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Posts Tagged ‘ribs up’

Workout Wednesday–Trap Dominance

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

We all seem to have it!


Between poor posture, lots of reading, slouching at computers ;) as well as while driving, caring for children, etc. etc. etc., our traps become way more dominant and the lats become weaker, making it even harder to “sit up straight” for very long!


Added to that, we tend to store stress (so to speak) in our traps as well, so for most women (can’t speak for the men!), trap dominance is a given.


First of all, what and where are the traps?


The trapezius muscle is a triangular muscle with the three points between the lower back, shoulder and neck/base of skull.  Many tension headaches can be attributed to the tension in this muscle.   Not to mention tight, sore shoulders, as well.



Here is a picture of where the traps are located.


So, what do we do about it?!


Ribs UP!


By getting the ribs up and shoulders back in alignment with the hips, you equalize the workload on the shoulder–the muscles are working more equally vs. some pulling more than others.  This also engages the lats  (latissimus dorsi, picture here), which help balance the traps!


It truly is a “balancing act”!



I know I’ve said ribs up a LOT on here, but that’s because it is so important!  Whenever you hear Teresa say “shoulders back” on the dvds, think ribs up.  For me, I was trying to squeeze the shoulder blades together, which is starting to get the idea, but it tends to be overinvasive, leading to inflammation.   Also, you are usually using the traps to “push” the shoulders back vs. the lats to “pull” them back.


I liken it to the difference between a military “standing at attention” and a graceful “model” stance.


Try it there, sitting at the computer.  Get all slouchy. :)   Now bring your shoulders up and back by squeezing your shoulder blades together.  You probably feel the muscle tightening up in your shoulder blade area most.


Now get all slouchy again. :)


This time think of a string pulling your head up, up, up and your ribcage out of your tummy.  Once you get as “high” as the “string” can pull you, gently relax your shoulders while still keeping ribs up.


Now you should feel the tightening more in the lat region.  (Around your br*a band.)


You will get tired, especially if like most of us, you spend much of your time reading, caring for children or elderly parents, leaning over washing dishes, cleaning, etc.


But with time, the lats will get stronger and it will be easier to stay in good posture for longer periods of time!


The more I do this, the more my trap tension also seems to release!  Recently I was extra tense (um…certifications plus riding in the van for 22 hours over 2 days!), and it seemed I just couldn’t get my traps to fully release.    Part of my problem is I needed a new pillow!  (That is coming up on Friday–I’ll be returning to Fabulous Family Friday with some reviews this week!)   But even throughout the day, I just couldn’t fully relax.


I thought maybe I might need a chiropractic adjustment, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was totally in the muscle.


I kept focusing on ribs up (not that I’m doing it 100% of the time–far from it!), and doing Kayla’s trick with finding the breastbone, then the bottom of the ribs, and physically lifting them.  That usually does it for me, but this was a stubborn case!  :p


The toughest part is to relax the shoulders–no hunching!  And you don’t have to be in an over-exaggerated hunch to be truly “hunching”!  But by continuing to “practice” and think “relax”, I eventually got things back in balance!


Ribs up is soooo key to much of our body alignment!  As I’ve posted before, it helps with inch loss in the arms, tummy and thighs. It helps the adrenals.  It helps our thoughts! ;)   And now you have a key to help release some tension and enjoy your day just a bit better!





I’m not trying to string everyone along about my surprise!  I’m awaiting a few final things to fall into place and then I can make the grand announcement!  As I said there will be giveaways involved–yes, plural!


Until next time–


Happy Tappin’!


Thankful Thursday–Thankful for T-Tapp! (And Ribs Up!)

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Today is my five year anniversary with T-Tapp!  Wow!  Who could have known then that in 5 years I would be a certified T-Tapp Trainer?!   Even more, I’m thankful for my health as well as finally finding a workout that works–without having to neglect my family to do so!  It’s my prayer that I can help others on their journey to a better body and better health!


Just think–where could you be in  5 years with T-Tapp?  It all adds up… one workout at a time!





I’m sure if you’ve heard much about T-Tapp, you’ve heard “Ribs Up!” more than a few times! ;)


That is actually a part of the T-Tapp stance set up.  Teresa says “shoulders back” in earlier videos.  Most of us tend to be trap dominant (we store stress there–ever notice how much more “hunched” you get the more stress you’re under?!), so we start pushing the shoulders back with the trapezius muscles (traps) instead of gently pulling them back with the lats.  (Latissimus dorsi)



I’ve referenced trainer Kayla Howard’s wonderful video on slouching, and it’s a great place to get the feel of it away from workouts.   The more you do this away from your workouts as well as during, the easier and more “natural” it will be.  Your lats will get stronger and you will actually be able to activate them at will!



Teresa shared an interesting tidbit at the Safety Harbor Retreat a few weeks ago.  I didn’t get to go to the actual Retreat, but several ladies stayed over for Trainer Certifications and shared the wealth of information they received.   Ribs up also helps the adrenals.   How?



Well, if you think about it, when you’re all slouchy, you are pushing the organs down and out in your belly —more out if you’re a short torso!   That puts pressure on these glands sitting on top of the kidneys, and like most of our organs, they don’t work as optimally when squished!  (Think of being squished in a tiny cubicle to do your work when you need a bigger office with better light!)



I love how T-Tapp is more than just a workout to lose inches and sizes!   One of the things that kept me “T-Tapping” even when I wasn’t seeing much outwardly was the tremendous benefits I was experiencing in my health.  I posted about the things you just can’t measure here at the forums. It’s always good to keep a notebook or list of the “little things” that add up and sometimes become more important than inch loss!


Ribs up helps so many things!  Inch loss in the arms, tummy, thighs; helping with posture and getting the back in alignment; helping the muscles in the shoulder balance so there’s less pressure pulling unequally and therefore avoiding shoulder issues (or lessening them and helping to rehab them); and now we find out good posture doesn’t just look nice and feel nice–  it helps with adrenal health, too!



And another good benefit–Nanci shared on the forums how she found out that you can’t think negative thoughts very easily when you are focusing on ribs up!  Here’s her post —good food for our “thoughts”!    Thanks for sharing, Nanci!



Stay tuned–I am hoping to announce my surprise next week and there will be giveaways as a part of it! :)



Happy Tappin’!






Workout Wednesday–Accountability

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

I know I thought I’d have a “surprise” for you, and I hope to really soon–but as usual, things take longer than you think!  LOL!   I’ll give you a heads-up when I know it’s coming for sure!


One of the biggest keys to my success in T-Tapp has been accountability.


When I started T-Tapping, there were several ladies in my church who also T-Tapped, but I live over an hour away from most of them!


A few months after starting T-Tapp, I found the T-Tapp forums, and a little while after that, found Habit Formers on the forums, where you get a discount through the trainer who runs it to purchase T-Tapp products.  Good incentive!


Having a spot online where I could list my workouts was really nice–no losing your papers or forgetting to check them off!


I also had joined the 6 Weeks to a New You thread on the General Discussion forum.  It’s more chatty, but you can just state your goals and then check in.  If you don’t check in for a long period of time, someone will try to find you!  Donna, who heads up the thread, graciously sends anyone who asks a 6 week calender where you can keep track of your measurements and write in your workouts.  I write mine in pencil, then check off when I actually do them.


That really helps you see when the inches are slowing if maybe it’s just a time of healing and rebuilding, or if you’ve been doing way less in the workout department than you thought you were!


I really believe the forums have helped to stay consistent.   I highly suggest you join Habit Formers or at least one of the weekly accountability threads.   Even if you can’t check in every day or be chatty with everyone, just knowing others will be asking how you’re doing really helps!


Now you may have a dear friend or sister who is willing to be your accountability partner. Even if she doesn’t T-Tapp, you could ask her to check up on you.    She could even just ask if you are keeping up with your goals.


Let me say that it does help to have someone who understands the ideas behind T-Tapp–sometimes ladies have shared how their husband or a friend who is more “gym-minded” may not think they are doing enough.  I want to say again that I lost 9 sizes doing mostly shorter workouts, and although I did have some weeks of 6 workouts per week, that was not all the time.   I haven’t figured it up exactly, but my average is probably more 4-5 workouts per week.  And those were shorter ones–20 minutes or less!



Some of you are probably like two of my daughters, who love checking things off, so a nice check-off chart might be all you need to stay accountable! ;)


Others, like me, like to do that, too, but sometimes it’s not quite enough to make me go lace up my Skechers and push play!


With all the electronic gadgetry available, there are apps now you can download and use either on your phone or computer.  There’s the good old-fashioned small notebook you can keep in your purse or a prominent place.  Or you can keep your accountability sheets in a binder, like this:









I have different tabs for form tips, online classes I took, nutritional advice, and a whole section is all my former 6 Week calendars.  I know some people also print out success stories that inspire them and have a section for those as well.








I have another notebook I use now because I have my trainer info in there.  In the front pocket I have my before and after pictures beside each other.  I also have index cards in the back pocket for when I give an “Intro to T-Tapp” type talk.



It is also nice to reward yourself for your consistency!   Sometimes progress seems slow but you know you’ve been consistent.  Instead of rewarding inch loss, reward yourself for consistency.   It might be a new workout shirt, a new dvd, scented dead sea bath salts, some yummy body lotion–it doesn’t have to be expensive!


On the T-Tapp forums, some ladies shared how they put change in a jar when they work out, and when it’s full, they use it to purchase something as a reward.  That’s a great idea!  I call saving change my “painless savings plan”!


I’ve not put anything in the cover yet, but I might use this neat “Wordle” that trainer Kayla Howard came up with!


T-Tapp Wordle



Or you could frame that and put it in a prominent place so you will be inspired to work out!



Before I go today, I want to give you this link to Kayla’s blog where she demonstrates how to really get those ribs up–and not just during workouts!   Keeping ribs up throughout the day will help strengthen your muscles and then improve your form during workouts as well as help trim the tummy and keep those muscles activated.


Are you slouching?



Keep those ribs up and let me know if you have a system of accountability that is working for you!




T-Tapp Tuesday–Lots of Goodies!

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

SO much to share today!  :)

First of all, the meaty stuff–it will be a bit shorter and sweeter since there are a few other things I want to tell you about ( including the give-away!).

I posted a little while back about the importance of Ribs Up (shoulder/hip alignment).  Now I’m going to give you a little “try it out” to see what I mean.  We did this last night in our class.

First, get into the “plie stance”, feet shoulder width apart, toes out to 11 and 1 on the clock (if you have knee issues, bring the toes forward a bit).  Bend, tuck/curl that core (flatten lower back as if against a wall, pulling belly button to spine), lift ribs, knees out.

Now reach away with your arms, straight out from your shoulders, as if someone is pulling your arms out of their sockets–really r-e-a-c-h!   Turn your hands so they are facing forward, thumbs up.  Gently fold your fingers over, and gently stretch the thumb up.   Now reach away again.

Keep everything tight tight tight!   Stay very focused and lift your ribs a bit more.   You should feel some extra tightening in your triceps, lats, pecs, tummy area, and along the outside of hips and thighs!

You might not be totally connected kinetically to feel that on the first time.  Go ahead! Do it several times, focusing on a different muscle group each time!

Now you have a “hands on” (or is that “muscles on”?!) example of how keeping the ribs up can help you activate all the way from triceps to quads!  ;)

If you have a mirror, why not do a few moves in front of the mirror this week, specifically focusing on keeping ribs up and shoulders back in alignment with the hips?

More fun stuff!

PBS has put out a “sizzle reel” of what they’re going to be showing for their August fund-raising.  This is what I flew to Ft. Lauderdale for back in February!

You can click here to go to the YouTube clip, and if you pause it at about the 27 second mark, look to the right of the screen and you’ll see Marty in a blue shirt–and he has a perfect “heart” sweat mark on his shirt!  We teased him about “sweating hearts” because he loved T-Tapp so much! :)

(Do realize you will see everyone in workout gear, just to advise you! )

T-Tapp will be offering some tremendous deals for the PBS fundraiser, so see if your local station will be carrying this promo and you might be able to purchase T-Tapp products for a steal of a deal that won’t be available anywhere else!

Okay, now for the really fun stuff!

I am having a giveaway–actually I will have giveaways for the next FOUR weeks, leading up to my birthday in June! 

For this week, the prize is a Step Away the Inches dvd!

Now, how to enter!

1. Leave a comment and tell me which T-Tapp workout is your favorite (if you don’t T-Tapp yet, which one you would like to get).

2. Leave a comment each time you do a T-Tapp workout (yes, TappCore counts–at least 3 moves–so even you busy young mamas can enter! ;) )  Let me know what workout you did (or which moves!).

3. Tell others about the giveaway–FaceBook, Twitter, e-mail, blog, forum (if appropriate–don’t violate any forum rules!)  Let me know you did and post a link, if applicable (I don’t have FB, but I have friends who do! ;) )  You can do this up to 3 times a day if you so desire!

4. Practice the “exercise” I gave you for ribs up every day this week (you can take Sunday off).  On a workout day do it before you work out, and on off days do it at least once.  Post that you “did the Ribs Up Exercise”.

5. This one counts DOUBLE!   Tell me what you’d like me to address in future T-Tapp Tuesday posts.   If you have a big list (LOL!) just one entry per day on this one, please! :)

This giveaway will run until midnight Monday, May 30.  I will announce the winner next Tuesday as well as what the next giveaway is!

And Fabulous Family Friday will be back–Lord willing!–this Friday. 

Happy Tappin’!  ;)

T-Tapp Tuesday–More on Those Lats!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Well, a month later I am finally finishing tips to keep the ribs up during the rest of Basic Workout Plus (BWO+)!

First I want to share a tip I found on the forums  (remember how encouraging and helpful I said they are?) that helps you focus on lat engagement.  This was posted by ayj on the forums:

So, what it is think squeezing an imaginary pencil between your shoulder blades without using your shoulders, while in the whole time your lower back is tight trying to help too (your tummy and upper abs will be tight too). Maintain this squeeze on the imaginey pencil the whole time during the work out, I am sure I will not be able to do 45 mins this… This will certainly burn back fat and tone and tighten the abs.

The trick is to not squeeze the shoulder blades together and be overinvasive that way!

Now, how about the rest of BWO+–how do the lats/ribs up figure in to the last 4 moves?

We’ll pick up where we left off–ready for The Box!

I had posted this before, but this clip from Fox Atlanta shows the Mitten Chop Box, which gives a new twist adding to muscle activation–and especially helping to get those ribs UP!   When you’re doing the regular Box in BWO+, as you’re pushing in the hips with those thumbs, get those elbows back and lift the ribs/set lats.  Just like PBS, as you go over to a flat back, really try to balance a beach ball on your back, pulling tummy up and into the spine.  Tighten the buns and press the breastbone to the floor to help get ribs up and lats engaged.  As you pulse there, use tummy muscles–not the back!–to do the pulse.  NO momentum!

Then when you do the side tilts, again, push in with those thumbs to activate the arms and lift the ribs as you tilt.  Think of breastbone to the ceiling now.   We’re trying to elongate the rib to hip area–making room for the organs and helping cinch in the waist!

Oil Wells–yep!  You can keep ribs up here, too!  Again, as you go to a flat back, follow all the tips for PBS, only instead of pressing thumbs into hips to activate arms, now you are hooking the thumbs to pull while pressing the insides of the hands together to create the leverage isometrics.  Then as you “reach through” for Oil Wells do not hunch up your shoulders or release your lats!  Continue to keep shoulders back (by using the lats) while reaching through.

After you roll up and have your hands above, recheck your form–bend knees, tuck/curl core, lift ribs, push knees out–then pulse your hands above.

T-Tapp Twist—ahhhh!  The move you love to hate!  We love how it blasts hip pads and cinches in the waist, but we just hate to do it!  It is really tough, especially in the beginning!

Try this on in a chair, first.  That will help you get the lower body isolated without having to think so much about it!  Toes forward, knees over ankles and knees also straight out from hips.  Press the feet lightly into the floor (keeping KLT!), and sit tall.  You can still slightly tuck the tail under and curl your core.  Now lift ribs!

Press your hands together–lower hand pressing up, upper hand pressing down–at about your chin, elbows out to the sides.  Slowly lower your hands, and somewhere between the collarbone and the chest, you will feel your lats kick in.  Find that point for you.  Now, as you press those hands against each other, lift ribs a bit more.  Try to keep that activation as you execute the T-Tapp Twist move–left for two counts, then right, thinking back elbow stays up shoulder level at all times (to protect the back) and ribs up, ribs up, ribs UP!

Pause here, then tilt over to your right side, reach for the back leg of the chair, but don’t focus on how far down you can go.  Keep those hips planted in the chair, keep your tummy tight, push your left knee out a bit to help stabilize your hips, and only go as far as you can without losing that tummy activation.

Press hands together a bit more to help initiate the roll-up from the tummy.  As you get to count 3 or 4 to get all the way to the top, press and lift ribs.  When you are doing this standing, this is also a good point to square the hips again to the front (they tend to drift a little!).

Pressing the hands together helps keep the arms, tummy and lats activated!   

Now try it going to the other side, then try it without the chair! ;)

Pull the Weeds–just like PBS and other flat back moves, press that breastbone to the ceiling and pretend a string is going along your body helping to pull the vertabra apart.  As you pull the elbows forward (like a scarecrow), don’t hunch!  Tighten those lats!

Finally–Hoedowns!   Oh, here is a GREAT one to keep those ribs lifted!

Get into position–toes forward, bend knees, curl core, ribs up and push knees out.  Shift over to one foot, get the other ready to lift touch.  Put hands in front, elbows bent, palms up and slowly open out to the sides.  Really tighten those mitten hands–no mushy mittens!  That will help tighten the upper back–and you got it!  The lats!

 Now as you actually lift and touch the leg, keep thinking to lift the ribs–and keep the mitten hands tight!  It’s easy to get all focused on what the lower body is doing and collapse the ribs and core!

Keep that form through the second side on the second set!  Don’t collapse!

You DID it!  :D

So keep those ribs up and–Happy Tappin’!

(Just a note about the Green Smoothie Challenge–it will be available until May 16, and it is now $59.95.  My understanding is it will go up in price each week, so if you’re still thinking about it, you might want to grab it soon! )

Workout Wednesday–Find Those Lats!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Just got back early in the morning yesterday from a wonderful time of visiting my dear friend (well, we decided we were twins separated at birth!) J. and her family in New England!  (Which is why you haven’t heard from me for last Friday or yesterday!)

We had some T-Tapp classes and I had a lot of fun and I hope everyone else did, too!

You hear about the lats in T-Tapp a LOT!  So where are they and how do you find them?

“Lats” refers to the latissimus dorsi.  You can click here  to see where your lats are located.    This is one area that is hard to get and keep activated until you have the mind-to-muscle connection.   One easy way to “wake up” a muscle is to tighten it, then poke it.   This work well for the inner thighs, right before you do Plies, and in The Box, this is partly what you are doing when you are pulling up and in and pressing in with your fingers.

But the lats are a bit harder to “poke at” while you’re in T-Tapp stance!  You could have a friend or husband or child poke there to help you feel it and tighten, but I have found some people will automatically tighten there but still not be aware of it.

Teresa showed us another way to find and engage the lats when we were at Ft. Lauderdale in February.

Stand with your back against a wall–bring your feet out just enough to be able to “curl the core” and flatten the lower lumbar against the wall.   Now bend your arms at the elbows, with the hands straight out in front of you.   Palms should be facing, thumbs on top.   Slowly open out the arms and somewhere close to or when the backs of your hands touch the wall, you should feel the lats kick in!  Remember to keep the core curled while doing this.

Now stand away from the wall, toes forward, bend knees, tuck/curl core, lift ribs and push knees out (T-Tapp stance).  Again, put hands in front as above, and slowly open arms out and keep lifting those ribs and you should be able to feel the lats again, but away from the wall!

“Ribs up” is a BIG KEY to this, so throughout the day, lift your ribs and “set the lats”.  That means just tighten them a bit—do not be overinvasive (yes, I’m talking to you Type A’s out there! ;) ).   This will help improve your posture tremendously!  You will also make more room for your organs.  

Charlotte Siems, the wonderful mama of 12  and T-Tapp Trainer who lost 10 sizes, said that when she won the 60 Day Challenge in 2007 and went to the Safety Harbor Retreat she asked Teresa what she could do for her tummy.

Teresa’s answer?

“Lift ribs, set lats.” 

Charlotte attested that it really helped with the tummy!

Teresa also has shared, especially in the LadyBug move and workout, that stretching that rib to hip really helps with hormonal balance.  But even if you don’t have LadyBug, you can incorporate this.

First of all, find and use your lats!   All throughout the day!  A great way to do this is while driving—hang onto the steering wheel underhanded, pull your belly button up and back to your spine, curl your core, ribs up.  Now, gently squeeze the hands on the steering wheel and tighten those lats!  Release, then tighten, release, tighten, release….etc. 

When you go over to a flat back in Primary Back Stretch, push those thumbs into your hips/back to really get those elbows up.   Pretend you have a beach ball balancing on your back!   Tighten the buns, pull that tummy up to your spine and engage the lats.  Press your breast bone to the floor to help as well.

Keeping ribs up during the head tilting and turning portions of the second half of PBS will also help.

Plies—ahhh!  May I confess to you that the first two sets are tough for me to keep my ribs up and lats set?!    Doing them slowly in front of a mirror is the best way to watch what is happening and get a feel for what “right” feels like as you’re seeing it in the mirror.   Hold the plie squat to really focus on ribs up, lats set throughout the Plie sequence.   A good tip on the Chest Press portions is to think “ribs up, ribs up, ribs up,” as your elbows come in, then “elbows up, elbows up, elbows up,” as your elbows go back out, to keep from dropping them below shoulder level.

Reach Scoops—here’s a great one for practicing that rib to hip stretch!   Get into position, making sure you are standing as between two panes of glass.  Tilt, keeping that alignment (not leaning back or forward).   Keep that belly button to spine at all times,  and as you reach up and inhale, reach down with the other arm, too.  Keep those ribs UP (think breastbone to ceiling) while stretching.  Now flip the palm and reach away as if someone else is pushing against that top hand to help keep the lats engaged.

Jazz Twist—you know what I’m going to say—ribs UP!  :)   Thinking ribs up right before you twist helps, as does really pushing with that thumb into the back of your hip.  Get that back elbow back, using the thumb to help press it back.   Initiate the move with your back shoulder, but use the lats on your reaching side to keep that shoulder from climbing towards your ears.  This is also a good move to do slowly in front of a mirror to check on your form, and doing it slowly helps you feel the muscles work!

I’ll share more tips to keep the lats engaged next week for the rest of the moves in BWO+.   Try these in your workouts this week as well as throughout the day, standing, walking, sitting (especially at the computer!) think, “Ribs UP, SET lats!”  and see if you don’t feel better!   You might even see a little trimming of the tummy, pec and bust measurements from getting those lats on board!  ;)

Until next week, happy Tappin’!