These 14 moves are simple, low intensity ways of stretching and strengthening. It’ll only take 20 minutes and you can do it in pretty much any room of the house!
Bring your arms out to your sides, palms facing forward, 5 cm below your shoulders. Keeping your torso upright, stretch your hands out to the sides and back. Hold for 20 seconds. Breathe into your chest, as if it were one big balloon. For a deeper stretch, bend your wrists back and reach your fingers toward one another.
2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Take a step forward with one leg, kneel on your back leg with your knee on the ground and bend your front leg 90-degrees. Contract your glutes and shift your body forward. Raise the arm that is on the same side as the knee that is on the ground, stretching to the opposite side until a stretch is felt in the front of your pelvis. Hold for 30-seconds.
3. All Ears
Slightly drop your ear down to one shoulder, keeping your chin forward. Hold for 10 seconds and then switch sides. Do twice, lifting your chest up and taking deep breaths into the tightest area.
4. Wag Your Tail
While on all fours, back flat and elbows slightly bent, twist your right shoulder toward your right hip. Next, twist your left shoulder toward your left hip. Switch back and forth 10 times. Look 5 cm above your fingers throughout.
5. Hip Rotator Stretch
Lie on your back with your foot placed over your opposite thigh. Place your hand on your knee and pull it to the opposite shoulder until a stretch is felt in the back of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds.
Sit with your legs crossed in front of you. Keeping your torso upright and the top of your head in line with your tailbone, take your right hand to your left knee, place your left hand on the ground behind you and slowly twist. Take two deep breaths and switch sides four times. To make it harder: Sit in lotus position (legs crossed with ankles on top of your crossed legs) for this stretch.
7. Butt Lift
While lying on your back with your arms crossed and relaxed on your chest, bring your feet shoulder-width apart underneath your knees. Lift your butt off the ground as high as you can, then drop 2-3cms. This is the highest point you should lift. Tap your butt back on the ground and back up. Curl your tailbone and squeeze your butt 20 times. Then, hold your butt up and pulse 20 times. To make it harder: Hold one leg straight off the ground, knees in line with each other. Do one set, then switch legs for another set. Breathe normally.
Lie on your stomach with your feet together and forearms placed on the ground. Make sure your elbows are underneath your shoulders. Draw-in your navel and contract your glutes. Lift your bodyoff of the floor and raise up until your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Hold the top position for a few seconds.
9. Side Plank
Lie on your side with your feet and legs placed on top of each other. Place your forearm on the ground with your elbow located directly under your shoulder. Draw-in your navel and contractyour glutes. Lift your hips and legs off the ground until your body forms a straight line from head to toe, keeping your weight placed on your forearm and feet. Hold the top position for a few seconds then slowly lower your body to the ground.
10. Standing Cobra
With knees slightly bent and feet together, bend at the waist and lean forward until your back is flat and as parallel to the floor as possible. (If you have a bad back, stay up higher.) Keeping your arms straight and your elbows unlocked, bring your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground, making sure to squeeze your shoulder blades. Pause, then lower them down. Do 40 reps. To make it harder: Grab a set of dumbbells, tubing or household items like soup cans to create resistance.
11. Bent-Over Row
Stand with your feet pointed straight ahead and draw in your navel. Bend at your waist until your chest is at a45 degree angle to the ground. Extend your arms and let them hang in front of your body. Row your arms back, bringing your thumbs up toward your armpits. Contract your shoulder blades together and be careful not to arch your back. Return your arms to the starting position and repeat. To make it harder: Grab a set of dumbbells, tubing or household items like soup cans to create resistance.
Begin in push-up position with your feet together and toes on the floor and your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Draw-in your navel and contract your glutes. With your back flat, slowly lower your body toward the floor, lowering and contracting your shoulder blades. Push back up to starting position being careful not to jut your head forward. You can drop to your knees to modify.
13. Opposite Arm/Leg Raise
Position yourself on your hands and knees. Slowly draw-in your navel up towards your spine and tuck in your chin. Raise your arm with your thumb up and extend your opposite leg behind you, remembering to keep your back flat. Keep your arm and leg straight, lifting both up until they are in-line with your back. Hold the top position for a few seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg, alternating sides.
14. Rocky Punching Bag
Start by boxing like Rocky to strengthen your arms and shoulders. Lift your hands and elbows to shoulder height, make your hands into fists and turn your knuckles away from you. Spin your hands around in a circle as far away from your chest as you can. Keep your shoulders relaxed, away from your ears. Do 20 reps clockwise, then 20 reps anti-clockwise.
15. REST YOUR MIND
Congrats! You've finished! To make your next workout easy-breezy, do this first: Rest your mind. Research suggests that a tired mind means a tired body, so plan your workout accordingly. A first-thing-in-the-morning routine may feel right for you, while an end-of-day one could be more difficult.
This article has been published with the permission of the author.
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