Mind & Muscle Lab

So, what is Mind & Muscle?

Here at Paideia we have taken a very unique approach to exercise, wellness, and overall health. Thinking of a way to combine physical fitness, mindfulness, and overall wellbeing of the mind, body and spirit, we came up with the Mind & Muscle Lab. The Mind & Muscle Lab combines physical fitness, with yoga, meditation, deep breathing, visualization, and peace of mind to create a unique atmosphere of learning for our scholars. They will leave the Mind & Muscle Lab feeling relaxed, clear headed, less stressed, limber, and most importantly, recharged and ready to learn!

Our instructor Mr. Nunez will take them through a journey of mind and body connection, he will help them unlock their ability to reach true peace of mind, body, and soul. With a background in Exercise Science and a true passion for the holistic side of health and wellness Mr. Nunez will give the scholars at Paideia every tool they need to succeed.

Mind & Muscle will focus on Meditation, Deep Breathing, Visualization, and Peace of Mind for at least 15 minutes of the class period each day. Followed by the scholars breaking up into groups to go into stations for the next 15 minutes of the class period. These stations are designed to help the scholars improve their team building skills, balance and coordination, agility, core strength and stability. Once these two portions of class have finished the scholars will then proceed to participate in 5 minutes of mindfulness. Similar to the first potion of class but designed to ease the mind and recharge the scholars’ batteries for the rest of the day. This will be done through deep breathing, and visualization.

A Message from Mr. 

My goal for this class is to create an atmosphere of acceptance, and mindfulness. If there was one takeaway from this I could give it would be just understanding, and acceptance. Understanding the importance of having a clear mind, the importance of obtaining peace of mind, the importance of a mind-body-spirit connection. Also accepting that things are going to happen in your life that are not 100% controllable if controllable at all, it’s how we react to those things is what makes all the difference. Whether those things are positive or negative if we take a step back and learn to approach every situation in a similar manner we should receive similar results. That’s my goal for this class and I am very excited to be a part of this journey.



Stability Ball Activities

(4 Stability balls in classroom)

Introduction Activities (Kindergarten – 1st Grade)

  1. Single Leg Stability Ball Overhead Reaches (Apple Pickers) – Have student sit on the ball in an upright position with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Have student then reach into the air as high as they can one hand at a time as if reaching to pick an apple from a tree. Whichever hand they are reaching with you will instruct them to lift the opposite leg off the ground as well while still sitting on the stability ball. For example, if the student is reaching with the right hand then the left leg is off the ground and vice versa. Have the student hole each reach for a count of 2 seconds, continue until student has picked 10 apples. If a leg touches the ground while reaching it does not count as an apple picked.
  2. Diaphragm Stretch (Hiccup Stretch) – Have student lie supine on the stability ball with mid back being the main point of contact. Slowly have student drop hips downward while reaching with both arms overhead, lastly have student tilt head back along with arms. While doing this have student take slow controlled breathes on the count of 6 seconds breath in (Through the nose) and a 4 second breath out (Through the mouth).
  3. One Point of Contact Balance Drill (Hot Stove Drill) – Have student lie prone on the stability ball with the main point of contact being the abdomen/pelvis area. While maintaining this point of contact on the ball have student balance his/her body on the stability ball while only letting one of their limbs touching the ground. For example, if the students right hand is touching the ground then their left hand and both legs need to be off the ground. The key to this is to not let the student touch the ground any longer than 2 seconds at any given time. Do so for 20 seconds.
  4. Partner Ball Push – In pairs both students are holding the ball in between them with both hands on the front of the ball. With both feet planted firmly and evenly on the floor have the students push on the count of three until one of the students takes a step back or the ball drops. Repeat 3-5 times. To make more challenging you may instruct the students to only have one hand on the ball at all times.


Beginner Activities (2nd Grade – 3rd Grade)

  1. Ball Walkouts (Walrus Walk) – Have students start with their chest on the stability ball and their feet planted firmly on the ground. Have them walk themselves forward onto the ball until they have to put their hands down on the ground. Once the hands touch the ground the feet have to come up. Now with only the hands on the ground and the rest of the body being supported by the ball have the student walk out onto the ground until only his/her feet are touching the ball. Once there have the student look up, down, left, and right before returning to resting position. Repeat 3-4 times than rotate.
  2. Ball Squat on the Wall – Have student put the ball between themselves and the wall with the balls main point of contact being on the low back/hips. Feet shoulder width apart, even, and toes pointed slightly outward have the student lower his/her body until the ball is resting between their shoulder blades, while keeping the pressure against the ball at all times rise body back up to resting position. Repeat for 6 repetitions. To make harder have student use each other for back support instead of the wall and try to squat up and down at the same. They can do this while balancing the stability ball overhead. Once this is too easy they can place the stability ball in between them both and squat up and down together.
  3. Ball Body Surfer (The Superman) – Have students place all four exercise balls in a single line. Now one at a time have each student thrust themselves forward onto the balls keeping the body prone, with hands extended overhead and head looking up (Just like superman when he’s flying). The goal is to use the momentum and be able to thrust your body over all four stability balls and land on the other side.

Intermediate Activities (4th – 6th)

  1. Standing on the Stability Ball (Hover-ball) – Up against a wall place both feet evenly on both sides of the stability ball while maintaining balance with your hands on the wall. Once students obtained balance and are standing firmly on the ball remove hands one by one from the wall until the student only support is the ball beneath their feet.
  2. Plank on Ball with Circles – Put both forearms on the ball with feet planted on the ground shoulder width apart, while keeping body stable and balanced. Just like a normal plank position. Now once the student is there have them use their arms to go in a circular motion, have the student do 5 circles both ways for a total of 10.
  3. Stability Partner Squats – In pairs or groups of 3 have the students place the ball in between them with their backs on the ball. Once all students have their backs against the ball and the ball in between them have them together squat down until they are almost sitting on the floor. Hold the positions at the bottom for a count of 3 then stand up. Repeat for 6 repetitions.
  4. Donkey Kicks – Have the student lie prone on the stability ball while using their arms for support and balance while keeping feet off the ground. Have the student kick back as far and as high as they can one leg at a time. Repeat until each leg has done at least 5 repetitions.

Ab Rolling Wheel

** This piece of equipment is very difficult to master, therefor we will have all scholars start with introduction activity and work their way up until they get a grasp of doing the introductory activities.

(5 Rolling Wheels)

Introduction Activities (Kindergarten – 1st Grade)

  1. Ab Roller Plank – Have students place hands on handles of ab wheel firmly. Once they are there have them get into a push-up position while still using the support of the ab roller. As their doing this have them take 5 deep breaths to the counts of 4 seconds in and 4 seconds out. Time may be varied per child.
  2. Ab Roller Bear Crawl – Once the student masters the ab roller plank position they may now move onto the bear crawl. This is like a traditional bear crawl with the only variation being their hands are holding onto the ab roller. While using this as support and balance have the students use their legs to crawl to the designated spot and back. (Could be used in a race setting/Could be used in an obstacle course setting)

Beginner Activities (2nd Grade – 3rd Grade)

  1. Kneeling Rollout – While grasping hands firmly onto the roller have students return to the kneeling position. From that position use the roller to roll the body forward until the students’ arms are completely extended overhead. While doing this it is important to keep the head neutral and keep the back straight and not allowing it to arch or dip.
  2. Kneeling V Rollouts – This is the same as the kneeling rollout the only difference is while your rolling your body forward you will do so at a 45-degree angle both ways. Have the students do 5 repetitions each way.

Intermediate Activities (4th – 6th)

  1. Ab Roller Wheelbarrow – Like a traditional partner wheelbarrow except the only variation is instead of their hands being on the floor and them walking they will be supporting themselves with the ab roller. (Could be used in a race setting/Could be used in an obstacle course setting)

 Foam Rollers 11.5 inch

(5 Foam Roller)

Introduction Activities (Kindergarten – 1st Grade)

  1. Statue Position – Have students sit on the foam roller while its upright. They can try to balance on it anyway possible while holding their best “Statue” pose.

Beginner Activities (2nd Grade – 3rd Grade)

  1. Standing on Foam Roller – Self-explanatory with this one, the student is to stand on the foam roller and try to balance there as long as possible.
  2. Foam Roller Bowling – Setup the 5 foam rollers as bowling pins then the students will push each other on PE scooters towards the “Bowling Pins” to try to knock as many down as possible.
  3. Basic Introduction to Foam Rolling (Power Point) – Explaining the importance of foam rolling, what it actually does to the body and to the muscles. Learn a little about the muscles and groups of muscles involved.

Intermediate Activities (4th – 6th)

  1. Basic Foam Rolling (Myofascial Release) – Teach the importance of foam rolling and what it does in the body. But also teach the way to foam roll different parts of the body, including the calf, the hamstrings, the quadriceps, the glutes, the back, and the neck. Doing so while educating the scholars on which muscles they are rolling and what that in turn will do to the body. How it will help the bodies range of motion (ROM), and what limiting factors affect the majority of today’s population. How it can help prevent knee pain, hip pain, back pain, ect ect.
  2. Implement Deep Breathing into Foam Rolling – As well as introducing the scholars to foam rolling also stress the importance of breathing while doing these practices. Educate the scholar on the importance of deep breathing and how it can affect your body.

Floor Sliders

(12 Total Sliders)

Introduction Activities (Kindergarten – 1st Grade)

  1. Ice Skater – Scholar will place each foot on one of the Synergee Sliders with the soft side down. Scholar will then “skate” back and forth like an ice skater to try to get to the designated location. This movement can also be done while standing in place by simply moving back and forth.
  2. Deer on Ice – This movement will require four Synergee Sliders, one for each foot, and one for each hand. Scholar will then get on all fours with a slider beneath each extremity, with the soft side down. Scholar will then try to move however possible to get to the designated location. This can also be used in an obstacle course setting where part of the course the scholar will have to utilize this to get to the next component.
  3. Mountain climbers – Scholar will place feet onto the Synergee Sliders with feet about shoulder width. Scholar will then place both hands on the floor with their feet all the way to the top of their head in line and perfectly flat. They will then alternate feet as if they were climbing a mountain, (whatever that is to them), while keeping both hands on the floor and back as flat as possible. This is best done in intervals of 15-30 seconds.


Beginner Activities (2nd Grade – 3rd Grade)

  1. Single Leg Reverse Lunges – Scholar will place one foot on a Synergee Slider and keep the other foot planted firmly on the ground. They will then slide the foot back that’s on the slider into a lung position, they will hold for a count of two then slide the foot back up into the standing position. Repeat on both legs
  2. Self-Wheelbarrow – Scholar will place each hand on a Synergee Slider and both feet onto the ground in a modified plank position. Scholar will then propel themselves forward one step at a time, this will look somewhat like the mountain climbers. The goal of this would be to complete some sort of course, or race to see who can go from one side of the room to the other. It’s the same concept as the wheelbarrow except the scholar is both the body and the motor.
  3. Single Leg Side Lunges – Scholar will place one foot on a Synergee Slider and keep the other foot planted firmly on the ground. They will then slide the foot to the side that’s on the slider into a side lung position, they will hold for a count of two then slide the foot back up into the standing position.
  4. Skier – Being somewhat like the “Ice Skater” it’s something our scholars will already have a grasp on. Scholar will place both feet onto the sliders in the standing position. They will then bend their knees slightly and get arms up into a running position. They will then, like a downhill skier, move feet back and forth as quickly as possible.

Intermediate Activities (4th – 6th)

  1. Spiderman Push-ups – With both feet and both hands on their own individual Synergee Slider scholar will then bring one foot up just like in the mountain climbers to where the armpit begins. As the scholar brings the foot up they will simultaneously let themselves slowly fall into a push-up. As the scholar pushes the foot back they will then push their body back up to the resting position.
  2. Close to Wide Squat – Scholar will start standing straight up with both feet together each on their own Synergee Slider. They will then slide both feet outward with toes pointed slightly outward to about a foot past shoulder width. As they are doing this they will also drop their hips and fall into a wide stance squat position. They will take a deep breath at the bottom of their hold then push themselves back up into the starting position.
  3. Hamstring Curls – The scholar will be lying on their back with both feet on a Synergee Slider. They will then be keeping their shoulders planted firmly on the ground thrusting their hips upward to hold that position. Once they are there they will slide one foot at a time out completely straight while keeping hips off the ground. They will utilize their hamstrings to pull or curl the leg back to the start position.
  4. Speed Skier – Scholar will place both feet onto a Synergee Slider and go down into a push-up position. From there they will then slide both feet up to the furthest outside position they can next to their hands on the floor. They will then slide both feet back into the starting position as quickly as possible. They will do this as quickly but with as much control as they can.