Friday Physical Activity Boost, Fall Edition: Pumpkin Patch Strength Training

October 05, 2012

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By Lizzy Parker, HSC communications intern

Lizzy Parker is a junior at Colorado College and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. As an intern at HSC, she enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for and knowledge about physical activity—and, that it can be fun!

Fall is gearing up, and the weather is cooling off. Though the barbeques and pool parties have subsided, autumn presents new opportunities to get outside and get moving.  Halloween is fast approaching, and it’s time to think about costumes and carving pumpkins once again.  One fun way to get outside and get some activity as you prepare for autumn is to  visit to the pumpkin patch.  Between roaming the pumpkin patch and solving the corn maze, your day is guaranteed to be full of physical activity.
              
While your kids are busy deciding between the round or oval pumpkin — or if you prefer, once you get your pumpkins home — take the chance to get some seasonal strength training in! Select a pumpkin of a challenging (but not impossible) weight, and try the following exercises:

Pumpkin front raises: this exercise targets the upper back, shoulders, and core.  Great for improving posture!

  • Stand with feet hip-width distance apart and hold the pumpkin straight out so your arms are parallel with the ground.
  • With a strong core, flat back, and retracted shoulders, raise your arms until the pumpkin is directly over your head.
  • Lower to starting position and repeat 10 times.

Pumpkin walking lunges: works your biceps, forearms, core, and glutes.

  • With arms bent at a 45-degree angle, hold the pumpkin close to your chest.
  • Lunge forward with your right foot, bending your leg so that your thigh is nearly parallel to the ground.
  • Keep the weight off your toes, and make sure that your torso remains tall and upright.
  • Push through the heel of your right foot and stand up, matching your feet together.
  • Move forward, alternating right and left.  Repeat 10 times on each side.

Pumpkin plié squats: this exercise is good for strengthening your legs, glutes, and core.

  • With the pumpkin on the ground in front of you, stand with your feet a little wider than hip distance, toes pointed out at a slight angle.
  • Shift your weight to your heels and squat, as if to sit in an imaginary chair.  Keep your chest up, your gaze forward, and your core tight.
  • Reach down with straight arms to pick up the pumpkin. Once you have a firm grasp, continue to hold the pumpkin between your hands as your push through your heels to stand up.
  • Do not arch your back, or bend from your back—aim to keep a flat back throughout.  You are using your legs and your glutes to perform the action, not your torso. You may need to adjust the starting location of the pumpkin to maintain good form!
  • Once your legs are straight and you are standing, maintain your grasp of the pumpkin and squat again.  Repeat 10 times.  
  • If you need a visual overview, check out this video for guidance.


Have fun . . . and enjoy decorating the pumpkins with your family! 

Disclaimer: The recommendations on this blog are not meant to be a substitute for recommendations from your physician. Take care to consult with your physician if you have questions or concerns about beginning a new exercise regimen. As always, if something hurts, don’t do it. Know your body’s limits and refrain for pushing yourself too far, too fast.