Sunday, September 1, 2013

September Challenge

Today, we start a new month:  SEPTEMBER 2013!

Every month, I have been trying to do something new and different since the beginning of the Summer.  Here we are at the beginning of Fall and I'm going to follow a fellow blogger with her September challenge.  She is Runner Unleashed ( and this is her September challenge.  
She is working on core strengthening which as runners we all need a strong core and practice to become better runners. 

 First part of the challenge:  FLUTTER KICKS This works your upper and lower abs
flutter kicks
To perform flutter kicks, you should start by laying with your back flat on a mat with your legs fully extended. Then place your hands under your butt or close to. Lift your legs off of the ground about 6 to 8 inches and continue to keep your legs fully extended. Once in this position, (1)raise your left leg higher than your right, keeping the knee straight. (2)Then bring that left leg down and having your right leg up, (3)bring your left leg up and all that counts as 1 set(2 count). KEEP YOUR ABS TIGHT!!!!! It protects your lower back
So starting with your left leg in the air, go right, left (1) right,left(2) right, left(3).
Keep alternating until you reach the day’s challenge. If you want a BIGGER challenge, we can call it the ALPHA challenge(because that is how he does it) it would be a 4 count 1 set. So start with your left leg in the air and do, right, left, right, left(1) right, left, right,left(2) right, left, right, left (3) This one is tough to do and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are 100% OK and have a strong back, because this in turn can actually injury your back if done improperly as will ALL workouts.
I tend to keep one foot on the ground as I can’t totally have both my legs in the air but you can do it however you feel comfortable. Both ways have been posted above. (If you’d like me to post instructional videos on the count sets let me know, and I will.)
Some things to remember:
The distance you raise your legs greatly influences the intensity on your lower abs. You can raise your legs so that your feet face the ceiling or keep it tighten only raising your legs about 3 – 4 inches.
The shorter/tighter the fluttering distance the more intense the lower abs are worked.
If you feel back pain while doing this, then you should not complete the challenge.
The second part of the challenge: MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
The mountain climber is an exercise that works the entire body. It builds strength in the arms, shoulders, core and legs, while also working the cardiovascular system. Like any other exercise form, the mountain climber carries a risk of injury and should only be used as an exercise if proper alignment and balance can be maintained.
To perform the mountain climber exercise, start on all-fours with your shoulders directly over your hands. Move your legs into a lunge position by pulling one foot forward and extending the other one back. Contract the abs as both feet jump and switch positions. You can perform this move at any speed you want, but moving your feet fast will increase the cardiovascular workout. Which is what you would want to burn more fat and become stronger. KEEP YOUR ABS TIGHT!!!!! It protects your back!!!
There are several ways to modify MC(mountain climbers) depending on your fitness level. If you have either a low range of motion in the hips or have back strain perform this workout using the wall instead. To avoid impact, don’t jump your feet to change position. Instead step forward and then extend the other leg back.
MC increases your heart rate for your cardiovascular system because it is a total body workout! The intensity can be changed by how fast you move your feet. You can move slower, but extend your legs into a deeper lunge that use glutes and quads to increase your heart rate.
Mountain climbers need to have a lot of engagement of your abs, aka your core to support your back. But you can also work on your obliques by pulling the knee toward the opposite arm, or you can lift your knee to the side towards the same side shoulder.
For more challenge in the arms, and abs, lower into a pushup and MC the feet while pulling the knees to your side. Avoid impact and engage your abs by doing standard MC, but instead of jumping, slide your feet, with a paper plate or something that slides on the floor.

This challenge seems like it is difficult but it really isn’t. Some of you already do this in your regular workouts and the benefits will be great for runners. Between the two of these workouts, it will certainly improve your core strength but also work on your arms, quads, and improve overall balance. Here is the calendar so you see what you are in for.
I will be posting my progress on Facebook daily and I hope that you can join me in this September challenge.  Be sure to stop by Runner Unleashed and like her page and wish her well with her challenge.  Have fun, keep up the great work and enjoy your month!  

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