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Archive for Monday, July 25, 2011

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Three Moves: At the playground with Laura Webb

Laura Webb, a personal trainer at Kansas University's student recreation center, demonstrates pulls on a swing at Watson Park.

Laura Webb, a personal trainer at Kansas University's student recreation center, demonstrates pulls on a swing at Watson Park.

July 25, 2011

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Three Moves with Laura Webb

Personal trainer Laura Webb runs us through a few simple moves one can do in many outdoor settings. Enlarge video

Laura Webb, a personal trainer at Kansas University's student recreation center, demonstrates pulls on a swing at Watson Park.

Laura Webb, a personal trainer at Kansas University's student recreation center, demonstrates pulls on a swing at Watson Park.

Personal trainer Laura Webb does pushups on a playground slide.

Personal trainer Laura Webb does pushups on a playground slide.

Personal trainer Laura Webb uses the slide on a jungle gym to do split-squat lunges.

Personal trainer Laura Webb uses the slide on a jungle gym to do split-squat lunges.

Don’t slouch around Laura Webb. That goes for both posture and work ethic.

The personal trainer and group fitness instructor at the Kansas University Rec Center is all about form first and preventing difficulties before they turn out to be real pains.

“I’m really big on posture, and that kind of ties into my physical therapy interest,” says Webb, who is currently applying to physical therapy schools. “Getting your form correct, your alignment correct before we start making anything more challenging, it’s always good to get the form right.”

She started her fitness career in 2007 while studying political science at KU. She started teaching group fitness classes and then moved into personal training, getting certifications through the American Council on Exercise and the American Fitness Association.

Eventually, she realized fitness was more than just a passion — she’s played sports her whole life — it should be her vocation. That changed her academic studies dramatically.

“My first degree was in political science, and I was planning on going to law school and then I realized that I wouldn’t be happy sitting at a desk all day,” she says. “So, I decided that after being involved in group fitness and personal training that I really liked physical therapy.”

Until she starts physical therapy school in the summer of 2012, she’s taking prerequisites and working with clients, who range from undergrad students to professors. She says she hopes to keep up the personal training even after her physical therapy career starts.

The workout Webb created for Three Moves is a pure child’s play — tough, sweat-inducing child’s play that can be done at any park in town. If repeated three to five times, the circuit can give anybody a full-body workout while the kids play nearby.

“The first one is going to be a row using the swings. The second one is going to be pushups of variable heights. And then the third one is going to be a lunge for the lower body. It should be pretty widely applicable to any playground around town,” she says. “If you have access to a public playground, you have access to these exercises.”

The moves

Swing rows

Start by standing behind a swing and pulling it toward you until the chains are taut. You will want to keep the chains taut throughout the whole movement. Walk your feet out, so you can lay back and hang from the chain with straight arms. The further in front of you your feet are, the harder it will be. Pull your body up toward the swing seat and then lower yourself back down until your arms are straight. Go for 8 to 12 reps or as many as you can do with good form per circuit.

Slide pushups

Start by lowering yourself on to a slide with straight arms. Keeping your body straight as a board (not saggy or piked up), do push ups with your feet on the ground and your hands on the slide. The further up the slide your hands are, the easier it will be. The closer your hands are to the bottom of the slide, the more difficult it will be. Go for 8 to 12 reps or as many as you can do with good form per circuit.

Slide split squat

For beginners: Start in a lunge position with both feet on the ground. Lunge down, being careful to keep your bent knee from going past your toes. Return to a standing position and repeat. For those a bit more advanced: Raise your back leg onto something a few inches off the ground — a slide, the step that leads to a jungle gym platform, a curb, etc. — and lunge down toward the ground, again being careful to make sure your bent knee does not go past your toes. Go for 8 to 12 reps or as many as you can do with good form per circuit.

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