Monday, April 24, 2017

April ARMS Week 4 Final

Here we are at the final week of #AprilARMS full of exercises of which you are familiar!  Hang with me these last 7 days!


As always, each WOD (workout of the day) may be modified if you have issues with knees or spine. Attempt the recommended reps and sets only to your level of comfort, but never at the expense of injury.

  • Remember to warm up the muscles with dynamic stretching (moving through the stretch). You should be stronger.
  • Concentrate on form and up the reps or weights for this final push. 
  • Incorporating cardio (walking, treadmill, running, dance fitness) prior to workout gets the heartbeat up for a good overall fitness experience.
  • Engage core - tighten the tummy (abs) muscles as if you were about to be punched in the gut, but you can still talk.
  • Knees face the direction of toes.
  • Never stand "swayback" with lumbar (lower back) curved backwards. 
  • Always cool-down with static stretching (holding the stretch). 
  • Occasionally, perform the Zipper Test, Elbow Twist and Cow's Face to check shoulder mobility and flexibility.

If you're so inclined, bring some fun to the dinner table baked up with a can of biscuits or crescent rolls, hot dogs or little cocktail sausages (there are vegan and vegetarian choices, too) and cheese, because it's National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day! Here's your WOD...

*TABLE TOPS: With or without weights; (starting position) Lift arms lateral with elbows bent forward, (second position) rotate elbows/forearms up as if lifting something from the table top, (third position) bring elbows/forearms together in front of face and, then, reverse the order = 1 rep (3 sets/15 reps/1 min rest between).
*OVERHEAD TRICEP EXTENSIONS: With arms extended and fists together over your head (with/without weights), bend elbows dipping fists behind head while keeping triceps near ears, then, extend arm straight overhead, again = 1 rep (3 sets/15 reps/1 min).
*BENT-OVER FLYS: Stand, bent over with soft knees & straight back. Engage core. With arms extended down (with/without weights), "fly" arms up to shoulder level and back down = 1 rep (3 sets/15 reps "flys"/1 min rest).
*TRICEP KICKBACKS: Stand with feet hip-width apart and with soft knees. Engage core leaning slightly forward from hips. Place fists (with/without weights) at the side of hips and extend the arm straight back in a "kickback" and return back to hip = 1 rep (3 sets/15 reps/1 min rest).

WHAT IF... On National Telephone Day, we turned our mobile phones to the OFF position for 30 minutes to 12 hours? And, WHAT IF... we used that time in a more engaging manner, like in a book we've been meaning to read OR with real face-to-face conversation OR family games OR dinner OR a WOD (workout of the day)? 
Today's #AprilARMS is a repeat from yesterday and would be a great opportunity to do a ZIPPER Test, ELBOW TWIST & COW's FACE measuring your shoulder and arm mobility and flexibility. Click HERE for link to a quick how-to video.

All month we've worked on muscle strengthening and definition getting our arms, shoulders, upper back, shoulder blades and the bra strap area ready for summer! Hopefully, these WODs (workout of the day) have improved not only the appearance, but also the performance of these muscle groups by getting our upper body flexible. As we get older, certain areas begin to lock-up. Keep doing these exercises for a lifelong pursuit of mobility...and for National Pretzel Day!
*GIRL PUSH-UPs: On hands and knees, lift toes off of the floor. Hands should be under and slightly outside of shoulders. Knees a few inches behind hips. Engage core. Lower body toward floor and back up to starting position = 1 rep. How many can you do, now, as opposed to the first of #AprilARMS month? If knees won't permit a floor push-up, try *WALL PUSH-UPs standing with arms straight ahead at shoulder level, fingers spread on wall with feet slightly behind hips. Engage core. Press into a push-up toward the wall and back = 1 rep.
*PRAYER PULSEs: Curl elbows up to shoulder level, press palms together (as in prayer) and elbows together (in front of face). Pulse up still keeping palms and elbows together, and bring back down = 1 rep "prayer pulse" or "chest press pulse." How many can you do within 2 minutes?

He was known as the "Sultan of Swat." Do you know who this baseball player was? For National Babe Ruth Day we will do some swatting of our own with...
**JABS, (FISH)HOOKS & CROSS-BODY PUNCHES! Remember, power those punches from the hips and save the elbows by refraining from full-arm extensions. (Fish)HOOKS should hook UP & AWAY from face. Use the engaged core (abs) to quickly "freeze" the hook at the final up & away position. Do 2 minutes of each jab, hook and punch!

National BraveHearts Day, April 28, honors the bravery of families dealing with pediatric cancer and the bravery of precious children suffering from cancer. Donations of all amounts can be given to Tennessee's very own St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis where we partner to Find Cures & Save Children's Lives. Read and donate, HERE! 
Our WOD (workout of the day) is a *SIDE PANK WITH PRESS: Get into the position of a Straight Arm Plank (the upward position of a push-up), up on toes with arms extended and hands just to the outside of shoulders. Engage core. Pivot and shift hips back to the left in a SIDE PLANK while raising right hand toward ceiling. Bend elbow and touch back of head or ear with finger tips. Feet and ankles are either stacked or in-line to provide balance. Keep hips hight with spine aligned. Crunch or PRESS elbow toward front of chest and back up. Perform 10 crunches/PRESSes. Then, lower hand back to the floor to switch to the right. To MODIFY: Bend the lower knee on the floor for stability.


For your REST DAY, perform a ZIPPER (reaching as if you're zipping up the back) TEST in the morning and one in the evening to see if your flexibility differs. Also, do several series -throughout the day- of COW's FACE towel stretches. Both of these mobility moves are found HERE. Oh, and Happy National Zipper Day!




FINALLY, YOU'VE MADE IT TO THE THE LAST DAY of #AprilARMS! WooHoo! 

For our last WOD (workout of the day), let's just show off a little with *TRICEP CHAIR DIPS: Using a sturdy kitchen chair, bench or the first tread of a stairway, hold on to the front of the chair or stair with fingers facing forward and elbows pointing backwards with a slight bend in the elbows. Slide booty off of the front of the chair, bench or step with legs stretched out forward. Straighten arms keeping a slight bend in the elbows and lower or DIP your booty until your arms are at about a 90 degree angle. Keep spine close to chair, bench or step. At the bottom of the movement, press hands downward and straighten arms back up to starting position = 1 rep (1 set/15 reps). Definitely a tricep and bra strap area workout!

By the way... Today & ALL month has been National Military Kid Month! I was a military kiddo when my father was in the Air Force. We didn't have special days or months of the year, back then. We were just wild-haired, sweaty kids riding our bicycles around base-housing until the sun went down. Then, we got up the next day to do it all over, again, until our parents were relocated. When you see military personnel, know there's probably a military kiddo at home making the most of every single day and just trying to be a normal kid in a life many would consider abnormal.

If you've had a good #AprilARMS month trying new WODs and improving flexibility, let me know, below, or at REFIT with Sam i Am Facebook page! Now, go get some sunshine on those shoulders, because you're ready for a cute tank top!




Monday, April 17, 2017

April ARMS Week 3

Welcome back to #AprilARMS. I've been watching the Boston Marathon and getting excited about signing up for some races in the fall! We're in the 3rd week of our arm exercises and should start to see some definition -- even if only slightly! Pat yourself further down on the back, because you've been improving shoulder flexibility and mobility!


Once again, be reminded each WOD (workout of the day) is easily modified if you have issues with knees or spine. You should be stronger and motivated to attempt the recommended reps and sets ONLY to the point of your level of comfort and fatigue, but NOT at the expense of injury. Engage your core to support the spine. How? Tighten your abs as if about to be punched in the gut, but you can still talk. Never sway the back when reaching for overhead moves.

If you have questions, please leave a comment!


Sunday, EASTER, was a day of rest from our #AprilARMS challenge. Rest days are just as important in the fitness world as workout days. The body needs time to repair to be stronger. Rest days are beautiful to refresh the soul as the body recovers! We tend to get zoned-in on the physical and leave the spiritual out of focus. Use rest days wisely!



Americans tend to have many national days around food. The next two days are no different! Monday is NATIONAL CHEESEBALL DAY and Tuesday is NATIONAL ANIMAL CRACKERS DAY. The week's arm exercises merrily roll along until until Saturday when a more demanding exercise will call you out! But, let's focus on the Monday and Tuesday twinsie workout.

**ARM CIRCLES: Stand with feet hip-width apart, core engaged. Lift arms laterally from sides to shoulder level, palms out with fingers pointed up. (1) Do small circles forward for 1 minute. THEN, bend hands at wrist for fingers to point down. (2) Do small circles backward for 1 minute. THEN, repeat (1 & 2) for a total of 4 minutes.
**SWIMMERS: These look like Michael Phelps! Press palms together, with elbows bent, in front of chest and pointing fingers straight ahead. Now, simply straighten arms keeping palms pressed as if you're slicing through the water in front of you. At full extension, separate hands outward laterally and circling back to starting position = 1 rep (30 reps).
**PRAYER PULSES: Curl elbows up to shoulder level, press palms (as in prayer) and elbows (in front of face) together, pulse up keeping palms and elbows together and bringing back down = 1 "prayer pulse" or "chest press pulse" rep (as many as you can in 2 minutes).

Wednesday is National Hang Out Day! Gather your friends to hang out and sweat out the following workout: 
**BICEP CURLS: Stand with feet under hips and elbows bent at waist (with/without weights) and simply curl fists toward shoulders and lower back to waist level = 1 rep (3 sets/15 reps/1 min rest). Then, do the -->
**BICEP CURL w/ OVERHEAD PRESS: Follow instructions for the bicep curl up to shoulder and, then, raise both arms overhead rotating palms facing forward, then, lower arms rotating fists back to shoulder position and down to waist level = 1 rep (3 sets/15 reps/1 min rest).
**TRICEP KICKBACKS: Stand with feet hip-width apart and with soft knees. Engage core leaning slightly forward from hips. Place fists (with/without weights) at teh side of hips and extend the arms straight back in a "kickback" and return back to hip = 1 rep (3 sets/15 reps/1 minute between).

It's National High 5 Day! Give everbody a Hi-5 letting them know they're stronger than they were yesterday...and so are you! 
**CHAINSAW (a.k.a Crossbody): Standing with knees soft and core engaged, turn left foot outward keeping right foot with toes straight ahead (resembling a high lunge), cross the right fist (with/without weights) from left hip across the chest and up to shoulder, return to left hip = 1 rep (3 sets/15 reps/1 min rest). Then, switch to right high lunge position and repeat sets/reps crossing from right hip to left shoulder.
**FRONT & LATERAL RAISES: Standing with feet hip-width part, toes pointing forward and arms extending down, engage core. Raise arms to shoulder height, lower back down, and then, lift laterally (straight out from the sides) and lower back down to legs = 1 rep (3 sets/12-15 reps/1 min rest).

You could save or enhance the lives of others by donating blood! And, simply by
registering with DonateLife.net to donate your organs, tissue and corneas. To show your awareness and support of National DonateLife Day, wear blue and green! 

We are no strangers to today's **BENT OVER LATER FLYS: Stand, bent over from hips with soft knees and core engaged. With arms extended down (with/without weights), "fly" arms up to shoulder level and back down = 1 rep (3 sets/15 "flys"/1 min rest). Be careful not "fly" above shoulder causing injury.


We celebrate National Earth Day by making good environmental choices for this big blue marble we call home! Plant trees, conserve water, recycle, reuse, reduce, repurpose! Thank You, God, for Planet Earth!
**UP UP DOWN DOWNS: Keep core engaged tight to support spine. Start in the up (straight arm) position of a push-up and up on toes. Lift your right hand and replace it with your right forearm. Do the same with your left forearm. You should be in the elbow plank position and still up on toes. Now, reverse the process starting with right hand and following with left hand to back at starting position = 1 rep (12 reps). These work the shoulders and bra strap areas reducing the appearance of fat! TO MODIFY drop knees and keep core engaged.




RELAX! You've earned this day! National Take a Chance Day invites to you summon courage and, then, TAKE A #SundaySelfie to prove it!


You've made it to the final week of #AprilARMS! Look for the next week's blog post in your inbox by signing up. Or, you can see a daily slice by following REFIT with Sam i AM on Facebook.