend doing these along a rail or wall for seniors.

EXERCISE 5: Tabletop Reaches

Advanced, you’ll start in a hand plank with your feet spread a little wider than shoulders, and your hands slightly wide too. Make sure your neck is aligned in a neutral position. While looking at the floor, raise and fully extend your right arm and your left leg out at the same time. Keeping your core tight, very slowly drive your right elbow and left knee together. Repeat 10 times then switch to the other side. Note, this is a very challenging move and really is designed for advanced exercisers only! Intermediates, you should modify this to take out the elbow/knee crunch. So, you’ll extend your arm/leg as explained and then instead of driving elbow/knee together, you’ll set them back down so you’re back to traditional plank position.

BEGINNERS AND SENIORS: Start on your hands and knees on a soft padded surface, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees hip width apart. Raise and fully extend your right arm and your left leg to about parallel with the floor, and then drive your right elbow and left knee together (if you feel your back beginning to round you’ve driven them together far enough), then extend back out again. Continue moving between curling and extending, making sure to keep your core muscles tight and under control throughout the move. Repeat 10 times and then switch to other side.

EXERCISE 6: V Hold

Begin seated. Extend your legs out & lean back so that body is in an opened up V position. DO NOT allow your back & shoulders to round! Hold as long as you can. Continue practicing this pose for 1 minute. There are multiple options for this pose: hands behind head with legs straight is the most challenging. You can also extend your arms straight forward with bent legs as I’m doing in the pic.

BEGINNERS AND SENIORS: Begin seated on a padded surface. Grab either your knees or thighs with your hands. Slightly lift your feet off the ground, leaning carefully back to counterbalance the move. Once in position, work to straighten your spine and ensure your neck is neutral and aligned as well.

If you have any questions, just send me a message.

If you are interested in a program to increase your fitness, lose weight, increase muscle or improve any aspect of wellbeing such as mobility and flexibility, I can design a program specific to your needs via my Online Personal Coaching Program

Join me my on my Facebook page Fit 4 the Road as I keep fit and healthy while traveling this great country.

QL: The two letters that cause pain

QL: The two letters that cause pain

Are you ready for another anatomy lesson? It seems like I have had a bit of a theme going recently with pointing out parts of our bodies that cause us pain and how we can ‘fix’ it, so that we can live a more comfortable life and continue doing the things we enjoy doing.  

Traveling has been my thing now for some time and we have been holed up for quite some months getting over the latest challenges that have faced us all in recent months. But no doubt you are up and moving around the country (or at least your state!) as that travel bug takes hold again!  

BUT: Im addressing some of the aches and pains so that you are not only moving the travels along, but moving around well yourself! So, here we go!   The QUADRATUS LUMBORUM (QL) attaches the top, back half of your hip to your spine. You have one for the right and left sides. Its job is primarily two things:

  1. Bend your spine to the side.
  2. Hike your hip.

 If your QL is tight it opens the door for pains in the foot/ankle, knee, hip, low back, and even your shoulder because you have one side of your body tighter than the opposing side. You could waste a lot of time addressing what hurts and missing that the QL is the root cause.  

What Causes Tight Quadratus Lumborum?  

… It’s your posture!  Here are the main postures related to a tight Quadratus Lumborum:

  • Anterior pelvic tilt (your pelvis tilts forward)
  • Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
  • Lateral pelvic tilt (one hip higher than the other)
  • Side lie sleeping position

  How to stretch Quadratus Lumborum? 

Hold each stretch for at least 2 minutes.

Make sure you can FEEL the stretch. If you can’t feel the Quadratus Lumborum stretch, then you are probably not stretching it!

You do NOT have to do all of the stretches. Pick ONE! …and do it well.

KNEE TO CHEST

Target: Lower Quadratus Lumborus

  • Lie on your back.
  • Bring your knees up and hug your knees towards your chest.
  • Be sure to keep your legs completely relaxed.(The arms should be doing all of the work.)
  • Gently hug your knees towards your chest.
CHILDS POSE

Target: Upper Quadratus Lumborus

  • Start in a crawling position.
  • Sit on your completely bent legs. (see above)
  • Bring your buttocks to the back of your ankles.
  • Aim to round your lower back as much as possible
  • Tuck your tail bone underneath you.
SIDE TILT (STANDING)

Target: Upper Quadratus Lumborus

  • Whilst standing, place your left hand on left hip.
  • Push your hip towards the right.
  • Whilst reaching over to the left with your right hand, tilt your torso to the left.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the right side.
SIDE TILT (SITTING)

Target: Upper Quadratus Lumborus

      • Sit crossed leg on the floor.
      • Pin and maintain your right leg down.
      • Reach over to the left side with your right arm.
      • Feel the stretch on the right side.
      • Repeat on the other side.
WALL LEAN

Target: Upper Quadratus Lumborum

  • Place your right forearm onto the wall.
  • Position your legs away from the wall.
  • Lean the right side of your body onto the wall.
  • Aim to have the sideof your mid section completely in contact with the wall. (as opposed to just your hip)
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side closer to the wall.
  • Repeat on other side.
SEXY POSE

Target: Upper Quadratus Lumborum

  • Lie down on your side.
  • Prop your upper body onto your forearm.
  • Whilst keeping your pelvis pinned to the ground, try to push your torso as up right as possible.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the upper Quadratus Lumborum on the side closest to the floor.
  • Repeat on other side.
WALL STRETCH

Target: Upper/Lower Quadratus Lumborum

  • Assume the position above.
  • Whilst holding onto the door frame (or anything stable), let your upper arm take the weight of your body.
  • “Let your body hang”
  • Whilst anchoring your legs as shown, aim to bend your mid section as much as possible.
  • Use your body weight to sink into the stretch
  • Repeat on other side.
If you have any questions, just send me a message.

If you are interested in a program to increase your fitness, lose weight, increase muscle or improve any aspect of wellbeing such as mobility and flexibility, I can design a program specific to your needs via my Online Personal Coaching Program

Join me my on my Facebook page Fit 4 the Road as I keep fit and healthy while traveling this great country.