Submitted by Stefan Overgaard, Owner of SXS Fitness in Toronto
One of the biggest challenges we see with young athletes is the difficulty of sticking to a consistent fitness routine. Due to so many other commitments, there isn’t always enough time to get to the gym. If you really want to make noticeable fitness gains, you need to be training a minimum 2-3 times per week in the gym (in addition to participating in other sports). For younger athletes, frequency specifically in the gym is less important and I would NOT sacrifice doing other sports in favour of more gym time. However, as you approach second-year U16 and certainly FIS you must ramp up your commitment in getting to the gym. While I’ll always recommend getting to a fully equipped training facility with professional supervision, that’s not always realistic.
A secondary option would be setting up a home gym. Sure, having a full squat rack with Olympic barbell and weights, treadmill, spin bike, benches, dumbbells, pulley system etc. is great, but many don’t have the room or the budget for this. An effective home gym can easily be done without much space and requires a minimum investment. Any good fitness professional can build a very effective training program for a wide variety of fitness levels with these simple pieces of equipment:
- TRX Suspension Trainer
- Stability Ball
- A few Kettlebells
- A few Resistance Bands
These items can all that can easily fit in the trunk of a car as well, so a home gym can also be a portable gym. The bottom line is when you can’t make it into the gym, be sure to have other options available. You can get a workout in with 30min or less, so there really isn’t any excuse not to be able to get in some form of training. This is especially important in the summer months when many are away at cottages, travelling, camp etc. If you can’t have a home/mobile gym available with a proper training program set up, try to get to an actual gym. Not having the time, space or equipment should never be a reason not to train. Remember you can have results or excuses; you can’t have both!
**If you have specific questions about gym set up and programming please feel free to contact Stefan directly firstname.lastname@example.org
December 13th, 2018 — This week we catch up with Philippe Richer from our National Capital Division (NCD) to talk all things ‘volunteering’. Phillipe is the Volunteer Chair with the Camp Fortune Ski Club (CF). As a true team effort, combining the leadership of the Club Program Director Patrick Biggs and the support of the whole Board of Director functions, CF have successfully turned the tide of volunteering at this club from an ‘ask’ to a ‘mandatory requirement’.
Q: What is your official role with Camp Fortune?
A: I’m a proud parent to an NGSL racer and U12 racer. I have two volunteer jobs. I’m the NGSL Parent Chair which is busy as we can have up to 110 NGSL racers! I’m also on the CF Board of Directors as the Volunteer Chair. This, of course, is an even busier job since many parents have a lot to learn about ski racing and the important role of volunteering. Our sport is unlike many others where you can simply drop your kids off and go home. To run a race we need bodies and lots of them!
Q: Can you briefly describe the Volunteer Policy at Camp Fortune?
It’s an evolving program based on research at several Quebec clubs that includes ‘volunteer days’ and a credit system using a financial deposit. The time commitment is as follows:
- Nancy Greene (NG): Family time contribution of 3 days per registered athlete including a minimum of 1 day outside of NG events and up to 2 days of shadowing/training roles.
- U Categories: Family time contribution of 5 days per registered athlete including a minimum of 0.5 days of weekday functions.
- A maximum requirement of 10 days per family.
The refundable Financial Deposit is:
- NG: $150 refundable at the end of each season on compliance with the policy.
- U Categories: $250 refundable at the end of each season on compliance with the policy.
Q: Does the credit system work?
A: We found that 1/3 will do it no questions asked, the next 1/3 will help with lots of effort and the last 1/3 just won’t do it at all if we just use the financial risks for non-compliance. Money is not enough to make it happen was an important lesson learned.
Q: What happens if members don’t comply?
A: Last year and this season parents simply lose their deposit. Since we just launched the new policy on October 2018, we have a two-step process which we want to be progressive, impactful and educational at the same time.
Year 1 at CF Racing Program, non-compliance with the policy will result in no refund.
Year 2 will result in not allowing athletes to be registered in CFSC racing programs for the following season. This is routine at several Quebec clubs, in fact at Mont Ste. Anne parents are fined $175/day if they are not present during an event of which they have been assigned.
Q: Do members find this policy a bit extreme?
A: We’ve been very clear with our communications – and we communicate a lot! The club started last year by explaining to its members that the programs are at risk without volunteers. When a family becomes members of the Club, they sign on to our philosophy. Simply put, we are a family-contribution-driven, not-for-profit organization. We rely on the participation of families to run the races and events to ensure safe and successful experiences for all of its athletes. The last thing we want is to cancel an event due to lack of volunteers, the reason why this policy and the support of the whole Board of Director functions, especially all the parent chairs, race operations, and training is so important to be impactful and successful.
Q: Are you succeeding?
A: Yes but we are far from over! In our first year of launching our pilot project with the NG, we were able to reduce our “non-compliance” ( i.e. they didn’t volunteer) numbers by half! Now with the policy officially in place, we are targeting an almost 100% compliance within two years across all of our racing categories.
Q: What do you attribute this success to?
A: Many things are working together. First of all, we have an integrated approach to volunteering which starts with a comprehensive training strategy lead by Kerry Fagan. We ask that all new club members take their Level I Officials. Once this base is developed we use a ‘shadowing’ program so the new Officials are paired up with more experienced parents who can provide training. We also rotate the volunteers around a lot to encourage them to learn new roles – for example you cannot always be a starter, or at the bottom, we ask that the volunteers learn many different jobs. We also host training days where we practice what it’s like to be a Gate Judge or even build a Course with the netting. Also key are the parent chairs that support on all fronts, especially on advising each family on volunteering opportunities, and not just on their own category, across the whole club events, we are a family and all must support each other is our mantra!
Q: This sounds like a ton of ‘organizing’ on your part. What does this involve?
A: Well I send a lot of emails! Here are some tricks we’ve learned:
- Don’t collect the ‘financial’ deposit at the same time as registration, this confuses members. Make it a separate payment entirely. We learned that many families were pleased to buy out their volunteer obligation with money. The Club does not do this for more money rather they do it for more volunteers!
- Don’t send emails out from the “Club account”, use a person instead – a personal touch works.
- Make it bilingual if your members are, it is highly appreciated by the community as a whole and makes the club fully inclusive and diverse at the same time.
- Families are closely linked to their respective parent chairs; parents are invited to follow up with their respective Parent Chairs to discuss their potential contribution to the organization.
- Create a schedule for the entire season, not single events. Send out the schedule and then require the sign up by a certain date in order to qualify. At Mont Ste Anne they require the sign to be completed within a week and then they start assigning roles.
- Use Sign-Up Genius (https://www.signupgenius.com) and block off the key volunteer jobs so the new volunteers can fill in around these.
- Be sure to focus on mid-week days as these are the hardest to fill. It’s easier if parents know in November the entire winter so they can block a few days off work.
- Be realistic and comprehensive– some parents have valid excuses like an illness.
Q: What clubs in Quebec did you research?
A: Mont Sutton in the Eastern Townships, Mont Ste. Anne and Mont Tremblant. Sutton is interesting with a cap on their program in terms of athletes. This allows them to turn parents away who don’t volunteer. The Best-In-Class volunteer policy we found was from Mont Sainte-Anne (French only): http://clubdeskimsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Politique-de-B%C3%A9n%C3%A9volat-2017-1.pdf
Q: What are your goals for this season and beyond?
A: Currently the Club has more than 250 athletes and the vast majority of families have at least one member that has a Level1, close to 40 have a level II and we are exploring for some Level III. For the 2019-2020 season, we’re aiming to see 100% of families having a Level I, and then from here, using the Level II Shadowing program, we can hope we can have a strong volunteer base in the years to come.
It really is all about education. Three years ago I didn’t even know the difference between a Slalom race and a Giant Slalom race. I knew absolutely nothing about ski racing. I grew up as a competitive cyclist training and cross-country skier so this sport was all new to us. I have learned so much under the CF umbrella. Many parents are somewhat afraid of making a mistake which is why we have practice days, lots of shadowing opportunities and a great support network from all the functions of the Board of Director.
Simply put, our members know that if we don’t do this we won’t have a program, and all of the athletes and families are proud to contribute to the success of the organization!
Readers can find the Camp Fortune Volunteer Policy online here http://campfortuneskiclub.org/parent-lounge/volunteering/
AOA thanks Phillipe for his time. When not working at Camp Fortune with the kids and the volunteers Phillipe manages supply chain management research in aerospace and advanced manufacturing for industry consortia’s and lecture logistics on-demand at Universities such as IVEY and HEC Paris.
(November 25, 2018) Collingwood, ON — Over the last few weeks, we’ve caught up with Ally Dandy to learn more about coaching opportunities for women. Ally is currently enrolled in the Women in Coaching Canada Games Apprenticeship Program, a partnership between The Canada Games Council and The Coaching Association of Canada. As she explained during this AOA Q&A this program provides the opportunity for each province and territory to send two female coaches to the Canada Games in apprenticeship roles. Ally’s mentor is Georgian Peak coach Heather Metzger, U16 OCUP Head Coach, and AOA U16 Consultant on the Athletic Committee.
Q: How did you get involved in coaching?
A: I grew up racing at Milton Heights Racing Club, my whole family was involved at the club while my brother and I were racing. I started working as an apprentice coach with our junior development teams when I was in U16. For the last couple years of my racing career, I was coaching alongside my racing schedule. From that moment on, I knew that coaching was something I really wanted to pursue!
Q: What coaching level do you have?
A: I have my Development Level (DL) trained certification. During my involvement in this apprenticeship role I will be completing my development level certified level and begin my performance level certification.
Q: How did you find out about this program?
A: I saw this program promoted on the Coaches Association of Canada Twitter feed. I kept it in the back of my mind for a couple weeks and then decided that if I really wanted to possibly have this opportunity, I would make balancing school and this program happen.
Q: When did you start?
A: The applications to the program closed last November. I was fortunate to find out that I was one of two Ontario coaches selected for the program in January. The early months were all about learning what the program was about, being introduced to a mentor and understanding the desired outcomes at the end of the Canada Games.
Q: What have you done so far?
A: In April, all the apprentice coaches met in Calgary. We participated in professional development, NCCP courses, and CAAWS (Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport) workshops. We also were able to visit and tour the Win Sport Facilities and the Canada Sport’s Hall of Fame. In between these two events, I have been working on my NCCP courses and working with Heather Metzger, my mentor.
In the fall I participated in the U16 High Performance Program retreat in the Collingwood area working alongside Heather, Duncan, Stefan and Graeme and the 30+ athletes. I learned more about the U16 HPP program and the yearly training plan of these athletes.
This month I attended the AOA Coaches Conference in Caledon and following this traveled to Ottawa for the Canada Sport Leadership Conference. On top of the conference, we also participated in workshops with the CAC coaching staff and national team coaches from a variety of sports to introduce us to the Canada Games and talk about women in coaching. The next time we all see each other will be at the Canada Games in the Coach House!
Q: Tell us more about the Canada Sport Leadership Conference in Ottawa.
A: The Sport Leadership Conference was truly an amazing experience. Being surrounded by so many like-minded people created this buzz all week long. Many of the speakers presented on very hot topics in the sport industry right now. It was very beneficial to walk away with updated knowledge on Rowan’s Law, the future of multi-sport in Canada, and how to improve well-being, culture and performance by Jim Moss.
My number one take away from the event as a whole would be from Jim Moss, the CEO of Plasticity Labs. He taught me that skills like gratitude, optimism, perseverance and self-efficacy which can be taught and used in the sport world and everyday life. He shared the positive aspects of journaling and using a moment of gratitude to positively change his day around. In the constant hustle and bustle of the life we all live in, it was great to hear all these initiatives to slow your day down and live in the moment.
Q: What happens next leading up to the February 23rd start of the Canada Games?
A: Between now and Christmas, I am currently working on finishing my NCCP development modules and finishing up my semester at school (Nursing at McMaster). Over Christmas break, I am planning to work with Heather on-hill. I then will be working with Heather at the Ontario Mid-Winter Race Series February 1-4th where the athletes will be qualifying for the Games. Lastly we will be at the Canada Games from February 23-March 3rd.
Q: What is your goal as a coach?
A: So far I’ve been an apprentice with a Junior Development Team and was selected as the Canadian female representative at the 2013 FIS Alpine World Championships International Youth Camp. Both of these experiences left me with an unwavering passion for coaching. I want to inspire and motivate athletes to be the best version of themselves through sport.
This program is giving me the opportunity to be working alongside high performance coaches at a multi-sport event. As I can see myself coaching high performance athletes in the future, this will be the first step in achieving my goal.
Thank you Alpine Ontario for the support in this program!
For more information contact:
Alpine Ontario Alpin (AOA)
705-444-5111 x 132
Submitted by U14 AOA Athletic Consultant, Jacques Reid
Jacques is also the Extended Program Head Coach at Craigleith Ski Club
SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 — “The ski season is fast approaching, and as a parent living in the Southern Ontario Division (SOD) you could be in the position of trying to make the decision of registering your U14 & U16 child in either the O-CUP stream, or in the Southern Ontario SOD-Cup stream.
This is only pertinent to SOD since the other three AOA divisions – LSDA, NOD & NCD – are not faced with this decision due to the smaller enrollments. Only in SOD must we offer two series due to the volume of athletes in our programs – what a great problem to have!
Before proceeding any further, let’s start by explaining the two streams;
OCUP: (Competitive Stream)
OCUP (short form for Ontario Cup – One Province, One Program) was introduced to the AOA system in 2016. Its goal was to start a series of races open to all four AOA divisions. This series includes a four day mid-winter series and a 5-day OCUP Finals (formerly called Provincials) series. Both series bring together the best skiers in the province for their age, and can serve as a qualifier for subsequent national or even international events.
SOD Cup: (Recreational, Skier for life Stream)
SOD Cup (short form for “Southern Ontario Division” Cup) replaces the former Team and/or Division 2 racing series. The SOD Cup is comprised of a series of races throughout Southern Ontario and culminates in an SOD championships, “Race Fest” where kids of the same age (same yr. of birth) compete against each other.
Last season the top ranking skiers from the SOD Cup races and Race Fest have the opportunity to qualify for the OCUP Finals which allowed these skiers the option of competing at a more competitive level at the end of the season while still skiing at the regional level during the season.
Still, as you are faced with this decision, what factors do we need to look at?
- Program options at your ski club
- It could be that the OCUP program is not offered at your club due to the enrollment where two “streams” per age group is just not possible. For athletes in this situation who are truly eyeing the OCUP I recommend looking at other ski clubs that may offer the two streams.
- Love of Skiing
- Above and beyond anything else an OCUP athlete needs to really love this sport. The time on snow can be a lot; in particular at the U16 level. Some clubs are training Thursday – Friday – Saturday & Sunday. If skiing is your child’s true love I would look for the OCUP.
- Skill level
- Skill level is next on the list of priorities when making this decision. Sport Science and Long Term Athletic Development research shows that if the sport fundamentals have not been mastered by the age of 12, it is very difficult to progress in the sport chosen by the athletes at later stages. In Southern Ontario, this age is U14. Keep in mind, some kids can be “late bloomers” and only start to display a true understanding of the sport and start showing physical maturity later in their teens. Typically if your child is an all- round athlete they can typically find their stride at U16. Remember, all kids develop at different stages!
- Commitment level & Time away from school
- The level of commitment to skiing and time away from school are also big factors when making this decision. Your child could be playing another sport, interested in other things like music or just plainly not ready to give ski racing a full commitment at this stage in the game. The OCUP does include the mid-winters and then the Finals (that’s two weeks) plus if selected in U16, your son or daughter, could attend Nationals and Can-Ams. Yes, time away from school can be challenging. Remarkably many athletes experience greater academic success when enrolled in elite sport. Many U16 skiers are enrolled in sport schools and others simply find the organizational tools to learn on their own, which in turn can lead to success. It can be done!
The great thing about skiing in this area is that from one year to the next, things could change dramatically in your child’s motivation and skill development. Perhaps after one year in the SOD-Cup they will be ready for the OCUP. The other nice thing is that this process is generally open, where parents, with the advice from program coaches, make this decision. In most team based sports, this decision is made by the coach – full stop. As long as good communication with the coaches is in place, families can clearly chose which stream is best for their child.
So, there you have it…Talk to your coaches and program directors and ask them what program your club is offering. Next, be realistic about how much they love this sport, also be realistic about their skill level. Now, ask yourselves how much can you commit to as a family to the sport of alpine ski racing? Finally, make a decision to best suit the current progression of your child so that they can continue to learn, work hard and have fun at the same time.”
All the best,
SXS FITNESS TIPS submitted by Stefan Overgaard. Visit SXS Fitness.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 — Proper nutrition is an essential component to becoming an elite athlete. We truly are what we eat. In order to support all your hard work on the hill and in the gym be sure to plan healthy meals and snacks. Fuel your system with whole foods (non-processed) with a focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, lean organic proteins and healthy grains. In general, youth athletes should be focused on having a balanced diet of about 45-65% carbohydrates, 15-30% protein and 25-35% fats. By giving your body the nutrients it needs you will recover faster, feel more energized and perform stronger. On the flip side, poor nutrition can lead to many detrimental side effects including fatigue, digestive complaints, sub-optimal results from workouts and increased illnesses.
This week we are focusing on the post workout snack. Eat this within 30 minutes of your work out, and again within 1-2 hours (this could be your lunch or dinner). Make sure the snack includes both carbohydrates and protein in order to properly restore muscle glycogen levels (“sugar” stored in your muscles) and to aid in muscle repair. You WANT to eat HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX carbohydrates. This means a carb that absorbs quickly into the system like sugar does (for example fruit). This is a good thing because then those sugars can start increasing muscle glycogen levels so your muscles will be ready to be used again sooner. Here are a few suggestions for great post workout snacks:
- Protein shake (protein: vegan/paleo/whey powder OR yogurt OR cottage cheese OR DAIRY milk mixed with fruit of choice)
- If you need to make it lactose free opt for a vegan or paleo protein powder to go with a nut/rice/coconut milk
- Yogurt and fruit
- Peanut/almond butter with apple and banana
- Fruit and protein bar
- Hard-boiled egg with veggie sticks and fruit
These are broad suggestions for ALL youth athletes, not just ski specific. If you are looking for more tailored suggestions meet with a nutritionist, naturopathic doctor or sports dietitian so that individual needs can be properly addressed.
Canadian Paediatric Society: https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/sport-nutrition-for-young-athletes :LK Purcell. Sport nutrition for young athletes. Paediatr Child Health 2013;18(4):200-2
J Antonio et al. Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements. Humana Press; Totowa NJ, 2008.
MAGNESIUM- Don’t forget about this valuable mineral!!
Magnesium is very important for multiple functions within the body. It works by regulating chemical reactions for many processes such as protein synthesis, nerve transmission and neuromuscular contraction. Magnesium also plays a role in controlling blood sugar levels and regulating your blood pressure. Not having enough magnesium has been associated with the onset of chronic diseases such as “Alzheimer’s disease, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease (e.g., stroke), migraine headaches, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586582/
For sports performance magnesium is important for cardiovascular and strength performance, as well as, immune support after strenuous exercise. Studies show that if you are eating a diet with adequate amounts of magnesium, taking extra magnesium will not increase your performance, but if you do NOT have sufficient magnesium stores your performance and immune function can suffer. http://www.jle.com/download/mrh-272229-update_on_the_relationship_between_magnesium_and_exercise–WuCiQ38AAQEAACm3TSYAAAAK-a.pdf
Surveys and studies show that people who consume a typical western diet are not getting enough magnesium. Our daily intake is 40% of what it used to be 100 years ago. This is most likely because of increased use of fertilizer and increased consumption of processed foods. To combat this and increase your intake focus on increasing your intake of the following foods:
Greens: Kale, spinach, beet greens, swiss chard
Nuts and Seeds: Pumpkin, soy beans, sesame seeds, black beans, quinoa, cashews, sunflower seeds
Other: Figs, fish, brown rice, dark chocolate, banana, avocado
Just the mention of meditation sends some people running for the hills. The idea of sitting on a cushion and floating off into the yogic universe is not appealing to many people, especially kids and teenagers! Nevertheless, study after study shows that meditation, yoga and Qi Gong can reduce stress levels and leave you healthier and living longer. Here is the good news, you DON’T have to do a specific practice; all you have to do is BREATHE in DEEP.
A study published in Frontiers in Psychology showed that participants who were taught how to breathe deeply into their diaphragm (so not up into your chest!) over the course of 20 training sessions saw their cortisol (stress hormone) levels drop more, versus the controls who were taught deep breathing, but not coached, for the 20 sessions.
The take away for sport performance: the more relaxed you are (i.e. less stress hormone, cortisol) the better you can focus on the race. One simple way to calm the mind is to breathe deeply. Start slow and build your practice, one minute for the first week, two for the second and so on until you are taking in deep belly breaths for 5 minutes a day, in any position, in any place, just stay calm and breathe on!
Tips provided by SXS Fitness:
881 Eglinton Ave W – Side Unit, Toronto, ON M6C 2C1
sxsfitness.ca | O: 647.352.2348
FEBRUARY 2019 — Submitted by Kip Harrington, OST Head Coach and Program Director
Over the past few weeks I had the opportunity to be involved with the Ontario OCUP racing from U14 to U16 and FIS plus this week’s U14 Speed Camp at Searchmont. I saw hundreds of racers, dozens of coaches, volunteers, and parents, and it was awesome. I am reminded that we have talented athletes, great coaches and a lot of support from volunteers and clubs. It is great to see ski racing alive and well in Ontario.
We had some great conversations with coaches and parents including the AOA/SOD parent meetings at the U14 and U16 OCUP Mid-winter series and the AOA Athletic Committee town hall meeting plus a U19 coaches meeting. This was a lot of input and be assured we are listening and we know we have work to do.
I also had individual conversations with racers and coaches, on the hill and riding the lifts. I saw familiar faces – people I raced with or coached with over the years, ski suppliers – and met new people. Fun all around and it is terrific to see so many energized and motivated people. One of my major goals with AOA is to harness that energy and bring people and expertise together to improve our programs and raise our collective game.
At Searchmont this week the coaches held daily debrief sessions after training to talk about the day; what we saw, what we can improve, and specifically about skiing. These debriefs were very productive, and we saw great changes and improvements in the kids from day to day. There is always something to talk about with regard to programming, politics, points and qualifications. It was really fun and refreshing to talk about kids and skiing. That is what this is all about, right?
Having watched the U14-U16-FIS races in Collingwood, I saw talented skiers, and terrific performances. I also noticed a fairly high DNF rate in all age groups, particularly in slalom and spent some time thinking about and discussing why that may be, and what we can do. My opinion is simple – continue focusing on the skiing fundamentals which includes good balance and position on the skis and maintaining a quiet upper body so the legs can work and the racer can control the turns and adapt to courses and terrain. I saw really strong carving skills, but a lot of lateral movement with the body, and extra movement with the shoulders and arms, which makes it hard to stay in balance, control the turn, and adapt to terrain and courses. I encourage the racers to keep up the gate training, but also free ski working on technique and make sure to “soul ski”. Soul skiing is when we ski for fun on all terrain, a different speeds, at every chance we get. Good for the soul. Good for your skiing.
I want to congratulate all of the athletes that qualified for the U16 National Championships. This is a level of achievement that you should be proud of. There is still time to prepare and improve before the championships so stay focused and keep up the good work. Best of luck, we are behind you.
I also have a message for all of the athletes that worked so hard but did not qualify for the U16 championships – we believe in you. You have worked hard, and you are competitive people, so not achieving a goal will hurt. This is perfectly natural. There is one thing that is certain in life for every single one of us – there will be challenges, there will be setbacks, there will be disappointments. That is a sure thing. What matters is how we respond. There is always an opportunity that comes with any challenge, to improve something you may not otherwise have taken time to improve, and to see things in a different light. Becoming a great ski racer takes time. So keep the faith my friends. Enjoy ski racing and keep working.
All the best,
Bridging is a common exercise used by all types of people, from recovering weekend warriors to elite athletes. The exercise helps increase strength of the hip extension muscles (the 3 hamstring muscles and gluteus maximus) and increases pelvic/trunk/lower back stability (pelvic floor muscles, internal/external obliques and erector spinae muscles). As I’m sure you know alpine skiing puts a lot of work on the legs, hips and core. Starting every workout with a bridge, or adding it into a daily muscle engagement/mobility routine is a great way to get the body firing these important muscles properly so when you compete, you don’t have to think about them – they will already be stable!
Lie on your back with knees up, feet on the floor with hips, knees and heel in line with each other. Tuck through the tail bone and roll up the spine one vertebrae at a time until you reach the shoulders. DO NOT arch up like a yoga pose, keep your chest relaxed and keep the work in the core and lower body. Press down into the heels (or even lift your toes) to feel the hamstrings and glutes working. Hold with the pelvis neutral (not arched too much up or down) for 30 seconds. Every week increase the hold by 10 seconds until you reach 90 seconds. Perform this during your warm up before a workout, or every day as a part of your daily body workout routine.