glutes

Marching Orders

"When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in." --Joshua 6:5

Read: Joshua 6

Joshua could relate to our steep challenges. His neck cramped as he surveyed the impregnable wall of Jericho. "Gonna need a bigger army," he whispered out of the side of his mouth. You might be saying the same about your predicament. Has your health retreated? Does something at school or work have you hoping for reinforcements? If so, stand next to Joshua as he listens to God's strategy.

"But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. Then the wall of the city will fall down flat."

"That's it?...That's the plan!?" I wonder if Joshua paused when he heard the order. After all, he was among men of war (v. 3) and probably dressed for the occasion. Not sure if he hesitated, but I know we sure do. When we have to respect a less than respectful boss, or when it seems the rules only apply to us, obeying God's marching orders is sometimes the last thing we want to do (or actually do), especially if we're ready to fight.

But we all know the story. Joshua's army walked around Jericho for seven days without making a sound or saying a word. Then when it was time: the trumpet, the shouts, and the walls came tumbling down. God's enemies might have laughed and scoffed for a week, but being obedient has never proved popular or easy, just effective.

So the next time we feel like taking the wall ourselves, let's wait with Joshua. He listened, walked without talking, then praised God on day seven. Sooner or later, like Jericho, the world will see we're not just walking in circles.

--Jimmy Peña

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: Bodyweight Squat

Many of our workouts here at PrayFit.com revolve around bodyweight training. Why? The reasons are numerous but this form of resistance training can be done by practically anyone, anywhere and at anytime -- no equipment or expensive gym membership necessary. But to get the most out of these exercises, it's important to become a student -- then a master -- of the fundamentals. Today, we take a look at the best lower-body exercise around: the squat.

TARGET MUSCLES: Quads, glutes, hamstrings

EXECUTION: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, a light bend in your knees and your toes turned out slightly. Keeping your head neutral, abs tight and torso erect, bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body as if you were going to sit down in a chair. Pause when your legs reach a 90-degree angle, then forcefully drive through your heels, extending at your hips and knees until you arrive at the standing position.

>> For more exercise descriptions and videos, click here.

Agreement Isn't Enough

"But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?'"  --Exodus 3:11

Read: Exodus 3

I wonder if Moses ever went back to the place of the burning bush. Oh, I know it's doubtful, but for one of the pillars of our faith, that spot was a pivotal point in his life (not to mention for yours and mine). But Moses didn't just agree there. He didn't concur with some sophisticated nod like he was looking at some priceless work of art. "Hmm, yes indeed." No, his body had to get him where his soul had to go. A simple agreement wasn't enough. And so with ashes still on his sandals, he marched through Pharaoh's front door to prove it.

What about you? Do you remember when you were called to your task? For me, my soul was called in the eighth grade, then again in 2007 to create Prayfit. For you, maybe it was 10 years ago, or maybe even 10 minutes. But regardless, agreement isn't enough, especially when it comes to our health. Agreement is just the opportunity to prove it. So go back with Moses. Get close to the flame. Hear it crackle. Rub your hands together and get warm. You have your own Pharaohs to face. Obesity? Heart disease? A better example for your kids? Pharaohs all. And when you decide to blast through Pharaoh's doors, imagine God as He nods at you like a priceless work of art...because you are.

--Jimmy Peña

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: Bodyweight Squat

Have you tried our workout of the week, affectionately dubbed The Gideon? Click here to refresh your memory. This routine centers around the squat. So today, a refresher on this fundamental move.

Focus: Quads, glutes, hamstrings Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, a light bend in your knees and your toes turned out slightly. Keeping your head neutral, abs tight and torso erect, bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body as if you were going to sit down in a chair. Pause when your legs reach a 90-degree angle, then forcefully drive through your heels, extending at your hips and knees until you arrive at the standing position.

>> VIDEO: Bodyweight Squat >> For more exercise descriptions and videos, click here.

Run Your Route

"But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground." --John 8:6

Read: John 8

Question: What do the most gifted, talented football players in the world have in common? Seeing as it's Super Bowl time, I thought I'd ask. Is it their speed? Strength? Endurance? No. It's much simpler actually. They huddle before every play. If they didn't, the receivers wouldn't know where to run, the linemen wouldn't know who to block, and the poor quarterback would be left to scramble for his life. Imagine the chaos, not to mention the penalties. Sure, even though everyone knows the end zone is the ultimate goal, they still have to stop, get their routes and execute.

As Christians, our ultimate prize of Heaven isn't based on our performance. Jesus paid the price and defeated the enemy for us. But our daily walk to victory would be so much more fulfilling, rewarding and effective if we stopped each day to talk and listen to Him. Remember the verse of Him writing in the sand? Try to imagine Him doing that each day for you and me. With a nail-pierced hand, He writes our routes to show us how love wins.

--Jimmy Peña

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: Jump Squat

Our gym-focused Workout of the Week targets your legs and shoulders. One of the most difficult yet beneficial exercises in that routine is the jump squat. This plyometric move recruits fast-twitch muscle fibers in your legs, which are the ones most responsible for explosive strength. Mastering this exercise can help to drastically improve your leg size and shape, strength on other squat-based exercises and boost overall athleticism.

>> VIDEO: Jump Squat

PRAYFIT IN THE NEWS: The world wide web is abuzz with reviews of the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge. See what the press is saying here.

BETHLEHEM ECLIPSED

"Where is the one born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."— Matthew 2:2

Saturday night's lunar eclipse was as rare as it was spectacular. But if you're like me, you missed it. Chances are, we were all asleep, exhausted from work, school and some early Christmas shopping. It may have been a celestial phenomenon, but who has time for star gazing anyway?

It was 2000 years ago that God placed the star in the east to announce the birth of Jesus. But much like this weekend's early morning miracle, most everyone missed it. The calendar on Bethlehem's Blackberry was booked -- too busy, too stressed, too in control. Things had to get done and nobody else could do them. And yet, Jesus came to earth. Despite a limited live audience, life's main character was born.

Simply put, a lunar eclipse occurs when our world gets in the way of the sun.

Lord, may we never again let the same happen to us.

–Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Leg Day

The mark of a true gym warrior is the telltale hobble in the days that follow leg day. You see, as your calendar begins to crowd over the course of the week, the first thing to suffer is usually your workout schedule. And the first bodypart routine to get bumped is usually legs, due to the energy, focus and determination required to thoroughly and properly exhaust these large muscles.

Legs, however, offer you the best chance of the week to make a positive and drastic effect on your overall body composition. Because of the amount of muscle mass worked in a single, well-scripted leg routine -- like the one offered here -- you enjoy a greater caloric burn and hormonal response in the days that follow that workout. So do yourself a favor -- don't skip leg day. Ever. The long term benefits are too great to sacrifice for the sake of a few days of discomfort.

Perform these exercises in the order listed, allowing 90-120 seconds of rest between sets and exercises.

Leg Extension: 3 sets of 8-10 reps The leg extension is a single-joint move that targets the front of your legs without the assistance of other muscle groups.

Leg Curl: 3 sets of 8-10 reps The leg curl is an isolation move that zeros in on your hamstrings without any help from other muscles.

Leg Press: 4 sets of 12-15 reps The leg press is compound, multi-joint exercise that hits the quads, hams and glutes. Research shows that it is the best exercise to target the inner, tear drop muscle of the quad (vastus medialis). Despite what many trainers will tell you, no matter your foot placement, the leg press is not the best exercise for the glutes because you don't have full hip extension.

Smith Machine Lunge: 4 sets of 12 reps The lunge is a multi-joint move that works all major muscles of the leg while providing the added benefit of safety. And since the weight is locked in a predetermined range of motion, you don't have to worry about balance --  you can focus your efforts on simply pushing the weight.

Jump Squat: 4 sets to failure Capping off the workout is the jump squat. A plyometric move where you don't decelerate your momentum, but rather allow your feet to leave the ground on each rep. Plyometrics are an excellent "finisher" for this kind of workout as the jump squat will exhaust every last bit of fast-twitch fiber your legs have to offer.

FAST-TWITCH describes the muscle fibers most responsible for fast, powerful and explosive movements such as jumping or lifting weights. These fibers are also the ones most responsible for muscle tone.

NEXT LEVEL TRAINING: Take your workouts to the next level with PrayFit's first DVD, PrayFit: 33-Day Total Body Challenge, now available for order on Amazon and other retail websites. Reserve yours by clicking here or shop for friends.

HE'S HOW, HE'S WHY

October 17, 2011Read: Matthew 4

"Come, follow me." -- Matthew 4:18-20 Last Friday night we glanced back. For those who didn't see it, here's the thought we posted on Facebook: "Whew, Friday. Looking back down the week's mountain, some of us wonder how and why we made it. I know I do. That Monday meeting, Tuesday's test, Wednesday's wreck...well, you get the point. But it's ok to look back. Moses looked back at the sea he crossed. Daniel looked back at his bed in a lion's den. And Jesus? He looked back too. Of all the memories He had on Friday, our future was one of them. So go ahead. Look back in awe, in wonder. And while we do, let's remember that Jesus finished His week to give us purpose in ours. Whew, Friday. That's how. He's why..."

And so...whew! Monday. That was quick. The foot of yet another mountain. Head craned, eyes up...it's steep. But before you start your climb, look down. Notice? Somebody's been here. Go ahead, kneel to get a closer look. Seems our 'how' and 'why' has cleared a path. Are you shaking your head in wonder? Yeah, me too. The one who delivered us on Friday is leading us on Monday. Let's look up the hill in awe as we put one foot in front of the other, shall we? We'll see you at the top.

--J.P.

Workout of the Week: Legs in 10

You may not have heard it here first but you've certainly heard it here often: Training your legs regularly is one of the best things you can do to enhance your body composition. The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves represent a large portion of your body's musculature so, by working them hard you burn more calories. This, of course, on top of the more direct benefits such as increased strength, stamina and power production. This lower-body routine allows you to train for multiple goals at once, without equipment and in just a few minutes.

Warm-up: Jog in place for 1 min. High-knee running Jumping jacks Squat jumps Split jump lunge Speed skaters Wall squat hold

--Perform each exercise for one minute, resting 15-30 seconds between each. Then, repeat the entire sequence as many times as possible.

SHARE: GOALS What is one goal you hope to crush this week? List it here in the comments section. Is it consistent prayer time? Bible study? Perhaps you want to walk a certain number of laps or run a particular number of miles. Whatever it is, make it known. Let us and others help hold you accountable. We're on this side of the hill together.

RIGHTING LESSONS

June 27, 2011Read: Acts 2

"You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence." --Acts 2:27-28

Yesterday, in our tiny cul-de-sac, I spent some time trying to teach my youngest daughter how to ride a tricycle. After helping her place her feet on the pedals, I gave the back of her seat a gentle but sustained nudge to show her how pedaling should feel. For Ella, watching her tiny, sandaled feet make their revolutions was more exciting than monitoring the road ahead. We had to stop several times because she'd start an inadvertent turn into the curb or gutter, only to have me pull her back at the last second. As we went on, she got more comfortable. She seemed to catch on quickly to the fact that we'd only go as fast as I was willing to push and that if danger loomed, I'd be there to help her right her course.

Our Father guides us through life in similar fashion. Only by walking (or riding) with Him do we sustain a safe pace and a steady course. And when we do veer off the path, He's always there to pull us back to safety to continue the journey...together.

--E.V.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Static Strength

In breaking from the more dynamic, high-energy workouts that usually appear here on Mondays, this week's workout is a bit static...literally. We're going to take one exercise which doesn't allow you to move whatsoever. The stationary wall squat is an isometric (or static) exercise that works to strengthen your entire lower body (quads, glutes, hamstrings), all without movement.

The execution is simple: lean against the wall with your legs bent at 90-degree angles (or close to it) for as long as possible. Be sure to time yourself so the next time you try this move you can beat your time to failure. The thing about isometric exercises is that they're angle-specific, meaning you gain strength at only the angle you're working. So for that reason, when you reach fatigue at one angle, and after a brief rest period, you change the angle.

Try this: Place your feet 2-3 feet from a stable wall and lean your back against it. Make sure you back is fully supported from your hips to your head. Gently slide down the wall until your legs are bent at 90-degree angles. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, hold that position for as long as possible and note the time. Rest about 30 seconds and repeat. As you find you can't hold the low position for quite as long, straighten your legs to raise your body up the wall a few inches and repeat the hold. Continue to work your way up the wall until you're almost to a standing position. The key is to work as many different angles as possible so you gain strength throughout the sitting-standing range of motion

>> BOOKS & GEAR: Structured workouts, detailed meal plans and 56 daily devotionals highlight our book “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days.” Order yours at our online store today, or pick up a hat, shirt or wristband for your faith-and-fitness minded loved ones.

 

LOVE STEPPED IN

May 9th, 2011Read: Romans 3

"It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it and paid the price." --Romans 3:22

This last Saturday night, the much-anticipated fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosely came and went with the expected outcome. But there was another fight that night that caught my attention. In one of the undercard bouts, a fighter in the late rounds was taking too many blows, unable to defend himself. His corner didn't wait for the ref to stop it, but threw in the towel knowing their fighter had enough. Come to find out, the fighter's cornerman was also his dad. As one announcer said, "Love stepped in." He just couldn't bear to see his son endure such a beating.

In the fight for our future, Jesus went the distance. While He could have stopped the fight, God knew we could never defend ourselves, so He let the battle rage. I guess you could say, "love stepped in," until our fight was over.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Dumbbell Complex

So many of us have to take our workout time where we can get it -- before work, at lunch or after work. There's a reason they call it "rush hour" at the gym. Unfortunately, time efficiency can be difficult during these times and a good, full-body workout that takes you from one station to the next might just be out of the question (unless you have two hours to spare).  No problem. This week's workout is right up your alley, as it has you working the entire body, in one spot, at the same time.

The complex, which can be performed with dumbbells or a barbell, allows you to train multiple muscle groups in succession without adjusting the weight. The order of the exercises can be altered to suit particular training goals. Your goal here? A solid, full-body workout that helps you build or maintain strength, while also keeping your fat-fighting furnace adequately stoked.

What you're going to do is pick a light-to-moderate set of dumbbells -- one that allows you to do around 20 reps on most isolation moves like lateral raises and curls. The reason we're going lighter is because we're going to begin each round of exercises with isolation moves. After we've hit certain bodyparts with laser-like accuracy, we'll move to a few exercises that require multiple joints and muscle groups, which allows you to raise the intensity without increasing the weight. By the end of the set, what once felt light will actually feel heavy.

Don't let lack of space or time ever stand in your way for a tough, proven workout.

For this workout, do 20 reps of each exercise, resting only as long as it takes to get into position for the next move. At the end of the last exercise, rest 1-2 minutes and repeat the sequence. Three total trips through the complex, 2-3 times per week is plenty. You'll have trained your entire body in a fraction of the time it would have taken otherwise.

Bent-Over Lateral Raise | Target: Shoulders (emphasis: rear delts) Lateral Raise | Target: Shoulders (emphasis: middle delts) Standing Dumbbell Overhead Press | Target: Shoulders (emphases: front, middle delts) Bent-Over Dumbbell Row (two-hand) | Target: Back (emphasis: lower lats) Biceps Curl (simultaneously) | Target: Biceps Dumbbell Squat | Target: Legs (emphases: quads, glutes, hamstrings)

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KEEPING HOUSE

May 3, 2011 Read: Mark 13

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back." --Mark 13:35

My wife Wendy and I live in a house of toddlers which means that at any given moment, our little home can look like hurricane-force winds blew through, tossing about everything that isn't nailed down. Toys are scattered, clothes are strewn over the furniture and...is that string cheese ground into our rug? We try, sometimes to no avail, to keep up with the cyclical mess.

However, once I get word that my mother-in-law is coming to visit, a new side of me emerges -- an unrelenting, super-cleaning alter ego that is intent on spot-shining the house into model-home glory. You see, not only did her and my father-in-law help us buy this place, but Ethelmarie keeps a pretty tidy household. And while she may not be bothered by the mountainous pile of juice cups in my sink, I still don't want her to see it. But my inner Mr. Clean -- the one that speedily washes fingerprints from windows and mops floors -- really only comes out when I know she's stopping by. And while her visits are usually announced, we love that she will occasionally just stop by. As a result, Wendy and I are now doing our best to keep the house Ethel-ready (as much as Mya and Ella will allow, that is) at all times.

We all have houses to keep -- both brick-and-mortar and flesh-and-blood. And you never really know when company's coming.

Lord, we are so grateful for the bodies that house our souls and do not take lightly that we were made in your image. Please help us find the daily motivation to be faithful stewards of the physical gifts we've been given. Amen.

--E.V.

ON TARGET: LUNGES FOR HAMSTRINGS The workout of the week may not target the muscle groups you think it is

When most people think of lunges, they think of sore quads. Sure, lunges work your quadriceps -- the large muscles that cover the front of your thighs -- but new research indicates that this functional exercise may primarily target their antagonist (opposite) muscle group.

Swedish researchers had competitive soccer players perform four sets of 12 reps of the walking lunge twice a week for six weeks. And when they tested the subjects at the end of the study, they found that the athletes had gained a 35% increase in hamstrings strength. Their average increase in quad strength, meanwhile, was zero which indicates that the lunge may be more of a hammie move than you thought.

The catch is that the study included walking lunges. This week's workout included the stationary version of the lunge. Both varieties are effective for targeting hamstrings, although the stationary lunge may provide a small amount of additional work for the quads because of the step back to the start position.

Source: Jim Stoppani, PhD

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RUNNING TO WATER

May 2, 2011Read: 1 Thessalonians 5

"Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." --1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today was baptism day at church. If you've never been to one of these services, you should know -- it's not just the baptized that need towels. Fully immersed believers up front and tear-soaked pews throughout mean that everyone is leaving wet.

But for one family, there wouldn't be any dunking. They explained to us that their daughter was being baptized differently -- with a few sprinkles of water instead of the complete immersion -- because she had a rare and dangerous skin disorder that makes her particularly vulnerable to injury. A pat on the back, an unexpected stumble or an overzealous hug from someone who doesn't know any better could literally pull the delicate skin from her 10-year-old body.

Yet there she stood, proud and determined, ready to publicly declare her love for the Lord.

With my two, healthy, rambunctious daughters causing mayhem just a few doors away in Sunday school, I quietly reflected on what this family must have endured to come to this day. Hospital visits, constant anxiety, sleepless nights and enough tears to fill the baptismal they now stood beside. In a desert of hopelessness, when most would surrender to the sand, this family ran to the water that gives life.

--E.V.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 100 LUNGES

The lunge is a fantastic exercise for just about any part of the fitness demographic. Those looking to boost athleticism can enhance balance and improve overall leg strength. Those concerned with aesthetics can burn a ton of calories while shaping their entire lower-body musculature. Even seniors and those coming back from injury can use the lunge to improve stability and coordination. The message is clear: this all-purpose movement should be a staple of your exercise routine.

First, let us revisit the basics of the lunge:

Lunge | Focus: Quads, glutes,  hamstrings | (VIDEO)

Stand with your feet together, abs tight and eyes focused forward. Step forward with one foot. Bend both knees to lower yourself, making sure your front knee doesn’t pass your toes on your front foot. Stop just short of your rear knee touching the floor and reverse directions, driving through the heel of your forward foot to return to the start. Alternate legs for reps.

This week, your goal is to complete 100 lunges. Yes, that's 50 per foot. Advanced trainees won't get off easy, though. Here are our week's guidelines. Choose a workout challenge, based on your experience level.

Beginner: Perform 100 lunges before Friday. If it's 10 lunges at a time, twice a day, each day this week, then that's fine. Just make sure that you reach 100 by Friday.

Intermediate: Perform 100 lunges for time today. Mark your time. Thursday, perform 100 lunges again and strive to beat Monday's time. Use Thursday's time as your benchmark for next week's workouts.

Advanced: Perform 100 lunges each day this week for time. If you beat your time by more than 10 seconds in any workout, use 10-pound dumbbells (or heavier) for the next. Your goal is still to beat Monday's time each workout. Carry this process into next week's workouts.

>> GEAR UP: If you're faithful and into fitness, it's time to start dressing the part. Head over to our online store to pick up some of our newly-redesigned PrayFit gear. If you're looking for a structured fitness and nutrition plan, pick up a copy of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days."

>> EXERCISE CENTRAL: If you need more guidance on PrayFit's core exercises, click here.

 

 

STEPPING STONE

April 11, 2011 Quote of the Week

"What do you do when disappointment comes? When it weighs on you like a rock, you can either let it press you down until you become discouraged, or you can use it as a stepping stone to better things." --Joyce Meyer

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Legs, Triceps, Abs

You may see the bodyparts listed and think that we're going after vanity muscles with this workout. That is not entirely untrue, but your legs, triceps and abs aren't just showcase parts of your anatomy. Training your legs regularly and with intensity can help you to drastically change your overall body composition for the better because they represent such a large portion of your overall musculature and more muscle means more calories burned. Triceps, which tend to be a trouble area for women, represent a good 2/3 of your upper arm mass so attacking them with rigor means better, stronger looking arms in the long run. And by including your abs in this workout, you're fortifying your body against lower back injury and building greater core strength for virtually every other activity that your week can throw at you. See? We're not being superficial -- you will just happen to end up looking better for working these bodyparts.

>> Workout Anatomy: Both the bodyweight squat and the lunge are compound (multi-joint) exercises that target the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. Adding a plyometric or "jump" quality to them helps target fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for powerful movement -- the more you zero in on these fiber types, the more likely you are to sport a set of tight, toned legs.

After legs, you'll take to the close-grip push-up to train your triceps. But to elicit the burn that is the sign of progress, you will superset this exercise with triceps dips. (Note: If you don't have a bench you can use the end of the couch.) You'll finish the workout with three sets of double crunches, which addresses both your upper and lower abs. Do as many double crunches as possible in each set.

>> Performance: This workout is about quality, not quantity. After a two minute warm-up -- running in place or doing jumping jacks will suffice -- you'll simply perform as many of each exercise as you can to failure before moving on to the next. Failure is the point at which you can no longer complete reps with good form. Get through all the legs exercises, noting how many of each rep you performed, and rest 1-2 minutes. Next, you'll do your supersets of close-grip push-ups and bench dips, doing as many push-ups as you can of each before moving on to the bench dips. Rest no longer than a  minute between supersets and repeat it twice more before finishing with three sets of double crunches. Click selected exercises below for video demonstrations and exercises.

Legs: Bodyweight Squat Jump Squat Lunge Jump Lunge

(Rest 1-2 minutes)

Triceps: Close-grip push-up -superset with- Triceps Dips

Double Crunch

DING, DING: This weekend, PrayFit endorser Robert Guerrero added two titles to his resume, overcoming the rough-and-tumble style of Australian-born Michael Katsidis to claim the vacant WBA and WBO lightweight titles. Guerrero took some tough shots but was in control throughout the fight, scoring a unanimous decision from the ringside judges. Guerrero, who wore PrayFit.com on his trunks for the bout, is now poised for a super-fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in the summer or fall.

“Being a big believer in Jesus Christ, PrayFit gets me on track to start my day off in the right direction.  In boxing there is no room for error. You have to be not only be physically prepared but spiritually strong as well.”

Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, 3-Time Boxing World Champion

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AIM AT HEAVEN

February 22, 2011

Quote of the Week: "Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth, and you get neither."- C.S Lewis

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Lunge for Better Legs

Walking is a fantastic exercise that can provide a strong base of cardiovascular fitness, particularly when you push yourself to walk faster and farther each time. But those who can do more should in order to achieve higher levels of fitness and to force the body to continue changing. So this week, we're adding a tougher twist to your normally casual stroll through the neighborhood.

Lunge walking is a great activity that puts a huge demand on all the major muscle groups in your legs, especially two areas that women prefer to target -- butt and thighs. To do a walking lunge properly, you simply take a longer-than-normal stride, then lower yourself by bending at both knees until your back knee almost touches the ground. Then, power yourself up and take another long stride and repeat. When you take that forward step, make sure not to allow your front knee to travel over or past your toes – if they do, you are putting your knee under too much stress.  You can prevent that by simply taking longer steps.

Lunge This Way

Take today's workout outdoors, if possible. If you can't simply apply these principles to the traditional lunge.

Traditional Lunge | VIDEO

After about five minutes of walking at a brisk pace, take 25 lunge steps with each leg, then walk at a brisk pace for 1-2 minutes. After that walk, repeat the process and take 25 more lunge steps. Repeat this 2-3 times total on your walk today.

If you have knee or hip problems, don’t worry about taking deep lunges – simply lower your body as far as is comfortable. You’ll still get the benefits of a more advanced workout today.