This week we are going to be working on The Ball Slam as our Move of the Week. The ball slam is a super fun movement that challenges great posture, cardiovascular endurance, and helps to develop the ability to create a power through movement.
Over the course of this week we will explore a variety of ball slam variations. In every variation we will work on maintaining a stable connection with the floor through our feet, creating length through our spine, using our abdominal muscles to help us control the slam in the movement, and using our breath to support a powerful movement.
People love the ball slam. It's a lot of fun, a great way to burn off some steam, and a very effective exercise. I look forward to exploring variations of the ball slam with you over the next week and helping to create power through your movement.
Copy of 5/16 The Row - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1. Start with tall posture, and the ball over head.
2. Exhale as you hinge through the hips to slam the ball to the ground.
3. Follow through on the movement, driving the arms past the hips.
4. Catch the ball and repeat with tall posture.
5. Have fun!
This month we are so happy to be celebrating
Julie Wagoner as our Client of the Month!
Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle, so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture, so this is a serious condition. Luckily, lifting weights can help protect your bones and prevent osteoporosis-related fractures. According to WebMD and other sources, studies show that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss -- and may even help build new bone.
The split stance is a movement that we use in the gym to help us connect to our normal gait patterns, and bring awareness to compensations that impact how we move and eventually lead to injuries.
Committing to health and wellness has so many remarkable benefits, and Julie shares how she is recognizing many of these benefits after just 6 months in our training program.
Amazing! We are so happy to be part of this fitness journey with Julie. It’s not just about getting strong in the gym. It’s about the impact that it has on daily life, allowing you to do everything that you want to do in life, free of limitations! That sounds amazing, doesn’t it? I want this for everyone, but I also realize how hard it is to get started in a program. It can feel really intimidating to get started in a fitness program, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before. I think you’d be surprised by how many people struggle with making that first step, but I want anyone reading this to know that we’re here to support you every step of the way. Our community is so unbelievably supportive and will help you feel welcome from the second you walk through the door, and our trainer team meets each person where they are, providing individualized guidance and support in the gym so that you can train with confidence.
Julie offered up some encouraging words for anyone who is contemplating this same worry.
"I was nervous to start too. However, I knew that given my osteoporosis, I really had to give my bones a reason to stick around and that meant strengthening my muscles. The nice thing about the Wilcox Wellness model is that each person can adapt to their own fitness level and special considerations. The direct coaching from the trainers helps to improve form and therefore results. I tried the two-week trial to start and that gave me an opportunity to overcome my fear of beginning again".
And we’re glad you did Julie! It’s been such a pleasure working with you, watching your incredible progress, and celebrating all of your accomplishments with you!
We’d love to help you reach your goals too! Join our Free two-week trial just like Julie did. It’s a great way to make that first step with no long term obligation, and I’m confident that you’ll be glad that you did. For more information visit www.wilcoxwellnessfitness.com/gift.
This week we are going to continue our focus on some foundational movements. We will be working on The Row this week with a few important areas of attention.
The row is an exercise that targets the lat muscle. The lat is a large flat muscle that stretches to your sides on the back and behind the arm. It's an important muscle for movement of the shoulder and also involved in respiration.
When doing a row we want to make sure that we're actually exercising the lats. Our focus as of late is to avoid squeezing the shoulder blades together. This creates unnecessary tension in the middle back and can lead to discomfort, and ultimately doesn't engage the lat muscle in an effective way. We have also been focusing on not over rowing / driving the elbow too far past the torso, because when we do this we lose the connection to the lat and lose the benefits associated with the exercise.
When doing an excellent row our shoulder blades should remain flat. They should not be "chicken winging", which happens when we over row or squeeze our shoulder blades together.
Success in a row is all in the set up. During this week we are going to focus on protracting our shoulder blades, a fancy way of saying that we are going to start of intentionally rounding our shoulders, and then pushing our chest forward to lengthen through the spine into great posture. From there we will focus on keeping the chest and ribs elevated and the spine long while rowing to the point where our elbows come into line with our shoulders. We will also work on feeling the connection to our lats so that we can elevate the types of movements that we use for rowing with success by creating strong brain body connections.
5/16 The Row - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1) With arms straight, protract the shoulder blades
2) Bring the chest forward to create length through the spine and flatten the back.
3) Elevate the ribs off of the hips and make sure shoulders are down and away from the ears.
4) Bend through the elbows, pulling into the row until your elbow is in line with your shoulders, being careful to not over row.
5) Listen to your body and try to feel the sensation of your lats contracting.
6) Straighten the arms to release the row and reset as needed.
7) Have fun!
This week we are going to continue our focus on the fundamentals of movement and work on our plank, progressing to a push up over the course of the week.
A great pushup always starts with a perfect plank. If we aren't effectively braced through our whole body we will put all of the pressure on our neck and shoulders, which causes lots of problems over time, not only in one's inability to perform a great pushup, but also in terms of injury and discomfort.
The primary muscle used in a pushup is the pecs or chest muscles, but our lats are also an important muscle that will help to stabilize us as we lower down into the push up. We are also utilizing our core muscles to stabilize our torso and protect the low back, and our legs and glutes to create tension through the whole body and prevent all of our weight being concentrated to our neck and shoulders.
When setting up a plank we want to make sure that our hands are under our chest and shoulders, our hips are slightly elevated with a tailbone tuck, and our toes / balls of our feet are making strong contact with the floor. By pushing through our feet we will be engaging our quads and glutes and feeling tension through the whole body.
We also want to focus on our breath in both planks and pushups. In a plank we want to maintain steady breath. In a pushup, we inhale as we lower down, and then exhale as we press away from the floor. Think about using your breath to blow yourself up off the floor.
When practicing a great push up remember that how low you go to the floor isn't as important as maintaining (and practicing) proper form. As you practice using your whole body to support a great push up you'll build confidence in getting lower into the movement over time.
5/9 -The Plank - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1) Hands under shoulders and chest
2) Slight elevation of hips and tailbone tuck
3) Elevate through ribs and engage through the abdominals
4) Feet have strong connection to the floor
5) Use your breath - inhale down / exhale up
6) Have fun!
This week we are going to simplify the Move of the Week and work the hinge. Hinging is part of nearly every lower body exercise, including deadlifts, squats, and lunges, particularly the lateral lunge. We even hinge slightly in stable split stance movements in order to create additional stability and maintaining a strong center of balance.
In this video you can see Bree doing a deadlift hinge. Her feet are connected to the floor, her posture is tall, and she is leading with the hips keeping her back flat throughout the movement. These fundamentals of the hinge will apply to all hinging movements that you practice over the course of the coming week.
When we hinge correctly we not only protect our lower back from injury, but we also align our joints and prepare our bodies to utilize our muscles correctly and find additional strength and power in the movement.
Copy of Lateral Dumbbell Swing to Row - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1. Keeping our feet engaged with the floor.
2. Maintain a tall posture.
3. Lead with the hips.
This focus on the hinge will allow you to dial in on every hinging movement in the gym, and as a result allow you to lift heavier with greater confidence, create greater power in more dynamic movements, and most importantly keep your back safe and protected through the movement.
This week's Move of the Week is the Single Leg Deadlift with KB Rotation. In this movement we are going to expand off our our Split Stance position and go into a single leg movement, further challenging our posture, balance and thoracic mobility.
In the split stance we have been talking about working on keeping the majority of our weight in our front foot, and using our back foot for added stability in certain movements. This practice will help you progress into this single leg hinge movement because you will be concentrating on keeping the weight over your front foot while you lift your back foot up off of the ground.
In this movement we are also going to continue to work on our hinge. By starting in your split stance position, hinging slightly over your front foot with a flat back, and the majority of weight on your front foot, you will be ready to successfully progress into the single leg deadlift. What will be of great importance is that you work to move your upper and lower body together as you hinge forward. A common challenge with single leg deadlift movements is the tendency to let the back leg and chest drop where you find yourself in a weird single leg downward dog. In this movement we want to continue to focus on keeping the back flat and a nice straight line from the head to the shoulders to the hip and then to the ankle.
Being a single leg movement, this movement is going to challenge your balance. Many of you have already made the connection between good posture and balance, and you're going to put this to work in this movement. By lifting your ribs up off of your hips and creating distance between each of your vertebrae you will engage your core muscles and create tension throughout your body that will help keep your joints in alignment and maintain stability throughout this movement.
Last but not least, we will be working on a gentle thoracic rotation (and not over rotating) while keeping your hips forward, both in the hinged position and in a single leg knee drive position.
This movement is going to challenge our patience as much as our balance, stability and control. Remember to create focus, use your breath, and stay calm as you practice this movement. Also remember that every time you touch your foot to the floor you are learning, and this is part of the process. I can't stress patience enough as we progress this movement throughout the week into the final version as a single leg deadlift with kettle bell rotation.
Single Leg Deadlift with KB Rotation - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1. Start in a split stance with a slight hinge, shifting 80% of your weight into your front foot.
2. As you lift your back foot off of the floor, equally allow your upper body to hinge forward while keeping alignment of your shoulders, hips and ankle.
3. Gently rotate over your front leg while keeping hips forward.
4. Maintain length through your spine and strong abdominals as you return to standing and bring your back leg into a knee drive.
5. Gently rotate over your knee.
6. Reset your posture and repeat.
7. Have fun!
This week's move of the week is another slam movement - The Low to High Lateral Slam.
In this movement we will be starting in a low split stance position, just like last week, but this week we are going to move laterally, or sideways, to land in a high split stance position.
You've probably noticed a lot of talk about our glutes and lats working together, and the important role that our obliques play in our movement.
This week we are going to be working more on learning how to create length and tension through the lats and obliques as well as the opposite side glute. The combination of these major muscles used in sequence creates an explosive and powerful movement leading into your slam. We will also be focusing on creating proper rotation over the front foot... and in particular not OVER rotating. The set up of your starting stance is KEY to nailing this movement.
The big focus that the whole team will be coaching is follow through of the slam. Notice how Bree's arms move past her hips as she powerfully slams through the contraction of her lats and obliques before loading her glute again to facilitate a nice clean lateral movement back to the starting position.
This is a fun movement and I look forward to hearing how you notice how this movement influences how you move both inside and outside of the gym!
4/18 - Low to High Lateral Slam - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1. Starting in a low split stance position rotate slightly over the front foot.
2. Lengthen through your lat and oblique (back leg side) by slightly shrugging the shoulder and bringing your elbow up over your head like you're trying to smell your arm pit.
3. Begin to contract your lat and oblique as you load the glute on the opposite side of the body preparing for your powerful lateral step.
4. Using all of these muscles together, laterally step, landing in a TALL split stance position, and SLAM the ball.
5. Be sure to FOLLOW THROUGH.
6. REGROUP and repeat.
6. Have fun!
The goal of this movement is to have ONE powerful rep at a time. I challenge you to check in after each slam and reset your starting position so that you are set up for success in your next rep. It takes a lot of discipline to slow down and focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY and this movement is going to give you a lot of practice (and a lot of reward) if you accept my challenge!
This month we are excited to be celebrating Melissa Wedge as our Client of the Month.
Melissa first began training with Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Bangor where Mike & Paige Wilcox originally started the business. In 2019 Allison Hopkins opened the Brunswick location of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness with the support of Mike & Paige. Coincidentally, the opening of the Brunswick location coincided with Melissa and her husband Will’s move to the Brunswick area to be closer to their grandchildren. At first Melissa split her time between Brunswick and Bangor, and after their home was built in Brunswick she joined the Brunswick Wilcox Community full time.
Moving can be an incredibly stressful time, and to add an extra twist to Melissa’s move, she and her husband were also building a house and managing a business in the Bangor region. The commitment that Melissa made to herself, and to her overall health & fitness was admired by the Wilcox team right from the start!
Melissa remembers getting started at Wilcox in Bangor and feeling like she was just getting established when she and Will began their transition to Brunswick. Despite how hectic it was commuting back and forth Melissa knew that regular training was the key to her success.
There’s a lot to look forward to at camp this summer, knowing that she has the energy to play with her grandchildren and most importantly….keep up!
At Wilcox Wellness & Fitness our mission is to inspire you to enhance your life by forming healthy habits that you can sustain for a lifetime. Sustainability is key to lifestyle change and Melissa, like many of us, has experienced that first hand. For her it can be easy to slip into an all or nothing mindset. She has done well in the past following strict nutrition and training programs, but hasn’t found them to be sustainable long term. Melissa continues to work on her biggest obstacle of feeling confident in relaxing her expectations and embracing a mindset around making good healthy choices the majority of the time, and not allowing the less frequent choices to indulge to slide into additional “bad choices”. Melissa works on this area by continuing to be gentle with herself, reminding herself that fitness is a journey and a lifestyle, and continuing to practice mindful indulgences without feeling like these occasional choices have ruined her progress.
We just love how honest Melissa is with herself and with us! Lifestyle change is a journey and it takes a lot of practice. It’s not easy committing to health & fitness habits, but it’s also not easy to face chronic health issues, lack of balance and stability, or worrying about injuring yourself when you play with your kids or grandkids.
We are so proud of you Melissa! Thank you for being a part of the Wilcox Community and for being such an inspiration to us all. Keep up the great work!
This week's move of the week is the Jam Ball Stepping Slam. I love this movement because it will help us work on some key movement patterns that will allow us to get better in how we move both inside and outside of the gym and incorporates a nice bicep curl and tricep movement to help us buff up our arms for summer ?
In this movement you will be using a "Jam Ball" which is sand filled and does not bounce. Without concern that the ball will hit you in the face when it bounces back we will be coaching complete follow through of the slam and embracing power through this movement.
You will be starting in a low lunge position, bringing you close to the floor so that you can pick up the ball and bicep curl it to your chest while maintaining good posture.
As you prepare to press the ball up overhead, you will focus on pressing up through the glutes rather than through the shoulders, creating power through your lower body. This power will allow you to elevate though your ribs and work against compression on your spine as you rise up into your tall posture standing position.
While maintaining tall posture in your split stance with the jam ball overhead you will pull the ball behind your head with triceps engaged creating tension through your lats and upper thoracic back, preparing your body to create power and follow through in the slam, returning you back to the low lunge position to repeat the process.
I have coached this movement in a few sessions and people did amazing. It's a super fun movement and I'm excited to break this movement down so that you can connect to your lats and glutes for the purpose of creating powerful movement. I'm confident that you'll have a lot of fun with this movement and that you'll surprise yourself with your ability to connect to this movement with confidence by the end of the week.
4/11 Jam Ball Stepping Press- Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1) Starting in a low lunge you will bicep curl the ball to your chest.
2) Step forward in your split stance as you press the ball overhead.
3) Pull the ball behind the head with elbows bent.
4) Hinge forward as you step backwards in your split stance, following through with your slam.
5) Finish in a low split stance lunge with tall posture, ready to bicep curl the ball to your chest and repeat the process.
6) Have fun!
take careThis month we are feeling super proud of Margaret Porter, our March Client of the Month!
Margaret started training with us through our KickStart program last November. When Margaret first reached out to me she expressed some common fears in getting started in a health & fitness program. She is a new mom with a now 3 year old daughter and has a busy work schedule. Additionally, between having a baby and hunkering down during a pandemic over the past two years she felt nervous about getting into a gym, not being able to keep up, and feeling insecure amongst the group. I assured her that we would meet her right where she is and that our amazing community would surely make her feel welcomed after her first visit.
I’m so happy that Margaret trusted me and joined the KickStart program. All of these fears and concerns quickly melted away and Margaret quickly embraced her gym time and recognized how this commitment has benefited her. Don’t take it from me - this is what Margaret shared with me about the benefits that she has experienced:
“Since starting my wellness and fitness journey I've noticed a few changes in my daily life. I find myself having more energy to get through the work day and keep up with my daughter at home. I also feel confident both physically and mentally. People around me are noticing the difference and complimenting me on it. Another bonus is my feet don't hurt when I get home from standing 8hrs a day. In the past I would get home and my feet would hurt so much I could barely walk. Now I can stand all day at work and even go for a walk after and still not be sore.”
Isn't that amazing!? We are so proud of you Margaret and just love hearing how you experience the benefits of your hard work in such meaningful ways!
Another thing that Margaret is super proud of is sticking to it, and we’re so proud of her too! Getting to the gym can be tough when you’re working a full time job and a Mom, but Margaret has made it work. She brings her amazing energy to our early bird sessions and is sure to get her training session in before her workday starts. That way, at the end of the day she can get home to use all of that extra energy that she has to take care of her family and enjoy some family time.
Approaching nutrition through sustainable healthy habits, while enjoying some occasional indulgences with moderation is the secret to success, and Margaret has embraced this mindset like a champion.
We couldn’t be more proud of all that Margaret has accomplished since committing to her training program with us and we are so happy to acknowledge all of her hard work by naming her our March Client of the Month. Congratulations Margaret!
Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.