People ask me all the time “What made YOU, the Queen of High Impact, want to make a low impact workout series”? The truth is, I never really wanted to. Not because I had no interest, but because I honestly couldn’t find a way to make a whole series of low impact workouts as challenging and as advanced as my high impact workouts. But that’s not to say that I never kept thinking about how to do it. This was largely due to the fact that, for years now, making a low impact series was the number one request on our DVD suggestions forum. So what was it that FINALLY inspired me to make this series? The answer is simple! Well, it’s actually a two parter….A) The manufacturing of my new Slide and Glide discs and B) the growing trend and sound research that supports metabolic training. These two concepts provided me with the tools I needed to create a very fun and effective home exercise series that didn’t require you to jump up and down or travel great lateral distances in order to drive the heart rate up. I know, you’re probably thinking what about step aerobics or kickboxing? Ok, I agree, not a bad idea, but even these awesome workouts have their creative limitations when we’re talking about making TEN new and seriously intense workouts. Keeping with these limited formats would require huge amounts of creativity to keep the workouts fresh and free of boredom. However, too much creativity can be frustrating and intimidating. It can easily keep a workout from being fun or intense enough due to the learning curve that is involved. Who wants that?
The Creative Process Behind The Making Of The Low Impact Series
I wanted this low impact series to be very different and full of variety, yet have my signature style to it. I knew that a variety of workouts would keep things fresh. I also knew with so many concepts being introduced, I had to develop the basic skill and precision within them, therefore allowing me to stick with basic and intense powerful moves. It took time to come up with the perfect blend of workouts, but truthfully, there was no way I was going to film this series until all these requirements were met. Additionally, the workouts had to be safe, effective and they had to TOTALLY deliver the goods!
I had been working on getting the Slide and Glide discs manufactured for a couple of years so I knew I had at least one new and different DOMS worthy workout to offer in my new series. I had been doing enough slide workouts on paper plates to know how to “fry some butt”. I was also a previous gymnast with some background in ballet so I took a great interest in the barre workouts that were growing in popularity over the last few years. I liked the new dimension the barre concept added to leg workouts without requiring any impact. There has also been a trend in circuit workouts and metabolic training. I combined these concepts and created workouts that boosted a great cardio component along with serious all over fitness conditioning. I even brought that same influence over to the step platform and created Athletic Training. Additionally, I included Total Body Trisets because it’s important to include solid strength training into a workout routine when avoiding impact exercises to ensure that the skeletal system is getting the workout it needs to maintain healthy bone density. I also knew that we had a large number of Cathletes who longed for a solid cardio step workout, so I obviously created one that put a spin on a lot of familiar moves along with a few new moves so that I could move quickly through the workout to keep the heart rate up. Of course, with all these new training platforms I knew serious DOMS would be knocking at the door! Therefore I created a couple of Yoga DVD’s to provide a deep stretch to benefit tired sore muscles, but also deliver strength and balance challenges for a well-rounded program. As for Cycle Max, as much as I LOVE indoor cycling and find it to be one of THE BEST low impact workouts ever, I initially hesitated on making a cycling DVD because I knew many of you wouldn’t have an indoor cycle. But after doing an online survey I quickly learned how many of you had an interest in getting a bike so I pushed forward with the making of Cycle Max.
The Low Impact Series Is Joint Friendlier
It is a fact that exercising with low or no impact is easier on the joints, which is extremely beneficial and important if you have medical conditions such as arthritis or suffer from acute or chronic injuries. But let’s face it, when you’re exercising in a home environment and not jumping up and down or able to walk fast and long distances the only other way to get the heart rate up is through a deep range of motion of the large muscle groups of the lower body. This means a lot of squatting and lunging motions. We all know from our daily life experiences that our joints, especially our knees, can get cranky if they are constantly being challenged using the same deep range of motion activity. So it was my goal to create a way to do low impact squats and lunges in a manner that makes these exercises joint friendlier. I did not create a corrective exercise program when designing these workouts. Instead, I researched ways to decrease (not eliminate) stress to the knee joint while still increasing overall strength, intensity, and cardiovascular conditioning. Hence the reference to the words “joint friendlier”. Any exercise program can pose a certain risk, especially to a person who has any kind of pre-existing injury or medical limitation. So always listen to your body and if something still hurts after a modification has been implemented, simply don’t do it. Also, if you have any personal concerns about any exercises always check with your doctor first.
Joint Friendlier Exercises Included In The Low Impact Series
The Squat…If you have trouble getting a good range of motion in your squat due to stiff knees the number one thing you should do is decrease your range of motion and keep your squat shallow. Also, make sure that when you do squat that your knee stays lined up over your second toe. Many times peoples knees go out of alignment and lean to the inside when squatting. This can cause swelling and irritation due to poor alignment. If using weights when you squat, use dumbbells instead of a barbell and keep the dumbbells down at your sides versus holding them up on your shoulders. This gives you better control on your depth, tracking, plus takes stress off your back.
Lunges…Just as in squats, if you have trouble getting a good range of motion in your lunge due to stiff knees, the number one thing you should do is decrease your range of motion and keep your lunge shallow. A better choice of a lunge for painful and stiff knees is the rear lunge. This is because the rear lunge eliminates the forward deceleration coupled with the forward momentum (both of which poses much greater stress on the knee joint). You can also do a static lunge in place of a forward lunge for a less knee stress option. Regardless of what lunge you choose, always make sure that when lunging that your front knee stays lined up over the second toe of your front leg. Many people’s front knee go out of alignment and lean to the inside while going down into the lunge. This can cause swelling and irritation due to poor alignment.
Increasing Glute Activation (note: glute activation techniques, whether they be for squats or lunges, should only be considered if you have no back pain and can use a full range of motion)…Anytime the glute muscles can be better activated during a squat or lunge, less stress will be placed on the knees.
Try a glute activated forward leaning lunge in place of a tradition forward lunge. The greatest stress goes to the knee in a traditional front lunge when the body force is pulled down by gravity and then slammed into a forward motion. If your knee joint is weaker, to begin with, a safer technique might be to engage more glutes (or the posterior aspect of the body) so the knee (or the anterior aspect of the body) is not absorbing so much of the shock. To do the forward leaning lunge properly, it is VERY important that you lean forward and decelerate simultaneously to get the glutes to activate. If you first front lunge and then lean forward after, you are still stressing your knee to its fullest. Many people who can’t do a normal forward lunge because of knee issues can do a “forward-leaning lunge”.
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