Another month, another challenge I will start…cause let’s be honest…I never stick to them. Maybe one of these days I will write a blog post on how not to fall off the Monthly Challenge wagon. Oh wait……here are a few tips for ya!
How to stick to your monthly challenge!
1. Print challenge in colour – colour is so much better on your eyes.
2. Put the challenge in a place were you go every day. Beside your bed/on your pillow after you get up; near your computer; at the dinning room table; on the fridge; with your workout clothing/gear/gym.
3. Have a pen with your colour printed monthly challenge. Cross off the workouts you finish. Seeing your progress is motivating.
4. Schedule it in. We all have “apps for that” so why not just actually put it in your calendar or an app you use to track your daily life (obviously, I don’t have a suggestion for you as to which app to use or I would plug it in here).
5. Recruit a buddy to do it with you and follow-up with them. Make sure it’s someone you like talking to daily as you’ll want to be accountable to them/yourself.
This one is all about BALANCE! Jodi Higgs workouts are awesome…hard but awesome! The furthest I’ve gone on one of her monthly challenges is 15 days I think! Maybe this will help with my running 🙂
Description By Jodi Higgs:
Balance Lunge (or Bulgarian Split Squat)
The Bulgarian Split-Squat is great for the buttocks and hamstrings, quadriceps and hip-flexors for a few reasons. It stimulates muscles that often aren’t utilised for their potential to engage, and it stretches out other muscles that are often overworked or simply tight. It is a great postural exercise because it engages and exercises the glutes and hamstrings of the front leg, while stretching out the quads and hip-flexors of the rear leg. Tight hip-flexors and/or weak glutes often result in lower back pain and immobility, so unless your knees can’t take the load-bearing here, this exercise is great for strength-building, balance, and flexibility.
You can choose to use handweights to add a degree of difficulty. Also, the higher up you place your back foot, the more difficult the exercise will be. If you’re a true beginner, simply place your back foot in the split or lunge behind you on the ground, rather than elevating it. Modify as needed to suit you!!
Don’t allow your knee or your foot arch to collapse inward; consciously pull them outward to bear the weight of your body as you bend at the knee.
And watch this video first to make sure you’re doing the right thing:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb0dHaiP4kw
Single Leg/Single Arm Plank
The plank exercise, which we’ve seen before in our Ab Challenge, helps strengthen midsection, upper-body and lower-body muscles along the front of your body. Planks also strengthen inner core muscles that support your joints. The rectus abdominis (six pack!) and transverse abdominis that form your outer and inner abdominal muscles are primary supporters during plank exercises. The abdominal obliques also stabilize the plank position isometrically. Upper-body stabilizers include the pectoral, shoulder and upper back muscles. Lower-body stabilizers include the quadriceps, sartorius and tensor fascia coming down from the pelvis. To sum it up, it’s an amazing stationary exercise that targets just about everywhere!
We’re going to turn this one unilateral too, by raising an arm and/or a leg. Start with the plank though, with all four of your limbs on the ground. If you are in the beginner stages and need to drop your knees, drop your knees. When you’re feeling confident and comfortable in this position, do a three-legged plank by raising one of your arms. Hold that. When you are ready to move on again, lift up your arm and opposite leg at the same time, balancing on one arm and one leg. The demand on all the inner workings of your core is heightened and you will have to work harder so as not to rotate inward. The plank is a stationary hold exercise, so find your breath, tighten everything up, and hold in peace as long as required for that day.
Here’s the video for this plank variation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nlu0vWJhss8
Single Leg Bridge
Although the bridge is an effective glute-toning exercise, it also works the rest of your core too, which includes your rectus abdominus, erector spinae, hamstrings and adductors. During a single-leg bridge variation, your hip flexors and knee extensors also work, including the iliopsoas, sartorius and quadriceps. Your hip adductors, including the pectineus, adductor longus and adductor brevis, are also particularly active during this variation.
As with all our more advanced exercises this month, there is a progression to reaching them. So, until you’re comfortable in the traditional bridge position, don’t start lifting a leg yet. When you are ready to move on, you can progress to this…. http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-details/4/145/ and eventually move on to the full version.
It is your choice whether you want to hold this position or pulse it, or you can switch it up as the month goes on. The number indicated on the calendar represents seconds or pulses.
Here’s the video for single leg bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-6Gonx2Wpo
(not for the faint of heart!) Holy crap. Admittedly, I’ve never tried one of these until this week and I pretty much laughed it off as impossible the first time. By the third night, I did one unassisted. Then, and only then, did i decide to include it here. It’s totally possible. Just impossibly challenging. and perfect for us!
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to assist ourselves in getting better at this exercise, that include a strap, a pole, chairs, or even an open door.
This squat is one of the top underrated exercises in existence. The benefits of mastering the pistol squat are enormous… the pistol squat requires great balance, leg strength, flexibility and coordination. Chances are you will never see anyone get this movement on their first attempt due to the difficulty of the exercise. If you work diligently on pistols, you can build up to performing them while holding a heavy weight in your hand. To start with though, you’ll be holding straps wrapped around a post or chairs to help your balance. Pistols strengthen the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and hips, but one of the most valuable benefits they provide is injury prevention. They significantly strengthen the knee structure over time. They can also even out strength imbalances because you perform them on just one leg. Single leg squats greatly reduce the stress placed on the lower back and spine making it a more ‘back friendly’ exercise option for those with back problems. No other body weight exercise builds lower body strength like pistols.
So, follow these progressions and don’t be discouraged:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeZCRJpdVCI
Along with balance, one of our themes this month is definitely about progress and challenge, about acceptance of where we’re at, and about the lengths we go to make positive strides.
Balance Challenge and Description By Jodi Higgs – You can follow her on Facebook here.
Please note: I did not create this challenge. I am not a personal trainer, doctor or medical professional. I’m sharing workouts on my blog to challenge myself (ha ha) and to share with others. Thanks.
Monthly Challenge: Yeah or Nay?
Are you good at balancing?
7 thoughts on “Balance Monthly Challenge”
I’m pretty good at balancing, but boy, do I loathe pistol squats!! Lol
Yeah…can’t say I’m into “pistol squats” 🙂
I attempted a 30-day 5 minute plank challenge a few months ago and stopped half way through! I think having a buddy to keep you accountable is a great idea. Good luck with the challenge! 🙂
Monthly challenges are hard to keep up! Good for you.
This is actually a really great challenge for runners, as it will get all of your stabilization muscles firing, and will really help to prevent injury! Most of us forget about the itty bitty reactive muscles in our ankles and knees that are so crucial to movement and stabilization. A great way to up the workload (after you have done at least a week of the moves) would be to do them without tennis shoes on and at a much slower pace. Always make sure that you maintain form, especially with the squats, otherwise you are just training bad habits!
Oh great, now that you’ve put the “runners” angle on it….i’m going to have to give this challenge a serious go! ha ha ha! Thanks for the tips!
I’ve successfully completed the monthly squat challenge but failed both push-ups and plank challenges numerous times. Good luck! I should probably try since I have horrible skill at balancing 🙂