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Category Archive: Uncategorized

Important Event Update

Posted Sunday, Sep 29 – 5:15 AM

Conditions are improving in Jackson Park, with this storm front expected to completely pass the venue by 6:00 AM. The event is scheduled for an on-time start, although rain is forecasted throughout the morning. Shuttle buses will begin departing at 5:15 AM from Belmont Station, and 5:30 AM from Millennium Park. The EAS level is currently GREEN.

Please stay tuned for further details. Thank you for your patience.

Posted Sunday, Sep 29 – 4:40 AM

The Jackson Park race venue is currently experiencing heavy rainfall and intermittent lightning. We are currently holding all shuttle buses from both Millennium Park and Belmont Stations, but expect to resume operation soon. Athletes currently driving to the venue should park in their respective lots, but are advised to remain in their vehicles until further notice on this page.

2019 Athlete Guide | HOKA ONE ONE Chicago Half Marathon and 5K presented by MY FIT KEY

 

Welcome to the 23rd annual running of Chicago’s Hometown Race, the HOKA ONE ONE Chicago Half Marathon and 5K presented by MY FIT KEY.

The Chicago Half Marathon celebrates Chicago’s rich history with a nod to the 126th Anniversary of the World Columbian Exposition held in 1893 at the same site where we will celebrate your victorious crossing of the Finish Line.

In this 23rd year, we also look to our future as Jackson Park will soon undergo a major facelift, welcoming the Barack Obama Presidential Center.

A few notables to help kick-off race weekend this year will be the HOKA ONE ONE shakeout run and Meet & Greet with Kellyn Taylor and Ben Bruce during the Healthy Way of Life Expo where you will pick up your race materials.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to expected high winds, we’ve moved the outdoor portion of our Healthy Way of Life Expo into the Parking Garage at Roosevelt Collection. Once you have picked up your bib from upstairs, follow signs to the #CHMGarageParty on Level P1 – Green for shirts and goody bags.

Please take a moment to review this year’s Athlete Guide which is full of all the important race weekend details.

 

HOKA ONE ONE to Title Chicago Half Marathon

Hoka will title the 2019 and 2020 events

CHICAGO, May 15, 2019—The Chicago Half Marathon, scheduled for September 29, 2019, today announced HOKA ONE ONE as the title sponsor for its 2019 and 2020 events. As a title sponsor, HOKA and Life Time will bring to life their joint passions for inspiring athletes through on-site activations.

Life Time Run Senior Brand Manager Dan Lakin says of the partnership, “We’re excited to bring the spirit and energy of HOKA ONE ONE to the Chicago Half Marathon and be an extension of their amazing Humans of Hoka program.”

Each year, the HOKA ONE ONE Chicago Half Marathon, presented by My Fit Key and owned and produced by Life Time, the premier healthy lifestyle brand that also operates 10 athletic resort destinations throughout Chicagoland, welcomes more than 12,000 runners on an out-and-back course along Lake Shore Drive with views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

Registration for the HOKA ONE ONE Chicago Half Marathon and 5K presented by My Fit Key and produced by Life Time is now open. More information, including the event schedule, race course and more is available at ChicagoHalfMarathon.com.

About Life Time® – Healthy Way of Life
Life Time champions a healthy and happy life for its members across 143 destinations in 39 major markets in the U.S. and Canada. As the nation’s only Healthy Way of Life brand, Life Time delivers an unmatched athletic resort experience and provides a comprehensive healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment experience that goes well beyond fitness to encompass the entire spectrum of daily life for individuals, couples and families of all ages. For more information visit www.lifetime.life #LoveYourLife.

Life Time presents HOKA ONE ONE as title of Chicago Half Half Marathon

About HOKA ONE ONE
HOKA ONE ONE® produces premium performance footwear for athletes of all types. Initially distinguished by their extra-thick midsoles, HOKA shoes were first embraced by competitive ultrarunners because of their enhanced cushioning and inherent stability, and today are designed to meet the running, walking and fitness needs of a wide variety of users. HOKA’s road running, trail running, hiking and fitness shoes appeal to serious runners and fitness enthusiasts alike who enjoy the shoes’ unique ride and performance characteristics. For more information, visit hokaoneone.com or follow @hokaoneone #timetofly. 

Workday Workouts

Squeeze in activity throughout the day with these creative body-strengthening mini-workouts.

BY ALISA BOWMAN | MARCH 2019

There’s no doubt that many of us pull crazy hours at work and home, with workdays that start early, end late, and call for packing in family time and other priorities around the edges. And workouts often get short shrift. But getting and staying fit requires a lot less time than most people think. Do you have 20 minutes? Ten minutes? Two minutes? If so, you can make strides in your fitness.

“It’s so important to keep moving throughout the day because our bodies are meant to move,” says David Freeman, NASM-PES, OPEX CCP, national manager of Alpha Training at Life Time in Chanhassen, Minn. “When we were kids, movement was life. As adults, we can set up times for ‘recess’ and play, just like we had in school.”

Over the course of a single month, nudging even a few five- to 15-minute sessions into each day can make a huge difference in your energy, mood, and fitness. The secret lies in using every opportunity to move, stretch, and strengthen.

What follows is an entire day of movement, starting from the moment you hit the alarm until the time you hit the sack. Pick and choose among the suggestions to create a plan that works for you.

First Thing in the Morning

Mornings may be the best time for you to fit in a heart-pumping, body-strengthening workout. Many people initially resist the idea of exercising at this time of day, but “if you are able to get your workout in at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m.,” says Freeman, “you will be ahead of the game.”

Start with a few moments of deep breathing or meditation to prepare your body for action. Next, focus on multijoint strength-training movements like those below to engage your entire body and raise your heart rate in under 10 minutes. Start with slow, controlled reps, gradually building to a quicker pace. For maximum effect in minimum time, complete your last few reps by holding each exercise at its most difficult point for 15 to 20 seconds, or until you simply can’t hold it any longer.

“Your workouts don’t need to be lengthy to see, and feel, results,” says Jennifer Blake, NASM-CPT, RKC-II, a personal trainer and powerlifting coach at Life Time in Minneapolis.

The Moves

Lunge: Step forward with your right foot, bending both knees until they’re at 90-degree angles. Push off your front foot to return to the start position. Repeat for one minute, alternating the lunging foot.

Pushup: Get on the floor in a plank position, with your knees either on the floor (easier) or off (harder). Lower your chest until it’s about 4 inches from the floor, then press back up. Do as many as you can in one minute with good form.

Yoga boat pose: Sitting on the floor, balance your body weight on your sit bones as you lift your feet off the floor. Keep knees bent with shins parallel to the floor. Extend your arms parallel to your shins. Hold for up to one minute.

Triceps dip: Sit on the edge of a chair. Place your palms on the chair with hands partially underneath your thighs and fingers pointing toward your knees. Lift your butt off the chair, then shift it forward, supporting your weight with your hands. Extend your feet away from you to make this move harder; keep them closer to your body to make it easier. Lower your butt toward the floor by bending your elbows until they reach a 90-degree angle. Press back up until the arms are fully extended. Repeat for one minute.

Plank and side plank: Get on the floor in a plank position on your forearms, with elbows directly under shoulders and legs extended. Hold one minute. Then move directly into a side plank. Rotate your body sideways, balancing on your forearm and the edge of your bottom foot. Raise your opposite hand toward the ceiling. Move back into a regular plank, then transition into a side plank on the other side. Continue alternating between these positions for one minute.

Wall sit: Stand with your back against a wall. Walk your feet forward and slide your back down the wall, bending your knees up to 90 degrees. Hold for one minute and then move on to the next exercise.

Reverse plank: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and palms on the floor just behind your buttocks. Press into your hands as you lift your hips so your body is straight, and squeeze your glutes together. Lower and repeat for one minute.

At the Office

The longer your workdays, the more crucial it becomes that you squeeze in breaks for movement. The value of little movements adds up fast: You can build fitness while keeping your energy high, your mood positive, and your focus strong.

Not sure how to make those breaks happen? Start by avoiding the elevator whenever possible. Don’t sit when you can stand or pace, and don’t call or email when you can walk to a colleague’s office.

Additionally, consider adopting an intermittent strength-training routine that you can perform over the course of the day, turning out a series of distinct body-weight exercises whenever you have a one- or two-minute break. Or, schedule two 10-minute activity breaks into your day, taking advantage of those low-energy moments when you tend to get distracted and lose steam (or feel tempted to hit the vending machines).

Try this 10-minute routine that builds strength without producing too much sweat. Some of the moves require a resistance band, which is a relatively inexpensive and portable piece of equipment for the office.

The Moves

Chair pose: Stand with your feet 6 inches apart. Bend your knees slightly and push your rear backward, as if you were sitting back into a chair. Lift your arms as high as possible. Keep your body weight over your heels. Hold for 30 seconds.

Bridge: Lying on your back, place your arms at your sides next to your torso, palms down. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Lift your hips as high as possible. Hold for 15 seconds. Release and repeat four times.

Plank: Lie on your stomach. Place your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor. Lift your body off the ground so you are balanced on the balls of your feet and forearms. Hold 30 seconds. Lower and repeat one time.

Back extension: Lie on your stomach with your arms by your sides. Squeeze your legs together as you lift your head, upper back, and arms. Keep your feet on the floor. Lower and repeat 15 times, holding the last repetition for 15 seconds.

High lunge: Stand and step forward into a lunge, sinking down until your forward thigh is parallel to the floor. Raise your arms overhead. Reach back through your rear heel and forward through your front knee. Hold 30 seconds.

Negative pushup: Starting from a high plank position with hands directly under your shoulders, slowly lower your body toward the floor. Try to take 15 seconds to reach the floor.

Squat: Stand on a resistance band, holding one end in each hand. Bend your elbows and lift your hands to shoulder height while squatting until knees are bent 90 degrees. Rise and repeat.

Chest press: Lie on your back on a resistance band and bend your knees. Get a good grip on the band with each hand. Starting with your elbows bent, press your hands upward until your arms are extended. Lower and repeat several times.

Seated row: Sit on a chair with your legs extended and heels on the floor. Place a resistance band under your feet, holding an end in each hand. Pull your elbows back as if you were rowing a boat, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Release and repeat several times.

Lateral raise: Stand with your feet on the middle of a resistance band. Grasp an end of the band in each hand, placing your arms at your sides. Raise your arms outward to shoulder height. Slowly lower and repeat several times.

Triceps extension: Hold one end of a resistance band with your right hand and raise that arm overhead. With your left hand, grab the other end of the band behind your back, near your waist. Extend your right arm, then lower. Repeat several times with each arm.

Overhead press: Stand with your feet on a resistance band and grasp a handle in each hand. With hands at shoulder height, press your arms upward, extending them overhead. Slowly lower and repeat.

In-Between Moments

Granted, some days are too hectic to find even five minutes to spare. Take advantage of the busyness and make the most of in-between moments at the office with these ideas.

The Moves

While on the phone:

  • Use a hands-free headset so you can stand and move around as you talk.
  • Step up and down on a stair or step stool.
  • Do a wall sit.
  • Stretch in your office doorway. Place your hands on the frame at shoulder height. Lean through the doorway to stretch the front of your shoulders. Hold 20 seconds. This stretches your chest and shoulders, both of which tend to tighten up from lots of sitting.

At the copier:

  • Do shoulder-blade pulls. These will strengthen your upper back and combat the forward slump that comes from working at a desk. Straighten your back with your head up, inhale, and pull your shoulder blades together, holding for a count of five.
  • Release and exhale, and repeat 12 times. Do three or four sets.
  • Practice optimal posture. Stand as straight as you can, lift your head, drop your shoulders downward, and pull your bellybutton in toward your spine.
  • Breathing deeply, maintain this at-attention posture until your copy job is complete.
  • Do single-leg calf raises. Place your hands on the copier for balance. Lift one foot off the floor. Rise onto the ball of your standing foot. Hold for a count of five. Lower and repeat 15 times. Then switch legs.

During a meeting:

  • While seated, focus on drawing in the deep abdominals as if you were zipping into tight pants. This strengthens the transverse abdominis, an important muscle that helps support your back and reduces your vulnerability to backaches.
  • Stretch your forearms. This helps counteract the tightness that comes from typing and moving a mouse. Hold your right arm in front of you, your hand flexed upright. Use your left hand to gently pull back on your fingertips. Hold for 30 seconds. Release and repeat, this time with your fingers facing down to stretch the top of your forearm. Then repeat with the other arm.

While working at your desk:

  • Place a medium-size ball (roughly the size of a kid’s soccer ball) between your knees and squeeze. Hold five to seven seconds, release slightly (without dropping the ball), and repeat until your inner-thigh muscles are fatigued.
  • Sit tall, bringing your bellybutton toward your spine. This will strengthen your abdominal muscles, which will help you sit with proper posture. Try to sit this way all day long.
  • Pull your shoulders back and down. This will strengthen your upper back, counteracting that forward slump — and resulting headache and neck tension — that’s so common when working at a computer. Hold for a count of five, release, and repeat 10 times.
  • Grab one knee, pull it to your chest, and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat with the other knee. This will help release tension in your lower back.
  • Stretch your neck, which can get tight if you allow it to jut forward as you work at your computer. Bring your right ear toward your right shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the left. Rotate side to side, too. Finish by resting your head on the back of your office chair for 20 seconds to stretch the front of your neck.
  • Explore the benefits of yoga while at your desk with these three seated poses.

End of the Day

As soon as you get home, drop your briefcase or bag by the door and get active. Head out for a quick walk with the dog, either on your own or with your roommate, your partner, or a friend. Put on some music and dance while you do housework or prepare dinner. Go for a relaxing bike ride around your neighborhood or play a game of catch with your kid.

Or drop to the floor and stretch to send the stress of the workday packing. Here are two suggestions.

The Moves

Cat-cow: On all fours, inhale, and on your exhale round your back upward, reaching your midback toward the ceiling for cat pose. On your next inhale, slowly arch your spine, lowering your belly and lifting your tailbone, shoulders, and head. Look up slightly, creating a stretch in your neck for cow pose. Repeat, synchronizing breath with movement.

Seated hip stretch: Sit cross-legged, your right shin in front of your left. Bend forward from the hips until you feel a stretch in your right buttocks. Hold for a count of 20. Release, switch legs, and repeat.

While we may feel stretched for time and distracted by the busyness of work and everyday living, working movement into our daily routines can actually help us feel more grounded,” says Blake.

Don’t worry about what your coworkers will think, and don’t buy into the idea that you’re too busy: Finding ways to work fitness in around the edges is as beneficial for your productivity as it is for your well-being. On the days you can manage to hit the gym, you may not need all these bite-size fitness breaks. But when making space for a full-size serving of fitness is all but impossible, these mini workouts are your body’s best defense and your schedule’s best friend.

“The trick is to create habits that you would hate saying no to, so you don’t,” says Blake. “And then a year later, when you look back on how far you’ve come, and hopefully how much fun you’ve had, you can’t imagine life any other way.”

Alisa Bowman is a journalist and author who covers health, relationships, psychology, and parenting.

Full article can be found on Experience Life!

STRONG BODY, STRONG MIND: How to Make Time for Fitness

Our fitness editor describes how she learned to carve out time for exercise in her hectic schedule.

My day job used to be my dream job. I was a reporter for an acclaimed national newspaper in Washington, D.C., making a difference in people’s lives and touching readers all over the world.

My day started at 4:30 a.m. and often ended 14 hours later. For most of that time, I didn’t budge from my seat. As news stories broke, I was in charge of getting first iterations up online as other reporters and sources called me with leads. To move was to miss something: a shooting, a bombing, an earthquake, an overturned truck spilling pineapples onto the Beltway, a baby-panda birth. I had to stay put.

For hours on end, only my fingers moved. I barely drank anything for fear of having to use the bathroom. My posture and energy suffered. And over time, my dream job became a nightmare, affecting my health and my outlook on life.

After hours, I worked out as hard as I could, but it didn’t counter my daytime routine. We humans are made to move, and my mobility and energy were limited by my lack of consistent activity.

When I relocated to Minnesota to join the Experience Life team, I met new colleagues who walked the talk of the magazine, seeking out ways to maintain the integrity of our journalism without compromising our own wellness in the process.

I was inspired — and eager to follow the lead of my peers. But I struggled to fit in. The go-go-go lifestyle becomes a habit. And, like all habits, it’s hard to break. I filled my early days at EL with work that wasn’t needed or expected of me, and I quickly found myself deskbound for hours on end. When I realized that I was falling into old ways that I had hoped to leave behind, I knew I needed a change.

My new colleagues, whether they realized it or not, came to my rescue. They invited me to join them for midday walks. They periodically popped into my cube for exercise demos. They forced me out of my habitual work patterns. I’m not only a better version of myself for it — I’m a better employee.

Holding any one position for long periods doesn’t do us any favors. I now keep a kettlebell at my desk for impromptu swings and a sticky note on my laptop with a list of my favorite stretches to unglue my shoulders, back, and hips from my seated position. I go for walks around the neighborhood and hydrate as needed; I no longer fear what I might miss if I step away.

My work is not a matter of life and death, but my health ultimately is. So is yours.

Read “Workday Workouts” with many ideas for moving your body throughout a busy day. While editing the article, I had the opportunity to chat with a handful of my favorite fitness professionals about their techniques for fitting activity into each day, all day. (Yes, even personal trainers don’t naturally spend their entire days moving.) Here are my favorite inspiring quotes from them to help you put that advice to use:

“Determine what you want to do. The truth is that there is not one single approach that works for every person, even those who are working toward the same goals. The entry points to fitness are numerous, so treat it like you’re at a buffet: Where would you like to start? Consistency is the key to everything; it’s not hard to show up to an activity you really like doing (or don’t actively hate).”
— Jennifer Blake, NASM-CPT, RKC-II, Life Time personal trainer and powerlifting coach

“Be accountable. Create a plan, write it down, and share it with someone. Surround yourself with people who will motivate you to be the best you. You are a reflection of the company you keep, so have people around you who support your objectives and goals.”
— David Freeman, NASM-PES, OPEX CCP, national manager of Alpha Training at Life Time

“Value frequency and consistency over difficulty. The challenge is always time and the belief that if something is not challenging, it’s not worthwhile. This overlooks the fact that a walk versus a run can produce significant health benefits, for example. Take the stairs; get up and move every hour to break up the day.”
— Jeff Rosga, NASM- CPT, CES, PES, BCS, senior director at Life Time Academy

This originally appeared as “Strong Body, Strong Mind: Work It Out” in the March 2019 print issue ofExperience Life.

 , RKC, MFT-1, (pictured above with photographer Kelly Loverud) is an Experience Life senior editor.

Photo: Lydia Anderson

Full article can be found on Experience Life! 

Healthy Workday Snacks

Step away from the vending machine! These nourishing, whole-food snacks can keep you energized throughout the workday.
Snack Smart

Your midafternoon hunger has come knocking, and low blood sugar has left you sleepy and unfocused. You might be tempted to hold out until dinner — but you know resisting those hunger pangs now will actually make you more likely to overeat later.

Sugar or caffeine may seem like the answer to the afternoon slump, but they’ll lead to an inevitable crash.

Keeping your blood sugar steady throughout the day is the key to avoiding those energy dips. With that in mind, many experts recommend eating every three or four hours, ideally real food that offers a combination of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and fiber.

These recipes are designed with that nourishing balance in mind. Plus, they’ll keep you satisfied and humming along until it’s time for your next meal.

 is a Minneapolis-based recipe developer and cookbook author. She is the author of Great Bowls of Food.

Photos: Andrea DAgosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

Full Article can be found on Experience Life!

How to Choose the Best Shoes for Your Feet

Here are some tips to pick the best shoes for foot health.

Cultures that routinely wear shoes have higher incidences of foot deformities and pain than cultures that go barefoot, says podiatrist Paul Langer. In an ideal world, we’d all be safe and comfortable walking around barefoot all the time, he says. And while there are some ways to increase time without shoes, very few of us can reasonably give them up completely. With that reality in mind, here are some of our experts’ top tips for minimizing the adverse effects of shoes.

Beware of lifted heels. Many shoes, including running shoes, are designed to prop your heel up. “It’s like you’re standing on a ramp,” explains perfor­mance physiotherapist Mike Gauvreau, and it ultimately changes the way you move.

High heels and even athletic shoes with a lift, such as supportive sneakers and weightlifting shoes, place your ankles and calves in a shortened position, ultimately creating more tension. This can cause trouble with extended use. Save dress shoes with higher heels for special occasions, and limit the use of athletic shoes with a lift by mixing in lower- and no-heeled sneakers.

Steer clear of flip-flops. “Shoes that make your foot hold on — instead of the shoe holding on to your foot — create tight, stiff feet,” says Lynn Shuck, an Eischens Yoga teacher based in Minneapolis. This can result in plantar fasciitis, tight hamstrings, and back pain, among other issues. Choose shoes that have a secure heel strap or well-fitting enclosed heel.

Avoid crowding your toes. Many shoes are too narrow — especially in the toe box — and compress your tarsal and metatarsal bones (the toes and the bones in your forefoot). If you compress your feet long enough, your mobility becomes limited, says Shuck. “If I’d worn gloves on my hands for 50-plus years, they wouldn’t move much. That’s what we’ve done with our feet.” Again, high heels and dress shoes are often the culprits, if they have a narrow toe box. Look for shoes with ample width so your toes can flex.

Don’t go soft. Shoes are often packed with cushioning, which actually weakens your feet over time, and the lack of sensory feedback alters your walking mechanics. Every time your foot hits the ground, it receives signals from the ground via nerve fibers. If you’re wearing shoes with thick padding, your feet need to land harder to pick up that feedback, and you’ll be less mindful of how you’re interacting with the ground. But if your feet are minimally cushioned, you’ll be more aware of how you’re walking. “You’ll wind up walking more naturally and efficiently,” Gauvreau says.

Avoid the quick fix. Runners are ­especially susceptible to developing pain as a result of their footwear. Interestingly, research suggests that the best way to minimize your risk of foot pain and injury is to choose running shoes based on comfort, as opposed to shoes that “fix” a biomechanical problem.

Runners may be familiar with this scenario: You visit a running store to have your gait assessed. The assessor determines your degree of pronation, or how far your foot rolls inward with each step. If you’re an overpronator, you land on the inside of your foot; if you’re an underpronator, you land on the outside. Neutral pronators land in the middle. The salesperson will recommend a shoe to resolve it, thus helping you avoid injury.

Sounds reasonable, but research has shown that this approach has no effect on injury prevention. A 2015 study of running injuries found no conclusive evidence that pronation had any effect on running-related injuries. Instead, the research authors suggest two alternative models for selecting shoes to mitigate injury risk: the comfort filter and the preferred movement pattern.

Choosing a shoe based on comfort will enable you to maintain your preferred movement pattern, reducing the risk of injury, a model first proposed by biomechanics expert and lead study author Benno Nigg, PhD.

“Our movement patterns are as unique as our signature,” explains Langer, “and anything that causes us to deviate from our preferred movement pattern will cause us to work harder, be less metabolically efficient, fatigue sooner, and increase our risk of injury.”

If you are free of foot pain, he recommends choosing running shoes based on what feels right: “Since comfort and movement patterns are very complex and can’t be measured, we recommend that people try shoes on, make comparisons, and then select the most comfortable shoe.”

This originally appeared as “Choosing the Best Shoes” in “The Best Foot Forward” in the January-February 2019 print issue of Experience Life.

Full Article can be found online via Experience Life: https://experiencelife.com/article/how-to-choose-the-best-shoes-for-your-feet/

Break It Down: The Lunge

 | 
Man performing a lunge

Fine-tune your form to strengthen your glutes, quads — and, yes, even your knees.

The list of reasons to do lunges is almost as long as your arm — although the move mostly benefits your legs.

Whether you do forward, reverse, lateral, curtsy, jumping, or rotational lunges, this exercise strengthens the muscles from your waist down, including your glutes, quads, and calves. 

Moreover, these moves can help build stability in your core and back, as well as around key joints like the hips, knees, and ankles. Lunges can also increase foot strength and improve your overall balance and stability. 

Many people avoid doing lunges, however, because they feel unsteady or worry about hurting their knees or lower back. Yet, by learning to perform this powerful move with proper form, you can head off these sometimes-painful annoyances during training — and over the long term.

These tips will help you tidy up your technique so you can reap the rewards of this effective lower-body move. 

  1. Stand with your feet about hip width apart. 
  2. Step forward with one foot, keeping your chest proud and shoulders squared over your hips. 
  3. Allow both knees to bend, with your back knee hovering just above the floor. (Adjust the length of your stride as needed.) 
  4. Keep your front knee in line with your middle toe. Take care not to relax the back leg at the bottom of the move.
  5. Reverse the movement by pressing through your heel and stepping your front foot back to the starting position.
  6. Complete the desired number of reps, and repeat on opposite side.

Tips

  • Keep your hands in front of you or on your hips for balance. If you’re using added weight, support the weight with your hands. 
  • Brace your abs to keep an upright posture and protect your lower back. 
  • Avoid letting your front knee turn inward; engage your hip and butt muscles. 
  • Widen your stance if you feel unstable — it shouldn’t feel like you’re on a tightrope. 
  • Squeeze your glutes throughout the movement, particularly as you press through your front foot.
WEB EXTRA!

Modify the Move: 5 Lunge Variations

Reverse Lunge

Man doing a reverse lunge
Photos: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: Robert Clark
  • Stand with feet about hip width apart.
  • Keeping your chest proud and shoulders squared over your hips, step backward with one foot.
  • Allow both knees to bend until they form 90-degree angles. (Adjust the length of your stride as needed to accomplish this.)
  • Keep your front knee in line with the middle toe of that leg. Your back knee can graze the floor, but take care not to relax at the bottom of the move.
  • Reverse the movement by stepping your rear foot back to the starting position.
  • Repeat on both sides.

Lateral Lunge

man doing a lateral lunge
Photos: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: Robert Clark
  • Stand with feet about hip width apart.
  • Keeping your chest proud and shoulders squared over your hips, step to the side with one foot.
  • Push your butt back to allow the knee of the lead leg to bend until it forms a 90-degree angle. (Adjust the length of your stride as needed to accomplish this.)
  • Keep the bent knee in line with the middle toe of that leg. Your other leg will be straight.
  • Reverse the movement by stepping your lead leg back to the starting position.
  • Complete desired number of reps, and repeat on opposite side.

Curtsy Lunge

man doing a curtsy lunge
Photos: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: Robert Clark
  • Stand with feet about hip width apart.
  • Keeping your chest proud and shoulders squared over your hips, step your right foot back and to the left, allowing the front (left) knee to bend until it forms a 90-degree angle.
  • Allow both knees to bend, but keep your hips and shoulders squared to avoid wrenching your body.
  • Keep your front knee in line with the middle toe. Your back knee can graze the floor, but take care not to relax at the bottom of the move.
  • Reverse the movement by stepping your rear (right) foot back to the starting position.
  • Complete desired number of reps, and repeat on opposite side.

Rotational Lunge

Man doing a rotational lunge
Photos: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: Robert Clark
  • Stand with feet about hip width apart.
  • Keeping your chest proud and shoulders squared over your hips, step forward with one foot. Simultaneously, rotate your upper body toward the front leg.
  • Allow both knees to bend until they form 90-degree angles.
  • Keep your front knee in line with the middle toe of that leg.
  • Reverse the movement by stepping your front foot back to the starting position, realigning your torso to once again face forward.
  • Complete desired number of reps, and repeat on opposite side.

Jumping Lunge

man doing a jumping lunge
Photos: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: Robert Clark
  • Begin by lunging forward, allowing both knees to bend until they form 90-degree angles.
  • Brace your abs and squeeze your glutes, then extend your knees as you jump into the air. Mid-jump, swap legs so your previously back leg is now in front.
  • Land softly and with control, lowering yourself until your knees form 90-degree angles and the front knee tracks over the middle of the foot.
  • Repeat, alternating sides with each jump to complete desired number of reps.

 , RKC, is an Experience Life senior editor.

Photos: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Model: Robert Clark

Full article can be found on Experience Life 

Stretch Yourself Strong

Tired of the same old stretching routine? Functional Range Conditioning can help you build flexibility, athleticism, and real-world strength in a whole new way.

Popular wisdom says stretching doesn’t build muscle, burn fat, or shave time off a 5K. As a result, many of us shortchange or skip the practice altogether in our workouts.

But according to many fitness experts, popular wisdom is wrong —and we’re missing out on its benefits.

Stretching has been shown to help prevent injury, heal old hurts, improve range of motion, reduce muscle tightness and imbalance, and improve athletic performance. In fact, it’s so important to overall fitness that it’s not something to approach haphazardly.

Welcome to stretching 2.0 by way of Functional Range Conditioning (FRC). This stretching protocol — created by Toronto-based sports-specialist chiropractor Andreo Spina, DC, FCCSS(C), CPT, who advises several pro sports teams — aims to build strength and flexibility systematically and progressively.

Though commonly treated as separate skills, flexibility and strength are closely related; together, they comprise mobility. Often, says Spina, mobility restrictions occur because our muscles lack strength or flexibility (or both) at their end-range positions.

This may take the form of tight hips that make it hard to squat, or tight shoulders that make it tough to raise your arms overhead.

Another expression is hyperflex-ibility, which often forces people to avoid certain movements for fear of going too far and injuring themselves. Common examples include over-rotating your lower back or overextending your neck.

Whether the problem is too little or too much flexibility, FRC practitioners address the issues with dedicated exercises that aim to find balance in strength. It’s an effective approach that has caught the attention of trainers, therapists, and pro athletes alike in recent years.

Spina based the FRC method-ology on careful analysis of existing research about the best ways to make muscles simultaneously stronger and more supple. It builds on tried-and-true techniques from yoga (in which practitioners actively move themselves into poses) and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, or PNF (in which a coach applies resistance as practitioners attempt to shorten a stretching muscle). (Learn more about PNF at “Smart Stretching“.)

By focusing on building strength and flexibility in the end ranges of motion, FRC is an innovative way to improve mobility and overall movement quality.

Length With Strength

Mobility is essential both in athletics and in daily life: It helps you maintain control of your body and avoid injury, even when unusual circumstances — slipping on ice, jumping to catch a Frisbee — place your joints in potentially dangerous positions.

It’s no secret that our modern lifestyle has deleterious effects on our health, joints included. “We sit rather than stand, drive rather than walk,” says Spina. “The body has no reason to hold on to mobility it doesn’t need. So we lose it and then wonder why we hurt ourselves squatting or doing Olympic lifts in the gym.”

FRC aims to restore those lost ranges of motion so that complex movements — be it reaching into the back seat of a car to retrieve a purse or performing a deficit deadlift — become easy once again.

One way FRC does this is by focusing on building your joints’ passive flexibility, while also increasing their active range of motion. To feel the difference, try this test: Stand on one foot and lift your other knee as high as you can. Then grab your knee and see how much higher you can pull it.

The first position is the limit of the active range of motion you can control, or your mobility. The second position is the passive range your joint can reach but over which you have little control — your flexibility. There will always be some difference between these two points; the goal of FRC is to reduce this gap.

“Passive flexibility isn’t very useful,” says FRC instructor Dewey Nielsen, owner of Impact Performance Training in Newberg, Ore. At best, haphazard stretching, no matter how well-intentioned, can be ineffective, resulting in little functional improvement. At worst, Nielsen notes, it can be outright dangerous to passively push your body into ranges of motion it can’t actively control.

Forcing your body into the full expression of an exercise when you cannot control it is asking for trouble, agrees personal trainer Hunter Cook, NASM, AFAA, FRCms, based in Long Beach, Calif.

“Injuries happen when your body encounters a force that exceeds the load-bearing capacity of the tissue,” he explains. Imagine, for instance, a 200-pound man who gets injured by putting his full weight on an ankle joint that can’t handle his weight. “If he doesn’t increase the capacity of the tissue to bear load beyond what it did before the injury, he’ll reinjure the same area when he puts that same force on it again.”

When FRC practitioners are working with injured clients, they take care to rehab the area so it can withstand more force than it could before the injury, resulting in an ankle, joint, or knee that’s more resilient and injury-proof.

Ready to try FRC? The following workout just might change your mind about the value of stretching.

The FRC Workout

An FRC-certified trainer can help you learn and refine the method, but having a coach isn’t necessary to get a feel for the FRC system. For a primer on this tough-but-effective approach to amping up your stretching routine, add these moves to your workout program — once or even several times a day. You can do the exercises on their own, or right after a workout, when muscles are warmed up and pliable.

CARs Shoulder Rotations

CARs Shoulder Rotations
Illustrations by Kveta

Purpose: To increase the functional range in your shoulder joint.

How to Do It:

  • Stand tall and contract your legs and core so that your body is stable.
  • Slowly and with maximal tension in your left shoulder, rotate your left hand so that the palm faces your thigh.
  • Keeping your elbow straight and your thumb pointed upward, lift your arm forward and overhead as high as possible.
  • When your arm is vertical, reach up as far as possible, then internally rotate your shoulder so that your thumb faces forward and your palm faces outward.
  • Without flaring your arm out to the side, continue circling your entire arm backward and down behind you until your arm is by your side again.
  • Repeat the same movement a total of three times.
  • Reverse the movement, circling your arm back, then forward in the same manner a total of three times.
  • Repeat the movement with your left hand.

Segmented Cat–Camel

Segmented Cat Camel
Illustrations by Kveta

Purpose: To increase control and awareness throughout your spine.

How to Do It:

  • Assume an all-fours position with your hands under your shoulders and knees below your hips.
  • Minimizing movement further up your spine, tip your pelvis forward so that your tailbone lifts slightly toward the ceiling.
  • Beginning with your lowest vertebra, slowly lower your back into a fully arched position, one vertebra at a time. Pay particular attention to the vertebrae between your shoulder blades. The entire sequence should last 30 to 45 seconds, and your head should be the last thing to come up.
  • Starting at your tailbone, slowly reverse the movement, taking 30 to 45 seconds, until your back is rounded up toward the ceiling and your head is hanging toward the floor.
  • Repeat three to four cycles.

DIY PAILs and RAILs

DIY PAILs and RAILs
Illustrations by Kveta

Purpose: Trains muscles to support the joint at the outer edges of their range of motion, giving you more control and usable range.

How to Do It:

  • Sit on the floor with your right leg straight and your left leg bent so your foot is near the inside of your right thigh.
  • Keeping your back straight, hinge from your hip joints and bend as far toward your right foot as you can, grabbing it if possible. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Back off the stretch a little, then push your right heel into the floor as hard as possible for 10 seconds. (This is the PAIL stretch.)
  • Release the tension, then reach forward again. Hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Back off the stretch again, and, keeping your right leg fully locked out and your toes pointed upward, raise your right heel from the floor as high as possible. Hold for 10 seconds. (This is the RAIL stretch.)
  • Release the tension, lowering your leg to the floor, and reach toward your foot again. Hold for another 10 seconds.
  • Repeat the entire sequence with your left leg extended in front of you.

90–90 Hip Opener

90-90 Hip Opener
Illustrations by Kveta

Purpose: Builds and maintains range of motion in the hips, and prepares joints for challenging strength-training and athletic movements like squats, deadlifts, and jumps.

How to Do It:

  • Sit on the floor with your feet flat and your knees bent.
  • Turn your body 90 degrees to the right, dropping your knees so that the outside of your right knee and the inside of your left knee are touching the floor. (This is the 90–90 position: The thighs form a 90-degree angle, and each knee is bent 90 degrees.)
  • Rotate your torso to the right so that your right thigh is on the floor directly in front of you (position 1).
  • Keeping your back straight, hinge forward at your hip joints until you feel a deep stretch in the muscles surrounding your right hip (2). Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Come back to an upright position and rotate your shoulders to the left so you are facing your left leg. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds (3).
  • Keeping your right leg planted, extend the toes of your left foot and lift your left knee. Forcefully contract your left glute, lifting your leg and opening your left knee as far to the left as you can; this is a RAIL stretch (4). Hold for a five-count.
  • Lower the inside of your left knee back to the floor in front of you, then hinge the left knee back and forth three times, contracting your left glute for a five-count each time (5).
  • Open your left knee to the left once more. Hold the middle position — legs splayed wide, the outside edges of the feet on the floor — for 15 seconds, squeezing the glutes so that your knees press closer toward the floor (6). This is also a RAIL stretch.
  • Keeping your feet on the floor, rotate your body so you are sitting in the 90–90 position on the left side.
  • Repeat the entire sequence on this side

Illustrations by Kveta

 Andrew Heffernan, CSCS, GCFP, is an Experience Life contributing editor.

Illustrations by Kveta

Full Article can be found on Experience Life Magazine: https://experiencelife.com/article/stretch-yourself-strong/

The Workout: The Cardio Challenge

Cardio Challenge

This HIIT routine reimagines the treadmill jog, burning fat and building endurance in a quick workout.

Whether you’re looking to round out your Easy Strength sessions or simply craving a sweat-heavy cardio burst, the following treadmill routine may be just the rut-busting routine you need.

Designed by Jill Coleman, the California-based owner of JillFit Physiques and creator of the TreadLift program, this 30-minute high-intensity routine will challenge you with alternating incline sprint and recovery segments, helping you build muscular endurance while supporting postworkout fat burn.

Perform this workout just two or three times per week. “This helps manage recovery so you can get up the next day and train hard again,” Coleman explains.

The routine can be done walking or running, making it scalable for both new and returning exercisers. The speeds and inclines for running and walking are suggestions, so feel free to adjust the levels to suit your needs.

Remember: Don’t skimp on the prescribed rest periods, and don’t be afraid to take a break — especially if you feel lightheaded or nauseated.

“The key with a workout this intense,” says Coleman, “is to listen to your body.”

The Routine

 is a Minnesota-based health and fitness writer.

This originally appeared as “The Workout – The Cardio Challenge” in the January 2018 print issue of Experience Life. View the original article on the Experience Life Magazine: https://experiencelife.com/article/the-workout-the-cardio-challenge/