Come Together Now: THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT

12 Mar

Dearest Readers,

You have been with me for many a week. So it’s time to do a lil’ synthesizing. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: We’re putting all of the exercises together to create a full workout!!! (try to contain your squeals of childish joy). I won’t be providing explanations, because they are in my past posts, so if you are confused …. look to my links for further instruction!

Cardio: Every workout should start with a bit o’ cardio. I didn’t really discuss it in my blog, so I would suggest either running a mile or two outside or if it’s bad out, run the stairs of your dorm. For at least 10 minutes.

Legs: Not that you have them warmed up, let’s do some leg-action.

Lunges (up and down the hall…everybody will love you for it for sure)

booty booty booty booty rocking everywhere

Calf Raises (20 straight forward, 20 with toes pointed out, 20 with toes pointed in)

I'm raisin' those calves

Squats (25 in place) (this also works your hiney)

booty booty booty booty rocking everywhere

Arms: Now that we have conquered the legs. Lets work the overall arms, biceps, and triceps.

Pec Flys (Do 15 reps … then do them again)

Pec flyin'

Regular curls (15 reps) …. then do regular curls with your arms slightly out (15 reps)

regular curls (with a face of intensity)

Handshake curls (15 reps)

Straight up curling

NOW, do all of the bicep exercises again. Moving on to triceps.

Classic Tricep (20 reps)

The classic tri-ness

Kickbacks (15 reps)

Let's kick it back!

NOW, do all of the tricep exercises again.

Abs: The best of it (and the worst of it). Let’s do this. I have a million ab workouts on here (okay not a million but at least 4)…we’ll start with the whole Series of 5 (remember to keep your head and shoulders off the ground for this) move to the lower and upper abs, then obliques, and end with planks.

Single leg stretch (8-10)

1

Double leg stretch (8-10)

2

Single straight leg stretch (8-10)

3

Double straight leg stretch (8-10)

4

Criss Cross/Bicycles (8-10 sets)

5

Now classic ab stuff.

Lever Crunches (15-20)

lever crunching (look how happy I am!)

Reverse Crunches (15-20)

reverse crunching

Then a little bit of oblique. Rows (15-20)

row-ing on the river (look at that face of enthusiasm....it's totes genuine)

Then end with the planks. Regular plank (hold for one minute)

plank (my back is not as straight as it should be)

Side plank (hold for 30 seconds per side…push it, you’re almost done!)

Side planks (Yayzzzz)

YOU’RE DONE…..YOU’VE JUST BEEN JESSIE-ED (I’m sure this phrase will soon catch on, and all of the cool kids will be saying it.)

Thanks so much for reading my bloggy this quarter (special thanks goes out to my mom for all of her help and comments…she is the best!) and thanks to Thread for letting me write it …please leave some comments….has this blog helped? have you done any of these exercises? I love you all!

Done-ily,

The Toned Toothpick Teacher (T3….for the last time)

 

Back Back Back it Up: Best Back Workouts

9 Mar

Dearest Readers,

So we’ve spent oodles of time on the abs, but what about the back. It is so unloved. Often times when we work the front we forget to work the back … which is silly, because it’s necessary to strike a balance. It is critical to how you hold yourself and your overall core strength.

Lower Back Lifts: Lay on the ground, stomach down, and put your hands behind your head. Lift the upper half of your body (your shoulders, neck and head) off the ground, almost like your crunching but with the back of your head, and lower it back down. Make sure you are not straining your neck with these, use your back. Do about 20 of these.

lower back lift

Swimming: Laying stomach-down again, stick your arms straight out in front of you  and have your feet shoulder width apart. Start slowly. Lift your right arm and your left leg. Then lift your left arm and right leg. When you lift make sure that you are not only lifting but also pulling both forward and backward with your legs and arms. Start to speed this up, so that you no longer touch the ground as you alternate (keep your arms and legs a few inces from the ground at all times), so that eventually you look like you are awkwardly swimming across the floor. Try to sustain for one minute at a high speed.

right arm left leg

left arm right leg

swimming

Tabletop: I made this name up totally, because I have no idea what this exercise is called. Bring yourself up on your arms and knees (so that your back is like a tabletop….get it? heh? heh?). Make sure your back is flat not curving up or down. Now lift up your right arm and left leg so that they are both parallel to the ground. Again, be sure that you are pulling yourself in both directions as well as lifting. Hold this side for 30 seconds. Then do your left arm and right leg. To add a challenge, add a crunch element (working the abs at the same time? bonus!). Instead of just lowering your opposite hand/leg combo bring your elbow and knee into meet each other (make sure you are using your abs here) and then don’t set them down bring them back out so they parallel to the floor again. Do 20 of these crunches on both sides.

left arm right leg

right arm left leg

crunching in

Now you are like a properly made pancake: hot on both sides (get it … you’re hot because you’re working out? tee hee…). I only have one more blog post left (i think), which is so sad :( I am going to do the ultimate T3 workout (aka all of my favorite exercises from all the past posts in one to create the ultimate workout). So post a comment with your favorite workout, and I will include it in my final post!

Thanks for sticking with me readers, and look for my post this Friday!! Woot Woot.

Back-ily,

the Toned Toothpick Teacher (T3)

Series of 5: The Best Quick Strengthening

5 Mar

Dearest Readers,

If you aren’t already a Pilates lover thanks to my undying adoration in previous blog posts … you will be now. My best friend, the dancer scientist, is in intermediate pilates and according to her instructor the best quick strengthening exercise from Pilates is the series of 5. It’ll make your powerhouse (your core muscles) cry, which is always the goal with exercising on the go. Sorry these pictures are blurry….hahaha….and I promise I am wearing shorts as opposed to just tights.

For the entire Series of 5 try to keep your shoulders and neck off of the ground. It kills. Do it!

Single Leg Stretch: This is a pleasant beginning that doesn’t kill your abs. With Pilates, you always put your chin to your chest (as opposed to a tennis ball sized space between your chin and your chest). So lay on the ground (preferably a carpet), bring your chin to your chest and your shoulders off the ground and pull one leg into your chest. Then alternate. Hand position is critical: put your outside arm on your ankle and your inside arm on your knee. Do 8 to 10 sets.

Single leg stretchin'

Double Leg Stretch: Remember to keep your shoulders and neck off the ground. Bring your hands and both knees into your chest then extend your legs and arms so that you are stretching from one side of the room to the other. Then circle your arms around as you pull your legs back into the original ball position. Do 8-10 of these.

double leg stretch start

double leg stretch middle

double leg stretch end

Straight Leg Stretch: Keep your shoulders and neck off the ground. Keep your legs off the ground by about 6 inches. Keeping your leg straight pull one leg into your chest and pulse twice. Then lower that one as you bring the other to your chest and pulse twice. Remember when you lower your legs, only lower them to 6 inches above the ground. 8 to 10 sets.

straight leg stretch

Leg Lowers: I covered this in another blog post, but in a different way, so but put both legs up straight towards the ceiling. Lower in 3 seconds and then raise in 1. Do 8 to 10 sets.

leg lower

Bicycles: These are called the criss-cross in Pilates speak. Remember, put your elbows behind your head and bring your opposite elbow to your opposite knee. As opposed to normal bicycles, in pilates you have to make sure that when you extend your leg, you extend them to the same point (about a foot off the ground). Emphasize the twist and bringing your back elbow really far behind you.

bicycles/criss cross

Do not stop during the series of 5 and your abs will cry. CRY. So that means you are doing it right. I hope this helps your ab strength!! I only have a few posts left, so let me know what you would like to see!

5-ily,

The Toned Toothpick Teacher (T3)

Moving to the Music: T3′s workout playlist

2 Mar

Dearest Readers,

So you’ve been with me for all of these exercise workouts, so let’s take a little musical interlude. Because exercise is really no good without a quality playlist. Sometimes you just need a little musical motivation to amp up your workout. Not to mention, my roommate and I enjoy pumping up our jams and dancing around the room, so that’s a cardio option. But most of all when I am running and lifting, I love listening to high energy music (certain bpm’s are better to workout to than others). Just to be clear these are not all quality songs (and they aren’t my favorite songs of all time by far), but they inspire me to shake my lil’ hiney. So here is my workout playlist (and a fun picture):

this was just a really cool flickr picture (source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/piece-of-my-heart/3606696486/)

1) Girlfriend–Avril Lavigne: This has been my running song since age 14. It cracks me up. I sooo connect with her lyrics…because hell yes I am the mo fo princess thank you Avril for your insight. Overall, the song has a really great beat that makes it a natural workout jam.

2) Seven Deadly Sins–Flogging Molly: This crazy Irish band just makes you want to move. If you are not motivated before listening to them, you never will be. Sometimes, it’s actually a bit too fast to run too … it doesn’t have the most consistant beat.

3) Dog Days Are Over–Florence and the Machine: This is currently my roommate and I’s fave song to dance to right now. This is my favorite song to wake up to really. The chorus is the best to run to and to sing in my head.

4) I Got You (I Feel Good)–James Brown: Classic. First of all, if you don’t love this song (and James Brown in general), you are just wrong. This one is hard not to sing aloud while running. Try to restrain yourself…a bit.

5) Shut The Club Down–Girl Talk: Girl Talk is an amazing mash-up artist, and his albums are meant to be listened to as one giant song. More often than not if you see me running at Ping or outside, I am listening to a Girl Talk album. Some songs are slower, but especially on his album Feed The Albums, the majority of the songs are fast-ish.

6) Stuck Like Glue–Sugarland: Technically this is a country song (so if you’re a hater just move on to the next tune). But I like this song because it has a such a strong bass and uses weird sound effects (it makes me giggle as I run).

7) Tik Tok–Ke$ha: Curse you Ke$ha for your catchy lyrics and solid beat! I really don’t want to like Ke$ha (since I don’t have an affinity for drunken crazies all days of the week), but I concede that her music is perfect for workouts.

8) Potential Breakup Song–Aly & AJ: This is a serious throwback to the days when Disney was just starting to force all of their stars to not only act but sing, dance and breath fire. This song is so well-written (for someone who has just learned the english language), and is one of my favorites to run to.

9) Love and Memories–OAR: I am a bit biased on this song, because it is my senior song so it takes me back to times where I was twirling in delicate tulle at prom … sigh. But seriously, it’s fab for pumping it up. It really makes me want to fist pump.

10) Runaway–Cartel: I don’t think this is a particularly popular band, but most of their songs are great for workouts, because they have a consistently strong bass (I always like the song Lose It).

11) Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)–Beyonce: Gets me every time. I get that cliche…”yeah I’m a strong woman who’s working out motivation” from this song.

12) Love Like Woe–The Ready Set: I once had to borrow my younger brother’s i-pod when I went to the gym, and it was broken so it literally only played this song on repeat for an hour. The song and I became very close, and are now frequent gym buddies.

13) Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da–The Beatles: How can you not giggle to this song (life goes on…BRAH). It’s just a light, fluffy, nonsensical song.

14) I’m Shakin’–Rooney: Of all the songs, I have no idea why I really like to run to this, but it’s been on my list for a few years. I don’t know why (though I did see them live once….when they opened for Kelly Clarkson…yes, that does mean I saw Kelly Clarkson…judge as you will)

15) I Believe In Thing Called Love–The Darkness: This one just makes my head bob. I just want to whip my hair back and forth (which could also actually be a fine running song in-it-of-itself).

If I had to analyze this song list, I do not know what it would say about me (I probably wouldn’t want to). But hopefully one of these can become a part of your workout routine. Leave a comment with your favorite workout song, because I don’t have enough. I keep listening to the same ones!! Hit me up!!

Musically,

The Toned Toothpick Teacher (T3)

Abduct a new workout: Abductors and Adductors

26 Feb

Dearest Readers,

You may be wondering what the heck are abductors and adductors….they are merely politically correct terms for your inner and outer thighs. It’s time to work ‘em. All of these exercises come directly from Pilates, which should remind you that pilates is the bees knees. (or the cat’s pajamas…take your pick)

They all involve the same basic body position: laying on your side with your hips aligned with your shoulders and your hips should be stacked perfectly (so as not to lean forward or back). For some exercises your legs will be stacked and for others your top leg will be out just a smigen from your bottom leg (keep hips stacked!). You can either lie completely on your side with your head resting on your arm or you can prop yourself on your elbow (that’s what I did). For these exercises do them all on one side then switch to the other side.

Point Up, Flex Down: This is pretty self explanatory, but you should lay with your feet stacked then slowly point your top foot to the ceiling and flex it down. Do this 10-15 times. Remember to keep it slow and controlled. When you bring your foot down, don’t let it touch your bottom leg keep it just slightly elevated.

half way through the lift up (My forms not perfect...i'm letting my side sag a bit...but i have 3 seconds to take the pic)

Leg circles: For this exercise have your front leg out slightly in front of you (picture like if you were lying on the side of a yoga mat and extend your leg so that it is at the opposite corner…..like a 45 degree angle in front of you). Then lift up your leg about a foot-ish and make small circles with your foot. Do 10 of those, then do 10 in the opposite direction. Tricky tricky.

circle-ing it up

Forward and Backward Pulses: Stack those feet again and lift your leg so it is a foot up, then slowly swing it forward to about where you had it in the last exercise (45 degrees in front of you) and pulse twice (meaning swish it forward twice) then slowly swing your leg all the way behind you (45 degrees behind you) and pulse twice. Never let your foot down, just keep controlling the motion back and forth. Do this ten times and don’t forget: don’t let those hips move!

pulse forward

pulse backward

Bicycles: These are ril ril hard to explain. So I am just going to put up pictures…basically your are bicycling forward with your top leg. When you figure out how to do it, try doing it backward.

start by tucking your top leg in (like your biking on your side)

then extend forward

then swing your leg back

then bring your feet to your butt (then keep "bicyling" aka swing your leg forward bent like this...extend it...swing back...bend...etc)

do all of these and don’t forget to do the other side!!!! Let me know if you need any clarifications on these workouts. Only 4 or so more posts, so tell me what you want to see more of (I love me some comments).

Abduct-ily,

The Toned Toothpick Teacher (T3)

Crunch-atize Me: Work the Lower and Upper Abs

22 Feb

Dearest Readers,

So I’ve done obliques and planks and daily abs, but I have yet to give you my fave ab workouts (I know you’ve been anxiously awaiting this day….probably not sleeping at night…understandable). What’s difficult about abs is working both the lower and upper abs, because we want to have the killer six-pack and to lose the muffin-top. Having a good core, or powerhouse, is critical to overall strength. It helps bad posture (as your sitting and reading this try to sit straight up….you are working your abs right now).

If you are really serious about abs, TAKE PILATES. Male or female, pilates is an ab workout that will leave you unable to move your abs for days…aka it’s great. Classes are offered at Ping or you could take the 2 credit hour class offered at the dance school (I took it…amazing). But if you can’t make it to Pilates…here are my top straight ab workouts:

Crunch Variations: Everyone knows the classic crunch: laying down, legs bent hip length apart crunching up with a tennis ball sized space between your chin and your chest. (exhale as you come up and inhale as you go down) try to take almost all of your shoulder blade off the ground. Keep your hands behind your head, but not pulling your head. We’ve all heard that since elementary school gym, but the variation possibilities are what really make ab workouts better!

Crunch with arms straight out over your head: This adds a longer lever to your crunch, so that way it is more challenging and forces your abs to work harder. To do this get in conventional crunch position, but have your arms above your head with your hands on top of each other, when you crunch up bring your hands up to meet your knees.

i'm so pleased to be doing a straight arm crunch!

Crunch with legs up straight: This time instead of keeping your arm straight, keep your legs straight. It works the lower abs.

serious face: straight leg crunch

Reverse Crunches: It’s hardest to work the lower abs, but this is one of the only exercises that specifically targets the lower abs. Lay down on your back with your legs straight up to the ceiling, ankles crossed. Instead of crunching your top half up, crunch your legs up (aka act like your legs are trying to touch the ceiling). So “hit the ceiling” and come immediately back down. This exercise is really quick, but the key is to really focus on your abs: are your abs doing the crunching? To help you keep your hands down at your sides and push off of them to get more leverage. Keep your head and shoulders down at all times. Do 25 of these (and cry).

this is one of the most unattractive photos....but this is how far you lift with a reverse crunch...don't try to go high!

Onion Peel: If you were at a gym, you would use an exercise ball for this, but at home, use your pillow … between your feet (totally hygienic, I’m sure). Lay on your back and put the pillow between your legs straight up in the air. Crunch your upper body up and grab the pillow (now it’s in your hands), simultaneously LOWER BOTHER YOUR LEGS AND YOUR ARMS OUT STRAIGHT. Then crunch BOTH parts back in and switch so that your legs are holding your pillow. Try to keep your lower back on the ground. Do 12 full reps…meaning it has to touch both your hands and your feet to be a full rep. These are the hardest (and best) ab exercise I’ve found. I don’t know why it’s called an onion peel….maybe because it makes you cry???

start (look how happy i look)

the switch

end (note: my arms, legs, and top of my shoulders NEVER TOUCH THE GROUND)

Leg Lowers: These are pretty well-known but they really work it if you switch up the counting. Lay on your back with legs straight up (ankles uncrossed but feet together), with your arms at your sides. Lower your legs down as far as you can WITHOUT YOUR LOWER BACK LEAVING THE GROUND. Many make the mistake of lower their legs too far (to look cool or something), but as soon as your lower back comes off of the ground, you lose the exercise. Lower down for 10 seconds and lift in 1 second. Then lower for 9, lift in 1. Lower for 8, lift in 1. See where I am going here? It kills. When you get to lower for 1, lower for 10 one more time. Your abs should shake. That means you’re doing it right.

lowering my legs...i would only lower a little more than this normally

I hope these exercises have helped you work your lower and upper abs. It is getting to the end of my time as a blogger, and I am starting to run low on parts of the body to work. What would you, my lovely and loyal readers, like to see more of? More arms? Some cardio? More legs? Let me know, because I’m here to serve you!

Abdominally (again),

The Toned Toothpick Teacher (the T3)

Walk The Plank! (and the side plank too)

19 Feb

Dearest Readers,

The plank is infamous for working the abs, the back, the hips … for being the worst ever. It’s not the plank itself, it’s the endurance involved to actually keep yourself in the upright and locked position that kills. The only problem with plank is that you need the right form to execute it correctly, so tonight’s post gives you the skills to perform the proper plank and to give you some variations on the devilish classic.

The Plank: There are three ways to do the plank, and for each you should try to hold for 60 seconds. To vary it up (60 second is like a million plank years), try rocking yourself back and forth on your toes. It works the calves too!

The easier way: Put your forearms on the ground , and your knees out so that your body creates a line from your shoulders to your knees. KEEP YOUR BUTT DOWN and DON’T CURVE YOUR BACK. I know it feels good to raise it up, and let that donk fly so the world may admire it, but then you won’t get the ab workout you deserve.

it was hard to get into this position before the flash!

The forearm way: Stay on your forearms but this time go up on your toes. With the plank, the closer your toes are the harder the workout. Remember to keep your body in a line. When you are by yourself it’s hard to tell when you are in line, so here is my secret: lower your butt until you feel your abs start to scream…then stop you are in exactly the right place.  This form is my favorite way to do planks.

forearm plank

The palm-ing way: This time instead of being on your forearms, you are on your palms. Still on your toes. It’s hard to keep alignment in this form of plank, that is why I don’t like it as much.

palm plank....and weird bulge in my shirt....planks do that to ya'

The Side Plank: Side planks really work those obliques, but they are hard to hold. The key is to play with your arms. Raise them up, put them on your hip, raise them up then curl them under. Just make it work for you. There are two main forms of the sideplank:

Feet Spread: Turn on your side with your foot on the bottom going back, and your foot on top going forward. Lift your hips into the air creating a straight line from your shoulders to your toes.

feet spread for the plank!

Feet Stacked: Do the same as the feet spread plank, but stack your feet (tough, right?)

you're looking stacked!

I hope these have met all of your plank needs! Post a comment about a plank variation that you like!!!

Plank-ily,

The Toned Toothpick Teacher (weird that it’s a post about planks…and my name’s toothpick….wood-n’t you know it….tee hee hee)

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