Wolf Pack 60

  • Day 25: Jump up, jump up and get down

    More jumping? Yes, please! It's plyo day, so get those legs warmed up and let's build your expolsive power and get those jumps even higher! Have you taken any video of yourself throughout these workouts? If so, go back and look to see if you notice the difference! How is the quality of your jumps? The height? Is your balance better? Watch for those things that change, and be proud of yourself when you see it, you've worked so hard to get here!

    Here's a reminder from one of our first workouts: Warm up! Before each workout you will need to warm up for a full 15 minutes! Dynamic, active stretching (things like high knees and butt kicks, leg swings, large arm circles - NOT static stretching where you stretch and hold, you don't want to try to stretch cold muscles!) and some easy jogging. You should be sweating a little during your warm up. 

    Then, 5 rounds of:

    • "Get up" 30 Squat Jumps - full depth squats and explosive height!
    • "get up" 30 In and Outs (for height) - the bottom half of a jumping jack, feet together, feet apart, but jump up as high as you can, and point your toes. Really work on your extension and lengthening your body in the middle of the jump. 
    • "and get down" 15 Burpees - Everybody's favorite! Whole body touches the ground at the bottom, and both feet jump off the ground at the top. Work on making these as fast as you can.

    After all your jumping today, treat to yourself to a little extra recovery. Whether that means stretching and foam rolling, voodoo floss and ice, or a treat and a bubble bath, take care of yourself, and remember that every day you put in, you get that much closer to achieving your goals! 

  • Day 24: Long Haul

    Another Sunday, means another day of high volume! Today's workout is going to put you to work for part one, and after you're done, ask you to keep going hard with some dance-specific moves in part two. Being able to work when you're fatigued is a huge part of being successful in competition, so this is great practice!

    Warm up - With the lunges that are coming up, you need to be sure to do some specific warm up exercises. Start today with a light jog, even just 5 minutes is good. Then you'll need to do some activation of those upper leg muscles. Glutes, hamstrings, adductors (the ones along the inside of your thigh) and hip flexors. Dynamic movement is key. Make sure you do plenty of leg swings front and back as well as crossing in front of your body. You should also do some cowboy walking, frankenstein walking and high knees. Check out the instagram videos for demos! 

    5 Rounds - Complete all 5 rounds as fast as possible, no rest!
    Walking lunges - 30 steps, 15 each leg. Make sure you are staying upright through your back and core, and that you are keeping your knees at 90 degree angles. Your back knee should very lightly touch the ground in each lunge. 
    Shuttle Sprints - Measure this off before you start. Sprint 5 yards, touch the ground, sprint back to the start, touch the ground, then sprint 10 yards, touch, sprint back, then 15 yards, touch, and back. This should feel pretty hard immediately following your lunges!

    Shake out your legs, and then move immediately to part 2.

    Dance moves (Irish ones, not just your best ones...): You will complete 6 sets of 8 of Cut twist twist twist jump jump out. That will be a total of 24 times through the 2 count combo. You don't need to do this to music, but it's always a good distraction and helps keep track of the reps!

    Cool down: Repeat your warmup! And then hit the epsom salts. All those lunges will take a toll on your legs for the next couple of days, but you need then to keep functioning for you, so be sure you're taking care of yourself! 

  • Day 23: Who's in your Wolf Pack?

    Day 23: Who's in your Wolf Pack?

    Irish Dance is a tough sport and every year the competition gets tougher, the style gets more athletic, and you have to keep pushing forward. If you want to thrive in this sport, you need to have a support system, or in our case... a WOLF PACK! You need that feis friend that is there to support you on your greatest wins, and your toughest losses. You need a classmate that will meet up to drill steps, or do an extra workout, but really you just end up taking silly videos and making up dances the whole time. You need a teacher who will push you out of your comfort zone, and see your potential, but also help motivate you through those tougher times. You need a parent to be your cheerleader in the audience, at the competitions, in and out of the dance studio. We are not lone wolves out here, we need our pack in order to thrive! 

    Today, the Wolf Pack 60 Challenge is to reflect on your support system, and how can they help you acheive your goals. Maybe that means asking for help more? Maybe that means setting up a regular schedule to meet up with a classmate for some extra practice time? Maybe that's asking your teacher to show you a new trick or spice up your steps for the next competition. Odds are, there are more people in your pack than you realize. Don't be afraid to accept that support, and in turn know that you are a part of that pack too. You are also there to support and lift up your classmates, give 100% to your teacher every single class, support your feis friends in good times and in bad. 

    Irish Dance is more than just a hobby, more than a sport. The friends and people you meet along your way will be forever connected to your journey. The wolf pack you build will only make you a stronger dancer. Take some time to appreciate that today! Share a picture of you and your pack with the hastag #thisismywolfpack!

  • Day 22: Total Tabata

    The first time we did Tabatas, we modified them to be a little more beginner friendly. But here you are, more than 3 weeks into your challenge, so we're going all out today! In "Tabata Quad" we divided the Tabata timing, but you'll do the full time frame today: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, 8 sets, 4 total minutes for each Tabata. 

    A tip to make timing the workout easier, and to help the time pass faster: Tabata Songs are songs on Spotify, in all music genres, that keep time for you. So pick your favorite style of music, turn up the volume, and let the songs keep time while you just keep working! We've included an example of one of these workouts playlists above, but there are a ton more out there! 

    Jump rope warm up: Jump rope training is fantastic for Irish Dancers both for warming up, cardio, and getting your body ready to jump continuously! You can find them at any sports supply store if you don't have one already! Practice with it today, because it will be in your workouts in the future. A few minutes of practice and you'll be good and warm for today!

    Total Tabata: By the time you complete the workout today, you will have done a full Tabata for each exercise! We won't ask you to plank for 4 minutes straight though. You will rotate through each exercise twice per Tabata and do 4 Tabatas total. That means 16 minutes of Tabatas total! Feel free to rest as needed in between full rounds. 

    • Plank Skiers - Continuously holding your nice plank position (flat back, tight core and glutes!) you will jump both legs together up toward one arm, then back to the center, and up to the opposite arm. 
    • Shuffle Over - Find something sturdy and about 12-18 inches high (a small plyo box or a Bosu Ball would be awesome if you have either one). Squat down into a shuffle position with one foot up on the box. Pushing hard with the foot on the box, jump high and shuffle over the top. Your other foot should land on the box, with the foot that started on the box landing on the floor on the opposite side.
    • Jumps for Height - Similar to straight jumps, but you get to use your arms and bend your knees. The goal here is to get AS HIGH AS YOU CAN!
    • Snowboard hops - Skier planks, snowboard hops... winter is around the corner! For these, you will have one foot in front of the other, as if you are strapped into a snowboard. Crouch down and touch your hands to the ground on either side of your feet, jump up high and switch the front foot with the back foot and land crouching with your hands on the ground.

    So to recap, your workout will look like this: 
    20 sec Plank Skiers
    10 sec rest
    20 sec Shuffle Overs
    10 sec rest
    20 sec Jumps for Height
    10 sec rest
    20 sec Snowboard hops
    10 sec rest
    20 sec Plank Skiers
    10 sec rest
    20 sec Shuffle Overs
    10 sec rest
    20 sec Jumps for Height
    10 sec rest
    20 sec Snowboard hops
    10 sec rest

    Rest as needed and then repeat that until you've finished all 4 full Tabatas!

    Cool down with your jump rope today too! Feel how tired your body is now when you try to jump rope? You are likely tripping more and can't get into a good rhythm. That is your post-workout fatigue, and that is what we are working so hard to change! Jumping rope takes coordination of your feet and it takes rhythm, just like Irish Dance. If you can jump rope smoothly and consistently after a really tough workout, you are well on your way to having the end of your dances look as sharp and strong as the beginnings. After you jump rope just a little, be sure to stretch and foam roll. Today is a real burner of a workout, so would be a good one to follow up with some quality nutrition. Water, a little chocolate milk, a banana, or an apple with peanut or almond butter are all great choices for getting something back into your system immediately after a taxing workout.

  • Day 21: #tbt: Five by Three

    Day 21: #tbt: Five by Three

    We are now THREE weeks in to this 60 day challenge, which means it's a good time to revisit some of those earlier workouts and assess how our body has started to change! Look back on your journal entries, and see how you felt after that very first workout. How did you feel the next day? Were you able to complete it? Compare and contrast your progress in the past three weeks! That progress you are feeling is bringing you one step closer to acheiving those goals! Keep it up! You can do this Wolf Pack!!

    You will be more familiar with this workout now that you've completed it once, but here is a reminder of the set up...

    "Five by Three" is a cardiovascular interval training workout that includes three different types of intervals, each repeated five times. Each of the 15 individual intervals is meant to be as hard as you can go!

    Set up: There are specific amounts of rest between intervals, so you'll need a timer to complete this workout. To set up your dot mat, mark the ground with five dots (masking tape works great) in an "X" shape. Each dot should be about 18"-24" apart. To set up your T-Sprint you will need four cones or marks, laid out in the shape of a "T". The three points that create the horizontal crossbar of the "T" should be about 15 feet apart each. The vertical crossbar should be about 30 feet long.

    Warm up: Before each workout you will need to warm up for a full 15 minutes! Dynamic, active stretching (things like high knees and butt kicks, leg swings, large arm circles - NOT static stretching where you stretch and hold, you don't want to try to stretch cold muscles!) and some easy jogging. You should be sweating a little during your warm up. 

    • Dot Mat: Five rounds. Each round consists of 30 seconds (:30) of work followed by 15 seconds (:15) of rest. 
    • T-Sprints: Five sprints. Each sprint begins at the bottom of the "T". Sprint forward to the top center of the "T". Shuffle to one end, back all the way across the top of the "T", and back to the center. Sprint backwards to the starting point. Finish by sprinting to the top center of the "T". That is one full T-Sprint. rest 15 seconds and then repeat.
    • Running Intervals: Five intervals. Each interval consists of two minutes (2:00) running followed by one minute (1:00) of rest. 

    Cool Down: Just as important as your warm up, you also need to cool down when you are finished. Walk for 5-10 minutes, do some stretching, foam roll, and hydrate!

  • Day 20: "Tippy Tippy Toes"

    Day 20: "Tippy Tippy Toes"

    You saw that correctly! It's Day 20! You are officially 1/3 of the way through the Wolf Pack 60 Challenge! Today's workout is a specific strength workout, and we are working on the lower leg. Always getting comments from judges or your TC about dancing up higher on your toes? Do you tend to drop your heel height during your last step because you are getting tired? Well this is the workout for you! 

    Warm-up: 3 circle drills. Just as we were working the whole hamstring with Saturday's toe touches, this one is going to work your calves and arches a lot, so you'll need a solid warm-up! Your calves will thank you later!

    Work-out: We will go through a series of double and single leg calf raises interspersed with arch and toe strengthening movements. You'll need some stairs, and a dish towel for this workout. 

    Stair Calf Raises: For both the double and single leg calf raises you will want to have a railing to hang on to for balance, but try to use it as little as possible as this is always an opportunity for core strengthening! When you do your calf raises today you are going stand with heels together, and keep them together as your go through the calf raise. You are also going to dip lower than the stair level, so you can take your calf through a full range of motion. Feel that stretch as you are lowering down, but try not to bounce too much as you drop. You are lowering with control. Bouncing not only reduces the amount of strength you're using, but can also take you beyond a safe range of motion, so make sure you stay in control!

    Towel Pick-ups: We're using our feet as our hands for this one! Lay your dish towel flat on the ground, and then with a bare foot simply pick up the towel with your toes!

    Aternating Toe Taps: Keep those socks off, so you can see you feet! You will have your foot flat on the ground, and alternate lifting only your big toe, and then all of your small toes. Lifting your big toe, then little toes is considered one rep!

    • Stair Calf Raises (Up slow, down quick, Up 2,3 down) x30
    • Towel Pick-ups (right foot) x30
    • Stair Calf Raises (Up fast, down slow, Up, down 2,3) x30
    • Towel Pick-ups (left foot) x30
    • Single leg stair calf raises (Up slow, down quick, up 2,3 down) x15 on each leg
    • Alternating Toe Taps x30 
    • Single lef stair calf raises (Up fast, down slow, Up, down 2,3) x15 on each leg
    • Alternating Toe Taps x30

    Cool Down:  you will definitely feel the burn on this one! Foam rolling your calves will be super important, drinking lots of water, and also take a golf ball pr a small hard ball, and roll your arches over it to help stretch out those feet! 

  • Day 19: "Stage Presence"

    Day 19: "Stage Presence"

    On today's rest day we will talk about stage presence. What is stage presence and why does it matter in Irish Dance? Stage Presence is your ability to command a stage and hold your audience's attention. Whether you are performing to an audience of 10, or 10,000 stage presence matters. As we prepare for the upcoming Oireachtas we will talk about how stage presence affects competitive Irish Dance. 

    Competitive Irish Dance is a subjective sport. As frustrating as that can be at times, the judge's personal opinions affect the outcome of the competitions. So, not only do you have to dance your steps perfectly, but you also need to present yourself in a way that tells the judges you are there to win. 

    That may mean dancing with joy and smiling, or that may mean dancing with determination and intimidation. Whatever it is, it has to come from a real place and it has to come from a confident place. Before you step on to that stage, before you even step into the building that day, you must have your head in the right place if you expect to see the results you want. Let's go through some guided steps to help solidify your stage presence routine from the night before the competition to the moments before you start dancing. 

    The Night Before the Competition

    • Go through your guided meditation to clear your head. 
    • Visualize your goals, imagine yourself up on the podium. Remind yourself why you all that hard work in
    • Mentally take yourself through your routine, giving yourself reminders about corrections you need to make through each of your steps. 
    • Go to bed! Sometimes the night before a big competition can feel like the night before Christmas, but give your body the time to wind down, and allow your body a full night's rest!

    The Morning of the Competition

    • Don't rush, make sure you allow enough time to get ready, do your hair and make-up so you don't feel rushed heading into a stressful day. 
    • Eat something. I know when nerves are high, eating can be the last thing on your mind. Try to find something that fills you up, but doesn't make you feel sick. Typically you want to have a complex carb, and some protein to start your day. That could be oatmeal, and some yogurt, or some a piece of fruit and a hard boiled egg. Just make sure you find something that fits into your routine and doesn't have too much sugar in it. Competition days can go very long, you don't want a crash before you've even made it on stage. 
    • Hydrate! It's so easy to forget to drink water. Make sure you have your water bottle with you all the time as a reminder to hydrate throughout the day. No need for the sugary electrolyte drinks until after the competition. 

    Arrival at the Compeition

    • Find your stage, figure out how much time you have before your competition. 
    • Get your headphones in and put on your get pumped playlist! Everyone needs a get pumped playlist to help calm your mind, but also get your body excited for the competition. 

    30-45 Minutes before the Performance

    • Time to Warm-up! Make sure you are giving your body a full and thorough warm-up. You can't expect your body to perform at it's peak if your muscles aren'y primed and ready to go. Do your circle drills, lots of dynamic stretch, and keep your body moving. Butt kicks, leg swings are great right before the competition. Keep the stretching active. 
    • Do a walk through of your steps. It's good to shake your sillies out a bit before the big moment. Map out your steps, make sure you have your game plan solidified in your mind. 

    Side Stage

    • Powerful positivity. You have put all the work in, now you are just presenting the facts to the judges. You are there to win, you have earned this, and today is your day. 
    • Keep repeating those words of affirmation all the way until you start dancing. 

    Walking on Stage

    • Head up.
    • Eyes up.
    • Shoulders back.
    • Don't walk. strut. 
    • Confidence. Keep that mantra of positivity and determination going. Today is your day. 
    • When you point your toe, it needs to be sharp, it needs to be powerful, it needs to be crossed. This is the first moment of your actual dancing technique that the judges will see. Make sure you make a good first impression!
    • Then let all that postivity and determination explode on the stage as your start your steps and leave everything out there. You should leave the stage knowing you did absolutely everything you can, and you danced your best. No regrets. No excuses. Dance like a champion. 

  • Day 18: "Jump, Jack, Jump!"

    Today's Workout is set to "Reels 113" by Sean O'Brien in It's about Time! You can find it on Spotify or Apple Music, above is a link to the song this workout is connected to! This song is 11 minutes and 35 seconds, and will include your warm-up, exercises, and rest periods. The workout starts when the song starts, and the fun doesn't stop until the song does! 

    This workout will be described in sets of 8 counts of music (or one foot of a step). 

    Warm-up (starts after an 8 bar intro): 8 sets of hop 1,2,3s

    Workout:

    Round 1 (swinging Bird Hops)

    • 4 sets of Jumping Jacks
    • 2 sets of swinging bird hops (right leg) (16 total)
    • 2 sets of swinging bird hops (left leg) (16 total)
    • 4 sets of rest

    Round 2 (swinging knees)

    • 4 sets of Jumping jacks
    • 2 sets of swinging knees (right leg) (16 total)
    • 2 sets of swinging knees (left leg) (16 total)
    • 4 sets of rest

    Round 3 (hop 1,2 push)

    • 4 sets of jumping jacks
    • 4 sets of hop 1,2 pushes (alternating legs the whole time) (total of 32 hop 1,2 pushes)
    • 4 sets of rest

    REPEAT EACH ROUND ONE MORE TIME!

    It's easiest to keep track of the sets just by counting on your fingers as you go, you'll also find that the tunes are grouped into 4-bar increments, so you'll start to hear a pattern in the music as well. If you have extra music at the end of two cycles, use that time to stretch and cool down!

  • Day 17: "10: 20 - 30 - 40 - 50"

    It's volume day! So do the math, because the work you're doing below is not a typo. 

    Warm up - Again, since today is a high volume today, you would be well served by doing your circle drills and also running for at least 10 minutes. Preferrably 15 minutes. 

    10 rounds:

    • 20 Toe touches - This sounds simple, and it is, but you need to do it AS FAST AS POSSIBLE! Start standing with your arms all the way up overhead. Bend down and touch your toes, and then stand back up, arms all the way up. If you do this fast enough, your hamstrings will thank you!
    • 30 second plank hold - focus on keeping your back flat. That means no arch in your low back, and also means keeping your butt level with your shoulders.
    • 40 Butt kicks - again, kick those feet as fast as you can, really focusing on snapping your foot up and down. 
    • 50 Small arm circles - Simple, just like the toe touches. But again, keep your entire arm tight and do those small circles as fast as you possibly can. You should really feel the lactic acid build in your shoulders! 

    Rest as needed throughout this workout, but try not to break up individual exercises (do all 50 arm circles without stopping, etc.) and if you can get through the entire round before resting that's perfect!

    Cool down - Repeat some of the movemnets from todays workout, but do them very slowly in order to help work out some of the lactic acid. Today would be a good day for an epsom salt bath. An easy way to help get some extra rehydration in is to bring a big bottle of water with you and see how much you can drink while you soak in the epsom salts. 

  • Day 16: Ice, Ice, Baby

    You are now two weeks into the Wolf Pack 60 program and your muscles are starting to adapt, and grow stronger. You may start to see changes in your jumps, and sharpness as you go through your steps. You may also experience some soreness after some of the heavier workouts. For each workout we have included a warm-up and a cool down, which are essential to getting the most out of each workout. It can be hard at the end of a dance class or workout to make sure that you properly cool down as opposed to just collapsing on your couch, but with a proper cool down and recovery treatment, you will feel those benefits the next day! 

    Having rest days worked into your weekly routine is part of allowing your muscles to rebuild and grow stronger! On those rest days as you are feeling that muscle soreness from the day before, cold therapy is one of the greatest ways to relieve some of that and help speed up recovery time. 

    According to John Hopkins Medicine, Cold therapy or Cryotherapy refers to applying something cold to a source of pain. This can be ice packs, ice cups, or full immersion in a cold bath. 

    Ice baths offer the greatest benefits because it immerses the full surface area of your legs in cold therapy. Ice packs can only cover so much ground, whereas a cold bath can cover a larger section of your body. 

    How to create an ice bath: 

    1. Pick-up about 3 bags of ice from the store. 

    2. Fill your tub up about half way with cold water. 

    3. Throw the ice in the bathtub. 

    4. Set a timer for 15 minutes and hop in!

    It will be intense and not super fun in the beginning, but as long as the water isn't moving, and you stay still, your skin starts to numb, and adapts to the temperature. Stick with it for the 15 minutes to see the full benefits! Bring a book with you, put on some music while your in to distract you. Those 15 minutes can also be a great time to think about your goals, and your overall progress. Take a little time to clear your head and gear up for the next day!

    Here are a few dos and donts of cold therapy according to Andy Schmitz at active.com:

    1. DON'T Ice before a workout: Icing will numb your nerve endings, which may mask any pain that might be an indicator to slow down or stop a movement. 

    2. DO Apply Ice as soon as you are done: The sooner you ice the faster you will see benefits. As much as you may want to just go home and go to bed after night of dance classes, it's important that you take the time to recover to see the full benefits of that workout. Ice quickly will reduce swelling and in turn, reduce pain. 

    3. DON'T Ice for more than 20 minutes: Icing for too long can have the opposite affect, and be a risk for frost bite, so make sure you set a timer before you hop in your ice bath. Never ice for more than 20 minutes. 

    4. DO Ice for at least 10 minutes: Ideally, you want to ice for 15-20 minutes to see the greatest benefits. Applying ice for less than 10 minutes will only cool the skin, but not give you the vasorestriction to reduce swelling and pain. 

    5. DON'T just ice once and hope for the best: If your muscles are very sore, you need to ice every day.  You have to stick with it, just like your workout program, icing is part of the process! If icing is still not helping your pain, that's when you need to see a doctor. Knowing the difference between soreness and hurt is very important as you are training. 

    6. DO Ice more than once per day: With an acute injury you can do ice cycling (15 minutes ice, 45 minutes rest, 15 minutes ice, 45 minutes rest... etc.). You need to allow your skin to warm back up, but ice cycling can also help speed up the recovery process.