February 22, 2010 |
Whenever you feel tightness in your chest, shoulders and back, practice this variation of a backbend, or bridge pose. It will help release tension in your mid- and upper back as well as stretch and strengthen your hips and legs. Karen Voight Lie back on a mat with your heels resting on a sturdy chair. Extend your arms alongside your body, palms flat on the floor. Make sure your feet are hip-distance apart and your knees are parallel to each other. On an inhale, press firmly on your feet as you raise your hips toward the ceiling.
October 19, 2009 |
This is a safe and effective way to strengthen the muscles in your back that run parallel to your spine. Start with just a small range of motion and make sure your feet are touching the floor. This will help isolate and train those underworked areas of your back. -- Karen Voight 1Lie face down on a flat padded surface or mat. Straighten your legs behind you with your toes facing the floor, your inner ankles facing each other. Place the palms of your hands on a round, full-length foam roller.
January 11, 2010
Here is a very easy, yet amazing stretch that you can do anytime your back and legs feel tight. You'll need a sturdy chair or, if you're outside, you can use a park bench or even a small wall. -- Karen Voight 1Stand in front of a chair or bench with your shoulders, hips and toes facing the chair. Inhale, shift your weight to your left leg and place your right foot flat on the seat of the chair. Make sure that your right heel is below your right knee. On an exhale, twist your rib cage, chest and shoulders to the right as far as possible.
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.
May 4, 2009 |
As we age, we gradually lose our sense of balance. To reverse this, challenge yourself with stability exercises for a complete workout routine. Here is a typical yoga pose that will help you stand tall and improve your sense of balance. -- Karen Voight 1 Stand upright on a level surface with both feet flat on the floor. Shift your weight toward your right foot. Slowly bend your left knee and place your left foot against the inside of your right calf.