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Mountain Climbing – Wrists and Ankles

By | Workouts

Mountain Climbing is the latest addition to the next Olympic games. The buzz is already escalating, with Climbing Gyms popping up all over the country. In 2018, over 400 climbing and bouldering gyms have opened up in the US alone. That is more than 10% growth yearly in the last 3 years, and more than doubled in the last decade.  While their  focus is on the Climbing walls and boulders, other offerings usually include climbing on silks (long hanging curtains), handstands classes, and yoga for flexibility.

Climbing clothes and gloves are also becoming all the rage in the fashion industry, as we shall see more of in the coming years. For example, the high end outdoor clothing company Moncler has found its 2019 collection inspiration from one or the first female climbers, Henriette d’Angeville. In 1838 she climbed the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Swiss Alps. She had to climb in a dress, as it was illegal for a woman to wear long pants, but designed her own pair of pants under her dress. It is said that many female climbers who followed, left their dresses halfway up the mountains and picked them up again on their way down, so as not to get arrested.

For those starting to engage in climbing activities, there is a new wave of muscle awareness around the wrist and ankle joints, which we have never seen before. For a long time, most training activities have focused on the core, and these smaller muscle groups have completely been forgotten… until now!

Whether you are climbing mountains or not, wrist and ankle pain inhibit a lot of activities. The wrists are important for writing and using the computer, eating, doing dishes and holding on to bags, as well as pushing your bodyweight off surfaces. Weak and stiff ankles result in painful walking or running and loss of balance. Stiff ankles also occur from walking in shoes all day, and never walking in bare feet. Ankle stiffness limits other joints to move properly as well, since ankles are at the foundation of the body and needs to transfer body weight and information to the rest of the body.

Surprisingly simple exercises that can be done anywhere will help to alleviate this problem and also show results very quickly. Here are some of my favorites:

1: The wrist wave

2: Wrist circles

3: The “motorcycle” wrist stretch

4: Ankle circles

5: Heel raises

6: Toe raises

7: Foot Eversion stretch

Strong wrists and ankles are imperative along with a strong core to climb well, and there are some great exercises that strengthen and stretch these areas. For more exercises and a full scale climbing-training program, visit my website IngridJohnson.net and my Youtube channel to see these strengthening stretches performed.

Unisex fashion- unisex workouts

By | Workouts

When in July 2017, Vogue magazine published Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik on the cover with the title, “Shop each other’s closet,” the couple was met with some criticism and called “gender-fluid”. A much better reception did National geographic receive with their special edition called “Gender Revolution” with a transsexual nine-year-old on the cover. Gender neutral fashion-shows are growing bigger and ever more popular. The borders between men’s and women’s fashions are being erased, and I’m hoping so will men’s and women’s workouts. I would love to see transsexual workouts as normal as transsexual clothes.

As clothes become less and less gender-stereotyped, so will work outs. More men are doing yoga and Pilates, and more women are doing weight training, kettle-bell training, CrossFit and Animal Flows. I am looking forward to more understanding and appreciation between sexes as the stereotypes lessen. While it is true that men and female have different hormonal makeup, where it is really important is in the elite athletic arena where menstrual cycles have an impact on training and performance.

Here are my recommendations for some excellent Unisex Exercises:

  1. Plank
  2. Squats
  3. Lunges
  4. Pushups
  5. V-sits
  6. Side Planks
  7. Twisting crunches
  8. Skydivers

10 Things you must know before starting Pilates

By | Workouts

10 Things to know before starting Pilates


1. The Pilates method of training was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany in the early 1900’s. It was originally intended for rehabilitating injured soldiers of the 2nd world war, using bedsprings for resistance. After Joseph moved to New York, his method of training was discovered by Boxers, Ballet Dancers and other athletes to strengthen their physique and recover from injuries.

2.     The original set of exercises, using only body weight, (no equipment) was only 34. Many variations of them has since then been developed, but the “core 34” still stands as the foundation.  All other exercises stem from these – important to know and thus notice how an exercise repeats itself in different ways, like a theme in a musical composition.

3.     Besides the Mat, other Pilates equipment are: the Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Arc Barrel. All but the Arc barrel are Spring- loaded equipment.

4.     More than just a series of exercises, there is a distinct mindset to Pilates. Performing the exercises without this mindset of mind-body connection is not doing Pilates. You can call it what you want, but it is not the same thing. Besides Yoga, Joseph was perhaps one of the first to develop the concept of Mind-Body Connection, meaning, the Mind tells the Body what to do and is concentrating on the movements. There is an aspect of courage to trusting your muscles and a desire to master your movements.  He believed so strongly in controlling ones movements that he wanted to call his method “Contrology”, but his friends felt that would never “sell” and would be too hard to pronounce.

5.     The clothing to wear for Pilates: Joseph himself wore very little clothing. He was often pictured in a turtleneck sweater and underwear. Today, mostly bare feet or sticky yoga socks are worn on the feet, and fitting clothing allows full expression of movement without restriction.

6.      Every movement has and internal and external component. Ignoring the internal part of the movement is not the intention of Pilates. If the movement is external only, it can only engage the surface muscles, and not the core.

7.     The movement sequence is designed to be in a flow. There is an order to the movements that has a science and purpose behind them. Joseph organized theses movements in a particular order for maximum benefit.

8.     Every movement also has an opposition. Much like a teeter-totter, when one body part moves in a certain direction, then another one moves in the opposite direction. The key is to start these movements at the same time.

9.     Joseph Pilates was a revolutionary against the “then-popular” high repetition style of training. He taught fewer repetitions with mental focus yields better results. Therefore most of the exercises are in the 10-20 rep range, with some as few as 3 repetitions.

 10. Pilates is NOT A Series of stretches, nor is it a flexibility exercise modality. The main purpose of the core is to avoid movement. Pilates is a core stability training modality. Flexibility is achieved by having a more stable body. It is not the main focus of Pilates.



What’s the point of counting steps?

By | Workouts

There has become a magic number when it comes to health, “the 10,000 steps”! But does counting steps really make a difference in our health and weight loss?

The 10,000 step concept was introduced in 1964 Tokyo Olympics when a Japanese company wanted to encourage people to move more. They launched a step counter called “Manpo-kei” which was translated to 10,000 step-counter, and became hugely popular.

People used to move more throughout the day, and the reason we have gone up in weight, is not so much because we eat more, but because he move less, According to Mikael Mattsson, at Karolinska and Stanford University in California.

Just walking more, normalizes our blood pressure, our insulin sensitivity and lowers risk for heart disease, which is of course very positive.

But of course, to go down in weight and improve your conditioning, you need about 150 minutes of intense exercise and, or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise per week. It can be 30 minutes 5 days a week for a 50 minute 3 days a week.

Any activity Will certainly improve your health. So, don’t sit still!