Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Body Bar Challenge by Heather Hughes

Body Bars are a staple in all of my muscle conditioning, interval and bootcamp classes. I love their versatility and my participants enjoy the challenge that they bring to our workouts!

I put three of my Power Sculpt pros through this tough Body Bar session and they did amazing! Elisa, Jacqui and Lauren got a full body workout that left them feeling strong, lean and balanced!

We used 12lb and 15lb Body Bars however you may feel it best to use heavier, lighter or if available, a mix of weights to complement your current fitness level. Each exercise should be performed with excellent form for 1 minute without rest (beginners, take breaks as necessary). Those more advanced will end up completing more repetitions and beginners will end up finishing fewer – either way, we are all working hard for 60 seconds! Remember…the key is to keep your form!

WARM-UP: 

  • 3-5 minutes of aerobic activity such as walking, jogging, cycling, elliptical, etc.
    • An alternative would be a Body Bar warm-up completing squats, stationary lunges, plie squats and squat knee-lifts using the Body Bar tall for balance.
  • Stretch all major muscle groups including quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps and neck.

WORKOUT

Squat Side-to-Side

FORM: With the ball tall (upright), step slightly to the right and squat back into heels, press back up to stand and repeat squat on the left side.

Upright Rows

FORM: Stand holding the bar horizontal, a little narrowed that shoulder-width. Pull the bar up upwards, keeping the elbows even, or slightly higher, than wrists.

Side Lunge (right)

FORM: With the bar behind your back (but not on your neck) take feet out extra wide with toes pointing forward. Keep the left leg straight and lunge/squat back into right heel. Make sure not to lean to the side – the movement is backwards. Press back up to wide stance.

Curtsy Lunge (right)

FORM: Place the bar tall (upright) and step your left leg all the way past your right.  Right foot remains flat with toes pointing forward and left foot is angled to the left with heel popped up. Bend both knees keeping weight in right heel as you extend back up.

Bicep Curl

FORM:  Standing with feet hip-width apart, knees soft and tailbone tucked under, underhand grab the bar about even with your shoulders.  Curl the bar up all the way then lower remaining in control and never swinging.

*REPEAT Side Lunge & Curtsy on left

Overhead Shoulder Press

FORM: Standing with feet hip-width apart, knees soft and tailbone tucked under, overhand grab the bar so your pointer-finger is even with your shoulders.  Starting with the bar at approximately shoulder-height press it upward, keeping the bar slightly in front of you then gently lowering.

Squat Pops

FORM: With the bar tall (upright), bend down into your lowest squat position.  Make sure to keep weight in your heels and to use the bar only for balance.  Staying at that lowest point, start to ‘pop’ of the floor – perform mini-bends or pulses where you slightly leave the ground.  An alternative would be to just perform the low-impact pulsing motion.

Hamstring Curl (right)

FORM:  With the bar tall (upright) and holding it with only your left hand, walk all the way in front of the bar so your left arm is extended out to the left side (bar on an angle) and your right ankle is even with the bottom of the bar.  Keeping your left arm straight (don’t try to pull the bar up with your arm), “grab” the bar with your right ankle, leaning forward slightly.  Curl the bar up towards your glutes and back down without touching the floor.

Overhead Tricep Press

FORM: Stand tall with soft knees and tailbone tucked under.  Grab the bar inside shoulder-width and press above head.  Keeping elbows steady and tucked closely in towards your head, lower the bar about halfway down behind you then press back up to vertical.

REPEAT Hamstring Curl on left

Jump Tap

FORM: Stand with the bar tall (upright). Squat down (back into heels) and as you rise up, jump into the air and tap feet together.  Land low and softly in back in your squat. A low-impact alternative would be regular squats or squat pulses.

Plie with Upright Row

FORM: Stand wide with toe pointing out on a diagonal and hold bar low by thighs with hands shoulder width apart. Keeping a tall back, plie squat so at the bottom your knees are over your heels.  As you lower, perform an Upright Row (see form above).

Right Lunge with Overhead Tricep Press

FORM: Stand with right foot in front and back (left) heel popped off the floor (both feet facing forward).  Grab the bar inside shoulder-width and press above head. Lunge straight down (not forward) keeping a tall back and right knee always over your right ankle. As you lower perform an Overhead Tricep Press (see form above).

Football Run

FORM: With the bar tall (upright) stand behind it in a semi-squat. Keeping low run as fast as you can (think ‘quick feet’).

REPEAT Lunge with Overhead Tricep Press on left

Dips

FORM:  Sit on your mat with the bar across your lap.  Hands on the mat next to you, fingers pointed at heels.  Lift body off the floor and keeping it elevated, bend elbows lowering you up and down.

Seated Twists

FORM: In a seated position, recline backwards with a flat back until you feel a challenge but do not lose your form. Holding the bar with your hands, slightly twist to one side, back to the middle and then to the other side.  This should be done slowly and the movement should be small.  To make it easier, come up higher in your recline and/or perform without the bar.

Bench Press

FORM: Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat.  Hold the bar straight up towards the ceiling the bending elbows, lower it down towards chest.

Crunch

FORM: Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat.  Hold the bar straight up towards the ceiling.  Keeping the bar vertical crunch up so your shoulder blades lift off the mat then gently lower.

Push-Ups

FORM:  Place hands a little wider than your shoulders and come to your toes or knees facing your mat. Keeping a straight line from head to toes, bend elbows and lower down then press back up to your starting point.

Plank

FORM: Lying prone (face-down) place forearms on the mat underneath your shoulders. Lift up everything so you are just on your toes and hold a horizontal

STRETCH:

  • Take 5-7 minutes to stretch out all of your major muscle groups including quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps and neck.

For more information about Heather, please visit the following:

Website: www.powersculptfitness.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/powersculptfitness

Twitter: @PowerSculpt

Blog: www.powersculptfitness.com/blog.php

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Happy Mother’s Day Workout by Heather Hughes

The “I’m in my Jeans and have a Baby Running Around” Workout

So you don’t have any time to put on workout clothes and maybe you have a kid or two running around…

GOOD NEWS! You can still work out!

Even if you don’t have a child, this routine is super quick, convenient and easy – just substitute weights for the cute baby (I’m a little biased).

It’s just enough of a workout to make a difference, however you aren’t going to get super sweaty (well I guess it depends on how big of a kid you lift 🙂

For more of a challenge, try doing it 2 times a day and again, no kid…no problem – just use some medium sized dumbbells!

*If you just had a baby make sure you have clearance to exercise and only lift a child in any capacity if they are in good health, have excellent head control, etc.
*Make sure you are capable of lifting them correctly with good form, the baby is comfortable and enjoys it and if there is any doubt DON’T DO IT!
*Modified you can do any of this without resistance or dumbbells – babies make good spectators too 🙂

Regular Squat – 20 reps
*FORM: Sit weight into heels, knees over ankles and engage core – especially since you are holding weight out in front of you

Plie Squat – 20 reps
*FORM: Legs wide with toes pointing at corners, back tall bend knees so they stay over ankles – modified you can hold the baby in a seated position with hands underneath just make sure you always have a good grip!

Bicep Curl – 15-20 reps
*FORM: Good posture with soft knees and hips underneath you – make sure baby is comfortable

Lunge – 20 reps right leg then 20 reps left leg
*FORM: Legs wide with front knee over heel at bottom and rear heel always lifted – modified baby can rest on front thigh

Kneeling Shoulder Press – 15-20 reps
*FORM: Kneel tall with core engaged, lift baby up – make sure baby has not just eaten

Airplane Ab Crunch – 20-30 reps
*FORM: Always keep hands on baby! Knees bent at 90 degrees, crunch up to baby lifting shoulder blades then return to ground

Bench Press – 15-20 reps
*FORM: Lay flat and lift baby up and down over chest – hold baby securely but comfortably and watch out for drool!

Push-Ups – 15 reps
*FORM: Regular push-ups on toes or knees – my baby tried to escape but maybe yours will lay still for little kiss in between every rep 🙂

Plank – hold for 60 seconds (or in my case…until they squirm away!)
*FORM: On elbows and toes with a flat back – make sure not fall onto baby!

Body Bar Monday Move : Lower Body by Heather Hughes

Heather Hughes, our May Creative Trainer, presents a great lower body routine. This segment is taken from her original Ultimate Body Bar Workout which has a complete full body workout.

When performing any exercise, note your form and posture.  This will ensure a more effective workout and prevent injuries.

WARM-UP
Squats
20 reps then 10 pulses
FORM: Position bar tall in front of you, squat with weight into heels and knees over ankles and good posture

Squat rear leg lift
20 reps total then pulse squat for 10
FORM: Same as above but at the top add a straight leg lift backwards (alternate)

Squat pops
20 reps
FORM: Hold the bottom of a squat and slightly ‘pop’ off the floor landing softly in heels

Rt stationary lunge – add rear knee lift
FORM: Stand with bar upright on your left side, right foot even with the bar. Back leg way behind you with heels off floor. Both feet facing directly to the front. Lower down by bending both knees, keeping from knee over front heel. When adding the knee lift, bring rear knee up towards chest as you stand.
10 stationary lunges, 10 lunge with rear knee lift then 10 pulses

Plie Squats
20 reps, 10 pulses, 10 alternating heel lifts, 10 pulses with both heels off the floor
FORM: Stand with bar tall in front of you and legs wide, toes pointing out at corners. Keep a straight posture and knees over heels as you squat.

Lt stationary lunge – add rear knee lift
10 stationary lunges, 10 lunge with rear knee lift then 10 pulses
FORM: Stand with bar upright on your right side, left foot even with the bar. Back leg way behind you with heels off floor. Both feet facing directly to the front. Lower down by bending both knees, keeping from knee over front heel. When adding the knee lift, bring rear knee up towards chest as you stand.

For more information about Heather, please visit the following:

Website: www.powersculptfitness.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/powersculptfitness Twitter: @PowerSculpt

Blog: www.powersculptfitness.com/blog.php

Heather Hughe’s Body Bar Flex Routine

BODY BAR FLEX

The Body Bar Flex is a fun, innovative piece of equipment that has been a great addition to my classes and personal training. The Body Bar Flex is super lightweight, adaptable to any fitness level and can be deceptively challenging! I love how easy it is to store and that I can easily take it with my on the go – which is great for in-home training and outdoor bootcamps.  My clients feel successful when using the Body Bar Flex because there are enjoying their exercises and how creative their routine is!

Here is one of my most popular Body Bar Flex workouts where I utilize superset and combination training within mini-circuits to keep your heart rate elevated as you strengthen and tone every major muscle group!

WARM-UP

  • 3-5 minutes of aerobic activity such as walking, jogging, cycling, elliptical, etc.
    • An alternative would be a Body Bar warm-up completing squats, stationary lunges, plie squats and squat knee-lifts using the Body Bar Flex tall for balance.
  • Stretch all major muscle groups including quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps and neck

CIRCUIT 1

*Perform 15-20 reps of each exercise

Plie Squat with Press

FORM: Stand in a wide stance with toes turned out holding the bar at the ends behind your back. Keeping a tall back, plie squat down and press the bar in and forward.

Plie Squat with Press


Squat Jump Tap

FORM: Stand with the bar tall (upright). Squat down (back into heels) and as you rise up, jump into the air and tap feet together. Land low and softly in back in your squat. A low-impact alternative would be regular squats or squat pulses

Squat Jump


Lying Inner Thigh

FORM: Lie on your back with knees bent at about 90 degrees. With the help of your hands, curve the bar into a ‘rainbow’ and place (ends down) between knees. Keeping hold of the bar with your hands, squeeze the arc inward with your thighs and gentle release back to the original bend.

Lying Inner Thigh


CIRCUIT 2

*Perform 15-20 reps of each exercise

 Seated Row

FORM: Sitting on a chair or higher step, place both feet together on top of the middle of the bar.  With a flat back bend forward and grab the ends of the bar. Remaining low. Lift the bar upward bringing shoulder blades together.

Seated Row


Lunge with Press

FORM: Stand with right foot in front and back (left) heel popped off the floor (both feet facing forward). Grab the bar on the ends and hold it out in front of your forehead. Lunge straight down (not forward) keeping a tall back and right knee always over your right ankle. As you lunge bend the bar into a ‘rainbow’.

Lunge with Press

*Repeat on the left leg*

Push-Ups

FORM: Place hands a little wider than your shoulders and come to your toes or knees facing your mat. Keeping a straight line from head to toes, bend elbows and lower down then press back up to your starting point.

Push Ups

CIRCUIT 3

*Perform 15-20 reps of each exercise

 

Squat with Curl

FORM: Stand tall holding the bar at either side. Squat back into heels so your knees remain over your ankles while curling the bar upward (into a “U”).

Squat with Curl

Seated Tricep Press

FORM: Sitting in a chair or high step, place the bar tall on your right side.  Stabilize the bar by holding it with your left hand.  Place your right hand at the top of the bar and keeping upright posture, bend/curve the bar forward.

Seated Tricep Press

*Repeat on the left arm*

Dips

FORM: Sit on your chair/step/mat with your hands on the mat next to you, fingers pointed at heels. Lift body off the floor and keeping it elevated, bend elbows lowering you up and down.

Dips

CIRCUIT 4

*Perform 20-30 reps of each exercise

Squat with Knee/Twist

FORM: With the bar behind your shoulders (not on your neck), squat back into heels keeping your knees over your ankles. As you stand, lift your left knee and twist your right shoulder towards it (remaining tall). Squat back down and next time you lift up, switch sides.

Squat with Knee/Twist

Mountain Climbers

FORM: Come to a plank position – horizontal on hands and toes.  Bring one knee directly forward, almost even with your hands then quickly switch to the other knee.  Be sure not to drag your feet, keep your hips down and core engaged. Go for speed!

Mountain Climbers

Supermans

FORM: Place the bar on the floor in front of you as you lie face down. Grab the bar with your hands then rest your forehead on the bar/forearms. Keeping your head down and neck in line with your spine, lift your upper and lower body off of the mat.  To make it easier, just lift the upper body.

Supermans

CIRCUIT 5

*Perform 20-30 reps of each exercise

Seated Twist

FORM: In a seated position, recline backwards with a flat back until you feel a challenge but do not lose your form. Holding the bar with your hands and bend it into a ‘rainbow’. Twist slightly to one side, back to the middle and then to the other side. This should be done slowly and the movement should be small. To make it easier, come up higher in your recline and/or perform without the bar press.

Seated Twist

Seated Twist

Crunch & Press

FORM: Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Hold the bar with both hands against your thighs and as you crunch up so your shoulder blades lift off the mat, press the ends of the bar away from you. As you gently lower, return the bar to the straight position.

Crunch and Press

Oblique Crunch
FORM: Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Hold the bar with both hands behind your shoulders.  Crunch up to one side, lifting through the opposite shoulder, and gently curving the bar.  Lower back down and releasing the bar curve then repeating on the other side.

Oblique Crunch

Scissors

FORM: Lay on your back holding the bar with both hands pressed into a ‘rainbow.’ Crunch up so your head, neck and shoulders are off the floor and lift one straight leg directly vertical while the other straight leg hovers over the floor. Keeping the bar always curved, ‘scissor’/switch your legs.

Scissors

STRETCH

  • Take 5-7 minutes to stretch out all of your major muscle groups including quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps and neck.

**BONUS CHALLENGES**

-Repeat each circuit 2-3 times then move on to the next circuit

-Repeat the entire routine 2-3 times

-Combine with another regular Body Bar workout

-Complete half of your cardio session, perform the Body Bar Flex workout then complete the second half of your cardio session

For more information about Heather, please visit the following:

Website: www.powersculptfitness.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/powersculptfitness Twitter: @PowerSculpt

Blog: www.powersculptfitness.com/blog.php

Body Bar Creative Trainer of the Month : Heather Hughes

Body Bar is proud to announce their May Creative Trainer of the month; Heather Hughes.  She has provided us workouts in the past and this time has provided us with some great routines that we will post throughout May.  First, we would like you all to get to know Heather a little better and why she uses the Body Bar and Body Bar FLEX in the gym, at home and for personal training.

HEATHER’S BIO:

As one of Chicago’s most popular fitness professionals, Heather Hughes is an innovator of group exercise with her effective & results-driven formats!  Power Sculpt Fitness™ is an extension of her unbelievable workouts!

EXPERIENCED

Heather has been a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and exercise physiologist since 1997.

Having worked at some of Chicago’s premier fitness facilities, teaching and training thousands of participants, she has now taken her vast experience and knowledge and created the ultimate body sculpting class!

APPROACHABLE

She believes that participants at every level should feel welcomed in group fitness classes!

Her unique ability to challenge the most advanced participant, while simultaneously modifying movements for beginners, is what makes her classes safeeffective and popular.

Heather has always specialized in creating dynamic and effective workouts that can be modified for every fitness level.

She has worked with many different clients and specializes in developing lean and defined bodies with her effective workout method.

EDUCATION

In addition to her bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and master’s degree in health and physical education, Heather is an ACSM and ACE Certified Personal Trainer/Group Fitness Instructor and holds several other advanced specialty certifications.

She also is health and physical education instructor in the School of Education at DePaul University instructing undergraduate courses such as The School Health Program, Fitness and Aerobics.

PROVEN

Heather has changed countless physiques over the years and instructs hundreds of participants and clients every week!

As a former collegiate gymnast she still enjoys a little competition and in her “free time” participates in road races and triathlons.

Recently, Heather became a lululemon ambassador for their Halsted store in Chicago!

HEATHER’S REVIEW OF THE BODY BAR FLEX

“My clients thought that it was fun and deceptively challenging. When they went to pick the bars up they expected a “real” Body Bar and when it was so light they figured the exercises would be super easy.  They loved the combo movements – lunge/press, squat/curl, etc. Some movements are definitely more challenging to do correctly like the inner thigh squeeze, tricep press and even the row – form and alignment – but once they got the hang of it, they enjoyed those ones too.  I think there would be a lot of Pilates and yoga-inspired movements that could be done with the Flex bars and I plan on exploring those within my ‘Fusion Sculpt’ format (yoga with resistance intervals). My kids also like to use the Flex bar and it allows them to do a lot of exercises that they obviously would never be able to do since they are young. I’d love to figure out a way to pair the Flex with resistance tubing or slight “inertia’ movement!”

HEATHER’S REVIEW OF THE ORIGINAL BODY BAR

“I LOVE using Body Bars in my classes and with my clients because they are so versatile, comfortable to use and help take my classes and sessions to the next level! I utilize Body Bars in my Kickbox Interval & Bootcamp formats as stations or strength intervals because the bars are super easy to grab and get started – it never disrupts the flow of my class and I can do a million exercises with them! In my strength formats Body Bars have always been a staple piece of equipment! My classes love starting off their warm-up using the bar tall to get their form ready for the session ahead and before you know it, we are on to squats with the bar on their backs, bicep curls, shoulder presses with rotation and more! Body Bars integrate seamlessly into all of my group fitness formats and when I use them in one-on-one training sessions, they are even more versatile.  The variety of exercises and portability of the bars makes them an essential training tool.  Body Bars make my participants and clients feel strong, powerful and ready to take their workout to the next level!”

 

For more information about Heather, please visit the following:

Website: www.powersculptfitness.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/powersculptfitness Twitter: @PowerSculpt

Blog: www.powersculptfitness.com/blog.php