10-28-2015

5 Glute Exercises To Add To Your Workout

My glute strengthening workout post is one of my most popular posts on my blog and Pinterest, so I figured I would do a follow up and talk more about my favorite glute exercises.

While squats DO target your glute muscles, there are many other exercises that work them as much, if not more. Also, doing a proper barbell squat is challenging, and if you do not have correct form you are risking injury. I’ve seen many people load up the bar with a ton of weight, yet do not have the right form for it. Here are some of my tips for working on your squat form.

Anyway, let’s go through 5 exercises where you will definitely feel the burn!

Add these glute exercises into your workout routine to work that booty!

Hip Raises

There are so many ways to do these, that I guess this list actually won’t be 5 exercises ;)

If you’re just starting out, I suggest doing bodyweight hip raises. Lay on your back, lift your butt and hips up, squeeze your glutes and pause for a second, then lower. To make it more challenging, put your feeet on a bosu ball. To make it even MORE challenging, place your feet on a Swiss ball. I’ll show you that variation here:

swiss-ball-leg-curl

When doing the exercise, really focus on squeezing your glutes and raising your hips as high as you can. You should feel this in your hamstrings and glutes.

Once you feel like you’re ready to add weight, you can do weighted hip raises with a barbell across your lap. I do these laying on the floor, but you can also do them with your shoulders on a bench (shown below):

barbell_hip_thrust-the-30-best-legs-exercises-of-all-timeSource

I’m telling you, you will feel this in your hammies and glutes!

TRX Single Leg Squat

I am not yet able to do a single leg squat/pistol squat on my own, so I use a TRX. Trust me, you will still feel it the next day. The TRX stabilizes you until you’re able to do a single leg squat on your own. By using it, you’ll also get the added bonus of a little arm workout ;) Here’s how to do it:

TRX_SingleLegSquat_734x1000Source

As always, make sure to keep your chest up and shoulders back throughout the exericse. If you need one cue that is good for any exercise, it’s that one. Chest up, shoulders back.

Banded Walks

I talked about this in my previous glute strength post, but banded walks are a great way to target your sometimes neglected Glute Medius. It looks easy but it is not. I remember my personal training clients hating this exercise. I should actually do it more often because it is really important for runners to have a strong, stable Glute Medius, which helps with hip strength.

Front Foot Elevated Split Squat

This exercise will target more of your quad than glute, but you’ll still activate glutes as well. It’s a great way to make the normal split squat more challenging, and works on your stabilizer muscles as well.

Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, you’ll lower yourself down as low as you can, then come up. Your front foot wil be up on a step or small box.

Dumbbell_Box_Split_SquatSource

Bulgarian Split Squats

These are my nemesis. I have a love/hate relationship with them. They are so challenging and I get so sore the next day…yet you know that means you’re getting stronger.

This exercise is the opposite of the front foot elevated. In this one, your back foot is elevated on a bench. If you don’t think you’re ready for this yet, you can do a rear foot elevated split squat first, where your rear foot is elevated on a small step or box (like the image above).

With Bulgarians, you have to make sure your knees are tracking in the right direction, and that your knee doesn’t go over your toes. You should be lowering yourself straigth down. It might take a few tries and adjustments to figure out the right position for you. Once you do figure it out, place a towel or water bottle where your foot was so you can easily get back into position after your rest.

I recommend starting off with just bodyweight, and working up to adding weights. This one really targets those glutes and is also another great exericse for runners!

Split-SquatSource

The photo source for the image above is actually a link for “7 benefits of the Bulgarian split squat,” so you should check it out! Here’s one of their 7 reasons:

If you want to end up having a booty like the famous J.Lo, you better stop neglecting the Bulgarian split squat right away. It’s the best exercise to lift your butt.

Want to make these into a workout? I recommend splitting it up into separate days. Also, make sure you pair glute/hamstring dominant exericses with quad dominant exercises. For example, here’s a workout with some of the above exercises:

  • A1: Hip raises on Swiss Ball
  • A2: Front foot elevated split squat
  • B1: Banded walks
  • B2: TRX singl leg squat
  • Continue with other exercises (arms, abs, etc.)

Which of these do you regularly include into your routine?

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08-12-2015

Why I Love 400 Repeats + Backyard Workout Video

On Monday I had a track workout that might have been the most challenging track workout I’ve ever done. It wasn’t so much that I felt like I was pushing myself to the max (like some workouts where you “go to the well”) but it was just a non-stop workout with minimal break…Thanks Coach Marc!

My mom and I did a 1.5 mile warmup, then 12x400s at 2:05 average per lap with only 25 seconds break in between, THEN 2 more 400s at 1:50ish but with a longer break, then 1 mile cooldown. We were supposed to do 4 total of the 1:50 laps but we only did 2 because I was so beat I couldn’t hold the pace any longer.

Running those 400s at 2:05 was hard I knew I wasn’t running 100% effort. The hard part was that as soon as you finished, you only had 25 seconds before you had to go off again. My sister went to be our official timer :)

I started the first few closer to 2:10, just to get a feel. I have never done 12 400s in a row…let alone with such little break…so I was kind of nervous.

This was the exact workout I needed though after a few iffy weeks of training where I just felt slow and off. I wanted this as a confidence booster. I love 400 repeats and they always make me feel fast and strong. Here are a few reasons you should incorporate them into your training too:

  • Even if you’re marathon training, 400s (or any track workout) will benefit you greatly. It will help improve your speed, strength and leg turnover. With shorter breaks like I did, you’ll challenge yourself to hold a faster than marathon pace pace (did that make sense?) so that your usual marathon pace will then feel “easier” come race day.
  • There are all sorts of variations of 400s you can do based on what you’re training for. Coach Marc is the perfect person to ask about this. You can do faster 400s with more breaks in between, slower 400s with minimal break, or a combination of both. Even many elites do combinations of paces. For example, I’ve seen videos of Brenda Martinez‘s workouts where she’ll do sets of 400s or 800s, then finish with a “tag” aka a 400 at 100% effort. Like I said, it all comes down to what you’re training for.

I slept like a baby Monday night AND last night because this workout really tired me out. No joke, I could have gone to sleep at 8 pm last night if I didn’t have stuff to do.

Anyway, I also put out a new workout video on my YouTube channel today! It’s a workout you can do right in your backyard, and it targets your lower body (with some cardio thrown in). Check it out:

Make sure to make it higher quality on YouTube by clicking 780 or 1080P :)

Let me know if you try it out!

Do you love or hate track workouts? What’s your favorite distance?

If you’re on YouTube, please subscribe to my channel! Will be adding many new videos :)

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03-24-2015

Quick Hamstring and Glute Workout

After a run, I really don’t feel like lifting. I know it’s a problem, and I should probably start splitting up my workouts (lift in the AM, run in the PM), but for now, I have been doing quick strength workouts post-run.

I did this one yesterday and really liked it. I wanted to focus on legs, especially hamstrings and glutes, which is why I named this a posterior chain workout.

We know that runners, and people who sit a lot throughout the day in general, are prone to weak glutes and hamstrings. That’s why working on your core is so important…and these two muscle groups are part of your core!

While doing lunges, squats, step-ups etc. does hit your hamstrings a bit, those mainly target quads and glutes. By not doing hamstring specific work, you’re setting yourself up for an imbalance. 

Here are a few facts about your hamstrings that I found here:

The role the hamstring plays in running is twofold:

1. when a runner’s leg is in the air advancing forward, the hamstrings control how quickly the knee extends and the hip flexes;

2. when the runner’s foot hits the ground, the hamstrings will do the reverse and flex the knee and extend the hip. This is a key distinction because the hamstring muscles must quickly transition from one role to another once the foot strikes the ground. It is during this transitional period that injuries frequently occur.

So this workout is one you’ll definitely feel throughout your back side…and I threw in the windmills for a little oblique action as well, though even those I felt in my hamstrings too! 

If you don’t have access to do cable kickbacks, you can do kneeling kickbacks (get on all fours, kick your straight leg up into the air, focus on a slow, controlled motion). 

Here’s the workout, and keep reading for video instructions if you need them!

Hamstring & Glute Workout
Cable kickbacks:

Kettlebell windmills:

Kettlebell swings *good form is important for this, so watch this whole video!*

Read more tips and cues from personal trainer Annie Brees in regards to the kettlebell swing…it’s a great exercise and if you can only do one thing after a run, I’d definitely suggest this!

I did this workout yesterday after an 800s repeat treadmill workout, and then finished up with a good stretch and sauna session. Stay tuned for another workout I’ll post on Thursday that focuses on your quads…remember, it’s all about balance!

Do you lift after a run? Or split up your workouts?

Do you prefer working on your quads or hamstrings? I love doing heavy deadlifts!

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03-11-2015

Full Body 30 Minute Workout Part 2

A few weeks ago, I posted a full body 30 minute workout. It got good feedback, so I wanted to post one more as I continue working on my fitness eBook which will be a 9-12 week program with workouts similar to this. This one is a bit more complicated than the first one in terms of exercises involved, so below the image I will explain each one and put in a video tutorial if needed. Keep reading below for my full instructions:

30 Minute Full Body Workout
 AMRAP means as many rounds as possible. So in the first set of exercises, you’re going through and repeating them until your watch hits 30 minutes. Take a 1-2 minute break, then continue onto the next set of exercises. You should get in 2-3 sets in each group of exercises.

Okay so let’s explain the exercises:

Split squats + overhead press: You’ll be doing 10 split squats per leg, with the dumbbells stacked on your shoulders. As you come up, you will press up. Similar to a squat and press. Here’s my split squat tutorial:

Pushups with shoulder taps: You do a normal pushup, and when you come up you tap each shoulder with the opposite hand. Sounds easy but trust me, it makes this exercise even harder.

Side to side burpees: Usual burpees but instead of jumping straight back, you jump out to one side, jump in and up, then jump out to the other side.

Single leg deadlift + row: This is a typical single leg deadlift with a dumbbell, but when you get into the bottom part of the exercise (when your back leg is up), you will do a single arm row, then come back to standing and repeat. This is a great exercise for runners because you’re working on your hamstring and glute strength AND balance.

Tricep dips with leg raised: You will do 10 tricep dips with one leg raised straight out in front of you, then switch legs and do 10. You can do this on the floor or with your hands behind you on a bench to make it more challenging.

Donkey kicks: Another one that looks easy but is a killer cardio exercise and you’ll feel the shoulder burn! You don’t need to have your arms elevated like she does, but it’s a good modification if you need it to be a bit easier for you. If your wrists are an issue, hold dumbbells in your hands so your wrists are in a more neutral position.

Curtsy lunge + kick: Pretty self explanatory. Do a curtsy lunge then as you come up kick your leg out. Do 10 on each side then switch. You can add weight to this exercise to make it harder.

Half and half bicep curls: Start with the dumbbells up by your shoulders (elbows bent), lower half way, then bring back up. Do this 10 times. THEN, start with the dumbbells down (elbows straight), curl up half way and lower 10 times.

Commando burpees: Normal burpees but when you get down on the ground, you will go from on your hands to plank position, then back up.

Side plank with DB reach under: Get into side plank position, then with the dumbbell, reach under yourself, then bring the dumbbell up towards the ceiling. A bit hard to explain:

Dumbbell pull-over: This is a good lat workout (sides of your back) and a core workout. Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle with feet up in the air. As you drop the weight behind you, focus on engaging your core and pressing your lower back into the floor. Here she demonstrates the pull-over portion of the exercise. With your feet elevated it makes it more of a core exercise.

Reverse plank: Instead of facing the floor you’re facing the ceiling. Hold it. You’ll feel it in your hamstrings, glutes and core. Bring it down to your elbows to make it more challenging.

I know that’s a lot of YouTube videos but I wanted to make sure you knew how to do each exercise and it wasn’t confusing! This is a full body workout that will have you sweating for sure…and it’s only 30 minutes! 

If you try it out, please let me know! I loved hearing back from people about their thoughts on the previous workout I posted. Stay tuned for my eBook which will have a workout plan with workouts like these so you can get fit in just 30 minutes per day :)

Do you add in cardio to your strength routines, or do them separately?

What are your favorite cardio exercises in a circuit routine? I love to hate burpees!

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03-03-2015

5 Mile Treadmill Workout

I’ve been doing this treadmill workout recently because I cannot do steady pace runs on the “dreadmill” for the life of me. I GET SO BORED. Props to all you training for a spring marathon on the treadmill. 5 miles is about my limit.

So I made up an interval type run that focused on speed with some hills thrown in, which really helps pass the time. I actually had a really good 4 mile treadmill run yesterday thanks to this workout.

Anyway, here’s my 5 mile treadmill workout:

5 Mile Treadmill Workout
Something I like to do on the hill intervals is speed up for 15 seconds at the end. So if I’m running 45 seconds at 7.0 speed, in the last few seconds I’ll lower the incline back down but then crank it up to around 7.5 and run that for 15 seconds before I take that one minute break. I think that helps with feeling stronger on hills in races, because you’ll be trained to speed up at the top once it flattens out as opposed to slowing down or walking.

You can play around with how many of those 2 minute intervals you want to do or at what pace. Same with the hills. With the hill intervals, just pick something you can hold for 1 minute for the first one (challenging but not TOO challenging), and that last interval should really be killer for 30 seconds.

Let me know if you try this out, I always like hearing feedback!

What types of treadmill workouts do you do? Are you able to just do steady state runs?

Some of you have suggested podcasts instead of music…if you listen to podcasts please leave me some suggestions!

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03-02-2015

Week 9/52 of Training – 2015 + Workout Playlist 14

Last week’s training wasn’t the best so I’m not even going to go through day by day haha. I ran twice. It was just a busy week and the weekend was also packed, so it just didn’t happen. Oh well, this week will be better!

I did a track workout (well, on the treadmill) Tuesday, which was 6×400 meters at 8.2 (7:19 pace). This is slowly getting a bit easier…it’s still super challenging but the weird thing is that now when I run at my 5K race pace (8:20ish) that feels so much slower! I guess that’s a good thing :) I’m running a 5K on March 14 so we’ll see what kind of shape I’m in.

I also did a tempo workout on Thursday for 5 miles. I’ll be sharing that treadmill workout this week because it really helps the time go by faster. It’s a mix of intervals and hill runs. 

Anyway, today I wanted to share a new workout playlist! I’ve been obsessed with “Honey, I’m Good” by Andy Grammer. I probably play it once every day lol. Listen to it! It’s so catchy. The rest of my picks are typical top 40 songs, but those are the ones that pump me up the most during runs.

newplaylist14

Check out this dance crew dancing to 7/11. I wish I had moves like that! One of my 2015 goals is to take a hip hop dance class…we’ll see how that turns out ;)

What songs are on your current playlist? Please share in the comments so I can add it to mine!

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02-04-2015

No Excuses, Full Body 30 Minute Workout

I’ve been experimenting with and creating my own strength workouts lately. I wanted something my mom and I could do 3 times a week for 30 minutes. This will be perfect for when we start running more and don’t feel like spending an hour or more at the gym. I’m planning on creating an ebook of these workouts, along with video how-tos for the exercises. You do a different, full-body workout 3 times per week for 4 weeks before the plan changes. Let me tell ya…I have been feeling sore lately!

This type of workout is different for me because I’ve always focused on lifting heavier and not tracking my rest periods. On upper body days I remember feeling like I hadn’t really worked out at all.

This workout is 30 minutes…which sounds short, but you’ll be dripping in sweat like I have been. You only need a set of dumbbells. You get a 1 minute break in between each group of exercises before moving on to the next. You’ll hit every major muscle group and it includes cardio/plyo moves. 

I’ll explain more below:

30 Minute Total Body Workout
Although I say “AMRAP” I don’t mean that you should be flying through each thing trying to get as many reps as possible. Go through each exercise as you would in any normal workout…the key thing is focusing on your form.

I have been using 10 pound dumbbells for my workouts, though I’d suggest a lighter pair and a heavier pair. For example, you might need heavier weights for DB (dumbbell) squats.

Each week, you should be improving. So the first week I could only do 2 rounds of the first group, then the second week I got 2 rounds + the first exercise done. If you feel you can up your weights the next week, do so. You should be struggling for those last few reps, not blowing through each exercise.

Hmm…trying to think of what else to tell you about this workout…I know once I click publish I’m going to remember stuff!

With 1 minute breaks after each group, it’s a 28 minute workout. If you need longer than a 1 minute break, take it, and see if the following week you can cut down your rest time. 

When I wrote up my workouts, I figured, this won’t be that hard…I’ve lifted with barbells before, psh, lunges with dumbbells is a piece of cake! Nope, I was dripping with sweat and so sore the next day. Having each round be timed is what really challenged me, and has helped me lose 5 lbs in the 2 weeks I’ve been following my plan.

This is an example of what the workouts in my future ebook will be like…now I just have to sit down and write it/create videos! :)

Edited to add: I’m linking this post up to the Wild Workout Wednesday link-up. If you have a workout to share, join in!

If you try this, please leave a comment or tweet me with your feedback, I’d love to hear it as I work on creating more workouts.

What’s your favorite way to lift weights? Slow and heavy? Circuit style? Or mix it up?

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01-21-2015

Do-Anywhere Leg Workout For Runners

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been doing more circuit based workouts recently, which include single leg movements and plyometric movements. As I was working out, I thought, these exercises are perfect for runners. 

As runners, we spend most of our time on one leg…so it makes sense to do single leg training. I love step-ups, lunges, single leg hip raises, etc. and include those in my own training plans I make for my cross country team.

Before I get into the workout, here is one of my favorite exercises: reverse lunge into single leg deadlift. It’s working on your hip stabilizing muscles, core, hamstrings, glutes and quads…what more can you ask for?? It’s okay if you’re wobbly (like I am in this video). Start with no weights then add in dumbbells.

 

A video posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


Cues:

  • Keep your chest up and shoulders back throughout the movement.
  • When you go into the deadlift, hinge at your hips and bring your back leg up as high as you can as you squeeze your glutes.
  • When you’re not using weights, reach out in front of you a bit with your hands. Place a low box in front of you and touch that with your fingers, then come back up and into reverse lunge. When you start using dumbbells, lower dumbbells straight down (not out in front) so you’re not placing pressure on your lower back.

It’s a bit challenging, especially for someone with lack of balance like me, but it really is a great exercise for runners to work on!

And here is my do-anywhere leg workout for runners:

Leg Workout For Runners
So you do the first group of exercises for 5 minutes straight, take a break, then repeat. Then move onto the next set. Or you could do the first group, break, second group, break, and go back to the first group.

With reverse lunge with knee raise I mean step back into a lunge, and when you step back forward left your knee up so it’s at a 90 degree angle, balance for a second, then go back into reverse lunge. Let’s work on our balance people! :)

What are your favorite leg exercises you can do anywhere? Or balance exercises…because I need those!

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01-05-2015

20 Minute Treadmill Workout

Today has not started the way I had intended it to. I was supposed to take a 9:15 am HIIT class at the gym, but then got no sleep last night so decided to let myself sleep in instead. Hence, the late blog post!

Have you ever had those nights where you toss and turn and wake up every hour? They’re the worst. I think it’s because I went to bed earlier last night to start getting my body used to normal schedule again before I start work next Monday. Better now than on Sunday I suppose!

Anyway, I wanted to share a treadmill workout I’ve been doing lately. It can be 20-30 minutes, it really depends on you. It’s a mix of a tempo type run and high intensity intervals.

20 Minute Treadmill Workout
I hate running on the treadmill. I can’t do steady state runs, so I try to create interval workouts in order to pass the time faster. If you want to make this workout longer, you can do a longer warm up run or cool down run (I usually do a cool down jog of about a 1/2 mile), or you can add to the intervals. For example, instead of stopping at 7.2, you could keep going until 8.0. I repeat the yellow portion five times, but you could do more or less depending on how you feel.

If these speeds aren’t right for you, adjust them to whatever level you’re at. Each week, I’ve been adding a little speed, similar to how each week you may add more weight to your lifting routine. I started at 9.0 for the sprints and am now at 9.5!

If you have a treadmill interval workout, please share it with me! Tweet me or leave a comment. I need one that will get me to about 5-6 miles…so I’m open to ideas :)

Do you run on the treadmill in the winter? How do you not get bored??

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12-03-2014

Cardio Acceleration Workout

Yesterday I was going to run on the treadmill then do a strength workout. Well, as I’m driving to the gym I realize I forgot a sports bra. The worst! There’s no way I can run without one, so while my mom ran 2 miles as her warm-up I just foam rolled and did some stretching. I decided to add cardio into my strength workout, and came up with this workout below:

cardio-strength-workout
I wanted to mainly focus on legs, but did some upper body as well with the presses focusing on shoulders and the rows on my back. I’ve never added in cardio while lifting – I typically just like to lift and do cardio separately…boy, was this killer! I was dripping in sweat. 

Doing intervals of cardio in between lifts is called “cardio accelerations.” According to Men’s Fit Club:

A study done at UCLA (University of California) showed that cardio acceleration delivers better blood flow and gives you a much better pump and also has shown to increase the rate of recovery because of the addition nutrients and oxygen pumped into the muscles. 

Cardio acceleration intervals also create that afterburn everyone always talks about. If you’re not keen on doing treadmill intervals or hill sprints as “HIIT,” then this type of workout is perfect for you!

The step-ups were done on a bench with no added weight – just do them as fast as you can. Harder than it sounds! For the last round, where I wrote cardio of your choice, I did stair sprints. 

I think I am going to start doing this type of workout more often, since I think it will have a benefit for me as a runner as well. Not only will I be burning extra calories, I’ll be doing plyometric/explosive type movements as cardio, which will make me a stronger runner.

Have you added in cardio intervals to your strength workouts? What’s your favorite way? I hate mountain climbers!!

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