Tag Archives: At Home Workouts

Bringing Strong Back

6 exercises for a strong back

Your mother was right (as usual) when she would tell you to stand up tall and don’t slouch. A woman with her shoulders down and her back straight shows confidence, strength and beauty. Strong back muscles are essential for good posture. The upper back muscles are used in pulling your shoulders down and back and helping you stand tall instead of hunched over. Good posture is also the easiest and fastest way to lose 10 pounds! Then there’s the added benefit of looking great while wearing halter tops and backless dresses. A strong back can be very sexy!

Not only is a strong back eye appealing, it is also an injury preventer. Low back pain is the number one diagnosis that physical therapists see every day. Sitting too much during the day combined with poor posture is an injury waiting to happen. Having a strong back will also make your day to day life easier and less strenuous. Carrying groceries, gardening and lifting your children will seem easier.

It’s time we are bringing strong BACK!

Last fall when, I injured my L5 and SI Joint, it was a wake up call about just how important a strong back is.

Incorporate these five back exercises into two to three days of your week. Along with additional exercises that target the rest of your body plus cardio and a healthy diet and you will have a strong, beautiful back in no time at all.

For this workout you will need:

  • A resistance band
  • A yoga mat or towel
  • Stability ball

Bringing Strong Back Workout  happyfitmama.com

Bent Over Row

  1. Hold onto either end of a resistance band, and step onto the middle of it with both feet, so your ankles are directly underneath your hips. Lean forward, bending at the hips with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Keep your back parallel to the floor, and let your arms hang down. From here, pull both elbows up so they’re in line with your torso. Be sure to keep your elbows in and pointed upwards. Then slowly lower your hands back to the starting position to complete one rep.
  3. Complete three sets of 12 reps.

*For an added challenge, add a dumbbell in each hand.

Standing Reverse Fly

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping a slight bend in the knees. With straight arms, hold the resistance band in front of you with your hands slightly lower than your shoulders.
  2. Pull your abs in tight as you open your arms out to the sides, focusing on the shoulder blades squeezing together. Slowly return your arms back to starting position.
  3. Do three sets of 12 to 15 rep

Back Extension on Stability Ball

  1. Place your torso on the ball and roll forward until you have both hands on the floor. Your legs should be straight behind you, toes on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower your torso down with your hands behind your head — basically you are wrapping your upper body around the ball.
  3. Lift your torso up until you form a straight line with your hips and legs.
    Lower back down to complete one rep.
  4. Do three sets of 12 reps.


  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides, stand on the resistance band and hold an end in each hand.
  2. Start with your shoulders relaxed, and as you exhale, shrug them up toward your ears. Hold the position for a few seconds before relaxing your shoulders as you inhale.
  3. Do three sets of 12 reps.


  1. Lay belly down on the mat. Extend your arms above your head. Legs are straight.
  2. Lift your upper back and legs and hold for five seconds, squeezing your glutes. Lower back down.
  3. Do three sets of 12 reps.

This workout can easily be done at home or a gym.

#BeABetterYou with Grokker

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grokker.

Marathon training takes up a lot of time.

Especially when the miles start to add up in the middle to end portion of a training plan. Finding time for all the extra upkeep my body needs to run strong can get tricky. I know with this training series, I’ve been a little lax in the yoga department.

Maybe that is why my Achilles is angry?

Post run stretch | happyfitmama.comSome days, this is the extent of my yoga practice.

Ron and I have a nice system when it comes to each of us fitting in exercise during the week. I get the zero dark thirty time slot before work. He’s an after work kind of guy. It works great for running. It doesn’t work if I want to practice yoga at a studio. For some reason, none in my area offer a zero dark thirty class.  Very strange, huh? There are a few offered at 8 p.m. but let’s be honest. This time of year, when it’s getting dark earlier and earlier, when I get home from work, I’m most likely going to be in my pj’s for the night. #oldladyproblems

Enter online yoga classes.

These classes are perfect. I can do them whenever. I can do 20 minutes or however long I have available. I can wear pj’s.

Perfect for my zero dark thirty needs and my old lady ways.

There’s a ton of yoga videos out there. If you are not sure what you want, it could take some time to weed out the bad from the good.

Low Lunge | happyfitmama.com

That’s where Grokker comes in.

Grokker is currently a free video service that offers on-demand HD videos of yoga, fitness and cooking classes. They produce all their own top-quality videos featuring experts hand picked by Grokker‘s editorial team.

I’ve already tried out a few classes in the Yoga for Athletes category. I really liked Prevent and Heal Injuries. It was easy to follow and had lots of variety. I skipped the plyometrics section to keep it easy on my Achilles. I also enjoyed Get Up and Go. It was a great way to wake my body up in the morning and refresh my energy for the day.

A new feature of Grokker are the Group Exercise Classes. Class times are on the homepage. Upon entry into the class, members are announced in the chat window and can join in the pre-class chat with other members. It’s a way to get the same social and accountability benefit of attending a live class without the hassle of having to commute to a studio. Beginner’s Yoga and Abs and Core are the two classes that are currently available in this format.


I haven’t been able to try out the Group Exercise Classes. They sound really cool but are only offered between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m. Hopefully in the future, they will have more evening class time available that could fit my schedule.

In addition to yoga classes, I’ve also browsed the cooking section. There’s something for everybody no matter what you are hungry for!

I really like the Grokker service. It’s functional, varied, and because of the wide selection of videos, I can try some things I’ve never tried before. I also like that I can get my yoga fix and find something for dinner all in one place.

This month, FitFluential and Grokker are teaming up for a 4 Weeks of Wellness Challenge – #FFWellness. The challenge is to find a little time each day to do something good for yourself. While the challenge has already started, you can still jump in. And did I mention there’s prizes?

Do you use online fitness videos to workout?

Grokker’s 4 Weeks of Wellness is intended to inspire you to create your personal wellness habit: to find a little time to do something good for yourself every day. – See more at: http://fitfluential.com/2014/10/4-weeks-of-wellness-challenge-with-grokker-week-one-ffwellness/#sthash.MorUlGmD.dpuf
Grokker’s 4 Weeks of Wellness is intended to inspire you to create your personal wellness habit: to find a little time to do something good for yourself every day. – See more at: http://fitfluential.com/2014/10/4-weeks-of-wellness-challenge-with-grokker-week-one-ffwellness/#sthash.MorUlGmD.dpuf

Fitness Trends + Functional Fitness Workout

Child's Pose | HappyFitMama.com

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might have noticed that I’ve been semi quiet for the past 4 days or so. I’m happy to report that I think I have survived The Plague of 2014 that has hit my house (particularly me the worst) for the past week. Friday afternoon I started to feel achy but I tried to convince myself it was from my workout the day before and not that I was getting sick. The chills soon followed. Then a cough. Yup, I was sick with the lovely respiratory flu. I spent the majority of the past 4 days curled up on the couch or in bed, too fatigued to do much.

I haven’t done anything active. Showering was enough to leave me needing a nap. All of my muscles are tight and tired but I don’t have the energy to even do a little stretching. I’m sick of being sick. Yesterday was the first day that I actually sat upright for more than an hour. That’s a win in my book! My fingers and toes are crossed in hopes that The Plague is gone for good and I can start to move again without feeling like I’m 90 years old.

Moving on…

Fitness Trends of 2014

For the past eight years, the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) has conducted a survey of it’s members and other fitness professionals on predicting what the big trends for the year will be. This survey is worldwide, not just the U.S.

Here’s what they are predicting the top 10 Fitness Trends of 2014 will be:

1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

2. Body Weight Training

3. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals – YES!

4. Strength Training

5. Exercise and Weight Loss

6. Personal Training

7. Fitness Programs for Older Adults

8. Functional Fitness

9. Small Group Personal Training

10. Yoga

I really like this list of predicted trends. It shows that people are looking for ways to train their body for life, not just right now. Being able to do our ADL’s (activities of daily living) and to keep our body healthy for years to come should be the number one priority for us all. That’s where functional fitness comes in. Sitting at desks all day has left us with muscle imbalances, poor posture, and subsequently bad movement patterns during exercise. Functional training re-teaches correct movement patterns, builds balance, flexibility, core strength, and therefore eases daily living. Something we could all use more of, right?

There are three planes in movement:

Sagittal – divides the body into right and left sections

Frontal – any vertical plane passing through the body from the head to the feet perpendicular to sagittal

Transverse – any horizontal plane passing through the body dividing it into upper and lower portions

With traditional exercises, like a standard bicep curl for example, your body stays in one plane (sagittal) and essentially only one muscle is really moving. Conventional strength training isolates muscle groups, but it doesn’t teach the muscle groups you’re isolating to work with others. However, if you combine the bicep curl with a lateral lunge, then you are working in more than one plane. When you are running, jumping, lifting, pushing, squatting, pulling, your whole body is moving. It’s unnatural for your body to just move one muscle group at any one time. You need to work the big muscles and the little helper ones to truly be efficient.

The key to doing that is incorporating moves that use all planes. Here’s a workout that does just that. The moves will help you build a stronger body for your everyday activities from safely picking up your child or keeping your spine stable while you sit at your desk.

What to do: Perform each exercise AMRAP (as many reps as possible) for 60 seconds. Make sure to concentrate on good form. Slow and controlled. Rest 20 seconds between each exercise. Complete the cycle 1-3 times depending on your fitness level.

Functional Fitness Workout  happyfitmama.com

Have fun! Please let me know if you do this workout. I’d love to know what you think!

When’s the last time you were so sick that working out was the last thing on your mind?

Would you add any fitness trends to the list for 2014?

Do you incorporate functional fitness in your workouts?