January 25, 2010
Have you ever thought of using a folding chair when performing abdominal crunches? Try it. You'll find that it's a comfortable way to focus on contracting your abs without feeling pressure on your back. -- Karen Voight 1Place an open-back chair or bench on a flat, padded surface and lie down in front of it. Place your lower legs on the seat of the chair with your feet hanging off the back end of the seat. Scoot in so your hips are close to the chair. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointed out to the sides.
December 14, 2009
To kick up the intensity of your workout, use a kettle bell. The iron bell is more unstable than a traditional dumbbell, so you'll need to work harder to control it. To safely do this move, you'll need plenty of space. -- Karen Voight 1Holding a kettle bell in your left hand, stand with your feet staggered, right foot in front of your left, about 2 1/2 feet apart. Bend your right knee, right hand resting on your right thigh. Lean forward at a 45-degree angle. Begin with your left hand below shoulder level.
December 28, 2009
This stretch is a relaxing way to end your workouts. It will keep your legs and back muscles limber and help reduce the stiffness and soreness that often follow a tough workout. -- Karen Voight 1Sit on a flat, padded surface or mat. Extend both legs straight out in front of you. Hook a towel or a band around the balls of your feet and grasp the ends with each hand. Inhale and sit upright. Exhale and lean forward from the hips, maintaining a straight spine. Engage your upper back muscles to slide your shoulder blades down your back.
February 8, 2010
Here's a new way to spice up your basic abdominal crunches using a 36-inch round roller. This is a challenging exercise, so be patient if you find it difficult at first. And remember: It's important to keep your shoulders and hips level throughout the entire move. -- Karen Voight 1Sit at one end of the roller, line up your spine on the roller and lie down on it. (Scoot down enough to make sure the back of your head rests on the roller.) Place your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, with your knees bent, toes facing forward.
January 18, 2010
Here's a nice stretch for your middle and lower back that fits easily into your workday. Just move your chair away from the desk and give it a try whenever your back feels tight or stiff. This move is also a great way to release tension in your neck and shoulders. -- Karen Voight 1Sit all the way to the back of a sturdy chair (not a rolling one). Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your ankles below your knees, feet flat on the floor. Bend forward at the hips, bringing your chest and ribcage in between your inner thighs.
August 24, 2009 |
When practicing the triangle pose, many people sacrifice correct alignment by trying to touch the floor before they are ready. Make sure your hips are not falling backward and your bottom arm is not supporting much of your weight. Here are two variations that encourage proper alignment. -- Karen Voight 1Stand with your legs three to four feet apart. Turn your left thigh outward with your toes pointing to the left. Turn your right thigh slightly inward, toes pointed slightly left.
May 11, 2009 |
If you travel and need a convenient way to exercise without packing dumbbells, exercise tubing is an excellent alternative for creating resistance. With this one move, you'll be able to train multiple muscles in your upper and lower body at the same time. -- Karen Voight 1 Grasp the handles at each end of the rubber tubing. Place your feet on the tubing as an anchor. Be sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, feet parallel to each other. Lower your arms by your sides.
November 2, 2009 |
To strengthen the muscles in your upper back and rear delts (those muscles in the back of your shoulders), try this simple move. It's ideal after hours of sitting in front of a computer or driving. Pulling your elbows behind you engages your upper back, which helps relieve tension in your chest, neck and upper trapezius muscles. -- Karen Voight 1Place the center of a resistance band or stretch tubing under your right foot. Grasp the ends of the band in each hand.
June 15, 2009 |
This yoga pose stretches the backs of your thighs, your outer hips and your calves. In the deeper variation, you can lengthen your spine and also feel a great stretch in the sides of your back. -- Karen Voight 1 Stand facing the front of a sturdy chair. Place your right foot forward, close to the legs of the chair. Put your hands on your hips and step your left foot back 3 1/2 to 4 feet. Turn the left foot out 30 degrees. Align your right heel with your left heel.
February 15, 2010
This is a safe and effective way to train your abdominal muscles to stay flat and firm when you stand. Don't try to touch your feet to the floor right away; over time, you'll develop strength to lower them all the way to the floor. -- Karen Voight 1Lie on a mat or a padded surface. Hold a foam roller lengthwise between your knees and ankles. Begin with your knees directly above your hips and rest your head on the floor. Bend your arms to the side with your elbows at shoulder level.