Train like an Olympic athlete
Olympic trainer Lucinda Jagger offers BH readers six moves to get you feeling (and looking) like an Olympic athlete
An Olympic workout can work for you
Now is the time to make this your most victorious year for getting, and staying, in shape. To help you achieve your personal best, we asked Lucinda Jagger-a strength and conditioning coach who is based at the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific in Whistler, B.C.-to design a head-to-toe Olympic-inspired workout you can do at home.
Jagger created our program with exercises she uses to get Olympic snowboarder Alexa Loo, 37, in top form-yes, that's Loo demonstrating the moves.
Try these six muscle-strengthening exercises, and resolve to make toning for health and beauty part of your lifestyle.
Equipment: A mat, resistance tubing or bands (under $15) and a stability ball (about $30) or chair. You should
be able to sit on the ball with thighs parallel to the floor.
Warm up: March briskly on the spot, pumping arms and lifting knees for three minutes.
How often: Do two sets, three times a week. It takes about 20 minutes.
1. Single-Leg Squats
Works: thighs, butt, hips and core
A. Stand with your hands on hips (or arms reaching in front of you for better balance) and the sole of right foot on a stability ball, right leg bent and right foot pointing away from you at about a 45-degree angle. The knee and toes of your left leg should be pointing straight ahead. (If the ball's height causes your hips to tilt sideways, try this move without a ball.
B. Slowly bend your left knee as you sit back and down into a one-legged squat. At the same time, straighten your right leg, pushing the ball away from your right side until the inside of your foot is resting on the ball (see photo at left).
C. Return to starting position; do eight to 12 reps. Switch sides and repeat.
Without a ball: Keep your right leg straight, and make sure hips are the same distance
from the floor.
2. Reverse Lunges with Biceps Curls
Works: thighs, butt and front of upper arms
A. Stand with your left foot on the middle of the resistance tubing. With your feet hip width apart, hold the tubing's handles with arms straight at your sides. (Shortening the length by holding on to the tube itself increases resistance and intensity.)
B. (Shown) Step your right foot back. Balance on the ball of your right foot as you lower your right (back) knee toward the floor, and bend your left (front) leg to 90 degrees. At the same time, bend your arms, pulling the tubing up. Keep your elbows close to your sides and don't move your shoulders.
C. Return arms and legs to starting position; do eight to 12 reps. Switch sides and repeat.
Lucinda's tip: Face your hips forward, chest up and wrists neutral (not bent). Avoid pushing front knee past the toes.
3. Mountain Climber, plus Push-ups
Works: Mountain Climber-stretches and increases range of motion in hips. Push-ups-arms, shoulders, chest and abs
A. For Mountain Climber (shown): Get into a Push-up position with your hands aligned under shoulders and legs straight, balancing on toes. Step right foot forward until it's just behind and slightly to the outside of your right hand. Hold for about three seconds.
B. For Push-up: Step foot back; drop knees to mat and do one Push-up. Then step opposite foot forward into Mountain Climber; hold for three seconds; return to Push-up. (For more challenge, do Push-ups on your toes, with knees off the floor and legs straight.)
C. Repeat Mountain Climber/Push-up sequence eight to 12 times.
Lucinda's tip: Make sure your hips stay low and your shoulder blades flat-avoid rounding your upper back.
4. Back Extension with Tubing Pull
Works: butt and entire back
A. Loosely wrap tubing around each hand and lie face down on a mat with legs straight, shoelaces against the floor and arms extended overhead, hands shoulder width apart, elbows slightly bent.
B. (Shown) Without raising your shoulders toward your ears, pull the tubing sideways until your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width apart. At the same time, slowly lift your shoulders and feet off the floor, activating the muscles in your low back and butt. Look down at floor, not forward.
C. Return to starting position; do eight to 12 reps.
Lucinda's tip: Imagine creating an X-shape on your back by diagonally sliding your right shoulder blade into your left back pocket (as if wearing jeans) and vice versa.
5. Bicycle Abs
Works: front and sides of abdominals
A. Lie face up on a mat with hands behind head, elbows pointing out, and legs bent and extended in the air, knees aligned over hips.
B. (Shown) With your low back against the floor, lift your head and shoulders off the mat and rotate your torso (keep elbows pointing to the sides-not forward-throughout). Bring your left elbow toward your right knee as you straighten your left leg, toe pointed. Switch sides. (To make this move easier, keep the extended leg on the floor instead of in the air.)
C. Alternate between right and left sides, 16 to 24 times total.
Lucinda's tip: The goal is to lift your shoulder off the floor, not to touch your elbow to your knee.
6. Single-Leg Raises
Works: core, butt and back of thighs
A. Roll ball against a wall and lie face up with arms at your sides, hips on floor and soles of feet on a stability ball, knees bent. (Or use a chair pushed against a wall.) Tighten abs, raising hips off the floor as high as you can and squeezing butt muscles.
B. (Shown) Lift left foot off ball (or chair), extending leg straight into air, toe pointed. Hold for three seconds; place left foot back on ball (or chair) and return hips to floor.
C. Alternate between left and right sides, 16 to 24 reps total.
Lucinda's tip: Avoid letting hips drop or tilt; keep them level. For less intensity, keep both feet on ball (or chair) as in A.