Blog - Shape Up Fitness

movement training

Movement training

 

The crawling stage when you are a baby is crucial for your development of your coordination and strength. Synchronising the upper and lower body is something which is done from birth but as we start to walk we become lower body dominant when travelling.

When moving around on all fours, your wrists, shoulders and trunk strength is dramatically improved.

After all, you don’t need no equipment and minimal space is required which makes it a very cheap and easy work out which reaches all the muscles in the body!

Here are a few exercises which you can try out at home:

 

 

Crab Walk – Try doing a crab walk for the equivalent of 40 yards in random direction movement, you will be using almost all of your muscles and your lungs will be gasping for air as that’s what happens when your muscles are working! On the floor, hands by your side, fingers facing your toes. Lift your body up by arching your back as far as you can keeping sure your glutes are tight.
Frog jump – Hands out in front of you touching the floor, when you jump and make contact with the floor soak up the impact through the legs and jump again.

 

Twisting Sit Up – Standard sit up, but as you come up, bring your opposite elbow to the opposite knee and keep a straight back. try and push yourself to do 20 on each side!

 

L-sit – One of my favorites, mainly as it takes practice and dedication. Sitting down on the ground with legs out in front of you and your hands by your side, lift your whole body off the ground whilst keeping your legs out in front of you.

RKC Plank – get into the plank position and extend your arms further out infront of you. tighten your abs and quads to get the most of out this exercise.

Once you’ve mastered these four exercises , drop us a email when your ready for some more!

ShapeUp Fitness :)

Body Weight Exercises

NoGymNoProblem-300x249

 

Today, I am going to be running through why you don’t need gym equipment, but purely your own body weight to gain balance, core strength, and flexibility.

Now don’t get me wrong, going to the gym is something I enjoy but sometimes it just doesn’t happen for one reason or another. That is why I LOVE bodyweight training. Anywhere you want you can work out just by extending certain muscles.

Why is bodyweight training the best?

  • Combines cardio and strength training
  • Super efficient
  • Gain core strength and better balance
  • No excuses ( no need for weights or machines)

 

Not only is bodyweight training efficient and helps you with your balance and compound movements, but, it combines cardio and strength training into one whilst not having to go on lengthy runs or workouts.

 

Core strength isn’t just there to look good on the beach; core strength is 29 muscles that make up the trunk of the body and there’s no better way to reach these muscles than bodyweight training. Vertical and reverse Crunches will target the upper and lower abdominals purely through raising and extending your legs into the air, and then contracting abdominals by lifting them towards the knees. In the case of the reverse crunch, you lift your lower back off the floor and extend your legs towards the ceiling.  These exercises don’t just give you the tighter , better looking , abs… but it will help with a better posture  and relieve any lower back stress whilst improving your overall performance.

 

When it comes to balance, the more you increase resistance, the better your balance is, too. Small tweaks to your standard bodyweight exercises like changing a normal squat to a pistol squat can increase your body’s awareness and control. But going straight from a normal squat to a pistol squat is not easy. I would recommend raising your leg slightly above the ground and squatting. Repeat this multiple times until you are confident with moving onto the pistol squat position. Cracking this workout in front of your friends is a great way to show off as it displays your leg and hip strength. If you believe that your flexibility is holding you back, then take a step aside and perform some lunges, push ups, few normal squats and generally shake and relax your limbs. This should be done before you attempt the pistol squat to ensure maximum output is achieved.

 

 

Not very common in everyone’s day-to-day workout but the mountain climber is a great calisthenics exercise which challenges your agility, coordination and balance. This is a compound exercise meaning it uses multiple joints and several muscle groups simultaneously.  It engages your upper arm muscles as well as your core and legs. Proper practice on the alignment of the mountain climber will let your muscles gain the most from this workout. Once you’re in the plank position, draw your right knee towards your chest by using your core abdominal muscles. Make sure that you are shoulders are always in line with your wrists and that your wrists are in line with your hands. This way no damage will be caused to joints and maximum output from this exercise will be achieved.

 

No excuses! Now I’ve told you what exercises you can do without the need for weights at home, there’s no excuse for you not to be strengthening your core, balance and agility in your front room! So what are you waiting for? Go through each of these exercises twice a day to perfect and strengthen your core, balance and posture!

 

 

How do I Run Bare Foot? And Should I?

 

barefoot on the beach

You may have seen me running around the parks in either St. Albans or on Hampstead Heath without any footwear on and wondered what I was up to, so I thought that I would write something about why I do this.

Humans have been running barefoot for millions of years, even some of the greatest runners of all time have won gold medals running barefoot. In 1960 Abebe Bikila won the first of his gold medals by running a marathon in a world record time of 2hrs 15mins 17secs. Even today the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico who have some of the best runners in the world run barefoot races that are 100miles long.

It was only in the 1970’s that the modern running shoe was invented by the big branded sports companies. If your wondering how humans coped with the impact of the foot hitting the floor before the ‘running trainer’existed its because of the way that the foot lands.

When running bare foot, runners tend to land on their forefoot before bringing down the heel, this enables the muscles in both the feet and lower leg to absorb the force in a way just like the suspension in your car does. However when runners that wear the modern running trainer, they tend to land with a heel strike which is facilitated by the raised cushion at the back of the shoe. This heel striking action actually slows down the running movement and then the runner has to then accelerate again, just imagine how much quicker you will be if you could prevent this.

Although there is no clear cut evidence to show that barefoot running is better than wearing a trainer, scientists have discovered that those that run barefoot or in minimal shoes tend to avoid heel striking and land with a forefoot strike. Dr Leiberman from Harvard University states that ‘People who don’t wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike.’ He then goes on to speak about the amount of force that hits the ground when running with a heel strike, approximately 3 times your body weight 1000 times per mile.

barefoot tarahumara

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Run Bare Foot?

Many bare foot runners say that they are more comfortable running like how our ancestors used to, I personally agree and love the feeling of the grass between my toes, it really wakes my feet up especially if I’ve been in shoes all day long. But for runners that are naturally rear foot strikers, barefoot can take a while getting used to, and if rushed can result in injury by the stress put on the Achilles tendon.For many novice bare foot runners the injuries faced may outweigh the positives of barefoot running.

If you are going to pursue a barefoot running style here are some tips that you might like to follow….

1. Start with a simple walk in the park without your shoes or socks on, get used to your feet muscles working without the support of your trainers, just be careful of anything on the floor that might cut your feet or dog pooh.

2. Once you feel that you are ready to run, start slow and only go for about 5 minutes. Remember this is a new movement and your calf muscles may not be strong enough to do much more.

3. Shorten up your stride length, if you try to stretch as far as you can you wont be able to land on your toes, go slow and enjoy it.

4. Make sure that you do some strengthening exercises in your lower legs, strong calves are important when you start to run on your toes more. You will also need to carry out some stretching exercises to create some movement around your ankles to prevent injury.

5. Only when your ready do you step up the distance, take your time and do not try to keep up with your friends at the beginning, you will catch them soon enough with your new and improved running technique.

If you would like to run like a barefoot runner but you are not prepared to go completely barefoot do not worry. Many of the big companies make their own versions of minimalistic footwear which make it less likely to get cuts and bruises on the bottom of your feet.

For more information regarding personal training in St. Albans or North London contact www.Shapeupfitness.co.uk or call 07834270929 for Andy.

Coconut Fats Are Awesome

How it’s made

Creamed coconut and coconut milk are made in a way surprisingly akin to their dairy counterparts. Coconut flesh (the white part) is grated and soaked in hot water. The coconut cream rises to the top and can be skimmed off. The remaining liquid is squeezed through a cheesecloth to extract a white liquid that is coconut milk. By repeating this process, the coconut milk becomes thinner. The thicker version is used for desserts and rich sauces. Thin coconut milk is used for cooking curries and soups. In the UK, fresh coconut milk is unavailable and coconut milk is bought in cans.

coconuts

coconuts make you healthy

A note on coconut water…

Coconut milk is different to coconut water. The latter has received a great deal of attention for it’s perceived health benefits, and is an important treatment for acute diarrhoea in the developing world. Research suggests the clear liquid has the same electrolyte balance found in isotonic drinks, proving useful for rehydration or after long periods of intensive exercise.

Nutritional highlights

Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. It is a popular choice with vegans and makes a great base for smoothies, milkshakes or as a dairy alternative in baking.